Mammon is a term, derived from the Christian Bible, used to describe material wealth or greed, most often personified as a deity, and sometimes included in the seven princes of Hell.

1909 painting The Worship of Mammon by Evelyn De Morgan.



Mammon is a term that was used to describe greed, avarice, and unjust worldly gain in Biblical literature. It was personified as a false god in the New Testament.{Mt.6.24; Lk.16.13} The term is often used to refer to excessive materialism or greed as a negative influence.

Etymologically, the word is assumed to derive from Late Latin 'mammon', from Greek 'μαμμωνάς', Syriac 'mámóna' (riches),[1] and was an Aramaic loan word in Hebrew meaning wealth[2] although it may also have meant 'that in which one trusts'.[3]

The Greek word for "Mammon", mamonas, occurs in the Sermon on the Mount (during the discourse on ostentation) and in the parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:9-13). The Authorised Version keeps the Syriac word. John Wycliffe uses "richessis".


Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can not serve both God and Mammon.
—Matthew 6:19-21,24

In the Bible, Mammon is personified in Luke 16:13, and Matthew 6:24, the latter verse repeating Luke 16:13. In some translations, Luke 16:9 and Luke 16:11 also personify mammon; but in others, it is translated as 'dishonest wealth' or equivalent. In some Spanish versions, it is said as "Mamón", but in others, as "Dinero" (Spanish for "money").

Early mentions of Mammon appear to stem from the personification in the Gospels, e.g. Didascalia, "Do solo Mammona cogitant, quorum Deus est sacculus"; and Saint Augustine, "Lucrum Punice Mammon dicitur" (Serm. on Mt., ii). Gregory of Nyssa also asserted that Mammon was another name for Beelzebub.

During the Middle Ages, Mammon was commonly personified as the demon of avarice, richness and injustice. Thus Peter Lombard (II, dist. 6) says, "Riches are called by the name of a devil, namely Mammon, for Mammon is the name of a devil, by which name riches are called according to the Syrian tongue." Piers Plowman also regards Mammon as a deity. Nicholas de Lyra (commenting on the passage in Luke) says: "Mammon est nomen daemonis" (Mammon is the name of a demon).

No trace, however, of any Syriac god of such a name exists, and the common literary identification of the name with a god of covetousness or avarice likely stems from Spenser's The Faerie Queene, where Mammon oversees a cave of worldly wealth. Milton's Paradise Lost describes a fallen angel who values earthly treasure over all other things.[4][5] Later occultist writings such as De Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal describe Mammon as Hell's ambassador to England. For Thomas Carlyle in Past and Present, the 'Gospel of Mammonism' became simply a metaphoric personification for the materialist spirit of the nineteenth century.

Mammon is somewhat similar to the Greek god Plutus, and the Roman Dis Pater, in his description, and it is likely that he was at some point based on them; especially since Plutus appears in The Divine Comedy as a wolf-like demon of wealth, wolves being associated with greed in the Middle Ages. Thomas Aquinas metaphorically described the sin of Avarice as "Mammon being carried up from Hell by a wolf, coming to inflame the human heart with Greed".

In various countries

  • "Mamona" (sometimes "Mamuna") is a synonym for Mammon in Slavic countries. Currently, the word "mamona" is used figuratively and derogatorily in the Polish language as a synonym to money. This, however, has biblical origins; see above. The word "mammona" is quite often used in the Finnish and Estonian languages as a synonym to money.
  • In Spanish culture, where Mammon is not so well known, the image used to criticize the love of wealth is the golden calf,[6] idolized by the Israelites against the will of God.
  • In German the word "Mammon" is a colloquial term for "money".

