The Lesser Key of Solomon is a book on demonology that was compiled in the mid-17th century. Many of the materials that were gathered for it are centuries older than the book itself. The Lesser Key of Solomon, which is also known as the Salmonis Regis, is divided into five smaller books: Ars Goetia, Ars Theurgia-Goetia, Ars Paulina, Ars Almadel, and Ars Notoria. The Lesser Key of Solomon is a spell book and grimoire, with the Ars Goetia having the list of 72 demons that it is believed Solomon captured and bound.
One of these demons is Barbatos. Barbatos is a duke and earl of Hell. According to the Ars Goetia he rules thirty legions of demons and has four kings as companions that help him to control those legions. The Lesser Key of Solomon lists him as the 8th demon but the Pseudomonarcia Daemonum lists him as the 6th. The Pseudomonarcia Daemonum is an abridged grimoire similar to the Lesser Key of Solomon as it contains lists of demons as well as what hour and the ritual to use to summon them. It is an Appendix to De praestigiis daemonum by Johann Weyer and as such also has fewer demons that the ‘Lesser Key’, and they are listed in a different order. You also will not find the demonic seals in the Pseudomonarcia Daemonum like you will in the ‘Lesser Key’. In the Grand Grimoire, a black magic spell book from the 1500’s, he is mentioned as a subordinate of a demon known as Satanachia.
When Barbatos is summoned he comes as a man with a beard and the most popular depiction of him has him holding a bow or rifle while surrounded by horns playing music; this makes sense as his name, Barbatos, is derived from the Latin word barbatus which means bearded old man. He was once a member of the Angelic Order of Virtues, one of the angelic orders that help with the governance of the seasons and elements. Barbatos seems to have retained some of his talents as he is known for understanding the languages of all animals but most particularly is good at understanding singing birds, barking dogs, and lowing cattle. He can use magic to reveal treasures that have been hidden and will reconcile friends and those in power. The earthly treasures he’s associated with are copper, arnica, catnip, and sandalwood as well as the elements of earth and fire.
Though he may not seem as though he is dangerous, being both a duke and earl of hell, and commander of legions should warn those seeking to summon him that he can, in fact, be very very dangerous. Summoning a demon should be done with care and caution; they are known for their trickery and deception. You should always take steps to protect yourself from malevolent actions, never invite them to share space in your body, and avoid making deals with demons as they will always try to make sure the deal favors them and not you.