Mythology Monday: Vampires

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Hades snorted. “These aren’t books, these are—” He paused. “Dusk? Seriously?”
“What? It’s good!”
“I considered creating a dimension of Tartarus that forced souls to watch the movie based on this book for all eternity. Complete with shrieking harpy fan girls in the audience.”
I snatched my phone back. “Have you even seen it?”
“Cassandra made me watch it.” Hades shuddered.
“It’s a great movie and an even better book!”
“It’s ludicrous. What is with this recent human obsession with vampires?”
I sat up in my chair. “Were there ever any vampires?”
“Well, there was Hecate’s daughter, Empusa. She would seduce men and drink their blood as they slept. Poseidon’s daughter, Lamia—”
“Like the Midnight World books!”
“What?”
I scooted my chair closer to him and pulled up the book on my phone. “Born vampires are called Lamia, and made vampires are called—”
“Yeah, sorry I asked. Anyway, Lamia was Poseidon’s daughter. She had an affair with Zeus and had several kids. Hera found out about it and forced her to devour her children—” I gasped and Hades paused. He looked as though he was going to say something, perhaps to defend Hera, then shrugged and continued with the story. “Afterward, Lamia continued to drink the blood of mortal children until Zeus took pity on her and removed her eyes.”
“How exactly was that supposed to help?”
“It makes it harder to catch the children.”
I shook my head. “That’s…you know what, there are no words.”
“There were also Striges, or Strix, which were birds that fed on blood, and there was that island of the blood dri—”
“Okay! I’m sorry I asked.” I held up my hands in surrender. “I meant—” I pointed to my phone “—vampires like these.”
“Refined gentlemen who occasionally drink blood? It’s a complete myth.”
I thought it was ironic to hear that from Hades while sitting in the Underworld, but refrained from pointing that out. “What’s your favorite book? Oh, let me guess. Inferno.”

~@~

In honor of my favorite holiday that’s just around the corner, I’m doing a vampire edition of Mythology Monday. There’s not a lot on vampires in Greek mythology, but here’s a few examples:

–The Odyssey features an “island of the blood drinkers.” Sounds vampiric enough for me. I mean, it’s a bit of a stretch because they were technically cannibalistic giants called Laestrygonians who would just as soon eat you as drink your blood. But they did drink blood and they had vampiric like servants I’ll go into more later, so I’m counting it.

Then there’s the Stardust witches, or rather, the mythical counterparts Gaimen referenced in his amazing novel.

Hecate had a daughter named Empusa that would seduce men an drink their blood while they slept. She’s likely an early explanation for sleep paralysis and she basically acted in mythology like a succubus. The goddess later devolved into a type of specter that was half-vampire half banshee in description.

Hades did a good job with the Lamia myth above, so I’ll just leave that there.

Mormo was a vampiric like creature who would bite bad children. She would also steal children and take them to the queen of the Laestrygonians.

Striges are an owl like vampiric children who would drink the blood of babies after they fed the babies poisoned breastmilk. They’re mostly a Roman myth. Occasional they would forgo babies and go after grown men. No breastmilk involved there, just seduction, sex, then the draining of blood.

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3 thoughts on “Mythology Monday: Vampires

  1. Pingback: Happy Halloween! | Kaitlin Bevis

  2. Pingback: Mythology Monday: Chthonic Deities | Kaitlin Bevis

  3. Pingback: Mythology Monday: Hera | Kaitlin Bevis

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