On the Gryphon
|Introduction by Juris Lidaka|
Could you spell that again please?
The Greeks got the griphin from the Babylonians (modern-day Iraq), but moved its home far to the north, to a land they called Hyperborea (“above Boreas,” the North Wind). The Babylonians also introduced this aquiline feline to the Hebrews, as it appears in Deuteronomy 14:12 (and also Leviticus 11:13) -- unless your translator altered the text to eliminate what is now long known to be a mythical creature. Another version of the gryffin occurred, of course, in the bestiary.
Certainly the griffon was considered mythical by Sir Thomas Browne, whose Vulgar Errors includes a chapter “Of Gryphins” (or “Of Griffins”) in the Book titled “Of divers popular and received Tenents concerning Animals, which examined, prove either false or dubious.”
Debunking beliefs can be fun, but the beliefs themselves lasted a long time. Luckily people did not build their lives around their ideas of this particular creature. For example, no one seems to mind that the crest of the House of Gryffindor features a lion and not a gryffon.