The Top 10 Lords of Hell
The Demons Who Made a Difference in Eternity Management
“Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.”
Those were the words that the poet John Milton ascribed to the Devil in his epic poem Paradise Lost. While that might be true, the Underworld is not an easy realm to rule. The hours of operation (24/7/365/forever) are brutal. The working conditions aren’t ideal. The stream of damned souls needing to be tormented is endless. It’s simply not practical to try to manage that Inferno alone.
Luckily for the Prince of Darkness, he wasn’t the only one who abused the gift of Free Will. One third of the Heavenly Host also rebelled and were consequently banished. According to lore, the former angels who became demons numbered 133,306,668.
Of course, not all those frightful fiends were equally evil. Some were especially malignant. Naturally those devils who excelled at being malicious pricks were the ones who became...
🔥 The Most Loathsome Lords of Hell. 🔥
#10—Baphomet (The Goat of Mendes, the Black Goat, the Judas Goat)
While the exact origin of this symbol of the Satanic goat is unclear, by the Middle Ages, Baphomet was well known to many Christians. He was once even worshipped by the Knights Templar as a source of their prosperity. It was the 19th Century French magician, Eliphas Levi, who rendered the best known depiction of the demon, an illustration called The Baphomet of Mendes.
In the city of Mendes in ancient Egypt, a he-goat was worshipped in rituals that included the animal fornicating with female devotees— exactly like the Catholic Church claimed the Devil did with witches.
Centuries later, in 1966, when the Church of Satan was founded in San Francisco, Baphomet was chosen as the symbol of Satanism by Anton L aVey.
An Amorite deity that was demonized in Hebrew lore, Moloch was likely identified with both the Assyrian/Babylonian god Malik and also the Canaanite god Ba’al. He was a cause of plagues and the personification of the detrimental effects of sunbeams. Known as “the prince of the valley of tears,” Moloch was depicted as a great king seated on a brass throne—a giant human figure with the head of a bull dressed like royalty.
1 Kings 11:7 calls him “the abomination of the Amorites.”
Inhabitants of Palestine who preceded the Israelites would beseech Moloch to protect them from disaster. The Amorites worshipped him with rites of human sacrifice. Victims were cooked alive in the bellies of huge bronze statues that had been erected in Moloch’s honor.
To the ancient Greeks, Moloch was associated with the Titan Cronos, who had devoured his own offspring out of fear that they would usurp his rule.
Leviathan is a primordial sea creature, the king of beasts, in addition to being a demon like no other. This Arch-Fiend used trickery to murder his victims, rising his great bulk to the surface of the ocean in order to appear as if he were an island. When ships would approach what they thought was land, Leviathan would sink them, dragging them down to dark depths.
The book of Job describes the whale-like behemoth as being nigh invulnerable. Spears couldn’t harm him. His back was like rows of overlapping shields.
In the book of Jonah, it was Leviathan who swallowed Jonah, only to spit him out on land three days later. God protected Jonah while he was in the belly of the beast. Leviathan is the Demon of Envy, the personification of one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
Prior to the Fall, Astaroth was an especially high-ranking angel, possibly one of the seraphim. Commanding forty legions of demons, Astaroth is a Grand Duke of Hell, as well as its Treasurer. In appearance he can be either handsome or ugly. He rides a dragon, carrying a serpent in his hand. He has rancid breath and an appalling stench. Sorcerers intent on conjuring him had to take special precautions against his foul odors.
Possessing knowledge of the past, present, and future, Astaroth can be pressed into giving truthful answers through necromantic divining rituals. He enjoys discussing the Creation, the Fall, and the various faults of God’s angels. Believing that he (and his fellow rebels) were unfairly treated, Astaroth is nonetheless convinced that he will eventually be restored to his rightful place in Heaven.
A Prince of Hell, Samael is a demon of the desert wind, according to Hebrew lore. Known as “the venom of God,” Samael is an executioner who carries out the Lord’s death sentences. In the Garden of Eden, it was Samael who tempted Eve, not Satan. When the Almighty instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Samael tried to tempt the Patriarch into disobedience. Failing that, Belial flew to Sarah, Abraham’s wife, telling her that Isaac had been killed. Believing the lie, Sarah instantly dropped dead.
Legend holds that a 15th Century Kabbalist tried to bind and control Samael, who had been summoned in the name of the Lord. The demon was captured when a crown was placed on his head that read: “Thy Master’s Name is Upon Thee.” But Samael tricked the summoner into an act of idolatry—the burning of incense—which immediately freed the wily demon. Presumably, he remains at large to this day.
One of the most important, most evil, and most beautiful of all demons, Belial was created next after Lucifer. He was among the first angels to rebel against God. After he fell, Belial dedicated his existence to instilling evil and guilt in humankind, particularly through perverted sexual temptations.
