Both Persians and Assyrians decorated with images of this magical beast. Images of two griffins drinking from a flaming cup were common in the Persian religion, Zorastrianism.
Apollo rode a griffin and according to greeks, griffins guarded the gold of the Hyperboreans in Scythia.
One legend involving griffins is the Ascension of Alexander the Great. According to this story, Alexander captured a pair of griffins and, having starved them for three days, hitched them to his throne and, teasing them with chunks of roast beef held above their heads on lances, flew heavenward for seven days. Alexander would have stolen a peek at God Himself if an angel had not asked him why he wanted to see the things of heaven when he did not yet understand the things of earth. Chastised for his presumptuousness, Alexander flew back to earth. Representations of Alexander's ascension were placed in French and Italian cathedrals during the 12th century.
During the Middle Ages, Christian nobles searched for griffin's eggs or "grypeseye" which they mounted and used for cups, believing they brought health to any beverage.