Unicorn vs. Pegasus: Most Enchanting Steeds of Mythology

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Difference between Unicorn and Pegasus

The unicorn and the Pegasus are two of the most distinctive figures in mythology. Evoking images of magical times long past, these fabled animals are the stuff of legends all over the world. In this comparison article, we take a look at the key aspects of each.

Definition

The unicorn is a mythological creature whose name is derived from the Latin for ‘one’ and ‘horn’. While the most popular image of the unicorn is one of a horse with a horn on the forehead, early depictions of the unicorn described a horse like creature with a beard like a billy goat, the tail of a lion, and cloven hooves. It is also interesting to note that the unicorn is one of the very few creatures in human mythology that has seemingly not been conceived from human fear. Even the earliest references to the unicorn depicted it as a fierce yet benevolent creature that was solitary but selfless.

The Pegasus is one of the most recognizable creatures in Greek mythology. It is commonly depicted as a divine horse with wings, and it was often described as being colored white.

Origins

It is interesting to note that the unicorn is not mentioned in Greek mythology, although it is mentioned several items in natural history accounts. This is because early Greek writers–and indeed Greek society in general–considered the unicorn real. Back then, it was thought that the unicorn was found in India, which was then considered a distant and fabulous land.

According to popular culture, the Pegasus was supposedly the creation of the ancient Hittite god of thunderstorms, Pihassassa. Numerous other stories have been ascribed to its origins as well, with many mentioning it as a winged stallion with a brother named Chrysaor. These creatures were supposedly from the springs of Oceanus, which was located at the edge of Earth.

Cultural Significance

The most familiar depiction of the unicorn today is in the royal coats of arms of Scotland and the United Kingdom. In Scotland, two gold coins have been issued, with one bearing a unicorn and the other depicting a half-unicorn on one side, and both depicting a unicorn on the other side. The unicorn is also seen in the arms of London's Worshipful Society of Apothecaries.

The Pegasus for its part is commonly seen in numerous corporate logos and inspirational emblems around the world. It was also a distinctive feature of the sleeve insignia of the then newly formed parachute troops of the United Kingdom during World War II.

Similarities and Differences

Unicorn

  • A mythological creature whose name is derived from the Latin for ‘one’ and ‘horn’
  • One of the very few creatures in human mythology that has seemingly not been conceived from human fear
  • The most familiar depiction today is in the royal coats of arms of Scotland and the United Kingdom

Pegasus

  • Commonly depicted as a divine white horse with wings
  • Supposedly found in the springs of Oceanus, which was located at the edge of Earth
  • A distinctive feature of the sleeve insignia of the then newly formed parachute troops of the United Kingdom during World War II

Which represents the epitome of equines?
  • Unicorn
  • Pegasus
 
 

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