Demons and lords of hell seem to be popular whenever I post them, so when the whim strikes, we’ll have a bit of demonology. It’s of interest to note that christians are consistent, even when dreaming up the aristocracy of christian hell – there aren’t any women. Given how much christianity condemns women, Eve, sin, awful evil, temptresses, harlots, yada, yada, yada, it doesn’t seem right we didn’t even merit a place in the aristocracy of hell.  Today, we have Purson, also known as Pruflas in the Dictionnaire Infernal.

Purson (also Curson, Pursan) is a Great King of Hell, being served and obeyed by twenty-two legions of demons. He knows of hidden things, can find treasures, and tells past, present and future. Taking a human or aerial body he answers truly of all secret and divine things of Earth and the creation of the world. He also brings good familiars. Purson is depicted as a man with the face of a lion, carrying a ferocious viper in his hand, and riding a bear. Before him there can be heard many trumpets sounding.

And naked. No one mentions the naked. From the Ars Goetia, Lesser Key of Solomon.


  1. busterggi says

    I wonder just where in the bible believers found all this information -- I know I’ve read it but I never saw any of this stuff.

  2. says

    Well, a lion-headed figure holding a snake was part of Mithra worship in the Roman empire. The exact meaning of this figure is unknown, as Roman Mithraism kept many secrets from outsiders. Christians living after the decline of Mithra worship might very well have seen this figure and vaguely associated it with those eeeeeeevil pagans, then went off from there.

  3. says

    I expect Mithraism and other beliefs found their way into christian demonologies, everything christian was stolen from earlier peoples, stories, and beliefs.


    I wonder just where in the bible believers found all this information

    They made it up, and liberally um, borrowed.

  4. rq says

    That naked doesn’t look too bad to me.
    Oddly enough, all these demons seem to have very positive superpowers. Finding things? Bringing good familiars? None of that sounds particularly evil… Except they’re probably blamed for taking god’s jobs. Meh. Immigrants into christianity will do that. Too bad!! (Not.)

  5. Raucous Indignation says

    But that looks like a nasty comminuted mis-aligned fracture of this right leg.

  6. says

    According to Christian folklore, Solomon himself commanded demons to work for him. Perhaps it was seen as a testament to his great wisdom that he could force demons to work for Yahweh. Of course, if a mere human, even the wisest of them all, could coerce demons into doing Yahweh’s work, I wonder why the almighty god himself is letting them run around loose. Hmmmm.

  7. says

    Mostly, it was for personal gain, even though it was framed in theological reasons; such as the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, which was one of the primary things one could gain from demons and fallen angels. Yahweh wasn’t hot on knowledge, the main ‘lesson’ of the garden and all that.

    There was also the matter of riches, and soothing. Many of the demons/fallen angels had the power of truth, including being able to tell the truth of the future, and of course, those lovely riches. Can’t have a life of scholarly pursuit without them, right?

  8. says

    Lofty, yes, much like women, penises are notably absent in all the depictions. One of them is depicted on a toilet, looking hideously constipated, and even holding his tail up, but no penises. That would be bad taste or something. That said, penises did get their place. My fave is probably Quo Tendis? from 1557’s Devises Heroïques:

  9. says

    Raucous Indignation:

    But that looks like a nasty comminuted mis-aligned fracture of this right leg.

    I think the viper is in his leg, ’cause they didn’t depict him holding it.

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