In connection with the birth of the Saviour, and as a pendant to the notice under Twelfth Day, or the Epiphany, of the observances commemorative of the visit of the Wise Men of the East to Bethlehem, we shall here introduce some further particulrs of the ideas current in medieval times on the subject of these celebrated personages.
The legend of the Wise Men of the East, or, as they are styled in the original Greek of St. Matthews gospel, the Magi, who visited the infant Saviour with precious offerings, became, under monkish influence, one of the most popular during the middle ages, and was told with increased and elaborated perspicuity as time advanced. The Scripture nowhere informs us that these individuals were kings, or their number restricted to three. The legend converts the Magi into kings, gives their names, and a minute accountof their stature and the nature of their gifts. Melchior (we are thus told) was king of Nubia, the smallest man of the triad, and he gave the Saviour a gift of gold. Balthazar was king of Chaldea, and he offered incense; he was a man of ordinary stature. But the third, Jasper, king of Tarshish, was of high stature, ‘a black Ethiope,’ and he gave myrrh. All came with ‘many rich ornaments belonging to king’s array, and also with mules, camels, and horses loaded with great treasure, and with multitude of people,’ to do homage to the Saviour, ‘then a little childe of xiii dayes olde.’
The barbaric pomp involved in this legend made it a favourite with artists during the middle ages. Our engraving is a copy from a circular plate of silver, chased in high relief, and partly gilt, which is supposed to have formed the centre of a morse, or large brooch, used to fasten the decorated cope of an ecclesiastic in the latter part of the 14th century. The subject has been frequently depicted by the artist subsequent to this period. Van Eyck, Durer, and the German schools were particularly fond of the theme the latest and most striking work being that by Rubens, who reveled in such pompous displays. The artists of the Low CCountries were, probably, also biased by the fact, that the cathedral of Cologne held the shrine in which the bodies of the Magi were said to be deposited, and to which the faithful made many pilgrimages, greatly to the emolument of the city, a result which induced the worthy burghers to distinguish their shield of arms by three crowns only, and to designate the Magi as ‘the three kings of Cologne.’
It was to the Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, that the religious world was indebted for the discovery of the place of burial of these kings in the far east. She removed their bodies to Constantinople, where they remained in the church of St. Sophia, untilthe reign of the Emperor Emanuel, who allowed Eustorgius, bishop of Milan, to transfer them to his cathedral. In 1164, when the Emperor Frederick conquered Milan, he gave these treasured relics to Raynuldus, archbishop of Cologne, who removed them to the latter city. His successor, Phlip von Heinsberg, placed them in a magnificent reliquary, enriched with gems and enamels, still remaining in its marble shrine in the cathedral, one of the chief wonders of the noble pile, and the principal ‘sight’ in Cologne. A heavy fee is exacted for opening the doors of the chapel, which is the lighted with lamps, producing a dazzling effect on the mass of gilded and jeweled sculpture, in the centre of which may be seen the three skulls, reputed to be those of the Magi. These relics are enveloped in velvet, and decorated with embroidery and jewels, so that the upper part of each skull only is seen, and the hollow eyes which, as the faithful believe, once rested on the Saviour.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. III
Paperback Now in Color $90.00
The Untold History of The White Races Cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
585 pages 720 pictures
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. III is divided into 2 parts. The First part of this volume goes over The Catholic Church’s history during the Dark Ages & Medieval Times. These are a some of the things that are discussed: The Castrati (Castrated Boy Choir), Holy Blood & Organs, Jesus’s Holy Prepuce (Foreskin), The Penance & Anathema, The Fish Bishop, Saints that Levitate, The Incorruptible Saints, The Nun Manias, All Religious Holidays explained, The Heretics: The Luciferians, The Spanish Inquisition. The Second half of this book is a focus on the art of the times. These are the subjects reviewed: Monsters & Gargoyles, Castles & Knight Armory, More on Medicine & Magic, More on Werewolves, Demons & Hell, Over 100 Different Black Madonnas & Moorish Saints, The Catacomb Bone Churches, The Bejewelled Saints, Aliens, Astrology & Alchemy………………….
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ABC News: Holy Stairs believed to have been climbed by Jesus unveiled in Rome.