In ancient Greek folklore, Lamia was a shape-shifting monster that sucked blood and ate flesh, similar to stories of the succubus and vampire. Lamia, the daughter of Belus and Libya, was loved by Zeus and punished by Hera. Because Hera took Lamia's children away, Lamia took her revenge on the children of men and women, since she had no power over gods. Lamia became transformed into a class of demonic being in Greek lore, the lamiai. According to folk beliefs, the lamiai might be in the form of a beautiful woman, a snake with a woman's head, or a monster with deformed lower limbs and the power to take out her eyes.
(See also Striges )
Lawson, John Cuthbert. Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion. 1910. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1964.
In Keats's poem of this name, the serpent Lamia is transformed into a beautiful woman and wins the love of Lycius. At their wedding feast in Corinth her real nature is recognized by the sage Apollonius: he challenges her by her name, and she reverts to her true form, vanishing with a shriek of anguish.
Lamía (lämē´ä, lā´mēə), city (1991 pop. 44,084), capital of Fthiótis prefecture, E central Greece. It is a transportation hub and an agricultural center. Founded about the 5th cent. BC, it was the chief city of the small region of Malis and developed as an ally of Athens. It gave its name to the Lamian War (323–322 BC), waged by the confederate Greeks against Antipater, the Macedonian general, who took refuge in the city and was besieged there for several months. Antipater conquered (322 BC) the confederates at Crannon, near Larissa. Lamía was known as Zituni from the 10th to the 19th cent.
Lamia (lā´mēə), in Greek mythology, grief-crazed woman whose name was used to frighten children. Her own children were killed by Hera, who was jealous of Zeus' love for her; thereafter Lamia, out of envy for happy mothers, stole and killed the children of others. In later legend, the name Lamia was also used for a woman who lured a youth to his destruction.