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Primary topics

Zoroastrianism / Mazdaism
Ahura Mazda
aša (asha) / arta

Angels and demons

Amesha Spentas · Yazatas
Ahuras · Daevas
Angra Mainyu

Scripture and worship

Gathas · Yasna
Vendidad · Visperad
Yashts · Khordeh Avesta
The Ahuna Vairya Invocation
Fire Temples

Accounts and legends

Dēnkard · Bundahišn
Book of Arda Viraf
Book of Jamasp
Story of Sanjan

History and culture

Calendar · Festivals


Zoroastrians in Iran
Parsis · Iranis
• • •
Persecution of Zoroastrians

See also

Index of Related Articles

Angra Mainyu (alt: Aŋra Mainiuu) is the Avestan-language name of Zoroastrianism's hypostasis of the "destructive spirit". The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman.


In the Avesta


In Zoroaster's revelation

Avestan 'angra mainyu' "seems to have been an original conception of Zoroaster's."[1] In the Gathas, which are the oldest texts of Zoroastrianism and are attributed to the prophet himself, 'angra mainyu' is not yet a proper name.[n 1] In the one instance in these hymns where the two words appear together, the concept spoken of is that of a mainyu ("mind", "mentality", "spirit" etc)[n 2] that is angra ("destructive", "inhibitive", "malign" etc). In this single instance—in Yasna 45.2—the "more bounteous of the spirits twain" declares 'angra mainyu' to be its "absolute antithesis."[1]

A similar statement occurs in Yasna 30.3, where the antithesis is however 'aka mainyu', aka being the Avestan language word for "evil." Hence, 'aka mainyu' is the "evil spirit" or "evil mind" or "evil thought," as contrasted with 'spenta mainyu', the "bounteous spirit" with which Ahura Mazda conceived of creation, which then "was."

The 'aka mainyu' epithet recurs in Yasna 32.5, when the principle is identified with the daevas that deceive humankind and themselves. While in later Zoroastrianism, the daevas are demons, this is not yet evident in the Gathas: In Zoroaster's view the daevas are "wrong gods" or "false gods" that are to be rejected, but they are not yet demons.[2 ]

In Yasna 32.3, these daevas are identified as the offspring, not of Angra Mainyu, but of akem manah, "evil thinking." A few verses earlier it is however the daebaaman, "deceiver"—not otherwise identified but "probably Angra Mainyu"[1]—who induces the daevas to choose achistem manah—"worst thinking." In Yasna 32.13, the abode of the wicked is not the abode of Angra Mainyu, but the abode of the same "worst thinking." "One would have expected [Angra Mainyu] to reign in hell, since he had created 'death and how, at the end, the worst existence shall be for the deceitful' (Y. 30.4)."[1]

In the Younger Avesta

Yasna 19.15 recalls that Ahura Mazda's recital of the Ahuna Vairya invocation puts Angra Mainyu in a stupor. In Yasna 9.8, Angra Mainyu creates Aži Dahaka, but the serpent recoils at the sight of Mithra's mace (Yasht 10.97, 10.134). In Yasht 13, the Fravashis defuse Angra Mainyu's plans to dry up the earth, and in Yasht 8.44 Angra Mainyu battles but cannot defeat Tishtrya and so prevent the rains. In Vendidad 19, Angra Mainyu urges Zoroaster to turn from the good religion by promising him sovereignty of the world. On being rejected, Angra Mainyu assails the prophet with legions of demons, but Zoroaster deflects them all. In Yasht 19.96, a verse that reflects a Gathic injunction, Angra Mainyu will be vanquished and Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail.

In Yasht 19.46ff, Angra Mainyu and Spenta Mainyu battle for possession of khvaraenah, "divine glory" or "fortune". In some verses of the Yasna (e.g. Yasna 57.17), the two principles are said to have created the world, which contradicts the Gathic principle that declares Ahura Mazda to be the sole creator and which is reiterated in the cosmogony of Vendidad 1. In that first chapter, which is the basis for the 9th-12th century Bundahishn, the creation of sixteen lands by Ahura Mazda is countered by the Angra Mainyu's creation of sixteen scourges such as winter, sickness and vice. "This shift in the position of Ahura Mazda, his total assimilation to this Bounteous Spirit [Mazda's instrument of creation], must have taken place in the 4th century B.C. at the latest; for it is reflected in Aristotle's testimony, which confronts Ariemanios with Oromazdes (apud Diogenes Laertius, 1.2.6)."[1]

