|Lamia (2nd version) by John William Waterhouse|
(1909); Note the snakeskin on her lap.
According to the Greek mythology, Queen Lamia of Libya had an affair with Zeus. However, Hera found out and killed the children Lamia had already given birth to. Driven mad by this act, Lamia began eating other children and slowly became hideous and corrupt.
Mothers used to tell their children stories of Lamia to warn them of slowly awakening sexuality and to generally make the children behave. Some also used these stories to explain why certain questionable women, and their male companions, were rarely seen after they had met during the night.
- While both the lamia and Medusa share Greek roots, the lamia is described as more human of the two.
- In modern stories, Lamia is considered a more remote creature, similar to Baba-Yaga, living in a tower or a house far away from people.
- Considered magically adept and excelling in deception, lamia were said to have hid among the populace and wreak havoc until finally being hunted down.