Leviathan in popular culture
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The mythology relating to this subject arises from Ancient Middle East and Jewish origins. The Hebrew monster Leviathan found in the Book of Job has in particular given rise to many incarnations in popular culture, film, and literature. However, this article includes subjects with no direct connection to ancient sources.
The Leviathan of the Book of Job is a reflection of the older Canaanite Lotan, a primeval monster defeated by the god Baal Hadad. Parallels to the role of Mesopotamian Tiamat defeated by Marduk have long been drawn in comparative mythology, as have been wider comparisons to dragon and world serpent narratives such as Indra slaying Vrtra or Thor slaying Jörmungandr, but Leviathan already figures in the Hebrew Bible as a metaphor for a powerful enemy, notably Babylon (Isaiah 27:1), and some 19th century scholars have pragmatically interpreted it as referring to large aquatic creatures, such as the crocodile. The word later came to be used as a term for "great whale", as well as for sea monsters in general.
Leviathan (or more precisely Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil is the title of Thomas Hobbes' 1651 work on the social contract and the origins of creation of an ideal state.
- [Satan] Prone on the Flood, extended long and large
- Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
- As whom the Fables name of monstrous size,
- Titanian, or Earth-born, ...
- or that Sea-beast
- Leviathan, which God of all his works
- Created hugest that swim th' Ocean stream. (Paradise Lost, Book 1: lines 195-202)
- War by land and by sea. This relationship is explicitly seen in Blake's two pictures showing Admiral Nelson and William Pitt [(1759–1806) (Prime Minister of Great Britain (1783–1801 and 1804–1806] included in this display. One interpretation of this design is that these beasts stand for the hopelessness of material nature. The Lord is pointing out to Job the negativeness of his faith so far.
The German poet Heinrich Heine mentions Leviathan in his Romanzaro. A Rabbi tells his Catholic opponent in a debate (the "Disputation") that every day of the year, but one, the God of the Jews plays for an hour with the fish at the bottom of the sea. God will one day serve the flesh of Leviathan to his chosen people. The poem gives the recipe that God will use to cook the giant fish. It will be served with garlic, raisins and rettich.
Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick (1851) alludes to the Biblical whale, and major influences on Melville were the Bible, and poet John Milton, who in Paradise Lost compares Satan to Leviathan – see above.
20th century and laterEdit
In the Dungeons and Dragons novel Darkwalker on Moonshae, set in the Forgotten Realms world, the author, Douglas Niles, presents the Leviathan as a giant sea creature that fights the forces of evil on behalf of the Earthmother, an aspect of Chauntea.
In Steven Brust's novel To Reign in Hell, Leviathan (female in this case) is one of seven elder inhabitants of Heaven who conspire to prevent Yahweh from creating the Earth as a sanctuary for himself and those loyal to him.
The narrative history book Against His-Story, Against Leviathan by Fredy Perlman critically explores the progress of Hobbes's Leviathan, as western civilization, inspiring and defining Anti-civilization theory.
Jim Butcher's series, Codex Alera, mentions leviathans as part of the Alera realm, a species of giant creatures swimming in the river and seas. In the 4th book of the series, Captain's Fury the main characters attempt to trick their enemy by swimming past their ship when leviathans are nearby. The leviathans also make their appearance in the 5th book, the Princeps' Fury, when Aleran and Canim armies cross the sea on ships.
In the book - Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister, the author - Tabrik C has used Leviathan as a chapter name, essentially comparing the antagonist to the biblical sea monster.
Escape from Leviathan is a book on libertarian philosophy by J C Lester.
"Leviathan" is the title of a piece in David Sedaris's 2018 collection of essays, Calypso.
Leviathan is the name of a giant, water manipulating monster in the Worm web novel.
Leviathan is the name of a Soviet-based terrorist organization in Marvel Comics.
Leviathan is the name of a criminal organization in DC Comics.
In 1994, the American rapper Nas released his first solo album, Illmatic. The first official single released from the album was "It Ain't Hard to Tell" in which Nas rapped "Begin like a violin / End like Leviathan", suggesting his music can have a soothing effect to the ear of its listeners but a rough ending for his competition.
American metalcore band Leathermøuth wrote a song named "Leviathan" for their debut album xø.
The United States Navy is referred to as "Leviathan" in the music video produced by the Warrior Project and titled "The Warrior Song - Leviathan".
Swedish metal band Raubtier have a track named Leviatan at their album Pansargryning (2014).
American musician Josh Ritter allude to Leviathan in the second verse of his song "Change of Time".
Rock band Icarus The Owl have an album named Love Always, Leviathan with a track on the album of the same name.
Solo artist black metal band Leviathan from San Francisco - founded and fronted by Jef Whitehead.
American rapper G-Eazy released a track called Leviathan in his 2017 album, the Beautiful and Damned, featuring vocals from Sam Martin.
Film and TVEdit
In the television series, Farscape (1999-2003), Leviathans are sentient spaceships, with the ship Moya used by the main characters being one of them. More details can be seen on the wiki page List of races in Farscape.
