Hellboy, a cambion from the Hellboy series, iconically breaking off his own horns.

Others Half-demon
Alu-fiend (female)[2]
Alu-demon (female)[2]
Body type Humanoid
Sentience Sentient
Sapience Sapient
Place of origin Mesopotamia (disputed)
Diet Omnivore
Locomotion Bipedal
Related species Nephilim
Status Data Deficient
Behind the Scenes
Universe Mesopotamian literature
Christian demonology

In fantasy, legend, literature and popular culture in general, a cambion is the offspring of a demon and a human.[3]

Overview[edit | edit source]

They are classically seen as the offspring of the - often involuntarily - copulation of a demon and a human being. It usually refers to an incubus mating with a human woman, although, according to legend, a succubus and a man may also generate the same sort of being.

Cambions are sometimes referred to as sexual vampires due to the way they entice their victims into sexual activity for an evil purpose.

Legend variations[edit | edit source]

One of the earliest mentions of a half-demon child comes from Mesopotamia on the Sumerian King List, ca. 2400 BC, where the hero Gilgamesh's father is listed as Lilu. It is said that Lilu disturbs and seduces women in their sleep, while Lilitu, a female demon, appears to men in their erotic dreams. Two other corresponding demons appear as well: Ardat lili, who visits men by night and begets ghostly children from them, and Irdu lili, who is known as a male counterpart to Ardat lili and visits women by night and begets from them. Such beings were originally seen as storm demons, but they eventually became regarded as night demons because of mistaken etymology.[4]

According to the Malleus Maleficarum, cambions are born in a much more complex reproductive ritual, in which an incubus, a succubus and two humans (one of each gender) are involved. Such method requires that a succubus mate with a human male to collect his sperm, which is then passed to the incubus; the demon then mates with a female human and impregnates her with the sperm. The child shows no sign of life right after birth, meaning it has neither pulse nor breath. This continues until the child is about seven years old, where it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate one from a human. A cambion is usually devilishly cunning, and angelically beautiful, able to persuade even the most strong-hearted individual to do his or her bidding.[5]

The text goes into great detail, citing biblical and other sources, before concluding that the method shown above is the most accurate.[5] It is worth noting that a cambion is conceived entirely from human donors (egg and sperm), which leads to questioning of the reason why the child is not also fully human.

In the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, the cambion is said to be the direct offspring of the incubus and the succubus, foregoing any need for human involvement. This same incarnation retained the absence of breath or a pulse until seven years of age, but was said to also have been incredibly heavy (even too heavy for a horse to carry) and to have cried upon being touched.[3]

Cambions in popular culture[edit | edit source]

Cambions, as portrayed in the Monster Manual (4th Edition) by Anne Stokes.

In Dungeons & Dragons, the word cambion refers to a male half-fiend, a cross between a fiend and another creature, often a human. The terms alu-fiend or alu-demon refer to its female counterpart. In the 3rd Edition, cambions are the offspring of a tanar'ri father and a planetouched mother, often a tiefling. Iuz the Old of the World of Greyhawk game setting is referred to as a cambion. He is the son of the witch Iggwilv and the demon Graz'zt. In addition to his human form of an old man, he can appear as a 7-foot-tall (213.36 cm), maroon demon with green eyes. In the 4th edition, cambions are the result of devils mating with mortal beings, and look much like tieflings, but with the addition of functional wings. The title is also gender-neutral, rather than being divided into male cambions and female alu-fiends. The mothers of true cambions always die in childbirth, serving to strand the newborn on the Material Plane where it will be orphaned, or in the Abyss where it will be abused by the demons who look down upon such children. Cambions breed true with each other, but they often prefer to seek out humanoid mates to create tiefling children.[2]

Jesse Turner, from the Supernatural series.

In Supernatural, a cambion, katako or antichrist is the offspring of a demon by a human mother. The Bible, according to Castiel, "gets more wrong than it does right," and the Antichrist is not the son of Lucifer, but demon spawn born of humans. This lineage makes them incredibly powerful and with Lucifer on the rise, they become more powerful, so powerful they are capable of "killing the Host of Heaven (the angelic army) with one word", according to Castiel. Because of this he is insistent that Jesse Turner - a cambion - must be killed. It is unclear how cambions are conceived; Jesse's mother, Julia Wright, was a virgin when she was used as a demon's host, but no reference was made to the conception, and Castiel implies that cambions are hard to create, suggesting that other factors were involved than a choice of host. As a cambion, Jesse can easily alter reality and warp the fundamentals of logic and what is natural. In this ability, he made a girl scratch her brains out just by using itching powder, produced the tooth fairy just by thinking it was real and even made some toy buzzers electrocute people. During a state of panic, Jesse was able to transform the angel Castiel into a lifeless action figure. He has also shown powerful telekinetic abilities, and even terrakinesis just by clenching his fists, allowing him to create minor tremors. He was also able to mentally force a demon out of its human host with a glare and teleport instantly from North America to Australia with a thought. Additionally, Jesse is able to stay hidden from angels, humans, and demons unless he wants to be found.[1]

The Cambion frigate

In EVE Online, the Cambion is a spaceship - an special edition assault frigate -, and the result of Caldari State's executor Tibus Heth's insistence that modern weapons of war should be able to continually outperform previous standardized versions. It is an out-and-out brawler. Taking note from the Merlin – a versatile combat frigate in its own right – this ship is intended to rush in, overheat everything it runs, hit hard with everything it has and get out moments before death can find it.[6]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Merlin, the best known wizard of Arthurian legend, is believed to be a cambion in some sources.
  • Caliban, the subhuman son of the malevolent witch Sycorax, and one of the primary antagonists in William Shakespeare's The Tempest is also described as a cambion.

References[edit source]

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