Though everyone now agrees that the unicorn never existed, this unanimity is quite recent. All through the 19th century there were periodic reports of its presence in darkest Africa or on the Asiatic steppes, and hopes that it would turn out to be a reality died hard. But if there never was such a creature why did the men of the Middle Ages believe in it so firmly and depict it so often? As Christians it was incumbent on them to do so, for it was mentioned in the Old Testament and, therefore, must be real. Its presence there was due to the authors of the Septuagint, the Hellenised Jews who, at Alexandria, in the centuries between the city's foundation and the Christian era, translated their sacred books from Hebrew into Greek and on seven occasions used the word μονόκερως (Greek for unicorn).