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Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Barrister on September 21st 2011, 8:14 pm

Ah....so you can't turn me into a werewolf with that one?

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Aolani on September 21st 2011, 8:55 pm

Nope, sorry Rofl

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Vampire Forensics

Post  Aslinn Dhan on September 28th 2011, 5:41 pm

By Mark Collins Jenkins

So I spent the afternoon reading this book. If you were a person who did not have access to our Mythology thread, so chock full of info this book would be indispensable to you. But, as it is, there were some bits we did not have so I post these precious bits for your education and entertainment.

The Social Status of Monsters

- Vampires are Upper Class....they are the aristocrats who are rich, powerful and sexually alluring
- Werewolves are Middle Class....Simple, bestial and lacking in self control....
- Zombies are Lower Class...They are the mindless rabble the trailer trash of the monster world.

A Rose by any other Name

Nosferatu, the classical gothic name of Vampire translates from the Greek Nosophorus meaning Plague Bringer.

The Chewing Dead- or Nachzehrer- A ghoulish finding where the "body" has been evidenced to have eaten its shroud and the tips of its fingers before members of the dead person's family begin to die. To stop the chewing ghost, you must fill their mouths with dirt or a stone or brick.

Speaking of Plagues:

Rabies was known as the Vampire disease. Louis Pasteur observed rabies infected humans in his work to make a vaccine and he found that rabies afflicts the entire mental process, to include sleep cycles, sex (victims were observed having sex as often as 30 times a night) and abnormal eating and drinking behavior.

Porphyria causes light sensitivity, lesions, bloody urine, feces, semen, and tears and sweat. It cause gums to recede and make teeth appear more prominently in the mouth, grow hair in places where it is not normal and create an intolerance for garlic, which inhibits the production of heme, the stuff that makes you blood red (which porphyria is an over production of)

Consumption Lust is a period of recovery seen in patients with tuberculosis where in they regain their health and strength and appetite for food and drink and a remarkably ponderous lust before relapsing into their final illness.

In Eastern Europe, where Vampire stories were rife, the dead were often held for 40 days in a charnel house and prayed over til it showed signs of decomposition and made unsuitable for habitation by the ghost of a Vampire.

The Divine Mr. D

Dracula and Vampires are universally seen as gods (You are a Viking Vampire God!!!) demanding the lives of humans as a sign of faithfulness. (Can you give me Sookie Stackhouse? That would make a fine tribute) "The girls you love are mine already," - Dracula. He is also the first of his kind in literature: The Sexual Predator.

The Sensitive Vampire

The first good guy Vampire is the improbably named Varney the Vampire. (Bill? Your name is Bill?) and he goes through various adventures in his Edwardian serial "chap books" including killing Oliver Cromwell to free England. (Varney is very patriotic) helping Charles II avoid assassination by other Vampires, and falling in love with and accidentally making his first human true love Clare Crofton Vampire. He says of himself: "Until then I had crushed my doe eyed pity for humans until I created Clare in my own image, and once my human feelings were reborn in my breast and I feel remorse for condemning her,"

Varney is also the first Vampire to suggest you could resurrect a Vampire who has already met the true death. To avoid his own re-resurrection, Varney flings himself into Mt. Vesuvius.

It's all your fault...You are to blame

The Vampire as scapegoat is a particular role it plays, along with werewolves and witches for the ill luck villages and its people experience. Plagues and bad growing years and other troubles were often blamed on Vampires and weres and witches and these creatures were most often associated with certain groups of people or cultures or religions or any other social minority. (a characterization we still see today in stories like the Southern Vampire Mysteries and True Blood)
















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Re: Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Aolani on September 28th 2011, 6:19 pm

Angelica Root

Its virtues are praised by old writers, and the name itself, as well as the folk-lore of all North European countries, testifies to the great antiquity of a belief in its merits as a protection against contagion, for purifying the blood, and for curing every conceivable malady. Angelica was associated with many Pagan festivals, and after the introduction of Christianity, the plant became linked with some angelic lore as well. According to legend Angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague. Another explanation for the name is that it blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel (May 8, old style) and is on that account held to be a preservative against evil spirits and witchcrafts of spells of all kinds, being also called "the root of the holy ghost".

