Nemean Lion

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Nemean Lion

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 1:49 am

Nemean Lion

by Ron Leadbetter
The first labor for the hero Heracles, was to rid the Nemean plain of the wild, enormous and extremely ferocious beast known as the Nemean Lion. This huge creature was the son of the monsters Typhon (who had 100 heads) and Echidna (half maiden - half serpent), and brother of the Theban Sphinx, in some legends it is said that the Nemean lion was suckled by Selene the goddess of the moon, other versions say that it was nursed by the goddess Hera.
Heracles set out to find the monster, which roamed the land of Argolis. Armed with his bow and arrows, (in some versions usually the Classical period he also had a bronze sword) and his club (made from an olive tree which he tore up from the roots). Hunting through the Nemean forest trying to find the lions lair, he suddenly stopped in his tracks when he heard a fearsome roar. Heracles turned and saw the huge lion rushing toward him. Quick as a flash Heracles drew his bow and released an arrow, but it failed to harm the lion. As the monster bore down on Heracles he quickly fired another arrow, and again it did no harm, the bronze heads bending as if hitting solid rock; the skin of this creature could not be penetrated by the sharpest of points. The lion pounced, but Heracles smashed his heavy club into the on coming monster, stunning it.
Realizing no weapon could kill this monster he rid himself of them, and fought the monster with his bare hands, with incredible strength, Heracles wrapped his great arms around the lions neck and strangled it to death. Once the huge monster was dead Heracles set about skinning the beast, but the skin was so tough he could neither tear or cut it. Then he tried the enormous claws which were very sharp, this time it penetrated the hide and Heracles removed his trophy. Realizing how impenetrable it was he threw it over himself as a cloak, and pulling the head over his own as a helmet making the pelt into armor which would make him even more powerful. From this time on the skin of the Nemean Lion became one of the attributes of Heracles, and so did the olive-wood club.
In art the hero is usually depicted wearing the Nemean lion skin, its jaws forming the peak of the helmet while its great clawed paws are knotted at his chest forming a hooded cloak, and he is usually leaning on his club, or hanging it on his shoulder.

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Re: Nemean Lion

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 1:54 am

Nemean Lion


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.



The Nemean Lion was a vicious monster in Greek mythology that lived in Nemea. It was eventually killed by Heracles. The lion was usually considered the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, but it was also said to have fallen from the moon, offspring of Zeus and Selene. A third origin has it being born of the Chimera.[edit]


The slaying of the lion


The first of Heracles' twelve labours was to slay the Nemean Lion and bring back its skin.
The lion had been terrorising the area around Nemea, and had a skin so thick that it was impenetrable to weapons. When Heracles first tackled it, using his bow-and-arrow, a club made from an olive tree he pulled out of the ground himself, and a bronze sword, all were ineffective. At last Heracles threw away his weapons and wrestled the lion to the ground, eventually killing it by thrusting his arm down its throat and choking it to death.
Heracles spent hours trying unsuccessfully to skin the lion, and gradually growing angrier as it appeared he would be unable to complete his first task. Eventually Athena, in the guise of an old crone, helped Heracles to realise that the best tools to cut the hide were the creature's own claws. Thus, with a little divine intervention, Heracles completed his first task.
Thereafter, he wore the impenetrable hide as armour. King Eurystheus, Heracles' taskmaster for the labours, was so frightened by Heracles' fearsome guise that he hid in a large bronze jar, and from that moment forth communicated all his instructions to Heracles through a herald.[edit]


Origin


The great lion of the constellation Leo was said by the Greeks to have been the Nemean Lion, placed in the sky after Heracles slew it. Alternatively, they said that the lion was cast down from the moon, which would also appear in this constellation during summer months. The sun appears to pass through its mouth, suggesting a method of death, and thus implying the difficulty in other methods.

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