This is Bael, he's the principal crowned Prince of Hell in Christian Demonology. He seems to originate in 17th century goetic occult writings and his name is drawn from the Canaanite deity Baal mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the primary god of the Phoenicians. He's said to have sixty-six legions of demons under his command, speaks hoarsely, and has the ability to bestow wisdom; which isn't as surprising a feature of Christian demons as the Bible repeatedly states that "wisdom" or knowledge can lead a person astray.

Ba'al of Christian Demonology

The principal crowned Prince of Hell - but there's more to this fellow than what Christian Demonology tells us about him.

But there's more to this character than what Christian Demonology tells us about him. First of all: he's not an invention of the Christian faith, he's a creation of the Phoenician pantheon. Secondly, he's not a devil or evil god - at least, he wasn't originally created to be.

During the English Puritan period Baal was frequently compared to Satan and considered his right hand man... a sort of demonic personal assistant.

But according to the Old Testament he was the primary pagan idol of the Phoenicians often associated with Ashtaroth (pictured below). Ba'al (or Bael) is a title meaning "lord" that was applied to a number of West Semitic gods ("West Semitic" being a family of languages including Hebrew, Aramaic, Ugaritic, and others like Ethiopian).

Phoenician Goddess Ashtaroth,

This is the Burney Relief: A depiction of Ashtaroth (or Ishtar or Ereshkigal), commonly mistaken for Lillith until 2005 when Pauline Albenda published the paper "The Queen of the Night Plaque: A Revisit".

Bael is actually Baal Hadad, the most widely-worshiped Baal in history; worshiped by the Arameans and many Mediterranean peoples.

Early "demonologists" didn't know about Hadad and had no clue that instances of the term "Ba'al" in the Old Testament were actually referring to any number of local deities... and so these early demonologists came to believe that "Ba'al" was referring to just one individual entity.

Of course Christianity demonized pagan gods as a way to further the Christian faith and since Ba'al seemed so popular (remember they thought it was just one person) they turned him into Ba'al Zebub or "Beelzebub". Hence Ba'al became known as *THE* Devil.

But archaeological digs at Ras Shamra and Elba - centuries later - uncovered texts explaining the Syrian pantheon in full. Publications were made explaining the new find but the general public already understood things a certain way so the new information never really became common knowledge.

In follow-up to the picture of Ashtaroth (commonly mistook for Lilith):

First the name, Ashtaroth: The name and cult of the goddess were derived from Babylonia, where Ishtar represented the evening and morning stars and was accordingly androgynous in origin. Under Semitic influence, however, she became solely female, but retained a memory of her primitive character by standing, alone among the Assyro-Bab goddesses, on a footing of equality with the male divinities. From Babylonia the worship of the goddess was carried to the Semites of the West, and in most instances the feminine suffix was attached to her name; where this was not the case the deity was regarded as a male. On the Moabite Stone, for example, `Ashtar is identified with Chemosh, and in the inscriptions of southern Arabia `Athtar is a god. On the other hand, in Atar-gatis or Derketo (2 Macc 12:26), Atar, without the feminine suffix, is identified with the goddess `Athah or `Athi (Greek Gatis). The cult of the Greek Aphrodite in Cyprus was borrowed from that of Ashtoreth; whether the Greek name also is a modification of Ashtoreth, as has often been maintained, is doubtful.

In Babylonia and Assyria Ishtar was the goddess of love and war. An old Babylonian legend related how the descent of Ishtar into Hades in search of her dead husband, Tammuz, was followed by the cessation of marriage and birth in both earth and heaven, while the temples of the goddess at Nineveh and Arbela, around which the two cities afterward grew up, were dedicated to her as the goddess of war. As such she appeared to one of Assur-bani-pal's seers and encouraged the Assyrian king to march against Elam. The other goddesses of Babylonia, who were little more than reflections of the god, tended to merge into Ishtar who thus became a type of the female divinity, a personification of the productive principle in nature, and more especially the mother and creatress of mankind. The chief seat of the worship of Ishtar in Babylonia was Erech, where prostitution was practiced in her name, and she was served with immoral rites by bands of men and women. In Assyria, where the warlike side of the goddess was predominant, no such rites seem to have been practiced, and, instead, prophetesses were attached to her temples to whom she delivered oracles.

In Canaan, Ashtoreth, as distinguished from the male `Ashtar, dropped her warlike attributes, but in contradistinction to Asherah, whose name and cult had also been imported from Assyria, became, on the one hand, the colorless consort of Baal, and on the other hand, a moon-goddess. In Babylonia the moon was a god, but after the rise of the solar theology, when the larger number of the Babylonian gods were resolved into forms of the sun-god, their wives also became solar, Ishtar, "the daughter of Sin" the moon-god, remaining identified with the evening-star. In Canaan, however, when the solar theology had absorbed the older beliefs, Baal, passing into a sun-god and the goddess who stood at his side becoming a representative of the moon--the pale reflection, as it were, of the sun- -Ashtoreth came to be regarded as the consort of Baal and took the place of the solar goddesses of Babylonia.

Hence there were as "many Ashtoreths" or Ashtaroth as Baals. They represented the various forms under which the goddess was worshipped in different localities (Judges 10:6; 1 Samuel 7:4; 12:10, etc.). Sometimes she was addressed as Naamah, "the delightful one," Greek Astro-noe, the mother of Eshmun and the Cabeiri. The Philistines seem to have adopted her under her warlike form (1 Samuel 31:10 the King James Version reading "Ashtoreth," as Septuagint), but she was more usually the moon-goddess (Lucian, De Dca Syriac., 4; Herodian, v.6, 10), and was accordingly symbolized by the horns of a cow. See ASHTEROTH-KARNAIM. At Ashkelon, where Herodotus (i.105) places her most ancient temple, she was worshipped under the name of Atar-gatis, as a woman with the tail of a fish, and fish were accordingly sacred to her. Elsewhere the dove was her sacred symbol. The immoral rites with which the worship of Ishtar in Babylonia was accompanied were transferred to Canaan (Deuteronomy 23:18) and formed part of the idolatrous practices which the Israelites were called upon to extirpate. - Taken from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online

Another interesting note: Historical evidence shows that the Moabites worshipped *a* Ba'al. Further, pre-Islamic sources show that the Meccans took over the idol Hubal from the Moabites.


Sources

Ashtoreth/Ashtoroth: http://www.internationalstandardbible.com/A/ashtoreth.html

The Queen of the Night Plaque: A Revisthttp://www.jstor.org/stable/20064325

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