The unicorn phenomenon

Unicorns have been a part of the known bestiary since Greek and Roman times. In his book, A Natural History of Unicorns, University of Nottingham geographer Chris Lavers looks at the history of the beast and human obsession with it.

Ancient writers wrote of the strange animal in scientific ways as a fierce "one horned ass," probably describing a rhino, but in the Middle Ages, the unicorn took on other, more spiritual appeal. Most famously depicted in the Verteuil Tapestries, the animal becomes a symbol of the resurrected Christ, and, according to Lavers, its attraction to virgins comes from pagan sources.