Hercules and the Lion of Nemea
The house of Orpheus. Late 2nd — early 3rd century CE. Paphos, Archaeological Park

Hercules and the Lion of Nemea.

The house of Orpheus. Late 2nd — early 3rd century CE.

Paphos, Archaeological Park.

This is a straightforward depiction of Hercules’ first labour in which he killed the invulnerable Lion of Nemea, in order to take its skin to king Eurystheus. The Lion of Nemea was a mythical beast that, according to some, was born to Echidna and Orthros, and according to others, fell from the moon. Hercules first tried his arrows but to no effect. He then chased it with his club but the Lion hid in a cave. After blocking one of the two exits of the cave, Hercules entered, threw his club away and throttled the beast with his bare hands.
The mosaic depicts the moment when Hercules and the Lion are about to engage in the fight and in this it is very unusual since traditional iconography represents the two of them already fully engaged in the fight. The demigod is represented completely naked with his club discarded to the left of the panel.
© 1998 Photo, text: W. A. Daszewski, D. Michaelidis. “Guide to the Paphos Mosaics”. Bank of Cyprus cultural foundation, 1998. P. 47—49.
Keywords: μωσαϊκό mosaic mosaics mosaica mosaici mosaik mosaïque greek greca greco greche griechische griechisches grecque grecquesё struggle against heracles struggling with the nemean lion first labour eracle alle prese con il leone di nemea in lotta herakles kämpft mit dem nemäischen löwen héraclès aux prises avec le de némée mosaico floor hercules ercole of club
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