Legion (demon)

Legion (demon)

:"See Legion (disambiguation) for other concepts with this name."

Legion, also known as the Gerasene demon, or translated as Lots, is a demon found in the Christian Bible in Mark 5:9 and Luke 8:30. A parallel version of the story can be found in Matthew 8:28-34, but this version does not contain the name "Legion" and tells of two men, not just one, possessed by a multitude of demons. In the story, Jesus traveled to "the country of the Gadarenes" (Luke 8:37), "the country of the Gergesenes" (Matthew 8:28), or "the region of the Gerasenes" (Mark 5:1) and met a man possessed by an evil spirit, which spoke to Jesus in a conversation. The most commonly quoted version is found in Mark 5:9::"And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many." (KJV) [it is argued that the phrasing is, "we are legion, for we are many"]

Another version of the quotation is in Luke 8:30:

:"And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him." (KJV)

In some versions of the Bible, the quotation is different:"We are mob, for there are so many of us"

The demons that comprised Legion were aware of the tremendous power of Jesus, and begged to be spared from being tossed back into the bottomless pit of Hell (none of the words translated "Hell" in the Bible are used, those being "sheol, Gehenna, Haides, tartaros"; rather, in Mark 5:10, the Greek word "choras" is used, translated "country" but more accurately meaning an empty expanse, and in Luke 8:31, the word "abyssos" is used, meaning a bottomless depth). Jesus instead cast the demons out of the man and, granting their request, allowed them to dwell in a herd of pigs. The pigs then drowned themselves in the Sea of Galilee.


John Dominic Crossan believes the story may be considered a parable of anti-Roman resistance. This would explain why the Gospels variously situate the story in Gadara, Gerasa and Gergesa: All three would be disguises for Caesarea, the location he postulates for the actual events behind the story.

Other authors give the ruins of Umm Qais as the location of Gadara.Based upon the Gospel accounts, the location of the miracle had to have a nearby port, tombs for the men to live in, an area for pigs to graze, a nearby city to which the men could flee, and most importantly, a steep bank for the herd to rush down.The problem that has yet to be dealt with however is the site’s topography. Origen initially rejected Gadara for its lack of high ridges and steep slopes down which the pigs “ran violently down into the sea” (Matthew 8:32). Above the port there are multiple hills which could potentially match up with the biblical account. The most likely site is found at the end of a chain of hills that has a bank descending into the sea. The bank is the modern site of Tell es S’alib located near the New Testament Gadaran suburb of es-Samrah.Laney, J. Carl "Geographical Aspects of the Life of Christ", page 141, Unpublished Th.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1977] A visual representation of the location of this tell can be seen in Mendel Nun’s work "The Land of the Gadarenes".Nun, Mendel "Gergesa (Kursi)", page 5, Kibbutz Ein Gev, 1989] Although this tell may not have had as steep a slope as that found at Kursi, it does have a hill that runs into the sea and could accommodate a “large herd of swine numbering about 2,000” (Mark 5:11). In addition to the slope, other features of the site make it match up well with the biblical account of the miracle. In excavations by B. De Vries completed in 1973, a Roman tomb from the time of Jesus was found in a valley nearby es-Samrah.Holm-Nielson, Svend, "Gadarenes" in "Anchor Bible Dictionary" vol. 2, page 867, ed. D.N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday, 1992] This could account for the tombs in which the demoniacs lived. Also, there is needed a nearby site where the swine would have grazed and “the groves of oak trees on the plateau above would have provided the acorns they favored” ("Walking in their Sandals": 2Verify source|date=July 2007). Thus, the site of Gadara can align both textually and geographically with the biblical account of the demoniacs and the herd of swine.

Joseph Atwill in his book "Caesar's Messiah", believes that the story is a representation of Titus Vespasianus, as the messiah (see also [http://earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/war6.html Josephus' Jewish Wars 6] .5.4), and the invading Roman Legions in dealing with the Zealots and their insurrection in Caesarea. The pigs may also be an allusion to Legio X Fretensis, which occupied Jerusalem after AD 70, and had the boar as one of its symbols.

