The Hippogriff is said to be the symbol of the Greek god Apollo. A Hippogriff is a mixture of a horse and an eagle/griffin. There are some practices that consider the Hippogriff a symbol of love. This is because the parents of a Hippogriff, (Griffin and the Mare) are natural enemies.

When was the Hippogriff introduced as part of mythology?

  • 3
    They were first named in the Italian epic Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto, during the Renaissance. He took the classical griffin and crossed it with a mare.
    – Semaphore
    Dec 4, 2015 at 16:27
  • "There are some practices that consider the Hippogriff a symbol of love." Can you explain this statement a bit?
    – Peter
    Dec 11, 2015 at 1:35
  • @Peter Yes. Because the Griffin and the Mare are considered natural enemies, the fact that they produced the Hippogriff together is a grand symbol of love. This is because it wasn't meant to be. Enemies aren't supposed to love each other. Do you understand?
    – anonymous
    Dec 11, 2015 at 19:09
  • @anonymous No. Your interpretation seems far fetched. Do you have any sources to back up that conclusion?
    – user62
    Dec 15, 2015 at 1:48
  • @Hamlet Yes. I have several sources. Here is a link to my search. As you will see, there are several sites saying that the hippogriff is a symbol of love.
    – anonymous
    Dec 15, 2015 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


According to the Wikipedia entry in anonymous's Google search link, the hippogriff was first mentioned by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, in his Ecologues. (Book VIII) He doesn't give the creature a name, just uses the example of gryphons mating with horses to comment on a human relationship that seems equally unlikely.

The Roman emperor Augustus built a temple to Apollo decorated with a hippogriff and dolphins. So we know that 1st-century Romans would understand a reference to a half-horse, half-gryphon. That doesn't necessarily mean that the hippogriff was a symbol of Apollo, however. The temple was built after the battle of Actium, so the dolphins are a reference to the sea battle, and the hippogriff may be a reference to Egypt.

Orlando Furioso may well be the first to give it a name, and a good name too. In any case hippogriffs aren't mythological per se - they feature in no myths. They're imaginary animals, and can carry symbolic freight, such as this idea that their parents are mortal enemies and so they're a symbol of love.

The oldest source I could find for the idea that gryphons and horses are enemies is Isidore of Seville, from the 7th century CE.

(Apparently in medieval times the unlikeliness of horses and gryphons mating became a proverb.)


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