The Greek Mythological Origin of Vampires

If one types into Google “vampire origin story” chances are the results are flooded with links to articles mentioning an ancient Greek myth about a young Italian man named Ambrogio who fell in love with a beautiful goddess named Selene.

The apparent Greek myth goes like this:

Ambrogio (described as a young Italian man) visits the Oracle of Delphi, when he notices a fair maiden who he recognizes as the titan goddess of the moon, Selene.

Immediately he falls in love with her, however Apollo, the sun god, was already smitten with Selene and did not want her to fall in love with a human. So Apollo placed a curse on Ambrogio so that he could never be in direct sunlight.

This didn’t hinder Ambrogio’s love for Selene, but he did realize that as a mortal he would die while Selene, as a goddess, would live forever. That thought drove Ambrogio to travel to the underworld to meet with Hades, god of the underworld, to make a deal that would allow Hades to keep his soul while Ambrogio’s body remained undying on Earth.

Hades agreed to this deal to make him immortal, but only if Ambrogio would steal Artemis’ silver bow and arrows. Ambrogio tried to steal the items off Artemis but was caught in the act. This deeply angered the goddess of the hunt so she cursed him by causing silver to burn his skin.

Fearing the further wrath of Artemis, Ambrogio begged for the chance to prove his loyalty to her. He vowed that he’d never get married, in order to stay a virgin, just like the rest of Artemis’ team of hunters.

To make him a valuable addition to her team, Artemis enhanced some of Ambrogio’s natural abilities so that he would be a more powerful hunter. He was given the gifts of extreme speed, the strength of a god, and sharp fangs for him to draw the blood of his prey.

He was then able to return to Selene, so long as he remained chaste. Ambrogio sent a message written in swan blood to Selene telling her to meet him at the docks for a boat journey that would be the start of their new lives together. When Selene arrived she found a coffin that had a note on it that said to not open until after sunset, and when the sun finally went down she opened the coffin lid to reveal Ambrogio.

They lived together in happiness for many years, never kissing or having any children. But soon Ambrogio noticed that Selene was aging. She said it was the result of Apollo punishing her by turning her into a mortal for running away with a human. Eventually Selene falls ill and is dying quickly. Ambrogio is grief stricken, he’s soul is still with Hades making him immortal and therefore, it would be impossible for the lovers to spend the afterlife together.

Later that evening, Ambrogio walked into the forest towards a pond where he found a swan to kill in an offering for Artemis. The hunting goddess then appeared before him and told him that she was pleased with his loyalty, and she’d like to make one final deal with him.

He was told to drain Selene of all her blood and while this act would kill Selene’s mortal body, it would guarantee that they would spend eternity together. After drinking her blood, her lifeless body began to radiate with light and her spirit raised up towards the moon where she met with Artemis.

Selene became the goddess of the moon once again and every night she was able to reach down from the sky to touch her beloved Ambrogio. She was also able to watch over their night children – newly created vampires who carried the blood of both the lovers.

Please note that I’ve edited together multiple versions of the same story that I found using the resources listed below.

Initially, this piece was meant to state the alleged vampire origin myth and then analyze it piece by piece. However, since the myth itself is quite long, it made more sense to split this article in two parts.

So be on the look out for part two of this vampire origin piece that will be the full analysis this myth.

Spoiler: This myth will be teared apart as it is a load of rubbish. The story is glaringly fake and a ‘myth’ that was made up very recently (within the past 50 years). Therefore, this ‘ancient Greek’ vampire myth is nothing more than the result of some over-imaginative internet user.

Again, part two titled, “Is the ‘Vampire Bible’ Real?” will explain how this fake myth came into wide circulation and it aims to point out the major factors as to why this vampire origin story is nowhere near as old as it’s claimed to be.


Gods and Monsters

Author Lyn Gibson


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