Greek Mythology >> Bestiary >> Dragons >> Campe (Kampe)


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Crooked, Winding

KAMPE (Campe) was a monstrous Drakaina (She-Dragon) set by the Titan Kronos (Cronus) to guard the Hekatonkheires and Kyklopes (Cyclopes) trapped in the pit of Tartaros. Zeus slew her and freed the giants from their prison to aid him in his war against the Titanes.

Kampe was a monstrous centaurine creature with the upper body of a woman and the tail of a serpent in place of legs. She had serpentine hair, fifty bestial heads--lions, boars and other wild animals--arranged about her shoulders or waist, and a thousand vipers for "feet". Dark wings graced her shoulders and above her head she raised a deadly scorpion-sting. Her name means "Crooked One" or "Winding One" from the Greek words kampsos and kamptô.

Kampe was perhaps identified with Ekhidna, a she-dragon daughter of Tartaros.



Probably TARTAROS & GAIA (as implied by Nonnus)


CAMPE (Kampê), a monster which was appeinted in Tartarus to guard the Cyclops. It was killed by Zeus when he wanted the assistance of the Cyclops against the Titans. (Apollod. i. 2. § 1.) Diodorus (iii. 72) mentions a monster of the same name, which was slain by Dionysus, and which Nonnus (Dionys. xviii. 237, &c.) identifies with the former.

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 6 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[The Titan-War :] After ten years of fighting Ge (Gaea, the Earth) prophesied a victory for Zeus if he were to secure the prisoners down in Tartaros as his allies. He thereupon slew their jail-keeper Kampe (Campe), and freed them from their bonds."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 18. 237 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Zeus ruling in the heights destroyed highheaded Kampe (Campe) 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 (Scylla) 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 (Cronus)."




Other references not currently quoted here: Diodorus Siculus 3.72, Ovid Fasti 3.799.


A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.