The lion of St.Mark has been in history the symbol of the Republic of Venice. It portraits a winged lion with an open book between its front paws, showing the latin sentence "Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus", which means "Peace be with you, Marco, evangelist of mine". It represents sovereignty.
Giacomo requested a non tribal lion, seen from the front.
Two curiosities: during war the lion of St.Mark was painted with its book closed; the winged lion was considered the most powerful creature, as it featured traits of the lion and of the eagle, which ruled respectively the earth and the sky.