Spanning from the mountains of Mongolia to the deserts of Egypt, there is far more to the myth of the gryphon than is commonly known. This website will take you through 5,000 years of gryphon history, from the discovery of the first gryphon iconography on a seal in Iran to modern literature attempting to unravel the gryphon myth.

What is a Gryphon?

When we think of gryphons today, the most common image is that of a winged golden brown four legged animal, lion-like in the hindquarters, with an aquiline head and forelegs. Yet this image, popularized in Western heraldry, is only one of many descriptions of gryphons throughout the years! The first known image of a gryphon, found on a seal dating back to 3,000 BC in Iran, shows the general outline of that four legged animal with eagle wings, forelegs, and head. The first written description of a gryphon, however, comes from Ctesias in the 5th century BC, where he writes that the gold in the mountains of India is guarded by gryphons. "These are birds with four legs, of the size of a wolf, with the legs and claws of a lion, having red feathers on the breast, but black on the rest of the body." Read more...


Where do Gryphons Come From?

As if multiple forms and multiple names weren't enough, there are also a multitude of locations where the Gryphon is said to have come from. This section looks into four of those places with references to the ancient and modern writers who described them. Read more...


Gryphons in Literature

Throughout time men have marveled at the world around them and it's vast wealth of creatures, lands and cultures. Fortunately for us, there were those who were wise enough to know that should future generations ever wish to behold what they have seen, it must be written down and chronicled. Many authors however, have tried to pass off fiction as truth, and then there are those who try to copy those before them, and present the work as their own. One man writes of a lie as though it were true. Then another man comes, reads the lie, and tries to pass it off as his truth, embellishing the original lie to make it seem more like his own, then another man comes, and so on turns this vicious circle. Read more...


Gryphons in Heraldry

Being the regal and highly emblematic creature that it was, there is no surprise that the Gryphon quickly became associated with the symbolic art of Heraldry. In fact, the Gryphon is the most widely used "monster" in heraldry, just as the lion is the most widely used beast and the eagle the most widely used bird. From the first gryphon used as a heraldic seal over 900 years ago to modern iconography, Gryphons are key to heraldic symbolism. Read more...


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