According to Matthew, the only one of the four Canonical gospels to mention the Magi, they came "from the east" to worship the "king of the Jews". Although the account does not mention the number of people "they" or "the Magi" refers to, the three gifts has led to the widespread assumption that there were three men. In Eastern Christianity, especially the Syriac churches, the Magi often number twelve. Their identification as kings in later Christian writings is probably linked to Psalms 72:11, "May all kings fall down before him".
Traditional nativity scenes depict three "kings" visiting the infant Jesus on the night of his birth, in a manger accompanied by the shepherds and angels, but this should be understood as an artistic convention allowing the two separate scenes of the Adoration of the Shepherds on the birth night and the later Adoration of the Magi to be combined for convenience. The single biblical account in Matthew simply presents an event at an unspecified point after Christ's birth in which an unnumbered party of unnamed "wise men" ("μάγοι") visits him in a house ("οἰκίαν"), not a stable, with only "his mother" mentioned as present. The New Revised Standard Version of Matthew 2:1–12 describes the visit of the Magi in this manner:
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'" Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another path.
The Bible specifies no interval between the birth and the visit, and artistic depictions and the closeness of the traditional dates of December 25 and January 6 encourage the popular assumption that the visit took place the same winter as the birth, but later traditions varied, with the visit taken as occurring up to two winters later. This maximum interval explained Herod's command at Matthew 2:16–18 that the Massacre of the Innocents included boys up to two years old. More recent commentators, not tied to the traditional feast days, may suggest a variety of intervals.
The wise men are mentioned twice shortly thereafter in verse 16, in reference to their avoidance of Herod after seeing Jesus, and what Herod had learned from their earlier meeting. The star which they followed has traditionally become known as the Star of Bethlehem.
The New Testament does not give the names of the Magi, however, traditions and legends identify a variety of different names for them. In the Western Christian church they have been all regarded as saints and are commonly known as:
Encyclopædia Britannica states: "according to Western church tradition, Balthasar is often represented as a king of Arabia, Melchior as a king of Persia, and Gaspar as a king of India." These names apparently derive from a Greek manuscript probably composed in Alexandria around 500, and which has been translated into Latin with the title Excerpta Latina Barbari. Another Greek document from the 8th century, of presumed Irish origin and translated into Latin with the title Collectanea et Flores, continues the tradition of three kings and their names and gives additional details.
One candidate for the origin of the name Caspar appears in the Acts of Thomas as Gondophares (21 – c. AD 47), i.e., Gudapharasa (from which "Caspar" might derive as corruption of "Gaspar"). This Gondophares declared independence from the Arsacids to become the first Indo-Parthian king, and he was allegedly visited by Thomas the Apostle. According to at least one scholar, his name is perpetuated in the name of the Afghan city Kandahar, which he is said to have founded under the name Gundopharron. Christian legend may have chosen Gondofarr simply because he was an eastern king living in the right (?) time period.
In contrast, many Syrian Christians name the Magi Larvandad, Gushnasaph, and Hormisdas. These names have a far greater likelihood of being originally Persian, though that does not, of course, guarantee their authenticity.
After the visit, the Magi leave the narrative by returning another way so as to avoid Herod, and do not reappear. There are many traditional stories about what happened to the Magi after this, with one having them baptised by St. Thomas on his way to India. Another has their remains found by Saint Helena and brought to Constantinople, and eventually making their way to Germany and the Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral.
Sebastian Brock, a historian of Christianity, has said: "It was no doubt among converts from Zoroastrianism that… certain legends were developed around the Magi of the Gospels". And Anders Hultgård concluded that the Gospel story of the Magi was influenced by an Iranian legend concerning magi and a star, which was connected with Persian beliefs in the rise of a star predicting the birth of a ruler and with myths describing the manifestation of a divine figure in fire and light.
