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Encyclopedia > Lamia (mythology)
The Lamia who moodily watches the serpent on her forearm (painting by Herbert James Draper, 1909), appears to represent the hetaira. Though the lower body of Draper's Lamia is human, he alludes to its serpentine history by draping a shed snake skin about her waist.
The Lamia who moodily watches the serpent on her forearm (painting by Herbert James Draper, 1909), appears to represent the hetaira. Though the lower body of Draper's Lamia is human, he alludes to its serpentine history by draping a shed snake skin about her waist.

On the fringes of Greek mythology Lamia was one of the monstrous bogeys that terrified children and the naive, like her daughter Scylla, or Empousa. The Lamia had the head and torso of a woman, but the lower half of her body was serpentine.[1] Laimos is the gullet, and she had a cannibal appetite for children that could be interpreted as a dangerous erotic appetite for men: harlots might be named "Lamia", Karl Kerényi noted,[2] and the connection between Demetrius Poliorcetes and the musically talented courtesan named Lamia was notorious.[3] Download high resolution version (367x700, 54 KB)Herbert Draper (British, 1864-1920) Lamia Painting Date: 1909 Medium: Oil on canvas Size: 127 x 69 cm Template:PD-70 File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (367x700, 54 KB)Herbert Draper (British, 1864-1920) Lamia Painting Date: 1909 Medium: Oil on canvas Size: 127 x 69 cm Template:PD-70 File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Lament for Icarus, 1898 Herbert James Draper (1863 - 1920) was an English painter in the Victorian era. ... In ancient Greece, Hetaerae were courtesans, that is to say, sophisticated companions and prostitutes. ... The bust of Zeus found at Otricoli (Sala Rotonda, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican) Greek mythology is the body of stories belonging to the ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. ... Greek mythology, Scylla, or Skylla (Greek Σκύλλα) was a name shared by two characters, a female sea monster and a princess. ... In ancient Greek mythology, the Empusa (or Empousa) was a female supernatural monster or demoness. ... William Hogarths 1731 engraving of A Harlots Progress is about a young woman, Mary Hackabout, who arrives in London from the country. ... One of the founders of modern studies in Greek mythology, Karl (Carl, Károly) Kerényi (January 19, 1897 - April 14, 1973) was born in Timisoara, then in Hungary, to a family of some landed property. ... Demetrius I (337-283 BC), surnamed Poliorcetes (Besieger), son of Antigonus I of Macedon and Stratonice was a king of Macedon ( 294 - 288 BC) . He belonged to the Antigonid dynasty. ...

Contents

Lamia's parentage

Diodorus Siculus[4] made of Lamia the daughter of Poseidon and Lybie—no more than a personification of Libya—and a queen of Libya herself, whom Zeus loved, Aristophanes tells (in Peace). Hera either turned her into a monster—if she was not already one of Hecate's brood—or when Hera killed all of Lamia's children save Scylla, the grief turned her into a monster. Lamia had the gift to be able to take her eyes out and then put them back in, the mark of a Sibyl possessed with the second sight: compare the Graeae and the Norns. A paternalistic embroidery on this archaic mytheme is that this gift was the gift of Zeus, and by a further explanatory improvisation, that Lamia was "cursed" with the inability to close her eyes so that she would always obsess over the image of her dead children. Diodorus Siculus (c. ... Neptune reigns in the city of Bristol. ... In Greek mythology, Lybie was the mother of Lamia by Poseidon. ... The Statue of Zeus at Olympia Phidias created the 12-m (40-ft) tall statue of Zeus at Olympia about 435 BC. The statue was perhaps the most famous sculpture in Ancient Greece, imagined here in a 16th century engraving Zeus (in Greek: nominative: Zeús, genitive: Diós), is... Sketch of Aristophanes Aristophanes (Greek: , ca. ... In the Olympian pantheon of classical Greek Mythology, Hera, (Greek , IPA pronunciation ; or Here in Ionic and in Homer) was the wife and older sister of Zeus. ... For other uses, see Hecate (disambiguation). ... Greek mythology, Scylla, or Skylla (Greek Σκύλλα) was a name shared by two characters, a female sea monster and a princess. ... The word sibyl comes (via Latin) from the Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess. ... Second sight is a form of extra-sensory perception whereby a person perceives information, in the form of vision, about future events before they happen. ... The Graeae (old women or gray ones), were three sisters, one of several trinities of archaic goddesses in Greek mythology. ... Look up Norns in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In the study of mythology, a mytheme is an irreducible nugget of myth, an unchanging element, similar to a cultural meme, one that is always found shared with other, related mythemes and reassembled in various ways—bundled was Claude Lévi-Strausss image— or linked in more complicated relationships...


