The Lion of Nemeia (modern Greek: Λέων της Νεμέας, transl. Léōn tēs Neméas; Latin: Leo Nemaeus), in Greek mythology, was a creature that inhabited the plain of Nemeia, in Argolida, terrorizing that entire region.
The terrible beast could not be killed by an ordinary man because it had leather made of material impenetrable to mortals (humans), and all who tried to face it were completely terrified by its roar, which could be heard from miles away. Furthermore, no weapon could penetrate the animal's hide, and anyone who tried to kill it with spears or arrows would be devoured.
The origin of the Nemean Lion is controversial. According to some versions, he was the son of Typhon and Echidna. Other legends give him as the fruit of the union of Equidna and her own son Ortros, the two-headed dog. Another version is that he was the son of Cerberus and Chimera, and therefore the grandson of Typhon and Echidna.
In the first of his famous twelve labors, Hercules received from Eurystheus the mission to defeat the Lion of Nemeia, to put an end to the devastation it was causing.
At first, Hercules tried to hit him with his arrows, but to no avail. Irritated, the hero applied his club to the animal's head with such a tremendous blow that it fell unconscious. After strangling it, Hercules extracted the animal's hide with his claws, since no iron weapon could cut or pierce it.
From then on Hercules began to use its hide as a protective cloak, with the lion's head serving as his helmet.