Kampe Trip


I’ve always enjoyed looking at mythological monsters, and Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods reminded me of one from Greek mythology I hadn’t covered yet. That would be Kampe, jailer of the Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires in Tartarus. Kronos imprisoned these giants and set Kampe to watch over them. The most complete description of her that we now have is that by Nonnus in the fifth century, which really throws in everything but the kitchen sink. She has snakes for hair (meaning Athena’s curse on Medusa wasn’t all that original after all), the head and torso of a woman with the hindquarters of a dragon, more snakes wrapped around her legs, fifty heads of ferocious beasts around her waist, claws like sickles, a scorpion tail, and dusky wings that could produce gales. Also, her eyes are telescopes! No, periscopes! No, microscopes! Actually, they apparently shot sparks.

Picture by GNZG
For such a fearsome creature, there isn’t really that much description I can find of how she was defeated. Zeus wanted to free his giant uncles so that they could help in his battle against Kronos and the Titans, so he killed Kampe with a lightning bolt. I suppose that would do it, but I’m not sure how he got close enough. Even if her back was turned, wouldn’t some of the heads around her waist see him approaching? Also, didn’t the cyclopes make Zeus’s thunderbolts after being freed? Well, maybe he found a few lying around before receiving a consistent source for them.

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This entry was posted in Authors, Greek Mythology, Monsters, Mythology, Percy Jackson, Rick Riordan and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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