Young Wildcat, first and foremost Stylish Lion® 🦁 thank you for being here, now! Today, Stylish Lion® reveals to you the mysteries of the Lion regarding his title of King of the Animals. Does his title live up to his abilities and image? Why Is the Lion King of the Animals and how? That’s what we’ll find out…
It’s no secret that the “King of the Animals” is the Lion 🦁 ! It is the animal that reigns supreme over the fauna 🏞️. Beyond its original meaning, this expression refers to human culture, because it is indeed man who gave him this qualifier! But how did the Lion become the King of the Animals?
Find out without further delay in the following lines 😻.
1) Why are lions associated with royalty?
Royalty is usually acquired by descent. The royal heir receives property and distinctive signs of his royalty. The crown 👑 among other things, is a mark of his sovereignty.
A. a Wild Crown
The Lion ⚜️, from puberty sports a set of manes around its head. Passing through the nape of the neck to the withers above, they extend from below the belly to the chin. It is obviously the majestic Lion Mane 🦁 ! Result of an important sexual dimorphism, it appears only in the male. Visible at the age of 2 years, it reaches its maximum volume at 5-6 years.
Its size, density or dark color are traits of power 🔥 and vitality of the feline monarch. This mane worn like a crown, is part of the natural marks of enthronement of the King 🤴.
B. Sign of Nobility
The mane is a powerful “seduction asset”. It is indeed according to the beauty of this one that the females evaluate the strength of the male and thus his capacity to counter 👊 the barbaric invasions of other Lions 🦁 and to maintain peace on the territory. It is also by this one that the sexual potential and the genetic qualities of the suitor are appreciated.
C. Fortress of the Lion
This ornament, beyond its attractive power, is a real bulwark ⚔️ for the predator of the savannah 🏞️. His main function being the protection of his court and the surveillance of his kingdom. Her hairy 🛡️ shield is essential to her during battles against invaders. It protects her vital areas from powerful clawing 🐾 and fatal bites!
2) the Lion ; a Social Reference of a Monarch
A. An Unrivalled Power on Its Territory
The Lion 🦁 is the only feline to live in community. He reigns as lord over his domain and exercises authority over the members of his herd. Just like the king who exercises dominion over his kingdom. Moreover, as the great predator 😈 of the savanna, he demonstrates his omnipotence over the extent of his empire.
B. Lions, a Court That Cares
In addition, the social organization of the clan places the dominant Lion 🤴 on a throne above the members of his herd (other Lions, lionesses, cubs). Indeed, the lionesses like subjugated queens hunt for him and the whole group. The maned dominator 🦁 then exercises his power by granting himself the privilege of eating the biggest and best pieces 🥩 of the game first.
Moreover, apart from enemy intrusions ⚡ and mating, which is not negligible, his majesty the Lion occupies his time as he pleases. His favorite activity: the royal nap 💤 for 20 hours.
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In short, the physiological and behavioral analysis of the Lion shows you that by nature, the Lion unquestionably reaches the top of the animal kingdom. The tiger 🐯 which is actually the largest feline, has the strength of the King 💥 but lacks the crown that reveals its royalty. A solitary feline, he also has no subjects around him to look after his well-being.
C. The Lion Royalty Intensified by Human Culture
In the metaphorical world of a culture, the King of Beasts 👑 is the animal that is placed at the head of the big cat of that culture. Being generally an animal known to be invincible, the Lion 🦁 is often favored. Its strength, its majesty, its courage, its beauty but also its ferocity, its cruelty, its savagery 🏴☠️ are all traits that feed the chimeras of man.
3) the Lions in Ancient Times
In ancient times, the Lion 🦁 has been admired and feared by man. Since prehistoric times you can see man’s interest in this majestic feline. In France, the Chauvet Cave houses the rock painting of all superlatives in the effigy of the Lion. Coincidence or will of the homos sapiens to testify the eminence of this wild animal 🤷 ?
A. Religious Mysticism
The accession to the throne ⚜️ by the Lion goes back to the Middle Ages in the writings.
Precisely to the ancient Christian bestiary 📖 or physiologos in Greek (physiliogus in Latin) written in Greek between the 2nd and 3rd century AD in Alexandria, then translated into Latin in the 4th century. This medieval manuscript relates the properties of beasts, birds 🦅, plants and stones. It also gives in-depth moralizing interpretations of the subjects described.
He compiles real animals such as the deer, bear, elephant 🐘, dove, fox. But also fantastic animals such as the dragon 🐲, the phoenix or even the unicorn.
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In this work, the Lion 🦁, as the first animal described and the first beast to enter Noah’s ark, reaches the place of King of Animals 👑.
