Demonology: Hierarchy of Demons

[Demonic Possession]    [Exorcism]    [Demonologists]    [Historical Connections] [Works Cited]

Beelzebub, "Lord of the Flies" L. Breton.................................................................................. Behemoth, demon of the delights of the belly.

From Collin de Plancy, Dictionnaire Infernal, 1863

Demons were considered to be angels who had been cast out of heaven for defying God. Each demon was associated with specific acts and sins and each was connected to a saint in heaven whose actions could override that of the demon.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, demonologists developed a complex hierarchy of demons in order to enable exorcists to identify demons and call upon the correct saint to drive the demons out of the possessed. As demons were thought to be fallen angels, their system of hierarchy mimicked that used to categorize angels.

The Seraphim was the highest order of angels. Fallen angels who became
demons from this order included:
Lucifer - "whose rebellion against God caused him and his followers to be cast from heaven (Guiley)." emperor of hell
ranked above Satan
often appeared in the form of a beautiful child
corresponding saint - John the Baptist
Beelzebub - "prince of the Seraphim and next to Lucifer (Michaelis)" reigned over the witches' sabbat appeared in the form of a giant fly
corresponding saint - St. Francis
Asmodeus - "he burns with the desire to tempt men with his swine of luxuriousness, and is the prince of wantons (Michaelis)." prevented married couples from having intercourse
destroyed new marriages
forced husbands to commit adultery
corresponding saint - John the Baptist

Asmodeus, demon of lust and anger

(L. Breton, in Collin de Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal, 1863)

 

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