Yasht 15.43 assigns Angra Mainyu to the nether world, a world of darkness. So also Vendidad 19.47, but other passages in the same chapter (19.1 and 19.44) have him dwelling in the region of the daevas, which the Vendidad asserts is in the north. There (19.1, 19.43-44), Angra Mainyu is the daevanam daevo, "daeva of daevas" or chief of the daevas. The superlative daevo.taema is however assigned to the demon Paitisha ("opponent"). In an enumeration of the daevas in Vendidad 1.43, Angra Mainyu appears first and Paitisha appears last. "Nowhere is Angra Mainyu said to be the creator of the daevas or their father."[1]

In Zurvanite Zoroastrianism

Zurvanism was a branch of Zoroastrianism that sought to resolve the dilemma of the "twin spirits" of Yasna 30.3. The resolution, which probably developed out of the contact with Chaldea, was to have both Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu as twin sons of the First Principle "Time" (Avestan: Zurvan). Zurvanism was strongly criticized as a heresy during the Sassanid period (225-651) of Iranian history, an era in which it probably also had its largest following. Although the monist doctrine is not attested after the 10th century, some Zurvanite features are nonetheless still evident in present-day Zoroastrianism.

Zurvanism's principal feature is then the notion that both Ahura Mazda (MP: Ohrmuzd) and Angra Mainyu (Ahriman) were twin brothers, with the former being the epitome of good and the latter being the epitome of evil. Further, this dichotomy was by choice, that is, Angra Mainyu chose to be evil: "It is not that I cannot create anything good, but that I will not." And to prove this, he created the peacock.

The mythology of the twins is only attested in the post-Sassanid Syriac and Armenian polemic such as that of Eznik of Kolb. According to these sources the genesis saw Zurvan as existing alone but desiring offspring who would create "heaven and hell and everything in between." Zurvan then sacrificed for a thousand years. Towards the end of this period, androgyne Zurvan began to doubt the efficacy of sacrifice and in the moment of this doubt Ohrmuzd and Ahriman were conceived: Ohrmuzd for the sacrifice and Ahriman for the doubt. Upon realizing that twins were to be born, Zurvan resolved to grant the first-born sovereignty over creation. Ohrmuzd perceived Zurvan's decision, which He then communicated to His brother. Ahriman then preempted Ohrmuzd by ripping open the womb to emerge first. Reminded of the resolution to grant Ahriman sovereignty, Zurvan conceded, but limited kingship to a period of 9000 years, after which Ohrmuzd would rule for all eternity.[3]

In Zoroastrian tradition

In the Pahlavi texts of the 9th-12th century, Ahriman (written ˀhl(y)mn) is frequently written upside down "as a sign of contempt and disgust."[1]

In the Book of Arda Viraf 5.10, the narrator—the 'righteous Viraf'—is taken by Sarosh and Adar to see "the reality of God and the archangels, and the non-reality of Ahriman and the demons." [4] This idea of "non-reality" is also expressed in other texts, such as the Denkard, a 9th century "encyclopedia of Mazdaism",[5] which states Ahriman "has never been and never will be."[1] In chapter 100 of Book of the Arda Viraf, which is titled 'Ahriman', the narrator sees the "Evil spirit, ... whose religion is evil [and] who ever ridiculed and mocked the wicked in hell."

In the Zurvanite Ulema-i Islam (a Zoroastrian text, despite the title), "Ahriman also is called by some name by some people and they ascribe evil unto him but nothing can also be done by him without Time." A few chapters later, the Ulema notes that "it is clear that Ahriman is a non-entity" but "at the resurrection Ahriman will be destroyed and thereafter all will be good; and [change?] will proceed through the will of God." In the Sad Dar, the world is described as having been created by Ohrmuzd and become pure through His truth. But Ahriman, "being devoid of anything good, does not issue from that which is owing to truth." (62.2)

Book of Jamaspi 2.3 notes that "Ahriman, like a worm, is so much associated with darkness and old age, that he perishes in the end."[6] Chapter 4.3 recalls the grotesque legend of Tahmurasp (Avestan: Taxma Urupi) riding Angra Mainyu for thirty years (cf. Yasht 15.12, 19.29) and so preventing him from doing evil. In Chapter 7, Jamasp explains that the Indians declare Ahriman will die, but "those, who are not of good religion, go to hell."

