Within traditional demonology one of the great princes of hell is known as Astaroth, also very commonly spelled Ashtaroth, Asteroth, or Astarot. Usually he is portrayed as a male, but this is interesting as he is named after the female Canaanite goddess called Ashtoreth. The great Astaroth was mentioned within the 17th century Lesser Key of Solomon, probably one of the most noteworthy books of demonology. Within this book Astaroth is said to be an extremely powerful demon. If you refer to the Dictionnaire Infernal, a 19th century book of demonology, you'll notice that Astaroth is usually depicted as a naked man with great angelic wings, a crown on his head, and a snake in his hand. He is also usually shown riding on top of great dragon like beast. It is said that Astaroth spreads wickedness throughout the earth, and that he is one of the fathers of vanity, laziness, gluttony, adultery, envy, and of rationalized philosophies. Like acid on the soul he said to be.
To some Astaroth is an evil or demonic spirit, however he is said not to corrupt humans through the afflictions mentioned above. Instead many believe that he corrupts by showering men with great powers and gifts, in exchange for their souls of course. For example some books of demonology state that Astaroth can grant men the power to become invisible, and that he will often lead people to hidden earthly treasures of great value. It is also stated that he has the ability to answer any question that is put to him, and all truthfully of course. Astaroth is also known to grant the power over many earthly serpents. Some have even characterized Astaroth as a great teacher of mathematical sciences, handicrafts, goldsmithing, and physics. It is not known exactly why these depictions of Astaroth seem to vary so much, however I have noticed that older demonology seems to paint him as extremely crude and corrupting, whereas the newer depictions paint him as clever.
The English occultist Francis Barrett has stated that Astaroth is not only a great prince of hell, but also the great prince of all earthly inquisitors and accusers. It is said that during the warm month of August Astaroth's power over man reaches it's peak and highest potency. In these passages Astaroth's name will sometimes vary a bit, with it appearing as Ashtart, Astarte, Astharthe, or Astharoth, the later being the plural Latin form. The King James Version of the Bible calls Astaroth by the name of Ashtaroth. As is the case with most deities within the holy Bible, both of good and evil, they will usually have many different name variations due to the number of times that both canonical and noncanonical scripture has been translated. In addition to widespread name confusion, quite often deities within scripture will be confused with other similar creatures. Astaroth is no exception, as he is often said to be an evil manifestation of the evil goddess Astarte.
You can also find Astaroth in John Milton's Paradise Lost, that renown classic 1677 epic poem written in blank verse. Within Paradise Lost Astaroth's name is usually spelled as Astoreth or Astarte, depending on which translation of the book you have. It states within the book that the ancient Phoenicians marched with the demon Astaroth, who according to them was known as Astarte a goddess of crescent horns and a great queen of the heavens. It is said that the Phoenicians made sacrifices to Astaroth that consisted of song and dance from virgins around great fires. It also states that Astaroth had a great temple within Sion, which sat high upon a stony mountain. Legend has it that the king who built this temple of Astaroth was eventually destroyed in heart and soul due to his idolatry. This mighty ruler was said to have fallen because he was deceived by Astaroth. That concludes this article, we hope that you learned something interesting about Astaroth.