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.

Vampires VS Werewolves Blog Hop

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Sorry this didn’t go up yesterday! Scheduling issues on the blog!

* giveaway ends on the 20th. At 11:59pm.

Vampires versus werewolves:

If we’re going by Greek mythology, they both sucked.

Vampires are mentioned here and there in the old Greek myths. There was an entire island of blood drinkers in The Odyssey and birds called strix that drank blood.

Hecate had a daughter named Empusa that would seduce men an drink their blood while they slept.

Lamia was a daughter of Poseidon who had an affair with Zeus. When Hera discovered their affair, she cursed Lamia and forced her to devour her kids. After all her children were killed she continued to drink the blood of normal children. Zeus then blinded her so that… Well I’m not sure exactly how that was supposed to help other than making it more difficult to catch the children.

There is only one instance of werewolves in Greek mythology.

Once upon a time the nymph Callisto and Artemis were lovers. Callisto had no desire to be with anyone else but Zeus decided he had to have her, so he disguise himself as Artemis and the two had sex. They had a child named Arcas.

As punishment for her infidelity, Artemis transformed Callisto into a bear. Meanwhile, in a faraway Kingdom, Lycaon decided that he wanted the power of the gods himself. So he kidnapped the now grown son of Zeus Arcas,(Lycaon was also Arcas’ grandfather on his mothers side but that’s neither here more there) put him on an alter, and shouted a challenge to the sky. If Zeus valued his sons life, he would come down and save him.

Zeus did. And then he turned Lycaon into a wolf, gave his kid hunting gear, and said “have fun!”

Arcas wasted no time hunting down Lycaon. On his way back to what would now be his kingdom, he spotted a bear. The bear was actually his mother, but he didn’t know that. She was so excited to see him that she ran forward to embrace him. He, terrified, notched an arrow. Zeus arrived on the scene just in time to avert tragedy. He whisked them away into the stars where mother and son are reunited forever as Ursa Major and minor.

As far a as my favorites in the modern day go? I prefer vampires. They just have more finesse. However, book wise, my absolute favorite is Bitten, which is a book about werewolves by Kelley Armstrong.

Warning: Bitten is not Young adult, so if you win my contest, do no choose this book if you are under eighteen. I will happily substitute it for a young adult book by the same author that also features a werewolf called “The Awakening.”

My favorite vampire books for the moment are the Vampire Academy series so I’ll give away the first in that series.

Of course the winners are welcome to a copy of either one of my books.

To enter: leave a comment with your preference, vampire or werewolf and your favorite story.

Additional entries:

Follow me anywhere you can think of (blog, Facebook, twitter, tmblr, Pinterest, linked in, anywhere you can find me) and leave a comment for EACH entry.

2 Winners will be chosen at random from the comments, they can have any book they choose as an ebook. Enjoy 🙂