Back to Home Page or Contents Page or Demonology or Index
Asmodeus is anchored in ancient Persia identified as the demon Aeshma Daeva, one of seven archangels in Persian mythology. He is said to be a fiend of the wondering spear who is a demon of passion, jealousy, and rage. His name may also come from the Hebrew shamad, "to destroy."
In Jewish lore Asmodeus is described as the "king of demons." He appears in the Book of Tobit, frequently called the Book of Tobias. Tradition has it that Asmodeus fell in love with Sarah, the beautiful daughter of Raguel. He desired Sarah for himself and did not want her marrying a human man. But Sarah did marry and each time Asmodeus came to the marriage bed and killed hew new husband. This occurred 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 paramour. Tobias married Sarah and drove Asmodeus away. The demon fled to the furthest regions of Egypt where the angel Raphael bound him.
In the Testament of Solomon, Asmodeus plays a very significant role. When King Solomon asks the demon his functions Asmodeus describes them as causing destruction of fidelity between man and wife either through calamities or causing the man to be led astray. He also attacks the beauty of virgins by causing them to waste away. In a passage reminiscence 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.
Asmodeus further claimed in the Testament of Solomon that he was "born of an angel's seed by a daughter of man," if this be true, he would be among the Watchers. He was included within the Seraphim, the highest angelic order but fell from grace and in the Jewish Haggadah concerning Noah. Asmodeus is said to have come from a union between the fallen angel Shamdon and a lusty maiden Naamah. King Solomon bound him with iron, a metal frequently used as an anathema for demons. Also, in faerie lore of the British Isles, iron is used to harm or drive away the fey.
Also, according to Hebraic tradition Asmodeus is the husband of Lilith, the queen of lust and mother of the succubi and incubi, or is associated with her. Being companion to Lilith is very likely since he is characterized as a devil of lechery, sensuality, and luxury. He has cock feet and is known for sexual vigor.
A conjunction of Asmodeus and Leviathan is mentioned in the Grimoire of Armadel. The two demons can teach about malice of other demons. But the operator is cautioned when using this technique because these two demons lie. In Francis Barrett's The Magus, Asmodeus is associated with the sin of wrath. Arthur Edward Waite's 1910 edition of the Book of Black Magic and Pacts mentions Asmodeus as the superintendant of Hell's casinos, mention of a demonic hierarchy stems from the nineteenth-century demonologist Charles Berbiguier.
Of course Christianity continued demonizing him. Asmodeus was a major target in the Witch Trials during the Middle Ages. Ascribed with a sexual nature he would naturally be among the chief demons whom the Witches were accused of having sexual relationships with. Also he continued to be accused for his relationship with Lilith. He was a patron of sorcerers and magicians who invoked him to strike their enemies. He also ruled gambling houses and was invoked bareheaded. He was one of the infernal agents accused of sexually possessing the nuns of Louviers in France (see Black Mass).
S. L. Mathers, the occultist, has this demon's name Asmodee in his 1898 translation of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage. Asmodeus has the ability to produce food, especially in vast amounts for banquets. He knows secrets of any person. Also, he possesses the power of transmutation of metals and transmogrify of people and animals, changing their shape at will. He is the thirty-second demon in The Goetia is named Asmoday. Variations of the name are Asmoday, Ashmedai, Asmodee, and Asmodai. A.G.H.
Belanger, Michelle. The Dictionary of Demon: Names of
the Damneds. Llewellen Publications. 2010. ebook. Cavendish,
Richard. The Black Arts, A Perigee Book, New York. Berkley
Publishing Group. 1967.p.263
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen.The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft. New York: Facts On File.1989. pp. 94-95