Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
mythological and legendary marine animal that traditionally resembles an enormous snake. The belief in huge creatures that inhabited the deep was widespread throughout the ancient world. In the Old Testament there are several allusions to a primordial combat between God and a monstrous adversary variously named Leviathan or Rahab. Although the references to Leviathan usually indicate a dragon-like creature, the name has also been used to denote a sea monster in general (see dragon). Analogies to this combat are found throughout the ancient Middle East. Babylonian literature records a battle between the god Marduk and the multi-headed serpent-dragon Tiamat, and in Hittite myth the weather god is victorious over the dragon Illuyankas. Similarly, a Canaanite poem from Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) in northern Syria records a battle between the god Baal and a monster called Leviathan.