(Λάμια), a vampiric Underworld spirit or spirits in the train of Hecatesources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Greek_mythological_figures#Chthonic_deities
Aristophanes claimed her name derived from the Greek word for gullet (λαιμός; laimos), referring to her habit of devouring children. Modern scholarship reconstructs a Proto-Indo European stem *lem-, “nocturnal spirit”, whence also lemures.
In the myth, Lamia is a mistress of the god Zeus, causing Zeus’ jealous wife, Hera, to kill all of Lamia’s children and transform her into a monster that hunts and devours the children of others. Another version has Hera stealing all of Lamia’s children and Lamia, who loses her mind from grief and despair, starts stealing and devouring others’ children out of envy, the repeated monstrosity of which transforms her into a monster.
Some accounts say she has a serpent’s tail below the waist. This popular description of her is largely due to Lamia, a poem by John Keats composed in 1819.Antoninus Liberalis uses Lamia as an alternate name for the serpentine drakaina Sybaris; however, Diodorus Siculus describes her as having nothing more than a distorted face.
In later stories, Lamia was cursed with the inability to close her eyes so that she would always obsess over the image of her dead children. Some accounts (seeHorace, below) say Hera forced Lamia to devour her own children. Myths variously describe Lamia’s monstrous (occasionally serpentine) appearance as a result of either Hera’s wrath, the pain of grief, the madness that drove her to murder, or—in some rare versions—a natural result of being Hecate‘s daughter.
Zeus then gave her the ability to remove her eyes. The purpose of this ability is unclear in Diodorus, but other versions state Lamia’s ability to remove her eyes came with the gift of prophecy. Zeus did this to appease Lamia in her grief over the loss of her children and to let her rest since she could not close her eyes.
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