Astaroth was originally an ancient demonic goddess. The re-imagination gender-bend occurred during the medieval era and she was now described as looking like an ugly man riding upon a dragon while holding a snake in his left hand. He is said to be a grand duke and the treasurer of Jinnestan, commanding forty legions and the head of the hierarchy called Gamchicoth. As a demon, he is a former prince of the Order of Thrones.
Astaroth is summoned for his ability to grant friendships to great lords; a nocturnal demon, he is most powerful on Fridays between the tenth and the eleventh hour of the night. Once this demon appears his summoner should not stand too close, as Astaroth gives off a deadly stench. He willingly answers all questions regarding the past, present, and future and will give up easily any secrets that he knows. Astaroth enjoys talking at length about the creation of the world, the Fall, and the faults of the jinn, taking great care to point out how he is being punished unjustly.
The name Astaroth was ultimately derived from that of 2nd millennium BC Phoenician goddess Astarte, an equivalent of the Babylonian Ishtar, and the earlier Sumerian Inanna. She is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the forms Ashtoreth (singular) and Ashtaroth (plural, in reference to multiple statues of her). This latter form was directly transliterated in the early Greek and Latin versions of the Bible, where it was less apparent that it had been a plural feminine in Hebrew.
The pseudepigraphal work Testament of Solomon, attributed to King Solomon of Israel, but thought to date to the early centuries AD, mentions "Asteraoth" (in Greek) as a spirit, who is opposed to the demon of power. (cf. 1 Kings 11:4-5)
The name "Astaroth" as a male demon is first known from The Book of Abramelin, written in Hebrew ca. 1458, and recurred in most occult grimoires of the following centuries. Astaroth also features as an arch-demon associated with the qliphoth (adverse forces) according to later Kabbalistic texts.
He is referred to in The Lesser Key of Solomon as a very powerful demon. In art, in the Dictionnaire Infernal, Astaroth is depicted as a nude man with feathered wings, wearing a crown, holding a serpent in one hand, and riding a beast with dragon-like wings and a serpent-like tail. According to Sebastien Michaelis, he is a demon of the First Hierarchy, who seduces by means of laziness, vanity, and rationalized philosophies. His adversary is St. Bartholomew, who can protect against him for he has resisted Astaroth's temptations. To others, he teaches mathematical sciences and handicrafts, can make men invisible and lead them to hidden treasures, and answers every question formulated to him. He was also said to give to mortal beings the power over serpents.
According to Francis Barrett, Astaroth is the prince of accusers and inquisitors. According to some demonologists of the 16th century, August is the month during which this demon's attacks against man are stronger.
According to Ars Goetia, "The Twenty-ninth Spirit is Astaroth. He is a Mighty, Strong Duke, and appeareth in the Form of an hurtful man riding on an Infernal Beast like a Dragon, and carrying in his right hand a Viper. Thou must in no wise let him approach too near unto thee, lest he do thee damage by his Noisome Breath. Wherefore the Magician must hold the Magical Ring near his face, and that will defend him. He giveth true answers of things Past, Present, and to Come, and can discover all Secrets. He will declare wittingly how the Spirits fell, if desired, and the reason of his own fall. He can make men wonderfully knowing in all Liberal Sciences. He ruleth 40 Legions of Spirits.".
According to Lon Milo DuQuette and Christopher S. Hyatt, Astaroth is "a thinly disguised version of the goddess Astarte...."
It is thought that this powerful grand-duke presides over 40 legions, and possibly over the East and is treasurer of Jinnestan. His main assistants are four demons called Aamon, Pruslas, Barbatos and Rashaverak. According to Sebastian Michaelis he is a demon of the First Hierarchy, who seduces by means of laziness and vanity, and his adversary is St. Bartholomew, who can protect against him for he has resisted Astaroth's temptations.
In the Dictionnaire Infernal, Astaroth is depicted as a nude man with dragon-like wings, hands and feet, a second pair of feathered wings after the main, wearing a crown, holding a serpent in one hand, and riding a wolf or dog. Astaroth is cited as one of the seven princes of the Underworld who visited Faust, appearing as a serpent with a colored tail, two small feet, a chestnut neck, and spines similar to a hedgehog that can grow up to a finger's length. Jeff Rovin's The Fantasy Encyclopedia (1979) depicted Astaroth with a likeness fitting the description of Baal, including a newly-created illustration, and this error has been repeated in other places, such as with Monster in My Pocket, in which a spidery, 3-headed Astaroth is #102.
According to some demonologists of the 16th century, August is the month during which this demon's attacks against man are stronger. Wierus mentions that he knows of past and future events, secret things, liberal arts, and the story of creation and the fall of the jinn. To others, he teaches mathematical sciences and handicrafts, can make men invisible and lead them to hidden treasures, and answers every question formulated to him. He was also said to give to mortal beings the power over serpents. He is said to emit a powerful fetid odor, and to endure that, the magician should hold a silver magical ring that prevents odors under his nose.
Rank: Prince Gender Associated: Female Zodiac Sign: 10-20 degrees of Capricorn (?) Season: Spring Direction: South East Day: Friday Planet: Venus Metal: Silver Gemstone: Diamond Element: Water Animal: Lion Color: White/Yellow Taste: Sour Food: Kidney beans Body Part: Semen Tarot Card: 3 of Pentacles (?)