by TJ Marie
Description and origin of a mythical creature
| World Assignment #5
Griffins are common to the lore of Ancient Greece. There is evidence that they also date back to before 3000 BC in Ancient Persia and Ancient Egypt. In Central Asia the griffin appears about a thousand years after the Bronze Age Crete in the 4th-5th centuries BC, probably originating from the Achemenid Persian Empire. The Achamenids considered the griffin a protector from evil, witchcraft, and secret slander.
In some older illustrations griffins have a lion’s forelimbs; they generally have a lion’s hindquarters. Most statues have bird-like talons. The eagle head is given prominent ears which are sometimes described as lion’s ears but are often elongated like a horse’s ear and are sometimes feathered. Rarely, a griffin is portrayed without wings or a wingless eagle headed lion. A griffin always has forelegs like an eagle’s hind legs. A type of griffin with four legs of a lion was distinguished by perhaps only one English herald of later heraldry as the Opinicus where it also had a camel-like neck and a short tail that resembles a camel’s tail.