The Historian Historical Context

Elizabeth Kostova
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Vampire Lore

Cultures from all over the world have adopted various mythologies and legends, stories real and imagined, that stem from the belief in the life-giving power of blood drinking. Before the practice was outlawed, vampire cults ran rampant in ancient Rome. Infertile Roman women supposedly drank the blood of fertile females believing it would help them conceive. Roman men, likewise, drank blood because they were convinced it would make them more potent. African civilizations and tribes used fetishes to protect against the vampires they believed came to their villages to drink blood, steal children, and kill livestock. Ancient Indian folklore had several figures associated with drinking blood or rising from death as an evil creature.

The ancient legends of vampires survived and evolved in Eastern Europe, where several puzzling deaths in the eighteenth century bolstered the monsters' reputation. Vampires appeared in western Gothic literature in the early...

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This section contains 1,464 words
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