MAKING THE WORLD A SAFER PLACE: Why Lions Never Sleep

It was generally accepted among the common folk in that often  bleak, thousand year stretch between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance (when lions were but a distant memory in Western Europe and very rarely seen) that these great cats made the perfect keepers of the watch at doors and gates.  Why?  Because the common misconception was that lions never slept.  Who better to keep an eye on things?

Guard lions in San Quirico d'Orcia, Tuscany

Guard lion in San Quirico d’Orcia, Tuscany

Now anyone who knows cats will recognize from the weather-worn statue above that this feline is either consuming some unidentifiable prey, or disgorging a prodigious hairball. Either way, he obviously is wide-awake.

So when you travel through Western Europe you’ll run into numerous large stone cats, as well as smaller fur-covered varieties, which for me is a very comforting experience.  I do feel so much safer knowing they are on the job.  Even though, often as not, the smaller versions are often fast asleep or dozing in the sun.

Guard cat in a Spoleto hotel, ever vigiland

Guard cat in a Spoleto hotel, ever vigilant

You might get the impression that these European cats have become very slothful, now that they are no longer expected to devour  Christians in the Roman arena or suffer the spears and arrows of purposeless hunters just to please the bloodthirsty crowds.  But no, they only appear to be dozing.  Just reach out to touch one and discover just how wakeful they are.

French feline in the Dordogne

French feline in the Dordogne

Okay.  Bad example.  But often they will come instantly alert, ready to protect you from any immediate threat.  Here’s a better look…

Pitigliano pussycat, Tuscany

Pitigliano pussycat, Tuscany

Now I know there are those among you who doubt these cats are actually doing their job, so let me give you some visual proof of how effective they are at protecting property…

Protecting a parking spot in Lucca, Italy

Guarding a parking spot in Lucca, Italy

Checking out the scene of a break-in near San Gimignano, Tuscany

Checking out the scene of a break-in near San Gimignano, Tuscany

Showing off for adoring Italian woman in Trevi near Genova

Showing off for adoring Italian woman in Trevi near Genova

Okay, another poor example. Let’s start over…

Watching your every move from a secret spot in Chianti near Pasignano

Watching your every move from a secret spot in Chianti near Panzano

Keeping an eye on foot traffic in Spoleto

Keeping an eye on foot traffic in Spoleto

Guarding your Vespa in the center of Positano on the Amalfi Coast

Guarding your Vespa in the center of Positano on the Amalfi Coast

Emulating his forebears in Chianti

Emulating his forebears in Chianti

Note the attentive look…just like in the following two examples…

Genovese watch-cat

Genovese watch-cat

Damn...the little critter is sleeping on the job in Civita di Bagnoreggio

Damn…the little critter is sleeping on the job in Civita di Bagnoreggio

…or is she?  That’s the great thing about these little lions:  you never know what they are doing or thinking.

Morning watch in a Sienese village

Morning watch in a Sienese village

Now I do know what you are thinking:  What a lazy way to write a blog post, sticking in a bunch of cute cat photos to avoid writing something more challenging on a Sunday morning.  Wrong!  I am trying to make your life easier by saying you should all adopt a cat to guard your own castle. Treat your feline right, and you’ll feel protected and loved…all day and night.  Except of course when your personal lion companion is dozing…or grooming…

Park sculpture in San Sebastian, Spain

Park sculpture in San Sebastian, Spain

Cats of all types and nationalities, guaranteed to leave a lasting mark on your heart.  Even if it’s made of clay…

Lasting feline marking in Civita di Bagnoreggio, Italy

Lasting feline marking in Civita di Bagnoreggio, Italy

Copyright 2013 by Patrick W. O’Bryon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Patrick W. O'Bryon

Writer. Traveler. Europhile, especially Italy and France. Real Estate Broker. Former academic in the field of Germanic Studies, Princeton Ph.D., interpreter and community liaison with the US Army in Germany. Hobbies: rescuing animals from abuse, abandonment and mistreatment, and being sous chef around the kitchen to my chef de cuisine wife.
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4 Responses to MAKING THE WORLD A SAFER PLACE: Why Lions Never Sleep

  1. Covetotop says:

    A very nice and funny “catllection” … 🙂

  2. Glad you enjoyed it. I was actually inspired by your posts with humor-filled tours accompanied by lovely photographs!

  3. Purr-fectly meow-velous post! I have a weakness for cats of all sizes and am owned by two guard cats, who are on duty (sleeping) this very minute.

  4. Happy to hear you are well-protected by your valiant feline guards!

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