A formidable creature in humanities early history, lions were depicted in some of the earliest known Palaeolithic cave paintings. In Ancient Egypt the lion was a significant form as seen in the goddess Sekhmet as well as other associated deities. Depicted with the head of a lioness and with titles such as “The one before whom evil trembles”, “Lady of slaughter” and “She who mauls”, Sekhmet, which itself can be translated as “The one who is mighty and powerful” is a fearsome hunter and protector of the pharaohs in warfare. As is a common theme of the symbolism of the lion, Sekhmet is also associated with the sun and she was held to be depended upon for natural events such as the flooding of the Nile. Perhaps due to her great power, Sehkmet was dutifully worshipped, with priestesses performing rituals before a different statue each day of the year; similarly amulets of Sekhmet were popular where she may be shown standing or seated in a throne. Being a symbol of great and fearsome power as well as dignity, the lion is frequently used to represent regality and authority, either in fearsome aspect or placated, implicitly by human authority.

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