So today let’s have a little fireside chat about the demon Asmodeus.
Asmodeus is a demon of distinction. He has a genial nature, and it is said that he is as beautiful as Apollo to look upon. Although one might wonder at this if the depictions of him in old books are anything to go by.
But he does seem to be something of a shapeshifter. When he appears to us humans, he adopts various forms – all apparently pleasing to the eye.
Asmodeus is also very good mannered, and is always the perfect gentleman. Indeed, medieval writers called him “Prince of Demons.”
It is said that Asmodeus comes from the Jewish tradition. Up to a point, he does. But the truth is the Jews borrowed him from the Persians during the time they were under the rule of Zoroastrian kings. Asmodeus actually stems from “Aeshma Daeva”, who in the Persian religion personified violent wrath and carnal lust.
Asmodeus is generally considered the prince of pleasures, the patron of passions and lord of luxury and lust.. perhaps one could add “prince of alliteration” too, but that is by the by.
Asmodeus is sensuality incarnate. Thus he is considered the father of new fads and fashions.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Asmodeus is primarily a women’s demon – in the sense that he tempts and torments them.
In fact, the story of his love affairs would fill a whole book on its own. He is indeed the Don Juan of demons. And is highly cosmopolitan in his liaisons, which stretch to all four corners of the globe.
Tradition has it that Asmodeus plied the Bible’s Noah and Solomon with wine and duly seduced their wives.
Asmodeus is also something of a menace to newlyweds as he expects to be first in line in the bridal chamber, before the groom. Whether the groom waits outside has never been recorded.
And according to the Book of Tobit (v14) – which is part of the Apocrypha in the King James Bible – Asmodeus was madly in love with Sarah, daughter of Riguel. Out of jealousy, he successively strangled seven men to whom Sarah had married – and they met their end before the marriages could be consummated.
It was the angel Raphael who brought Sarah’s travails to an end. He filled her bedroom with the smell of fish-liver, knowing that Asmodeus cannot tolerate bad smells. This allowed Raphael’s friend Tobias to marry Sarah unmolested.
After this Asmodeus fled to Upper Egypt with Raphael hot on his heels. He was finally bound by the angel in a cavern on the River Nile, where the chastised demon remained for a long time.
According to French merchant Paul Lucas he was still there in 1707. Lucas was traveling up the River Nile to Fayoum and claimed to have seen and spoken to Asmodeus.
Though it is also said that Amodeus was in Loudun in 1624 – so perhaps Amodeus was able to scoot out of the cave he was imprisoned in on occasion.
But Asmodeus isn’t just about lust and carnality. He is also a scholar, learned in the arts, and a professor at an astrology college founded by the fallen angels Asa and Asael.
Naturally Asmodeus is well-versed in the dark arts and known for his occult wisdom.
That said, he also has a reputation for slyness. He is a most cunning spirit of hell. Asmodeus reportedly cheated Aladdin out of his ring in order to secure the magic lamp for himself. He also tricked Solomon out of his signet ring so he could gain possession of his harem.
Asmodeus is also a diabolic patron of the arts, and has literary aspirations himself – though is somewhat modest in that he never publishes anything under his own name. Equally, he’s helped many other writers who owe their inspiration to him. One, it is said, is Boccaccio, who apparently composed his Decameron through dictation from Asmodeus.
Asmodeus is also partial to games of chance, particularly card games. He is reportedly the banker at the Baccarat table in the casino of Hell, and the superintendent of gambling houses on Earth.
Perhaps surprisingly, Asmodeus is one of the most sympathetic of the demons of Hell. He’s always ready to lend a hand if a man is at the end of his tether.
Indeed, Shakespeare had a soft spot for Asmodeus and called him “Modo” for short.
Although Asmodeus is considered as beautiful as Apollo, he has one physical defect. He limps slightly with one leg. According to demonologists this is because one of his limbs is like a cock’s leg. The other is normal, but has claws rather than toes.
So, to sum up. If you’re of a religious disposition, such as Christian or Muslim, you’ll no doubt fear Asmodeus. But if you’re a magician or of the “Devil’s Party”, you’ll no doubt call him up on occasion. Each to their own.