E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A female phantom, whose name was used by the Greeks and Romans as a bugbear to children. She was a Libyan queen beloved by Jupiter, but robbed of her offspring by the jealous Juno; and in consequence she vowed vengeance against all children, whom she delighted to entice and murder. (See FAIRY.)
Keats has a poem so called. His Lamia is a serpent who assumed the form of a beautiful woman, was beloved by a young man and got a soul. The tale was drawn from Philostratus.De Vita Apollonii, book iv., introduced by Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy.