Why Is Ethiopia Such A Hotspot For Unicorn Symbolism?

If you were to ask a typical North American or European what's the first culture that comes to mind when you think of unicorn symbolism, they'd probably name Scotland

Here's a place that would rarely be named, though it should be: Ethiopia. 

If that sounds strange to you, read on and we'll explain why one can make a strong case for Ethiopia being a hotbed of unicorns and their symbolism. 

Unicorn Horns: A Source of Royal Protection

It has been claimed that Ethiopian princes in days of yore ensured that their bowls, goblets, knife handles, and possibly other objects were all created from unicorn horns. 

Royals engaged in this practice because of a widespread belief that the unicorn's horn could protect them from people who wished to do them harm.

But where could they have gotten all that unicorn horn from? 

Afrofuturist unicorn art

Prester John: The Legendary Ethiopian Leader With A Fondness For Unicorns

Some believe that the Kingdom of Ethiopia was ruled by the mythical Prester John from the 12th to the 17th century CE. 

That's a long lifespan. Personally, I'm happy with checking out of schoolhouse Earth after a hundred or so years. But to each their own, right?

Renowned esotericist Manly P. Hall stated that Prester John was a descendant of the Magi who foretold Jesus' birth

One thing seems certain about Prester John: he had a thing for unicorns. Big time. 

In fact, Prester John was said to not only have a wide number of unicorns at his court and in Ethiopia as a whole, but also that he gifted unicorns to the heads of other kingdoms in Africa, the Middle East, and India. 

While it's outside of our purview to discuss Prester John beyond his relation to unicorns, one law of his land was simple: treat unicorns well.

After all, Prester John did. And that was the expectation he set for residents and guests in his land.

Outside Sources Confirmed That Unicorns Existed In Ethiopia

One person can claim anything. I can claim that I once beat Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a game of one-on-one. 

Try finding someone to confirm that, though. You'll be looking for a long time, I promise! 

Now when it comes to Ethiopian unicorns, however, that's a different story. There were plenty of reputable individuals who stated that they saw unicorns in Ethiopia. 

Edward Webbe, an English traveler, was one such person. He attested that he had seen 77 unicorns in Prester John's court. 

John Bermudez and Marmolius also informed others that they had seen unicorns at Prester John's royal digs. 

Here's where it gets even better: unicorns weren't just confined to the "ground zero" that was Prester John's royal court; they were seen elsewhere, too!

At least that's what was claimed by Ludovico di Varthema, Don Juan Gabriel, Jieronymo Lobo, and a whole host of folks from Portugal. 

Could this be true? Could it be that unicorns were once a much more active presence in not just Ethiopia, but throughout our world?

If you want to dive deep into this question, we go into this topic and so much more in The Book of the Magical Mythical Unicorn. Happy reading and thank you for your support! :)

Vakasha Brenman & Alfonso Colasuonno's The Book of the Magical Mythical Unicorn

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