The Bartimaeus connection

As noted above, Matthew has two demon-possessed men instead of one, and does not mention the name "Legion". Similarly, in his version of the Blind Man of Jericho, Matthew has two blind men instead of one and omits the name Bartimaeus, both men remaining anonymous. Duplication and anonymity are characteristics of the Matthean versions of both stories.

In popular culture

Some works of fiction had taken "Legion" as the proper name of a demon. For example, William Peter Blatty's sequel to "The Exorcist" (the basis for the 1990 "The Exorcist III", which he also directed) is called "Legion".The collective aspect can be emphasized such as in "", the second film in the heisei Gamera series, that uses the first biblical quote to introduce the space insects Legion.
*In the Film "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", one of the six demons, which included Belial and Lucifer, that dwelled inside the title character claimed to have been with Legion.
*In the Canadian horror film "5ive Girls", Legion is the demon running loose in an all-girls catholic school.
*Legion is a recurring boss in the "Castlevania" series. However, unlike the biblical Legion, it is one demon covered in the corpses of many men.
*In the Father Gilbert Mystery "Dead Air" The Demon Legion possesses one of the characters who goes by that name. The actual demon has an argument with Father Gilbert in the episode finale.
*Legion is the title of the second episode of the sixth series of the BBC comedy "Red Dwarf", named for the episode's antagonist, an artificial intelligence that exists as the combined intelligence of all sentient, conscious beings present within the space station where it was created, with a holographic body of "hard light"; when no sentients are present (or those present are unconscious), it is reduced to an unthinking and immaterial state.
*In the television mini-series of Stephen King's "Storm of the Century", the character played by Colm Feore is named "Andre Linoge" and the town constable, Mike Anderson, makes the connection to Legion, by deciphering that "LINOGE" is an anagram for "LEGION" and thus suggesting that Linoge is a demon, but this is a thread in the story that is never followed up on.
*Legion shows up in many other Stephen King works. "The Dark Tower Saga", "The Stand", "Black House", "Desperation", "The Regulators" and "IT".
*In the online videogame "Dark Age of Camelot", Legion is the gate guardian to the final boss Azazel that players can face in the zone called Brimstone Caverns, which is stylized as an underworld.
*In the "Shadow Man" video game, the main antagonist's name is Legion. The phrase "For we are many" is said almost by each "Boss" of the game as a sort of catch phrase denoting their alliance with him. His plan throughout the game is to bring apocalypse to Earth by tricking the titular protagonist into collecting a multitude of sealed souls from the underworld.
*In DC's series, a race quarantined by the Guardians becomes the yellow-clad Legion, killer of Green Lanterns.
*In Marvel X-Men comic books, Legion is a character with multiple personalities, each with its own distinct superpower.
*In the "Ghost Rider" film, Blackheart calls himself "Legion" (complete with the quote of "My name is Legion, for we are many") when he has taken the thousand souls of San Venganza. This also points to the writer of the comic being a Stephen King fan.
*In the "Shin Megami Tensei" video game series Legion is a recurring Demon in several of the games.
*In "" Legion is the name of the player's character, an AI based on the former AI CABAL
*The name of the character "Lady LeJean", from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Thief of Time was chosen because it sounded similar to the name "Legion".
*The Sovereign in Mass Effect replies when asked where the rest of the reapers are with "We are Legion"
*The Image board 4Chan and its sub-relation Chanology refer to itself as "Legion - As they are many."
*A Sinister Pirate Organization in the game StarQuest Online is known only by the name Legion
*In the novel Apocalyptica Humans and their allies are at war with The Legion, A large Despotism body of power made up of many alien species. One specific species are non-corporal beings called Darlkings that in Human culture are known as demons...hence the saying "I am Legion and we are many"
*New Jersey-based hardcore band, The Banner, has a song entitled I Am Legion, off their newest release, "Frailty."
*Legion is the title of the seventh book in the Warhammer 40,000: Horus Heresy series. It plays on the idea that all the members of the Alpha Legion Spacemarines identify themselves to outsiders by a single name, Alpharius, as a representation of their group identity and purpose.
*In the first episode of of the television series Supernatural, one of the Seven deadly sins, Envy, says “I am Legion, for we are many.”


External links

* [http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/mark.html EarlyChristianWritings.com Gospel of Mark] , see discussion at bottom of page

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