The Bundahishn, a Zoroastrian account of creation completed in the 12th century has much to say about Ahriman and his role in the cosmogony. In chapter 1.23, following the recitation of the Ahuna Vairya, Ohrmuzd takes advantage of Ahriman's incapacity to create life without intervention. When Ahriman recovers, he creates Jeh, the primal whore who afflicts women with their menstrual cycles. In Bundahishn 4.12, Ahriman perceives that Ohrmuzd is superior to himself, and so flees to fashion his many demons with which to meet Creation in battle. The entire universe is finally divided between the Ohrmuzd and the yazads on one side and Ahriman with his devs on the other. Ahriman slays the primal bull, but the moon rescues the seed of the dying creature, and from it springs all animal creation. But the battle goes on, with mankind caught in the middle, whose duty it remains to withstand the forces of evil through good thoughts, words and deeds. Other texts see the world created by Ohrmuzd as a trap for Ahriman, who is then distracted by creation and expends his force in a battle he cannot win. (The epistles of Zatspram 3.23; Shkand Gumanig Vichar 4.63-4.79). The Dadistan denig explains that God, being omniscient, knew of Ahriman's intent, but it would have been against His "justice and goodness to punish Ahriman before he wrought evil [and] this is why the world is created."[1]

Ahriman has no such omniscience, a fact that Ohrmuzd reminds him of (Bundahishn 1.16). In contrast, in Manichean scripture, Mani ascribes foresight to Ahriman.[7]

In present-day Zoroastrianism

In 1878, Martin Haug proposed a new reconstruction of what he believed was Zarathustra's original monotheistic teaching, as expressed in the Gathas—a teaching that he felt had been corrupted by later Zoroastrian dualistic tradition as expressed in post-Gathic scripture and in the texts of tradition.[8] For Angra Mainyu, this interpretation meant a demotion from a spirit coeval with Ahura Mazda to a mere product of the Creator. Haug's theory was based to a great extent on a new interpretation of Yasna 30.3; he argued that the good "twin" in that passage should not be regarded as more or less identical to Ahura Mazda, as earlier Zoroastrian thought had assumed,[9] but as a separate created entity, Spenta Mainyu. Thus, both Angra Mainyu and Spenta Mainyu were created by Ahura Mazda and should be regarded as his respective 'creative' and 'destructive' emanations.[9]

Haug's interpretation was gratefully received by the Parsis of Bombay, who at the time were under considerable pressure from Christian missionaries (most notable amongst them John Wilson)[10] who sought converts among the Zoroastrian community and criticized Zoroastrianism for its alleged dualism as contrasted with their own monotheism.[11] Haug's reconstruction had also other attractive aspects that seemed to make the religion more compatible with nineteenth-century Enlightenment, as he attributed to Zoroaster a rejection of rituals and of worship of entities other than the supreme deity.[12]

The new ideas were subsequently disseminated as a Parsi interpretation, which eventually reached the west and so in turn corroborated Haug's theories. Among the Parsis of the cities, who were accustomed to English language literature, Haug's ideas were more often repeated than those of the Gujarati language objections of the priests, with the result that Haug's ideas became well entrenched and are today almost universally accepted as doctrine.[11]


