5 facts about the Magi that you may not know

The January 6th it is a day full of Magicalso in ‘To know and to win’. The program is dedicated to the festivity that is celebrated today, the day of Kings, a day full of hope and joy, especially for the little ones in the house. After having seen Their Eastern Majesties in the horseback riding that have been held throughout the country, the little ones have woken up with presents and surprises brought by Melchior Caspar and Balthazar.

And it is that, although many of us have left childhood behind years ago, the day before and the day of Kings they still feel in a very special way. However, there are some details of the tradition than many are unaware or they are not very clear. Below we reveal seven of them.

1. Where do their names come from?

Today we are all very clear that Melchior Caspar and Balthazar with the names of the three wise men from the East. Now, at what point in history does his name appear for the first time? It was not until the sixth century when the identities of these three characters were recorded and it was in a frieze on the church of San Apollinaris Nuovo, in Ravenna (Italy). This image is decorated with mosaics that represent the procession of the Virgins, led by three characters dressed in Persian fashion, wearing a Phrygian cap and with the attitude of going to offer what they carry in their hands to the Virgin. Three names can be read above their heads: Gaspar, Melchior, Balthassar.

Image of the Magi in a frieze

Image of the Magi in a frieze cropper

2.Do they have magic?

Contrary to what their name may seem to us a priori, the wise men they did not do tricks Magic nor did they have any can supernatural. So why do they receive this nomenclature? Actually the meaning of the word “magicians” is, in this case, an equivalent to “wise”, specifically in everything related to the astronomy. So these three characters were not kings but Persian priests. In Persian “magician” means ma-gu-u-sha, priest who studies the stars.

3. The Magi were martyred

The wise men they are inevitably related to children but there is part of the story about their Majesties that does not usually reach the ears of the little ones in the house. That’s right. And it is that Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar did not have a final nothing happy. A legend tells that, after the resurrection of Jesus, the apostle Thomas found the three Kings in the kingdom of Sheba. There he baptized them and they went consecrated bishops with which they began to preach the Gospel throughout India. But they found some enemies who did not agree with that company and they were martyred in the year 70 in the city of Sefania Adrumenta to later be deposited all three in the same sarcophagus. Santa Elena went there to look for them and she deduced that it was them because the three bodies were crowned, so she moved them to constantinople.

4. Barbarossa, the looter

In 1164 the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I of Hohenstaufen, better known as Frederick I Barbarossa, pillage the relics of Gaspar, Melchor and Baltasar: he took them from the Bishop of Milan and handed them over to the Bishop of Cologne, with the desire that he build a great cathedral to house them, as it happened. The remains of their Majesties are distributed between the temple of the German city and the Basilica of San Eustorgio, one of the oldest churches in the city of Milan.

5. The magnificent reliquary where part of his remains rest

The Reliquary of three Kings weighs more than 300 kilos, is 1.53 meters tall high, 2 long and 1.10 wide. It is an extraordinary reliquary and has beautiful gold work. It can be admired behind the main altar of the Cathedral of Cologne, which began to be built in 1248 to properly house the relics of the Magi, and its works took six centuries and 32 years to complete. The reliquary is built in wood covered with gilt silver and in the shape of a basilica. They’re actually like three sarcophagi together. It is inlaid, decorated with high reliefs and enriched with enamels, filigrees, 226 gems and antique cameos.

Reliquary of the Magi

Reliquary of the Magi cropper

5 facts about the Magi that you may not know