Lamia is a character from Greek mythology. She was a queen of Libya and become a demon who eat, devour children. She is blamed for the sudden death of young children. Lamia was described as a serpentine, or just having serpent’s tail below waist or snake skin wrapped around her arms and waist. She was driven by madness, pain, and grief. She was a daughter of the god Poseidon. Her children were sea monster Scylla and Akheilos.
In some folklore stories, Lamia was a night hunting vampire who seduces men and feeds off their blood. She is remembered as the first vampire creature who was originally human.
Lamia was also a figure in the stories of mothers or nannies to threaten and make children behave well.
In the 9th century French archbishop listed lamiae among supernatural threat to marriage and defined her as female reproductive spirit, geniciales feminae.
God Zeus had a mistress, mortal Lamia. His wife Hera became jealous. In some versions, Lamia was forced by Hera to devour her children. In one story Hera stole Lamia’s children, Lamia lost her mind, out of envy started taking and eating children of other people and turned into an immortal monster. In another version of the story, Hera killed Lamia’s children and transform her into a child eating monster. In some versions, Lamia could not close her eyes, so she was haunted by the image of her dead children all the time, but Zeus gave her the ability to remove her eyes so she could rest. Lamia was envious of other mothers and ate their children.
Lamia was breathtaking, but she changed into distorted ugly monster.
The similarities were made with:
Lilith – seductress vampire who preyed on humans, sucking blood and when her children were destroyed by God her revenge was to feed off of the children of Adam who were humans
Sybaris – terrorized the countryside of Delphi devouring people and livestock
Succubus – a female demon who seduce man in their dream through sexual act
harlot, hetairai, pornai – ancient Greek prostitutes, symbolizing woman who wants to devour men
The Golden Ass – the ancient Roman novel in Latin describes enchantresses as lamiae with vampire-like features
Lemures – spirits of restless dead