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🔀 This is an article about the character. For the story fragment, see "Azathoth (short story)"

[O]utside the ordered universe [is] that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.
~ HPL , The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

This subject contains information from the "Lovecraft Circle" Myth Cycles, and while guided by HPL are not based on his work alone. This subject contains information from the Derleth Cthulhu Mythos, and not based on H.P. Lovecraft's works directly. This subject contains information from the Expanded Cthulhu Mythos, and not based on H.P. Lovecraft's works directly. Azathoth, sometimes called "The Blind Idiot God", the "Nuclear Chaos", the "Daemon Sultan", "The Deep Dark", and "The Cold One", is a fictional deity in the Cthulhu Mythos--portrayed as an Outer God and a supreme omnipotent being.


There can be no definite description of Azathoth, because everybody envisions him differently and he is always changing.

For example Ronald Shea enters a temple after visiting the forest near Goatswood and discovers a twenty-foot idol that "represented the god Azathoth--Azathoth as he had been before his exile. Outside, It consisted of a bivalvular shell supported on many pairs of flexible legs. From the half-open shell rose several jointed cylinders, tipped with polypous appendages; and in the darkness inside the shell I thought I saw a horrible bestial, mouthless face, with deep-sunk eyes and covered with glistening black hair." (EXP: "The Insects from Shaggai")

Later Shea sees "something ooze into the corridor--a pale grey shape, expanding and crinkling, which glistened and shook gelatinously as still-moving particles dropped free; but it was only a glimpse". (EXP: "The Insects from Shaggai")

Most mortals can't withstand the sight of Azathoth. It's been claimed that "even the slightest glimpse" of it would result in the "utter and complete destruction to the beholder". (CIRCLE: "Hydra")

According to some accounts, it is a huge sentient black hole. (EXP: Russell's Guide to Interdimensional Entities)

Azathoth reproduces asexually by fission, giving birth to other gods such as Cxaxukluth. While Azathoth itself might be genderless, its offspring are more accurately described as androgynous. (CIRCLE: "The Family Tree of the Gods")

In the Necronomicon

Azathoth is a significant malign presence in the Necronomicon, as both Albert Wilmarth (HPL: The Whisperer in Darkness) and Walter Gilman (HPL: "The Dreams in the Witch House") are horrified at the mere mention of its name, having both read about it in the occult tome.

In Gilman's case, it's the witch Keziah Mason who references Azathoth while haunting his dreams, telling him:

He must meet The Black Man, and go with them all to the throne of Azathoth at the centre of ultimate Chaos.... He must sign in his own blood the book of Azathoth and take a new secret name.... What kept him from going with the throne of Chaos where the thin flutes pipe mindlessly was the fact that he had seen the name 'Azathoth' in the Necronomicon, and knew it stood for a primal horror too horrible for description.

In August Derleth's rendition, the Necronomicon portrays Azathoth as a leader in a cosmic upheaval, akin to Lucifer's rebellion in the Bible, and prophesies his return.

(T)hose daring to oppose the Elder Gods who ruled from Betelgueze, the Great Old Ones who fought against the Elder Gods...were instructed by Azathoth, who is the blind idiot god, and by Yog-Sothoth ... (Y)e blind idiot, ye noxious Azathoth shal arise from ye middle of ye World where all is Chaos & Destruction where He hath bubbl'd and blasphem'd at Ye centre which is of All Things, which is to say Infinity....
~ AWD , The Lurker at the Threshold

In the Mythos

Gilman wakes from another dream remembering "the thin, monotonous piping of an unseen flute", and decides that "he had picked up that last conception from what he had read in the Necronomicon about the mindless entity Azathoth, which rules all time and space from a curiously environed black throne at the centre of Chaos." He later fears finding himself "in the spiral black vortices of that ultimate void of Chaos wherein reigns the mindless daemon-sultan Azathoth" (HPL: "The Dreams in the Witch House").

The poet Edward Pickman Derby wrote a collection of "nightmare lyrics" called Azathoth and Other Horrors. (HPL: "The Thing on the Doorstep").

... ancient legends of Ultimate Chaos, at whose center sprawls the blind idiot god Azathoth, Lord of All Things, encircled by his flopping horde of mindless and amorphous dancers, and lulled by the thin monotonous piping of a demoniac flute held in nameless paws.
~ HPL , "The Haunter of the Dark"

Azathoth is known as the Lord of All Things (HPL: "The Haunter of the Dark"), as everything that exists was created by its thoughts (CIRCLE: "Hydra"). It is also described as the "nuclear chaos beyond angled space", and the Mi-Go refer to it as "Him in the Gulf" (HPL: The Whisperer in Darkness).

The formless central void where Azathoth dwells is identified as a realm of chaos, outside the ordered universe, beyond time and space. In this tenebrous place the daemon-sultan "gnaws hungrily" and mutters about "things he had dreamed but could not understand", while the Other Gods dance to the sound of pipes and drums (HPL: Fungi from Yuggoth, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath). From a flute "clutched in a monstrous paw" emanate "aimless waves" that combine randomly, producing the laws of each different universe (HPL: Fungi from Yuggoth). It's not known whether the "monstrous paw" that holds the flute belongs to Azathoth or one of his underlings.

