The gryphon, griffin, or griffon, is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and sometimes an eagle's talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts, and the eagle the king of the birds, by the Middle Ages. However, there are many different bird-mammal combinations recognized in numerous forms of art, as well as more unusual variations. The avian and mammalian parts are scaled to compatible proportions. The gryphon was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Since classical antiquity, gryphons were known for guarding treasures and priceless possessions.