A model for the homage of the Magi might have been provided, it has been suggested, by the journey to Rome of King Tiridates I of Armenia, with his magi, to pay homage to the Emperor Nero, which took place in 66 AD, a few years before the date assigned to the composition of the Gospel of Matthew.
There was a tradition that the Central Asian Naimans and their Christian Kerait relatives were descended from the Biblical Magi. This heritage passed to the Mongol dynasty of Genghis Khan when Sorghaghtani, niece of the Kerait ruler Toghrul, married Tolui the youngest son of Genghis and became the mother of Möngke Khan and his younger brother and successor, Kublai Khan. Toghrul became identified with the legendary Central Asian Christian king, Prester John, whose Mongol descendants were sought as allies against the Muslims by contemporary European monarchs and popes.Sempad the Constable, elder brother of King Hetoum I of Cilician Armenia, visited the Mongol court in Karakorum in 1247–1250 and in 1254. He wrote a letter to Henry I King of Cyprus and Queen Stephanie (Sempad’s sister) from Samarkand in 1243, in which he said: “Tanchat [Tangut, or Western Xia], which is the land from whence came the Three Kings to Bethlem to worship the Lord Jesus which was born. And know that the power of Christ has been, and is, so great, that the people of that land are Christians; and the whole land of Chata [Khitai, or Kara-Khitai] believes those Three Kings. I have myself been in their churches and have seen pictures of Jesus Christ and the Three Kings, one offering gold, the second frankincense, and the third myrrh. And it is through those Three Kings that they believe in Christ, and that the Chan and his people have now become Christians”. The legendary Christian ruler of Central Asia, Prester John was reportedly a descendant of one of the Magi.
"Long before the time of Christ, India had trade relations with Palestine; much of the commerce between the Orient and the Mediterranean civilizations (including Egypt, Greece, and Rome) passed through Jerusalem", so it is very likely that Wise Men could have been "great sages of India", as Paramahansa Yogananda wrote in his “The Second Coming of Christ – The Resurrection of the Christ Within You” (2004, pp. 56–59).
The Magi are described as "falling down", "kneeling" or "bowing" in the worship of Jesus. This gesture, together with Luke's birth narrative, had an important effect on Christian religious practices. They were indicative of great respect, and typically used when venerating a king. Inspired by these verses, kneeling and prostration were adopted in the early Church. While prostration is now rarely practised in the West it is still relatively common in the Eastern Churches, especially during Lent. Kneeling has remained an important element of Christian worship to this day.
Traditional identities and symbolism
Apart from their names, the three Magi developed distinct characteristics in Christian tradition, so that between them they represented the three ages of (adult) man, three geographical and cultural areas, and sometimes other things. In the normal Western account, reflected in art by the 14th century (for example in the Arena Chapel by Giotto in 1305) Caspar is old, normally with a white beard, and gives the gold; he is "King of Tarsus, land of merchants" on the Mediterranean coast of modern Turkey, and is first in line to kneel to Christ. Melchior is middle-aged, giving frankincense from his native Arabia, and Balthazar is a young man, very often and increasingly black-skinned, with myrrh from Saba (modern south Yemen). Their ages were often given as 60, 40 and 20 respectively, and their geographical origins were rather variable, with Balthazar increasingly coming from Ethiopia or other parts of Africa, and being represented accordingly. Balthazar's blackness has been the subject of considerable recent scholarly attention; in art it is found mostly in northern Europe, beginning from the 12th century, and becoming very common in the north by the 15th.
Three gifts are explicitly identified in Matthew: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (in Koine Greek: chryson [χρυσον], libanon [λιβανον] and smyrnan [σμυρναν]). Many different theories of the meaning and symbolism of the gifts have been brought forward. While gold is fairly obviously explained, frankincense, and particularly myrrh, are much more obscure. See the previous section for who gave which.
The theories generally break down into two groups:
All three gifts are ordinary offerings and gifts given to a king. Myrrh being commonly used as an anointing oil, frankincense as a perfume, and gold as a valuable.
