Campe

From All About Dragons
Jump to: navigation, search

In Greek mythology Kampe (or Campe) was a monstrous Drakaina (she-dragon) appointed by the Titan Kronos to guard the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes in Tartarus after Cronus imprisoned them there.


Description

Campe had the body of a serpentine-haired woman from the waist up. Below that she had the body of a scaly dragon with a thousand snakes for feet and sprouting from her waist the heads of fifty wild beasts. Dark wings rose from her shoulders and above her head she lifted a furious scorpion's tail. From Nonnus, in Dionysiaca (18.23-264).


Story

Campe was killed by Zeus when he rescued the Cyclopes for help in the battle with the Titans (Bibliotheke 1.2.1).


Interpretation

Joseph Eddy Fontenrose suggests that for Nonnus Campe is a Greek refiguring of Tiamat and that "she is Echidna under another name, as Nonnos indicates, calling her Echidnaean Enyo, identifying her snaky legs with echidnas," and "a female counterpart of his Typhon".[1] In his lexicon Hesychius of Alexandria (K.614) noted that the poet Epicharmos had called Campe a ketos, or sea-monster.


Quote

"Zeus ruling in the heights destroyed highheaded Kampe with a thunderbolt, for all the many crooked shapes of her whole body. A thousand crawlers from her viperish feet, spitting poison afar, were fanning Enyo to a flame, a mass of misshapen coils. Round her neck flowered fifty various heads of wild beasts: some roared with lion’s heads like the grim face of the riddling Sphinx; others were spluttering foam from the tusks of wild boars; her countenance was the very image of Skylla with a marshalled regiment of thronging dog’s heads. Doubleshaped, she appeared a woman to the middle of her body, with clusters of poison-spitting serpents for hair. Her giant form, from the chest to the parting-point of the thighs, was covered all over with a bastard shape of hard sea-monsters’ scales. The claws of her wide-scattering hands were curved like a crooktalon sickle. From her neck over her terrible shoulders, with tail raised high over her throat, a scorpion with an icy sting sharp-whetted crawled and coiled upon itself. Such was manifoldshaped Kampe as she rose writhing, and flew roaming about earth and air and briny deep, and flapping a couple of dusky wings, rousing tempests and arming gales, that blackwinged Nymphe of Tartaros: from her eyelids a flickering flame belched out far-travelling sparks. Yet heavenly Zeus . . . killed that great monster, and conquered the snaky Enyo [war-goddess] of Kronos." - Nonnus, Dionysiaca 18. 237 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.)


Notes

  1. . ^ Fontenrose, Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origins 1974:243.
  2. . ^ Max Mayer Die Giganten und Titanen 1887:232-34.