Angelica is considered a root of magickal feminine power in the African voodun traditions. Angelica is used in a number of spells to bless newborns, protect against unruly, hurtful men, and protect and purify the home against enemies and unquiet spirits.

In America it was used by the Iroquois and other tribes as Witchcraft Medicine, an infusion of smashed roots was used as wash to remove ghosts from the house.

Use in protection and exorcism incense, and also carry the root in a pouch as a protective talisman. Add to bath to remove hexes. Smoking the leaves can cause visions. Angelica protects by both creating a barrier against negative energy, and by filling it's user with positive energy. Removes curses, hexes, or spells that have been cast against you. Enhances the aura, giving a joyful outlook. Relieves tension headache, diuretic, beneficial to the stomach and digestion. Relieves buildup of phlegm due to asthma and bronchitis. Use with caution- Large doses can negatively affect blood pressure, heart, and respiration. If pregnant, can cause miscarriage.

The majestic Angelica is a prime protector against all manner of demons and diseases, in short, a shield against all evil. It also gives courage and brings calm to those pained by fear and anxiety. Like a guardian angel, angelica provides inner strength and guidance. It promotes self-confidence and radiates a glow of health and happiness.

Marlene Ericksen Healing with Aromatherapy, (2000)
Maud Grieve Modern Herbal Vol I & II 1931
Gladstar, Rosemary Herbal Healing for Women (1993)
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Judaism and Kosher Laws and Vampires

Post  Aslinn Dhan on September 29th 2011, 9:55 am

Published 11:29 28.09.11
Latest update 11:29 28.09.11

Love thy vampire, kosherly
Like European myths of the time, medieval Jewish tradition includes stories about bloodsuckers, but with a unique Jewish moral perspective.
By Admiel Kosman Tags: Jewish World


The TV series "True Blood" has been so successful that only "The Sopranos" rivals it. "True Blood" is about a world of imaginary creatures. Particularly strange is the vampire world parallel to human society.

The series, based on a series of novels by American writer Charlaine Harris, involves a scientific breakthrough: the Japanese invention of synthetic blood, which enables vampires to integrate into human society, since they no longer need pose a threat.

Vampire tales in general sprung from ancient Slavic myths about dead people who rose from their graves seeking "blood transfusions" from the living. These myths were the basis for Bram Stoker's 1897 novel "Dracula," which paved the way for a large number of vampire films and books, including Harris' "Southern Vampire Mysteries" series.

Many people have noted that the vampire legends could be a metaphor for spiritual energies that have not undergone sublimation and are "buried alive" in the subconscious - our dark past, which repeatedly rises "from the grave" and "sucks" away our life force.

Such legends influenced Medieval European Jews along with their neighbors. But Christian-European attitudes toward those vampires are very different than those seen in "Sefer Hasidim" (Book of the Pious ).

Many of the Christian-European stories describe vampires as evil and abusive. On the other hand, a source within "Sefer Hasidim" (which was written mostly by Rabbi Judah Hehasid in 12th and 13th-century Germany ), says: "There was one woman who was an estrie [a bloodsucker, perhaps from a word meaning 'disturbance' or 'danger'] and she was very sick and there were two women with her at night; one was sleeping and one was awake. And the sick woman stood up and loosened her hair and she was about to fly and suck the blood of the sleeping woman. And the woman who was awake screamed and woke her friend and they grabbed the sick estrie, and after this she slept. And moreover, if she had been able to grab the other woman, then she, the estrie, would have lived. Since she was not able to hurt the other woman, the estrie died, because she needs to drink the blood of living flesh" (This story, incidentally, is missing from several editions of the book ).