The three gifts had a spiritual meaning: gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death.
This dates back to Origen in Contra Celsum: "gold, as to a king; myrrh, as to one who was mortal; and incense, as to a God."
These interpretations are alluded to in the verses of the popular carol "We Three Kings" in which the magi describe their gifts. The last verse includes a summary of the interpretation: "Glorious now behold Him arise/King and God and sacrifice."
Sometimes this is described more generally as gold symbolizing virtue, frankincense symbolizing prayer, and myrrh symbolizing suffering.
Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment and as a penitential incense in funerals and cremations until the 15th century. The "holy oil" traditionally used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for performing the sacraments of chrismation and unction is traditionally scented with myrrh, and receiving either of these sacraments is commonly referred to as "receiving the myrrh". The picture of the Magi on the 7th century Franks Casket shows the third visitor – he who brings myrrh – with a valknut over his back, a pagan symbol referring to Death.
The Syrian King Seleucus II Callinicus is recorded to have offered gold, frankincense and myrrh (among other items) to Apollo in his temple at Miletus in 243 BC, and this may have been the precedent for the mention of these three gifts in Gospel of Matthew (2:11). It was these three gifts, it is thought, which were the chief cause for the number of the Magi becoming fixed eventually at three.
This episode can be linked to Isaiah 60 and to Psalm 72 which report gifts being given by kings, and this has played a central role in the perception of the Magi as kings, rather than as astronomer-priests. In a hymn of the late 4th-century hispanic poet Prudentius, the three gifts have already gained their medieval interpretation as prophetic emblems of Jesus' identity, familiar in the carol "We Three Kings" by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., 1857.
One of the earliest known depictions from a 3rd-century sarcophagus. Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy.
John Chrysostom suggested that the gifts were fit to be given not just to a king but to God, and contrasted them with the Jews' traditional offerings of sheep and calves, and accordingly Chrysostom asserts that the Magi worshiped Jesus as God.
What subsequently happened to these gifts is never mentioned in the scripture, but several traditions have developed. One story has the gold being stolen by the two thieves who were later crucified alongside Jesus. Another tale has it being entrusted to and then misappropriated by Judas. One tradition suggests that Joseph and Mary used the gold to finance their travels when they fled Bethlehem after the magi had warned them about King Herod's plan to kill Jesus. And another story proposes the theory that the myrrh given to them at Jesus' birth was used to anoint Jesus' body after his crucifixion.
There was a 15th-century golden case purportedly containing the Gift of the Magi housed in the Monastery of St. Paul of Mount Athos. It was donated to the monastery in the 15th century by Mara Branković, daughter of the King of SerbiaĐurađ Branković, wife to the OttomanSultanMurat II and godmother to Mehmet II the Conqueror (of Constantinople. They were apparently part of the relics of the Holy Palace of Constantinople and it is claimed they were displayed there since the 4th century. After the Athens earthquake of September 9, 1999 they were temporarily displayed in Athens in order to strengthen faith and raise money for earthquake victims. The relics were displayed in Russia and Belarus in Christmas of 2014, and thus left Greece for the first time since the 15th century.
Christian Scriptures record nothing about the Biblical Magi after reporting their going back to their own country. Two separate traditions have surfaced claiming that they were so moved by their encounter with Jesus that they either became Christians on their own or were quick to convert fully upon later encountering an Apostle of Jesus. The traditions claim that they were so strong in their beliefs that they willingly embraced martyrdom.
Chronicon of Dexter
One tradition gained popularity in Spain during the 17th century, it was found in a work called the Chronicon of Dexter. The work was ascribed to Flavius Lucius Dexter the bishop of Barcelona, under Theodosius the Great. The tradition appears in the form of a simple martyrology reading "In Arabia Felix, in the city of Sessania of the Adrumeti, the martyrdom of the holy kings, the three Magi, Gaspar, Balthassar, and Melchior who adored Christ." First appearing in 1610, the Chronicon of Dexter was immensely popular along with the traditions it contained throughout the 17th century – later this was all brought into question when historians and the Catholic hierarchy in Rome declared the work a pious forgery.
