Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Great Beast

In Revelation xiii, Apocalypse is heralded by various signs, including this Seven-headed 10-horned Beast with elements of leopard, bear, lion and Dragon. Its prophet (described as a second beast) is the Antichrist, and its number is famously 666 (>>> Numerology); occasionally it is identified with Satan. The associated Prophecy that "no man might buy or sell" without the mark or number of the beast has generated Urban Legends about 666 being concealed in bar codes, etc., as featured in Robert Rankin's East of Ealing (1984). The Beast is cheekily depicted as part of Heaven's furniture in James Branch Cabell's The Silver Stallion (1926). Aleister Crowley exploited the shock value of giving himself the title Great Beast. [DRL]

see also: The Omen.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.