Aelian, On Animals 12. 7 (trans. Scholfield) (Greek natural history C2nd A.D.) :”They say that the Lion of Nemea fell from the moon (selene). At any rate Epimenides also has these words: `For I am sprung from fair-tressed Selene the Moon, who in a fearful shudder shook off the savage lion in Nemea, and brought him forth at the bidding of Queen Hera.'”
Hesiod, Theogony 327 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :”The Nemeian Lion whom Hera, the queenly wife of Zeus, trained up and settled among the hills of Nemea, to be a plague to mankind. There he preyed upon the tribes of the indwelling people, and was as a king over Tretos and Apesas and Nemea. Nevertheless, the force of strong Heracles subdued him.”
Bacchylides, Fragment 9 :”The luxuriant ground of Nemeian Zeus, where white-armed Hera nurtured the sheep-killing deep-voiced lion, first of Heracles’ glorious contests.”
Callimachus, Aetia Fragment 55 (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :”The quick-tempered consort of Zeus [Hera] unloosed him [the Nemean Lion] to ruin Argos, though her allotted portion, and as a hard labour to the unlawful offspring of Zeus.”
According to what we have read, the Nemean Lion was a real plague, nobody can feel sorrow to his death. He represents our flesh body, or the original mineral saline body. To get rid of.
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 11. 3 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :”The first Labour which he [Heracles] undertook was the slaying of the Lion in Nemea. This was a beast of enormous size, which could not be wounded by iron, or bronze or stone and required the compulsion of the human hand for his subduing. ………Heracles came to the region and attacked the lion, and when the beast retreated into the cleft, after closing up the other opening the followed in after it and grappled with it, and winding his arms about its neck choked it to death.
Bacchylides, Fragment 13 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :”See the neck-breaking hand that Perseus’ descendant [Heracles] lays with all manner of skill on the flesh-eating lion [the Nemeian Lion]; for the gleaming man-mastering bronze refuses to pierce its unapproachable body: his sword was bent back.”
Ovid, Metamorphoses 9. 197 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :”By these arms [of Heracles] giant Moles Nemea [the Nemean Lion] lay destroyed.”
Nonnus, Dionysiaca, He [Heracles] thew his arm from one side and circled the Lion’s neck entangled in mighty grip, and so without weapon brought death, in that spot where the breath passes through the gullet of the lifesuffficing throat.”
Statius, Thebaid 6. 270 ff :”The Tirynthian [Heracles] crushes the gasping Lion against the strong pressure of his breast and breaks it upon his own bones.”
Theocritus, Idylls 25. 132 ff (trans. Rist) (Greek bucolic C3rd B.C.) :”[Phyleus addresses Heracles :] Tell how this beast of bane you slew with your bare hands and how it came to the well-watered country of Nemea. So great a monster I warrant you would not find in all Apis, even should you wish, for none it supports of such size, but only bears and boars’………This was the first labour Eurystheus laid upon me to fulfill……….He bade me kill the fearsome beast, and I set out taking my supple bow and hollow quiver filled with arrows: in the other hand, my stout staff ……….And there, my friend, you have that tale of the fate that befell the lion of Nemea, that was once the cause of many a sorrow to flocks and to men.” (2)
In Alchemy cutting and piercing weapons, like swords, axes, spears and arrows are symbols of our Dissolvent. Of course, this is the beginning of the preliminary works, those to get the Dissolvent, which we don’t have yet. Magnetizations under Sun and Moon, putrefactions, distillations, sublimations, liquefactions, crushing, hot and frozen, solid and liquid. Our Solve et Coagula, are the “bare” tools to open the raw matter in this incipit of preliminary labors. Open being a synonym of extracting the Secret Fire/Mercurius.
Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History Book 5 (summary from Photius, Myriobiblon 190) :”The Dragon which guarded the golden apples was the brother of the Nemean lion.”
Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History Book 2 (summary from Photius, Myriobiblon 190) (trans. Pearse) (Greek mythographer C1st to C2nd A.D.) :”Alexandros of Mindos says that a serpent born of Ge (Earth) fought with Heracles against the Nemean lion; fed by Heracles, it accompanied him to Thebes and stayed in a tent.”
As we will see in the eleventh labor, another raw matter is to be destroyed and open, but this time not with bare hands.
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 11. 3 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :The skin of the lion he put about himself, and since he could cover his whole body with it because of its great size, he had in it a protection against the perils that were to follow.”
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 30 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :”The Nemean Lion, an invulnerable monster, which Luna [Selene] had nourished (suckled) in a two-mouthed cave, he [Heracles] slew and took the pelt for defensive covering.”
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 6. 208 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :”Nemea’s mighty lion there was seen [depicted on the shield of Eurypylos son of Heracles] tangled in the strong arms of Heracles, his grim jaws dashed about with bloody foam: he seemed in verity gasping out his life.”
Pindar, Isthmian Ode 6. 46 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :”May his body’s frame be no less hardy than this wild creature’s skin that rides upon my [Heracles’] shoulder now–the beast I slew long since, first of my labors, in Nemea.”
The skin is a symbol of “Mumia” (1), the spiritual envelope, the spirit which in turn will extract the soul. The spirit is our Dissolvent/Mercurius. The little part of the lion Hercules used to perform this operation is just a claw. A tiny part of a giant beast. As, during our preliminary operations, only a tiny part of the original raw gigantic mass, to get rid of, will survive from destruction and becomes our Dissolvent Mercurius. A spiking and cutting tool like a claw well represents our Universal Dissolvent. Grapes and swords in the picture well symbolizes this cutting-dissolving part.
Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 24 :”[Constellation] Leo. He is said to have been put among the stars because he is considered the king of beasts. Some writers add that Hercules’ first Labour was with him and that he killed him unarmed. Pisandrus and many other writers have written about this.”
Seneca, Oedipus 38 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :”[A land plaued with drought :] Titan [Helios the sun] augments the scorching dog-stars’s [Seirios’] fires, close-pressing upon the Nemean Lion’s [i.e. Leo, zodiac of mid-summer] back. Water has fled the streams, and from the herbage verdure.”
Many operations of Magnetization, and cooking, are performed under the mid Summer Sun and Moon.
Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History Book 2 (summary from Photius, Myriobiblon 190) : “He [Hephaestion] says that . . . Heracles, after the Nemean lion had bitten off one of his fingers had only nine and that there exists a tomb erected for this detached finger; other authors say that he lost his finger following a blow by a dart of a stingray and one can see at Sparta a stone lion erected on the tomb of the finger, the symbol of the power of the hero. It is since then that stone lions have likewise been erected on the tombs of other important people; other authors give different explications of the lion statues.”
Sometimes we have heard of soul/sulphur dimension in the terms of ” as big as a finger”. if Mercurius is just a tiny part of the raw matter, the Sulphur is just a tiny part of the extracted Mercurius. In fact Mercurius is to be divided in various parts.
Heracles as a Boy
Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 25. 7 :”[Dedicated at Olympia :] Are two nude statues of Heracles as a boy. One represents him shooting the lion at Nemea.”
With the preliminary works the new alchemical child is being born.
The picture in the top page well represent the scene. We can see a vineyard, symbol of the Universal Dissolvent we can extract from the Lion. Concerning the hanging sword unused by Eracles, as we have above said, the Nemean lion is not opened by means of the Dissolvent/Secret Fire, which the sword is another symbol of. The cloak-mantle, very likely just hung by Eracles, is a symbol of embodiment.
The second Labor of Hercules: The Lernaean Hydra.
- See also Michelangelo & the Mumia Skin in Last Judgement ;
- You can find at theoi. com the entire fragment. From the same site have been taken all the fragments in the articles.