The Lion

Leo Constellation

The Brighter Stars of Leo

The Story

The Nemean Lion

Leo is the Nemean Lion slain by Hercules as the first of his Labors.

The Parentage of the Lion

The Lion lived in a cave near the town of Nemea southwest of Corinth. This was no ordinary Lion. Some say it was the spawn of the terrible monster Typhon thrown up by Earth in that terrible ten year war between the Olympian gods and the Titans. Others say that it was the offspring of the two-headed dog Orthrus that guarded the cattle of Geryon.

The Lion

The Armored Hide

The Lion was a monstrous animal with a hide like armor. It could be pierced by neither sword nor spear. Not even the strongest warrior of Nemea could defend himself against the Lion. The countryside was in terror. This was the animal that Hercules had to kill.

Hercules' Cloak

Hercules battled the Lion for a full month. Eventually he was able to grab the animal and strangle it to death. Using the Lion's own sharp claws, Hercules was able to cut off the animals tough hid, which he wore as a cloak, with the Lion's head serving as his helmet. The gaping mouth of the terrible Lion made Hercules look formidable indeed. The Lion's hide became Hercules' armor. He could not be injured by either spear, sword, or arrow.  

Copyright © 1998 - 2010 by Arnold V. Lesikar,
Professor Emeritus
Dept. of Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering Science,
St. Cloud State University,St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

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