Iconography of the Devil

The History of The Devil. The Devil as the representation of evil and evil entity, exists in various forms, in all the religions and cultures of the world.

We always find the figure of a God of Evil complementary to a God of Good and ancient civilisations considered them the two sides of the same coin: so to a good deity was always opposed an evil one.

The order and the government of the cosmos are reached through the overcoming of conflicts and oppositions between conflicting powers: it is the dualistic ideology of conflict between the forces of good and evil.

The History of The Devil Gustavo Dorè, The Divine Comedy, Inferno (1861)

Gustavo Dorè, The Divine Comedy, Inferno (1861)

The History of The Devil

In Ancient Egypt we find Horus, the falcon-headed god of heaven, and Seth the god of chaos, depicted as a jackal-headed or ram-headed man.

In Palestine there was a good deity, the god Ba’al, lord of the universe, who opposed to an evil, Mot.

Even the cults of ancient Iran were characterized by a dualistic view of the world, where Good and Evil clashed: the first represented by Ahura Mazda, in conflict with an evil god, Ahriman.

The Maya had their evil deity, Ah Puch, lord of Death who accompanied the dog, the Moan bird and the owl.

Among the Aztecs there were two great equal and opposite divinities, Tezcatlipōca and Quetzalcóatl, generally the first one, the second one benevolent.

In Japan the representation of evil is Oni, guardian of hell or torturer of damned souls. The figures of these demons vary but are normally described as giant and monstrous creatures, with sharp claws, wild hair and two long horns. They are humanoid, but the colour of the skin varies, which may be red, blue, black, pink or green. They can have many eyes and fingers and extra feet.

The History of The Devil St Augustine and the Devil

Augustine, the Devil and the Book of Vices , 1471-75 Michael Pacher

The History of The Devil

The Nature of The Demons

In polytheistic religions and ancient mythologies, demons are intermediary beings between man and divinity, and could be of benign or malign nature, while in the initial vision dictated by the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religion, they are entities belonging to the spiritual world, which influence the lives of men, causing them to do harm.

In monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, demons become the explanation for all the negative aspects of human nature.

The Christian Middle Ages saw the figure of the devil and his malign influence on the world more incisively affirm.

From the Latin diabolus (slanderer), in the Bible it is identified as a tempting snake, a lion or a dragon.

In the Apocalypse we also find the first characters of the diabolical representation: the devil is a monster, with seven heads and ten horns. The beast is black, like the darkness of the abyss, or red, like fire or blood. The wings are still missing, a sign of the domination of the air.

I am Multitude

The Devil takes on multiple aspects, because he has the ability to transform himself, to disguise himself, to use all the tools of deception to pursue his goals of perdition.

The Devil shows essentially two faces, that of the tempter and that of the infernal torturer.

In the first case, the Devil tempter takes the form of a snake or human form, above all female, but also of a pious and cultured man, a traveller, a peasant. In this capacity he stipulates pacts with sinners. The reason for the pact with the Devil in the Middle Ages will directly influence the witch hunt.

The confessions of the witches offer us different descriptions: the devil appears in the form of a goat or a cat, but also a tree trunk, a giant man with a fiery red face, with two faces in the same head and six horns, with griffon’s feet, with the nose ending in three points.

The History of The Devil Bosch

Jeronymus Bosch (sec. XVI)

The History of The Devil

In the second case, the devil infernal torturer assumes the terrifying, monstrous aspect, a hybrid between man and the beast, furnished with horns, tail and wings.

The Benedictine monk Rodolfo il Glabro (10th-11th century), describes him as a small humanoid monster, with a frail neck, a pale face, black eyes, a narrow and wrinkled forehead, a flat nose, a huge mouth with swollen lips, a sharp chin goat’s beard, tense and pointed ears, sparse and unkempt hair, dog’s teeth, back and gibbous chest. This is one of the most ancient testimonies: the devil of Rodolfo is an unhappy man with humanoid characteristics.

In the Renaissance, the devil appears more and more black and human in shape, with a sharp tail and thousands of hands, each of which has twenty fingers, with nails longer than the lances of the knights, all committed to crushing unhappy souls.

The devils are represented by Luca Signorelli (XV century, Orvieto) with horns and wings while tormenting the damned; Jeronymus Bosch (16th century) evokes an immaterial evil that deforms matter in a dynamism that acts in the opposite direction to that of nature.

 

Subsequently, the representation of Satan diffuses from the monstrous connotations. In particular, we find it in the paintings of Gustave Doré (1866), inspired by the Lost Paradise by J. Milton (1667).

From the twentieth century, devil worship spreads in the West. Satanism understood as a religious phenomenon could be traced back to the figure of Aleister Crowley, a wealthy Englishman who founded the first Satanist congregation of history, to which in 1911 he provided the headquarters in Cefalù, in Italy: the famous Thélema Abbey.

Satan is conceived as an archetype of a higher state of consciousness of man (Gnostic Satanism), which sometimes tends towards materialistic atheism (rationalist Satanism); as a divinity in all respects (Luciferian and spiritual Satanism), or as a spiritual entity, it does not conform to the natural course of things (occultist Satanism).

The History of The Devil Gustave Dorè, Lost Paradise 1866

Gustave Dorè, Lost Paradise 1866

The History of The Devil

Where the Devil Lives

The desert is the place where demons establish their privileged home.

Over the centuries, hell is described as an increasingly varied landscape, with marshes and marshes, rivers of ice and dark forests, deserts and lakes, but in every representation there is always a burning fire.

The most complete description, rich in inventiveness and detail of hell, certainly belongs to Dante Alighieri. In the Divine Comedy (1321), hell is like a large inverted cone, like a dagger penetrating the center of the Earth. Satan of monstrous dimensions is trapped in the ice of the Cocito swamp. It shakes the giant wings unnecessarily, in an attempt to free itself, triggering icy winds that cause the ice to solidify further. Satan suffers here, in the cold and in the darkness, far from any source of light.

The TDP Devil Gentleman Range

We mixed the two iconic and interesting figures toghether, the Gentleman and The Devil, and tha’s how our Devil Gentleman came out.

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