The name by which one of the two demon-possessed men, whom Christ Jesus encountered in the region E of the Sea of Galilee, identified himself. Evidently, though, Legion was not his actual name, as it referred to his being possessed by many demons. Possibly the chief one of these demons caused this man to say that his name was Legion. The fact that in the first century C.E. Roman legions usually consisted of 6,000 men may give some indication of the large number of demons involved. So fierce were the demon-possessed man and his companion that no one dared to pass the area where they had their dwelling among the tombs. Under demon influence the man who said his name was Legion walked about naked, and day and night he cried aloud and slashed himself with stones. All efforts to bind him, even with fetters and chains, were unsuccessful. Christ Jesus, however, freed this man and his companion from the power of the demons. Thereafter the expelled demons took possession of a herd of swine and caused these to rush over a precipice to their death in the Sea of Galilee.—Mt 8:28-34; Mr 5:1-20; Lu 8:26-39; see GADARENES; SWINE.
For details about the Roman legions, see ARMY (Roman).