• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Vampires in Myth & History

Extracts from this document...


Vampires in Myth & History 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; from vampire foxes in Japan to a head with trailing entrails known as the Penanggalang in Malaysia. However, the vampires we are familiar with today, although mutated by fiction and film, are largely based on Eastern European myths. The vampire myths of Europe originated in the Far East, and were transported from places like China, Tibet and India with the trade caravans along the silk route to the Mediterranean. Here they spread out along the Black Sea coast to Greece, the Balkans and of course the Carpathian Mountains, including Hungary and Transylvania. Our modern concept of the vampire still retains threads, such as blood drinking, return from death, preying on humans at night, etc in common with the Eastern European myths. However many things we are familiar with; the wearing of evening clothes, capes with tall collars, turning into bats, etc are much more recent inventions. On the other hand, many features of the old myths such as the placing of millet or poppy seeds at the gravesite in order to keep ...read more.


As was the seventh child of the same sex in a family, the child of a pregnant woman who didn't eat salt or was looked at by a vampire, or a witch. And naturally, being bitten by vampire, meant certain condemnation to a vampiric existence after death. The Vircolac which is sometimes mentioned in folklore was more closely related to a mythological wolf that could devour the sun and moon and later became connected with werewolves rather than vampires. The person afflicted with lycanthropy could turn into a dog, pig, or wolf. The vampire was usually first noticed when it attacked family and livestock, or threw things around in the house. Vampires, along with witches, were believed to be most active on the Eve of St George's Day (April 22 Julian, May 4 Gregorian calendar), the night when all forms of evil were supposed to be abroad. St Georges Day is still celebrated in Europe. A vampire in the grave could be told by holes in the earth, an undecomposed corpse with a red face, or having one foot in the corner of the coffin. Living vampires were found by distributing garlic in church and seeing who didn't eat it. Graves were often opened three years after death of a child, five years after the death of a young person, or seven years after the death of an adult to check for vampirism. ...read more.


Soon Plogojowitz returned and attacked some neighbours who died from loss of blood. In the other famous case Arnold Paole, an ex-soldier turned farmer who had been attacked by a vampire years before, died while haying. After his death, people began to die and it was believed by everyone that Paole had returned to prey on the neighbours. These two incidents were extremely well documented. Government officials examined the cases and the bodies, wrote them up in reports, and books were published afterwards of the Paole case and distributed around Europe. The controversy raged for a generation. The problem was exacerbated by rural people having an epidemic of vampire attacks and digging up bodies all over the place. Many scholars said vampires didn't exist - they attributed reports to premature burial, or rabies which causes thirst. However, Dom Augustine Calmet, a well respected French theologian and scholar, put together a carefully thought out treatise in 1746 which said vampires did exist. This had considerable influence on other scholars at the time. Eventually, Austrian Empress Marie Theresa sent her personal physician to investigate. He said vampires didn't exist and the Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and desecration of bodies. This was the end of the vampire epidemics. But by then everyone knew about vampires and it was only a matter of time before authors would preserve and mould the vampire into something new and much more accessible to the general public. Natasha Tracey 8EBO ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Capital Punishment section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Capital Punishment essays

  1. Black Death, epidemic of plague which ravaged Europe in the mid-14th century.

    almost all the inhabitants in many places had succumbed, and very few had survived unharmed. Giovanni Boccaccio, in his preface to the Decameron, considered that 100,000 had died in his native Florence, which was probably the total population of the city.

  2. "The Love;y Bones"

    The narrative voice is Susie. It is in 1st person and this allows the reader to recognize the thoughts and feelings of Susie. This makes the reader realise that it is not Susie's family who are left alone but Susie herself.

  1. Analysing a documentary called "14 Days in May".

    The director consistently shows repeated imagery of black men working on plantations, like black slaves use to do for their master before slavery was abolished. The white guards on horses symbolise the power white people use to have in the time of slavery over black people.

  2. '14 Days in May' - A Biased Report.

    It was also proven that a black person, who had been convicted of killing a white person, was 4:3 times as likely to receive the death penalty as a white person who had killed a black person. Edward Earl Johnson is blatantly being shown as a victim of racism.

  1. EdmondDantes the Mythological Hero of our Time

    " He already knew Italian and a little of Modern Greek, which he had picked up on his voyages to the east. With the aid of those two languages, he soon understood the structure of all the others, within six months he was beginning to speak Spanish, English and German" (49).

  2. Analyse a media text documentary film called 14 days in May.

    or argumentative with him and others, he shows a complete understanding of the situation and through out all his talks not once did he become defensive.

  1. Resolving Conflict - Christianity.

    We sometimes know this as the principle of retribution. This means that if a person does something wrong he or she must pay the penalty that should fit the crime. The principle of retribution is one of the main arguments used by those who want to bring back capital punishment.

  2. “14 Days in May” – A Biased Report

    Before hearing these interviews we tend to think that we were the only people who thought Johnson was innocent but afterwards we know we're not. The soundtrack of this documentary was very cleverly thought about. Instead of adding any music (even disturbing music)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work