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The Lion Hunt
Apex Felines and Royal Association in Aryan Iconography
There is an ancient tale related on the Alexander Sarcophagus, of the hero king who wished to be a god, battling a lion in a presidio, or animal pen, and coming near death. There are many ancient engravings of Assyrian and Iranian [?] kings hunting lions and tigers from the back of a chariot, and lion-hunting as still current in Europe up until about 400 B.C. In fact there was a legend of Polydamas, [1] defeating a lion in Herculean fashion with his bare hands. There was an extinct species of Tiger in the Caucasus Mountains called the Caspian Tiger and before antiquity was done Roman entertainers would be sending to Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian for Lions and Tigers for the arena.
I have a theory that the King’s crown is an imitation of a lion’s mane and that the lion hunt is central to warrior psychology across racial and ethnic lines and that the Aryan tradition has a particular expression intrinsic to it which demonstrates a salient difference.
This past summer I was viewing the Cornel Wilde movie The Naked Prey, in which a big game hunter employing a hunting guide, break Bantu taboos, resulting in all of the non-warriors being tortured and killed. But since the guide is regarded as a warrior, he is let run off on a sporting hunt, pursued by leading warriors in an honorable hunt of one man by eight. Bob, turned and looked at me and said, “It’s a lion hunt.”
The movie progressed in such a way as to humanize and edify the hunter and the hunted with each gaining warrior status and humanity through their “struggle with The Other.”
The story ends with a salute from the survivor to his surviving enemies and the film itself takes its last moments to glorify each and every slain hunter quite unlike the Asian and now postmodern habit of depicting slain enemies as so many robots or insects, which does nothing to increase the warrior standing of the hero.
The modern lion hunt that my ffiend is familiar with is the pursuit of the “Tom Cougar” by a man and his hounds. This places man and canine in ancient alliance against the beast that ultimately hunts them for food when either is alone, or when one is sleeping. I once read a tale of a man-eating leopard in Africa, being tracked by a hunter, who slept with his dog at the foot of his bed and the leopard snuck in to the house and snatched the dog. On every continent which man has expanded to, except for Antarctica and possibly Australia, there has been some kind of big hunting cat waiting to kill him and his dog: leopard, Jaguar, Puma, Cougar.
It has been the unique Aryan expression of the resulting contest to conduct it with one man and his dog or dogs after one cat. The nomadic Mongols simply used horses and drove every terrestrial animal into a circle and shot it. This was brought into India by the Moguls who used beaters to drive tigers towards the waiting hunters on their elephants, combining the Asian and Aryan way of hunting apex predators.
From Gilgamesh and Enkidu slaying the forest demon, to Samson, Benaiah, Herakles, Milo [1] and Polydamas slaying lions, the kings of the Near East hunting lions as a ritual of kingship and the Sumerian habit of keeping a lion ch0ained at the gate of a city—now surviving in many a staircase flanked by lion sculptures—the lion hunt seems to be the most universal warrior ritual. But it is the Aryan use of hounds—before horses [2]—as partners in this hunt that stands out as unique and holds the longest-lived consequences for or present and future. From the use of K-9 officers to pursue criminals on foot to the U.S. Army “hair missile” like Conan the German Shepherd, where the partnership of man and horse has given way to man and machine, our partnership with the hound endures.
Notes
-1. Who did wear a lion-skin into battle against the Sybarite army, suggesting he killed the beast
-2. By 10 millennia it seems
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