A Brief History of The Devil and his link to Rock’n’ Roll

Mar 28, 2011 by

A Brief History of The Devil and his link to Rockn Roll   baphomet11

Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven

Milton, Paradise Lost

For decades, there has been a popular conception that rock’n’roll is the Devil’s music and that the Devil has all the best tunes; why should this be the case, and who exactly was, or is, the Devil?

From the time immemorial, there has been a tendency among humans to attribute both good and evil events or acts of nature to non-human agencies. Whatever their other uses or properties, many prehistoric stone circles were clearly constructed along astronomical alignments in an attempt to harness the benevolent powers of the Sun or the Moon. The Bronze Age Nebra Sky Disc from Germany was patently constructed for a similar purpose. There are also innumerable artefacts ranging from ‘witches bottles’ to amulets and apotropaic inscriptions from antiquity, all designed to avert evil in whatever form it might manifest itself.

However, opinions sometimes differed as to precisely what constituted the concepts of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. For example, Jehovah was regarded by the Jews as being ‘good’, whilst Beelzebub, (or Ba’al zebub, the Lord of the Flies) was the leading deity worshipped by the Philistines, who at the time were one of the main enemies of the Jewish race. Consequently, Beelzebub was regarded by the Jews as being evil. As Lord of the Flies, the Philistines would pray to him for deliverance from swarms of insects – a fairly useful function in the hot desert environment that the Philistines inhabited. Baal eventually became a mediaeval demon in his own right, but the name originally was almost a term of office. The name Hannibal, referring to the Carthaginian general and the greatest military leader in history, incorporated a form of the name Baal, as did that of his brother Hasdrubal, and his leader of cavalry, Maharbal.

The word ‘satan’ itself means an opposer, an adversary, or someone who plotted. In the Old Testament, the word had no supernatural connotations, but by the time the books of the prophets Zechariah and Job were written, ‘satan’ had taken on the role of an angel who acted as a heavenly prosecutor. There is only one mention of Satan as a title or proper name in the Old Testament, and this is in the Book of Chronicles.

When the Old Testament was translated into Greek, Satan became ‘diabolos’, the False Accuser or Slanderer. The name ‘diabolos’, from which the word Devil originated, literally means someone who throws, or hurls against. From this, the early Christians developed the notion of Satan being the Prince, or Father of Lies, and also of Satan being one and the same with the Devil.

There is no actual mention of a Devil in the Old Testament, but in the Second Book of Enoch, there is mention of a fallen angel called Satanail. Satanail was an angel cast down from Heaven and by way of revenge, he took the form of a serpent, tempting Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden.

Clear so far? Well, in the Book of Isaiah, we read about another fallen angel, called according to the Greek translation, Phosphoros. In Latin, this name translates exactly as Lucifer; both words meaning ‘bearer of light’. This angel was identified as the Morning Star (in reality, the planet Venus) which was the last proud star to defy the power of the rising sun.

In the Book of Matthew, we read the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by the Devil, who offers Jesus all the world’s riches if He will bow down and worship him. As a result of this episode, Satan gained the additional title of “Lord of this World”, and this has been seized upon by generations of Devil worshippers as concrete proof that a pact with Satan would confer all manner of worldly benefits. There is also a reference in the Old Testament to a monstrous dragon called Leviathan, who saw fit to challenge God’s supremacy, while at the end of the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, Satan takes the form of a Great Red Dragon, but the story of the Devil does not finish there.

As one means of establishing supremacy over its rivals, Christianity has long been in the habit of coinciding its holy dates with pagan festivals and of locating its holy sites on pagan places of worship. The word pagan literally means country-dweller, deriving from the Latin word ‘pagus’, meaning village or district. The Church embarked on this parasitic policy against heathen or pagan festivals and sites in a half-successful attempt to eradicate long-established pagan rituals. For instance, the Christian Hallowe’en, or All Hallows’ Eve, was originally celebrated on May 13th, but it was moved to October 31st in an attempt to counter an earlier pagan festival celebrating the changing of the seasons.

