Asmodeus: The Demon King Of The 9 Hells. Lust Incarnate

Let’s meet the mythical demon Asmodeus, a being that is spread by countless legends and traditions of many cultures.

Asmodeus is one of the “Seven Princes of Hell“, a demon whose evil is matched only by his talent. I have specialized in spreading lust, and he doesn’t just prey on ordinary people. Kings, queens, and even divine beings have been affected by his touch. One of the many figures that rule the hell that we also find in other cultures.

Asmodeus dark demon
Asmodeus Dark Demon

Who is Asmodeus?

Asmodeus is a prince of demons, or in the Judeo-Islamic tradition the king of earthly spirits (shedim/jinn), best known from the Deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, in which he is the main antagonist. In Binsfeld’s classification of demons, Asmodeus represents lust. The demon is also named in several Talmudic fables, one such legend being the story where King Solomon built the Temple of Jerusalem.

Some Renaissance Christians feared that Asmodeus was the Prince of the 9 Hells. Asmodeus is also presented as 1 of the 7 rulers of hell. In the symbolization of demons, each of these characters personifies one of the 7 deadly sins such as lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, anger, envy and pride.

Asmodeus is anchored in ancient Persia identified as the demon Aeshma Daeva, one of the seven archangels of Persian mythology. He is said to be a demon of passion, jealousy and rage. The meaning of his name may also come from the Hebrew shamad, meaning “to destroy.” He is also known as destroyer of men and demon of lust.

Representations of Asmodeus

In Jewish tradition, Asmodeus is described as the “king of demons“. Tradition has it that Asmodeus fell in love with Sarah, the beautiful daughter of Raguel. He desired Sara for himself and did not want her to marry a human man. But Sara married and every time Asmodeus came to the marriage bed he killed her new husband. This happened seven times.

It was then that Tobias, the eponymous author of the book, was visited by the angel who told him how to handle the demonic lover. Tobias betrothed Sarah and threw Asmodeus out. The demon fled to the farthest regions of Egypt where the angel Raphael bound him.

In the Testament of Solomon, Asmodeus plays a very important role. When King Solomon asks the demon his functions, Asmodeus describes them as causing the destruction of fidelity between man and wife, either by calamities or by causing the man to stray. He also attacks the beauty of virgins by causing them to be consumed.

In a passage reminiscent of the Book of Tobit, Asmodeus admits that the angel Raphael has power over him. He could also be put to flight by burning the gall of a specific fish.

Origins and beginnings of Asmodeus

It is also stated in the Testament of Solomon that he was “born of the seed of an angel by a man’s daughter“, if this were true, he would be among the Watchers. He was included among the Seraphim, the highest angelic order, but fell from grace and in the Jewish Haggadah with respect to Noah.

Asmodeus is said to have come from a union between the fallen angel Shamdon and a lustful maiden Naamah. King Solomon bound him with iron, a metal often used as anathema to demons. In addition, in the fairy lore of the British Isles, iron is used to harm or drive away the fey.

Also, according to Hebrew lore, Asmodeus is the husband of Lilith, the queen of lust and mother of succubi and incubi, or is associated with her. Being a companion of Lilith is very likely since he is characterized as a demon of lust, sensuality and luxury.

A conjunction of Asmodeus and Leviathan is mentioned in the Grimoire of Armadel. The two demons can teach about the malice of other demons. But the operator is warned when using this technique because these two demons lie. In Francis Barrett’s The Magician, Asmodeus is associated with the sin of anger.

Arthur Edward Waite’s 1910 edition of The Book of Black Magic and Covenants mentions Asmodeus as the superintendent of the casinos of Hell; the mention of a demonic hierarchy comes from the 19th century demonologist Charles Berbiguier.

Demon Asmodeus
Demon Asmodeus

Demonization in history

Of course Christianity continued to demonize it. It was a major target in witch trials during the Middle Ages. Attached with a sexual nature, he would naturally be among the main demons with whom the Witches were accused of having sexual relations.

He also continued to be accused for his relationship with Lilith. Was a patron of sorcerers and wizards who invoked him to smite their enemies. He also ruled gambling houses and was invoked with his head uncovered. This demon was one of the infernal agents accused of sexually possessing the nuns of Louviers in France (see Black Mass).