In Persia is the city of Saba, from which the Three Magi set out and in this city they are buried, in three very large and beautiful monuments, side by side. And above them there is a square building, beautifully kept. The bodies are still entire, with hair and beard remaining.
—Marco Polo, Polo, Marco, The Book of the Million, book i.
A version of the detailed elaboration familiar to us is laid out by the 14th century cleric John of Hildesheim's Historia Trium Regum ("History of the Three Kings"). In accounting for the presence in Cologne of their mummified relics, he begins with the journey of Helena, mother of Constantine I to Jerusalem, where she recovered the True Cross and other relics:
Queen Helen… began to think greatly of the bodies of these three kings, and she arrayed herself, and accompanied by many attendants, went into the Land of Ind… after she had found the bodies of Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar, Queen Helen put them into one chest and ornamented it with great riches, and she brought them into Constantinople... and laid them in a church that is called Saint Sophia.
The visit of the Magi is commemorated in most Western Christian churches by the observance of Epiphany, 6 January, which also serves as the feast of the three as saints. The Eastern Orthodox celebrate the visit of the Magi on 25 December.
The identification of the Magi as kings is linked to Old Testament prophesies that have the Messiah being worshipped by kings in Isaiah 60:3, Psalm 72:10, and Psalm 68:29. Early readers reinterpreted Matthew in light of these prophecies and elevated the Magi to kings. By AD 500 all commentators adopted the prevalent tradition that the three were kings, and this continued until the Protestant Reformation.
Though the Qur'an omits Matthew's episode of the Magi, it was well known in Arabia. The Muslim encyclopaedist al-Tabari, writing in the 9th century, gives the familiar symbolism of the gifts of the Magi. Al-Tabari gave his source for the information to be the later 7th century writer Wahb ibn Munabbih.
Holidays celebrating the arrival of the Magi traditionally recognise a distinction between the date of their arrival and the date of Jesus' birth. The account given in the Gospel of Matthew does not state that they were present on the night of the birth; in the Gospel of Luke, Joseph and Mary remain in Bethlehem until it is time for Jesus' dedication, in Jerusalem, and then return to their home in Nazareth.
The Three Wise Men receiving children at a shopping centre in Spain. Letters with gift requests are left in the letterbox on the left-hand side.
Western Christianity celebrates the Magi on the day of Epiphany, January 6, the day immediately following the twelve days of Christmas, particularly in the Spanish-speaking parts of the world. In these areas, the Three Kings ("los Reyes Magos de Oriente", also "Los Tres Reyes Magos" and "Los Reyes Magos") receive letters from children and so bring them gifts on the night before Epiphany. In Spain, each one of the Magi is supposed to represent one different continent, Europe (Melchior), Asia (Caspar) and Africa (Balthasar). According to the tradition, the Magi come from the Orient on their camels to visit the houses of all the children, much like Sinterklaas and Santa Claus with his reindeer elsewhere, they visit everyone in one night. In some areas, children prepare a drink for each of the Magi. It is also traditional to prepare food and drink for the camels, because this is the only night of the year when they eat.
In Spain, Argentina, México, Paraguay and Uruguay, there is a long tradition for having the children receive presents by the three "Reyes Magos" on the night of January 5 (Epiphany Eve) or morning of January 6. Almost every Spanish city or town organises cabalgatas in the evening, in which the kings and their servants parade and throw sweets to the children (and parents) in attendance. The cavalcade of the three kings in Alcoy claims to be the oldest in the world, having started in 1886. The Mystery Play of the Three Magic Kings is also presented on Epiphany Eve. There is also a "Roscón" (Spain) or "Rosca de Reyes" (Mexico) as explained below.
