Well, it’s pretty much a Halloween tradition by now – let’s talk about legendary demons! I mean, come on, when you’re talking about scary monsters, you pretty much can’t get scarier than that. So, we’ve got a new crop of eight! All of these figures came from Demon’s Chronicle unless otherwise mentioned.
Beelzebub is derived from Ba’al-Zebub, literally meaning “Lord of Zebub” or “Lord of the Flies.” Ba’al was never a proper name, it’s a title – “Lord.” Lots of gods shared it, and even some people (your landlord is your Ba’al). Some examples in the Old Testament incluse Ba’al-Zephon (Ba’al of Zephon), Ba’al-Pelor (“Ba’al of Pelor”), or Jezebel’s god, Ba’al-Sidon (Melqart, Ba’al of Sidon). Many of the Ba’als were forms of Hadad, a fertility god, and in some cases even Zeus (Ba’al-Pelor was related to Zeus, believe it or not).
As for Ba’al-Zebub, there is no location called “Zebub.” the name first appears in 2 Kings 1:2-3, when King Ahazaiah injures himself and petitions “Ba’al-Zebub, the god of Ekron” for healing. Now, one major difficulty in translation is that everyone has their own names for things – the Chinese scholar Kung-Fu-Zhu was known to the Greeks as Confucius, for example. Or the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu was renamed Cheops by the Greeks. Hebrew did this as well, which makes identifying gods such as Moloch very difficult. Ba’al-Zebub is actually a pun, apparently on Ba’al-Zbl (“zebul”), which means “Lord of the Manor,” and is a reference to several gods. Although “Lord of the Flies” may refer to some fly or pestilence-related cults, that is improbable, as little evidence of said religions has been found.
Instead, the association tied to Ba’al-Zebub since the beginning was to point at the thing that attracts flies the most: Dung. Essentially, Ba’al-Zebul means “Lord of Bullshit.” The real debate is whether it meant that in 2 Kings, though I [ersonally wouldn’t doubt it, because there is some sarcasm in other arts of the text (Elijah was the most sarcastic man ever born, I swear). Historically, since 2 Kings, it was used in this way – calling pagan gods a load of horseshit – and it also became a perjorative name for Satan, as seen in the Gospels when both the Pharisees and Jesus use the name “Beelzebub” to refer to Satan.
As far as making it the name of a specific demon, the Testament of Solomon (a 5th Century pseudepigraphal work), which is the foundation of modern occult demon-summoning, featured Beelzebub as the first demon summoned by Solomon. In this story, Beelzebub is the demon of the evening star, who excites peopel to lust, jealousy, and murder, and causes people to worship demons. He is treated as second-in-command only to Satan, and this tradition has been picked up since. In more modern occultism, Beelzebub is one of the top kings of Hell, up there with Astaroth, Asmodeus, and even Satan himself – he is often cast as the second-in-command, taking the form of a large fly. This figure takes the artwork from the Dictionnaire Infernal (a fly with skulls on its wings), and adds a crown, sword, and trident.
This figure came from Pathfinder Miniatures – there is a Demon’s Chronicle Baphomet, but I don’t have it yet.
Much like Beelzebub, Belial, and Azazel, Baphomet came from people completely misunderstanding some text!
What do you think of when you hear “Baphomet?” Do you think of ancient conspiracies? The occult? The Freemasons? The Illuminati? That hermaphrodite goat with a pentagram? witches and black sabbaths? Ancient Babylonian religions? Secret teachings of the Knights Templar?
Nope. Turns out it’s all a fraud. There is no Baphomet.
Firstly, goat imagery has shown up in many religions and cultures, and is often unrelated – from Herodotus mentioning Greek goat-gods to the Egyptian Banebdjedet, to more modern things, they are not necessarily related. Attempting to draw one unbroken line of conspiracies because a really common animal pops up as a motif really does not work. It would be like trying to claim that every rain/thunder god is the same. Most of the supposed links between them were made up from whole cloth in the 1800s. But aside from that, what is the origin of the name/demon/deity “Baphomet?”
The name first showed up in earnest in the 13th century, as part of a bunch of accusations against the Knights Templar. For some background, the Knights Templar ran afoul of the main Catholic church because A: they failed in retaking the Holy Land, and B: they ran a lot of banking and finance. If you haven’t learned this from Jewish history, the people who run the banks tend to get killed often. So there was the accusation that the Templars worshiped the pagan god “Baphomet,” often with their Catholic reliquaries claimed to be idols. In tracing back the history of the term, the very first mention of Baphomet that anybody has ever found was in an 11th-century French language accusation against the Knights Templar, from when the major persecution was just beginning. When translated, it says, “As the next day dawned, they[Templars] called loudly upon Baphomet; and we prayed silently in our hearts to God, then we attacked and forced all of them outside the city walls.”
This doesn’t say much, does it? Actually, it really helps, because surrounding literature can provide context. The Knights Templar had been accused of incorporating Islamic beliefs into their religion, though this was a fraud – the western European concept of Islam at the time was far different than the real thing. They thought, for example, that the god of the Muslims was Muhammad.