The above description presents the "Jewish vampire" as a very tragic figure, one who even arouses empathy, since what is described is not simply cruel bloodsucking, but a sick woman fighting for her life. Moreover, these vampires apparently suck only enough blood to keep themselves alive, and don't kill their victims.

The following passages in "Sefer Hasidim" (which are also missing from several editions ) discuss the ethics of the matter, and surprisingly show empathy toward vampires. Another passage shows how sensitive members of the Jewish community were to the estrie's distress: "One woman, an estrie, caused damage but allowed the person she harmed to take of her bread and her salt. In such a case she should treated with compassion."

In other words, the estrie used to suck community members' blood, but since she did so not out of wickedness but for lack of alternative, she tried to compensate those she attacked and allowed them to take some of her food; such a "vampire" should be pitied and included within the community, not harmed.

Of course, these are not the only records that Jews of Ashkenaz (Medieval France and Germany ) wrote at the time; other sources clearly indicate that the Jews, like their neighbors, were afraid of vampires. Therefore some records call for taking practical steps to ensure estries cannot leave their graves and cause harm after death. For example, "Sefer Harokeah," which was written by a disciple of Rabbi Judah Hehasid, Rabbi Eleazar of Worms, says: "When an estrie that has eaten children is being buried, one should observe whether her mouth is open. If it is, she will persist in her vampirish pursuits for another year unless it is stopped up with earth."

I found an interesting parallel to the European literature on "bloodsuckers" in Asian folklore. In a 1933 article in the journal of the Folklore Society in London (Folklore 44 ), Prof. Maung Htin Aung, who later became the rector of the University of Rangoon, described how Buddhist folklore depicts Burmese monks. According to his description, the zawgyi - a Burmese variation of the word yogi - lived in a forest in inner peace, without attaching himself to any object or person.

The zawgyi has a body unlike ours, so he does not face many of our physical needs and limitations. He does not contend with fatigue or pain, and has magical powers. He can live for hundreds of years, and can fly or enter the underworld with invulnerability. The zawgyi has no need of food or drink, although he can occasionally enjoy berries (which Burmese folklore strangely describes as having sexual relations with these fruits, which are considered feminine ).

The stories in Buddhist folklore are the inverse of Western vampire stories. According to Aung's description, the zawgyi is entirely cut off from human society. And why? Because he has an exceptional sense of smell (which incidentally recalls Jewish legends about the Messiah, according to Isaiah 13:3: "And he shall smell with the awe of God" [see Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 93b] ). He therefore keeps his distance from human society, whose members smell like eaters of flesh and blood. For that reason, writes Aung, the zawygi cannot have sexual relations with women, because he is repelled by the fragrance of the blood they have eaten. And in spite of that, emphasizes Aung, if the zawgyi encounters human beings in the forest, in spite of himself, he will be generous: He gives them gifts and cures the sick.

Buddhist folklore therefore created a mirror image of Western folklore: The West invented demonic creatures that we must destroy, since they are evildoers that seek to torture us and "suck our blood"; whereas Far Eastern folklore says that we, human beings, are the "vampires," since we are the ones who "suck the blood" from the creatures of nature. According to the Burmese, only a pure person who avoids us - the human beings, urban vampires - and flees to the forest (nature ) can sense our repulsive smell.

Where does Jewish tradition fit in among these worldviews? The Jewish stories don't regard vampires as Satanic, evil creatures, but rather as sick people (in this case, sick women, which requires another discussion ) who reluctantly harm others. But unlike Buddhism, they do not consider an ascetic monk to be the ideal. What is unique about the stories in "Sefer Hasidim" is that human beings can feel empathy toward the sick and follow the golden mean: neither being harmed nor causing harm and becoming insensitive to suffering, which ultimately would turn us into vampires.

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Barrister on September 29th 2011, 4:15 pm

That is so weirdly interesting.....

