I thought the Griffin lore originated with the steppe people...of note were the Schythians(sp).
Around the same time that Aeschylus was writing... Herodotus was visiting the westernmost of the far-flung Scythians, just beyond the Black Sea. He had read Aristeas's poem, and he interviewed Black Sea Scythians about the lives of their nomadic brethren who lived much farther to the east. Remarking that some of his information had passed through a chain of seven translators stretching eastward to the Altai Mountains, Herodotus transcribed demonstrably authentic ancient vocabulary from Issedonia. His descriptions are the oldest comprehensive picture we have of the lifestyle, languages, and legends of the steppe nomads, and many of the cultural features he described in his Histories (ca. 430 B.C.) continue to be confirmed by artifacts excavated from Saka-Scythian graves... Linguistic analysis of the nomads' Indo-Iranian vocabulary, otherwise unknown to the Greeks, confirms that Herodotus had access to genuine information from Central Asia... As an explorer and sympathetic listener who believed that legends preserved traces of real history, Herodotus was assiduous in ferreting out facts, oral traditions, and local opinions. He invited his readers to consider alternative versions of events, often adding his own comments.Issedonians were the gold miners who found the fossils they interpreted as "griffins". Another example of Herodotus' reporting skills and technique -- discussion of the source of the out-of-season Nile flood pattern led him to give three then-current (rimshot!) explanations of the phenomenon, one of which was the correct one (which he says is least likely of all!), then offers one of his own which is a howler.
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