The thesis’ aim is to demonstrate not only the evolution, but also means of representation
and various functions of Byzantine female demons. The thesis discusses a selection of texts
(from antiquity to late Byzantine times) concerning female demons, notorious for killing
newborn babies and harming women during pregnancy, labour or immediately after it, as well
as demonesses, whose main task was to tempt men. Although these female demons had
originated from beliefs in different cultures, had different names, they possessed identical
attributes, e.g. they appeared in similar situations, had also common traits of appearance and
skills: polymorphism or flying.
The first chapter serves as a background for the next two chapters. It is a presentation of
the female demons of the ancient world: Mesopotamia, Israel, Greece and Rome. The second
chapter is an analysis of a late antique text, the so called Testament of Solomon. The third
chapter is dedicated to Gello – a demoness, whose origins may be traced back to no less than
VII century BC (where her name was mentioned for the first time in a poem by Sappho), and who enjoyed great popularity in Byzantium, remains well-known and is still present in tchem folklore of many countries, whose culture is genealogically connected with the Byzantine/Orthodox tradition.