Slavic, Roman, and Modern Vampires

Myths and Lore

Vampire myths go back thousands of years and occur in almost every culture around the world. Their variety is almost endless; from red eyed monsters with green or pink hair in China to the Greek Lamia which has the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a winged serpent.

Many of the myths traveled with nomadic tribes and tradesmen. The lore has changed throughout time from body snatching and sould stealing to blood sucking creatures. For the most part, these vampires are to be immortal with a few handicaps- holy water, garlic, and crucifixes.

The richest of the vampire myths are those of Romania.

Slavic Vampires

The Slavic people ranged from eat Europe to Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia to Poland. The Slavs came from north of the Black Sea and were closely associated with the Iranians. Prior to the 8th century, they migrated north and west to where they are currently located. But, through the 9th and 10th centuries, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the western Roman Church were struggling over supremacy. They formally broke in 1054 A.D. with the Bulgarians, Russians, and Serbians, remaining Orthodox, while the Poles, Czechs, and Croations went Roman. The split caused a big difference with the development of vampire lore. The Roman Church believed that in-corrupt bodies were saints, while the Orthodox Church believed they were the vampires.

Causes of Vampirism included:

  • being born with a caul, teeth, or tail
  • being conceived on certain days
  • irregular death
  • excommunication
  • improper burial rituals

Preventative Measures included:

  • placing a crucifix in the coffin or blocks under the chin to prevent the body from eating the shroud
  • nailing clothes to the coffin walls
  • placing millet or poppy seeds in the grave because vampires liked to count
  • piercing the body with thorns or stakes

Evidence of Vampirism included:

  • death of cattle, sheep, relatives, neighbors
  • exhumed bodies being in lifelike state with new fingernail growth
  • if the body was swelled up like a drum
  • blood on the mouth of the body
  • if the corpse had a ruddy complexion

Destroying Vampires:

  • stake in the chest
  • decapitation
  • burning
  • repeating the funeral service
  • holy water on the grave
  • exorcism

Romanian Vampires

Romania is surrounded by Slavic countries, so it isn't surprising that their vampires are nothing more than variants of the Slavic vampires. The Romanian vampires are called Strigoi based on the Roman term "strix" for screech owl, which also came to mean demon or witch. There are different types of strigoi to include the strigoi vii (live witches who become vampires after death).

In addition to the Slavic myths, Romanian vampires exhibit the following:

Causes of Vampirism included:

  • born out of wedlock
  • death before baptism
  • 7th child of the same sex in a family
  • child of a pregnant woman who didn't eat salt
  • child of a pregnant woman who was looked at by a vampire or witch
  • person who had been bitten by a vampire

Preventative Measures included:

  • remove the caul from a newborn and destroying it before the baby could eat any of it
  • careful preparation of dead bodies
  • prevent animals from passing over a corpse

Evidence of Vampirism included:

  • when it attacked family and livestock
  • holes in the earth
  • one foot in the corner of the coffin
  • living vampires did not eat the garlic distributed during church

graves were often opened three years after death of a child, 5 years after the death of a young person, or 7 years after the death of an adult to check for vampirism.

Destroying Vampires:

  • placing garlic in the mouth
  • shoot the body through the coffin

Lamia
Lamia
Strigo
Strigo

Early and Later Vampires

Early vampires, are those who appeared about 4,000 years ago in ancient Assyria and Babylonia. The most feared of these vampires included Lamastu. She was a vicious demon goddess who preyed on humans. In Assyrian legend, Lamastu would creep into a house at night and steal or kill babies, either in their cribs or in the womb. Lamastu would, also, prey on adults, bringing disease, sterility, and nightmares. She would, also, suck the blood from you men. Lamastu is often depicted with wings and bird like talons, sometimes with the head of a lion. Pregnant women could wear amulets depicting Pazuz, another evil god who once defeated the goddess, to protect themselves and their unborn babies.

