The 1st Labor


To Kill the Nemean lion..


The Creature


The Nemean Lion was a vicious monster in Greek mythology that lived in Nemea. It was eventually killed by Heracles. The lion was usually considered the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, but it was also said to have fallen from the moon, offspring of Zeus and Selene. A third origin has it being born of the Chimera.

The Story


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Heracles fights the Nemean lion with his bare hands
The first labor set by Eurystheus (Heracles’ cousin) was to slay the Nemean Lion and bring back the skin. The lion was usually considered the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. The lion had been terrorizing the area around Nemea, and had a skin so thick that it was impenetrable¹ to weapons.
When Heracles first tackled it, his weapons – bow and arrow, a club made from an olive tree (which he pulled out of the ground himself) and a bronze sword – were all ineffective. At last Heracles threw away his weapons and wrestled the lion to the ground, eventually killing it by thrusting his arm down its throat and choking it. Heracles was becoming disappointed that he might not complete his first task due to struggling to skin the lion.
Athena, in the disguise of an old crone, helped Heracles realize the best tools to cut the hide² were the creature’s own claws allowing him to complete the first task.
He would come to wear the hide as armor thereafter…

¹Uigennemtrængelig/tightly packed
²The dressed skin of an animal (especially a large animal)