This article takes as its point of departure the observation that the unicorn, which modern perspectives categorize as a fabulous animal, is mentioned no less than eight times in the Bible (late-antique, medieval and early modern translations). The earliest occurrences of the Greek word for unicorn as a translation of Hebrew re'em ('wild bull', 'aurochs') are found in the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek made for the Jewish community of Alexandria in 300-100 B.C. J.L.W. Schaper has argued that the translation monokeros ('unicorn') was not the result of a misunderstanding, but rather a deliberate adaptation to changed cultural surroundings. In the Septuagint, the image of the unicorn, an animal thought to possess magical virtues, fits into a network of Messianic references. In the second part of the article the story of the capture of a unicorn by a virgin, first found in the Greek Physiologus (200-300 A.D.), is traced back to the Old-Indian myth of the hermit Ekasrnga ('unicorn'), according with the conclusions reached by Schlingloff and Haug.
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