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Legion in popular culture

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Legion, the demon of Gadarenes, appears frequently as a character in popular culture. The Christian New Testament gospels of Mark, Luke and Matthew describe an incident in which Jesus meets a man, or men, possessed by demons who, when asked what their name is, respond:

"My name is Legion, for we are many."
(In Latin) "Nomen mihi Legio est, quia multi sumus."

The quotation has been referenced and alluded to many times throughout history in popular culture.

In books Edit

  • "Our Name is legion" is also quoted in Stephen King's It, During Interlude One, the Gas Station Worker's Wife is commented to have heard voices from the drain of her sink during the 1957 incident.
  • "We are Myria LeJean" is used to introduce this character in Terry Pratchett's Thief of Time. She is a manifestation of an auditor, a being which will be destroyed if it shows any sign of individuality. "Myria" is easily associated with "myriad", and "LeJean" with "legion", alluding to this bible passage.
  • The line is alluded to in John Dies at the End when the character Dave is confronted by a human, Justin, whose body is being controlled by a swarm of tiny, supernatural parasites. When Justin rejects his old name and Dave asks what he should call him instead, his reply is "Just call me 'Shitload.' Because there's a shitload of us in here."
  • In The Taking by Dean Koontz, an extra-terrestrial being utters the lines "Yimaman see noygel, see refacull, see nod a bah, see naytoss, retee fo sellos. "My name is legion, is Lucifer, is Abbadon, is Satan, eater of souls."

In video games Edit

  • In many of the Shin Megami Tensei games, a cluster of souls in the form of a single demon is referred to as Legion.
  • Legion is the main antagonist to Acclaim's Shadow Man. Their role in the game was trying to harness the power of the dark souls and bring about the Apocalypse or The End of All Things. They were stopped by Michael LeRoi (a.k.a. Shadow Man) and in the end, died a horrible fate.
  • In the video game series Castlevania, Legion is a recurring boss and lesser enemy. It is usually presented as a round orb or manifestation of countless naked bodies.
  • In the video game Manhunt 2, a gang named The Legion, sometimes say "Our Name is Legion, for we are many", this can also be heard in the beginning of one of the trailers for the game.
  • In "TimeSplitters: Future Perfect" the Prometheus model robots, from the robot wars level, say the phrase "We are legion."
  • In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Kain states: "But each of us is so much more than we once were. Do you not feel with all your soul how we have become like gods? And as such, are we not indivisible? As long as a single one of us stands, we are legion..." This occurs during the final boss battle against Kain. It is requoted in the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 introduction movie.
  • In the Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars expansion pack, Kane's Wrath, the player plays the role of an AI called LEGION who, in the third act of game is ordered to command army of cyborgs. Kane states (a double entendre): "You are LEGION"
  • The Legion is the name of the alien race and main antagonists of the video game Epoch Star. Whenever the player engages Legion forces, they will say, "We are the Legion for we are many."
  • In the Tabletop Game Warhammer 40000, the race of undead alien robots called Necrons have a quote in their Codex source book: "Their number is legion, their name is death". The warriors of Thousand Sons legion of Chaos Space Marines, essentially possessed suits of armour, have a special rule called "we are legion", indicating their lack of individuality. Chaos Daemons have a daemonic gift called "we are legion", which represents the daemon having multiple souls trapped inside its body, and allows it to fire at multiple targets.
  • When the player chooses to use the Chaos Space Marines in Warhammer 40k Dawn of War, selecting a Chaos Marine squad may result in the response "We are legion" as the squad's aknowledgement of the player's selection - this is a double reference as following the Horus Heresy loyalist Space Marines were divided into Chapters, whereas Chaos Space Marines have retained their original designations of "Legions".
  • In Blood Will Tell, one of the 48 fiends Hyakkimaru (this story's protagonist) must destroy is named 'Legion'. He has many faces upon his body from those who worship him, thereby implying that he physically manifest with many different pseudos of identity.
  • In Animal Crossing: City Folk, while playing hide and seek with townsfolk, after finding one, they might say "We are legion, for we are many."
  • In Dark Age of Camelot, Legion is the strongest creature that rules over Darkness Falls.
  • In Mass Effect, the Character Sovereign (the vanguard of a race of sentient machines bent on wiping out all organic life) declares "We are Legion."
  • In the sequel Mass Effect 2 a Geth is called Legion by the crew of the Normandy due to it not having any concept of individuality. The character EDI is the one who gives him the name directly out of reference to the bible (specifically the reference in the Gospel of Mark). The playable characters asks what to call the Geth; the Geth says "Geth." After a few more questions, it says there are 1183 programs in that platform (the synthetic robot), at which point EDI pops up and says "My name is Legion, for we are many." The construct immediately recognizes and acknowledges Mark 5:9 as an appropriate metaphor for its state of existence.
  • In Bioshock 2 father wales when locking one of the doors in sirens alley shouts 'We are Legion' before summoning a horde of splicers.