The Greeks feared Lamia, a demoness with the head and torso of a woman and the lower body of a snake. Lamia was one of Zeus' mortal lovers, who Hera made so insane that she would eat all her children. She became so insane that she became immortal, sucking the blood from young children our of jealousy for their mothers.

Later vampires, those with records dating back hundreds of years. These vampires all have traits and characteristics, but are either demon or spirit. Demons are those that reanimate corpses so they could walk among the living, whereas spirits of the dead would not leave their own body.

The most notable demon vampires were the Russian Upir and the Greek Vrykolakas. In these traditions, sinners, unbabtized babies, and other people outside the Christian faith wer more likely to be reanimated after death. In many cases, the undead corpses had to return to their grave regularly to rest.

The vampires in Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania were commonly called strigoi (plural). Strigoi were almost exclusively human spirits who had returned from the dead. Unlike the Upir or Vrykolakas, the strigoi would pass through different stages after rising from the grave. They would return to their family, steal cattle, beg for food, and bring disease.

Vlad Tepes
Vlad Tepes
Elizabeth Bathory
Elizabeth Bathory

Modern Vampires

Modern vampires are not the average blood sucking creatures of the past. Instead, they are those who are infamous in their world for their deaths and murders. The two most known of the modern vampires are Vlad Tepes and Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

Vlad Tepes Dracula

Vlad III earned the name "Tepes" because the word means impaler, and he was known far and wide for impaling his victims on stakes, then displayiing them publicly to frighten his enemies and to warn would-be transgressors of his strict moral code. He is credited for killing between 40,000 - 100,000 people.

The name "Dracula" originates with a secret fraternal order of knights, "The Order of the Dragon," which upheld Christianity and defended the Empire against the Ottoman Turks. Vlad's father was admitted to the order around 1431 because of his bravery in fighting the Turks. The word for dragon in Romanian is 'drac' and 'ul' is the article, and where his father was Vlad Dracul, Vlad III became known as Vlad Dracula, as '-ulea' means 'the son of.'

Throughout his life, Vlad was known and thought of as evil. He has harsh punishment techniques. He is now known for his inhumane cruelty, as impalement was his preferred method of torture and execution. He usually forced the bodies on an oiled stake, which was not too sharp or the victim would die too rapidly. He impaled his victims through body orifices, the abdomen, or the chest.

The various stakes were placed in geometric patterns, which became known as the "Forest of the Impaled."

Elizabeth Bathory

The "Blood Countess" was a lesbian who prepetrated incredible cruelties upon pretty servant and peasan girls. The castle, overlooking the village of Csejthe, was the site of Elizabeth's blood orgies.

One day, a servant girl was brushing the Countess' hair; she pulled or or remoarked that something was wrong, which infuriated the Countess, who slapped the girl so hard that her nose bled. Some of the blood fell on the Countess' skin, to which she observed that the skin had lost is age. To which she decided that the blood of young girls would help her retain a youthful appearance.

With the help of her former nurse, Ilona Joo, Tharka, the witches (Dorottya, Szentes, Darvulia), and the dwarf majordoma Johannes Ujvary, Elizabeth was able to capture her buxom servant girls, taking them to an underground room, and subjecting them to the worst cruelties she could devise. If the girls refused, Elizabeth used branding irons, molten wax, or knives to shed their blood.

Elizabeth murdered far fewer than Vlad, but her murders totaled around the 600 area. She would torture the girls, sometimes for weeks before they were killed. She preferred to hang the bodies from the ceiling, and experience a "blood shower," using iron maidons, cyndrical cages, and and variation thereof.

Virgin peasants from neighboring villages were brought to the Countess on the pretext of being hired. But, once Elizabeth decided that royal blood was much better, suspicions rose higher.

Upon finding the bodies of the girls in her basement, she was given two trials, which the Countess was never convicted.