Assimilated to Christ ✝️, 3 characteristics from the physiologus are attributed to him, namely: he stands on top of the mountains (he spares those who are prostrate on the ground), his eyes 👁️ are open even when he is sleeping (he is therefore described as particularly vigilant) and he reanimates his stillborn cubs after three days (this trait referring to the resurrection of Christ).
In the Christian mind, the Lion 🦁 is also the emblem of the evangelist Saint Mark, synonymous with justice. The wild feline is thus elevated to the world of the divine ✨ and is endowed with supernatural powers. However some populations, such as the legendary Visigoths pursued heretical beliefs.
B. a Pharaonic Rank
Named King of animals 👑, it is a solar allegory of strength, majesty, power, sovereignty in Egyptian mythology 🙏. Its predominance over the other animals is manifested on the one hand by the imposing statue of the sphinx. This body of Lion with human head, alludes to the union of the solar god “Ra” and the pharaoh. It mixes the courage of the Lion 🦁 with the virtues of the sun. Protector of the pyramids and temples it refers to the regeneration, the quiet strength, the absolute mastery 🔥 of the elements of life and matter.
Moreover, before the precession of the equinoxes in mid-July, the Leo constellation 🌌 is the first in which the sun ☀️ is visible. The wildcat then becomes a synonym of prosperity and protection 🛡️.
On the other hand, the female body with a lioness head 🦁 refers to the goddess-lioness “Sekhmet the powerful”. Daughter of the sun god “Ra”, she embodies war, vengeance 🩸 as well as the power of the sun. She would be the one who advised and guided the pharaohs in battle. The discovery of a “city of Lions” at the time of King Ptolemy IV in the Nile Valley, accentuates this prevalence of the Lion 🦁.
Thus, its proximity to the sun, its assimilation to the gods and pharaohs 🗡️ give it the place of King of animals 👑 even in Egyptian mythology.
C. Lion Position in Greek and Roman Mythology
Since that time the symbolism of the zodiac is used. Leo ♌ as a sign, is the center of attention, pride, authority. Summer 🌞 its season, contains dominance and overwhelming heat 🥵.
In Greek mythology, the huge Lion of Nemea 🦁, son of the two-headed dog Orthos is also provided with an invulnerable skin!
4) the Lion in African Culture
Did you think you would evoke the rise of the King of the Animals 👑 without making a stop in Africa, the continent of predilection of the great wildcat? It would be a mistake to know your Stylish Lion® clan 🦁.
Although many African regions have chosen the panther or leopard in the symbolism, the Lion 🦁 is very rooted in the African culture.
In Ethiopia 🇪🇹 the Lion is the iconic animal of royalty. Its emperor Haile Selassie I, is in fact nicknamed the “Conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah“. Because of his ancestry to the lineage of Solomon and David, the Rasta people of Jamaica consider him the messiah and the “rightful ruler of the land”. The Lion 🦁 thus represents sovereignty, courage, nobility ⚜️ and resistance to the colonizer among the Rastafarians.
In the 19th century in the ancient kingdom of Danhomé (Benin), the ruler Glèlè also chose the Lion 🦁 as his personal emblem because of its polysemous character. It arouses admiration but is also feared for its fearsome ferocity ⚔️.
Used as a model of strength ✊ to test the courage of young people during Bamana initiation rites, the roaring feline is a model of strength in Mali. Today, many African countries wear the Lion 🦁 as a national emblem.
5) Lion ; the Polysemous Animal
However in mythology as well as in other cultures, because of its fearsome character 😈, its ferocity, its cruelty, the roaring beast embodies the forces of evil ⚫. Thus, Heracles, as part of his twelve labors, is charged with killing the Lion of Nemea 🦁 who was reigning terror 🙀 in Argolid.
In Egypt, in the annex of the tomb of Tutankhamun 👑, on one of the ceremonial shields, the young pharaoh brandishes his sword in his left hand. While by his right hand, he grabs two Lions by their tails 🦁, materializing the enemies of Egypt.
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Associated with the devil in the Catholic Church 🛐 the Lion takes on a negative connotation with the passage describing Satan strolling like a Lion 🦁, seeking prey to devour. Despite its evil character, the Lion 😈 does not lose its superbness. You will notice in fact, that he is confronted with great personalities. This accentuates their heroic qualities ⚡.
6) Lion Vs Bear Who Would Win ?
The Lion 🦁 is not the only one to claim the royalty of the animal kingdom. In the time of Nordic paganism, among the Germanic and Scandinavian peoples, it is the bear 🐻 who is considered the King of the animals 👑. Glorified for its strength, courage and invincibility ⚡.
The bear 🐻 at this time, is also the subject of rituals and serves as an intermediary between the world of humans and animals because of its resemblance to man ♂️.
