Winged unicorn

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A winged unicorn (cerapter, flying unicorn, pegacorn, or unisus) is a fictional ungulate, typically portrayed as a horse, with wings like Pegasus and the horn of a unicorn.[1] In some literature and media, it has been referred to as an alicorn, a Latin word for the horn of a unicorn, especially in alchemical texts,[2] or as a pegacorn, a portmanteau of pegasus and unicorn.


A winged unicorn on the Manège d'Andréa

Winged unicorns have been depicted in art. Ancient Achaemenid Assyrian seals depict winged unicorns and winged bulls as representing evil, but winged unicorns can also represent light.[3][4]

Irish poet W. B. Yeats wrote of imagining a winged beast that he associated with ecstatic destruction. The beast took the form of a winged unicorn in his 1907 play The Unicorn from the Stars and later that of the rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem in his poem "The Second Coming".[5]

Detail of the embroidered dress of an Apkallu, showing four-legged winged and horned animals. From Nimrud, Iraq. 883-859 BCE. Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul


  1. ^ "Citations:cerapter". 24 June 2020.
  2. ^ Shepard, Odell (1930). The Lore of the Unicorn. London: Unwin and Allen. ISBN 9781437508536.
  3. ^ Brown, Robert (2004). The Unicorn: A Mythological Investigation. Kessinger Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 9780766185302.
  4. ^ Von Der Osten, Hans Henning (June 1931). "The Ancient Seals from the Near East in the Metropolitan Museum: Old and Middle Persian Seals". The Art Bulletin. 13 (2): 221–41. doi:10.2307/3050798. JSTOR 3050798.
  5. ^ Ward, David (Spring 1982). "Yeats's Conflicts with His Audience, 1897–1917". ELH. 49 (1): 155–6. doi:10.2307/2872885. JSTOR 2872885.