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According to Greek myth, Lamia was a queen from Libya who was transformed in to a snake demon who ate children as the inevitable result of being a child of Hecate. She was gifted with the ability to remove her eyes by Zeus (the point of such an ability is unclear) with whom she had an affair prior to her demonification. Over time the myth evolved and a single lamia became many; at this point they were simply snake women who sucked the blood of young men and performed succubus-like duties. This latter form is the version that appears in most games. 
In Dungeons and Dragons, there is also a Lamia type which is part lion instead of part snake.

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