Vampire Entertainment

Vampires have been given different appearances, traits, and characteristics. Books have been written about their lore, as well as fictional stories written based on the myths. Movies have been produced, as well. The most famous story is that from Bram Stoker. The novel, Dracula, has sold millions of copies throughout its career. The book's plot has been introduced into several movies, to include "Dracula." Anne Rice has written the "Vampire Chronicles" which includes Queen of the Damned and Interview with the Vampire, which have both been made into movies. Elizabeth Kostova, has written a magnificent novel, The Historian, to which a young girl travels through Europe in search for her father, who still believes the Vlad Tepes is still living. Nancy A. Collins, has written a Sonja Blue Collection, consisting of several books about a vampire's life.

Vampires can be found on television series as well. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," is a well known exmple.

Vampires are apart of our history, and will continue to shed some mystery over the books we read and the movies we watch.

More by this Author


Comments 56 comments

nArchuleta profile image

nArchuleta 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

What an excellent and well-researched Hub. In Romania now you can visit Dracul's castle ruins (if you don't mind climbing 1000 steps -- wear comfy shoes!) or dine at a Dracula restaurant in Bucharest (if you don't mind crossing a rat-infested bride -- wear HARD shoes!) I think it's also noteable that each generation has its vampires: mine had the Lost Boys and Interview with a Vampire. This generation has Twilight.


kendra joiner 4 years ago

i have love vampires for a long time i have been reading the house of night book an i dont know what's really any more all i know is i would love to be a vampire i thing that it is interesting


Fame 4 years ago

Interesting in some sense !!!!!!!


tina 5 years ago

i love vampires and they are always very interesting to me.


snowy 5 years ago

vampires are always interesting to me.i really like how these people have come up with so many articles about vampires.this is my favorite site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


dragon8947 5 years ago

vampires are a really interesting topic, & i like how you brought up more then one type of vampire & where they originated from. i have read a lot of variety in books as far as vampires go. & am @ a fork in the road between "nightworld", underworld", & "mortal instruments". thank you for furthering my knowledge on vampires & talking about some of their origins....


MrHunter profile image

MrHunter 6 years ago from Highway 24

Will list you in the further reading category for my own history digg, if good. Yours more in depth!


hailey 6 years ago

this was very interesting indeed. i liked it alot. i wish there were good vampires too. i never hear anything good about them unless they're in movies and inlove with someone they cant be with.


skulduggery rocks 6 years ago

hi again. i saw that twilite saga freak's comments what an ass. what a hypocrite. she gives 12 to 13 year olds a bad name. i'm 13. birthday was the 14 of sept. i av about 33 good books. and guess wat?

29 of them av vamps in. i can read breaking dawn in 7 hours.

not a cool thing to do but fun to try to beat the record. so prb. please rite back!


I'm not alone! 6 years ago

hello all! i'm really happy that I have found you, i thought that i'm crazy or something becouse I'm taking those storys as real ones.many times i'mlooking out of the window with hope that some day I will see . maybe becouse normal life is so borring. thanks again, feel better now


jbond777 6 years ago

Very nice hub great details do you like vampire the masqurade


skulduggery rocks 7 years ago

hi. i luv all of the twilight books. i also love skulduggery pleasant. i'm even auiditioning for it. i love buffy the vampire slayer. my fave character is dawn or willow or angel. i can't decide! any way, check out my hub. type my name then you'll find them.


sophie 7 years ago

hi i would just like to say even though i have read and seen twilight i would just like to say there are much better things than fake vamps i personaly prefer stuff like intervew with a vampire and buffy the vampire slayer and i have had a run in with a vamp in a cemertary and i know he was a vamp cuz i saw hes gravestone HE WAS DEAD it was sooo cool lol once again twilight not real people not real


Rebekah 7 years ago

Just gonna point out that this isn't actually about Twilight at all.

