The History of Beelzebub

Beelzebub. A name many have heard used in the works of great writers such as Chaucer, Machiavelli, Dante, and Shakespeare. But, who is this Lord of the Flies, this Prince of Demons? Where did this name and personality so closely associated with Lucifer come from?

Throughout history the names of people, places, and gods undergo name changes depending on the language and culture. Baalsebub is one such variation. This particular spelling is referring to the Canaanite and Phoenician god Baal, meaning “Owner” or “Lord” who had many attributes and was worshipped in various ways such as ritualistic prostitution, child sacrifice, and self-inflicted harm. This same god, also known as Baal-Zebub, was worshiped through the first century by Philistines.

In Judaism and Christianity, the gods of other cultures are known to be the fallen angels from before the creation of earth manifesting themselves as powerful spirits to draw attention away from God. By the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, the Judeans reached the pinnacle of their own Baal worship continuing their downward spiral into idolatry and destruction. In works of fiction these fallen angels invented a hierarchy in hell to mimic that of heaven with Lucifer as their leader.

This connection is seen in the works of Milton and Marlowe. In Paradise Lost, Milton describes Beelzebub as irresolute with Lucifer’s plans to mock God by creating a pseudo kingdom on earth and in the abyss where the fallen have been condemned. In Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, Beelzebub, Lucifer’s companion prince in hell, is the name in which Mephistopheles is conjured to come forth. It is unknown if Marlowe was the first to write the account of a scholar selling his soul to Lucifer, or if it is based on the German prose Historia von D. Iohan Fausten, written anonymously, where Beelzebub is described “In curled hair of horse flesh color, his head like the head of a bull with a mighty pair of horns and two long ears down to the ground, and two wings on his back, with pricking stings like thorns; out of his wings issued flames of fire; his tail was like a cow.”

Wherever you look, Beelzebub is a representation of what is evil and sinister in this world. From ancient times to modern, this creature remains a dark entity ready to devour any soul that might dare call upon his name.

-Sara Rashelle, Beelzebub

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