lamia »

A monster girl whose upper body is human and whose lower body is snake-like. Lamia and naga are often rendered so similarly as to make it merely a matter of style which one a serpent-legged character will be called.

Mythologically, lamia (wikipedia link) are from Greek myth - The lamia was created by Hera. A Lybian queen was raped by Zeus. Since Hera couldn't punish her husband for his cheating, she decided to murder the queen's children in front of her, then turned the queen into a part-serpent monster so that she would be shunned. Hera also cursed her to eat other children.

Naga (Wikipedia link) are from Hinduism and Buddhism, and literally means "cobra". They can appear with varying degrees of humanity, but typically have fully human torsos in fanart because that's sexier. Naga have traditionally been seen as friendly to humans, with even having cobra-like naga sheltering Buddha himself from rain as he meditates in some iconography.

Although naga are more appropriate for the friendly roles, sword-and-sorcery settings tend to call serpentine girls lamia.

The Japanese, apparently not having either of these myths a major part of their tradition, tend to ascribe lamia/naga with personalities like those they associate with snakes in general - especially big egos - and lamia are often the tsundere types. They also tend to have snake-frog-slug jokes.

See also

Child of the following tags:

monster girl, mamono musume

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