Brewer's: Lion

(as an agnomen).

ALP ARSLAN [the Valiant Lion, son of Togrul Beg, the Perso-Turkish monarch. (Reigned 1063-1072.) ALI was called The Lion of God for his religious zeal and great courage. His mother called him at birth Al Haïdara, the Rugged Lion. (A.D. 602, 655-661.)

ALI PASHA, called The Lion of Janina, overthrown in 1822 by Ibrahim Pasha. (1741, 1788-1822.) ARIOCH (fifth of the dynasty of Ninu, the Assyrian), called Arioch Ellasar —i.e. Arioch Melech al Asser, the Lion King of Assyria. (B.C. 1927-1897.)

DAMELOWIEZ, Prince of Haliez, who founded Lemberg (Lion City) in 1259. GUSTA'VUS ADOLPHUS, called The Lion of the North. (1594, 1611-1632.)

HAMZA, called The Lion of God and of His Prophet. So Gabriel told Mahomet his uncle was enregistered in heaven.

HENRY, Duke of Bavaria and Saxony, was called The Lion for his daring courage. (1129-1195.) LOUIS VIII. of France was called The Lion because he was born under the sign Leo. (1187, 1223-1226.)

RICHARD I. Coeur de Lion (Lion's heart), so called for his bravery. (1157, 1189-1199.)

WILLIAM of Scotland, so called because he chose a red lion rampant for his cognisance. (Reigned 1165-1214.)

The Order of the Lion.
A German Order of civil merit, founded in 1815.

(as an emblem). A lion is emblem of the tribe of Judah; Christ is called “the lion of the tribe of Judah.”

“Judah is a lion's whelp: ... he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?” - Genesis xlix.9.

A lion emblematic of St. Jerome.
The tale is, that while Jerome was lecturing one day, a lion entered the schoolroom, and lifted up one of its paws. All the disciples fled; but Jerome, seeing that the paw was wounded, drew out of it a thorn and dressed the wound. The lion, out of gratitude, showed a wish to stay with its benefactor. Hence Jerome is typified as a lion, or as accompanied by a lion. (Kenesman: Lives of the Saints, p. 784.)

Androclus and the Lion.
This is a replica of the tale of ANDROC'LUS. Androclus was a Roman slave, condemned to encounter a lion in the amphitheatre; but when the beast was let loose it crouched at the feet of the slave and began licking them. The circumstance naturally excited the curiosity of the consul: and the slave, being brought before him, told him the following tale: “I was compelled by cruel treatment to run away from your service while in Africa, and one day I took refuge in a cave from the heat of the sun. While I was in the cave a lion entered, limping, and evidently in great pain. Seeing me, he held up his paw, from which I extracted a large thorn. We lived together in the cave for some time, the lion catering for both of us. At length I left the cave, was apprehended, brought to Rome, and condemned to encounter a lion in the amphitheatre. My enemy was my old friend, and he recognised me instantly.” (A.Gellius: Noctes, v. 15.)

St. Gerasimus and the Lion.
A very similar tale is told of ST. GERASIMUS (A.D. 475). One day, being on the banks of the Jordan, he saw a lion coming to him, limping on three feet. When it reached the saint, it held up to him the right paw, from which Gerasimus extracted a large thorn. The grateful beast attached itself to the saint, and followed him about as a dog. (Vies des Pères des Déserts d'Orient.)

Sir George Davis and the Lion. Sir George Davis was English consul at Florence at the beginning of the 19th century. One day he went to see the lions of the great Duke of Tuscany. There was one which the keepers could not tame; but no sooner did Sir George appear than it manifested every symptom of joy. Sir George entered its cage, when the lion leaped on his shoulder, licked his face, wagged its tail, and fawned on him like a dog. Sir George told the great duke that he had brought up the creature; but as it grew older it became dangerous, and he sold it to a Barbary captive. The duke said that he had bought it of the very same man, and the mystery was solved.

Half a score of such tales are told by the Bollandistes in the Acta Sanctorum.

The lion an emblem of the resurrection. According to tradition, the lion's whelp is born dead, and remains so for three days, when the father breathes on it and it receives life. Another tradition is that the lion is the only animal of the cat tribe born with its eyes open, and it is said that it sleeps with its eyes open. This is not strictly correct, but undoubtedly it sleeps watchfully and lightly.

Mark the Evangelist is symbolised by a lion, because he begins his gospel with the scenes of John the Baptist and Jesus in the Wilderness. Matthew is symbolised by a man, because he begins his gospel with the humanity of Jesus, as a descendant of David. Luke is symbolised as a calf, because he begins his gospel with the priest sacrificing in the &demple;. John is symbolised by an eagle, because he soars high, and begins his gospel with the divinity of the Logos. The four symbols are those of Ezekiel's cherubim.

The American lion.
The puma. A Cotswold lion. A sheep.

(grateful for kindness):

ANDRROC'LUS. (See under Lion as an emblem.) SIR IWAIN DE GALLES was attended by a lion, which, in gratitude to the knight, who had delivered it from a serpent with which it had been engaged in deadly combat, ever after became his faithful servant, approaching the knight with tears, and rising on his hind-feet like a dog.

