Vampires are depicted in some of the earliest myths and legends that have survived from the ancient world. In this presentation, Rob will share spine-tingling tales of vampires and vampirism from Mesopotamian and early Abrahamic religious literature (including the Dead Sea Scrolls). These stories are populated by some familiar undead figures who have survived for millennia in popular culture, including Lilith, Cain, the Nephilim giants, and Gilgamesh. A common thread running throughout these ancient stories is that vampires are not irredeemably evil creatures and are in fact capable of becoming heroic figures if they embrace the chance to make amends for the crimes they have committed.
Rob Chappell enrolled at the University of Illinois as a freshman in the fall of 1986. He majored in Latin and obtained his B.A. degree in Classical Philology in May 1991 with Bronze Tablet Honors. He also completed an M.A. degree in Germanic Languages and Literatures at the U of I in May 1996. Rob began his administrative professional career in May 1997 at the UI Graduate College, where he ran its Information Office for three years. He has served as the Assistant to the Honors Dean in ACES Academic Programs since April 2000. His master’s thesis (on vampirology in a 19th-century Swiss-German novella) was published as a book in 2012, and he continues to lecture and write in his spare time.