In the Philippines, beliefs concerning the Three Kings (Filipino: Tatlóng Haring Mago, lit. "Three Magi Kings"; shortened to Tatlóng Harì or SpanishTres Reyes) follows Hispanic influence, with the Feast of the Epiphany considered by many Filipinos as the traditional end of their Christmas season. The tradition of the Three Kings' cabalgada is today done only in some areas, such as the old city of Intramuros in Manila, and the island of Marinduque. Another dying custom is children leaving shoes out on Epiphany Eve, so that they may receive sweets and money from the Three Kings. With the arrival of American culture in the early 20th century, the Three Kings as gift-givers have been largely replaced in urban areas by Santa Claus, and they only survive in the greeting "Happy Three Kings!" and the surnameTatlóngharì. The Three Kings are especially revered in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, where they are the town's joint patron saints.
In Paraguay, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, children cut grass or greenery on January 5 and put it in a box under their bed for the Kings' camels. Children receive gifts on January 6, which is called Día de Reyes, and is traditionally the day in which the Magi arrived bearing gifts for the Christ child. Christmas starts in December and ends in January after Epiphany, although in Puerto Rico there are eight more days of celebration (las octavitas).
Campaign for a real black Balthazar in Spain
In 2009 a campaign started in Spain over the fact that Balthazar is commonly played by a white person in blackface.
Sternsinger – Christmas carolers in Sanok, Poland.
A tradition in German-speaking areas is the writing of the three kings' initials (C+M+B or C M B, or K+M+B in those areas where Caspar is spelled Kaspar) above the main door of Catholic homes in chalk. This is a new year's blessing for the occupants and the initials also are believed to also stand for "Christus mansionem benedicat" ("May/Let Christ Bless This House"). Depending on the city or town, this will be happen sometime between Christmas and the Epiphany, with most municipalities celebrating closer to the Epiphany.
In Catholic parts of the German-speaking world, these markings are made by the "Sternsinger" (literally, "star singers") – a group of three elementary school children dressed up as the magi. The Sternsinger carry a star representing the one followed by the biblical magi and sing Christmas carols as they go door to door. An adult chaperones the group but stays in the background of the performance. After singing, the children write the three kings' initials on the door frame in exchange for charitable donations. Each year, German and Austrian dioceses pick one charity towards which all Sternsinger donations nationwide will be contributed. Traditionally, one child in the Sternsinger group is said to represent Baltasar from Africa and so, that child typically wears blackface makeup. Many Germans do not consider this to be racist because it is not intended to be a negative portrayal of a black person, but rather, a "realistic" or "traditional" portrayal of one. The dialogue surrounding the politics of traditions involving blackface is not as developed as in Spain or the Netherlands. In the past, photographs of German politicians together with children in blackface have caused a stir in English-language press. Moreover, Afro-Germans have written that this use of blackface is a missed opportunity to be truly inclusive of Afro-Germans in German-speaking communities and contribute to the equation of "blackness" with "foreignness" and "otherness" in German culture.
In Poland, celebrations with biblical costuming occur throughout the country. * For example, in Warsaw there are processions from Plac Zamkowy down Krakowskie Przedmieście to Plac Piłsudskiego.
In Spain and in Portugal (where it is called Bolo-rei), the cake, which is ring-shaped, is most commonly bought, not baked, and it contains both a small figurine of the baby Jesus (or another surprise depending on the region) and an actual dry broad bean. The one who gets the figurine is crowned, but whoever gets the bean has to pay the value of the cake to the person who originally bought it.
In France and Belgium, a cake containing a small figure of the baby Jesus, known as the "broad bean", is shared within the family. Whoever gets the bean is crowned king for the remainder of the holiday and wears a cardboard crown purchased with the cake. A similar practice is common in many areas of Switzerland, but the figurine is a miniature king. The practice is known as tirer les Rois (Drawing the Kings). A queen is sometimes also chosen.
In México they also have the same ring-shaped cake Rosca de Reyes (Kings Bagel or Thread) with figurines inside it. Whoever gets a figurine is supposed to organize and be the host of the family celebration for the Candelaria feast on February 2.
