– Why do so many Celtic coats of arms include a lion when lions are not native to Celtic countries?

38 views
0

– Why do so many Celtic coats of arms include a lion when lions are not native to Celtic countries?

In: Other

There were these guys you might have heard of, they were called the Romans, and they conquered all of those countries at various points. Lions were a pretty big deal in Rome (and Greece before them), and that cultural facet stuck with all the peoples who were ruled by Rome.

African Lions were probably found in the middle East and southeast europe up until, say, 300 BC. Aristotle and Herodotus claim that lions were found in the Greek peninsula until around 300BC and finally went extinct around 100BC.

There’s reason to suggest that during the ice age, sea levels shrunk to the point that the Mediterranean became landlocked. This caused it to evaporate and it’s level to sink several hundred meters. During the ice age the Sahara was a grassland and lions would have been common there. They may have crossed into southern Europe via the land bridge between what is now Morocco and southern Spain.

Lions need large roaming herds of prey animals in order to hunt and survive. But humans tend to directly compete with lions in that capacity so as human populations slowly increased in Europe and the middle East due to the invention of agriculture, lions declined.

The Romans were known to capture wild lions in Africa, trade them, and keep them as exotic pets in zoos and menageries. This continued throughout the middle ages and they wouldn’t have been unknown in the British isles in that capacity. Lions were a common symbol of power and authority in most European cultures.

Many heraldic symbols have Biblical ties and lions are mentioned multiple times in both New and Old Testaments