Daemons have been used since the beginning of time to help or harm. Although the word Daemon has transformed to mean “Demon” in the west, they are, in fact not demons, although some can be malevolent.
(A Very Small Fraction of the passages below are excerpted from my book: 72 Demons of the Name)
In ancient Greece, daemons were not considered evil. In fact, they were considered spirits or divine powers. Ancient Greece thought them spirits of inspiration and goodness as in the Greek word “EuDAIMONia” which means “good spiritedness” or “happiness” as it is often translated. It light of this, it is hard to believe that this word would so transform to mean something evil in the western tradition. Daemons became demons once Christianity became popular in Rome. As you may know, the Christian belief which was derived from the Jewish one that pagan idols and statutes of any kind were presentations of evil, especially those of ancient gods. That is because the Romans and Greeks believed that Daemons inhabited those statues. As Robin Lane Fox Put it “Like pagans, Christians still sensed and saw the gods and their power, and as something, they had to assume, lay behind it, by an easy traditional shift of opinion they turned these pagan daimones into malevolent ‘demons’, the troupe of Satan….. Far into the Byzantine period Christians eyed their cities’ old pagan statuary as a seat of the demons’ presence. It was no longer beautiful, it was infested. – Robin Lane Fox, Pagans And Christians 1989, P. 137.
In the Greek translation of the bible called the “Septuagint” the word daemon first became associated with evil because it was associated with the gods of the ancient Semitic religions. This later passed on to other translations and eventually took on its evil definition and called “demon”.
In ancient Greece, (There is also evidence that daimons were used the Minoans and Mycenaeans as well circa (1500-1100 BC). mainly at the hands of philosophers like Plato, daemons were classified into 2 categories; Those with Beneficent intent and those with malevolent intent. The ones that were “good” were called Eudaimon or “noble in spirit” and the “evil” ones were known as Kakodaimon which literally translates into “Malevolent Spirit”. As I stated above, they aren’t technically angels or demons in the proper sense. However, they can be loosely associated to the wests conception of angels and demons. Angels and demons are the only real comparison that can be made. The Western traditions don’t really have daemons in the way the ancient Greeks viewed them to be. I think a better comparison would the Jinn of Arabic lore. They are “Genies” for lack of a better term.
It is these 2 classes of Daemon we will be most interested in. In my book. “The Daemonic Companion: Creating Daemonic Entities to do your will” I discuss in greater detail about Eudaimon and the Kakodaimon.