24. Nemean Lion
- Greco-Roman Mythology
One of the few mythological creatures on this list that is potentially designed around a real creature, the Nemean Lion was quite a monster. When we first hear of the lion, the Demi-God Hercules is told to kill the creature as part of his 12 Labors to become a full God and enter Mount Olympus. The lion has killed a slew of people and Herc must kill it before it takes more humans and animals out. Hercules comes upon the creature, assuming it to be a normal lion only to find out it is much more.
The Nemean Lion is an incredibly large beast that, while a lion, is far larger than what we know lions to be today. The creature is likely based around the ancient American Cave Lion or European Cave Lion, both of which were real creatures that were the largest of all Panthera predatory cats. Some even assume it is based on the Sabertoothed Tiger, in spite of the creature not even being a tiger. Either way, the lion is a major part of Hercules’ story and one of the top monsters in mythological history.