Keythong

The keythong is a heraldic beast resembling a gryphon with no wings.

Like the more familiar gryphon, a keythong has the body of a lion and the head and forelegs of an eagle. Instead of wings, it sports spines or from its back and shoulders, often resembling an abstraction of the missing wings. These are often gold, thought to symbolize the sun, although this may also be because of the common use of the color gold to depict gryphons in heraldry. It is also possible for the keythong to have horns on its head. Keythongs are sometimes considered to be  male gryphons, although there is debate within the heraldic community as to whether the term “male gryphon” is a misnomer for the keythong, making it an entirely separate beast.

The keythong originated in the 15th century, sometimes called an alce. When it first appeared, there was no distinction made between the keythong and the proper gryphon, so they share many attributes from medieval lore. Gryphons are known as protective beasts, once considered Zeus’s watch dogs. They are loyal, mating for life and not taking another mate if their partner should die. Also, as a coupling of the eagle, the king of birds, and the lion, the king of beasts, it is thought of as a regal creature. It is fierce in battle, and would rather die than surrender to a foe. It is not clear if the keythong shares the gryphon’s dislike of horses.

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