  1. ^ Proper names are altogether rare in the Gathas. In these texts, even Ahura Mazda and Amesha Spenta are not yet proper names.
  2. ^ The translation of mainyu as "spirit" is the common approximation. The stem of mainyu is man, "thought", and 'spirit' is here meant in the sense of 'mind'.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Duchesne-Guillemin, Jacques (1982), "Ahriman", Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 670–673,  
  2. ^ Hellenschmidt, Clarice & Kellens, Jean (1993), "Daiva", Encyclopaedia Iranica, 6, Costa Mesa: Mazda, pp. 599–602  
  3. ^ Zaehner, Richard Charles (1955), Zurvan, a Zoroastrian dilemma, Oxford: Clarendon  
  4. ^ Haug, Martin (trans., ed.) (1917). "The Book of Arda Viraf". in Charles F. Horne. The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East (Vol. 7). New York: Parke, Austin, and Lipscomb.  
  5. ^ de Menasce, Jean-Pierre (1958), Une encyclopédie mazdéenne: le Dēnkart. Quatre conférences données à l'Université de Paris sous les auspices de la fondation Ratanbai Katrak, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France  
  6. ^ Modi, Jivanji Jamshedji Modi (1903), Jamasp Namak ("Book of Jamaspi"), Bombay: K. R. Cama Oriental Institute  
  7. ^ Dhalla, Maneckji Nusservanji (1938), History of Zoroastrianism, New York: OUP   p. 392.
  8. ^ Haug, Martin (1884), Essays on the Sacred Language, Writings and Religion of the Parsis, London: Trubner  .
  9. ^ a b Cf. Boyce, Mary (1982), A History of Zoroastrianism. Volume 1: The Early Period. Third impression with corrections. pp. 192–194
  10. ^ Wilson, John (1843), The Parsi religion: Unfolded, Refuted and Contrasted with Christianity, Bombay: American Mission Press   pp. 106ff.
  11. ^ a b Maneck, Susan Stiles (1997). The Death of Ahriman: Culture, Identity and Theological Change Among the Parsis of India. Bombay: K. R. Cama Oriental Institute.   pp. 182ff.
  12. ^ Boyce, Mary (2001), Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. p. 20

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From Avestan 𐬀𐬢𐬰𐬀 (aŋra), destruction, destructive) and mainyu (spirit, mind, essence, emmanation etc.). Definable through the antithetical spenta mainyu.

Proper noun




  1. The hypostasis of chaos, destruction, evil in Zoroastrianism.


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Bible wiki

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From BibleWiki



In the Mazdian religion, the evil deity, who has his real opposite in Spenta Mainyu, "the beneficent [holy] spirit." The latter was identified at a later period, if not originally, with Ahuramazda. Ahriman would seem to have existed as long as Ahuramazda; for, according to the conceptions of the Mazdian religion, immeasurable space has always existed, with its two hemispheres of light and darkness; each with its particular spirit: the one, that of light or life, and the other that of darkness or death—the spirits, in short, of good and of evil. Ahuramazda, however, is the real originator of this present world, for Ahriman created only the harmful and unclean animals, diseases, evil spirits (dævas), sin and death; and he seeks continually to destroy the whole good creation.

Ahuramazda and Ahriman.

Ahriman's might, too, is very terrible in the eyes of the faithful believer of the Mazdian faith; for he possesses a whole kingdom of evil beings, who are obedient tools in his hands for annihilating the creations of Ahuramazda and for bringing men to violent destruction. Among these evil spirits there are six that are in intimate contact with his person, just as there are six Ameshaspentas that surround Ahuramazda. The number six may be an invention of a later period for the sake of arriving at a counterpart to Ahuramazda's body-guard. But it is certain that Ahriman, too, according to the testimony of the Mazdian religion in its earliest epoch, is surrounded by an army of evil beings like-minded with himself. The whole history of the world is one long-continued struggle between Ahuramazda and Ahriman. The course and outcome of the struggle are, however, settled beforehand. The conflict is to proceed for 12,000 years, divided into four periods of 3,000 years each.

At the close of the last period, the Saoshyat or Sosiosh, the Messiah of the Parsees, will arise and make an end of Ahriman's dominion, not, however, until he has been allowed to exercise his sway to an extent before unknown. Sosiosh will at the same time raise all the dead to life, hold final judgment upon the earth, and inaugurate the regeneration of the present world.

This tenet of the Persian religion has not been without its influence upon the ideas of later Judaism. As late a writer even as the Deutero-Isaiah (Isa. xlv. 7) expresses himself in such a way as to exclude beyond question any dualism in religion, if we are not to interpret his words as being a direct attack on the Parsee doctrine, a god of light and a god of darkness.

"Satan" in the Bible.

But after the Exile the Jewish mind becomes unable to refer to God, as formerly, everything that has happened and continues to happen in the world. As early as the prologue to the Book of Job, and in Zech. iii., Satan is spoken of in terms that show that he is no longer merely a servant of YHWH, but is, rather, a persecutor of man, actuated by personal motives in making mankind evil and in checking God's work. In 1Chr 21:1, where the word "Satan" appears without the article, we have a new step in the development of his character, in that the figure of Satan is employed to explain a matter hitherto ascribed without further thought to God (compare 2 Sam 24:1). Satan acts (according to 1Chr 21:1) entirely on his own account in enticing David to commit sin. According to the Book of Daniel (composed about the year 168 B.C.) the whole of the history of the non-Jewish world, from the point when the Babylonian power first comes into contact with Israel down to Antiochus Epiphanes, constitutes merely an outburst of the ill-will and enmity of the kingdoms upon the earth against God and His chosen people.

