The Greeks regarded lions as guardians of palaces, entrances and shrines (such as the Lion Gate in Mycenae) and as protectors of the hearth and home. In ancient Greek mythology, lions were also associated with Artemis and other Greek gods and goddesses as they would be used to pull their chariots.
The lion was a symbol of courage and protection, and also represents strength, royalty, authority and power.
In Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, heroes such as Achilles and Hektor are compared with lions at moments of extreme passion and power. Herakles, in the first of his 12 labours, overcame the hitherto invincible Nemean lion and thereafter wore the impenetrable lionskin by which he is so often recognised on Greek pottery and sculpture.