According to Michel Pastoureau, French medievalist historian ⚔️, until the 12th century the bear was the monarch of the beasts throughout Europe 🌍. Thus the Celts, Slavs, Germans, Scandinavians and Balts indulged in pagan rituals consisting of dressing up as a bear 🐻, drinking the blood 🩸 and eating the flesh of the plantigrade animal to symbolically benefit from its power before donning the armor to fight the battle 🔥.
7) Lion Vs Eagle Who Will Win ?
Considered the King of Birds, the eagle 🦅 is the bird of the gods in ancient cultures and the symbol of pride and power in the Bible 📖.
In the medieval Christian West, eagle hunting was reserved for the most powerful prince 🤴. This bird 🦅 was often chosen as a symbol by emperors. The Roman Empire ⚜️, the Aztec Empire, Napoleon’s empire, Germany, as well as the United States 🇺🇸 are often represented by an eagle.
In the military 🎖️, the eagle is the emblem of elite corps (Aztec warrior-eagles, English aviators).
8) Lion and Culture Purification in Christianity
You read it above, the Lion 🦁 is a polysemous animal, sometimes good, sometimes bad, so it is not unanimous as the King of animals 👑.
In the 12th century, in a will of Christianization ✝️ of all Europe (in Burgundy, in the Balkans, in the Byzantines, the Gallo-Romans, the Carolingians…), the Christian church undertakes a crusade for a demonization of the bear 🐻 in favor of the feline.
The purification of the Lion 🦁 thus passes by the literature, the medieval arts and the 7th art.
9) the Lion in Medieval Literature
Medieval tales 📖 play a prominent role in restoring the image of the maned feline. While the writings related the stories of men, the gothic authors create a new literary genre by attributing to animals human characters 🧝. This is anthropomorphism. The animal 🦁 then becomes a literary character in its own right.
A. Aesop’s Fables
Known to be the first illustrations of anthropomorphic animals, the Aesop’s Fables 📖, a collection by the Greek writer of the same name, began the spread of the positive image of the Lion through about thirty stories. The fable “The Kingdom of the Lion” 🦁 is a perfect example. In it, he is indeed “He was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical, but just and gentle as a king could be“.
B. Yvain, the Knight of the Lion by Chrétien De Troyes
This novel 📖 of chivalry related to the knights of the round table, tells the adventures of Yvain a knight who saves the Lion from the flame-breathing serpent 🔥. But the Lion ends up getting attached to him and then follows him everywhere. Thus, he will be nicknamed “the Knight of the Lion“. Positive symbols of majesty, supremacy, strength but also of courage ⚔️, loyalty and generosity characterize the Lion 🦁 here.
10) Heraldic Lion Art and Coat of Arms
The art of heraldry refers to the science of blazon 🛡️. It is the study of coats of arms. Derived from the masculine noun “herald”, who was the one who announced and described the knights ⚔️ who participated in tournaments. He was also in charge of official public announcements in the Middle Ages.
In heraldry, the Lion 🦁 and the leopard correspond to the same animal. The position of the head allowing to make the distinction. Codified science, every detail has its meaning in heraldry.
Thus in its natural position, the Lion 🦁 is rampant: the top of the body is raised towards the chief, it rests only on its hind legs, the head in profile, the tail is turned up towards the back with the quiff falling out.
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You have surely noticed the Lion 😈 is very present on the coat of arms. Much used on the Anglo-Norman territory, because of its conformity with the medieval ideal, it conveys attributes of nobility 👑, bravery, strength. So much so that, as a victim of its success, it has become commonplace in the world of coats of arms. Hence the heraldic saying “who has no coat of arms, wears a Lion 🦁”.
Now let’s see if the Catholic Church ✝️ managed to replace the bear with the Lion in the Germanic and Scandinavian countries.
If the coat of arms of the Duchy of Saxony displays well the Lion 🦁, that of Germany displays the noble eagle 🦅. The Scandinavian coat of arms displays the Lion and the leopard. As for the bear 🐻 it offered its image to Alsace and the city of Berlin.
But the print of the Lion 🦁 is much more widespread. The purification of the Lion would thus have borne its fruits 🏆.
11) Lion in Cinematographic Culture
Panthera Leo 🦁 has also gained royalty through cinematic works. The positive wave of his image continued there. In “The Lion King” by Disney Studios 🎦 released in 1994, the maned feline retains his monarch status 👑 with a benevolent qualifier. The animated film 🎥 “Madagascar” released in 2005, reveals the Lion‘s humorous talents through its main character, Alex 🦁.
From antiquity to today, the Lion 👑 has been constantly rubbing shoulders with the upper echelons of domination. If because of its polysemous character other animals have been preferred to it, anthropomorphism, heraldic art as well as the 7th art have contributed to create a positive proximity with the wildcat 🐾.
The exchange between Lions is paramount for the cohesion 🤝 of the clan, so it’s up to you to express yourself. Has the “positive attitude” of contemporary works changed your view towards the Lion 🦁 ?