In the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, the Leviathans are an ancient race of beings who ruled the Earth before mankind came into existence. Their forms were hideous and inhuman, although many Leviathans took human shape after they lost control of the planet. They longed to return to the Earth and reclaim it as their own.
Leviathan is a 1989 science-fiction horror film about a hideous creature that stalks and kills a group of people in a sealed environment, in a similar way to such films as Alien (1979) and The Thing (1982).
In the 2001 Disney animated film Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the Leviathan is a gigantic and terrifying Atlantean war machine which looks like a giant lobster a hundred times the dimension of even the largest man-made sea vessel. It serves as the guardian of the entrance to Atlantis, which lies at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. In the opening scene it is revealed to the Atlantean viking ship, but after Atlantis sank it became aquatic. In 2003 sequel Atlantis: Milo's Return, it is revealed that it is still guarding the entrance to Atlantis, but it didn't attack Milo's friends upon their return since, thanks to their crystals, it knew they were friends.
In the Hellraiser series by Clive Barker, the deity that rules Hell is named Leviathan. However, this being takes the form of a gigantic lozenge, rotating in the air above its realm, and pertains in no other way to a sea monster.
A season one episode of Martin Mystery had Martin and his friends dealing with a Leviathan that was guarding undersea treasure.
In the television series Supernatural, the Leviathans are an ancient race of monsters that were freed from Purgatory when the angel Castiel absorbed its entire population. Described by Death as God's original creations (created before angels and humanity but locked away because they proved too dangerous), Leviathans are capable of shape-shifting into human form after contact with their DNA, able to eat virtually anything and almost indestructible. They are only vulnerable to the household chemical Borax and being stabbed with the bone of a righteous mortal (Sister Mary Constant) soaked in blood from the three fallen: a fallen Angel (Castiel), Ruler of fallen humanity (Crowley) and the father of fallen beasts (Alpha Vampire).
In the Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu episode "The Last Voyage", Zane's father is revealed to be still alive and trapped on a prison surrounded by water and guarded by a squid-like creature known as a Leviathon.
Dave Bautista wrestled under the name Leviathan in the early 2000s for Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE's developmental territory at the time before he got called up to the main roster.
In the television series, Elementary, the episode "The Leviathan" features an impossible to crack bank vault named The Leviathan, hence the title of the episode.
In the HBO series Veep, "The Leviathan" is the nickname that Gary, the Vice President's personal aide, gives to the 60-pocket bag that he carries containing everything the VP might need while out of the office.
In the television series Marvel's Agent Carter, Leviathan is referenced as the possible head of the enemy operation. The identity of Leviathan is yet to be revealed on the show, but in the Marvel Universe, Leviathan is known to be an evil organization.
In the 2016 television series Legends of Tomorrow, Vandal Savage uses a giant robot created from Palmer's technologies known as the Leviathan to crush rebellion forces. In order to stop it, The Atom, grows to the same dimension to fight it.
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In the Disgaea games, Leviathan is one of six levels of the Sea Serpent class, which is one of many creatable monster character classes.
Leviathan is a recurring creature in the Final Fantasy RPG series, often encountered as an obstacle or boss, as well as a water-based Summon spell.
In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the Leviathan is an amphibious helicopter.
In Grand Theft Auto V, there is a rollercoaster called the Leviathan at the Del Perro pier.
In the game Dishonored, it is hinted that the original form of the Outsider, a mystical figure who grants the protagonist Corvo magical powers, is a leviathan. What this means about his relationship to the other whales in the game is left ambiguous.
In the game Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, based on the tabletop wargame, there is a massive mobile fortress-tank called a Leviathan.
In Halo the Fall of Reach, a UNSC cruiser is named the Leviathan.
In the MMORPG EVE Online, the Leviathan is the name of the Caldari titan, the largest class of ships in the game.
Lair of the Leviathan is the name of the third Telltale Tales of Monkey Island game.
In the Mass Effect 3 DLC, Mass Effect: Leviathan, the protagonists investigate a derelict Reaper codenamed "Leviathan", and wind up encountering the ancient aquatic species responsible for the creation of the Reapers, who are unofficially dubbed Leviathans.
In Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Leviathan is the name of a boss.
In the MMORPG Realm of the Mad God there are multiple leviathans who are powerful gods that you can fight.
In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, there is a boss entitled Abyssal Leviathan Tentalus. Tentalus could be a reference to the Greek mythological character Tantalus, who was banished to live in a pool of water for his crimes.
In the first Borderlands 2 DLC Captain Scarlett, the Leviathan is mentioned several times, large skeletons of what could be the creature decorating the land, and a Leviathan is fought as a boss battle.
In Devil May Cry 3, the Leviathan (a gigantic flying Whale-like creature) was released into the human world after Vergil and Arkham summoned the Temen-ni-gru tower into the human world to obtain Sparda's power for themselves. The demon is eventually killed by Dante after he destroys it from the inside.
A giant fish monster named Leviathan appears as one of the bosses in Bomberman 64.