While the Other Gods seem to have authority over the Dreamlands, the court of Azathoth has been described as a place "where no dreams reach". It is still possible for mortals to reach it, although this is extremely inadvisable. A Shantak under orders from Nyarlathotep almost succeeded in taking Randolph Carter to the abode of Azathoth. Fortunately, Carter realised what was happening and managed to escape in time to find his way back through the cosmic gulfs with the help of S'ngac and Nodens. (HPL: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath)

Nyarlathotep is Azathoth's messenger (HPL: Fungi from Yuggoth, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath) and son (HPL: Selected Letters of H. P. Lovecraft), but seems to have a condescending and disrespectful attitude towards his mindless lord and progenitor, once striking Azathoth's head in contempt (HPL: Fungi from Yuggoth).

In the Expanded Mythos

In the Unaussprechlichen Kulten of Friedrich von Junzt, it is claimed that Azathoth and its twin sibling Ubbo-Sathla were created by the Elder Gods to be their slaves, but rebelled against their masters and spawned a whole generation of Great Old Ones to fight against them. As a punishment, the Elder Gods reduced the twins to mindless beings and banished them. Azathoth was exiled to the primal chaos "beyond the physical universe", while Ubbo-Sathla was confined to the deep underground realm of grey-litten Y'qaa. (EXP: "The Horror in the Gallery")

In other works

In the Doctor Who franchise, Azathoth is presented as an avatar of one of the Great Old Ones: a group of beings which escaped the destruction of their native universe by moving into our own, where the differing laws of physics endowed them with godlike powers.

The Doctor describes Azathoth as "the amorphous blight of nethermost confusion that blasphemes and bubbles at the centre of all infinity, coexistent with all time and conterminous with all space", and claims that it is omnipotent and omniscient. Conversely, he also identifies it as the weakest of the Great Old Ones, although this might have been an attempt to taunt the Azathoth cultists who held him captive at the time. He later discovered that the entity these cultists worshiped was not the real Azathoth, but just an impostor, using the name of a far more powerful being to manipulate its followers more easily. (EXP: All-Consuming Fire)


Among the worshippers in the town of Goatswood that practice "obscene rites" that involved "atrocities practiced on still-living victims" in Azathoth's conical temple, are a race of extraterrestrial insects that have fled the destruction of their home planet of Shaggai, bringing the temple across the universe with them (EXP: "The Insects from Shaggai", Ramsey Campbell).

Behind the Mythos

  • George Olshevsky named the nonconvex snub polyhedra after some other Great Old Ones, with the Great retrosnub icosidodecahedron as "Azathoth".
  • Trey Azagthoth (George Michel Emmanuel III), lead guitarist of American death metal band Morbid Angel, named himself after the Ancient One (with his own altered spelling).
  • Thomas Ligotti has stated that many of his short stories make allusions to Lovecraft's Azathoth, although rarely by that name. A classic example of this is the story "Nethescurial", which portrays an omnipresent, malevolent creator deity once worshipped by the inhabitants of a small island. This being slowly infiltrates the life of the story's narrator, first via a manuscript describing its cult.


  • The first recorded mention of Azathoth was in a note Lovecraft wrote to himself in 1919 that read simply, "AZATHOTH—hideous name." (HPL: Commonplace Book #44)
  • Mythos editor Robert M. Price argues that Lovecraft could have combined the biblical names Anathoth (Jeremiah's home town) and Azazel (a desert demon to which the scapegoat was sacrificed - mentioned by Lovecraft in "The Dunwich Horror"). Price also points to the alchemical term "Azoth", which was used in the title of a book by Arthur Edward Waite, the model for the wizard Ephraim Waite in Lovecraft's "The Thing on the Doorstep". Other possible inspirations include the name Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom.
  • Another note Lovecraft made to himself later in 1919 refers to an idea for a story: "A terrible pilgrimage to seek the nighted throne of the far daemon-sultan Azathoth." (HPL: Commonplace Book #61) Lovecraft ties this "Azathoth" plot germ to Vathek, a novel by William Beckford about a supernatural caliph, (HPL: Selected Letters 1.104) but his attempts to work this idea into a novel floundered, leaving only a 500-word fragment posthumously published, although Lovecraftian scholar Will Murray suggests that Lovecraft recycled the idea into The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
  • Lovecraft mentioned in letters being entranced by the bagpipe sounds of a Syrian neighbour. (HPL: Selected Letters 2.265)
  • Price sees another inspiration for Azathoth in Lord Dunsany's Mana-Yood-Sushai, from ADJ: The Gods of Pegana, a creator deity "who made the gods and thereafter rested." In Dunsany's conception, MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI sleeps eternally, lulled by the music of a lesser deity who must drum forever, "for if he cease for an instant then MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI will start awake, and there will be worlds nor gods no more." This oblivious creator god accompanied by supernatural musicians is a clear prototype for Azathoth, Price argues.

See also


Main article: Azathoth/Gallery

External Links