When Christian missionaries first came to Britain, they became aware of regular Saturday night pagan gatherings involving drinking, sexual activity and the worship of a benign Horned God, common to all Europe at the time. Evidence of this deity still lingers on today in pub signs such as the Green Man. All this took place on the original Sabbath and was contrary to the missionaries’ notion of clean living, so as a result, the event became known as the ‘Black Sabbath’. The presiding deity at these gatherings was identified as Satan, and this is part of the reason why an originally middle-eastern god gained the horns and tail of his European cousin. A sabbath day means a day of rest and religious observance; for Muslims, it is a Friday, for Jews it is Saturday, while for Christians it is a Sunday. One of the Anti-Christs predicted by Nostradamus will celebrate ‘jeudi pour sa feste,’ or Thursday as his sabbath, but that’s another story for another place.

The missionaries also identified this Horned God with Pan, a lecherous rural god whose cult originated in the province of Arcadia in Greece. The name Pan probably originates not from pan as in ‘all’, but from the root of the Latin word ‘pasco’, making Pan the Feeder or Herdsman. Arcadia did not have plentiful large animals such as cattle, so the most common domestic animal was the goat, hence Pan being depicted as half-human, and half goat from the waist down. Be that as it may, the idea that all three deities, the Horned God, Satan and Pan, were one and the same was wrong, but gradually it took hold.

In 1513, a Florentine ambassador by the name of Machiavelli wrote a book called ‘The Prince’, which advocated a starkly pragmatic approach to politics and warfare. It was based largely on the life and times of Cesare Borgia, illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI and brother of Lucrezia, the reputed poisoner. The book and its philosophy were considered so evil that the words Machiavellian and Diabolical became interchangeable. The author’s first name, Niccolo, also became synonymous with ‘Old Nick’, yet another name for the Devil.

What do we have so far? Satan, Beelzebub, Satanail, the Serpent, the Dragon, the Great Red Dragon, Lucifer, the Devil, Leviathan, Old Nick, Lord of this World, Prince of Lies, Lord of Misrule… but where is the musical connection? Well, long before the advent of the hordes of heavy rock bands who have expressed sympathy for the Devil, this supernatural being took an interest in rock’n’roll. The very term ‘rock’n’roll’ started life as a Black American slang expression for sex, and sinful procreation has been the Devil’s province for a long, long time. There is also a word meaning devilish, or disorderly, which originated from Gullahs, the Negro people who lived on and around the coast of South Carolina. The word in question is juke, or jook; hence the term ‘juke-box’. The rest is history.

There are many mediaeval woodcuts that depict the Devil orchestrating music at witches’ sabbaths and at Black Masses. Occasionally, he is seen playing an instrument himself, usually a fiddle, and this is an image which has persisted up until modern times. There is also a particularly ingenious picture which shows Satan playing a set of bag-pipes in the shape of a human head. If Collin de Plancy’s ‘Infernal Dictionary’ is to be believed, one of Satan’s hellish colleagues is a demon called Amsduscias, a human body with the head of a horse, who when summoned gives concerts on a trumpet. A trumpet played by a demon surely couldn’t sound any more hellish than a set of bag-pipes played by a human, so perhaps Satan’s reputation for evil should be viewed in a proper perspective.

A Brief History of The Devil and his link to Rockn Roll   LutherAndDevil 350x465

Dennis Price

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About the author

Dennis Price is a classical scholar and former archaeologist; he is also a writer, speaker and broadcaster, who lives in the West of England among the enchanted and sometimes unnerving relics of Britain's past. Regarded as an expert on Stonehenge, he is also the author of The Missing Years of Jesus and is co-author of Ancient Code.

One Response to “A Brief History of The Devil and his link to Rock’n’ Roll”

  1. images of Jesus says:

    [...] The Lord’s Prayer Jesus said to His disciples, “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Read more on Manila Bulletin via Yahoo! Philippines News Additionally on this topic you can read: http://mindscapemagazine.com/2011/03/a-brief-history-of-the-devil-and-his-link-to-rockn-roll/ [...]

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