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St. Anthony plagued by demons, engraved by Martin Schongauer in the 1480s.
A demon, daemon or fiend, is a supernatural, often malevolent being prevalent in religion, occultism, literature, fiction, mythology and folklore. The original Greek word daimon does not carry the negative connotation initially understood by implementation of the Koine δαιμόνιον (daimonion), and later ascribed to any cognate words sharing the root.
In Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an unclean spirit, sometimes a fallen angel, the spirit of a deceased human, or a spirit of unknown type which may cause demonic possession, calling for an exorcism. In Western occultism and Renaissance magic, which grew out of an amalgamation of Greco-Roman magic, Jewish demonology and Christian tradition, a demon is a spiritual entity that may be conjured and controlled.
2 Psychological archetype
3 By tradition
3.1 Ancient Near East
3.1.2 Ancient Arabia
3.1.3 Hebrew Bible
3.2.1 Demons in Second Temple-period texts
220.127.116.11 Demons in Biblical interpretation
18.104.22.168.1 Apotropaic prayers
22.214.171.124.2 Rituals against evil
126.96.36.199 Demons under divine authority
188.8.131.52 Influence on human sin
3.3 Christian demonology
3.4 Ceremonial magic
3.7.2 Evil spirits
3.8 Bahá'í Faith
4 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
Further information: Daemon (classical mythology), Agathodaemon, Cacodemon, Daimonic, and Eudaimonia
Buer, the 10th spirit, who teaches "Moral and Natural Philosophy" (from a 1995 Mathers edition. Illustration by Louis Breton from Dictionnaire Infernal).
The Ancient Greek word δαίμων daimōn denotes a spirit or divine power, much like the Latin genius or numen. Daimōn most likely came from the Greek verb daiesthai (to divide, distribute). The Greek conception of a daimōns notably appears in the works of Plato, where it describes the divine inspiration of Socrates. To distinguish the classical Greek concept from its later Christian interpretation, the former is anglicized as either daemon or daimon rather than demon.
The Greek term does not have any connotations of evil or malevolence. In fact, εὐδαιμονία eudaimonia, (literally good-spiritedness) means happiness. By the early Roman Empire, cult statues were seen, by pagans and their Christian neighbors alike, as inhabited by the numinous presence of the gods: "Like pagans, Christians still sensed and saw the gods and their power, and as something, they had to assume, lay behind it, by an easy traditional shift of opinion they turned these pagan daimones into malevolent 'demons', the troupe of Satan..... Far into the Byzantine period Christians eyed their cities' old pagan statuary as a seat of the demons' presence. It was no longer beautiful, it was infested." The term had first acquired its negative connotations in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which drew on the mythology of ancient Semitic religions. This was then inherited by the Koine text of the New Testament. The Western medieval and neo-medieval conception of a demon derives seamlessly from the ambient popular culture of Late (Roman) Antiquity. The Hellenistic "daemon" eventually came to include many Semitic and Near Eastern gods as evaluated by Christianity.
The supposed existence of demons remains an important concept in many modern religions and…