(see below for other variations) is a demon
mostly known from the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit
. The demon is also mentioned in some Talmudic legends, for instance, in the story of the construction of the Temple of Solomon
. He was supposed by some Renaissance Christians
to be the King of the Nine Hells.
Spelling variations deriving from Asmodai/Asmodeus include Ashmadia, Ashmedai (Hebrew), Asmodaios-Ασμοδαίος (Greek), Asmoday, Asmodée (French), Asmodee, Asmodei, Ashmodei, Ashmodai, Asmodeios, Asmodeo (Spanish and Italian), Asmodeu (Portuguese), Asmodeius, Asmodi, Chammaday, Chashmodai, Sidonay, Sydonai, Asimodai (Romanian).
The name Asmodai
is believed to derive from Avestan language *aēšma-daēva
, where aēšma
means "wrath", and daēva
signifies "demon". While the daēva Aēšma
is thus Zoroastrianism
's demon of wrath and is also well attested as such, the compound aēšma-daēva
is not attested in scripture. It is nonetheless likely that such a form did exist, and that the Book of Tobit
's "Asmodaios" (Ἀσμοδαῖος) and the Talmud
's "Ashmedai" (אשמדאי) reflect it.
Although there are also functional parallels between Zoroastrianism's Aēšma and Judaism's Asmodai/Asmodeus, the linguistic relationship does not denote conceptual continuity. The two are mythologically and culturally distinct.
In the texts
In the Book of Tobit
The Asmodeus of the Book of Tobit
is attracted by Sarah, Raguel
's daughter, and is not willing to let any husband possess her (Tobit
, vi.13); hence she slays seven successive husbands on their wedding nights, thus impeding the consummation of the sexual act. When the young Tobias is about to marry her, Asmodeus purposes the same fate for him; but Tobias is enabled, through the counsels of his attendant angel Raphael
, to render him innocuous. By placing a fish's heart and liver on red-hot cinders, Tobias produces a smoky vapor which causes the demon to flee to Egypt
, where Raphael
binds him (viii.2, 3).
Asmodeus would thus seem to be a demon characterized by carnal desire; but he is also described as an evil spirit in general: 'Ασμοδαίος τὸ πονηρὸν δαιμόνιον or τõ δαιμόνιον πονηρόν, and πνεῦμα ἀκάϑαρτον (iii.8, 17; vi.13; viii.3). It is possible, moreover, that the statement (vi.14), "Asmodeus loved Sarah," implies that he was attracted not by women in general, but by Sarah only.
In the Talmud
The figure of Ashmedai in the Talmud
is less harmful in character than Tobit's Asmodeus. In the former, he appears repeatedly in the light of a good-natured and humorous fellow. But besides that, there is one feature in which he parallels Asmodeus, inasmuch as his desires turn upon Solomon
's wives and Bath-sheba
. But even here Ashmedai seems more comparable to a Greek satyr
rather than to an evil demon.
Another Talmudic legend has King Solomon tricking Asmodai into collaborating in the construction of the temple of Jerusalem. In yet another legend Asmodai changed place for some years with King Solomon. An aggadic narrative describes him as the king of all the shades (Pesachim 109b-112a). Another passage describes him as marrying Lilith, who became his queen.
It is also stated that he was the off-spring of the union between Adam and the angel of prostitution, Naamah, conceived whilst Adam was married to Lilith.
In the Testament of Solomon
In the Testament of Solomon
, a 1st-3rd century text, the king invokes Asmodeus to aid in the construction of the Temple. The demon appears and predicts Solomon's kingdom will one day be divided (Testament of Solomon 5:4-5). When Solomon interrogated Asmodeus further, the king learns that Asmodeus is thwarted by the angel Raphael
, as well as by sheatfish found in the rivers of Assyria. He also admits to hating water and birds because both remind him of god.
In the Malleus Maleficarum
In the Malleus Maleficarum
(1486), Asmodai was considered the demon of lust
, to which agreed Sebastien Michaelis
saying that his adversary is St. John
. Some demonologists of the 16th century assigned each month to a demon and considered November to be the month in which Asmodai's power was stronger. Other demonologists asserted that his zodiacal
sign was Aquarius
but only between the dates of January 30th and February 8th.
