What did the Hippogriff look like?

(ORDO NEWS) — The hippogriff is a mythical creature that represents the union of a horse and a griffin. The hippogriff is a fabulous winged horse of Greek myths. Ariosto and other authors of chivalric novels endow them with their heroes as a horse. Ingres’s painting depicts a scene in Orlando Furioso’s novel in which Roger Delivering, riding a hippogriff, saves Angelica from the dragon.

The image of a hippogriff with a huge load represents the combination of the traditional qualities of a griffin and a winged horse in the characteristic associated with “spiritual ascent”.

“Wanting to indicate the impossibility or incongruity, Virgil speaks of an attempt to cross a horse and a vulture. Four centuries later, his commentator Servius argues that vultures are animals with an eagle’s front and a lion’s back. To support his claim, he adds that they hate horses.

Over time, the expression “jungentum iam grypes equis” (to cross the vulture with horses) became a proverb; at the beginning of the 16th century, Ludoviko Ariosto remembered him and invented the hippogriff. An eagle and a lion cohabit in the vulture of the ancients; in Ariost’s hippogryph – a horse and a vulture, this is a monster, or fiction, of the second degree. Pietro Micelli notes that the hippogriff is more harmonious than a winged horse.”

What does this fantastic creature look like?

  • The main structural features of the hippogriff;
  • The dimensions of this flying creature are identical with those of a horse;
  • The fur of such a creature is not bright, most often of a brown hue;
  • Large and mobile eyes and a large beak make the Hippogriff look terrifying;
  • Claws are excellent melee weapons and are capable of piercing almost any armor;

The diet is varied. They are omnivorous and eat equally meat or fruits of trees. Sometimes, if there is no other food nearby, these creatures attack people. Their claws secrete poison and when injured, the victim is paralyzed. After catching the prey, the prey is taken to the nest, where it is eaten. After a meal, food leftovers are taken away from the nest so as not to create an unpleasant odor.

Either a bird or a beast

Translated from Greek “hippos” – horse and “grypos” – vulture, literally means “winged horse”. Indeed, the hippogriff looks like a magical beast with the body of a stallion and the head of a bird of prey. A strong torso, muscular hind legs and a long tail came from the horse. And from the birds, the animal inherited the front clawed paws, sweeping wide wings and a sharp beak on a proudly set head. Following the description, we can say that the hippogriff is a fantastic character and a fabulous entity.

The tireless flying predator has the endurance of a horse and the dexterity of a bird. Therefore, we can talk about distant family ties with the mythological pegasus. But in contrast to a graceful and beautiful horse, a half-horse – half-vulture is an unbridled and self-willed animal. Unlike the hippogriff, even the griffin seems less intimidating. Although the impressive size and unusual appearance of the latter are also the result of a fantastic experiment. The griffin is a mixture of an eagle and a lion, and it is said that they are distant relatives. At one time, the hippogriff was called the “horse griffin”.

What did the Hippogryph look like 2

According to one theory, the phoenix and the hippogriff also have family ties. Proud and independent creatures do not obey anyone and do not tolerate insults in their address.

The mystery of origin

A creature like a hippogriff is not found in mythology. A similar name cannot be found in any ancient author. However, in the “True History” of the Greek-speaking satirist Lucian, it was already about 170 BC. NS. some horse horses are mentioned. These hybrid life forms lived on the moon and were enormous in size.

For the first time, a detailed description of the mysterious creature – the hippogriff – can be found in the works of the Italian poet and playwright Ariosto.

In the days of ancient Rome, there was a saying “to cross a horse with a griffin”, which is mentioned by the Roman poet Virgil as the impossibility of doing something worthwhile.

Ariosto synthesizes this image and creates in his chivalrous novel “Furious Roland” an allegorical figure of a horse crossed with a bird, calling it a hippogriff. The comic plot of the work implied the presence of a corresponding incredible character. The origin of the hippogriff in the novel is associated with the Riphean Mountains, a hill from Greek mythology. The huge animal is capable of flying faster than a falcon and higher than an eagle, crossing seas and continents.

For some time, the mysterious animal is forgotten and it appears only in the first third of the 19th century in the work of the Russian writer Veltman, where it is the mediator of two worlds. The winged horse here is able to move the hero into the past.

Modern interpretation

JK Rowling succeeds in continuing the literary tradition, almost two centuries later. The unusual characters in her science fiction books serve as the backdrop for creating psychological depth. In the film of the same name, the hippogriff from the magic saga about Harry Potter was called Buckbeak. More than once he rescued unlucky characters, helping to get into the past.

The creators of the computer game World of Warcraft went even further. They presented a winged horse in the guise of a half-raven – half-deer. Hybrid creatures are intended for use by elves.

The hippogriff did not pass by the children’s animation. In the TV series “My Little Pony”, the image of a winged animal constantly appears in the plot, making it clear that “the animal is not as terrible as it is painted.” The main thing is not the presentation, but its cutting.

Where do hippogriffs live?

The flying half-lions “build” their dwellings in places where you can easily take off into the air. They often settle near rocks, river valleys and high mountain ranges. These fantastic creatures live in small groups of 6-8 individuals. Such a “herd” lives in vast territories, which are protected from attacks from other groups and creatures. Hippogriffs hatch from eggs that the mother incubates for 10 months. After being released, the baby quickly begins to walk and after a couple of days is able to fly.

During the first weeks of life, his key remains soft so that he can drink his mother’s milk. After the “ossification” of the beak, the small hippogriff switches to adult food.

If a person grows up a hippogriff from childhood, he will be able to tame him and he will become an excellent assistant in the household and in battle. Even adults can be tamed by humans on mutually beneficial terms.

To do this, it is necessary to provide the hippogriff with the necessary amount of food and ensure its safety.

Hippogriff – appearance

Initially, the hippogriff is a mythological entity that is a distant relative of the griffin. It is assumed that it is also related to Pegasus, but there are very few adherents of this theory. The hippogriff is a creature in which the back of a horse’s torso, the front of an eagle and huge wings grow.

A similar creature was also called “horse griffin”, since it is a victim of an experiment, an artificially bred monster that appeared as a result of crossing a horse and an eagle.

According to the original plan, the creature would become as hardy and strong as a horse, but could fly like a bird. Like a griffin – but with the back half of a horse, not a lion, with smaller ears and much shorter mane.

Among such creatures, two types are distinguished: ordinary or Scottish (according to legend, it was found in Scotland) and small.

A common hippogriff is a rather bulky creature, slightly larger than a horse. Its color can be absolutely any, but most often there are gray or black animals.

The hippogriff is very fickle, it can be aggressive, it will not allow anyone to humiliate itself. If he feels disrespectful, he will begin to attack the enemy, trying to hit him with a clawed paw or hit him with a hard beak.

Lesser hippogriffs are shorter than Scottish hippogriffs, often black, gray and beige. These animals are distinguished by an agreeable character, they converge well with people, therefore they were often used as ordinary horses (as a vehicle, labor).

Features of the life of hippogriffs

If we talk about the interaction of these animals with other species, then it is worth noting that only an ordinary hippogriff can enter into battle with any other mythical entity, since the small one still prefers a peaceful solution to problems and will not get on the rampage.

Hippogriffs prefer to live in the mountains, in the valleys, they cannot be found in the forests, since the branches interfere with their wings. These are not herd animals, they live either one by one or in pairs. The female does not lay eggs, but directly gives birth to babies.

Up to two years old, the baby is under the care of parents, after which it leaves the family nest for several years. Three years later, the hippogriff is already considered an adult; it can find a mate and live on its own, or return to its parents.

They feed on lizards, small animals. They never attack a person on their own until he himself first begins to show aggression. Lesser hippogriffs love fruits and vegetables. According to legends, neither of the two species has magical properties. However, amulets are made from their claws.

Image in world culture

It is believed that this image was first described in 1532 in the poem “Furious Roland” by Ludoviko Ariosto. Then there was the proverb “to cross a horse with a griffin”, which meant the impracticability of some task.

But one of the earliest mentions of the hippogryph is in a passage from Lucian’s Vera Historia (c. 170 CE):

Of course, such a source does not confirm the existence of hippogryphs during the time of Ancient Greece. However, it indicates that already at that time there was an idea about the possible existence of these animals.

The image of the winged horse is close to Russian literature. For example, the author AF Veltman in “Ancestors of Kalimeros” (1836) describes a magical hippogryph who was able to transfer one of the characters to the past.

Of course, a similar mythological entity was found in the works of Harry Potter (in particular, in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”).

Unfortunately, none of these literary works and references in ancient stories can be proof that hippogriffs previously existed.

It can be assumed that hippogriffs were an unsuccessful experiment, that, like the philosopher’s stone, they were trying to create in the Middle Ages by crossing various animals. However, not a single hippogryph has survived to our time, and we can assume that the experiments of medieval scientists (if any) ended in failure.

Magical abilities

Hippogriffs have no magical abilities as such. They can fly, but this is not so much the merit of magic as anatomy.

Hippogriffs can understand human speech. Moreover, they capture the emotional mood of a person, because they are able to understand whether they are respected or insulted.

The closest animal “relative” of hippogriffs is the griffin.

A place in the magical world

Hippogriffs are recognized by the British Ministry of Magic as dangerous creatures. However, they are allowed to be bred as pets, but this imposes responsibility on the owners. In particular, hippogriffs need to be kept secret from Muggles, so their owners must cast the Disillumination Charm on them daily.

Despite the danger, hippogryphs are deemed sapient enough to be prosecuted.

Interesting Facts

  • There is a book in the Hogwarts library called Game or Predator? A Study of the Malice of Hippogryphs.”
  • In 1722, there was a trial on a hippogryph similar to that of Buckbeak. Hippogriff was found guilty.
  • At Buckbeak, the wings reach 8.5 meters in length when unfolded.


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