The Griffin, or sometimes spelled Gryphon, is a powerful beast that has been depicted in literature for centuries. They figure greatly in Greek mythology and art.
Gryphons are quite imposing if added to any entrance to a property or on stairs guarding all who enter a building. They can be added among trees and boulders in the yard. They can also stand still among roses and ferns.
The beast had the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. The lion is traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle is the king of the birds, so the gryphon is thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Sometimes it is shown as having a long snake for a tail. Most of the time, only the female has wings and males have spikes on their backs instead of wings.
Legend says that these winged creatures would find gold in the mountains and built their nests from it. This would lure hunters to their nests and the gryphons would be ferocious in their attacks on the hunters. Thus gryphons were known for guarding treasure and they were a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.
Gryphons are viewed as heroic symbols. They are well known for their speed, ability to fly and having eyes like an eagle, as well as the strength and courage of a lion. In hieroglyphics, gryphons represent heat and summer. In Assyria (an ancient empire of western Asia,) both the gryphon and the dragon were symbols of wisdom. In Roman art, you will see that gryphons are often pulling the chariot of Nemesis who was the goddess of justice and revenge.
Gryphons are sculpted on churches because in legend, gryphons mated for life, and if either partner died, then the other gryphon would continue the rest of its life alone, never to search for a new mate. The griffin was then chosen as an emblem of the Church’s opposition to remarriage.
Many family crests depict gryphons and many schools have a gryphon mascot on their flags. Today you can see gryphons perched on the roof top of the Philidelphia museum of art. If you have ever visited England, you may have seen gryphon statues that mark the entrance to the city of London.
In legend, a griffin’s claw was believed to have medicinal properties and one of its feathers could restore sight to the blind. In medieval times, goblets fashioned from griffin claws (actually antelope horns) and griffin eggs (actually ostrich eggs) were highly prized in medieval European courts.
Gosh I really love Gryphons and Gargoyles, I just can’t choose between the two and so they are both great ideas to incorporate in and around your home.