The Natural History of Unicorns, Chris Lavers

In The Natural History of Unicorns, Chris Lavers traces the unicorn right back to classical writers. Ctesias, in the fifth century BC gives accounts of a unicorn found in India. There are several references in Old Testament texts and the unicorn came to be adopted as a Christian symbol in the complex Christian mythology.

He existed as a symbol in the Middle Ages in the world of courtly love and unicorn parts, particularly the horn, were more valuable than gold as late as the Renaissance. Sadly the twentieth century has decided that the unicorn was a myth.

However, Lavers, with great scholarship, examines all the evidence and presents all the candidates for the role of unicorn. His research moves into language and the confusion that probably resulted from the translations produced, for example, by the Septuagint. He looks at the narwhal, the oryx, the okapi, the yak and of course, the rhinoceros, all of which contributed their share of evidence.

This is a fascinating book to read and I am sure that you will be convinced, as I am, of the existence of the unicorn. I loved David Bellamy’s comment and echo his sentiment, ‘… If unicorns do exist I hope they never catch one.’