This article is about the mythological monster. For the poem by Jibanananda Das, see Campe (poem). For the lexicographer, see Joachim Heinrich Campe.

In Greek mythology, Campe or Kampê (Greek: Κάμπη "crooked"; confer καμπή "a twist, a bend") is the name of a fearsome chthonic drakaina (she-dragon).

Called the Nymph of Tartarus (Ταρταρία νύμφη), Campe was given the task of guarding the Hekatonkheires and the Cyclopes in Tartarus, by Cronus, leader of the Titans. She was killed by the eldest gods led by Zeus when he freed the Cyclopes to help him in the battle with the Titans.[1]


Campe was a half-dragon with a beautiful woman's head and upper body and a scorpion-like tail. Nonnus (Dionysiaca 18.23–264) gives the most elaborated description of her.[2] Joseph Eddy Fontenrose suggests that, for Nonnus, Campe is a Greek refiguring of Tiamat and that "she is Echidna under another name, as Nonnos indicates, calling her Echidnaean Enyo, identifying her snaky legs with Echidna's", and "a female counterpart of his Typhon".[3]

Campe was set by Cronus to guard the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes in Tartarus after he did not release them from their imprisonment by Uranus.

In his lexicon, Hesychius of Alexandria (K.614) noted that the poet Epicharmos had called Campe a kētos, or sea-monster.[4]


Campe is generally depicted as having the head and upper body of a beautiful woman, the lower body of a dragon, a massive scorpion's tail full of venom, snakes around her ankles, and 50 grisly heads of various creatures (wolves, snakes, bears, lions...) bubbling around her waist. Her fingernails were "curved like a crooktalon sickle",[5] and she possessed black wings on her back. More rare depictions describe her as holding scimitars, having snake hair, holding a scythe etc.

Popular culture


Modern literature

See also


  1. Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 1.2.1.
  2. Kampe, including translated section from Dionysiaca
  3. Fontenrose, Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origins 1974:243.
  4. Max Mayer Die Giganten und Titanen 1887:232–34.


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