Kingdom of Lions
= Lions in Literature =


The Nemean Lion and Heracles

Lions play an important role in myths. In this Greek myth Apollodorus describes the story of the Nemean lion becoming victim of Heracles.

The Nemean Lion was a very special animal. He could not be wounded, which was a big advantage when hunting people, who fought back with arrows and spears. His opposer Heracles (in Latin: Hercules) had a fabulous strength. The goddess Hera drove him mad, so that he killed his own children and the children of his brother. Later he grieved about this and consulted the oracle of Apollo. The oracle advised him to perform twelve labors. The first one was killing the Nemean lion.

Heracles and the Lion Why? Why should a lion be killed because of a human who murdered his children? Anyhow, Heracles travelled to Nemea and found the lion. First he fired arrows, but those didn't hurt an animal that couldn't be wounded. But the lion felt that Heracles was quite resolute and thought it wise to avoid him. He hid into a cave with two entrances. However, Heracles barracaded one entrance and entered the cave through the other one. Then he put his arm around the throat of the lion, who didn't succeed in throwing off the Greek hero, who strangled him until he choked. A sad death for one of the strongest and most respected lions in history.

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