We might say then that Empousa is a primordial creature who emblematizes everything a proper woman, wife, and mother should not be.
The figure of Empousa is an effective counterweight to the way that mothers and other women have often been constructed in the Western philosophical tradition: as part of a set of fixed oppositions that underlie and support this tradition (e.g., male/female, culture/nature, mind/body, reason/emotion).
How would such figures of mythology as Empousa have achieved human form in the first century B.C.E., and what were the social conditions that gave rise to the particular forms of such demons that we find in Propertius?
Let us now turn to several of Propertius's memorable mothers and view them in this context of Empousa and other demonic mother figures.
Further, the mother, represented as a theriomorphic figure here, reminds us again of demon figures like Empousa, who were often presented as possessing wild animal traits and features.
To return to the figure of Empousa, I see in the changeable figures of mothers, and women in general, inheritors of the shape-shifting monsters of the earliest Greek imaginary: ancient figures like Empousa, Medea, Pandora, and--to bring us down to contemporary times--Sigourney Weaver's character in the movie "Ghostbusters," Dana Barrett, the beautiful cellist who turns into the Terror Dog of the Sumerian god Gozer.
"Empousa, Dionysus and the Mysteries: Aristophanes, Frogs 285ff." CQ 41: 41-50.
I am reminded here of Pandora, who gives or is given "everything." See also the Vita Aeschines, where it is stated that Aeschines' mother was "accustomed to rush out of dark places to frighten women and children, and was nicknamed Empousa, therefore, because Empousa was a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]." See Vita Aeschines, vol.