Satan’s 13 Peers of Hell

“Beelzebub * Moloch * Chemos * Peor * Baalem * Ashtoreth/Astarte * Thammuz/Adonis * Dagon * Rimmon * Osiris * Isis * Horus * Belial

In Book One of Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan, having been expelled from Heaven, falls ‘nine times the space that measures day and night’ into Hell’s cavern. In this ‘dismal situation waste and wild, a dungeon horrible on all sides round as one great furnace flamed’ he rears up from a pool of liquid fire to offer words of comfort to the fallen cherubs. One by one, Milton identifies and to a certain extent creates the thirteen chief captains of Hell, from his own selective reading of the mythology of the ancient Near East, who follow ‘their great Emperor’s call’ in order to stand beside him. These Peers of Hell are a bad lot–‘besmeared with blood,’ fomentors of ‘lustful orgies’ and ‘wanton passions of the sacred porch’–and summon myriad other fallen angels to arms with a shout that ‘frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.'”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

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