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Seven Strange Ways Humans act like Vampires

Post  Aslinn Dhan on October 2nd 2011, 11:26 am

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With the third movie installment of the "Twilight" movies, "Twilight Saga: Eclipse," based on Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling vampire-romance novels, slated to arrive in theaters on June 30, vampires have once again crept into pop culture's collective consciousness.

While true, undead vampires do not exist, some diseases and disorders show themselves in ways that are similar to vampiric characteristics. From sunlight intolerance to an aversion to garlic and mirrors, below are seven illnesses that, to some extent, cause people to act like vampires.

7. Aversion to garlic

The fear of garlic, or alliumphobia, is a neurosis that causes people to become freaked out by the mere thought of the stinky plant. In clove form or sprinkled over a pizza, garlic will send alliumphobiacs running in the other direction. Just being in proximity of garlic is enough to trigger a severe panic attack or anxiety for a person suffering from this rare phobia.

The legend that vampires are repelled by garlic stems from its use as a way to ward off evil spirits in southern Slavic countries and Romania. It was believed that those who refused to eat garlic were vampires, and cloves of garlic were placed in the mouths of the deceased prior to burial to prevent them from turning into vampires, according to "In search of Dracula: the History of Dracula and Vampires," (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994).

6. Biting mad

Rabies, or hydrophobia, is a disease that causes people to display several vampire-like symptoms, including the desire to bite others. The rabies virus attacks the nervous system and can also cause oversensitivity to sunlight and to other visual stimuli, such as mirrors. The word rabies means "rage" or "madness" in Latin, and was so named because people who contract it often become delirious, aggressive and suffer from hallucinations.

The disease can also affect portions of the brain that control sleep patterns, leading to insomnia, nocturnal sleeplessness and hypersexuality, behavior that shadows the image of a sinister Nosferatu creeping into a dreaming damsel's bed chamber in the middle of the night.

Bites from bats, which vampires are often depicted as turning into, are the most common source of a rabies infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, two strains of the rabies virus in several European countries can only be transmitted to humans by bats and are therefore known as bat rabies.

5. Hatred of mirrors

Although vampires are depicted as being invisible in mirrors, a real disases, Eisoptrophobia, also known as catoptrophobia, causes people to fear them. This can be brought on by a traumatic event, or formed as a result of deep-seated fears, such as seeing as seeing a horror movie involving mirrors as a child. For people with this disorder, the mere sight of a mirror can bring on an anxiety attack.

Some sufferers of eisoptrophobia believe that looking into a mirror will summon the supernatural, and some think they are being watched through the mirror. Others with the disorder can only stand to look at a mirror for a few seconds, and say that if they look at it for too long, they get the feeling that the person looking back at them is not really them at all, according to "An Excess of Phobias and Manias," (Senior Scribe Publications, 2003).

Vampires' legendary distaste for mirrors traces back to European myths that they don't have a reflection because they have no soul. Because being unable to stand the sight of a mirror is also one the symptoms of rabies, some believe that this vampire myth originated during a rabies epidemic that took place in Europe in the 1700s.

4. A thirst for blood?

In 1985, a scientist claimed to have found a disease that linked the myth of vampires to a very real genetic blood disorder called porphyria. People with porphyria experience the desire to drink human blood to alleviate their symptoms (the genetic disease causes abnormalities in a person's hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells), declared biochemist David Dolphin. His theory was later refuted and proven to be based on a misunderstanding of the disease.

However, one of the real symptoms of the rare disease is a sensitivity to sunlight, with blisters forming on the skin within several minutes of sun exposure. Another real symptom is red-colored urine, according to the Mayo Clinic, and may explain why historically, people may have suspected porphyria sufferers of drinking blood.

3. "Count" Dracula

Arithmomania is the obsessive need to count things, and has a little-known, but deeply rooted, presence in vampire tales. For centuries, it was believed that besides garlic and crosses, one fool-proof defense against vampires was math. To deter a vampire, one only had to throw a handful of rice or seeds and run away, as the vampire would be unable to resume the chase until he or she had counted every single grain.

