How Heracles Got the Hide of the Nemean Lion

How Heracles Got the Hide of the Nemean Lion

The first of Heracles’ twelve labors was to get the hide of the Nemean lion after slaying it. According to one version of the story, the lion took women as hostages and then used them to lure warriors. After the warrior entered the cave to get to the woman, the lion would attack and kill them.

Heracles was wandering in the area until he got to the town of Cleonae. There, he met a shepherd who said that the lion took his son. He promised that if Heracles killed the beast, then he would sacrifice a ram in his honor.While searching for the lion’s cave, he also fetched some arrows, in the hopes that they would help him.

What he did not know was the fact that the lion’s skin was impenetrable. He discovered this only after shooting some arrows at it with no effect. Then, Heracles resorted to wrestling with the lion. Using his immense strength, he managed to wrestle it to death. During the fight, he strangled the lion and managed to kill it. Other versions of the story say that he shot the beast in the mouth, where his skin was unarmoured.

How Heracles Got the Hide of the Nemean LionHow Heracles Got the Hide of the Nemean Lion

After slaying the lion, he tried to skin it with his knife. He did not manage to do it, and then he tried to sharpen the knife. Finally, Athena noticed his struggles and decided to help him. She told Heracles to use one of the lion’s own claws to skin the pelt. Heracles listened to her and then managed to accomplish the task.

He returned to the city on the 30th day, carrying the hide of the Nemean Lion on his shoulders. King Eurystheus was amazed and terrified. For this reason, he forbade Heracles from ever entering the city again. From there, the other tasks only got more and more complicated.

 

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