greekmythology

The Nemean Lion and Hercules in Greek Mythology

Hercules and the Nemean LionEurystheus as first labor, ordered Hercules, to bring him the skin of the Nemean Lion, it was an invulnerable animal, born of Typhoon. Hera raised it and set it free in the forests of Nemea, where it caused great destruction to herds and people, with the result that the whole area was deserted because of it.

Hercules, going to kill the lion, came to Kleones (on the road from Argos to Corinth), and there he was hosted by Molorchos, a poor manual worker. And as he was preparing to sacrifice a ram, the only ram and the only good he had, Hercules told him to keep it for thirty days, and if he returned safe, to sacrifice it to Zeus, but if he died, to offer it to him. honoring him as a dead hero.

When he reached Nemea, he looked for the lion first he struck with his arrows, but when he realized that he was invulnerable, he picked up his bat and chased it. Chased by Hercules, he took refuge in a cave that had two openings; then he built one entrance, entered from the other and attacked the beast, put his hand around his neck and squeezed it until he drowned it.

Then, he loaded it on his shoulders and brought it to Cleones, wearing the animal’s skin. There he found Molorchos preparing to sacrifice the ram in his honor, now thinking he was dead, but Hercules sacrificed to Zeus and then transported the lion to Mycenae.

EurystheusSurprised by his courage, Eurystheus then forbade him to enter the city and gave him the order to display the results of his deeds in front of the gates. They even say that he was so frightened that he made a bronze jar for himself, that he threw it under the ground, and that he ordered his deeds by sending Kopreas, son of Pelops from Ilia, as a preacher.

After the duel, Hercules slaughtered the lion and put on his skin, while his head served as a helmet. According to other writers, this was not easy. Theocritus narrates the embarrassment of the hero in front of this skin that, invulnerable to fire and iron, it was impossible to remove from the animal’s body. Until he thought of using the nails of the animal itself as a tool.

At the place where the sacrifice of Aries was made by Molorchos, Hercules established struggles in honor of Zeus, the Nemea, which were later renewed by the Seven Argeian leaders who marched against Thebes.

The gods, wanting to honor the hero and to remind people forever of the gratitude they owe to him, raised the lion in the sky, making it the constellation of Leo. In the constellation of Leo, in his tail, Eratosthenes mentions the existence of dark stars and calls them Plocamon Evergetides.

nemean-lionΤhe Nemean Lion was the beast that Herakles managed to subdue and kill. The gods, wanting to honor the hero and remind people eternally of the gratitude they owe him, raised Leo to the sky, making him a constellation. We quote Apollodorus’ account of Hercules’ first labor, interpolating information from other authors: So he [Eurystheus] at first ordered him to bring him the skin of the Nemean lion, it was an invulnerable animal, which he had been born of Typhoon.

Sometimes, again, he is called the son of Orthros and Echidna, brother of the Sphinx of Delphi. It was raised by Hera (or the Moon who gave it to Hera) and set it free in the forests of Nemea, where it wreaked havoc on flocks and people, causing the whole area to become desolate because of it.

So going for the lion [Hercules], he came to Cleones (on the road from Argos to Corinth), and there he fiound selter at the home of Molorchos, a poor handmaid. And as Molorchos was preparing to sacrifice the only goat he had, Hercules told him to keep it for thirty days, and if he returned safe, to sacrifice it to Zeus the savior, but if he died, to offer it to him honoring him as a dead hero. When he arrived at Nemea, he sought out the lion, first he struck it with his arrows, but when he saw that it was invulnerable, he took up his club and chased it.

Pursued by Hercules, it took refuge in a cave which had two openings, whereupon he made one entrance, entered by the other, and attacking the beast, put his hand round its neck and squeezed it until it was suffocated, then, charging it on his shoulders and brought it to Cleones, wearing the skin of the animal.

There he found Molorchos preparing on the last day to sacrifice the carcass in his honor, thinking him already dead, he sacrificed to Zeus the savior and then carried the lion to Mycenae. Surprised by his boldness, Eurystheus forbade him henceforth to enter the city and ordered him to display the results of his labors in front of the gates. They even say that he was so afraid that he made a copper jar for himself, which he hid under the earth, and that he ordered him to do his deeds by sending Copreas, son of Pelops from Ilia, as a preacher.

After the duel, Herakles skinned the lion and wore its skin, while its head served as a helmet. According to other authors, this was not done easily. Theocritus narrates the hero’s bewilderment before this skin which, invulnerable to fire and iron, was impossible to remove from the animal’s body. Until he thought of using the claws of the animal itself as a tool.

Later the animal was brought safely to Mycenae, specifically to King Eurystheus, by Hercules, showing that he finally accomplished the first feat. Eurystheus, when he met him, was overcome with fear, thinking that the lion of Nemea had broken into his palace, ready to devour him. So he asked Hercules to display his feats at the gate of the palace and not inside, while, at the same time, he made a copper jar so that he could hide in case of danger.

As for the lion, Hercules used its skin for a tunic, the “lion”, as it was called, and its head for a helmet. He had already managed to become famous and feared, having bravely and boldly faced such a great beast. In fact, it is supported by several myths that the gods, in order to honor the enormous feat of Hercules, threw the lion into the sky and created a constellation, known as the “constellation of Leo”. In the meantime, the place where Molorchos made the sacrifice became a place where the Nemea were held, games in honor of the king of the twelve gods, the titan Zeus.