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Hippogriff
Hippogriff
Naming
Others Hippogryph
Morphology
Body type Equine / Avian
Intelligence
Sentience Sentient
Sapience Non-Sapient
Ecology
Place of origin Riphean Mountains
Diet Omnivorous
Locomotion Quadruped
Flying
Related species Griffin, Horse
Behind the Scenes
Universe Orlando Furioso
Created by Ludovico Ariosto
Hippogriff2

The Hippogriff is the hybrid offspring of a male Griffin and a mare. It has an equine body and hindlegs, and the head, wings and forelegs of a Griffin. This creature is said to inhabit the mythical Riphean Hills, and is used as a mount by powerful knights and sorcerers, mostly due to its great speed and ability to fly.

Contrary to some belief, the Hippogriff is not a legendary creature. It first appeared as a creation of Ludovico Ariosto in his epic poem Orlando Furioso. Ariosto was inspired, however, by a line in Virgil's Eclogues.

To Mopsus is Nysa given: What may we lovers not expect? Griffins now shall mate with mares, and in the ages to come, the timid deer shall come with hounds to drink.
— Virgil, Eclogues

Since horses and griffins are traditionally considered mortal enemies, the Hippogriff is to be regarded as a manifestation of the absurd, something whose very existence should be impossible. In later traditions it has become a symbol of love due to its parentage.

Appearances

  • The Book of Beasts, by Edith Nesbit
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J. K. Rowling
  • Orlando Furioso, by Ludovico Ariosto
  • The Worm Ouroboros, by Eric Rücker Eddison

Notes

  • Curiously, some traditions depict male Griffins as wingless, in contrast with the winged females. In spite of this, the Hippogriff does have wings.
  • The creature referred to as a Hippogriff in Edith Nesbit's The Book of Beasts is actually a winged white horse, which should be more correctly identified as a Pegasus.
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