I love history so this 'blog' if you will was very interesting and you did a very good job looking up all of your facts. Vampirism has always interested me and yes I have read a ton of books that are based on vampires but there you have it. They are just based off of them. No one actually knows the truth about vampires except for actual vampires if they even exist(I know that it sounds insane but I hope they do really exist).

So again good job. I really enjoyed reading the information you put out there.


Alice Silver 7 years ago

Very interesting and helpful. I've always loved vampire stories, movies, and shows and found them very interesting. It helped me a lot because I'm trying to do research for a story I'm writing. So Thanks.


nisa 7 years ago

that's unic to talk and learn about all kind of vampires..

i think that i'll make a research about the different of each vampires from different countries...can u help me???


UROS DUSAN 7 years ago

THE SECRET OF GHOSTLY HEALTH WAS NOT THAT HARD TO DISCOVER BINAH SAMBHOGA KAYA THE DEPENDENT ORIGINATION OF CONDITIONED GENESIS............

SEND ME A SILVER CHALICE SO I CAN CAST HAPPINESS INSTEAD OF A SKULL CUP DEATH


twilite fan 7 years ago

i love twilite im on the last book


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

I'm not updating this page with more info on him. This page is to show the different vampires from different regions, not specific a bio on major vampires (although there is a brief bio on the modern vampires). I may create another page on him, but not right now.

If you are rude, I can easily spam all of your comments so that you cannot comment. I merely asked a question as to what question you posed. I have not been rude to you, so please respect that.


twilite saga freak 7 years ago

u cheeky sod. please give me more info on dracua's son please?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

You didn't really ask a question.


twilite saga freak 7 years ago

HELLOOOOOOO is anyone home? i've been w8in 4 a anser 4 2 weeks! isn't that enough time to answer a question?


twilite saga freak 7 years ago

not a very sunny story. i want to hear more about his son vlademere if that is how you spell it.


twilite saga freak 7 years ago

he's dead now. went missing. he was found charred on a bomfire. he committed suicide


Travis Pyle profile image

Travis Pyle 7 years ago from Vineland, New Jersey

totally awesome i love vamps


twilite saga freak 7 years ago

he had big teeth was a goth and hated sunlight, oh and he worked in a funeral parlar. ha ha ha. so we all love sci fi scary books, but does anyone like skullduggery pleasant? thats my second favourate set of books.

luv y'all


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Jensen, vampires are an interesting subject. There is truly a lot to learn and take in about them. Most cultures have had vampire legends, which means that must say something about the reality of them, to some degree anyway.

twilite saga freak how was he a vampire? wouldn't he still be as such?


twilite saga freak 7 years ago

i've just found out my second cousins grand farther was a vamp. cool or wat!! by the way the last one i sent was my stupid idiotic big sis. srry


Jensen 7 years ago

I have been interested in Vampires since I was in Kindergarden when I first watched The Little Vampire. That movie is probably one of the greatest Vampire movies alive. Everyone thinks I'm a freak and I'll drop my interest in Vampires in a heart beat. But they don't get it. Vampires are not monsters. They are beautiful.. I DO honestly believe Vampires are real.


twilite saga freak 7 years ago

hey sofia, did you read wat i put first, just because i'm young doesn't mean you don't have to listen. why am i being egnored? is it because i'm young?


Sophia 7 years ago

I just saw some things that I never thought I would see!!! There was so much information on this page, vampires have to be real. Yesterday, I saw a video clip of a woman that drank blood from other people that she calls "donors." She only came out at night.She clamed to be a vampire. She said that she would never drink blood from a baby.


bite me :) 7 years ago

The whole history of vampires is so beautiful and ancient! There is so much interesting culture and stories!!! It is out of this world...


twilite saga freak 7 years ago

whitney i love this article, it rocks. it also beats revising for my exams. talk of blood, i need a blood test soon. u know there's a rumor flying around that all clean blood samples go to the vampiers i mentioned last time so freakin weird and wrong. by the way i am playing one of dracula's brides in our play, i av 2 kiss a cute guy at school. huba huba. but what century clothes do i wear 1600 or 1500?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

It's said that she did it for youth. virgin blood was thought tyo preserve youthful appearance.