Popular culture

  • Mammon is the name of a character from the 2004 manga series Reborn! Also known as Viper, he represents the sin of Greed. He is the Mist Guardian of the Varia.
  • Mammon represents Microsoft in The Book of Mozilla.
  • Mammon is the main antagonist in the Nintendo 64 game, Quest 64.
  • In Chrono Trigger, the Mammon Machine provides magical power to the Kingdom of Zeal, specifically the greedy Queen.
  • In DC comics on the anti-matter Earth inhabitated by the CSA, normal things are reversed, and Mammon is God.
  • Mammon is a main villain in the comic Spawn.
  • Mammon is the son of Lucifer in the film Constantine.
  • Mammon is a name given to one of the Seven Sisters of Purgatory from Umineko no Naku Koro Ni.
  • An episode of Criminal Minds is set in a small town named North Mammon.
  • In the MMORPG Lineage II there are two NPCs related to money trade and crafting of items for that traded money, called the "Blacksmith of Mammon" and the "Merchant of Mammon"
  • In the final pages of D.H. Lawrence novel "Lady Chatterly's Lover", the character of Oliver Mellors compares modern industrial society to Mammon in a letter to Constance Chatterly.
  • In Code:Breaker, Mammon is the name of the green flame, the third from the seven flames that incinerate the 7 deadly sins, Ogami can't control it the first time in Code:Breaker 111 because it did not show its true form, but in Code:Breaker 136 its true form was seen - twin flamberges, Ogami earns it while guessing it from the hints of Code:Emperor.
  • In The Simpsons episode Bart vs. Thanksgiving, Mr. Burns' mansion is shown as being located at the corner of Croesus and Mammon.
  • Mammon is the antagonist in the Ferryman Chronicles series of dark fantasy novels by J.B. Thomas.
  • Mammon is named in the quatrain 10 line 18; as his son is said to be elected in rome.

See also


  1. ^ Webster's Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged: Publishers International Press, New York, 1977.
  2. ^ Fernandez, Miguel Perez (1999). An Introductory Grammar of Rabbinic Hebrew. Brill. p. 5. ISBN 978-9004109049. 
  3. ^ Bromiley, Geoffrey (Revised edition 1996). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: K-P Vol III. William B Eerdmans Publishing Co. p. 232. ISBN 978-0802837837. 
  4. ^ The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Discipline, Doctrine, and History of the Catholic Church, C. G. Herbermann, E. A. Pace, C. B. Pallen, T. J. Shahan, and J. J. Wynne, editors, pg. 580, "Mammon" by Hugh Pope. The Encyclopedia Press, New York, 1913.
  5. ^ Select Notes on the International Sabbath School Lessons, F. N. Peloubet, W. A. Wilde and Company, Boston, 1880.
  6. ^ becerro de oro in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española.

External links

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  • Mammon — • Mamona; the spelling Mammona is contrary to the textual evidence and seems not to occur in printed Bibles till the edition of Elzevir Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Mammon     Mammon …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • MAMMON — MAMM Mot appartenant à la langue juive et judéo chrétienne, mammon est la transcription européenne, hébraïque ou araméenne du mot grec mamônas , probablement dérivé de la racine hébraïque amên (ce qui est fidèle, sûr). Dans l’Ancien Testament, on …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Mammon — Sm Geld erw. bildg. (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus kirchen l. mammōna, mam(m)ōnãs aus gr. māmōnãs, aus aram. māmōnā Besitz, Habe . Biblischer Ausdruck, der in den deutschen Fassungen meist nicht übersetzt wurde.    Ebenso nndl. mammon, ne.… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Mammon — Mam mon (m[a^]m m[u^]n), n. [L. mammona, Gr. mammwna^s riches, Syr. mam[=o]n[=a]; cf. Heb. matm[=o]n a hiding place, subterranean storehouse, treasury, fr. t[=a]man to hide.] Riches; wealth; the god of riches; riches, personified. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mammon — [mam′ən] n. [ME mammon(as) < LL(Ec) < Gr(Ec) mammōnas (see Matt. 6:24) < Aram māmōnā, riches, prob. < mā mon, that which is made secure or deposited < amān, to trust] [often M ] riches regarded as an object of worship and greedy… …   English World dictionary

  • Mammon — Mammon, in den semitischen Sprachen Habe, Vermögen, Reichthum; dann das Vertrauen, namentlich auf den Reichthum; endlich der Reichthum als Götze od. Personification gedacht …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Mammon — (aramäisch, »Schatz«), im Neuen Testament der Reichtum personifiziert und als Götze gedacht; daher Mammonsdiener, soviel wie Geldmensch; Mammonismus, soviel wie Geldgier …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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  • Mammon — personification of wealth, mid 14c., from L.L. mammona, from Gk. mamonas, from Aramaic mamona, mamon riches, gain; left untranslated in Greek New Testament (e.g. Matt. vi:24, Luke xvi:9 13) retained in the Vulgate, and regarded mistakenly by… …   Etymology dictionary

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