Devils and demons

Forms of evil

As is shown here, the devil may take on different guises in the illuminations we find in these manuscripts, but there are three basic ingredients: man, animal, and pure phantasy. When he tries to tempt Christ in the desert, or when he fools a nobleman, he looks almost human. But the miniaturist makes sure he does not fool us: his feet are that of an animal, or his eyes are burning coals.

The pictures tell us, that he may turn himself into a cat. He may also be a pale, threatening creature taking souls to hell. The colourful monsters pestering saint Pachomius could have been designed by Bosch. Finally, the devil that seduces Theophilus to sell his soul, looks like one of the more malicious Muppets designed by Jim Henson.

Satan tempting Christ -More images

Satan tempting Christ -More images

Legend of the nobleman who denied the existence of God, but adored Mary -More images

Legend of the nobleman who denied the existence of God, but adored Mary -More images

The devil appears in the form of a cat to St. Dominic of Calerueja -More images

The devil appears in the form of a cat to St. Dominic of Calerueja -More images

Saint Pachomius is maltreated by two devils; his staff is broken -More images

Saint Pachomius is maltreated by two devils; his staff is broken -More images

The pilgrim Girard, possessed by the devil, is cutting off his member -More images

The pilgrim Girard, possessed by the devil, is cutting off his member -More images

Theophilus sells his soul to the devil -More images

Theophilus sells his soul to the devil -More images

Devils carrying away a monk -More images

Devils carrying away a monk -More images

Damned souls tormented in the flaming mouth of hell -More images

Damned souls tormented in the flaming mouth of hell -More images