In New Orleans, Louisiana, parts of southern Texas, and surrounding regions, a similar ring-shaped cake known as a "King Cake" traditionally becomes available in bakeries from Epiphany to Mardi Gras. The baby Jesus figurine is inserted into the cake from underneath, and the person who gets the slice with the figurine is expected to buy or bake the next King Cake. There is wide variation among the types of pastry that may be called a King Cake, but most are a baked cinnamon-flavoured twisted dough with thin frosting and additional sugar on top in the traditional Mardi Gras colours of gold, green and purple. To prevent accidental injury or choking, the baby Jesus figurine is frequently not inserted into the cake at the bakery, but included in the packaging for optional use by the buyer to insert it themselves. Mardi Gras-style beads and doubloons may be included as well.
The Magi most frequently appear in European art in the Adoration of the Magi; less often The Journey of the Magi has been a popular topos, and other scenes such as the Magi before Herod and the Dream of the Magi also appear in the Middle Ages. In Byzantine art they are depicted as Persians, wearing trousers and phrygian caps. Crowns appear from the 10th century. Despite being saints, they are very often shown without halos, perhaps to avoid distracting attention from either their crowns or the halos of the Holy Family. Sometimes only the lead king, kneeling to Christ, has a halo the two others lack, probably indicating that the two behind had not yet performed the act of worship that would ensure their status as saints. Medieval artists also allegorised the theme to represent the three ages of man. Beginning in the 12th century, and very often by the 15th, the Kings also represent the three parts of the known (pre-Columbian) world in Western art, especially in Northern Europe. Balthasar is thus represented as a young African or Moor and Caspar may be depicted with distinctly Oriental features.
An early Anglo-Saxon depiction survives on the Franks Casket (early 7th century, whalebone carving), the only Christian scene, which is combined with pagan and classical imagery. In its composition it follows the oriental style, which renders a courtly scene, with the Virgin and Christ facing the spectator, while the Magi devoutly approach from the (left) side. Even amongst non-Christians who had heard of the Christian story of the Magi, the motif was quite popular, since the Magi had endured a long journey and were generous. Instead of an angel, the picture places a swan-like bird, perhaps interpretable as the hero's fylgja (a protecting spirit, and shapeshifter).
The Other Wise Man is a story by Henry van Dyke, published in 1896. It describes a fourth wise man who sets off with the other three, but turns aside along the way to perform acts of charity and arrives in Bethlehem too late to see the Christ Child. The story has been adapted numerous times for theatre, opera, and television.
Further sentimental narrative detail was added in the novel and movie Ben-Hur, where Balthasar (Finlay Currie) appears as an old man, who goes back to Palestine to see the former child Jesus become an adult.
The Magi are the subject of Norah Lofts' 1965 novel How Far To Bethlehem?
They are also the subject of the 1980 novel Gaspard, Melchior and Balthasar by the French author Michel Tournier.
Italian composer Ottorino Respighi wrote a composition called Trittico Botticelliano (Botticellian Tryptich) in 1927, based on three paintings by Botticelli, and one of the movements is called Adoration of the Magi.
James Taylor's 1988 song "Home By Another Way" discusses the Magi's visit to Jesus and, specifically, their decision to avoid seeing Herod on their way home. Low's song "Long Way Around the Sea," from their 1999 Christmas album, explores similar themes.
^Mary Boyce, A History of Zoroastrianism: The Early Period (Brill, 1989, 2nd ed.), vol. 1, pp. 10–11 online; Mary Boyce, Zoroastrians: their religious beliefs and practices (Routledge, 2001, 2nd ed.), p. 48 online; Linda Murray, The Oxford companion to Christian art and architecture (Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 293; Stephen Mitchell, A history of the later Roman Empire, AD 284–641: the transformation of the ancient world (Wiley–Blackwell, 2007), p. 387 online.
