The Hierarchy Of Hell: The Demons Under Satan Who Run The Underworld (And What They Do)

It may come as a surprise, but Hell is dominated by a bureaucracy; as chaotic as the underworld may be, people have identified a hierarchy and distributed specific jobs to each demon. As in the case of angels, the hierarchy of demons includes different demon ranks, attributes, and domains to rule over. Demonologists used various characteristics to organize demons into a table that illustrated their standing in Hell, their special powers, and their pet sins.

Included in the hierarchy are demons popularized by the Bible and those brought into the mainstream by books and movies. Each one serves a specific purpose, and many are the twisted mirror image of an angel in Heaven. Different demonology scholars and religions categorize the demons in different orders, but their motives and vices remain much the same. 


  • Lucifer: Emperor Of Hell And Demon Of Pride

    Lucifer: Emperor Of Hell And Demon Of Pride
    Photo: Gustave Doré / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Though commonly confused with Satan, Lucifer is a completely different demon than the well-known adversary. In texts in which the two are not seen as the same entity,  Lucifer outranks Satan and is given the title "Emperor of Hell." Lucifer was the angel who originally fell from Heaven after fighting with God; he corresponds to the sin of pride. When he was cast out of Heaven, Lucifer took some angels with him, who became princes of Hell and maintain order over his evil domain.

    He is the counterpoint to John the Baptist, and appears as a beautiful child to mortals. His name translates to "light bringer," but the name "Lucifer" is not used in the New Testament, since Christ is described as the "bearer of light" in that text. Lucifer is referenced in Anton LaVey's The Satanic Rituals, the book used by the Church of Satan, in regards to baptismal rites and Black Mass.

  • Satan: Prince Of Hell And Demon Of Witchcraft

    Satan: Prince Of Hell And Demon Of Witchcraft
    Photo: John Martin / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Satan is the crown prince of Hell who rules over witchcraft and embodies the sin of wrath. Some covens of witches use the name Satan interchangeably with Lucifer, but regardless of the name, the demon allows witches to ride on his shoulders if they call him on the Sabbath. He appears to them dressed in white robes and has blonde hair with a normal male face. Covens who worship Satan claim that depictions of Satan as a red figure with horns are meant to denigrate and insult him.

    Satan was used by God to test Job in the Bible; he actively encouraged the righteous man to disobey the Holy Word of God. He is often called upon in witchcraft for people's fertility needs since he is also seen as a gatekeeper of fertility.

  • Leviathan: Prince Of Hell And Demon Of Heresy And Envy

    Leviathan: Prince Of Hell And Demon Of Heresy And Envy
    Photo: Gustave Doré / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Leviathan is the crown prince of Hell who represents the sin of envy. In the Christian Bible, Leviathan is an enormous sea creature that roams the waters. He is also considered to be one of the demons who used to be seraphim angels, the burning angels that surround God on his throne. Saint Peter is Leviathan's opposite.

    Leviathan is associated with heretics - those who speak out against the faith and rules of the church. He is also known as the gatekeeper and Grand Admiral of Hell. Leviathan is used in Anton LaVey's The Satanic Bible to represent the sea, and the element of water more generally.

  • Beelzebub: Chief Of Staff And Demon Of False Gods

    Beelzebub: Chief Of Staff And Demon Of False Gods
    Photo: Louis Le Breton / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Beelzebub, the "Lord of the Flies," rules over the Order of the Fly and appears as a large winged insect when summoned. He opposes Saint Francis of Assisi and serves the sin of gluttony, while also preying on human pride in his attempts to gain followers. Before accompanying Lucifer in his fall from Heaven, Beelzebub was in the cherubim order as an attendant of God. 

    Witches routinely claim loyalty to Beelzebub, while religions have named him prince of devils and false gods for his attempts to push heresy among the faithful. Some sources place Beelzebub as next in line for the throne of Hell, with only Satan or Lucifer ahead of him. As Hell's chief of staff, Beelzebub takes care of turmoil by demanding solidarity among satanists to keep Lucifer's affairs in order.