SIR GEOFFREY DE LATOUR was aided by a lion against the Saracens; but the faithful brute was drowned in attempting to follow the vessel in which the knight had embarked on his departure from the Holy Land.

ST. GERASIMUS. (See under Lion as an emblem.)

ST. JEROME. (See under Lion as an emblem.)


(1) Couchant. Lying down; head erect, and tail beneath him. Emblematic of sovereignty.

(2) Coward or Coué. With tail hanging between his legs.

(3) Dormant. Asleep, with head resting on his fore-paws.

(4) Passant. Walking, three feet on the ground; in profile. Emblematic of resolution.

(5) Passant Gardant. Three feet on the ground; full face. The “Lion of England.” Resolution and Prudence.

(6) Passant Regardant. Three feet on the ground; side face turned backwards.

(7) Rampant. Erect on his hind legs; in profile. Emblematic of magnanimity.

(8) Rampant Gardant. Erect on his hind legs; full face. Emblematic of prudence.

(9) Rampant Regardant. Erect on his hind legs; side face looking behind. Emblematic of circumspection.

(10) Regardant. Looking behind him; emblematic of circumspection.

(11) Saliant. In the act of springing forward on its prey. Emblematic of valour.

(12) Sejant. Sitting, rising to prepare for action; face in profile, tail erect. Emblematic of counsel.

(13) Sejant Affronté (as in the crest of Scotland).

(14) Statant. Standing with four legs on the ground.

(15) Lion of St. Mark. A winged lion sejant, holding an open book with the inscription “Pax tibi Marce, Evangelista Meus.” A sword-point rises above the book on the dexter side, and the whole is encircled by an aureola.

(16) Lion of Venice. The same as the lion of St. Mark.

Then there are black, red, and white lions, with many leonine monsters.

A lion at the feet of knights and martyrs,
in effigy, signifies that they died for their magnanimity. The lions in the arms of England. They are three lions passant gardant, i.e. walking and showing the full face. The first lion was that of Rollo, Duke of Normandy, and the second represented the country of Maine, which was added to Normandy. These were the two lions borne by William the Conqueror and his descendants. Henry II. added a third lion to represent the Duchy of Aquitaine, which came to him through his wife Eleanor. The French heralds call the lion passant a leopard; accordingly Napoleon said to his soldiers, “Let us drive these leopards (the English) into the sea.”

In heraldry any lion not rampant is called a lion leopardé.

The lion in the arms of Scotland is derived from the arms of the ancient Earls of Northumberland and Huntingdon, from whom some of the Scotch monarchs were descended. The tressure is referred to the reign of King Achaicus, who made a league with Charlemagne, “who did augment his arms with a double trace formed with Floure-de-lyces, signifying thereby that the lion henceforth should be defended by the ayde of Frenchmen.” (Holinshed: Chronicles.)

Sir Walter Scott says the lion rampant in the arms of Scotland was first assumed by William of Scotland, and has been continued ever since.

“William, King of Scotland, having chosen for his armorial bearing a Red Lion rampant, acquired the name of William the Lion; and this rampant lion still constitutes the arms of Scotland; and the president of the heraldic court ... is called Lord Lion King-at-Arms.” —Tales of a Grandfather, iv.

A marble lion was set up in honour of Leonidas, who fell at &Thermopylae;, and a Belgian lion stands on the field of Waterloo.

Lions in classic mythology.
CYB'ELE (3 syl.) is represented as riding in a chariot drawn by two tame lions. PRACRITI, the goddess of nature among the Hindus, is represented in a similar manner.

HIPPOM'ENES and ATLANTA (fond lovers) were metamorphosed into lions by Cybele. HERCULES is said to have worn over his shoulders the hide of the Nemean lion, which he slew with his club. TERROUR is also represented as arrayed in a lion's hide.

The Nemean lion,
slain by Hercules. The first of his twelve labours. As it could not be wounded by any weapon, Hercules squeezed it to death.

(a public-house sign).

Black lion
comes from the Flemings.
Au noir lyon la fleur-de-lis Prist la terre de ca le Lys.

Godefroy de Paris.

Blue, the badge of the Earl of Mortimer, also of Denmark.

Blue seems frequently to represent silver; thus we have the Blue Boar of Richard III., the Blue Lion of the Earl of Mortimer, the Blue Swan of Henry IV., the Blue Dragon, etc.

the badge of Henry VIII. Golden, the badge of Henry I., and also of Percy, Duke of Northumberland. Passant gardant (walking and showing a full face), the device of England. Rampant, the device of Scotland.

with the tail between its legs and turned over its back, the badge of Edward IV. as Earl of March. Red, of Scotland; also the badge of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who assumed this badge as a token of his claim to the throne of Castile.

the device of Richard I.

Statant gardant
(i.e. standing and showing a full face), the device of the Duke of Norfolk. White, the device of the Dukes of Norfolk; also of the Earl of Surrey, Earl of Mortimer, and the Fitz-Hammonds.
For who, in field or foray slack, Saw the blanche lion e'er fall back? [Duke of Norfolk].

SirWalterScott: Lay of the Last Minstrel.

The winged lion. The republic of Venice. Its heraldic device.

White and Red Lions.
Prester John, in a letter to Manuel Comnenus, of Constantinople, 1165, says his land is “the home of white and red lions.”
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894

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