In films vampires and werewolves are often depicted1) as having a blood feud2), but in traditional folklore3) they were not necessarily bitter enemies.
The werewolf and vampire are similar in many ways. They both hunt human prey4), which might make them natural rivals5). However, the werewolf and vampire myths spring from6) very different origins.
● Origin of the Werewolf
The werewolf appears as an ancient figure in folklore throughout the world. In Greek mythology, Lycaon displeased the deity7) Zeus, who turned him into a wolf. This is where the term lycanthropy8) originated, and is one of the oldest tales of a man turning into a wolf.
In Europe and the Late Middle Ages, belief in werewolves spread. Werewolf tales were prevalent9) in France. The French name for werewolf is loup-garou. In sixteenth century France, there were many accounts of men being tried for becoming werewolves. Incidences10) of lycanthropy have been reported throughout the world in modern as well as ancient times.
● Origin of the Vampire
Vampire lore11) is varied, but usually has to do with death or is associated with the grieving process. The Lamia, a vampire of Greece, attacked children and sucked their blood after having a stillborn12) child. Vampire tales often served as a warning to those tempted13) to lead an evil lifestyle. If they were bad, they might become a vampire.
In European tales, an unexpected or sudden death, suicide, or improper funeral or burial might also cause a vampire to rise from the grave. After the death of a loved one, that person came back to attack the family. The victims of vampires suffered from nightmares and appeared to have a wasting disease14). The vampires multiplied by contaminating15) members of their family or community.
The vampire of literature was a more romantic vision of the vampire. Bram Stoker16)'s novel Dracula strongly influenced vampire myths.
● Vrykolakas—Werewolf or Vampire?
Werewolves and vampires existed side by side in the mythologies of many cultures. Among Slavic tribes in the Balkans17), young warriors ritually transformed into wolves by the wearing of pelts18).
Over the centuries Vrykolakas lost its meaning as the rituals disappeared. By the 16th century, the meaning had changed to vampire. There was a Slavic belief that those who had been werewolves in life would become vampires after death.
● Blood Feud Between Vampires and Werewolves
The battle between vampires and werewolves is most evident in the 2003 film Underworld. However, a blood feud between vampires and werewolves is more of movie concept than one based on traditional legend. In legend, werewolves and vampires simply did not have much contact. In some, they shared a connection, but were not necessarily mortal enemies.
There have been allusions19) to a battle between vampires and werewolves called the Trajanic20) War (also called the Dacian War). In 101〜102 and 105〜106, there were two short wars between the Roman Empire during Trajan's rule, and the Dacian kingdom21), which had become a threat to the Empire. It was said that during that event the Dacian vampires betrayed the werewolves, which were their servants, to the Romans, and this unforgiveable act caused werewolves and vampires to become eternal enemies. Though the Trajanic War is a true part of history, the vampire and werewolf angle, of course, is only a myth.
In the popular film Twilight, the vampires and werewolves have been feuding for centuries, but have learned to coexist by means of a pact22) between them. Vampire and werewolves, it appears, may learn to tolerate23) each other, but they will probably never be the best of friends.
1. depict [dI5pIkt] vt. 描写,描述
2. feud [fju:d] n. (部落或家族间的)世仇
3. folklore [5fEJklC:(r)] n. 民间传说
4. prey [preI] n. 猎物,捕获物
5. rival [5rEIvEl] n. 竞争者,对手
6. spring from: 发源于;来自
7. deity [5di:ItI] n. 神
8. lycanthropy [laI5kAnWrEpI] n.【心】变狼(妄想)狂;(传说中)用巫术(或魔术)使人变成狼
9. prevalent [5prevElEnt] adj. 流行的,盛行的;普遍的
10. incidence [5InsIdEns] n. 发生
11. lore [lC:(r)] n. (某一文化或活动领域的)全部传说.
12. stillborn [5stIlbC:n] adj. 死产的;夭折的
13. tempt [tempt] vt. 引诱,诱惑
14. wasting disease: 消耗性疾病(如结核病);痨病
15. contaminate [kEn5tAmIneIt] vt. 使……不纯净或不洁净
16. Bram Stoker: 请参阅P5编者注1。
17. the Balkans: 巴尔干半岛各国,位于欧洲南部
18. pelt [pelt] n. (羊及其他产毛皮小动物的)毛皮;(去毛的)生皮
19. allusion [E5lju:VEn] n. 典故;引用典故
20. Trajan [5treIdVEn] n. 图拉真(53?〜117),古罗马皇帝,改革财政,加强集权统治,大兴土木,修建城市、港口、桥梁和道路,发动侵略战争,向东扩张领土,直至波斯湾。
21. the Dacian kingdom: 达契亚王国。Dacia [5deIFIE] n. 达契亚,古代一地区和罗马一省份,大致相当于今天的罗马尼亚地区。
22. pact [pAkt] n. 公约,协定
23. tolerate [5tClEreIt] vt. 忍受,宽恕