During the Middle Ages, people poured poppy seeds in the coffins of loved ones before burying them in holy ground, hoping that it would distract a vampire from biting the deceased, according to "Mindsamaze," (Hodgson Press, 2008).

This explains why Count von Count, the calculator-hating, cheerfully spooky vampire-like Muppet on "Sesame Street," is obsessed with numbers and counts anything that comes his way, sometimes resorting to counting his own fingers when there is nothing else around to count. While the character is more silly than scary on the children's show, every one of the Count's counting sessions are followed by a sinister crack of thunder and a flash of lightning.

2. Flaunting fangs

Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia is a rare genetic disorder that affects tooth development. It causes a person's teeth grow in abnormally, and at a later than average age. In some cases, many of the person's teeth are absent except for the canines, which in effect appear to be protruding, and the teeth that do grow in are pointed, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Every human has canine teeth, the sharpest, pointiest teeth in the mouth that are used for biting food rather than chewing it, which is mostly the job of the back teeth. While vampires have been depicted with eerily long fangs for centuries, it wasn't until the late 20th century that vampires began to be shown with retractable fangs.

Fans of the show "True Blood" are familiar with a vampire's tendency to swiftly sprout fangs only when they are about to feed, while hardcore "Twilight" fans, or "Twihards," are aware of the fact that Stephenie Meyer chose to portray her vampires completely without fangs.

1. Scorched by sunlight

An extremely rare genetic disorder, xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, causes a person's DNA to be unable to effectively repair the damage caused by ultraviolet light. One in a million people have the disorder in the United States, according to the Xeroderma Pigmentosum Society (XPS). People with XP develop severe sunburns when exposed to even a small amount of sunlight. While the seriousness of the disorder varies, in extreme cases, all exposure to sunlight is strictly forbidden.

When a person with XP is exposed to direct sunlight, their skin can blister and develop oozing, raw wounds on its surface. Even some indoor lighting, such as incandescent light bulbs, emit UV rays and should be avoided, according to the XPS. Other symptoms of XP include a painful eye sensitivity to the sun, causing them to become irritated and appear bloodshot, as well as a glossy white thinning of the skin.

Sorry, Twihards, none of XP's symptoms include sparkling in the sunlight like Edward Cullen. While Edward seems to be an unusual vampire due to his ability to handle sunlight, older versions of vampires, including John Polidori's 1819 short story "The Vampyre" and James Malcolm Rymer's "Varney the Vampire," published in 1845, were able to walk in sunlight without a problem. Traditionally, vampires are nocturnal creatures because it is easier for them to stalk human prey at night.

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on October 14th 2011, 1:53 am

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Vampires Suck: Origins of an Enduring Myth and Pop Culture Icon
In horror, literature, macabre, mythology on April 11, 2009 at 11:41 pm
Feature

With the success of author Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight book series, the first of the film adaptations grossing over seventy million dollars in its initial seven week run, and Charlaine Harris’s bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series being turned into the hit HBO television show, True Blood, vampires have seen an upswing in popularity as of late.

Why has the vampire story remained one of the most enduring folktales told when other horror creatures in pop culture have faded into obscurity? The longevity of the legend is best understood when taking a look at its roots.

According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley in The Complete Vampire Companion, along with the werewolf, vampires are among the oldest figures in mythology. Though no exact date can be given, Tom Holland in the February 2001 issue of New Statesman believes that there are “foreshadowings of the [vamp] in both Judeo-Christian and classical myth: Lilith, the first wife of Adam, who feeds in the night on the newborn; the sheeted dead in Homer, who can speak only once they have drunk from a trench of blood.”

However, other researchers believe the tale predates Christ by centuries.

“The vampire legend dates back to the earliest times of human civilization to the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and other peoples of the ancient Orient,” Adrian McGrath said.

