Sex in history, by Gordan Rattray Taylor

Graf mentions that he was also equipped with parents.

“In Germany mention is often made of the devil’s grandmother, a woman not altogether bad, provided with nine hundred heads, and among the South Italians his mother is known and often spoken of.”

Hell became specifically his dominion, and was equipped with a topography, dimensions, structure, flora, fauna and climate. (111) According to the Jesuit, Cornelius a Lapide, it was only two hundred Italian miles across, but this was perhaps sufficient, since a German theologian calculated that a cubic mile was sufficient to contain one hundred billion souls, provided they were packed tightly, “like anchovies”.

It is clear that we have to do here with the familiar psychological process of decomposition. Since it is difficult and painful to feel conflicting emotions of love and hate at the same time, it simplifies our emotional situation if we can divide people and things into wholly good and wholly bad. This is why, in popular literature, we find clear-cut heroes, whose motives are always pure, and double-dyed villains. But since in real life people are mostly a mixture of good and bad, such writing is untrue to life. Similarly, in the political field, it is agreeable to think that one’s own side is wholly right the other wholly wrong. The leaders of totalitarian states encourage this decomposition, because if all hatred is projected on their opponents, nothing but love is left for themselves; and to facilitate this process they attempt to show that all their opponents are tarred with the same brush. This seems to be just what the Church attempted in the fourteenth and subsequent centuries. Faced by growing dissatisfaction within, on account of the venality and immorality of its appointees, and threatened by heresy from without, it sought to label all heresies with the same tags, and to depict them as devoted to worship of the same god, who should be the exact antithesis of the Christian deity. By so doing, it not only weakened the , but simultaneously strengthened itself.

And, in fact, the way in which the devil is made to provide a mirror image of the Deity is quite striking. He has his Mass, his churches, his disciples (who go about in twelves, or, with their leader, thirteen); he has great power and knowledge; he descends into hell. Not for nothing has the devil been called God’s Ape.