Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the Battlestar Galactica universe, in both 1978 and 2004 instances, Kobol is the birthplace of humanity - from which the twelve (13?) colonies originally departed. One of the humanity's larger religions in the twelve colonies is a polytheistic faith worshipping 'the Twelve Lords of Kobol', a dozen deities out of which eleven are identified in the series.

I'm interested in knowing the origins of 'Kobol', and in particular its naming. Considering the series' focal point on human technological prowess I'd consider it plausible for the name to be a homage to the early compiled programming language COBOL; largely attributed to the computer science legend (Amazing) Grace Hopper.

Might I be correct in my assessment, or has the origins of the name 'Kobol' been discussed or mayhaps even confirmed before?

share|improve this question
Or perhaps the mythical creature kobold? – Nate Eldredge Aug 27 '14 at 21:17
I would bet that it's pure coincidence. There are only so many combinations of phonemes that sound like reasonable names to a native English speaker and don't translate to something unprintable elsewhere... (I'm still completely boggled that my synthetic nickname appears to be almost globally unique; it isn't a particularly strange combination of sounds.) – keshlam Aug 28 '14 at 3:01
up vote 31 down vote accepted

It is actually more likely a reference to the star/planet Kolob, which is mentioned in Mormon scripture and teachings. In those texts, Kolob was close to the throne of God, or is described as the "star nearest unto God".

Glen Larson, the creator of the original Battlestar Galactica is a known Mormon.

Backing this up is the other similarity in The Quorum of Twelve which is likely based on the The Quorum of Twelve Apostles in the Mormon church, and the reference to marriage as "sealing" as it is within the Mormon church.

Additionally, similar to the 13 original Tribes of Kobol including one lost one, the Book of Mormon describes 13 Tribes of Israel who departed, with the 13th being lost.

share|improve this answer
I'd upvote if half your facts weren't wrong. Kolob appears nowhere in the Book of Mormon. It is found in other scriptural texts and teachings. There are 13 tribes of Israel, but 10 are described as "lost" (this is from the Bible) and the Book of Mormon only describes a group from one of the tribes (Manasseh). All that aside, while Glen Larsen hasn't spoken much publicly about it, anyone familiar with the teachings of the LDS church will recognize that he borrowed quite a few concepts for the original BSG. – BBlake Aug 27 '14 at 17:38
This theory seems to stem from an (ahem) academic analysis rather than any established canon facts;… – Valorum Aug 27 '14 at 17:43
@Himarm - Most scholars will tell you there are 13. The descendents of the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, are considered two separate tribes are and are typically referred to as the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh separately, not as the tribe of Joseph. But yes, Israel did only have 12 sons. – BBlake Aug 27 '14 at 18:45
there are only 12 tribes, when entering the promise land levi did not receive land, as they were to be preists instead they broke josephs tribe into 2 to split the land up. From this point they excluded levi for the most part, and include the 2 sons because of portioning out of the land. – Himarm Aug 27 '14 at 18:51
All debatable mistakes aside, this answer is still way more likely than the name being a homage to the COBOL programming language. – Andres F. Aug 27 '14 at 21:07

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.