NABOKV-L post 0014414, Sat, 16 Dec 2006 16:52:50 +0000

Re: Magi
On 13/12/06 11:24, "Jansy" <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

> In a recent posting Stan K-B mentioned that the biblical reference to the Magi
> Kings doesn't specify "three". Nabokov in Pale Fire mentioned two names, a
> dark impotent gardener named Balthazar and a Melchior ( in a note about the
> Pope), usually considered as the names of the Magi ( the other one is Gaspar,
> I think).
> Does SKB know where did these names originate and how?
> What would be VN's intention if he'd been indicating the Magi? To point to
> Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" or some specific date in January?
> Jansy
> JM: from
> ng_the_magi_and_their_na.htm
> The Western tradition of the names of the Magi derive from an early 6th
> Century Greek manuscript, translated into the Latin Excerpta Latina Barbari
> The description seems to be of a mosaic of the magi, possibly those at
> Ravenna. A pseudo-Bedan text, Collectanea or Excerpta et Collectanea
> apparently continues the tradition of three kings. The text is said to be from
> the 8th or 9th century, of Irish origin, and first found in a printed edition
> of works ascribed to St. Bede the Venerable at Basel in 1563.
> One source states that the pseudo-Bedan text gives us the following clues
> about these men.
> € The oldest of the Magi was Melchoir, King of Arabia. He had a long
> gray beard and gave gold as a gift, symbolizing the acceptance of Christ as
> King.
> € Balthazar, King of Ethiopia, was middle-aged, swarthy, bearded, and
> bore the gift of frankincense, symbolizing Christ as High Priest.
> € Finally, Caspar was King of Tarsus, in his twenties. His gift was
> myrrh, which was used in making medicines. This symbolized Christ as the
> healer and great physician.

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