Vikings Used To Sell Fake Unicorn Horns To Clueless Europeans

Samuel Reason | April 3rd, 2018

You may think that unicorns are just a fairy tale animal, made up to make children smile. Yet not so long ago many would barter as much as they could to buy a unicorn horn – thought to be an antidote for poison and bringer of good luck.

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It did not matter that no man or woman had ever actually seen a unicorn themselves. The majestic horned beast was mentioned in the Bible – so it had to be true. In fact, at a certain point in time, it would have been heretical to deny its existence. In fact, the magical beasts are mentioned numerous times in the bible.

Numbers 23:22 “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn…”

Most modern translation now uses the word “wild ox” or “buffalo” and when you talk of unicorns then you get scoffed at for believing in magical creatures. However, actually back in 1828, the word unicorn meant a creature with a horn. In fact, it was even used to describe the narwhals, the whale with a long horn, or even a rhinoceros. In fact, historians believe that the Vikings would bring back narwhal tusks from their sea journeys and then sell them on to unfamiliar Europeans.

The aristocrats and wealthy merchants at the time would do anything to buy a unicorn horn, and even if they knew it came from a sea creature this may not have mattered. Apparently, it was also common knowledge that unicorns had a marine counterpart – so this did not disprove its existence at all!

And we know very little of this strange creature, so maybe it actually is the magical counterpart of the unicorn swimming around the sea. The whales that swim around with their ivory swords, even if old reports are to be believed sometimes attacking boats. Centuries of stories have told us about their great jousting battles, but no actual evidence to back up the claims. But if you did not know for certain that narwhal does actually exist – would you believe a tale from an old sailor? What does this mean for the accounts of giant sea serpents and other giants lurking in the depths?

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