THE Scotland it has several popular symbols that, at first glance, reminds us of the country, such as, os and whiskey. All of these have a very logical meaning for the 21st century, however, in the century when legends and myths are only part of children’s books, the unicorn, the national symbol of the country, seems somewhat surreal and clueless. To understand this figure, it is necessary to know the meaning behind this mythical being and its importance to the Scottish people.
The first quote about unicorns is dated in 4 BC, in Ancient Greece, by Ctesias, a Greek physician and historian, in his work in which he mentions the creature as a “wild donkey”, with a horn sprouting from its temple. This description is similar to that of the prehistoric animal called Eslamotério (), also known as Siberian unicorn, this species would be an ancestor of the rhino. In addition to Ctesias, the Greek philosopher Aristotle, would have mentioned such a creature in some works, describing him as a robust and docile animal.
The belief in the animal is strengthened by the appearance of a very similar being in the Old Testament, but it is not possible to say whether what is described is the mythological figure we know. For some historians, it may be a poor translation from Hebrew into other languages, or a misinterpretation of the animal. Nowadays, more recent Bibles exchange the word unicorn for “wild ox” or buffalo, so that there is no confusion between the magical and the biblical animal.
During the medieval period, legends about unicorns became popular, becoming very popular, mainly, by the European peoples. In this period, it acquires a meaning that lasts until today, as a strong, pure and chaste animal, that could only be tamed by virgin women and great kings.
In the 12th century, Guilherme I, known as Guilherme the Lion, adopts the unicorn as part of the Scottish royal coat of arms. However, it was James II who embraced the legends and meanings that surrounded this creature, popularizing the image of the mythological being among the people. For Scots he represents their souls, strong and pure, with a king capable of arresting such creatures.
Thus, the Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland was represented by two unicorns in chains, who stood side by side with the Scottish lion, as servants.
For some, the unicorn has long been the symbol of the Scottish people. A people originated by Celtic peoples, known for their connection and magical relationships, the unicorn would already be an animal known to Scottish culture and was, for some time, its magical force.
For the ancestors of those who currently inhabit Scotland, the magical connection of Scots would be the real reason for the unicorn to represent them, in addition to being pure and strong, it is related to mythical forces that surround the territory. After the União das Coroas, in 1603, the Coat of arms Scottish incorporated elements of the English coat of arms, showing the union between the kingdoms, one represented by the English lion and the other by the scottish unicorn.