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The devil


The devil is a perennial source of temptation: sex, power, all forms of worldly illusion are his weapons. The hermits in the desert, like Antonio (in the late fourth century) are besieged by demons, against which offer their moral strength, prayer and asceticism. For St. Augustine, the devil is not just an enemy rebellious to God, hostile to his creation: he is part of the great plan of God who has allowed evil to exist for the good to also exist, in the end even the presence of the devil is a structure that is part of a good universe, for those who have the grace of God can obtain that which is good. According to Pope Gregory (sixth century), the universe has a hierarchical structure, from the deepest part of hell to the top of heaven, and between men and God, there are several categories of good spirits, angels. The highest angelic hierarchy, the closest to God, consists of the Seraphim: Lucifer was the highest of the Angels, so he was a seraph. This vision survives throughout the Middle Ages, to arrive at the conception of the Divine Comedy by Dante. But the fact of the matter still remains what we think a devil looks like? Regarding this matter the discussions were endless; the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 agreed that the angels and the devils had a body, but invisible and subtle, such as air or fire; subsequently, the idea prevailed that angels and demons were only spiritual creatures without any contact with matter (Lateran Council of 1215). But as it featured in the popular imagination this creature was of evil: The major culprit is a pagan god, he was a God setting, pictured with the head and feet of goat. He was a god of nature: chasing nymphs, had an inordinate sensuality, he suddenly appeared in the wilderness and caused madness. This form of God is that of the senses and the instinct of life, for its characteristics and for its looks were ugly and scary, and he became the prototype of the horned devil himself, tempter, tied to the joys of the world, equipped with cloven feet.

There are other iconographic models which were used to imagine the devil (often taken from the animal, such as bats) but this god of the free pagan nature began to be imagined, by the end of the ancient era, as the prototype of the "great enemy" .

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