Saint Isidore of Seville, who lived in the 7th century, also described the unicorn as a strong animal. Indeed, according to that scholar, the creature was able to kill elephants by stabbing them in the stomach. During this time, unicorns weren’t yet all mystical horses, though; instead, they were sometimes still defined as more like wild asses or goats.
In medieval times, many also thought that unicorn horns were composed of a substance called “alicorn.” The growths were believed to have magical properties, too, capable of neutralizing poison and curing mental and physical diseases. And one group to profit especially from this belief were the Vikings, who ran a thriving trade in narwhal horns from the Arctic Ocean. Yes, the seafarers sold the whales’ tusks as unicorn horns.