Lion Symbol - History & Meaning

Lion Symbol - History & Meaning

Lion was a favorite subject and symbol from ancient times and in many cultures, as surviving pieces of statues, sculptures, coins and jewels indicate.

The lion, a symbol of strength, bravery, dignity, majesty and royalty took in many cultures the role of the guardian.

In ancient China, it was believed that lions protected from evil spirits. In ancient Egypt, Sphinx, with a woman's head and torso, a lion's body and eagle's wings, was the goddess-protector of Pharaohs, while later on, sphinx was used to represent the Pharaohs themselves. In ancient Greece, sphinx had also a guardian's role.

Another mythological creature inspired by the lion was the griffin. Griffins had a lion's body with the head and the wings of an eagle and were used as well as guardian symbols.

Sculpted lions have been used and are still used till nowadays in many cultures as guardians of cities, ports, sacred places or even buildings.

Lion is as well a constellation and a zodiac sign. According the Greek mythology, the Nemean lion was a Titans' offspring, that lived in Nemea free in the forest and caused so many disasters to the point that the whole area had been evacuated. Hercules, after a hard struggle, killed the Nemean lion with his bare hands and wore his pelt, considering it a powerful, magical cloak. Gods then created the Lion constellation as a reminder of this deed.

(Photo from the Akropolis museum in Athens, Greece.)
Posted on 2017-07-27 Symbols & Findings -...

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