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Lions have been an important symbol to humans for tens of thousands of years and appear as a theme in cultures across Europe, Asia, and Africa.Initially, they were depicted accurately in the earliest of graphic representations by humans as organized hunters with great strength, strategies, and skills.During the New Kingdom the Nubian gods Maahes (god of war and protection and the son of Bast) and Dedun (god of incense, hence luxury and wealth) were depicted as lions.Maahes was absorbed into the Egyptian pantheon, and had a temple at the city the conquering Greeks called Leontopolis, "City of Lions", at the delta in Lower Egypt.Similar imagery persisted and was retained through cultural changes, sometimes unchanged.Adoptions of lion imagery as symbols into other cultures without direct contact with lions, could be very imaginative, often lacking accurate anatomical details or creating unrealistic characteristics.His temple was attached to the major temple of his mother, Bast.

Offspring of these deities found niches in the expanding pantheon as well.Thus the strong emphasis on lions in the earliest figurative Greek art, especially that of Mycenaean Greece from around 1600-1400 BCE, reflected the world in which Greeks lived, rather than being based on stories from further east, as once thought.The Dying Lioness, depicting a half-paralyzed lioness pierced with arrows, is a well-known detail from the Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal, a large set of Assyrian palace reliefs from about 645–635 BCE, depicting dozens of lions being hunted, originally in an Assyrian royal palace in Nineveh (modern day Iraq).The name of the stone probably bears her named because materials sacred to her usually were stored in it.Found first in Ancient Egypt the sphinx, which had the head and shoulders of a human and the body of a lioness, represented this goddess, Sekhmet, who was the protector of the pharaohs.

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