Lords of Kobol
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The Lords of Kobol are deities featured in the fictional universe of Battlestar Galactica. The Lords of Kobol are worshiped by the humans of the Twelve Colonies. Many centuries ago, emigrants from the planet Kobol settled upon twelve new worlds, (and according to legend, a thirteenth world “Earth”), bringing their religion with them.
In the original continuity, the Lords of Kobol are not explicitly dealt with. The series characters explicitly mention “God” in tandem with the Lords of Kobol, particularly during the wedding between Apollo and Serina (Lost Planet of the Gods), suggesting that the Lords of Kobol may be more akin to Bodhisattvas or angels. In later episodes, the mental or supernatural abilities of the Lords of Kobol are implied when the occupants of the “Ship of Lights” and Count Iblis appear (War of the Gods). These Lords are called the Seraph (seraphs are angels).
List of deific figures in the original series
- Ninth Lord of Kobol – A deceased Lord of Kobol entombed in the city of Eden on Kobol. The Tomb of the Ninth Lord of Kobol is a key feature of the Lost Planet of the Gods episode.
- Count Iblis – A powerful being who appears stranded on an uncharted planet. Iblis appears to have been Satan himself, performing “miracles” and trying to convince the fleet to accept him as leader. His name is taken from Islam, wherein Iblis is a name for Satan.
- Ships of Light – The ships are vessels controlled by friendly figures with angelic personage (sans wings or halo) who pursue Count Iblis and who bring Apollo back to life. See Seraphs (Battlestar Galactica)
- John (Seraph), a Being of Light
- Angela (Seraph), believed to be a Being of Light and mother of Doctor Zee
In the reimagined series, the Lords of Kobol play a more pivotal role in the affairs of the characters. The names and positions of the Lords of Kobol mostly parallel the Olympic pantheon, with some differences and additions from the Roman versions of these gods, as well as Norse references.
Unlike their original series version (which have no established religion) the Cylons have a monotheistic religion with minor similarities to the Abrahamic God with regard to prayer and commandments (as noted in the second season episode, “The Farm“). Several Cylon characters persuade the humans they encounter to abandon their pantheon of deities, which the one God denounces. This agenda has been pressed into the mind of Dr. Gaius Baltar by his visions of the Cylon Number Six.
However, Colonial scripture hints that the Cylon God may well be seen as a fallen Lord of Kobol. In a season 1 deleted scene the Priestess Elosha describes that the ancient war on Kobol began when one of the other Gods wanted to be worshiped above all the others, leading to the exodus of Humanity. Also in the season 3 episode, “Exodus“, a Number Three Cylon receives a message from both the Lords of Kobol and the Cylon God through a Colonial clergy member, an oracle named Dodona Selloi, who appears to act as a conduit between both the Cylon and Colonial deities. The contact with Selloi, a Colonial citizen, implies that the Cylon God may be a fallen Lord of Kobol.
In the Miniseries, Colonel Tigh exclaims, “Jesus!” on one occasion. This was an unauthorized ad-lib by the actor, Michael Hogan, as Ronald D. Moore noted on his blog, and was not intended as a serious reference to Christianity in the series. The series’ Colonial characters are now fairly consistent in the regular series with the pluralization of exclamations such as “Oh my Gods”, while Cylon characters are consistent in using “God” in the singular.
In Caprica it was established that Taurons have a four-headed statue depicting strength (symbolized by Mars), order (symbolized by Jupiter), nature (symbolized by Diana), and love (symbolized by Venus) in their homes, with what an individual believes is most important being larger than the others. Tauron theology also seems to involve a stand-in for Charon for the symbolic release of a dead loved one to the afterlife.
List of deities mentioned in the reimagined series
Lords of Kobol
- Aphrodite – Connected with childbirth
- Apollo – The Arrow of Apollo artifact will point the way to Earth
- Ares – God of war. May also be used with “Mars“, mentioned in the Season 3 premiere, “Occupation“, as a Colonial holiday or day of the week known as “Mars Day.” A gang known as the “Sons of Ares” are active in the black market on board the Colonial Fleet, though they have no apparent religious aspect.
- Artemis – Starbuck offers prayers to Artemis
- Asclepius – God of healing. In the episode “Escape Velocity“, Lily, a follower of Gaius Baltar, prays to Asclepius after an attack by the Sons of Ares. The symbol Lily is praying too is a Caduceus which is commonly confused with the Rod of Asclepius, leaving it an open question as to whether the producers used the wrong symbol (a very common mistake, especially in the media) or in the Galactica universe Asclepius is actually represented by that symbol. Later, when Gaius enters a Temple on Galactica, he references Asclepius as using the blood of Aphrodite and Artemis in healing.
