Real Name: Ahriman
Occupation: God of Evil
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Divs, Ennis Tremellyn
Enemies: Ahura Mazda, Gaea, Mitra, Yazatas
Known Relatives: Zurvan (father), Ahura Mazda (brother), Lilith (alleged daughter)
Aliases: Angra Mainyu ("Destructive mind/chaotic
possibly Beelzebub, Malik Tous, Satan (see comments)
Base of Operations: Ahriman does not age and
cannot die by conventional means. He is resistant to terrestrial
diseases and injury, heals at superhuman rates, has superhuman endurance
and can fly. His body tissues are 2.5 times denser than human tissue,
and he can at least as much as the average god of the Yazatas pantheon,
25. He can create demonic gods (his Divs) and magical artifacts; though
capable of creating good things, he chooses not to.
First Appearance: (mentioned) Giant-Size Conan#1
(seen) Thor and Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica (July 2009)
Powers/Abilities: Nether Realms
Height: 6'9" (by approximation)
Weight: Unrevealed (it is unrevealed whether his body is more dense and massive than mortal tissue, or whether his tissue is more durable by its own nature without being more massive)
(Thor and Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica) - Some accounts of the universe's birth state that shortly after the wise and benevolent creator god Ahura Mazda emerged from Zurvan, the personification of time, to begin spreading life throughout his new domain, his twisted mirror image and antithesis, the evil Ahriman, similarly emerged. The personification of chaos and deceit, he rejected his elder sibling's peace offerings and tried to destroy the new life Ahura had created.
(Immortal Hulk#12 (fb) - BTS) - Other accounts reverse
this order, alleging Ahriman, or Angra Mainyu as he is sometimes called,
tore free of Time's womb, and thus, as the first born, inheriting
creation for 9,000 years, explaining why the world is tainted, as it was
originally ruled by God's opposite, a being who had the power to create
good works but simply refused to.
(Thor and Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica) - Whichever version is true, Ahriman and Ahura entered into a prolonged battle that ended when Ahura narrowly won and banished Ahriman into the Nether Realms. Aware Ahriman would inevitably return, Ahura then created the Yazatas, lesser gods imbued with portions of his own divine power who were similarly dedicated to upholding order and justice. The primordial Earth mother Gaea (aka Armaiti) recognized Ahura as a kindred spirit and also offered her services in opposing Ahriman.
Not to be outdone, the banished Ahriman
created the Divs, demonic gods designed to oppose the Yazatas. Ahura's
Yazatas and Ahriman's Divs have waged an endless war, often using mortal
(Savage Sword of Conan I#169/2 (fb) - BTS) - Every few
centuries a glowing spiral staircase would appear in the world of men
between dusk and dawn, an Endless Stair between Heaven and Hell, so that
Ahriman and Mitra could come together to trade for the souls of men.
(Thor and Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica) - Ahriman also created magical talismans to foment chaos and strife on Earth. One such talisman was the "Heart of Ahriman," a golden orb capable of greatly enhancing magical powers. Ahura transformed the Heart of Ahriman, however, so it typically released pure, white magic, though its power could still be used for evil.
(Marvel Two-in-One#49 (fb) - BTS) - Another was the Eye of
Ahriman, which could be used to bind victim's souls to the sorcerer
using the Eye.
(Giant-Size Conan#5 - BTS) - Blood fed the Heart, blood
drew the Heart to it, and wherever the Heart was, blood was spilled and
(Savage Sword of Conan I#229 - BTS) - Circa 13,000 BC the Heart had come into the possession of Xaltotun, a high priest of Set in the Acheronian city Python, where a time-traveling Red Sonja witnessed him using it in a ritual of human sacrifice.
(Savage Sword of Conan I#230 - BTS) - Sonja attacked the
priest before he could swing the sacrificial blade, causing him to drop
the Heart, which she then snatched up and ran off with, mostly to ensure
the priest could not turn its magics against her. She subsequently let a
Hyborian witch-man (shaman) take it, as he accompanied his tribe on the
way to attack Python.
(Giant-Size Conan#1 (fb) - BTS) - The shaman used it to
defeat Xaltotun's sorcery, but it vanished just as the Acheronian Empire
(Giant-Size Conan#1 - BTS) - Three millennia later the
Heart had come into the possession of Orastes, a former priest of Mitra
until he turned to worshiping the powers of darkness instead (including
Ahriman?). He used it to resurrect Xaltotun, then returned the Heart to
him, enlisting his aid in plans to conquer the civilized world. They
started by capturing King Conan of Aquilonia.
(Giant-Size Conan#5 (fb) - BTS) -The use of the Heart was
sensed by Thutothemes of Khemi, a Stygian sorcerer, who set off to
retrieve it for himself.
(Giant-Size Conan#2 - BTS) - Xaltotun used the Heart in
magics to torture his prisoner. However, later, while he slept, his ally
Tarascus stole the Heart from the sorcerer, fearing Xaltotun might
otherwise eventually turn it against him too. Tarascus gave the Heart to
a thief, entrusting him to transport it to the sea and throw it in.
Conan, having escaped his cell, witnessed this exchange without
realizing the significance of the artifact.
(Giant-Size Conan#3 - BTS) - After escaping, Conan was
informed by Hadrathus, high priest of Asura, that Xaltotun could be
beaten if the Heart could again be used against him.
(Giant-Size Conan#4 - BTS) - The thief was slain by robbers, who sold the Heart to a trader, Zorathus, and from him to a mercenary Beloso, who in turn was slain for it by...