^"Melchior". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
^ abcdExcerpta Latina Barbari, page 51B: "At that time in the reign of Augustus, on 1st January the Magi brought him gifts and worshipped him. The names of the Magi were Bithisarea, Melichior and Gathaspa.".
^Hugo Kehrer (1908), Vol. I, p. 70Online version Kehrer's commentary: "Die Form Jaspar stammt aus Frankreich. Sie findet sich im niederrheinisch-kölnischen Dialekt und im Englischen. Note: O. Baist page 455; J.P.Migne; Dictionnaire des apocryphes, Paris 1856, vol I, p. 1023. ... So in La Vie de St. Gilles; Li Roumans de Berte: Melcior, Jaspar, Baltazar; Rymbybel des Jakob von Märlant: Balthasar, Melchyor, Jaspas; ein altenglisches Gedicht des dreizehnten oder vierzehnten Jahrhunderts (13th century!!) Note: C.Horstmann, Altenglische Legenden, Paderborn 1875, p. 95; ... La Vie des trois Roys Jaspar Melchior et Balthasar, Paris 1498"-->]
^"Balthazar". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
^Hugo Kehrer (1908), Die Heiligen Drei Könige in Literatur und Kunst (reprinted in 1976). Vol. I, p. 66. Online version. Quote from the Latin chronicle: primus fuisse dicitur Melchior, senex et canus, barba prolixa et capillis, tunica hyacinthina, sagoque mileno, et calceamentis hyacinthino et albo mixto opere, pro mitrario variae compositionis indutus: aurum obtulit regi Domino. ("the first [magus], named Melchior, was an old white-haired man, with a full beard and hair, [...]: the king gave gold to our Lord.") Secundum, nomine Caspar, juvenis imberbis, rubicundus, mylenica tunica, sago rubeo, calceamentis hyacinthinis vestitus: thure quasi Deo oblatione digna, Deum honorabat. ("The second, with name Caspar, a beardless boy, [... gave incense].") Tertius, fuscus, integre barbatus, Balthasar nomine, habens tunicam rubeam, albo vario, calceamentis inimicis amicus: per myrrham filium hominis moriturum professus est. ("The third one, dark-haired, with a full beard, named Balthasar, [... gave myrhh].") Omnia autem vestimenta eorum Syriaca sunt. ("The clothes of all [three] were Syrian-style.")
^Historia Trium Regum (History of the Three Kings) by John of Hildesheim (1364–1375)[specify]
^Brock, Sebastian (1982). "Christians in the Sasanian Empire: A Case of Divided Loyalties". In Mews, Stuart. Religion and National Identity. Studies in Church History, 18. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 1–19. ISBN978-0-631-18060-9.
^Ugo Monneret de Villard, Le Leggende orientali sui Magi evangelici, Citta del Vaticano, Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, 1952.[page needed]
^Hultgård, Anders (1998). "The Magi and the Star—the Persian Background in Texts and Iconography". In Schalk, Peter; Stausberg, Michael. 'Being Religious and Living through the Eyes': Studies in Religious Iconography and Iconology: A Celebratory Publication in Honour of Professor Jan Bergman. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis: Historia Religionum, 14. Uppsala, Almqvist & Wiksell International. pp. 215–25. ISBN978-91-554-4199-9.
^A. Dietrich, "Die Weisen aus dem Morgenlande", Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, Bd. III, 1902, p. 1 14; cited in J. Duchesne-Guillemin, "Die Drei Weisen aus dem Morgenlande und die Anbetung der Zeit", Antaios, Vol. VII, 1965, pp. 234–252, 245; cited in Mary Boyce and Frantz Genet, A History of Zoroastrianism, Leiden, Brill, 1991, p. 453, n. 449.
^Herzfeld, Ernst (1935). Archaeological History of Iran. Schweich Lectures of the British Academy. London: Oxford University Press. pp. 65–6. OCLC651983281.