Leviathan is the name of one of the Seven Sisters of Purgatory in the murder mystery visual novel Umineko no Naku Koro Ni.
In Mega Man Zero, one of the main characters is a Reploid named Fairy Leviathan, who is a member of the Maverick Hunter organization of Neo Arcadia. Similarly, in Rosenkreuzstilette, a character resembling her, Trauare Wrede, who is the fourth member of RKS, wields a spear just like her, and her spear is called the Chaos Spear Leviathan.
In the game series Gears of War the Leviathan was a species of aquatic animals that lived in bodies of deep water and later on the surface. In the game they were feared by another enemy, the Locust, who wouldn't go near their territory.
In Forsaken a giant hovering tank named Leviathan is one of the early bosses in the game.
In the game Dead Space an enormous creature known as "The Leviathan" is one of the bosses.
In Entropia Universe the Leviathan is a popular creature to kill.
In The Ocean Hunter, Leviathan is the second boss in-game and is depicted as a giant megalodon followed and protected by numerous other sharks.
In Angels Online, Leviathan appears as a boss in Leviathan's Bedroom
In Skullgirls, Leviathan is a bony serpent parasite who assists the undead character Squigly, having more of a mutual bond than a parasitic one. He often uses fire and other dragon-related attacks to help her in her battles.
In Darksiders Leviathan's Drift in Darksiders and The Leviathan is a massive Dragon-like creature that appears in the Darksiders II: Death's Door Comic.
In the art/exploration game The Old City: Leviathan, the Leviathan refers to the deserted post-apocalyptic facility that surrounds the main character and unreliable narrator, Jonah, who in his isolated madness attributed it sentience. He refers to it occasionally as his only friend. The one-sided dialogue that entails, Jonah speaking to Leviathan, is the player's chief look into the lonely world as they explore.
In The Binding of Issac: Afterbirth, Leviathan is the name of a possible transformation that bears a Cthullu-like appearance.
In Subnautica, the Leviathan classification is given only to the largest organisms dominating their local habitat, and is the largest group in the game. Most members of the Leviathan class have either a serpentine body shape or are propelled by tentacles, similar to many classical depictions of Leviathans.
Leviathan is the name given to the Shadow of Sae Nijima, the sixth boss of Persona 5.
In Destiny, the Leviathan is a massive undersea creature who tries to prevent one of the game's main antagonistic races, the Hive, from becoming corrupted, but ultimately fails. In its sequel Destiny 2, the Leviathan is the unrelated name of a massive, world-eating starship which houses the former Cabal Emperor and is also the name of the game's first Raid, which takes place upon said ship.
In Obey Me! Leviathan is one of seven demon brothers who represent the seven deadly sins. He represents Envy. Leviathan is obsessed with anime and video games; his brothers say he never comes out of his room and does online schooling instead of going to class.
In the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, the "Great Leviathan" is an antagonistic force and a gigantic serpent responsible for the destruction of Atlantis.
The Digimon Leviamon is based upon the Leviathan. He is depicted as a giant red alligator, and is one of the Seven Great Demon Lords, amongst them representing the sin of envy. Leviathan is also the main antagonist of Digimon Universe: App Monsters.
In Reborn! there is a character named Leviathan who represents the sin Envy.
In Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san the character Levia-san was once Leviathan but hasn't transformed in centuries.
In the Sword Art Online: Extra Edition special, Leviathan The Sea Lord appears at the end of an underwater quest to force Kraken The Abyss Lord to retreat. His appearance has more in common with the Greek god Poseidon.
In Leviathan ~The Last Defense~, Leviathan, pronounced Leviatan, is the name of one of the main protagonists. She is a Water-affiliated mage that can transform into a human/dragon hybrid. Her two companions, Bahamut and Jörmungandr, also share the names of other mythical aquatic monsters. They can also transform into human/dragon hybrids and are affiliated with Fire and Earth, respectively.
In High School DxD, Leviathan is one of the Four Devil Kings. She is in charge of foreign affairs for the Devils.
Leviathan is an organization of immortals that live at the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the podcast audio drama Leviathan Chronicles.
Leviathan is a creature type (as well as a specific card) in trading card game Magic: the Gathering.
DC Comic's upcoming 2020 mystery story is named Event Leviathan by author Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev.
- Cirlot, Juan Eduardo (1971). A Dictionary of Symbols (2nd ed.). Dorset Press. p. 186.
- Wilhelm Gesenius, Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (trans.) (1879). Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament.
- "Behemoth and Leviathan", Gallery label, September 1998, Tate Gallery, London.
- Romanzora 1851  Retrieved 5 August 2014
- Bercaw (1987), 10
- "Oppen, "Leviathan". Poetry Foundation
- Young, Jake (24 July 2015). "14 Pokemon Based On Terrifying Mythological Creatures". Dorkly.
- Arkane Studios (2012-10-09). Dishonored (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360). Bethesda Softworks.
Extract from Spirit of the Deep: In these sleepless nights of despair, you appear to me not as the mighty leviathan, but as a young man, with eyes as black as the Void.