In television Edit

  • In American horror television series Millennium in the episode "The Judge", a serial killer employs delinquents and ex-convicts to brutally murder, and carry out his "justice". When arrested and interviewed by former FBI Agent Frank Black, he follows Frank's question of "What should I call you?" with "My name is Legion".
  • "My name is Legion, for we are many" is also quoted by one of the demons of the Seven Deadly Sins in the American action-drama Supernatural.
  • Legion appears in the British Television series Red Dwarf in the episode "Legion". He is a being composed of many separate minds like the biblical text and also uses the biblical quote "My Name is Legion, for we are many". Legion is presented as a man in a green body suit, adorned with pieces of 'armor' (reminiscent of Kryten the android's) and a mask with a breathing tube. When the protagonist David Lister knocks the mask off, Legion's face is revealed to be a conglomeration of all the crew members' faces. Legion retaliates, rendering Lister unconscious for a few seconds; during which time Lister's features are erased from Legion's. He claims that can read their thoughts and feelings, and experiences the sum of their physical and emotional strength. In the interest of keeping the crew with him forever, to prolong his existence, he demonstrates how he can selectively give his ability to them; he stabs his hand with a fork, causing the crew to feel it. He threatens them by stating the next "hint of insurrection" will cause him to stab himself in the groin. Kryten saves the crew by incapacitating everyone, reducing Legion to a clone of himself. Legion is then ordered to help Kryten bring the Cat and Lister back on board the ship, a request he must comply with due to the fact Kryten is programmed to not harm and even assist humans where ever possible, this also leads to Legion upgrading their ships engines
  • The title of the episode "Legion" from the animated series Gargoyles is an allusion to the Biblical quotation. The episode features a cyborg (Coldstone) possessed by multiple spirits of dead Gargoyles.
  • In the series Paranormal State episode, "I am Six", the case involves a woman who is possessed by a demon who states "I am Six". Later, psychic Lorraine Warren states over phone that "I am Six," means being a legion of demons.
  • In the series Witchblade in episode 5 of season 1 a suspect named Edward Noland yells in the alley, "My name is Legion, for we are many."
  • The third season premiere of Justice League Unlimited is titled "I Am Legion". The episode sees the first appearance of the multi-villain team, the Legion of Doom. Also, during the episode, Lex Luthor appears to be sharing his body with Brainiac – effectively making him possessed.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood the character Envy, while inside Gluttony, turns into a Legion-like creature while fighting Edward Elric (the main protagonist) and Ling (one of the side characters).