He has seventy-two legions of demons under his command. He is one of the Kings of Hell under Lucifer the emperor. He incites gambling, and is the overseer of all the gambling houses in the court of Hell. Some Catholic theologians compared him with Abaddon. Yet other authors considered Asmodai a prince of revenge.
In the Dictionnaire Infernal
In the Dictionnaire Infernal
by Collin de Plancy
, Asmodai is depicted with the breast of a man, cock legs, serpent tail, three heads (one of a man spitting fire, one of a sheep
, and one of a bull), riding a lion with dragon wings and neck, all of these animals being associated with either lascivity, lust or revenge.
In the Lesser Key of Solomon
Asmodai appears as the king 'Asmoday' in the Ars Goetia
, where he is said to have a seal in gold and is listed as number thirty-two according to respective rank.
He "is strong, powerful and appears with three heads; the first is like a bull, the second like a man, and the third like a ram; the tail of a serpent, and from his mouth issue flames of fire." Also, he sits upon an infernal dragon, holds a lance with a banner and, amongst the Legions of Amaymon, Asmoday governs seventy two legions of inferior spirits.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, Asmodeus is the Lord of the Ninth, the ruler of Nessus, the ninth layer of Baator (Hell) and the most powerful of the archdevils.
- In NetHack, Asmodeus is the strongest demon prince who guards the upper underworld levels of Gehennom.
- Named Sydonai, he is the final boss in the computer game Hellgate: London. He looks similar to Cthulhu.
- In "Voices in the Dark", the first installment of Babylon 5: The Lost Tales, a man named Simon Burke was possessed by a demon who claimed to be Asmodeus, acting as a part of God's strategy to bring mankind back to the Church.
- He is the principal antagonist (though this is not revealed until the last pages) of the novel Asmodejev šal (Asmodej's shawl) by the prominent Croatian author Ivan Aralica.
- In Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, Asmodean is one of the Forsaken.
- in the PS2 game Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Asmodai, here called Asmodeus, appears as one of the main enemies as well as a crest that gives the user magic abilities. in this incarnation, he appears as a pale mass of bloated flesh in the shape of a butterfly, with six arms and an old mans' head on the end of a long fat neck.
- In the real time strategy game Starcraft, there is a popular Use Map Settings game by the name of Heaven's Last Defense/Stand, where Asmodeus is a playable character portrayed as a Terran Goliath.
- In the anime and light novel series Shakugan no Shana, Sidonay is the name of the Bal Masque member. He is shown to be able to change his form into that of a large sea monster and a flighted creature, as well as change his limbs into different forms. He is extremely protective of Hecate, referring to her as 'my Hecate'.
- In Equinox (film), Asmodeus is the controller of different demons and spirits.
- In the Australian movie 'Gabriel', he is one demon fighting against archangels sent to Earth. He owns a brothel and expresses an interest in plastic surgery. He is shown to be extremely vain, as his rage is unleased when Gabriel shoots him in the face with a shotgun, hideously disfiguring it.
- In Megatokyo Asmodeus is the name of Piro's anti-conscience.
- In the film Born, the reincarnation of Asmodeous is the central theme
- In Geoffrey Houshold's novel, Rogue Male, the fugitive is joined in his burrow by a wild cat, whom he names Asmodeus.
- In the game Angels Online, Asmode transforms into his powerful demon form, Asmodeus, and you must defeat him.
- In the book Redwall, a part of the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, an adder by the name of Asmodeus had stolen the great sword of Martin.
- Appears as a female with three heads and is called Asmodai in the anime Rental Magica as the most powerful of the 72 demons that Adelisia Lenn Mathers summons with her Solomon Magic and has control over.
Asmodeus makes an appearance in the novel "Sepulchre" by Kate Mosse.
- Claws of Asmodai is a book by Uzzi Ornan. It deals with religious-secular relations in Israel, from a point of view critical of what Ornan considers "religious coercion."