McGrath, author of the book Vampires: The Origin of the Myth, also points to evidence that vampire lore can be found in ancient Chaldeans in Mesopotamia, near the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

“References to vampires can be found in many lands,” he wrote, “and some scholars believe this indicates that the vampire story developed independently in these various lands and was not passed from one to the other. Such an independently occurring folktale is curious indeed.”

The ancient Egyptians believed the souls of the dead could return as creatures of the night. According to a McGrath article posted on the Web site vampires.monstrous.com, the Goddess Sekhmet was said have become so full of bloodlust after the slaughter of many mortals, that she could only be satisfied by drink alcohol coloured as blood.

Eventually, vampire mythology became concentrated in Eastern European countries around the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Vampires of that time were not thought to be the types perpetuated by modern media – beautiful and alluring. Instead, they were said to be grotesque.

“Often, they were pictured as bloated and purple-faced (from drinking blood); they had long talons and smelled terrible-a description probably based on the appearance of corpses whose tombs had been opened by worried villagers,” Joan Acocella said in the March 2009 issue of The New Yorker.

Also unlike the modern vampire, these vamps were alleged to not necessarily draw blood. The Eastern European Gypsy Male Mullo (the Romany word for “vampire”), was said to sometimes “appear to the woman they loved (usually their widows) whereupon they would attempt to regain their favour by helping with the housework,” according to McGrath. Other lore from that region said that vampires ritually raped their victims as well – a trait not capitalized upon in today’s tales.

In parts of Europe, especially Romania, Greece, and East Prussia, folklore holds that when werewolves die, they become vampires. Southern Slavs are known for their ancient belief in the vampire-werewolf hybrid seen in the film Underworld starring Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman as the hybrid.

According to McGrath, “In Slavic lore, causes of vampirism included dying an “unnatural” death, excommunication and improper burial rituals. The creature in this case would burrow its way out of the grave and feed off its family and friends until it was exposed to sunlight or decapitated. Some vigilant people would be sure to bury suspected vampires with a scythe, thus ensuring decapitation occurred before the creature had the opportunity to dig its way out.”

Decapitation, burning, stakes to the heart and sometimes all three methods at once originated from the Slavs and continue to be the standard of vampire slayage. In fact, Acocella recounted a story of a Serbian man who drove a stake into the grave of another man in 2007. So just as in film, television, and literature, the legend lives on for Slavic people.

Western Europe also got into the vampire myth in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. There were outbreaks of vamp hysteria in the area, with numerous stakings reported in Germany. Acocella puts the year 1734 as the time when the word “vampire” entered the English language from this region.

McGrath wrote that the belief in this monster was based on the “general ignorance of the population,” but that organized religion did more to make sure the belief lived on.

“The Church in Europe during the Middle Ages came to recognize the existence of vampires and changed it from a pagan folk myth into a creature of the Devil. The vampire, though clearly a thing of evil and a pagan myth, had its believability reinforced by preexisting Christian doctrines such as life after death, the resurrection of the body, and “transubstantiation.” This was a concept based on the Last Supper and the dogma of Pope Innocent the III in 1215 A.D., that the “bread and wine” and its equivalent during Christian Communion literally transubstantiated into the actual body and blood of Christ. People who adhered to this belief, and who consumed the blood of Christ, would have little difficulty in believing the corrupted corollary to this — the drinking of blood by evil demons, namely, vampires.

The Church during the Middle Ages gave credence to the belief in vampires, concluded that it alone had the power to stop vampirism, and then reinforced this position two centuries later in 1489 with its landmark book, Malleus Maleficarum. This work was actually designed to deal with the persecution of witches, but it could be applied to evil vampires as well. Unfortunately many innocent people fell victim to this document, and were tortured and executed for no good reason whatsoever.”

Knowing all of this, it’s no surprise that the legend lives on. Its staying power can be attributed to the fact that these myths are so deeply embedded in mankind’s preoccupation and fascination with death and resurrection. And as filming resumes on the next installment of Twilight, HBO begins prepping for the June release of the second season of True Blood, and more and more vampire stories aimed at young adults are published, the vampire has further cemented its status as an icon for the ages.

