The term demigod or demi-god can refer to a minor deity, a mortal or
immortal who is the offspring of a god and a human, or a figure who
has attained divine status after death.
3 Modern use
6 See also
The English term "demigod" is a calque of the Latin semideus,
"half-god", which was probably coined by the Roman poet
reference to less important gods, such as dryads.
In the ancient Greek and Roman world, the word did not have a
consistent definition and was rarely used.
The earliest recorded use of the term is by the archaic Greek poets
Homer and Hesiod. Both describe dead heroes as hemitheoi, or "half
gods". In these cases, the word did not mean that these figures had
one parent who was divine and one who was mortal. Instead, those
who demonstrated "strength, power, good family, and good behavior"
were termed heroes, and after death they could be called hemitheoi, a
process that has been referred to as "heroization".
used the term frequently as a synonym for hero.
According to the Roman author Cassius Dio,
Julius Caesar was declared
a demigod by the
Roman Senate after his victory at Thapsus.
However, Dio was writing in the third century — centuries after the
death of Caesar — and modern critics have cast doubt on whether the
Senate really did this.
The first Roman to employ the term demigod may have been the poet
Ovid, who used the Latin semideus several times in reference to minor
deities. The poet
Lucan also uses the term to speak of Pompey
attaining divinity upon his death. In later antiquity, the Roman
Martianus Capella proposed a hierarchy of gods as follows: the
gods proper, or major gods; the genii or daemones; the demigods or
semones (who dwell in the upper atmosphere); the manes and ghosts of
heroes (who dwell in the lower atmosphere); and the earth-dwelling
gods like fauns and satyrs.
The term demigod first appeared in English in the late sixteenth or
early seventeenth century, when it was used to render the Greek and
Roman concepts of semideus and daemon. Since then, it has
frequently been applied figuratively to people of extraordinary
John Milton states in
Paradise Lost that angels are
Demigods are important figures in Rick Riordan's
Percy Jackson books,
where many of the characters, including
Percy Jackson himself, are
demigods. In Riordan's work, a demigod is defined as an individual
born of one human and one divine parent.
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this
section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material
may be challenged and removed. (October 2016) (Learn how and when to
remove this template message)
In Hinduism, the term demigod is used to refer to deities who were
once human and later became devas (gods). There are three very notable
demigods in Vedic Scriptures: Hanuman, Nandi (the divine vehicle of
Garuda (the divine steed of Vishnu). Examples of demigods
worshiped in South India are Madurai Veeran and Karuppu Sami.
The heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, the five
fit the Western definition of demigods though they are generally not
referred to as such. Queen Kunti, the wife of King Pandu, was given a
mantra that, when recited, meant that one of the Gods would give her
his child. When her husband was cursed to die if he ever engaged in
Kunti used this mantra to provide her husband with
children fathered by various deities. These children were Yudhishthira
(child of Yama),
Bhima (child of Vayu) and
Arjuna (child of Indra).
She taught this mantra to Madri, King Pandu's other wife, and she
immaculately conceived twin boys named
of the Asvins). Queen
Kunti had previously conceived another son,
Karna, when she had tested the mantra out. Despite her protests, Surya
the sun god was compelled by the mantra to impregnate her.
another figures who fits the western definition of demigod, as he was
the son of king
Shantanu and Goddess Ganga.
The Vaishnavites (who often translate deva as "demigod") cite various
verses that speak of the devas' subordinate status. For example, the
Rig Veda (1.22.20) reads, "oṃ tad viṣṇoḥ paramam padam sadā
paśyanti sūrayaḥ", which translates to, "All the suras [i.e., the
devas] look always toward the feet of Lord Vishnu". Similarly, in the
Vishnu Sahasranama, the concluding verses, read, "The Rishis [great
sages], the ancestors, the devas, the great elements, in fact, all
things moving and unmoving constituting this universe, have originated
from Narayana," (i.e., Vishnu). Thus the Devas are stated to be
subordinate to Vishnu, or God.
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International
Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) translates the Sanskrit
word "deva" as "demigod" in his literature when the term referred to a
God other than the Supreme Lord. This is because the ISKCON tradition
teaches that there is only one Supreme Lord and that all others are
but His servants. In an effort to emphasize their subservience,
Prabhupada uses the word "demigod" as a translation of deva. However,
there are at least three occurrences in the eleventh chapter of
Bhagavad-Gita where the word deva, used in reference to Lord Krishna,
is translated as "Lord". The word deva can be used to refer to the
Supreme Lord, celestial beings, and saintly souls depending on the
context. This is similar to the word Bhagavan, which is translated
according to different contexts.
Chinese demigods are demigods that are half human, half god in Chinese
mythology. They were said to be the children of Chinese gods such as
Jade Emperor or Guan Di, god of war, for example. In some other
Chinese demigods can be descendants of other
important characters causing people/monsters to get confused of who
they are. They were very good at combat.
List of demigods
^ a b Oxford English Dictionary. 3. UK: Oxford University Press. 1961.
^ Weinstock, Stefan (1971). Divus Julius (Reprinted ed.). Oxford:
Clarendon Press. p. 53. ISBN 0198142870.
^ Talbert, Charles H. (January 1, 1975). "The Concept of Immortals in
Mediterranean Antiquity". Journal of Biblical Literature. 94 (3):
419–436. doi:10.2307/3265162. ISSN 0021-9231. Retrieved January
^ a b Lewis, Charlton T.; Short, Charles (1980). An Elementary Latin
Dictionary (Revised ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 767.
^ William, Hansen (2005). Classical Mythology: A Guide to the Mythical
World of the Greeks and Romans. New York: Oxford University Press.
p. 199. ISBN 0195300351.
^ Price, Theodora Hadzisteliou (1 January 1973). "Hero-Cult and
Homer". Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte. 22 (2): 129–144.
^ Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1894). A Greek–English
Lexicon (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 596.
^ Dio, Cassius. Roman History. 43.21.2.
^ Fishwick, Duncan (January 1, 1975). "The Name of the Demigod".
Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte. 24 (4): 624–628.
ISSN 0018-2311. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
^ Lucan. The Civil War. Book 9.
^ Capella, Martianus. De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii. 2.156.
^ "demigod". Collins English Dictionary. Collins. Retrieved 2 August
^ Milton, John (1667). Paradise Lost. 9.937.
^ Riordan, Rick (2010). Percy Jackson: The
Demigod Diles. London:
Puffin Books. p. 71. ISBN