History of Angels
The art of flight is something that has fascinated and perplexed
human beings since the very dawn of time. Consequently, the
‘winged-human’ or ‘angel’ motif has shown up in
the art of almost every civilized culture in our recorded history. From
the ancient Greeks and Egyptians to the Romans, Aztecs and Incas, and
Indian tribes, hieroglyphics and carvings and cave paintings indicate a
strong belief in and reverence of angels, human-like, perfected beings
who characteristically had wings, a special and holy physical attribute
which allowed them to communicate with both the gods and the commoners
because they could fly between heaven and earth.
Several ancient cultures believed that every man had a
‘ghost’ of some sort, a ‘guardian angel’ to
watch over them and guide their actions on earth, leading them to
salvation. Angels are thought to possess pure morals and bring good
into the world, and are most often depicted in art as delicate,
beautiful, and virtuous youthful beings. Differing religions give
varying levels of importance to various angel characters.
Zoroastrianism defines six main ‘archangels’, followed by
at least 40 less powerful angels called the ‘adorable
ones,’ who are then followed by ‘guardian
angels’ on the third rank, and so-on and so-forth.
Regardless of ranking in heavenly hierarchies, all good angels are
considered divine gifts; manifestations of the will of the lord (or
lords) of light.
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