Sources and suggested further readings:

Guiley, Rosemary E. and Macabre, J.B. (1994). The Complete Vampire Companion. Macmillian USA.

Tom Holland. New Statesman. London: Feb 19, 2001. Vol. 14, Iss. 644; pg. 40, 2 pgs

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Acocella, Joan. “In the Blood; Why do vampires still thrill?” The New Yorker. Mar. 16, 2009. Vol. 85, Iss. 5; pg.101

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Salome

Post  Aslinn Dhan on October 18th 2011, 1:03 pm

According to Mark 6:21-29 (Salome is not mentioned by name in this passage so reference is incomplete), Salome was the stepdaughter of Herod Antipas. Salome danced before Herod and her mother Herodias at the occasion of his birthday, and in doing so gave her mother the opportunity to obtain the head of John the Baptist. According to Mark's gospel Herodias bore a grudge against John for stating that Herod's marriage to Herodias was unlawful; Herodias encouraged Salome to demand that John be executed.

And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.

And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb. (Mark 6:21-29, KJV)

A parallel passage to Mark 6:21-29 is in the Gospel of Matthew 14:6-11:

But on Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body, and buried it, and came and told Jesus. (Matt 14:6-11, D-R)

Some ancient Greek versions of Mark read "Herod's daughter Herodias" (rather than "daughter of the said Herodias").To scholars using these ancient texts, both mother and daughter had the same name. However, the Latin Vulgate Bible translates the passage as it is above, and western Church Fathers therefore tended to refer to Salome as "Herodias's daughter" or just "the girl". Nevertheless, because she is otherwise unnamed in the Bible, the idea that both mother and daughter were named Herodias gained some currency in early modern Europe.

This Salome is not considered to be the same person as Salome the disciple, who is a witness to the Crucifixion of Jesus in Mark 15:40.

According to "Letter of Herod To Pilate the Governor", Herod's daughter was playing in the pool with ice on the surface until it broke under and decapitated her. With Herod's wife holding her daughters head.

In the Apocryphal books of the New Testament, as found in the various non-scriptural writings of the time Salome is mentioned and referenced to the Roman and Hebrew hierarchy.

In the passage Herod to Pontius Pilate the Governor of Jerusalem, Peace:

"I am in great anxiety. I write these things to you, that when you have heard them you may be grieved for me. For as my daughter Herodias, who is dear to me, was playing upon a pool of water that had ice upon it, it broke under her and all her body went down, and her head was cut off and remained on the surface of the ice. And behold, her mother is holding her head upon her knees in her lap, and my whole house is in great sorrow."

The preceding passage was printed in an 18th century text entitled The Apocryphal Books of the New Testament. An edition published in Philadelphia in 1901 by David McKay (later a publisher of comic books) contains what is listed as a preface to the second edition of the work stating, "Concerning any genuineness of any portion of the work, the Editor has not offered an opinion, nor is it necessary that he should."

The name "Salome" is given to the stepdaughter of Herod Antipas (unnamed in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark) in Josephus's Jewish Antiquities (Book XVIII, Chapter 5, 4):

Herodias, [...], was married to Herod, the son of Herod the Great, who was born of Mariamne, the daughter of Simon the high priest, who had a daughter, Salome; after whose birth Herodias took upon her to confound the laws of our country, and divorced herself from her husband while he was alive, and was married to Herod, her husband's brother by the father's side, he was tetrarch of Galilee; but her daughter Salome was married to Philip,the son of Herod, and tetrarch of Trachonitis; and as he died childless, Aristobulus, the son of Herod, the brother of Agrippa, married her; they had three sons, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus

