From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Ozymandias" is a sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley, published in 1818 (see 1818 in poetry). It is frequently anthologized and is probably Shelley's most famous short poem. It was written in competition with his friend Horace Smith, who wrote another sonnet entitled "Ozymandias" (for which see below).
The poem has made numerous appearances in popular culture, and has significantly influenced the production of new creative works. For example, Terry Carr's science fiction short story Ozymandias was inspired by the poem, as was the song Ozymandias by Jean-Jacques Burnel. Edward Elgar began setting the poem to music, but never finished it. The best-known setting appears to be that in Russian for baritone by the Ukrainian composer Borys Lyatoshynsky. There are two settings by the German band Qntal on their album "Qntal IV – Ozymandias". In the video game add-on for Fallout 3, Point Lookout, a quest borrows heavily from the poem's name and author; the poem has been referenced in other games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Civilization IV. On television, Monty Python's Flying Circus featured a humorous parody named "Ozymandias, King of Ants", and the Beauty and the Beast episode titled Ozymandias included a reading of the entire poem. Writer Alan Moore named the chief antagonist of the comic book miniseries Watchmen after Ozymandias. Short excerpts of the poem, or references to its title, have appeared in a variety of other contexts including the set for the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games on 12 August 2012.