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Griffon, Griffen

or Griffin. Offspring of the lion and eagle. Its legs and all from the shoulder to the head are like an eagle, the rest of the body is that of a lion. This creature was sacred to the sun, and kept guard over hidden treasures. Sir Thomas Browne says the Griffon is emblematical of watchfulness, courage, perseverance, and rapidity of execution (Vulgar Errors, iii. 2.) (See Arimaspians.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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