Salome in the arts

This Biblical story has long been a favourite of painters. Painters who have done notable representations of Salome include Titian, Henri Regnault, Georges Rochegrosse, Gustave Moreau, Federico Beltran-Masses and Alexander Voytovych. Titian's version emphasizes the contrast between the innocent girlish face and the brutally severed head. Because of the maid by her side, this Titian painting is also considered to be Judith with the Head of Holofernes. Unlike Salome who goes nameless in the Christian bible, Judith is a Judeo-Christian mythical patriot whose story is perhaps less psychological and being a widow, may not be particularly girlish nor innocent in representations. In Moreau's version the figure of Salome is emblematic of the femme fatale, a fashionable trope of fin-de-siecle decadence. In his 1884 novel À rebours Frenchman Joris-Karl Huysmans describes, in somewhat fevered terms, the depiction of Salome in Moreau's painting:

No longer was she merely the dancing-girl who extorts a cry of lust and concupiscence from an old man by the lascivious contortions of her body; who breaks the will, masters the mind of a King by the spectacle of her quivering bosoms, heaving belly and tossing thighs; she was now revealed in a sense as the symbolic incarnation of world-old Vice, the goddess of immortal Hysteria, the Curse of Beauty supreme above all other beauties by the cataleptic spasm that stirs her flesh and steels her muscles, - a monstrous Beast of the Apocalypse, indifferent, irresponsible, insensible, poisoning.

n 1877 Gustave Flaubert's Three Tales were published, including "Herodias". In this story full responsibility for John's death is given to Salome's mother Herodias and the priests who fear his religious power. Salome herself is shown as a young girl who forgets the name of the man whose head she requests as she is asking for it. Jules Massenet's 1881 opera Hérodiade was based on Flaubert's short story.

Salomé's story was made the subject of a play by Oscar Wilde that premiered in Paris in 1896, under the French name Salomé. In Wilde's play, Salome takes a perverse fancy for John the Baptist, and causes him to be executed when John spurns her affections. In the finale, Salome takes up John's severed head and kisses it.

Because at the time British law forbade the depiction of Biblical characters on stage, Wilde wrote the play originally in French, and then produced an English translation (titled Salome). To this Granville Bantock composed incidental music, which was premiered at the Court Theatre, London, on 19 April 1918.

The Wilde play (in a German translation of Hedwig Lachmann) was edited down to a one-act opera by Richard Strauss. The opera Salome, which premiered in Dresden in 1905, is famous for the Dance of the Seven veils. As with the Wilde play, it turns the action to Salome herself, reducing her mother to a bit-player, though the opera is less centered on Herod's motivations than the play.

In "Salome" (1896) by the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, characterised by some critics as "neo-Pagan", Salome instigated the death of John the Baptist as part of a futile effort to get the interest of "a young sophist who was indifferent to the charms of love". When Salome presents to him the Baptist's head, the sophist rejects it, remarking in jest "Dear Salome, I would have liked better to get your own head". Taking the jest seriously, the hopelessly infatuated Salome lets herself be beheaded and her head is duly brought to the sophist, who however rejects it in disgust and turns back to studying the Dialogues of Plato.

Other Salome poetry has been written by among others including Ai (1986), Nick Cave (1988), and Carol Ann Duffy (1999).

In a Conan the Barbarian story by Robert E. Howard titled "A Witch Shall be Born" the main antagonist is called Salome. Upon making her appearance, she states: "'Every century a witch shall be born.' So ran the ancient curse. And so it has come to pass. Some were slain at birth, as they sought to slay me. Some walked the earth as witches, proud daughters of Khauran, with the moon of hell burning upon their ivory bosoms. Each was named Salome. I too am Salome. It was always Salome, the witch. It will always be Salome, the witch, even when the mountains of ice have roared down from the pole and ground the civilizations to ruin, and a new world has risen from the ashes and dust--even then there shall be Salome's to walk the earth, to trap men's hearts by their sorcery, to dance before the kings of the world, to see the heads of the wise men fall at their pleasure."


Source: Wikipedia

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