Very few would think it, but the origin of vampires has been claimed to date back as far as Ancient Greece with the story of a young man named Ambrogio would was cursed by the gods, according to the scriptures of Delphi.
Scriptures of Delphi
There has been much confusion over both the authenticity of the scriptures as well as the source. The scripture was written by man with an alleged link through his family’s lineage to Ancient Greece. Fandom claim the writings only date back as far as the late 1800s, at best, which is accurate based on where they originated.
Others are on the fence about the scriptures, divided between two areas, one being they are complete fantasy and the other being that they are a pillar of ancient mythology. We found where the scriptures claimed to have originated, but are not convinced of their authenticity as there is just no credibility other than the site owner’s claim.
Whatever the truth, the man who wrote the scriptures is dead now, so there’s no way to confirm or deny the legitimacy of the story, as with all mythology. There may be some truth to it and it may well be the true origin of vampires, but the odds are against that due to credibility of the lineage, credibility of the source material, whether the site owner completely made them up and the fact that if the story is accurate, it still boils down to being a piece of Greek mythology that may or may not be true anyway.
The story involves some of the greatest icons and artifacts in ancient Greek mythology, so it’s strange the story isn’t as wide spread as it should be. We’ve researched vampirism for many years and until the days of the internet, we heard nothing whatsoever about the connection between vampires and Ancient Greece, and most references point to Bram Stoker’s Dracula being the source for the origin of vampires, though we retell this incredible and thrilling story with pin points and observations that may shed some light on the authenticity.
The Origin of Vampires in Ancient Greece
According to the scriptures of Delphi, an Italian man named Ambrogio traveled from his home in Italy to Delphi in Greece (no date provided, thought likely around 450BC) to have his prophecy told by the Oracle of Delphi. The oracle was created by Apollo, the Greek God of Sun who was also a God of prophecy, among other things, such as music and light. More on the oracle here.
In one of the days following, Ambrogio met a woman named Selene, who was described in the scriptures as a maiden of Apollo’s temple, though the only Selene from that time that we can find any reference of was the Greek Goddess of the Moon.
Ambrogio and Selene would rendezvous each morning at Apollo’s temple and during the young Italian man’s time in Greece, they fell in love. With Ambrogio scheduled to leave, he declared his love for Selene by asking her to marry him and return to Italy.
The scripts state that Apollo, seeing this, was infuriated that this young man thought he could take a maiden from his temple without even seeking permission, leading Apollo to curse Ambrosio. The God of the Sun cursed Ambrosio so that if he went out into Apollo’s sun, his skin would burn, similar to how modern day vampire skin does in modern day movies and books.
Unable to rendezvous with his love outside the temple the next morning, due to the sun curse Apollo had thrust upon him, Ambrogio sought cover in a nearby cave. This was where he met Hades, the Greek God of the underworld. Hades was the brother of Zeus (Artemis and Apollo’s father), which would make Hades the uncle of Artemis and Apollo.
Ambrogio explained his predicament to Hades and his love for Selene, upon which, the God of the underworld offered him a deal. Hades told Ambrogio that he would give him and wooden bow with magical properties along with 11 arrows to hunt with. He was told to offer these to Artemis to gain her favor and steal her silver bow. In return, Hades would give him and Selene protection in the underworld so they could be together.
As collateral, Ambrogio was required to leave his soul with Hades until he returned with the bow, but if he returned without the bow, he would be condemned to the underworld for all eternity, never to see his love again. Ambrosio saw no other option and took the deal.
Having no way to contact Selene to inform her of what had happened, he took his new bow and arrow and killed a swan to use the blood as ink to write her a letter to let her know the situation. He left the letter at their meeting place before sunrise. Selene was said to be devastated, but continued to work at the temple to prevent any more problems from Apollo. The next morning, Ambrosio left her a poem.
This ordeal last for 44 days, each day, Ambrogio slew a swan. He would take the body of the swan to Artemis as a tribute. He was playing two angles. If he could steal the bow, mission accomplished, but if not he may be able to get Artemis to convince her brother, Apollo, to remove the sun curse.
The scripture states that on the 45th night, Ambrogio used his last arrow, but missed the swan (we assume he reused the arrows as Hades only gave him 11). Artemis noticed he was a fine hunter and a dedicated follower and approached him.
Ambrosio begged her to let him borrow her infamous hunting bow so he could kill one last swan to leave a letter for Selene. Taking pity on him, Artemis agreed and let him borrow the silver bow and arrow. He ran to the cave in a panic to give it to Hades, but Artemis realized she’d been conned by the desperate Ambrogio and put her own curse on him that would make his skin burn if he ever touched silver.
He dropped Artemis’ bow and fell to the ground in pain (suggestively before he got to the cave). This would be another reason people consider this the true origin of vampires due to the silver element, though this has been transformed over the years to only be dangerous to werewolves.