Rise of Dualism.

Dualism is even more clearly marked in the Book of Daniel than it is in the Parsee religion, for the divine and the secular kingdoms are unable to exist side by side. The use that is made in 1Chr 21:1 of the figure of Satan as an explanation of a certain historical event is continued in such passages as Book of Wisdom, ii. 24, where, in allusion to Gen. iii., it is stated that "by the envy of the devil death entered into the world." In agreement therewith the serpent in the Garden of Eden too becomes identified with Satan or the devil, or is said to have been his tool (compare the Jewish portions of Rev 12:9, Rev 20:2). Thus Satan (the devil) is here employed as an explanation of the origin of evil in mankind. In conjunction with this, and as a development from 1Chr 21:1, we have the version given in the Book of Jubilees of the story in Genesis; for there Satan (or Masṭema, as he is there named) has repeatedly (whenever it is necessary to remove any feature that might give offense to Jewish conceptions of that later time) to assume a part that in Genesis was assigned to God Himself. At the same time he is given an ever-increasing army of evil spirits to serve him: the ancient popular belief in harmful (not exactly evil) spirits becomes transformed into a belief in a dominion of evil under the sway of its head, the devil.

Consequently Satan (or the devil) obtained for Jewish ideas almost the same significance as Ahriman for Persian. Indeed, in certain respects he developed greater power than his Persian counterpart, inasmuch as he succeeded in corrupting the immediate followers of God, whereas Ahriman, in his contest with Ahuramazda, did not achieve such success. The Jews tried to preserve the monism that was their original view by explaining the rise of dualism as due to a fall among the originally good spirits. The author of the Book of Enoch (chaps. vi. et seq.) attributed the question of the origin of evil to the conception of a fall of the angels who seduced the daughters of men (compare Gen. vi.), becoming thus the authors of all earthly sins, and especially of the demons, who, according to the same author, are descended from the giants which the daughters of men bore to the fallen angels. In accordance with another doctrine, the devil was said to have been actively present in the Serpent in the Garden of Eden (see above); while still another maintains that the principles of good and evil were opposed to each other from the very beginning.

Antichrist the Incarnation of Satan.

Just as the dominion of the evil spirits was, in the Parsee theory, to come to an end with the advent of Sosiosh, so is the Messiah, according to the Jewish faith, to destroy the devil and his kingdom. Just as, again, Ahriman, in the Persian belief, was to do mankind terrible injury shortly before his end, so too, in the Jewish view, great tribulations were to precede the Messiah's coming. The Jews would seem to have expected an evil Messiah, an Anti-christ; consequently, the teaching of the New Testament in this direction does not imply anything new. This Antichrist is, moreover, to be, on the hypotheses of several writers, nothing else than an incarnation of the devil himself. In consequence of the hatred of the Jews toward Rome, even after it had accepted Christianity, this Antichrist was also called Armilus, a Jewish rendering of Romulus; thus, in Pseudo-Methodius, "Romulus qui est Armilus" (compare W. Bousset, "Antichrist," pp. 33, 67).

Bibliography: E. Stave, Einfluss d. Parsismus auf das Judentum, 1898; W. Bousset, Der Antichrist, 1895; Sieffert, Antichrist, in A. Hauck's Realencyklopädic für Protest-antische Theologie u. Kirche; J. Darmesteter, Ormuzd et Ahriman, Paris, 1877; Jackson, Dualism, in Geiger and Kuhne, Grundriss der Iranischen Philologie, ii. 626-631.