Saint Paul believed Belial to be the chief of demons.
In the Dead Sea Scrolls, a story is told of Belial being the leader of the Sons of Darkness, bent on destruction.
Belial is soft-spoken. Don’t be deceived by his treacherous lies!
#4—Asmodeus (Aeshma, Ashmedai, Ashmodai, Asmoday, Asmodius, Hasmoday, Sydonay)
Once a seraphim, one of the highest order of angels, Asmodeus became yet another Demon Prince of Hell. Regarded as especially malevolent, he was depicted as having three heads, those of an ogre, a ram, and a bull—all believed to be sexually aggressive creatures. Asmodeus was the personification of Lust, another of the Seven Deadly Sins. With wings and a serpent’s tail behind him, he rode upon a fire-breathing dragon.
Asmodeus is chiefly concerned with wrecking marriages, often by preventing marital relations or by forcing husbands into acts of adultery. He plots against newlyweds. He corrupts the beauty of virgins. He induces insanity in women, commits murder, and spreads wickedness generally.
Originally associated with King Solomon, Asmodeus was absorbed into Christian lore, becoming one of the Devil’s most dreaded vassals. Sorcerers and witches conjured him using arcane grimoires, imploring him to hurt their enemies.
According to one 16th Century occultist, Asmodeus also ruled over gambling houses.
#3—Beelzebub (Baal-zebul, Beelzeboul, Belzebub)
Whichever of his two forms he manifests in— as either a giant with a swollen face, a fat nose, horns, bat-wings, duck-feet, a lion’s tail, covered with a thick pelt of black hair— or as a gigantic fly— Beelzebub is one of the most atrocious rulers over Hell. The source of his name comes from 2 Kings 1:2-3, 6, 16. Associated by later Christians with the Deadly Sin of Gluttony, “the Lord of Flies” was mentioned in all three of the synoptic gospels, in Matthew 12:24-29, in Mark 3:22-27, and in Luke 11:14-22. (Sorry to bring that up so close to Thanksgiving. 🤷♂️ My bad.)
Beelzebub arouses sexual desires (even in holy men), destroys tyrants, inspires jealousy, instigates murder, draws people into devil worship, and causes wars. Besides all that, Beelzebub also played a prominent role in numerous cases of demonic possession. He was one of the demons named in the mass possession of nuns in Loudon, France, in 1566; in the possession of still more nuns in Aix-en-Provence, France, in 1611; and in the well documented case from Earling, Iowa, in 1928: the possession of Anna Ecklund.
Magical grimoires warned sorcerers that to summon this Demon Prince put the conjurer at risk of death by epilepsy, apoplexy, or strangulation.
Origen (ca. 185-250) was the first Christian authority to blur the line between Satan and Lucifer. Today, both Satan and Lucifer refer to the Devil, but in earlier times, they were distinctly different demons. Closely associated with Venus, the morning star, Lucifer means “Lightbringer” in Latin. There is only one reference to him in the Bible, in Isiaaiah 14:12.
In magical lore describing the hierarchies of demons, Lucifer was originally the top dog, the ruler of Hell, with Satan acting as one of his lieutenants. By the Middle Ages, however, the name Lucifer was synonymous with both Satan and the Devil, connections that were further strengthened by Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost.
From his earliest inception, the one thing that everyone could agree upon was Lucifer’s great crime. He was the personification of Pride, another of the Deadly Sins, the sin that leads to the destruction of all virtues.
In Hebrew, the word “Satan” means adversary. In the Old Testament, a “satan” could refer to a malicious man, as in Psalm 109. It wasn’t until the New Testament that Satan became the personification of evil— the Devil who ruled over all the other demons.
There are numerous pseudepigraphal texts that expounded upon the Fall of Angels. One example is The Life of Adam and Eve, written around the year 100. As the story goes, immediately after Adam was created, the archangel Michael ordered the Heavenly Host to bow down to honor the first human, who was made in the image of the Lord. Satan refused, as did the angels under him, saying mankind was inferior. When God then cast out the angels, they became demons who would forever after hate humanity, desiring our doom.
Satan is associated with Wrath/Anger, the Deadly Sin that leads to irrational rage, cruelty, vengeance, violence, bloodshed, and war. It isn’t clear exactly when Satan captured the top spot over Lucifer, but by the 16th Century, he was the undisputed Prince of Darkness— the Supreme Lord of Hell.
There are a lot of other demons who help make the Eternal Abyss all that it is, but in my opinion, those are the Top Ten Lords of Hell. ☝️
Thank you for reading this. I appreciate your support.
If you'd like to read a humorous take I wrote on Hell 🔥 (and a low-level demon named Zaazu), check out A Demonic Love Story. 👇