Sunday, 20 July 2014

“Hie thee to hell for shame, and leave the world, Thou cacodemon! there thy kingdom is.”

-Queen Margaret in Shakespeare’s Richard III, Act 1 Scene 3



The above quotation is alleged to be the first use of the term Cacodaemon to appear in the English language, employed here to condemn the Duke of Gloucester. The term is a loan word of the Greek κακοδαίμων, a compound of caeco (dark/malign) and daemon. In its original
context, δαίμων could be applied figuratively, referring to humoural imbalances or mental affections, as well literally, indicating physical entities. The term had its counterpart in εὐδαίμων, meaning good daemon; these were associated with creative impulses and other more positive mental processes, as well as their own literal counterparts.

These same terms were taken up in Christian theology, wherein they were commonly applied to distinguish between the loyal angels, and those of Satan’s rebel host. This was principally used in the context of the old testament, it being thought that good angels were no longer as prevalent in the world, having been rendered redundant with the coming of Christ. Thus, δαίμων on its own became synonymous with the hordes of Lucifer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment