ανωρθωμένο λιοντάρι - Lion rampant
The regal dignity of the Lion amongst the creatures it was natural to secure a strong position in Heraldry. We find traces of use from the Stone Age. In Ancient Egypt, Lions were used in Pharaonic period which they usually lived on the edges of the desert, so they became known as the guardians & protectors. A Greek papyrus mentions lions that were buried in the sacred animal necropolis at Sahara.
We also find traces of the Lion in Greek mythology with the best example that of Hercules and the Nemean Lion (which is also the current seal of the city), which was eventually killed by Hercules and wore it’s lion skin thereafter races of Lion in Classical art can be found in every part of Greece and particularly in Corfu island which explains how the symbol was transferred to the West by the Normans when they have encountered lion grave markers which have been used from the 6th century BC.
Heracles wearing his lion skin returns to Eurysthenus with Erymanthean boar.
Lion was one of the favorite Byzantine motifs, and it was used in mosaics silk or statues around the empire and especially in the imperial court, where the Byzantine emperor sat on a gold throne, flanked by golden lions that roared (and golden birds that twittered in jewel-encrusted golden trees.
The Lion’s most characteristic attitude is undoubtedly the rampant and only when a Lion was in rampant position it was considered to be a Lion and blazon it by his true name. A Lion walking and looking, the early Heralds held to be acting the part of a leopard (consequently, when he was in any such attitude, they blazoned him as “a leopard”).
Coat of Arms of the House of Chalikiopoulos
In 1198 King Richard the Lionhearted first used three leopards however the same animal in King George VI has been described as Lions. Ancient warriors had never seen a leopard. Hence in ancient heraldry a leopard and the Lion were represented as the same animal except for different head positions. In modern heraldry, the term leopard has been dropped and everything is now called a Lion.