Artemis was furious, but Ambrogio begged for her forgiveness, explaining why he did it, the curse her brother had placed on him and his love for Selene. He also shared the deal he’d made with Hades.
Hearing his plea for forgiveness and his terribly unfortunate situation, Artemis took pity and offered him ”one last chance”. This is the core part of why the scriptures of Delphi are considered the true origins of vampires…
Artemis offered to make Ambrogio an elite hunter with only her skills being superior to him. She granted him the speed and strength of a God with fangs to ”drain the blood of the beasts” to write his poems and letters to Selene. (This could also supported if you believe that Gods aren’t about to take curse back, the same way in Greek mythology that a God back a gift once it has been given). She also granted him the gift of immortality, which means although he had to live with these curses, he could live forever.
In exchange for giving him this new-found power, Artemis wanted he and Selene to escape from Apollo’s temple and solely worship her. Though Artemis was a virgin Goddess and her followers had to strictly adhere to the same rules. The two could never kiss, touch or have children.
Although this was far from ideal and Ambrogio would never be allowed to touch Selene again, at least they could be together, so he agreed to Artemis’ terms. The next morning, there was a letter waiting for Selene, prompting her to escape to the boat dock, which she did before Apollo could notice.
Selene fled to the boat dock where she found Ambrosio on his ship. This was another part of the story that suggested the origin of vampires. There was a wooden coffin with a note for Selene, telling her to order the captain to set sail and to only open the coffin after sunset. There is no reasons for Ambrogio being in a coffin when he could have just hidden somewhere on the ship to shield himself from the sun.
Allegedly the couple sailed to Ephesus, another ancient city in Greece, where they lived in a cave during the day to avoid Ambrogio being exposed to sunlight and they worshipped Artemis in the night at her grand temple.
The story states that they couple lived happily together for years whilst abiding by Artemis’ rule of no contact between one another, but eventually Selene aged as while Ambrogio remained immortal.
On her deathbed, Ambrogio was distraught because his soul remained with Hades and he could not join her in the afterlife, seeing him go back to Artemis and beg for Selene to be granted immortality so she could live.
Artemis granted him this favor and told him that he could touch her just once to drink her blood, another reference to vampires as we perceive them today. Doing this would kill her mortal body, but from that day on if their blood was mixed, it would create eternal life for anyone that drank it. Artemis would also see to it that they stayed together forever if he did this.
Ambrogio initially wanted to refuse, but Selene pushed him to agree, so after much convincing, he bit her neck and sucked her blood, just like a modern day vampire would. Ambrosio did what Artemis asked. As he limp body was set down, she began to radiate with light and levitate until she raised up to the skies.
Ambrosio watched on as Selene’s spirit raised higher and higher until it met Artemis at the moon and when she arrived, the moon lit up a brilliant white. This was the point when Selene became the Goddess of Moonlight.
The last part of the story we will paraphrase:
”Every night she [Slene] would reach down with her rays of light to the earth and finally touch her beloved Ambrogio as well as all of their children – the newly created vampires who carried the blood of Ambrogio and Selene, together.”
That is the end of the story and the end of the scripts of Delphi.
One of the discrepancies we found in the scripts of Delphi to confirm it was in fact the origin of vampires is that Selene was well known to have an affair with a mortal named Endymion who she was said to have fifty children with.
It was said that Selene was also one of Zeus’ lovers and the two had many children; Pandia, she who is all-bright; Ersa, the dew; Nemea, the nymph of the eponymous place; and Dionysus, although this may be a confusion due to the name similarity between Selene and Semele while Selene actually only had two children with Zeuz; Pandia and Ersa.
There are also sources stating that Selene, who wasn’t a virgin Goddess like Artemis, had children with Tithonus, a Trojan Prince. Selene was also mentioned to date a god named Pan, but throughout history, there hasn’t been any mentioned of an ”Ambrogio”. Furthermore, many believe that Selene was actually an older moon Goddess than Artemis, who in some ways replaced her.
Though the scriptures of Delphi have no mention of Seline’s children with Endymion or Zeus, it would suggest the story is fictitious as Ambrogio was claimed to become immortal and he and Selene were madly in love at the time she became a Goddess, but Ambrogio doesn’t exist anywhere else in Greek mythology other than in the scripts of Delphi.
Though we have done some research away from the origin of vampire story to find out how Selene became the Goddess of the moon, but we were unable to find anything. We have sent this case over to the AHOM Team 2 for further research and investigation and will make any chances upon being updated from them.
Ambrogio was said to eventually return to Italy, but the story of what happened to him after that is unknown. Some say he created a clan of vampires that ended in civil war. Others say he is still alive today, residing somewhere in Florence.
If true, Ambrosio would either be residing among the living or he would be in the same realm or reality as the Greek Gods are now.