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An ancient daughter and priestess of Hecate, Lamia ruled over Lybia with her sorcery until she seduced by Zeus and bore his bastard children. Enraged, Hera transformed Lamia into a monster and forced her into devouring her own children and can never fall asleep, cursed to forever rewatch her children being killed over and over everytime she closed her eyes.
Diana Black

Lamia was a child-eating monster and was the first of the Lamiae, a type of night-haunting demon in ancient Greek mythology.

Overview

Lamia was a beautiful queen of Libya who had an affair with Zeus. Upon learning this, Zeus's wife Hera, forced Lamia to eat her own children, the offspring of her affair with Zeus, and afflicted her with permanent insomnia. Zeus, taking pity on her, endowed Lamia with the gift of prophecy and the ability to temporarily remove her eyes to relieve her sleeplessness.

Lamia has been ascribed serpentine qualities, which some commentators believe can be firmly traced to mythology from antiquity, and they have found analogues in ancient texts that could be designated as lamiai (or lamiae) which are part-serpent beings. These include the half-woman, half-snake beasts of the "Libyan myth" told by Dio Chrysostom.

Diodorus Siculus gave a de-mythologized account of Lamia as a queen of Libya who ordered her soldiers to snatch children from their mothers and kill them, and whose beauty gave way to bestial appearance due to her savageness. The queen, as related by Diodorus, was born in a cave.

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History

In the myth, the Lamia was originally a beautiful Libyan queen beloved of Zeus, but after Zeus's jealous wife Hera destroyed all her children, or caused Lamia herself to kill her own offspring, she became disfigured from the torment.

Lamia went insane with grief, and began kidnapping and eating children, eventually turning into a hideous monster as a result, making her constantly grieve over the loss of her children. Zeus granted Lamia relief by the ability to remove her own eyes at will, as, otherwise, whenever Lamia closed her eyes, she would see her own dead children. He also gifted her with a shapeshifting ability in the process.

Myths and Legends

A serpentine woman of Greek myth, she was once the queen of Libya. Zeus's jealous wife, Hera, killed her children, causing her to go mad and transform into a monster.
The Demonic Compendium.

Later, the figure of Lamia became a sort of bogeyman figure told to frighten children into good behavior, the idea of a child-killing demon can also be found in the Biblical demon Lilith.

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Trivia

  • In some sources, Lamia became a Naga instead of a new race.
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