Lucifer

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Lucifer is another name for Satan. This is because people interpret a passage in the Book of Isaiah of the Bible in a certain way. Lucifer is Latin. It is made of two parts, lux-lucis (light) and ferre (to bring). There are two mentions of Lucifer in the Latin Vulgate. It is used to refer to the morning star, the planet Venus that appears at dawn: once in 2 Peter 1:19 to translate the Greek word "Φωσφόρος" (Phosphoros), which has exactly the same literal meaning of "Light-Bringer" that "Lucifer" has in Latin; and once in Isaiah 14:12 to translate "הילל" (Hêlēl), which also means "Morning Star".

Latin name for the Morning Star[change | edit source]

A 2nd-century sculpture of the moon goddess Selene accompanied by Hesperus and Phosphorus: the corresponding Latin names are Luna, Vesper and Lucifer.

Lucifer is the Latin name[1] for the "Morning Star", both in prose and poetry, as seen in works by Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 BC), Cicero (106-43 BC) and other early Latin writers[2]

Cicero wrote:

Stella Veneris, quae Φωσφόρος Graece, Latine dicitur Lucifer, cum antegreditur solem, cum subsequitur autem Hesperos[3]
The star of Venus, called Φωσφόρος in Greek and Lucifer in Latin when it precedes, Hesperos when it follows the sun.

And Pliny the Elder:

sidus appellatum Veneris … ante matutinum exoriens Luciferi nomen accipit … contra ab occasu refulgens nuncupatur Vesper[4]
The star called Venus … when it rises in the morning is given the name Lucifer … but when it shines at sunset it is called Vesper

Poets also used the word "Lucifer". Ovid has at least eleven mentions of the Morning Star in his poetry. Virgil wrote:

Luciferi primo cum sidere frigida rura
carpamus, dum mane novum, dum gramina canent[5]
Let us hasten, when first the Morning Star appears,
To the cool pastures, while the day is new, while the grass is dewy

And Statius:

et iam Mygdoniis elata cubilibus alto
impulerat caelo gelidas Aurora tenebras,
rorantes excussa comas multumque sequenti
sole rubens; illi roseus per nubila seras
aduertit flammas alienumque aethera tardo
Lucifer exit equo, donec pater igneus orbem
impleat atque ipsi radios uetet esse sorori[6]
And now Aurora rising from her Mygdonian couch had driven the cold darkness on from high in the heavens, shaking out her dewy hair, her face blushing red at the pursuing sun – from him roseate Lucifer averts his fires lingering in the clouds and with reluctant horse leaves the heavens no longer his, until the blazing father make full his orb and forbid even his sister her beams[7]

Lucifer as evil character of the Bible[change | edit source]

Lucifer is very evil in the Christian religion. He is also the symbol for not obeying. Lucifer is believed by some to be Satan's name when he was still an angel, but it is Latin for 'light bringer' and not originally in the Bible. The word Lucifer was also used in Latin to mean the "morningstar", the planet Venus, and this word was used in the Latin version of Isaiah 14, where the Hebrew version was speaking to a king of Babylonia.

The reason people came to think this was a name of Satan has been argued about for many years. Some people think that it is a misnomer, or a wrongly given name. Others believe that he was the best out of all the angels before he rebelled against God.

References[change | edit source]

  1. The word has taken the form "Luceafăr" in modern Romanian; and "Luzbel" in Spanish, "Lusbel" in Portuguese, may be a folk evolution of Latin lucĭfer (Luz in the Diccionario Crítico Etimológico Castellano e Hispánico, volume III, Joan Corominas, José A. Pascual, 1989, Editorial Gredos, ISBN 84-249-1365-5).
  2. Lewis and Short
  3. De Natura Deorum 2, 20, 53
  4. Natural History 2, 36
  5. Georgics 3:324-325
  6. Thebaid (poem) 2, 134-150
  7. Translated by A. L. Ritchie and J. B. Hall in collaboration with M. J. Edwards