(Giant-Size Conan#5 - BTS) -
(Giant-Size Conan#4 - BTS) - who then set off back to Stygia. Along each step of the Heart's journey Conan was close behind.
(Savage Sword of Conan I#10 - BTS) - Conan caught up with the Heart in Khemi and retrieved it, then returned to face Xaltotun with Hadrathus' aid. With the sorcerer's defeat, Hadrathus swore to return the Heart to a cavern beneath the Temple of Mitra.
(Savage Sword of Conan I#169/2 - BTS) - Red Sonja
witnessed a manifestation of the Endless Stair and encountered an angel
who had used it to temporarily visit Earth.
(King Conan#2 - BTS) - Fifteen years after Xaltotun's second death, Conan learned that his old foe Thoth-Amon was plotting to steal the Heart so it could not be used against him in his imminent plans to conquer Conan's kingdom Aquilonia. Instead of waiting for Thoth-Amon to strike, Conan retrieved the Heart from Mitra's temple and lent it to the white druid Diviatix, who used it to destroy Thoth-Amon's forces and make Thoth-Amon flee.
(King Conan#29 - BTS) - When doom was prophesied for
Aquilonia, Hadrathus offered to let Conan use the Heart to defend his
kingdom, but Conan declined, wanting no part of its sorcery.
(King Conan#31 - BTS) - Soon after Hadrathus was falsely
accused of murder, and convinced Conan's son Conn to deliver a message
to his father, then absent from the capital city. Informing the queen of
this, Hadrathus took her the Heart, telling her she could take both it
and his life if Conn failed to return safely.
(King Conan#34 - BTS) - When the forces of the
Set-worshiper Crassus threatened Aquilonia, Hadrathus used the Heart to
protect the kingdom from Crassus' sorcery. Later, at Conan's behest,
Hadrathus used the Heart to locate two of Conan's missing children,
Prince Taurus and Princess Radegund, last seen taken hostage by Crassus.
(King Conan#35 - BTS) - At Conan's request, Hadrathus used
the Heart like a crystal ball to check on Conn, who had set off in
pursuit of Crassus.
(King Conan#42 - BTS) - When Conan set off by ship to
confront and finally destroy Crassus, Hadrathus stowed away, believing
the Heart would be needed to protect his king from the Stygian's magic.
Once Conan learned of Hadrathus' well-intentioned presence aboard his
vessel, he warned the priest that sooner or later using magic would
exact a higher price than Hadrathus had bargained for.
(Marvel Two-in-One#49 (fb) - BTS) - In the late 18th century AD, the necromancer Ennis Tremellyn pledged himself to Ahriman's service, boosting his own sorcery with the Eye of Ahriman. Enemies of the Crawlins family, who had emigrated to the new world, Ennis set sail to New England to eliminate them. Off the coast of the Americas Ennis' ship was caught in a violent autumn storm. Realizing it was about to sink, Ennis used the Eye to bind the ship's strongest crewman, the Polynesian Kemo, to him. Ennis drowned, but his soul remained active, bound to Kemo, who was trapped in the sunken wreck but kept alive by the Eye's magic.
(Marvel Two-in-One#49 - BTS) - When the stars finally
aligned a couple of centuries later, Kemo was freed from the depths to
attack the Crawlins for Ennis, and Ennis' soul was freed onto the astral
plane. Having learned of Ennis' story, Doctor Stephen Strange arranged
for the Thing (Ben Grimm) to be present at Crawlinswood to stop Kemo,
while he confronted Ennis' spirit. The Thing shattered the Eye, freeing
Kemo from Ennis' power, and Strange delayed Ennis' intended escape from
the astral plane until the alignment passed, thus ensuring he could not
return to the physical realm.
Comments: Adapted from mythology into Marvel by writer, pencils, inks.
So, who came first, him or his brother? As
the history above shows, accounts differ. My money is on him being the
second child, but claiming it's the other way round to lend legitimacy
for him wanting to be in charge.
In Journey into Mystery II#1 the demon Malik Tous is mentioned to also be known as Ahriman, Beelzebub and Satan. If he was just also called Ahriman, I'd consider that a confirmed appearance of this god. However, with all three aliases being mentioned, I lean towards believing that Malik Tous is a lesser demon who has appropriate the names of these more powerful and feared entities in order to exploit their reputations for his own benefit. The comics have shown that demons in Marvel do this all the time; the list who have claimed to be Satan is ridiculously long. However, with that said, we also know of other instances where gods have degenerated into demons, so it's also not impossible that Malik Tous is Ahriman, fallen on somewhat harder times. Similarly, in Conan: The Flame and the Fiend#1, there's a small demon familiar of the priestess Armati who is called Angra Mainyu, another of Ahriman's aliases. However, since she's the priestess of another god, Ormuz, and her familiar is a little underwhelming demonically speaking, it seems either this was Ahriman on a really, really, really off day, or it was simply another random demon stealing one of the real Ahriman's names. Maybe one or both are Divs of the real Ahriman, committing evil in his name?
This profile was completed 09/10/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.
Profile by Loki.
Ahriman has no known connections to:
images: (without ads)
Thor and Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica, p64, pan1 (main image)
Thor and Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica (July 2009) - Anthony Flamini (writer), Gus Vasquez (art), Jeff Younquist (editor)
First Posted: 09/12/2021
Last updated: 09/10/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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