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Babylonian lions. Source: Zzvet / Adobe Stock.

Why These Brick Lions That Once Protected Babylon Feel Alive (Video)


The brick lions that once guarded Babylon's streets hold a unique vitality. These imposing creatures, sculpted from individual bricks, bear a profound significance. In contrast to our contemporary admiration for lions, the Babylonians, coexisting with these formidable beasts, regarded them with fear. Within Mesopotamia, they equated the lion with royalty, deeming it the king's worthy adversary, the ultimate emblem of natural power harnessed to safeguard their passage into the city. Each lion took shape from meticulously crafted bricks, each mold preserving intricate details like the ear and eye. These were not mere architectural adornments; they carried deep religious and mystical connotations.

Clay, in its unrefined state, symbolized chaos, but through a ritualized process of shaping, molding, and incubation, it transformed into a magnificent and perfected form. The Babylonians saw clay as a medium akin to the creation of life by birth goddesses, a representation of primal creativity. Gazing at these bricks, you can perceive a subtle tension, as if the lion strains against its earthen confines. It's as though the life force of the lion still lingers within the bricks, a reflection of the Babylonians' belief in the potential for the inanimate to spring to life. These brick lions offer a unique glimpse into a world where art and spirituality converged in powerful and deeply symbolic ways.

Top image: Babylonian lions. Source: Zzvet / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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