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The Devil
GustaveDoreParadiseLostSatanProfile-1-.jpg
Deity
OTL
Religion: Predominantly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
God of: Rebellion, disobedience, lies, destruction
Fictional Appearances:

The Devil (from Greek: διάβολος or diábolos) is believed in many religions, myths and cultures to be a supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly, ranging from being an effective opposite force to the creator god, locked in an eons long struggle for human souls on what may seem even terms, to being a comical figure of fun or an abstract aspect of the individual human condition.

God and the Devil are usually portrayed as fighting over the souls of humans, with the Devil seeking to lure people away from God and into Hell. The Devil commands a force of evil spirits, commonly known as demons.

The Bible and other canonical religious texts do not give the Devil a fleshed-out "origin story". Popular culture has largely adopted the version told by 17th-century English poet John Milton in Paradise Lost, where the Devil is revealed to have been God's highest and most honored lieutenant, who rebelled and later defected because of policy disagreements (regarding the exalted status intended for humans), and set up his own infernal kingdom.

Though the Devil is not specifically referred to in Judaism's Old Testament, some briefly-mentioned characters in that work were later understood by Christian theology to be avatars of him, most famously Satan (opponent), Beelzebub (lord of the temple or possibly lord of the flies), Lucifer (Latin translation of Heylel, meaning light-bringer), and an unnamed Serpent. The New Testament frequently mentions Satan, and subsequent popular culture has filled in more details for these aspects of the character.

Literary comment[]

The Devil is discussed rhetorically by numerous characters in Harry Turtledove works. He is particularly relevant to the plot only in a few stories.

The Devil in The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump[]

The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump
POD: Prehistory
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references

The Devil, aka Satan, Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies, etc., was recognized as a potent prince of demons and a nearly insurmountable danger to humankind. "Speak of the devil" was not a joke, as everyone knew that even saying his name could be dangerous in the right conditions. As Beelzebub had a paramilitary descending hierarchy at his beck and call, the Defense Department of the Confederated Provinces had an anti-Satan defense plan. However, David Fisher, while he admired the wizards of the Pentagram, was not convinced of their ability to handle a threat of this magnitude, and hoped that it would never be put to the test.[1]

The Devil in "Clash of Arms"[]

"Clash of Arms"
Set in OTL
Type of Appearance: Direct (as "Niccolo dello Bosco")
Nationality: Hell (factually), Firenze (cover story)
Occupation: Spice merchant

Niccolo dello Bosco was an Italian spice merchant at the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh in Westphalia during one of its renowned biennial tournaments. He was a small, skinny, excitable man who, when not travelling, lived in the forest outside Firenze. While not of a noble birth, he was armigerous, with his coat of arms as "gules a fess or between three frogs proper". 

He chanced to meet Magister Stephen de Windesore in a tavern and the two began to discuss heraldry. Magister Stephen was surprised at dello Bosco's knowledge and, while he offered no overt offence, dello Bosco became angered over his disdain of him. De Windesore also became angry and challenged dello Bosco to a contest. Each would take turns asking a question of the other until someone could not answer making the other the victor.  

The "battle" went on into the night, and the two returned to de Windesore's room at the inn. After several hours, dello Bosco announced he was tired of the battle, and asked de Windesore what arms the devil bore. Magister Stephen replied that only the devil knew that. Instantly dello Bosco revealed that he was in fact the devil, and carried Magister Stephen to Hell. The Englishman was briefly amused to learn that the devil's coat of arms was "gules a fess or between three frogs proper", but soon lost his sense of humor for this fact.[2]

Literary comment[]

"Niccolo dello Bosco" can translate as Nick of the Forest. Old Nick is a folk nickname for the Devil, who in this story returns to Hell through a forest.

The Devil in "The Boring Beast"[]

A number of devils and satans were among the creatures summoned by the wizard Sloth-Amok from the Treasury of s'tegoR in his attempt to capture Condom the Trojan. A palace guard of Zamorazamaria recognized them and began to list all the relevant synonyms before he was killed by a deva.

References[]

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