10th century illustration
Legion, also known as the Gadarene demon, or translated as Lots, is a demon found in the Christian Bible in Mark 5:9 and Luke 8:30.
The story refers to a famous exorcism performed by Jesus on a possessed man.
- 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 composed Legion were aware of the tremendous power of Jesus, and begged to be spared from being tossed back into the bottomless pit of Hell. 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.
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:
Theories and analysis
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.
Joseph Atwill in his book Caesar's Messiah, believes that the story is a representation of Titus Vespasianus, as the messiah (see also 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.
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 Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, 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, the six demons, including Belial and Lucifer, that dwelled inside the title character claimed to have been with Legion.
- In the indie Canadian horror flick 5ive Girls, Legion is the demon running loose in an all-girls catholic school.
- Legion is a recurring boss in the Castlevania series, composed by a huge amount of moving corpses in which center lurks a creature that controls them.
- Legion is also the title of the second episode of the sixth series of the the BBC comedy Red Dwarf.
- 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 also shows up in many other Stephen King works. "The Dark Tower Saga", "Black House", "Desperation", "The Regulators" and "IT".
- In Mythic's Dark Age Of Camelot, Legion is a demon at the end of a dungeon called Darkness Falls.
- 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. His plan throughout the game is to bring apocalypse to earth.
- In DC's Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn 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 "Ghost Rider (film)" Blackheart calls himself Legion when he has taken the thousand souls of San Venganza
- In the Shin Megami Tensei video game series Legion is a reoccurring Demon in several of the games.
- In Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath Legion is the name of the player's character, an AI based on the former AI CABAL
- . ^ Laney, J. Carl Geographical Aspects of the Life of Christ, page 141, Unpublished Th.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1977
- . ^ Nun, Mendel Gergesa (Kursi), page 5, Kibbutz Ein Gev, 1989