Cultures throughout the ages have had their versions of demons. In most, demons are the personification of evil, pain, and suffering. They exploit weakness already in man and are said to have many powers that can torment or can allure men.
Ancient Akkadian texts alluded that evil spirits were sent by evil gods. In Persia, the prophet Zoroaster preached about the doctrine of evil. The world was split between an ultimate Good, named Ormazd, and an ultimate evil, Ahriman. Ahriman had 6 archdemons, known as Daevas, to fight Ormazd’s 6 archangels. And, of course, they controlled countless numbers of lower demons.
The Hebrews attributed the “false gods” of other religions to being demons. One particular favorite was Moloch, the devourer of children. Tales said that his follower would place their children on his burning idol and sacrifice them for protection, health, and long life. (Note: I think he will be used in a future book. *Rubs hands together with an evil laugh.*)
The term demon actually came from the Greek term daimon, which means spirit or lesser deity. Many of the spirits resided in the Greek Underworld, a place so frightening to man that they would not even speak the name of Hades, the god of the Underworld. The Romans did what they always did and added the Greek pantheon to their own. So the daimons became daemons.
When Christianity rose, it was in Rome. They incorporated other religions into their own to gain converts. Except, like the Hebrews (since Christianity started as an offshoot of the Hebrew religion), a lot of the deities became demons, especially the darker or “evil” gods. Now, we have a whole hierarchy of demons in hell associated with the Christian religion.
This is just touching the surface. You can find variations of demons in India, Africa, the middle East, Japan, and China. All come with their own special mythos. I guess, all around the world, we have something to name our fears after. Be sure to check out A Prescription for Delirium for some of the demons found in lore.
*This is a repost from my blog tour. The original post is found on Happy Tails and Tales.