Monster Monday: Strix

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Strix.

Roman owl mosaic, Itálica, Spain
Roman owl mosaic, Itálica, Spain

A strix is a vampiric creature from Greek and Roman folklore. It has an owl-like appearance (Strix is Greek for “owl.”) with a long beak used to suck blood, large red wings, four legs with long black talons, and round yellow eyes without pupils.

It’s favorite victims are infants and small children, but it is also know to attack lone travelers who venture too far into the wilderness. It can be warded off with certain sacred plants. The strix is considered a harbinger of doom, and hearing its cry means that death is soon to follow.

The legend likely has its origins in the shriek-like calls of real owls. The legend survived into the Middle Ages and gave rise to several vampire-like or witch-like creatures in the mythology of Central and Eastern Europe, including the Albanian shrtiga, the Romanian strigoi, the Polish strzyga, and the Jewish estrie. In addition strega means “witch” in Italian.

 

 

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