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Old 03-07-2018, 08:56 PM   #41
Flyndaran
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Forest Grove, Beaverton, Oregon
Default Re: Madlands gods

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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
But for all I know they described rhinos as horselike too. Early European ideas of taxonomy were imprecise. Leg at each corner? Can't milk it? Doesn't bark? Sounds like a horse to me.
"Fast runner" would probably lead to horse comparisons regardless.
And I believe that early unicorn myths/rumors were bulky murderous beasts rather than the docile horns with horns that the myths relatively quickly became.
Please correct me if I'm just repeating a different unicorn urban myth.
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:42 AM   #42
malloyd
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Madlands gods

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
"Fast runner" would probably lead to horse comparisons regardless.
And I believe that early unicorn myths/rumors were bulky murderous beasts rather than the docile horns with horns that the myths relatively quickly became.
Please correct me if I'm just repeating a different unicorn urban myth.
There are several different versions in medieval bestiaries. TH White's translation of The Book of Beasts includes a bit of discussion and some references to sources, and should be easy to locate - Dover may even keep it in print.

Perhaps the oldest source for the usual bestiary description is Pliny's Natural History (Bk6 Ch31): "as well as a very fierce animal called the monoceros, which has the head of the stag, the feet of the elephant, and the tail of the boar, while the rest of the body is like that of the horse; it makes a deep lowing noise, and has a single black horn, which projects from the middle of its forehead, two cubits in length. This animal, it is said, cannot be taken alive.".

Note he has a separate paragraph for the rhinoceros, which he may very well have actually *seen* himself: "At the same games the rhinoceros was also exhibited, an animal which has a single horn projecting from the nose; it has been frequently seen since then. This too is another natural-born enemy of the elephant. It prepares itself for the combat by sharpening its horn against the rocks; and in fighting directs it chiefly against the belly of its adversary, which it knows to be the softest part. The two animals are of equal length, but the legs of the rhinoceros are much the shorter: its skin is the colour of box-wood."
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:45 AM   #43
malloyd
 
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Default Re: Madlands gods

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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
But for all I know they described rhinos as horselike too. Early European ideas of taxonomy were imprecise. Leg at each corner? Can't milk it? Doesn't bark? Sounds like a horse to me.
Of course you *can* milk horses.
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