In music Edit

  • The band Testament calls its fans the Testament Legions, which is also in the URL of their official site.
  • The black metal band Marduk wrote a song entitled "Legion" using the line "My name is legion, for we are many in here"
  • The quote 'My name is Legion' and two lines later 'We are many' is used in the song 'Ghost in the Firewall' by Progressive Rock band Arena.
  • "My Name is Legion" is a song by Electric Hellfire Club from the album "Witness The Millennium". There is a line stating, "My name is Legion: for I'm many".
  • The death metal band Arch Enemy made a song called "Nemesis" with the line "We are legion, Voice of anarchy This is revolution Creating new disorder"
  • In a Black Sabbath song called "I" appears a line, "I am Legion, strength in numbers a lie, the number is one"
  • The Demons & Wizards song "Crimson King" contains the line, "I am Legion." This song is actually about Stephen King's Dark Tower where Randall Flagg is one of the villains.
  • Legion is the name of a song by Theatre of Hate
  • Legion is also the name of a song by Gothic Metal band Saviour Machine
  • Drum & Bass musician Breakage released a song entitled 'The 9th Hand' on Planet Mu in 2006 which contained the sample, "My name is Legion, for we are many."
  • "Mi nombre es Legión" ("My name is Legion", in Spanish) is a song by Spanish band Siniestro Total, written for the soundtrack of El día de la bestia (The Day of The Beast), a movie by director Álex de la Iglesia. Its opening line says "My name is Legion/for we are many, we are multitude".
  • The Severed Heads song Legion opens with the line "My name is Legion."
  • Legion is also the name of the second release by Death Metal band Deicide.
  • A hardstyle song by Hellraiser & The Engineer, was titled "Legion (For We Are Many)"
  • The HammerFall song "Legion" from the Album No Sacrifice, No Victory contains the line "My name is Legion, for we are many", including the intro where it's spoken with a deep demon voice.
  • Marian Gold's song "Missionary," from his United album, contains the lyrics, "I'm not the one you're listening to, while I sit here in front of you/ My name is Legion, don't you know?," apparently as a description of a crusading psychiatrist possessed by a spirit of cruelty and domination.
  • Legion is also a name of the song by Flёur. It uses the word "legion" as a metaphor of a person that is obsessed about somebody and stalks it everywhere.
  • "Ich bin viele" (German for I'm many) is a song by Eisregen. The refrain says: "Denn ich bin viele... Mein Name ist Legion" which is German for "for I'm many... my name is Legion"
  • "Der Fuerst der Finsternis" is a song by the German musical project E Nomine. Two lines state: "Mein Name ist Legion, denn wir sind viele" which is German for "My name is legion, for we are many".
  • House and techno artist Felix da Housecat in 1996 released the single "Legion for we are many" under his alias Aphrohead.
  • The Mountain Goats recorded a song on the 2004 album We Shall All Be Healed titled "Pigs That Ran Straightaway Into the Water, Triumph Of," a reference to the biblical story of Legion.

In filmEdit

  • Legion is mentioned in the 2007 film Ghost Rider. When Blackheart reads the contract of San Venganza, he absorbs all 1,000 of the damned souls who signed their names to the contract. After the process is complete, he proclaims, "My Name... Is Legion, For We Are... Many."
  • Legion is the antagonist in the indie horror film 5ive Girls.
  • In the 1996 Daiei film, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, the giant turtle Gamera battles an insect-like alien dubbed "Legion" by the Japanese military, due to the fact that the kaiju commands an immense army of smaller symbiotic Legion. A Japanese soldier also quotes the biblical scripture in Mark to which the name is a reference.
  • In a Stephen King film, Storm of the Century, the antagonist had identified himself as Legion, with his original name being Andre Linoge (an anagram of Legion). Constable Mike Anderson notices this and tells another character the Biblical story of Legion.
  • In The Exorcist III, Legion is referenced by the Gemini Killer, a man who gained notoriety by a series of murders, leaving his calling card - carving the sign of the Gemini into the left palm of his victims and the removal of the index finger. After his death, the demon from the original film allows its spirit to possess the body of Father Damian Karras - the priest having died immediately after his descent down the steps in the original Exorcist film. The film was based on William Peter Blatty's own novel, Legion
  • Legion is the name of a film released in January 2010 centering around a biblical apocalypse that has descended upon the world.

In comics Edit

  • In I Am Legion, released by Devils Due/Humanoids Publishing, Legion is a child who is able to control the minds of men.[citation needed]
  • In Spawn, the hero Spawn absorbs the souls of thousands of murdered people, who thereby become Spawns themselves, and he utters the phrase, "I am Legion, for we are many."
  • In Geist-Panik, a webcomic by Brian Wilson, there is an evil character by the name of "Lee John".
  • In the webcomic MSFHigh, located at http://www.msfhigh.com, one of the main races is a hivemind known as Legion. Considering that they are capable of transforming other people into fellow Legion, the term fits.

In history Edit

  • "Our name is Legion, and we are Many" is from Daniel Defoe's "Legion's Memorial," delivered to the British House of Commons on May 14, 1701, in which Defoe defends the right to petition, claiming to represent 200,000 petitioners.[1]

References Edit

  1. Smith, Norman B.: "'Shall Make No Law Abridging. . .': An Analysis of the Neglected, but Nearly Absolute, Right of Petition", University of Cincinnati Law Review (54):1153 (1986).

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