Lions and Dogs

On Monday, Caitlin and I visited Saint-Denis in the north of Paris. Saint-Denis is known for 2 things; first, it is the first church to be done in the Gothic style and second, it is home to the burial place of the French kings.

One thing that I noticed while I was that the sculptures of the kings and queens up until the 16th century had lions and dogs buried at their feet. I noticed that almost all of the women had a dog or dogs at their feet and the men had a combination of a lion, a dog, or both at their feet. So I did a little research and I discovered what the symbolism behind them is.

Lions represent strength, bravery and courage, which makes sense that they were at the feet of kings.

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However the dogs can represent 2 things. First of all, when they are at the feet of women they symbolize fidelity and affection. When they are at the feet of a man, it shows his valor as a knight or a hunter.

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Bogna Jakubowska, “Give Me Ex Ore Leonis,” Artibus et Historiae 12 (1991): 57.

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