The chief of the rebel angels. The anthropomorphic personification of evil, the Devil.
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Satan, from the Hebrew word for 'adversary' (connoting the idea of opposition), is the personification of evil and all that is hostile to God and his will.
In the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) the translation of 'satan' is given as 'diabolos' meaning 'Devil'. Both terms are usually employed synonymously. In the Old Testament Satan is presented as a distinct personality of darkness and accusation, a type of heavenly prosecutor. He is in charge of testing humans' integrity, by any means possible, but God has the authority to set limits to his power to do evil.
In the New Testament, he is pictured as a dragon or a serpent, described as the one who has the power of death, ruling with lies and deception, accusing humankind before God, and opposing the purpose of God in the world. Still, while his power is acknowledged, he is under God's rule; conceived as only part of creation, he could not overwhelm the Lord.
In later Christian tradition Satan was described as the tempter, the accuser, the punisher, the leader of the fallen angels; and Christianity has always regarded Hell, the region of fiery torment below the earth, as Satan's realm. In the advent of God's kingdom, he and his demons will be ultimately defeated.
Many other cultures outside the Hebrew tradition have a concept of a leader of the powers of darkness. The Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Persians believed in a dualism between the forces of darkness and light. Ahriman, in Zoroastrianism, and Seth, the god of evil in Egyptian mythology, and 'Mara' in Buddhism manifest characteristics similar to Satan's.
Names for Satan include not only the usual demonic ones, but several popular ones, such as 'Prince of Darkness', 'Old Dragon', 'Old Horney', 'Old Nick', 'Old Scratch', 'Lusty Dick', 'Black Bogey', 'Old Gentleman', 'Angel of Rome', and 'Old Lad Himself', amongst others.
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