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The Daemon, which is derived from the term Daimon (Ancient Greek: δαίμων ("god", "godlike", "power", "fate")), was a generic term for minor gods or spirits. They were not considered good or evil as a whole, but rather, they had the same moral capacity as humans to be either good, evil, or morally ambiguous.


The ancient Greek word "daimon" is derived from the Proto-Indo-European "*daimon," meaning, "provider, divider (of fortunes or destinies)," from the root *da-," meaning, "to divide."[1] Originally distinct from true Gods and Goddesses in Greek mythology, which were referred to as "Theoi," daimons were a classification all of their own. Sometimes daimons are minor-gods or spirits, other times the term daimon can be used to describe a person that bears a personification or embodiment of a minor, major, or primordial deity. Daimons often acted as servants to the Theoi.

The Romans rendered the term "daimon" as "daemon." The term would over time become synonymous with the Roman term "genius," which was a spirit of a person or place. The Roman term "genius" is the origin of both the modern English term "genius," meaning, "a person of exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability," and the English term "genie," meaning, "a spirit of Arabian folklore, as traditionally depicted imprisoned within a bottle or oil lamp, and capable of granting wishes when summoned," or more particularly, genie is used in English as the rendering of the Arabic term "jinn." Despite their similarity, it is debated by scholars whether "genius" and "jinn," are related etymologically, or if their similarity is just a coincidence.

The Christian term "demon," meaning an exclusively evil spiritual being, is etymologically derived from the term daimon through it's Latin form "daemon."[1] The terms daimon or daemon was used in early Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible and in the New Testament letters to distinguish the Greek pagan deities from their one true God.[1] For example, in the tenth chapter of Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he refers to all pagan gods as "daimons":

18 Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons (daimons) and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons (daimons). 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons (daimons). You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons (daimons). 22 Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?[2]

Over time, the term "demon" developed from "daemon" to specifically represent the evil, fallen angels and the Devil himself. To distinguish the good angels from the evil ones, the term "angel" developed from the ancient Greek "angelos," meaning "messengers."

Main Types

The Greek poet Hesiod (8th century BCE) divided daemons into two categories:

  • The Daemones Chrysei, or "Golden Daemons," are the spirits of thirty-thousand men from a mythical golden age that were transformed into daemons by Zeus. They inhabit the sky and observe the deeds of men and reward them with bountiful harvests if their deeds are considered just by them.[3]
  • The Daemones Agyrei, or "Silver Daemons," are a second race of daemons that fought and sinned against one another. They were eventually blessed by Zeus to be spirits under the earth. Even though their past actions were considered foolish, they were still considered to be beings worthy of praise during Hesiod's time.[3]

Later, by the Hellenistic Period (323-31 BCE), daemons were divided into three categories:

  • The Agathodaemon is a daemon of fertility, vineyards, grain, and good fortune. The Agathodaemon may also be a house spirit. It is often represented as a type of serpent.
  • The Eudaemon, alternately spelled Eudaimon or Eudemon, is a benevolent daemon that serves as either a guardian or an intermediary between humans and the gods. Ideas about Eudaemons have influenced the conception of angels in Western thought.[3]
  • The Cacodaemon is a malevolent daemon known for causing misfortune. Ideas about Cacodaemon have influenced the conception of demons in Western thought.[3]

Other Categories of daemons:

  • Daemones Ceramici- Five evil daemons who plagued the craftsman potter.
  • Daemones Chthonian- Daemons of the underworld.
  • Daemones Georgici- Daemons of agriculture and farming.
  • Daemones Halian- Daemons of the sea.
  • Daemones Nomian- Daemons of the countryside, pastureland and wildlands.
  • Daemones Proseous- Evil daemons which haunted the dark places and seaside caverns of the island of Rhodes.
  • Daemones Uranian- Damons of the sky.
  • Genii Locorum- Genii (daemons) of a particular place.

As Abstract Personifications

One way that daemons were conceptualized in ancient Greco-Roman culture was as abstract personifications. These abstract personifications can be categorized into seven general categories. The seven categories are as follows:[4]

  1. Emotions and states of mind
  2. The human condition
  3. Qualities
  4. Morality
  5. Voice
  6. Actions
  7. State of society

Note that not all things referred to as daemons are thought of as abstract personifications. It is merely one way in which the term "daemon" was used.

