In my book, The Goddess Aped, Ambrogio is not the first vampire but rather a mortal who is bitten by the goddess Selene in her attempt to make her love an immortal god like herself.
However, the story is not as romantic as it seems.
Ambrogio was an adventurer who had heard of the hopeless romanticism of Selene. She was triune with the love goddess Aphrodite and goddess of the Underworld, Hecate. He heard that she walked under the cover of dusk as she would approach the temple beneath a veil. Ambrogio loved the sunshine and being among the villagers but nothing was so precious as the gift he sought from Selene so he agreed to begin living at night and sleeping during the day so he could possibly commune with her.
As goddess of divination she was mocked in antiquity for not predicting what was to happen but mortals did not understand that she was forbidden from using the gift for her own benefit.
This was not the first time Selene had been challenged. A number of mortals, including the priestess at Delphi, declared that they should instead have the gift of prophecy for the benefit of mankind. They envisioned centers like Delphi in every corner of the world. However, Selene would remind them that the gift of second-sight and prophecy was not for the ordinary human as he or she would try to elude their fate.
So it was the oracle at Delphi, along with Artemis, Dionysus, and Apollo, who plotted against Selene. They waited until Aphrodite and Hecate were sleeping before having Ambrogio approach Selene. He seduced her over time but begged her to keep it secret. During one late-night conversation, Ambrogio mentioned all of the weddings he was seeing and how beautiful they were, and how happy the couples looked. An envious Selene asked if they would be married. Ambrogio confessed he often thought of them as already married but knew as a mortal there was no way that could ever happen.
Selene’s response was that she could turn him immortal. Ambrogio feigned resistance but relented. Selene sank her teeth into Ambrogio’s skin and drank from his blood. She told him to go home and rest but they would soon be together.
It was the oracle herself who told Selene the news of Ambrogio. At first, Selene was terrified that Ambrogio had died. But, no. He was in the village bragging of how he had the gift of immortality and had tricked a goddess to get it.
Selene was so angry that she told Aphrodite and Hecate. Aphrodite reminded Selene that while he may be immortal, he was not a god. This was little solace for Selene so Aphrodite cursed him so that no mortal would ever love him. As the only true immortal goddess, the triune had no intention of loving Ambrogio. Then Hecate sweetened the pot with her own curse. She cursed Ambrogio so that his skin would burn upon sight of the sun. He would be forced to be a creature of the night, feeding on the blood of the mortals he loved. And Selene cursed him so that neither he nor any of his bloodline would ever see what was ahead of them or be able to escape their fate.
When he heard of the curses, Ambrogio confessed that he worked in league with the Delphic oracle and three gods. Hecate was poised to strike when Aphrodite proposed something different.
She placed a rumor in the ear of sailors that Ambrogio felt himself a rival to the beauty of Apollo and was more fun to be with than Dionysus. In fact, he felt himself so handsome and desirable that he planned to seduce Artemis and force her to be his wife. Once Artemis was his wife, he would then demote her to high priestess of his temple and she would replace the oracle.
When this rumor reached the oracle and three gods, they were so angry that they turned Ambrogio back into a mortal and banished him from the area forever.
There are some who say that Aphrodite took pity on him and so that his name would not be forgotten, she called immortality ambrotos and the elusive elixir of life was known as ambrosia. Hecate was not so forgiving and told Selene to protest through the oracle. And to all of these definitions, it was ambrosia that would be known as “food of the gods” for he, as all mortals, was, as the goddesses would say, “but a small taste of love, lust and flesh. Nary enough to do more than whet the appetite. It was his blood that satiated Selene begging for more and it was the fabled Ambrogio that caused the gods to hunger for it.”