The unicorn is a legendary creature like a horse, but with a slender, usually spiral, horn growing out of its forehead. The popular image of the unicorn is that of a white horse differing only in the horn.
In medieval lore, the spiraled horn of the unicorns was called the alicorn, and was thought to neutralize poisons. In popular mythology, unicorns were hunted for their horns.
Traditionally, the unicorn had a billy-goat beard, a lion’s tail, and cloven hoofs. Ironically, this perception was more realistic, as only cloven-hoofed animals have horns. Unicorns were once thought of as nasty, easily provoked creatures, unlike the gentle perception we have of them today. They were thought to have deep, bellowing voices. As Ctesias, the ancient Greek physician, said:
“The unicorn was native to India, the size of a donkey, with a burgundy head and white body; it had blue eyes, a single horn that was bright red at the top, black in the middle, and white at the bottom; the horn was also eighteen inches long.”
Julis Ceasar also described the unicorn, saying, “It had a deer’s head, elephant’s feet, a three-foot long horn, and a boar’s tail.” It was not until the middle ages that the unicorn began to take on its present form. Today when you hear about unicorns in books, movies, or mythology classes at military friendly colleges the image you picture is less frightening.
A widespread legend is that, when Noah gathered two of every kind of animal, he neglected to gather the unicorns, which is why they do not exist today.(the truth and/or validity of this statement is open for discussion).