Latin name: Ibex
Other names: Bouquetin
A beast with horns so strong they can save it from a fall
The ibex is a type of wild goat with two large horns. The horns are so strong that if the ibex jumps from a mountain it can land on its horns and be unharmed by the fall.
The ibex represents those who, with the aid of the Old and New Testaments, strive to overcome the adversities of the world.
|Sources (chronological order)|
Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 79): Despite its large horns, the ibex is a marvelously fast animal. Its horns look like the sheaths of swords; when it is on rocks and wants to jump from one to another, it sways toward its horns as though whirled with a catapult, and the recoil allows it to leap more nimbly.
Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 1:16-17): Ibexes (ibices) are like birds (avices) because they live in high places, so high that they are not visible to the human eye. If they detect the presence of men or wild animals, they dive down from the highest peaks and attack with their horns. Those in the south say that ibexes are birds that live by the Nile [a confusion with the ibis].
The ibex is usually depicted as preparing to leap from a mountain, or having already jumped, being supported on the ground below by its horns.