Earl Staley, "Hercules and the Nemean Lion."
Acrylic canvas 120 x 160 cm (1983). Private collection.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Mr. Earl Staley.
The Nemean Lion
More than two thousand years ago, Greeks believed the god Zeus
placed the figure of a gigantic lion in the sky with the rest of the stars
. This lion lived in the city of Nemea. The people who lived in that region were terrorized by the Nemean Lion. Several times they tried to destroy the beast.
Heracles, the most famous Greek hero, was ordered by the king, Euryshtheus, to kill the Nemean lion. Heracles was an incredibly strong man. The Romans called him Hercules.
Heracles had to perform a number of difficult tasks to show that he was sorry for a crime he had committed years before. The killing of the Nemean Lion was his first task. When Heracles reached the cave where the beast was living, he realized all his weapons were useless against the lion. The lion's pelt was so thick that all of Heracles' arrows and sword bounced back without doing any harm. In the fight against the beast, Heracles
lost one of his fingers, but nonetheless succeeded in killing the lion by strangling it
with his bare hands.
Triumphant, Heracles took the carcass of the lion to Mycenae to show
King Eurystheus. The king was so frightened by the vision of the lion that he forbade Heracles to enter the city again. Heracles used the lion's razor-sharp claws to flay the beast--its pelt as a coat and the head as a helmet, both to be worn in future battles.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief deity of the Navajo Indians. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four cardinal directions was supported by a giant. Each direction was also associated...more
Amphitrite was one of the fifty Nereids, the attendants of the sea-god Poseidon. Poseidon (Neptune) had fallen in love with Amphitrite after seeing her dancing on the island of Naxos. Amphitrite rejected...more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera was the jealous wife of the sky god, Zeus....more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more
According tho the Navajo mythology, the Milky Way was created by the misbehavior of the mischievous deity, Coyote. When the world was created, the Holy People gathered around Black God to place the stars...more