"behold, there was a pair o’ cloven feet!"

The devil has not always possessed cloven feet. Until around the early modern period, he was generally represented as a winged man with claws or human feet, echoes of his fallen angel status. His development of cloven feet and horns suggests a hybridisation with the Greek goat-god Pan. Having acquired these feet, Satan seemingly becomes unable to change them into any other form. In A Provincial Glossary (1787), Francis Grose writes: “Although the devil can partly transform himself into a variety of shapes, he cannot change his cloven foot, which will always mark him under every appearance.” Gil-Martin appears to be an exception to this rule.


Devil bears Metternich,1848
Public DomainDevil bears Metternich,1848 - Credit: J. Grädner
Aphrodite, Pan and Eros, 2nd century BC
GNU Free Documentation LicenseAphrodite, Pan and Eros, 2nd century BC - Credit: DerHexer