^In regno Tarsae sunt tres provinciae, quarum dominatores se reges faciunt appellari. Homines illius patriae nominant Iogour. Semper idola coluerunt, et adhuc colunt omnes, praeter decem cognationes illorum regum, qui per demonstrationum stellae venerunt adorare nativitatem in Bethlehem Judae. Et adhuc multi magni et nobiles inveniunt inter Tartaros de cognatione illa, qui tenent firmiter fidem Christi. (In the kingdom of Tarsis there are three provinces, whose rulers have called themselves kings. the men of that country are called Uighours. They always worshipped idols, and they all still worship them except for the ten families of those Kings who from the appearance of the Star came to adore the Nativity in Bethlehem of Judah. And there are still many of the great and noble of those families found among the Tartars who hold firmly to the faith of Christ): Wesley Roberton Long (ed.), La flor de las ystorias de Orient by Hethum prince of Khorghos, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1934, pp. 53, 111, 115; cited in Ugo Monneret de Villard, Le Leggende orientali sui Magi evangelici, Citta del Vaticano, Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, 1952, p. 161. Hayton, Haithoni Armeni ordinis Praemonstratenis de Tartaris liber, Simon Grynaeus Johannes Huttichius, Novus orbis regionum ac insularum veteribus incognitarum, Basel, 1532, caput ii, De Regno Tarsae, p. 420 “The people of these countrees be named Iobgontans [Uighurs], and at all tymes they haue been idolaters, and so they contynue to this present day, save the nacion or kynred of those thre kynges which came to worshyp Our Lorde Ihesu Chryst at his natiuyte by demonstracyon of the sterre. And the linage of the same thre kynges be yet vnto this day great lordes about the lande of Tartary, which ferme and stedfastly beleue in the fayth of Christ”: Hetoum, A Lytell Cronycle: Richard Pynson's Translation (c. 1520) of La Fleur des Histoires de la Terre d'Orient, edited by Glenn Burger, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1988, Of the realme of Tharsey, p. 8, lines 29–38.
^Friedrich Zarncke, "Der Priester Johannes", Abhandlungen der philologisch-historischen Classe der Koeniglichen Sachsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, Leipzig, Band VII, Heft 8, 1879, S.826–1028; Band I, Heft 8, 1883, S. 1–186), re-published in one volume by G. Olms, Hildesheim, 1980.
^Letter of Sempad the Constable to the King and Queen of Cyprus, 1243, in Henry Yule, Cathay and the Way Thither, Oxford, Hakluyt society, 1866, Vol.I, pp.cxxvii, 262-3.
^Fertur enim iste de antiqua progenie illorum, quorum in Evangelio mentio fit, esse Magorum, eisdemque, quibus et isti, gentibus imperans, tanta gloria et habundancia frui, ut non nisi sceptro smaragdino uti dicatur (It is reported that he is the descendant of those Magi of old who are mentioned in the Gospel, and to rule over the same nations as they did, enjoying such glory and prosperity that he uses no sceptre but one of emerald). Otto von Freising, Historia de Duabus Civitatibus, 1146, in Friedrich Zarncke, Der Priester Johannes, Leipzig, Hirzel, 1879 (repr. Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim and New York, 1980, p. 848; Adolf Hofmeister, Ottonis Episcopi Frisingensis Chronica; sive, Historia de Duabus Civitatibus, Hannover. 1912, p. 366.
^August Friedrich von Pauly et al., Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft, Vol. XVI, 1, Stuttgart, 1933, col.1145; Leonardo Olschki, "The Wise Men of the East in Oriental Traditions", Semitic and Oriental Studies, University of California Publications in Semitic Philology, Vol.11, 1951, pp. 375 395, p. 380, n. 46; cited in Mary Boyce and Frantz Genet, A History of Zoroastrianism, Leiden, Brill, 1991, p. 450, n. 438.
^Lambert, John Chisholm, in James Hastings (ed.) "A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels". Page 100.