Horace, in Ars Poetica (l.340) imagined the impossibility of retrieving the living children she had engulfed. Roman mothers used to threaten their children with this story; some such nurse's tale of Lamia in her tower was referred to by Tertullian, Against Valentinius (ch.iii). Horace, as imagined by Anton von Werner Quintus Horatius Flaccus, (December 8, 65 BC - November 27, 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. ... Ars Poetica is a term meaning The Art of Poetry or On the Nature of Poetry. It originated with a work by Horace and has since spawned many other poems that bear the same name. ... Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicized as Tertullian, (ca. ... -Quevedo Valentinius, also called Valentinus (c. ...


Further passing references to Lamia were made by Plutarch, (On Curiosity 2); Strabo (i.II.8); and Aristotle, Ethicsvii.5. Mestrius Plutarchus (Greek: Πλούταρχος; 46 - 127), better known in English as Plutarch, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist. ... The Greek geographer Strabo in a 16th century engraving. ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ...


Late visions of Lamia

Pre-Raphaelite painting of Lamia (by John William Waterhouse, 1909). Notice the snakeskin still on her waist, though her appearance has become much younger than the previous portrait.
Pre-Raphaelite painting of Lamia (by John William Waterhouse, 1909). Notice the snakeskin still on her waist, though her appearance has become much younger than the previous portrait.

Many lurid details were conjured up by later writers, assembled in the Suda, expanded upon in Renaissance poetry and collected in Bulfinch and in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: Lamia was envious of other mothers and ate their children. In Renaissance emblems she had the body of a serpent and breasts and head of a woman, like the image of hypocrisy. She was usually female, but Aristophanes suggests her hermaphroditic phallus, perhaps simply for monstrosity's sake (Peace l..758). Blood-drinking female vampire-spirits were called Lamiai: compare the medieval succubus. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets and critics, founded in 1848 by John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt. ... John William Waterhouse. ... Suda (Σουδα or alternatively Suidas) is a massive 10th century Byzantine Greek historical encyclopædia of the ancient Mediterranean world. ... Thomas Bulfinch (July 15, 1796 - May 27, 1867) was an American writer, born in Newton, Massachusetts to a highly-educated but not rich Bostonian merchant family. ... Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable - sometimes referred to simply as Brewers - is a reference work containing definitions and explanations of many famous phrases, allusions and figures, whether historical or mythical. ... An emblem consists of a pictorial image, abstract or representational, that epitomizes a concept - often a concept of a moral truth or an allegory. ... Hypocrisy is the act of condemning another person, where the stated basis for the criticism is the breach of a rule which also applies to the critic. ... Philip Burne-Jones, The Vampire, 1897 Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings that subsist on human and/or animal lifeforce. ... A bracket carved as a winged succubus on the outside of an English inn, suggesting that a brothel could have been found inside. ...


The 19th century editors of Lempriere's Dictionary were of the opinion that Lamia is the model for Lamiae -- small African monsters whose hisses were pleasing but who destroyed children -- and that these are what are today called lemures. Modern mythographers find no connection. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... John Lemprière (c. ... Larvae are the plural of larva, juvenile form of animals with indirect development. ...


John Keats described the Lamia in Lamia and Other Poems, presenting a description of the various colors of Lamia that was based on Burton's, in The Anatomy of Melancholy. John Keats (31 October 1795 – February 23, 1821) was one of the principal poets of the English Romantic movement. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... Front page of The Anatomy of Melancholy The Anatomy of Melancholy (Full title The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. ...


