The Secret Life of Melusine: Mysterious Mermaid & Serpent Mother of European Nobility
Melusine is the spirit of fresh water, usually depicted as a woman who is a serpent or fish from the waist down, much like the mythical mermaid. She is also frequently illustrated with two tails. The image of Melusine is so famous and enduring that, perhaps without knowing her by name, we still recognize her image today as the logo for Starbucks Coffee.
Sixteenth century Theologian Martin Luther referred to Melusine unfavorably several times as a succubus, and nineteenth century composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote a concert overture titled “The Fair Melusina”.
These days, images of Melusine are still seen in the Vendée region of Poitou, western France, where one can drink Melusine-brand beer and eat Melusine-style baguettes. In Vouvant, paintings of her and her sons decorate the “Tour Melusine,” the ruins of a Lusignan castle guarding the banks of the River Mère, where visitors of the tower can lunch at the Cafe Melusine nearby.