To what extent does Count Dracula fit the traditional image of vampires?
It remains unknown how much exactly did Bram Stoker know about the traditional image of vampires when he was lingering in Whitby in the year 1890. It is certain, however, that it is there where an inspiration for Dracula “bit his neck” for the first time leaving a legacy of a horror-love novel capable of freezing readers’ blood until this day. Vampires, along with dragons, ghosts and other supernatural beings, came to existence in many remote cultures on the span of thousands of years. Tagalog mandrugo in Philippines, tunda in Colombia, asanbosam in Africa, vetala in India, vrykolakos in Greece, Jiang Shi in China, Cihuateteo in Aztec Empire and goddess Skehmet from Ancient Egypt are but a few examples of how people from pole to pole called – or perhaps still do it - blood-thirsty and sexually active vampires. Stories and legends concerning those undead creatures evolved and varied. As a general rule they used to explain the inexplicable and keep sacred places intact. To ascertain what (apart from the atmosphere of Whitby, with its red roofs, bats and tombstones) stimulated Bram Stoker to bring into being Dracula we shall take a closer look at our regional, European vampire myths. It is all most likely to have begun in Mesopotamia. Inconceivably long time ago there were legends about an anthropomorphic, blood-drinking demon called Lilitu that arose from Sumer. Lilitu must have been an inspiration for the Jewish Lilith. According to some traditional texts she was Adam’s first wife who had been banished by God for disobeying her husband’s orders and, exiled from Eden, she became the queen of demons. Greek version of a seductive blood-sucking female creature was Empusa, daughter of the goddess Hecate and a secret lover of Zeus. Those relatively attractive demonic beings had to change their characteristics in the medieval, deeply feudal Europe. Were the exterior to match the...
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