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Johan Weyer's Biography

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Johan Weyer (1515-88) and other demonologists knowledgeable in the lore of the infernal regions claimed to have discovered there princes and high dignitaries, ministers, ambassadors, and officers of state, whose names and occupations are listed as precisely as in any earthly census. Satan is no longer the sovereign of Hades but is leader of the opposition, the true leader being Beelzebub.

According to Weyer, the demons number 7,405,926, commanded by 72 princes. The anonymous author of Le Cabinet du Roy de France (1581) amends these figures to 7,409,127 demons and 79 princes.

Although demons are specifically named in many inspired catalogs and invoked by sorcerers from their grimoires, there is no real agreement on names and numbers, and in all these fantastic works it is not difficult to see that they represent a distorted reflection of social organization of the world of their time.


Weyer, Johannes. Witches, Devils and Doctors in the Renaissance: Johann Weyer, De Praestigiis. Edited by George Mora. Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval & Rensaissance Texts & Studies, 1991.

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