is a legendary creature
A legendary creature is a mythological or folkloric creature.-Origin:Some mythical creatures have their origin in traditional mythology and have been believed to be real creatures, for example the dragon, the unicorn, and griffin...
, supposedly the offspring of a griffin
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle...
and a mare
Female horses are called mares.Mare is the Latin word for "sea".The word may also refer to:-People:* Ahmed Marzooq, also known as Mare, a footballer and Secretary General of Maldives Olympic Committee* Mare Winningham, American actress and singer...
Ludovico Ariosto was an Italian poet. He is best known as the author of the romance epic Orlando Furioso . The poem, a continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens with diversions...
's poem, Orlando furioso
Orlando Furioso is an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto which has exerted a wide influence on later culture. The earliest version appeared in 1516, although the poem was not published in its complete form until 1532...
(1516) contains an early description (canto IV):
- No empty fiction wrought by magic lore,
- But natural was the steed the wizard pressed;
- For him a filly to griffin bore;
- Hight hippogryph. In wings and beak and crest,
- Formed like his sire, as in the feet before;
- But like the mare, his dam, in all the rest.
- Such on Riphaean hills, though rarely found,
- Are bred, beyond the frozen ocean's bound.
- Drawn by enchantment from his distant lair,
- The wizard thought but how to tame the foal;
- And, in a month, instructed him to bear
- Saddle and bit, and gallop to the goal;
- And execute on earth or in mid air,
- All shifts of manege, course and caracole;
- He with such labour wrought. This only real,
- Where all the rest was hollow and ideal.
According to Thomas Bulfinch
Thomas Bulfinch was an American writer, born in Newton, Massachusetts. Bulfinch belonged to a well educated Bostonian merchant family of modest means. His father was Charles Bulfinch, the architect of the Massachusetts State House in Boston and parts of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C....
's Legends of Charlemagne
The reason for its great rarity is that griffins regard horses as prey. It has been suggested this idea was strong enough in medieval times
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...
to produce an expression, "to mate griffins with horses", which meant about the same as the modern expression, "When pigs fly". The hippogriff was therefore a symbol of impossibility and love. The hippogriff, in legends is said to be far faster, stronger and more intelligent than their fathers, the griffin, apparently traveling at the "speed of lightning". This was supposedly inspired by Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...
's Eclogues: ... mate Gryphons with mares
, and in the coming age shy deer and hounds together come to drink..
, which would also be the source for the reputed medieval expression, if indeed it was one.
Among the animal combat themes in Scythian gold adornments may be found griffins attacking horses.
The hippogriff seemed easier to tame than a griffin. In the few medieval legends when this fantastic creature makes an appearance, it is usually the pet of either a knight or a sorcerer. It makes an excellent steed, being able to fly as fast as lightning. The hippogriff is said to be an omnivore
Omnivores are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source...
, eating either plants or meat.
Hippogriffs in popular culture
Hippogriffs and hippogriff eggs play a key role in Eric Rücker Eddison
Eric Rücker Eddison was an English civil servant and author, writing under the name "E.R. Eddison."-Biography:...
's 1922 novel The Worm Ouroboros
The Worm Ouroboros is a heroic high fantasy novel by Eric Rücker Eddison, first published in 1922. The book describes the protracted war between the domineering King Gorice of Witchland and the Lords of Demonland in an imaginary world that appears mainly medieval and partly reminiscent of Norse sagas...
In Karen Anderson's short story "The Piebald Hippogriff", a boy rides a hippogriff in a flight past the edge of the world. The story was included in The 8th Annual of the Year's Best SF
British author J. K. Rowling
Joanne "Jo" Rowling, OBE , better known as J. K. Rowling, is the British author of the Harry Potter fantasy series...
introduced a hippogriff named Buckbeak, later renamed as Witherwings, as a character in her Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...
In the Warhammer Fantasy Tabletop Game, Hippogriffs are a monster-mount option for Bretonnian Lords. The Bretonnian King rides a Hippogriff.
In the universe of Final Fantasy Hippogryffs are a Monster race with high evasion and attack speed
In World of Warcraft, Hippogryffs are flying mounts for hire. With exalted reputation they can be bought from the Cenarion Expedition, Silver Covenant (Alliance), or the Argent Crusade.
In the "Hippogriff Cookbook" http://hippogriffcookbook.com
(2010) reportedly "the first literary work written exclusively for e-reader technology," British authors Benjamin Leeds Carson and Perre DiCarlo introduce fictional wizards to the culinary value of the animal, which "giveth from its forelegs and wings a tender poultry, from its rear a robust steak, as well as both creamy milke and eggs that seemeth to emerge already soft boiled."