My Teacher Is a Devil

Okay, this Tumblr post really caught my attention. I already knew about the idea that demons, and sometimes even the Devil himself, could teach many arts and sciences to mankind. The only problem is that they’re going to turn on you whenever they get the chance, so you have to keep a really close eye on them.

Among others, Gamigin teaches liberal arts, Barbas mechanical arts, Buer philosophy and botany, Berith alchemy, Astaroth mathematics, Forneus languages, Stolas astronomy, and so on.

But how does Buer manage to write on the board?

There’s actually a lot of overlap there; I kind of wonder if all of these demons still have jobs. I mean, Satan presumably invented downsizing, right? The idea of demons as teachers predates Christianity, with Socrates claiming that he had a daimon as a guide.

For Christians, a lot of this information was compiled in the Lesser Key of Solomon. And I’m sure you know about Dr. Johann Faust summoning Mephistopheles in order to learn everything there is to know.

Depending on whom you ask, the message might be that there are some things humans weren’t meant to know, if the only way to do so was by consorting with the forces of darkness. On the other hand, who hasn’t had a teacher they suspected of coming from Hell?

There are many different legends of a school of black magic, often with Satan as the head teacher. Domdaniel fits into this type, but the most famous might be Scholomance, as mentioned by Bram Stoker as a school Dracula attended.

It’s said to have been located in Transylvania, but there are stories of other such schools in many other hidden locations. In Iceland, it was known as Svartiskoli, or the Black School.

Picture by Maria Knizhnikova
This name might well have taken on some unfortunate implications in the United States prior to Brown v. Board of Education. Well, unfortunate implications other than Satan being in charge, that is. Such schools would only accept a limited number of students, and the last one to leave the place after their courses had been completed would be taken by the Devil as his henchman. They’d have to create lightning and ride around on a dragon distributing it. That sounds cool, but I hear the boss is a real jerk. The school itself is pitch-black inside, and books are written in letters of fire. In order to produce a book, you have only to say its name. They’re apparently big on independent study. Food is provided by a hairy gray disembodied hand. The Icelandic legend features three students who attended the school at the same time. When Satan tried to capture the last one out, this student tricked him into taking his shadow instead. He never had a shadow after this, but I guess that’s a small price to pay for not having to work for the Evil One. I understand that he name Scholomance is used for a location in World of Warcraft, an indication that good legends never die.

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