Etymology of Asmodeus

The name Asmodeus is also believed to have roots from the Avestan language, meaning “wrath”, and “demon”. However, it is likely that such a form existed, and that the Book of Tobit “Asmodeusos” and the Talmud’s “Ashmedai” reflect it. In the study of Zoroastrian and Middle Persian demonology, the unit form of khashm-dev did coexist, where the term dev was the same as daeva.

However, the encyclopedia proposes that the “Asmodeus” of the Apocrypha and the Testament of Solomon are not only related in some way to Esma, but have similar behavior, appearance and roles, to conclude in another article under the heading “Aeshma”, in the paragraph “Influence of Persian beliefs on Judaism” that the Zoroastrian Persian beliefs might have strongly influenced the theology of Judaism in the long run.

Origin of Asmodeus

Most scholars agree that Asmodeus is derived from Aeshma-daeva, a wrathful demon who appeared in Persian Zoroastrianism around the 9th century B.C. Later, the Jewish and Christian religions built on the infamy of Aeshma-daeva, creating a new demon called Asmodeus.

In the Talmud and the Testament of Solomon (3rd century BC), Asmodeus appears as one of the demons who was forced to help build Solomon’s temple. Unfortunately, Asmodeus proved too powerful for this bondage, and when he fell upon Solomon’s beautiful wives, he decided enough was enough. He threw Solomon 400 miles into the desert, then disguised himself as king and took over his palace as well as his wives. Finally, Solomon returned and cast out the demon.

In the Book of Tobit (400 AD), Asmoedus appears again as an evil demon who kills several of Sarah’s husbands, only to be cast out by the angel Raphael.

Later, Jewish and Christian theologians included Asmodeus in their categorization of demons. He appeared in important books, including the Dictionnaire Infernal, where he was given his high rank among the demons of hell.

Characteristics of Asmodeus

Asmodeus may be the “prince of lust“, but his appearance isn’t exactly enticing! He’s a monstrous creature with three heads: one like a sheep, one like a bull, and one like a man. The man’s face may sound like the most normal, but with pointed ears, a hooked noise, jagged teeth and a fire-breathing mouth, this “human” feature is perhaps the most ghoulish of all.

All of Asmodeus’ heads are crammed into a chest, which resembles a man. At the waist, his body undergoes another bizarre transformation, giving him the shiny feathered legs of a rooster and the scaly tail of a snake. As if Asmodeus were not strange and disturbing enough, the demon rides an equally bizarre steed: a lion with the wings and neck of a dragon.

Some later myths have narrowed the horror box of Asmodeus’ physical features. They describe him as a young man with an attractive face. He can be picked out of the crowd by his pronounced limp, and if you caught him without his clothes (not hard to do, considering he is their specialty) you would find that he had a crow’s foot.

Personality of Asmodeus

Asmodeus is a powerful demon. He is considered one of the “seven princes of hell“, a position that requires a lot of cunning and cruelty to obtain.

Each of the “seven princes of hell” is responsible for spreading one of the “seven deadly sins”. Asmodeus specializes in lust. In some cases, I have fanned the flames of lust. For example, I have connected with Solomon’s wife, Bath-sheba, and may have been responsible for amplifying her infamous sex appeal.

He is also the husband (or son) of Lilith, the “mother of all succubi.” In other cases, Asmodeus preys on people who succumb to lust. For example, I plagued the beautiful virgin named Sarah, killing seven consecutive grooms who wanted to marry Sarah and enjoy her body.

Although lust is the bread and butter of Asmodeus, I also have other sins. He is said to lord over numerous gambling houses. And he delights in revenge. I will never miss a chance to nurse a grudge or help with violent plans for revenge.

Later, he was given a more cheerful and playful personality. True, he was promiscuous and fond of a dice game, but he did not have the evil intentions one would expect from one of the seven princes of hell.

Asmodeus Demon
Asmodeus in one of his representations.

Texts about Asmodeus

There are apocryphal and canonical texts where this demon king is named.

In the Bible

The full name “Ashmedai” is not found, but in 2 Kings 17:30, a certain Ashima appears as the false god for whom the Syrian Hamathites made an idol.

In the Talmud

The figure of Ashmedai in the Talmud is less evil than that of Tobit’s Asmodeus. In the former, he appears repeatedly in the light of a man of good character and humor. But besides that, there is one feature in which he resembles Asmodeus, insofar as his desires are turned against the wives of Solomon and Bath-sheba.

Another Talmudic fable relates that has King Solomon lying to Asmodeus to help in the building of the Temple in Jerusalem.

In the Testament of Solomon

The demon appears and predicts that Solomon’s kingdom will one day be divided (Testament of Solomon, verses 21-25)[28] When Solomon interrogates Asmodeus further, the king learns that Asmodeus is thwarted by the angel Raphael, as well as by the swordfish found in the rivers of Assyria.

In the Lesser Key of Solomon

Asmodeus appears as king ‘Asmodeus’ in the Ars Goetia, where he is said to have a golden seal and is listed as number thirty-two according to the respective rank.

Historical representations

Later apocryphal Christian history texts have also been found mentioning the demon king Asmodeus.

In Christianity

Asmodeus was chosen as the angel of the Law of the Strata. The French Cistercian Augustin Calmet compared his nickname to a fine garment. The 16th century Dutch demonologist Johann Weyer described him as the banker of the baccarat table in hell and overseer of earthly gambling houses.

He was widely depicted as having a handsome face, good manners and an attractive nature; however, he was described as walking with a limp and a scratched or cock-like leg. Lesage attributes his limp to falling from heaven after fighting with another devil.

In Islamic culture

The story of Asmodeus and Solomon reappears in Islamic tradition. Asmodeus is commonly called Sakhr (rock) probably a reference to his fate in the common belief related to Islam, there, after Solomon defeated him, Asmodeus was imprisoned inside a rock box, chained with iron, and thrown into the sea.

In his work Annals of al-Tabari, the famous exegete of the Persian Qur’an (224-310 AH; 839-923 AD) Tabari, referred to Asmodeus in Surah 38:34. Therefore, the puppet is actually Asmodeus who took the form of Solomon for forty days, before Solomon defeated him.

He is consulted by a young Jewish man who tried to meet the Islamic prophet Muhammad in Las Noches. During the conversation, he asked about hell, and Asmodeus describes the different layers of hell.

Modern apparitions

Asmodeus disappeared from popular culture centuries ago. He made his last stand in the 17th century, when Spanish and French playwrights reduced him to a sort of “genie in a bottle” role, an amusing companion for a midnight play. Today, only the most serious theologians could tell you who this dark demon is.

In the popular media

The influx of this mythological character has been so prominent that he has now appeared in modern television series, films and novels.

  • He is a recurring antagonist in the thirteenth season of The CW’s Supernatural series, portrayed primarily by Jeffrey Vincent Parise. The character Asmodeus from A.L. Mengel’s supernatural series The Tales of Tartarus (2013-2016) is based on the demon Asmodeus. The demon haunts the main protagonist, Antoine, throughout the series of novels.
  • This demon named Asmodeus also appears heavily in Dungeons and Dragons game lore as the ruler of the 9 Hells, formerly the greatest of the angels from the earliest editions (though his name was edited out in the same Second Edition releases along with all references to demons and devils).
  • He resides in the lowest layer of Hell, Nessus, and all the Archdemons of the other layer owe him allegiance, though they would like nothing more than to depose him and take his place. Asmodeus cunningly pits them against each other and has plans within plans being made in millennia.
  • In certain editions, it is mentioned that he was an angel of the law who was commissioned by the gods to punish sinful mortals, and was charged with gaining power to fight the demonic hordes of the Abyss by creating Hell and tempting mortals to sin, so that he would have souls to empower his armies.
Asmodeus dungeons dragons
Asmodeus in the game Dungeons & Dragons

Other appearances of Asmodeus

  • While the good gods dislike Asmodeus, the lawful deities accept him as a necessary evil who plays a role in the great cycle of creation. Asmodeus is always depicted using his Ruby Rod, a powerful government artifact. His secret goal is to defeat or subjugate the demons of the Abyss and then conquer the Higher Planes.
  • This demon is also present in the Explorer Roleplaying Game in a similar role to his D&D. The main difference is that his church is widespread in Golarion, and this has elevated him to actual divinity.
    The character of Asmodeus appears as the father of Magnus Bane and Prince of Hell, also known as Edom, in the third season of the Freeform television series Shadowhunters, based on Cassandra Clare’s popular book series The Mortal Instruments. He is portrayed by Jack J. Yang.
  • This devil appears in the book Asmodeus: a Forkful of Tales from Devil’s Peak by Alex D’Angelo (author), Tony Grogan (illustrator) Tafelberg Publishers Ltd 1997. A story “Asmodeus and the Bottler of Djinns” is included in the anthology Favorite African Folktales edited by Nelson Mandela, published by Norton and available as an audio book.

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