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A unicorn, in Manuel Philes, On the properties of animals

16th century

The British Library

The British Library

This unusual unicorn appears in a 16th-century Greek manuscript, accompanying a poem called ‘On the properties of animals’. According to the poem, the unicorn was a wild beast with a dangerous bite: it had the tail of a boar and the mouth of a lion. Only a woman could catch such creatures: according to medieval folklore, the unicorn would place its head in the lap of a female virgin and then fall asleep, allowing the hunter to sneak up on it unawares. Shown here: ff. 27r

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Details

  • Title: A unicorn, in Manuel Philes, On the properties of animals
  • Date Created: 16th century
  • Location: British Library, London, UK
  • Location Created: Paris
  • Type: Manuscript
  • Original Source: Burney MS 97
  • Rights: Public Domain in most countries other than the UK. For more information visit: https://www.bl.uk/help/how-to-reuse-images-of-unpublished-manuscripts

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