—In Rabbinical Literature:

Ahriman (Angro-mainyush) is mentioned in Sanhedrin, 39a: Amemar, on being told by one of the Magi, "The upper half of thy body belongs to Ormuzd [ (image) ], the good principle; the lower to Ahriman [ (image) ], the evil principle," replies satirically, "Why, then, does Ahriman permit Ormuzd to carry the water (the excreta) through his province?" The whole conception of Ahriman as the antagonist of the divine principle of goodness permeated Judaism in many ways. Just as Ahriman appears in the guise of a serpent and casts poison into man with the aid of Jeh, the personification of menstrual impurity ("Bundâhis," iii.; in West, "Sacred Books of the East," vi. 6; Windischmann, "Zoroastrische Studien," p. 61), so does Samael, the fallen angel-prince, select the Serpent as the seducer of Adam (PirḲe R. El. xiii.), and the poison of impurity in Eve is his work—zohamo shel naḥash—(Shab. 146a; Yeb. 103b; 'Ab. Zarah, 22b). "In the future the Holy One—blessed be His name—shall bring the Evil Spirit and slay him in the presence of the righteous and the wicked ones: the righteous will shed tears of joy at their victory over the gigantic foe, and the wicked will weep at their inability to defeat so small a power as he will then appear to them" (Suk. 52a).

Defeat of the Archfiend.

This end of the archfiend goes back to an older form than is presented in "Bundâhis," xxx. 30-33, according to which Ahuramazda at the last day with his seven archangels goes to war with Ahriman and the seven archfiends; each archangel crushing the archfiend opposed to him, until finally only Ahriman and the Serpent remain. Against these Ahuramazda rises as high priest with the magic girdle in his hand, and, assisted by Sraosha, brings final defeat upon them; so that the Serpent is burned in the molten metal of the nether world, into which Ahriman, too, casts himself to be consumed along with the whole infernal region, which is then purified and added to the regenerated world of Ahuramazda. The older view of the defeat of Ahriman may be learned from the sculptural presentations of Darius and Xerxes, in which there is the image of Ahuramazda stabbing a monstrous animal called, as a rule, the Ahrimanian beast, but which is, in point of fact, Ahriman himself. This is a repetition of the old Babylonian myth of Bel Marduk and the Tiamat (see illustrations from thePersepolis hall of one hundred columns, in Mme. Ragozin's "Media," p. 402, and in Justi's "Persien," p. 108, following Ker Porter's "Travels in Georgian Persia"; compare Nöldeke, "Gesch. d. Artachsir i Papakan," pp. 29, 55 et seq.: the story of Bel and the Dragon is repeated in the legend of the Persian king). This Evil Spirit was believed to be alluded to also in Joel, ii. 20: "I will remove far off from you (image) [the Concealed One—in the human heart; not, as the A. V. has it, "the northern army"], and drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the cast sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savor shall come up, because he hath done great [insolent] things" (Suk. 52a; see Merx, "Die Prophetie des Joel," p. 213, who finds a Judæo-Mohammedan tradition identifying the "Northern One" with the Mohammedan Antichrist, Al-Dajjal—the Liar). But there is direct proof that the big monster slain and cast off as offensive is none other than Ahriman.

His Death Fulfils Prophecy.

According to Targ. Yer. Deut. xxxiv. 3, Moses was before his end shown the history of Israel's tribulations, ending with the punishment of Armalgus the Wicked ( (image) ), the war of Gog and Magog, and the appearance of Michael as his triumphant combatant. Compare with this the battle of Gabriel with the Leviathan at the end of days (B.B. 74b), and the Antichrist stories in Jellinek, "B. H." v. 127; "Assumptio Mosis," 10. Thus the Messianic prophecy (in the Targum to Isa 11:4), "With the breath of his lips [mouth] will he slay the wicked," refers to Armalgus—as the manuscripts have it, or as our printed edition has it, Armilus, which is the same as Armalyus = Armainyus. Bacher ("Targum zu den Propheten," in "Z. D. M. G." 1873, p. 31, note) has shown that all the manuscripts to Isa 11:4 have the נ, either (image) or (image) or (image) . He has also called especial attention to the tyrant Armalinus, the mythical builder of Memphis in Arabian folk-lore, who, according to Professor Fleischer, is Armalgus, whom Bacher also identifies wlth Angro-mainyush. Jellinek, "B. H." vi. xxx., found, in the Leipsic manuscript containing "Milḥamot ha-Mashiaḥ," the name written (image) . Saadia ("Amunât," ed. Landauer, p. 239) calls him (image) Armalyos.

