Robert L.D. Cooper  Author, Historian, Freemason.


February 11th, 2023 by Robert Cooper

I saw this whilst on a visit to Stirling Castle and just had to have it – well you all known by now I am an historian! I had previously been aware that unicorns were initially thought to have been real animals with very special attributes. They were extremely shy, and adept at avoiding capture, which explained why none were in captivity.

It was only later that it was realised that it was a mythical beast and did not exist in real life.

However, by that time it had become so embedded in western culture it did not matter if it was not real.

The unicorn possessed magic which lay in its horn’s ability to detect the presence of poison and to purify water. The tapestry shows the unicorn kneeling at the edge of a burn with men and animals and men looking to watch this miracle take place. The people seem to be in awe of the miracle taking place before their eyes.

In Christian world view, especially when the tapestry was woven, the unicorn represented Christ incarnate, a symbol of purity and grace that could only be captured by someone pure: physically – a virgin and spiritually – an innocent. This interpretation has fallen out of use in our modern, secular, world.

It was by no accident that the unicorn was chosen by the monarchs of Scotland as their animal which was incorporated into their coat of arms (see picture). Why? Simple! The unicorn was the only animal in that could kill a lion, and the lion was the chosen animal of the monarchs of England!

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