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A Dhampir (also dhampyre, dhamphir or dhampyr) in Balkan folklore is the child of a vampire father and a human mother. In vampire fiction the term Dunpeal is also used. Dhampirs often have powers similar to a vampire, but none of their weaknesses (though the reverse can occur, as well).[1] A dhampir is believed to be unusually adept at killing and detecting vampires.

As the concept became popular in fiction the idea of hybrid or half-vampires expanded. Thus, in the broadest sense, dhampirs can be understood as the children/offspring/clones/etc. of at least one vampire while at the same time, not a vampire themselves.

Contents

Etymology

The word Dhampir is believed to derive directly from Slavic[2] upir or upyr which means to drink, thus dhampir, to drink with teeth.

Nomenclature

The word "dhampir" is associated with Balkan folklore, as described by T. P. Vukanović. In the rest of the region, terms such as Serbian vampirović, vampijerović, vampirić (thus, Bosnian lampijerović, etc.) literally meaning "vampire's son", are used.[3][4] In other regions the child is named "Vampir" if a boy and "Vampiresa" if a girl, or "Dhampir" if a boy and "Dhampiresa" if a girl. In Bulgarian folklore, numerous terms such as glog (lit. "hawthorn"), vampirdzhiya ("vampire" + nomen agentis suffix), vampirar ("vampire" + nomen agentis suffix), dzhadadzhiya and svetocher are used to refer to vampire children and descendants, as well as to other specialized vampire hunters.[5]

Origin

In the Balkans it is believed that male vampires have a great desire for women, so a vampire will return to have intercourse with his wife or with a woman he was attracted to in life[3]. Indeed, in one recorded case, a Serbian widow tried to blame her pregnancy on her late husband, who had supposedly become a vampire[4], and there were cases of Serbian men pretending to be vampires in order to reach the women they desired[6]. In Bulgarian folklore, vampires were sometimes said to deflower virgins as well.[3] A vampire may also move to a village where nobody knows him and marry and have children there. The sexual activity of the vampire seems to be a peculiarity of South Slavic vampire belief as opposed to other Slavs[3], although a similar motif also occurs in Belarusian legends.[7]

Features

Some traditions specify signs by which the children of a vampire can be recognized. Serbian legends state they have untamed dark or black hair and lack a shadow.[4]; in Bulgarian folklore, possible indications include being "very dirty", having a soft body, no nails and bones (the latter physical peculiarity is also ascribed to the vampire itself), and "a deep mark on the back, like a tail". In contrast, a pronounced nose was often a sign, as were larger than normal ears, teeth or eyes. According to J. Gordon Melton, from his book, The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead

Dhampirs in fiction

The concept of dhampirs (much like the related vampire) is popular in fiction and can be found in various novels, television shows, comic books, and video games.

Notes and references

  1. ^ T. P. Vukanović. 1957-1959. "The Vampire." Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, 3rd ser. Part 1: 36(3-4): 125-133; Part 2: 37(1-2): 21-31; Part 3: 37(3-4): 111-118; Part 4: 39(1-2): 44-55. Reprinted in Vampires of the Slavs, ed. Jan Perkowski (Cambridge, Mass.: Slavica, 1976), 201-234. The reprint lacks footnotes. Most material on dhampirs is in part 4, under the heading "Dhampir as the Chief Magician for the Destruction of Vampires."
  2. ^ From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth by Matthew Beresford,ISBN-1861894031,2008,page 8
  3. ^ a b c d Levkievskaja, E.E. La mythologie slave : problèmes de répartition dialectale (une étude de cas : le vampire). Cahiers slaves n°1 (septembre 1997). Online (French).
  4. ^ a b c Петровић, Сретен. 2000. Основи демонологије. In: Систем српске митологије. Просвета, Ниш 2000. Online (Serbian)
  5. ^ Димитрова, Иваничка. 1983. Българска народна митология. Online article (Bulgarian)
  6. ^ Laković, Aleksandar. 2001. Vampiri kolo vode. In: Glas javnosti, 20-12-2001. Online (Serbian)
  7. ^ Міфы Бацькаўшчыны. Вупыр (Вупар). Online (Belarusian)

See also

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