Owing to the identification of Rome's angel with Samael, chief of the evil spirits, Armilus in the course of time was identified with Romulus (see Bousset's "Antichrist," pp. 66, 67). The name given to Armainyush in other Jewish eschatologies was Belial (Beliar, II Cor. vi. 14; Sibylline Books, ii. 6, 15, iii. 63; Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Dan. v.), the same as "spirit of hell" (see Ps 185 and Bäthgen's Comm.), hence the "son of perdition" (2 Thes 2:3) and the "man of sin," that is, rasha', "the Wicked" (Isa. xi. 4). Thus the Serpent is spoken of as Harasha', "the Wicked One," in Gen. R. xx., Bek. 8a (compare Targ. Yer. Gen. iii. 13); and Rome as the wicked kingdom, Malkut ha-resha'ah (Gen. R. lxxvi.).

His Guises and Names.

In the Hebrew apocalyptic literature (Midr. Wayosha'; Book of Zerubbabel; Otot ha-Mashiaḥ; The Secrets of Simon b. Yoḥai; and the Elijah Apocalypse in Jellinek, "B. H." i. 56, ii. 56, 60, iii. 65-80) Ahriman appears in many forms that gave rise to all kinds of conjectural interpretations: (image) , explained by Jellinek ("B. H." iii. xviii.) as Heremolaos; according to Grätz, in Levy, "Wörterbuch zu den Targumim," s.v., a supposed translation of (image) , Bala'am ="Destroyer of the people"; (image) explained by Zunz, "G. V." p. 295 (who declares the passage in Targ. Yer. to Isa. xi. 4 to be a late interpolation), as a combination of Romulus and Remus; and by Hitzig (in his "Commentary on Daniel," p. 125) as referring to Caligula, whom Suetonius (chap. xxv.) represents as appearing armillatus. Then there are also the forms (image) and (image) , which convey no sense at all; and finally he is introduced as "Armilus whom the nations of the world will call Antichristus," a name which appears again in distorted forms as (image) and (image) (see Elijah Apocalypse in Jellinek, "B. H." iii. 65). He is described as a monstrous figure of immense size, with one small and one large eye; with leprosy on his forehead; with one ear open and one closed; the left arm small, and the right very long; and of his origin the strange story is given that he is the son of Satan, and that a stone is his mother. There is in Rome a marble block "not made by human hands," in the shape of a beautiful maiden; and under the guiles of Satan the youths of Rome are filled with lust at sight of it; the stone gives birth to the monstrous giant who becomes king and Messiah of the Romans. It is he who leads the whole army of heathendom in battle against the Messiah, the son of Ephraim, and conquers him. His reign lasts, however, only forty or forty-five days, and he is at last defeated by the Messiah from the house of David, with the aid of Michael the archangel and Elijah.

That this legend—evidently connected with that of Virgil, and with the stone of Rhea, brought to Rome in 204 B.C., and the impure cult of Sabazius, whose symbol was the serpent (see Preller, "Griechische Mythologie, "i. 531, 576, 578)—has nothing to do with Romulus is clear. Nor can the Armilus-Antichrist legend be the product of the Arabic-gaonic age, as Zunz ("G. V." 2d ed., p. 295) thought, for Bousset in his work on Antichrist has clearly shown that it is of pre-Christian origin. Already Saadia (in "Emunot we-De'ot," viii. 122 et seq.) speaks of it as an ancient tradition. The Mandæans also speak of an Antichrist, Nebu Mesiha, as one full of lasciviousness and stricken with leprosy ("Right Genza," section ii., p. 59; Brandt, "Mandäische Schriften," pp. 95, 97 et seq.), who, with the aid of Ruha, his mother, casts the spirit of lust and fornication into the world. He is called the deceiver or Roman (Nöldeke prefers the latter translation; see Brandt, "Mandäische Religion," p. 228, and "Mandäische Schriften," p. 95, note 2). He is identical with the Mohammedan Al-Dajjal (The Deceiver or Liar), whose reign lasts forty days (see Bousset, p. 74, and compare Antichrist).

Bibliography: Zunz, G. V. p. 295; Hamburger, R. B. T. s.v. Armilus; Gunkel, Schöpfung und Chaos, pp. 221-293; Bousset, Der Antichrist, 1895; Kohler, in Z. D. M. G. 1869, p. 693; Brüll, in Kobak's Jeschurun, viii. 11; Kaufmann, in Monatsschrift, 1896, pp. 134 et seq.; Güdemann, Geschichte d. Erziehungswesens, etc., 1884, pp. 220, 332.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.


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