More recently, the Lamia surfaced in popular culture with an appearance in The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, the rock opera by Genesis. A song called "The Lamia" describes three snakes with female faces devouring the protagonist in a ritualistic fashion. The lyrics, composed by Peter Gabriel, explore the disturbing sexual connotations of the Lamia's cannibalism in a surprisingly tender fashion. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... It has been suggested that Six of the Best be merged into this article or section. ... Peter Brian Gabriel (born February 13, 1950, in Chobham, Surrey, England) is an English musician. ...


Modern folk traditions

In the modern Greek folk tradition, the Lamia has survived and retained many of her traditional attributes. John Cuthbert Lawson comments, "....the chief characteristics of the Lamiae, apart from their thirst for blood, are their uncleanliness, their gluttony, and their stupidity" (Lawson, Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion: A Study in Survivals). The contemporary Greek proverb, "της Λάμιας τα σαρώματα" ("the Lamia's sweeping"), epitomises slovenliness; and the common expression, "τό παιδί τό 'πνιξε η Λάμια" ("the child has been strangled by the Lamia"), explains the sudden death of young children (ibid). As in Bulgarian folklore and Basque legends, the Lamia in Greece is often associated with caves and damp places.


In modern Greek folk tales, Lamia is an ogress similar to Baba-Yaga. She lives in a remote house or tower. She eats human flesh and has magical abilities, keeps magical objects or knows information crucial to the hero of the tale's quest. The hero must avoid her, trick her or gain her favour in order to obtain one of those. In some tales, the lamia has a daughter who is also a magician and helps the hero, eventually falling in love with him. Baba Yaga by Ivan Bilibin Baba Yaga is, in Slavic mythology, the wild old woman; the dark lady; and mistress of magic. ...


Notes

  1. ^ the chthonic monster Echidna was another Greek bogey with a half-serpentine body. Compare Typhon.
  2. ^ Kerényi 1951 p 40
  3. ^ See Plutarch, Life of Demetrius xxv.9, Aelian, Varia Historia XII.xvii.1, and Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae III.lix.29.
  4. ^ xx.41.

For other uses, see Chthon (disambiguation). ... In the most ancient layers of Greek mythology Echidna (ekhis, meaning she viper) was called the Mother of All Monsters. Echidna was described by Hesiod as a female monster spawned in a cave, who mothered with her mate Typhoeus or Typhon every major monster in the Greek myths, (Theogony, 295... In Greek mythology, Typhon (ancient Greek: ), also Typhoeus (), Typhaon () or Typhus () is a son of Gaia and Tartarus who attempts to replace Zeus as the king of gods and men. ... The name Aelian may refer to one of two people: Aelianus Tacticus, a Greek military writer of the 2nd century, who lived in Rome Claudius Aelianus, a Roman teacher and historian of the 3rd century, who wrote in Greek This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists... Athenaeus (ca. ... The Deipnosophistes (deipnon “dinner” and sophistae, “the wise ones”) is variously translated as The Banquet of the Learned or Philosophers at Dinner or The Gastronomers is work of some 15 books (some complete and some surviving in summaries only) by the ancient Greek author Athenaeus of Naucratis in Egypt, written...

References

  • Robert Graves, 1960. The Greek Myths 61.
  • Karl Kerényi, 1951. The Gods of the Greeks pp 38–40. Edition currently in print is Thames & Hudson reissue, February 1980, ISBN 0-500-27048-1.

Robert von Ranke Graves (24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985) was an English poet, scholar, and novelist. ... One of the founders of modern studies in Greek mythology, Karl (Carl, Károly) Kerényi (January 19, 1897 - April 14, 1973) was born in Timisoara, then in Hungary, to a family of some landed property. ...

See also

“Lilitu” redirects here. ...

External links

  • Lamia

  Results from FactBites:
 
Lamia (mythology) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (911 words)
On the fringes of Greek mythology Lamia was one of the monstrous bogeys that terrified children and the naive, like her daughter Scylla, or Empousa.
Lamia had the gift to be able to take her eyes out and then put them back in, the mark of a Sibyl possessed with the second sight: compare the Graeae and the Norns.
John Keats described the Lamia in Lamia and Other Poems, presenting a description of various colors of Lamia that was based on Burton's, in Anatomy of Melancholy.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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