The generally-accepted spelling for Muhammad at the time (and for centuries afterward) was Mahomet.
The French statement was an accusation that the Templars were worshipping Mahomet, only they misspelled it into Baphomet.
Baphomet is a typo.
From there, it just sort of picked up steam as a nebulous pagan god that the Knights Templar were accused of worshiping – generally with no goat imagery or even anything more satanic than, “All pagan gods are devils.”
In the 19th century, Eliphas Levi combined a lot of occultic goat imagery, including some ancient goats, the Sabbath sacrificial goats, the Goat of Mendes, Pan, The Green Man, Banebdjedet, and a particular nature deity worshiped in witchcraft that resembled a goat with a third, burning horn. He drew the hermaphrodite Sabbatic goat that is now famous today, and called it Baphomet, and claimed that it had always been worshiped, and pretty much made it the embodiment of the pentagram. In fact, this was the first time that the pentagram went from “random occult symbol” to “the sign of all that is Satan.” Levi also supposedly based the goat sketch on a gargoyle he saw.
Aleistar Crowley took this and ran with it, declaring Baphomet to be his god and the “Mystery of Mysteries.” And from there it just sort of spread into public consciousness as having always been the identity of any goat demon or god or belief that has ever existed.
Baphomet’s identification with Freemasonry is due to the accusations of a man named Leo Taxil, who also claimed that Albert Pike (the man who made Freemasonry religious) called Satan God. However, Taxil was a liar, and even admitted as much before a public audience – he made up stories about the Masons to drive the Catholics into a furor so he could embarrass them later. The religious aspects of Freemasonry are sort of a Hindu-flavored Unitarianism, anyway. But the damage was done, and this only pushed Baphomet more into the public consciousness as a major occult figure.
So, there you have it. One misspelled name, a bunch of overzealous Catholics, and a couple of lying occultists. And that’s where Baphomet came from! A TYPO.
And then we have Leonard. That’s… that’s not the most intimidating name for a demon ever. Leonard – Master Leonard to his worshippers – is the Sabbatic Goat of the witches, and rules most particularly over lust. He oversees orgies in Hell and at witches’ black sabbaths, demands debasing, obscene rites, and seduces the unwary, soon filling them with, erm… let’s just say it’s something cold. That gives women miscarriages. And turns them into incubi. Rituals invoking Master Leonard involve every kind of evil, from child sacrifice to consuming… erm… the remnants of unborn… LEONARD IS HORRIBLE. Seriously. It’s like the people who came up with him didn’t like him very much.
Because he’s a goatlike bigwig, Leonard is also often portrayed as an aspect of Baphomet. But then, Baphomet is related to everything goatlike, and even some who aren’t – the “Goat of Mendes” is a water buffalo, for example.
A lot of traditional demons, particularly those of Solomon, are repurposed pagan gods. On the fringes of that category is Naberiu, whose name is a corruption of Cerberus. Naberius is Cerberus, provided that Cerberus has become a dapper dresser, gained chicken feet, and turned into a cocker spaniel.
The most valiant and courageous of the Goetic demons, Naberius is a marquis who commands nineteen legions. He makes men intelligent and cunning in the arts, sciences, and rhetoric, and serves a secondary purpose both granting and removing honors and titles in both demons and men – in that way, he’s sort of like a demonic Human Resources representative, as he has to police his own kind. And thus, Cerberus was turned into Puppyface Chickenfoot.
Gaap is a prince (or president) of Hell who commands twenty-five legions, and is often associated with the element of water. Supposedly summoned by Noah’s son, Ham, Gaap incites love, makes women fertile or infertile, teaches philosophy, makes men invisible, steals familiars, kidnaps and transports people, and makes men stupid. He’s pretty varied, there.
Allocer, sometimes translated as Alloces, is one of Solomon’s Seventy-Two demons in the Ars Goetia, and is a grand Duke of Hell who oversees thirty-six legions of demons. He appears as a knight with leonine features and a ruddy face, riding a horse with the features of a dragon. Allocer induces people to immortality, teaches the art of the sky, and provides familiars.
This figure has some incredible detail for something the size of a MUSCLE, and it matches his Dictionnaire Infernal art exactly, even down to the weapons and chicken feet.
This figure is a Chimeric Worm from Mage Knight, but it looks exactly like Bune, so that works.
Bune, who appears as a three-headed dragon – human, wolf, and gryphon – is a powerful demon of Hell, and takes charge over the dead, moving their bodies and transforming them into foul, unclean beasts… so, is he the zombie demon? When summoned he grants eloquence, dignity, wisdom, and riches. He also haunts and guards tombs.
Picollus, much like Rubezahl or Deumus, is an odd addition in that he was just sort of added from another culture. Picollus, one of the Peckols, is an ancient Prussian demon. He guards the underworld, and appears before dying men, requiring a sacrifice of candle tallow. He is quite ruthless, and if not properly appeased, will demand blood, instead.
Well, that’s it for this year! We’ll see what sorts of infernal insanity I can find for next year – have a great Halloween!