Ej 7 years ago

nice article very well researched, but did elizabeth bathory really do those things to those girls? i mean after all a blood shower? who i ntheir right mind would do that?


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Hi Whitney! A great overview of the vampire myth. It's amazing that it exsists in so many cultures. Thanks!


-Emily- 7 years ago

I love this article! I am doing my research report for Literature on Elizabeth Bathory. I found this hub long before I was assinged my report though. I am very interested in Vampires and Zombies, but I'm a little torn because, zombies are very unbelieveable, but Vampire can be applied to real life, even if not in the way people think. Anyway, great article, it has given me some great information for my paper. Good Job!


rachael 7 years ago

im caterina i love twlight but she destroyed everything about vampires i like how she gave details about their skin and extra gifts but i love the bad vampires better they are more interesting and i also believe and hope there are vampires and hope to meet one and i thought this was a very well written article thank you i got lots fro it


twilite saga freak 7 years ago

i luv the twilite boks. i av em all. i'm 12 but i find the last book just riveting. nice one stefenie! i always av belived in vampires, and they are real. not seeking blood strong fast ones from books but an actual people who drink donated blood. who'd a thought it! bye 4 now


Caterina 7 years ago

i love vampires because i am from romania and i love the legend of dracula.... and because i love lestat. i like TWILIGHT too, but i think its more a romanbce and that thing wih the vampires is like a detail. in the movie you can see that they dont even have vampire fangs..... they have normal twwth. and no offense, but stephanie meyer destroys the beauty and the fascination of vampires........................... ANNE RICE ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D:D:D:D:D:D:D


twilightfreak 7 years ago

The article is very interesting.Im facinated with vampires ever scince the TWILIGHT SAGA.You did an awesome job.


IsabellaMarieSwan 7 years ago

this was written verry well. I am a huge fan of TWILIGHT.your article was very well researched. I am obsessed with vampires too.


Melodie 7 years ago

There is an argument that Dracula actually means son of the devil because if you look in Romanian dictionaries today "dracul" means devil. However, in the time Vlad was alive, "dracul" meant dragon but the meaning was later changed to devil. So in the case of this article, dragon is still correct.


Meagan 7 years ago

I Love Vampires. im doing my 3rd nine weeks history report on them. vampires r friggin awesome !


misscupcake 7 years ago

wow i love things like this and im doing it 4 a progect 4 school so it helped me a lot


anonymous 7 years ago

i like vampires just cuz da movie,twilight!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Hm. I've never heard of "drac" meaning devil; I've only ever heard dragon. What language does it mean devil?


kitty 8 years ago

"dracula" has actually another origin.

"drac" means devil

and that "a" means son of...

so "dracula" means son of the devil

otherwise, you've done your jop good!


Adrenochrome profile image

Adrenochrome 8 years ago from Manchester

I've written a couple of hubs, including a look at Bram Stokers novel, and now wish they were half as good as this one.

Tremendously written, well researched and supported by some great pictures. Well done, an informative and very enjoyable read. All the best.


aka the roe 8 years ago

very interesting, didn't know this things about vampires.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you! Vampires are a weird obsession of mine. I've spent time researching these creatures. I have a notebook filled with info. Plus several vampire books. I'm attempting to create a decent sized collection of vampire lore.


Truth 8 years ago

Great article! Glad you put the work into it, a lot of people blend the myths with the reality but you did a very clear article.


dc64 profile image

dc64 8 years ago

Very detailed and historical account. Girl, you've done your homework! Thumbs up. Debra


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

I think so.... I've always found vampires as an interesting subject.


Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 8 years ago

Interesting!


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

very interesting and scary...

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