Scotland: Thorny Thistle & Unicorn

Different from the royal emblem of the United Kingdom used in the UK, in Scotland this badge has many changes like the unicorn (the symbol of Scotland) and the lion (the British symbol) swapped with each other. At the same time, the Tudor roses disappeared, replaced by thistle, expressing the importance of these two symbols in Scotland.

  1. Thorny thistle

Scotland’s iconic tree is a thistle, a plant of the daisy family, which grows wild, has very sharp spines and purple flowers. Especially pharmaceutical silymarin in thistle has the effect of curing liver diseases very well.

This flower began to be considered a symbol of Scotland from the 13th century. Legend has it that, during the reign of King Alexander III (1249–1286), the Norwegian army led by King Haakon IV took over. the whole of Scotland is fertile and prosperous.

In 1263, Norwegian forces attacked Largs coast in Ayshire province at night and all troops were ordered to go barefoot so as not to make a sound. Unfortunately, they stomped on wild thorns with thorns and began screaming loudly because of the pain that made the Scottish soldiers wake up and wake up to kick the Norwegian out of the realm. Thanks to that great effort from which the thistle was chosen as the national symbol for Scotland, its thorns symbolized the strength and indomitableness of the people of this mountainous region.

Today thistle is seen on many traditional Scottish items such as cloth bags, jewelry, soap and tea towels. The thistle is considered a very famous Scottish symbol all over the world.

2. The legend of Unicorn

Unicorns in European myths and culture, shaped like white horses with a horn on the forehead or maybe two wings, sometimes described as having goatee, lion tail, and buffalo-like claws cow. The oldest records, seals and drawings of the horned horse found in ancient cultures such as Greece, Persia (present-day Iran), Babylon (present-day Iraq), Egypt , and Africa. They are called by the Hebrew Old Testament by the name ‘Re’em’, which means horn, translated into Latin as ‘monoceros’ meaning a horn, from which the word ‘unicorn’ is translated into English.

The scholars in the field of natural history of ancient Greece have argued that the fact of unicorn lived in India, a distant and wonderful kingdom for them. The earliest description was from Cresias, who described unicorns as wild donkeys the size of horses, very fast, with a horn about 70 cm and white, red or black feathers. He calls them “The Wild Indians” (‘Wild ass of India’). As a doctor, he was especially interested in the horn because he heard that it protected the body against deadly poison. Drinking cups of water cooked from this horn will have the power to neutralize the toxicity of the poison and the wound will heal when soaking the cup with water. Ctesias describes the Unicorns running exceptionally fast, unable to be tamed and almost impossible to capture.

3. Unicorns in Scotland

For a country with a long history of mystical legends, unicorn has become a national symbol very well suited to Scotland. From the reign of King Robert III in the 1300s, the unicorn was officially used as a symbol of the Scottish government’s seal. Robert III directed the purity and power of the unicorn to inspire the rebuilding of his nation and the unicorn quickly became a royal symbol.

Before the annexation of the United Kingdom, the Scottish royal emblem consisted of two unicorn unicorns chained to show their incompetence and aggression. When James VI of Scotland became King James I of both England and Scotland, with the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, he used a new badge including the traditional English lion along with the unicorn of Scotland as an official merger of 2 kingdoms today.

According to folklore in England, lions and unicorns are opposing each other, symbolizing the ancient war between England and Scotland. Unicorns symbolize spring and harmony while lions symbolize summer and strength. Each year these two animals fight to gain supremacy, and eventually the English lion wins the symbol of British victory.

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