List of Daemon Personifications

1. Daemons of Emotion:

  • Achus (Anguish)
  • Algos (Grief)
  • Ania (Sorrow)
  • Deimos (Fear of Terror)
  • Elpis (Hope)
  • Eris (Strife)
  • Eros (Love)
  • Eudaemonia (Happiness)
  • Euphrosyne (Joy or Mirth)
  • Euthymia (Good Cheer)
  • Gelos (Laughter)
  • Harmonia (Harmony)
  • Hedone (Pleasure)
  • Himerus (Desire)
  • Lype (Pain, Grief or Distress)
  • Lyssa (Rage)
  • Neicus (Quarrel)
  • Nemesis (Indignation)
  • Oizys (Misery)
  • Penthus (Mourning)
  • Philia (Friendship)
  • Phobos (Fear or Panic)
  • Phrice (Horror)
  • Pothus (Longing)
  • Phthonus (Jealousy)
  • Styx (Hate)
  • Zelus (Envy)

2. Daemons of Human Condition:

  • Achos (Pain)
  • Amechania (Helplessness)
  • Anance (Necessity)
  • Aporia (Want)
  • Caerus (Opportunity)
  • Euthenia (Prosperity)
  • Eutychia (Good Luck)
  • Hebe (Youth)
  • Geras (Old Age)
  • Hygeia (Good Health)
  • Hypnos (Sleep)
  • Ker (Death)
  • Lethe (Forgetfulness)
  • Limos (Hunger)
  • Mania (Madness)
  • Methe (Drunkenness)
  • Mnemosyne (Memory)
  • Moira (Fate)
  • Morus (Doom)
  • Nosos (Disease)
  • Oneirus (Dream)
  • Penia (Poverty)
  • Plutus (Wealth)
  • Ponos (Toil)
  • Ptocheia (Beggary)
  • Soteria (Safety)
  • Thanatos (Death)
  • Tyche (Fortune)

3. Daemons of Personal Qualities:

  • Aglaea (Glory)
  • Alce (Strength)
  • Calleis (Beauty)
  • Charis (Grace)
  • Coalemus (Stupidity)
  • Cratus (Strength)
  • Dolus (Guile)
  • Sophia (Wisdom)
  • Techne (Skill)
  • Zelus (Competitiveness)

4. Daemons of Morality:

  • Adephagia (Gluttony)
  • Adicia (Injustice or Wrong-doing)
  • Aedos (Respect)
  • Aergia (Laziness)
  • Aeschyne (Modesty)
  • Aletheia (Truth)
  • Anaideia (Ruthlessness)
  • Apate (Deceit)
  • Arete (Virtue)
  • Ate (Delusion)
  • Corus (Insolence)
  • Dike (Justice)
  • Dyssebia (Impiety)
  • Eleus (Mercy)
  • Epiphron (Prudence)
  • Eucleia (Good Repute)
  • Eupraxia (Conduct)
  • Eusebia (Piety)
  • Horcus (Oath)
  • Hybris (Arrogance)
  • Peitharchia (Obedience)
  • Phonus (Murder)
  • Pistis (Trust)
  • Pseudologus (Lies)
  • Sophrosyne (Self-control)
  • Thrasus (Rashness)

5. Daemons of Voices and Sounds:

  • Alala (Battle-cry)
  • Aletheia (Truth)
  • Amphilogia (Dispute)
  • Angelia (Message)
  • Ara (Curse)
  • Calliope (Eloquence)
  • Eupheme (Praise)
  • Gelus (Laughter)
  • Hedylogus (Sweet-talk)
  • Hesychia (Quiet)
  • Homadus (Battle-din)
  • Horcus (Oath)
  • Litae (Prayer)
  • Metis (Counsel)
  • Momus (Mockery)
  • Musica (Music)
  • Neicus (Quarrel)
  • Paregoros (Consolidation)
  • Peitho (Persuasion)
  • Pheme (Rumor)
  • Prophasis (Excuse)

6. Daemons of Actions and Events:

  • Agon (Contest)
  • Alastor (Blood-feud)
  • Androctasia (Slaughter)
  • Bia (Force)
  • Hormes (Effort)
  • Hysmina (Fighting)
  • Ioke (Onslaught)
  • Mache (Battle)
  • Nike (Victory)
  • Palioxis (Retreat)
  • Phonos (Murder)
  • Poine (Retribution)
  • Pompe (Procession)
  • Praxidice (Exact Justice)
  • Proioxis (Pursuit)
  • Telete (Initiation)
  • Thalia (Festivity)

7. Daemons of states of society:

  • Democracia (Democracy)
  • Dike (Justice)
  • Dysnomia (Lawlessness)
  • Ececheria (Armistice)
  • Eirene (Peace)
  • Eunomia (Good Order)
  • Harmonia (Harmony)
  • Homonoea (Concord)
  • Nomos (Law)
  • Polemus (War)
  • Themis (Custom)



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