When did the first "monster" appear in history?
What a fantastic question, I'm surprised I haven't noticed it before. It opens up so many areas of discussion.
To even attempt to answer it we have to define the term monster a little more clearly.
are we talking about such mythical monsters such as ogres, vampires and ghostly monsters.
are we talking about human monsters such as Stalin, Hitler and such.
we could be talking about the monsters the all religious cults use to frighten people into believing. Devils and such.
My feeling is that things that go bump in the night have terrorised humans since the begining of time. Ignorance is a wonderful spur to the imagination.
It is also very usful to those who wish to control their fellows. Hence the formalisation of religious beliefs in early civilisation.
Try imagine ancient egypt without its pantheon of beastly monster gods. One of their gods could be seen as the proto vampire myth.
Terrify ordinary people with monsters or a hell in which they will burn forever and they will believe in anything offering protection or redemption.
The egyption political elite knew this and used it as a method of political control and to stablise their society.
The method is as useful today as it was in ancient times. The vatican is the most brillant example of this with its teachings of guilt and eternal punishment for unbelievers.
Politicans of all types and nations have followed suit taking their lead from the fear mongering of the religous cults to gain and maintain power.
It is even used in advertising, in fact its uses are practicly without limit.
My favorite mythical monster is the vampire but not the urbane vampire of modern novels such as we have seen in recent books and movies. I enjoy and collect stories and myths about the cruder type of vampire. Some of which go back thousands of years.
In the foke lore of the region there are stories of vampires that predate the roman occupation of what is now france. The russian peasants tell storys of vampires that have existed for thousands of years. Even the australian aborigines have myths with a vampire theme and they have one of the oldest mythologys on earth.
Fear of monsters is simply fear of the unknown but it can be a fun subject to play around with. Such fears and beliefs can also tell us an awful lot about the societys which produced them.