Trying to be like lions....
Human beings want to be like lions or other animals or gods. But, of course, lions do not want to be like humans! We are the king of animals. What can we wish more?
People admire our strength and are afraid of us, as you can read in many of their stories. But they also admire eagles, elephants, gods, goddesses and other beings. Sometimes they make a mix: hybrid heroes, monsters or gods. This page offers some examples of lion-gods and strange human-made composite-creatures consisting of parts of lions, humans and or other animals:
The Sphinx is a being which appears in both Greek and Egyptian mythology. Sphinxes have the body of a lion and the
head of a human. The Greek Sphinx also has wings, which the Egyptian does not have. In Greek mythology, the Sphinx poses a riddle to all who seek to pass a rock near Thebe and strangles all people who cannot solve it. Oedipus accepts the challenge and the Sphinx asks him: "What walks on four feet, two feet and three feet, but cannot move well on three and four?" Oedipus gives the right answer: it is Man. As a child he crawls on all fours, as a grown-up he walks on two legs and old people need a cane for walking. After hearing the right answer, the Sphinx destroys itself by throwing itself down the rock.
The Egyptian Sphinx is a goddess of wisdom and knowledge.
Griffin / Gryphon
The griffin is a Greek mythical monster, the guardian of a hidden treasure. The creature is composed of the body, tail, and hind legs of a lion, and the head, forelegs and wings of an eagle. The griffin represents speed and majesty.
Chimaera / Chimera
The Chimera is a fearsome beast in Greek mythology, with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a snake/dragon. Modern interpretations have given it three heads and dragons wings.
Homer and Hesiod report about the Chimera as an awful, fire breathing monster who terrorizes the land of Lycia. The local tyrant, Iobates, asks the hero Bellerophon to get rid of it. Bellerophon carries out this task by flying over the monster on the winged horse Pegasus, firing arrows towards the creature. Others say that he thrusts a block of lead with a spear into the creature's throat. The hot breath melts the lead, and the beast dies suffocated.
The Dragon is a composite of reptile, lion claws, wings and fiery breath.
The Manticore is a medieval heraldric beast. It has the body of a lion, the head of a man (sometimes of a lion) with many rows of teeth, a scorpion's tail and a flutelike voice.
All about Manticores
The man-lion, the fourth incarnation or Avatar of Vishnu, in which the Hindu god appears as a lion, to tear to pieces the man who, for his piety to the gods, had been granted universal dominion.
The Yali is a creature in an Indian legend, with the body of a lion and the trunk and tusks of an elephant.
The Pard is not a lion-like creature, but it mates with the lion, producing the leopard.
Barong is a protective spirit portrayed as a lion (or tiger) in Balinese mythology.
Although a dragon, the Singa appears in the shape of a lion in myths of the Batak-people in the mountains of northern Sumatra in Indonesia.
Dedun (Dedwen) is the Egyptian/Nubian god of wealth and incense. It is depicted as a lion sometimes, but more often as a human.
Imdugud is the thunderbird of the Sumerian god Enki (Lord of the Soil / God of Water). Imdugud is the South Wind and carries the rain on its back. It has the body of a bird and the head of a lion, whose roar is the thunder.
Chnubis is a Roman god with Greek and Egyptian elements. He is depicted as a snake with the head of a lion.
Mahes is the Egyptian personification of the heat in summer and is shown as a lion or a man with a lionís head. 'Lord of the massacre' he was also called. People living in the Nile Delta area are the prime worshippers of this god. In Greece he was known as Miysis.
Sakhmet is a very powerful goddess of war and vengeance from ancient Egypt, worshipped in Memphis and Luxor. She has the body of a woman and the head of a lioness. She brought diseases and plagues but also healed them.
Menhit is an Egyptian lion-goddess and a goddess of war, the wife of Chnum and with a son called Hike. Those three gods were worshipped as a triad by the inhabitants of the ancient Egypt city of Latopolis (today: Esna/Isna). Menhit means 'she who slaughters'.
The Egyptian god Arensnuphis is depicted as a lion or as a man with a plumed crown. In Philae there was a temple devoted to him.
Ningirsu is the god of rain, fertility and irrigation in Sumer and Babylon. He is depicted as an eagle with a lion's head. In the ancient Sumerian city of Girsu a temple was devoted to Ningirsu.
Pazuzu is an ancient demon from Mesopotamia consisting of the wings of an eagle, the claws of a lion, the tail of a scorpion and a deformed head. He is the personification of disease-bringing storms from the south-east.
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