- Athena – The Tomb of Athena on Kobol, reputedly where Athena is entombed, contains a star map to Earth. The Athenian Academy was a parochial private school in Caprica.
- Atlas – The original story of Atlas held that he propped up Kobol, rather than Earth, on his shoulders.
- Aurora – Aurora is the Goddess of the dawn who brings “the morning star” and a “fair wind”.
- Hekate – Goddess of the Underworld. Referenced in spin-off Caprica series. She is related to the Greek goddess Hecate, Goddess of the Underworld, Crossroads, and Magic/Witchcraft. The young of Caprica would holographically sacrifice virgins to Hekate in the Holoband V-world.
- Hephaestus – The Caprica episode “Unvanquished” established that “Hephaestan” rebels existed on Geminon in opposition to the Monotheists.
- Hera – The Gates of Hera on Kobol is where Athena jumped to her death, and where Hera witnessed it. Hera is also described as both wife and sister of Zeus by the oracle visited by Number Three on New Caprica. It is also the name given to the Cylon-human hybrid child Hera.
- Poseidon – Poseidon is referenced by Gaius Baltar when speaking to a female follower, stating that worshipping one of the ‘Gods’ was useless and false.
- Zeus (Jupiter) – Zeus is the husband and brother to Hera. Adama has been jokingly referred to as Zeus, as he is the father of Lee Adama, call-sign Apollo. In “The Passage“, D’Anna says the husband of Hera is Jupiter. The Temple of Five was believed to contain an artifact known as the Eye of Jupiter, but the Eye was actually a nova of a star that was similar in pattern and shape to another nova formed 4,000 years before, which created the Ionian Nebula. The use of the term “Jupiter” and not “Zeus” for the episode name “The Eye of Jupiter” stemmed more from a legality matter involving a living person or property during the writing of the episode.
- Isis – The Egyptian goddess of fertility and magic. Unlike most of the other Lords of Kobol, Isis is from the Egyptian pantheon rather than a Greco-Roman deity. Like Hera, wife and sister of Zeus, Isis was wife and sister of Osiris, and in some areas of the Greco-Roman world, Isis and Hera were interchangeable. When Karl Agathon and Athena’s daughter Hera was placed in the foster care under Maya, she was renamed “Isis”. Whether this means Isis was worshipped as a deity in Colonial society, or a subculture thereof, is unknown.
- Mithras – a late Roman deity (via Persia and India) mentioned in “Escape Velocity” as being worshiped by a sect who apparently believed Mithras was the one and only god. Baltar’s monotheistic sect is compared to the “Followers of Mithras”. Whether or not Mithras was accepted as one of the Lords of Kobol however, is uncertain.
- The Cylons believe in one god and denounce all others. In the episodes “Occupation” and “A Measure of Salvation“, the term “Heavenly Father” is also used in prayer to describe their deity. The “Temple of Five” was dedicated to the five priests of this unnamed deity according to Colonial scripture. With the events in the episodes “Rapture” and “Crossroads“, the series appears to point to a strong connection between the Cylon god and the Lords of Kobol. The one god was worshipped by a sect of humans in the Colonies before the creation of the Colonial Cylons.
- In the spin-off television series Caprica the religious wars between monotheism and polytheism are a central plot structure. The monotheistic cult known as the Soldiers of the One seems to be the forerunner of the Cylons’ religion. The cult is said to have originated on Gemenon, one of the Twelve Colonies, again seeming to indicate that the “one true god” was once a Lord of Kobol.
- A key plot detail of Caprica is the passage of Zoe Graystone‘s virtual avatar from a simulated world into the real world, when her avatar software is installed into a “meta-cognitive processor” which is inserted into a robot. This robot becomes the first Colonial Cylon, and the template for all future Cylons. Since Zoe had accepted the monotheism of the Soldiers of the One, her avatar’s independent and on-going non-corporeal existence within the template Cylon results in the Cylons of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series being monotheistic.
- At one point in the series, Zoe vents about her situation to her friend Lacy Rand through the Cylon, saying “It’s weird. I’m Zoe, and the avatar, and the robot, like some kind of…” Lacy finishes the sentence with “Trinity.”
- The monotheism of Zoe within the template Cylon is reinforced in the finale of Caprica, when we see Soldiers of the One zealot Clarice Willow preaching to a room of early Cylons about the one that loves them all and tells of a prophecy that their belief in God will allow them to crush those who gave them life.
- Hart, Hugh (2010-01-21). “Alessandra Torresani Gets Inside Caprica’s Prime Cylon”. Wired. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
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