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Hera also afflicted Lamia with sleeplessness so she would anguish constantly, but Zeus gave her the ability to remove her own eyes. In later traditions and storytelling, the lamiai became a type of phantom, synonymous with the empusai which seduced youths to satisfy their sexual appetite and fed on their flesh afterward.
A fabulous biography of Apollonius of Tyana defeating a lamia seductress has inspired the poem Lamia by Keats. The lamia has been ascribed serpent-like qualities, which some commentators believe can be firmly traced to mythology from antiquity, and they have found analogues in ancient texts that could be designated as lamiai or lamiae which are part-serpent beings. These include the half-woman, half-snake beasts of the "Libyan myth" told by Dio Chrysostom , and the monster sent to Argos by Apollo to avenge Psamathe Crotopus.
In the myth , the Lamia was originally a beautiful woman beloved of Zeus , but after Zeus' jealous wife Hera destroyed all her children, or caused Lamia herself to kill her own offspring,  she became disfigured from the torment, transforming into a terrifying being who hunted and killed the children of others. Diodorus Siculus fl. The queen, as related by Diodorus, was born in a cave. Aristotle 's Nicomachean Ethics vii.
An anonymous commentator on the passage states this is a reference to the Lamia but muddlingly combines this with Aristotle's subsequent comments and describes her as a Scythian of the Pontus Black Sea area. According to one myth, Hera deprived Lamia of the ability to sleep, making her constantly grieve over the loss of her children, and Zeus provided relief by endowing her with removable eyes.
He also gifted her with a shape-shifting ability in the process. Diodorus' rationalization was that the Libyan queen in her drunken state was as if she could not see, allowing her citizens free rein for any conduct without supervision, giving rise to the folk myth that she places her eyes in a vessel.