Hercules and the Nemean Lion • Lyons, 1490

1490.Paris.Hercules.A1

Woodcut on leaf A1 of Raoul Lefèvre Le Recueil des histoires de Troyes (Lyons: Michel Topié and Jacques Heremberck, 10 Oct. 1490). Goff L-114. [Call number (ExI) Item 6921096]. One of nearly 100 woodcuts, some full page in size, many half page. This new acquisition has several 16th / 17th signatures passim, all of the surname ‘de Saumery.’
❧ Killing the Nemean lion was the first labor of Hercules. He holds the lion’s skin which was said to be impervious to weapons. Looking on are his host, the shepherd Molorcus who lived near Cleonae as well as the companion of Hercules, Philotes. Lefevre’s Hercules is a “a medieval knight through and through” (The Classical Tradition [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010], p. 426.) William Caxton’s first major publication was his translation into English of Lefèvre’s Recueil.

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