You will find many entries on the names of the legendary Magi here in this blog. They vary from nation to nation and tongue to tongue. But one of the earliest renditions of the three came from a 6th century Syrian source, one Zoroastrian scholar, Dariush Jahanian.
He listed the three Magi as follows:
Hormizdah, King of Persia
Yazdegerd, King of Saba
Perozadh, King of Sheba
Now, these names are not Sabaean or Arab, as one would expect, but Persian.
But the real astonishing thing is that during the fourth through sixth centuries the Sassanian Empire, began by Ardishir I back in the 3rd Century, had kings of similar names!
YAZDEGERD I (399-420)
Yazdegerd II (438-457)
Peroz I (457-484)
Hormizd IV (579-590)
YAZDEGERD III (632-651)
(Notice that the Sasanian Empire reached to Yemen also called Saba or Sheba and parts of Atabia)
Was the writers intent to honor these Sassanian Kings in some way? Why not? I see similarities in the twelve names given in REVELATION OF THE MAGI to Parthian Kings of the 3rd Century. It is not far to go to believe that the kings list and the Syrian Jahanian’s list were not also so influenced.
One of the seven great houses of the Parthian Empire (which ruled parts of Persia from 247 BC–224 AD) was the House of Mihran. I believe the blood line of the magi can be traced through these houses and especially Mihran due to their coming from the city of Ray in modern Iran; also called Rhaga.
This city was the ancient home of the Median Empire of old. According to the Histories of Herodotus, there were six Median tribes:
Thus Deioces collected the Medes into a nation, and ruled over them alone. Now these are the tribes of which they consist: the Busae, theParetaceni, the Struchates, the Arizanti, the Budii, and the Magi.
The Median Tribes resided in the area in the triangle of between Ecbatana, Rhagae and Aspadana.
The Torah (Jewish holy book) claimed Ray is one door of the Earth and the people of the world go there for their commercial affairs. According to the Avesta (sacred book of the Zoroastrians), Ray was a famous base of the Zoroastrian priests and the religious center of Zoroastrians before Islam. It was considered their holy city for some historians believed Zoroaster’s mother was a native of Ray; called Reyeh in the Avesta. It is interesting that the mother of Zoroaster, the patriarch of the Zoroastrian religion, claimed an area of which the Magi factored prominently.
What is even more interesting is the fact that the city of Ray is today known as the Iranian capital of Tehran.
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Zoroastrian Magi have always had a connection with fire.
But through the first 500 years of modern history, Magi were in a phase that rejected the idea of a place of worship and were radically against a temple of any sort. They were thought of as folly.
This would mean that the Magi who worshiped the Christ child were of the same ilk, probably.
However, around 500 AD, the thought seemed to shift and small open aired ‘fire temples’ began to pop up all over the middle east and much of the near east also.
There were four simple walls representing the four directions and, at its center an open flame. These began to pop up in Armenia and up through Azerbaijani and may leave a trail to follow the descendants of the Magi.
Just a curiosity really. The only connection, SO FAR, with our Magi studies is the ‘magi star’ or the 8 pointed stars that are scattered across the relief. But it’s position in Armenia both before the rise and fall of the Parthian empire and after make it impossible to ignore!
The relief is said to be the constellation Leo and also is considered to be frozen in time. A particular time, really. According to most experts, it points to 109 BC; the time of the crowning of King Mithradates. Named after the pagan god, Mithra, who was very popular with the assimilating Zoroastrians.
The statue was actually erected by Mithradates son, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene. Other scholars point to the fact that the three planets shown and labeled above the lion/leo star chart actually passed through the constellation about 62 BC. This could have possibly coincided with Anticuhus’ crowning by the Roman, general Pompey.
Whichever it was commemorating, we know that Antichus was a ‘helenized Zoroastrian’. This and the eight point stars on his greatest commissioned work of art make him suspect of being a grand part of the legacy of the Magi.
Yes, I said Ethiopia. Most legends or traditions have the Magi all coming out of Babylon where the Magi originated. Matthew did, after all, say the EAST, right? The fact is, as long as they crossed the Jordan to come into Israel, they would have been said to come ‘from the East’! One of the widely popular traditions is that one of the kings came from Ethiopia, a man of color. And, usually, they name him Balthazar.
Beneath the floor of the palace of the first Christian King of Ethiopia, Ezana, is the tomb of King Bazen. This King Bazen is traditionally connected with Balthazar. His name also appears as Zäbe’esi Bazén, ZäBazén Balthazar or Tazén. He is listed as a part of the Solomonic line. In other words, he claims lineage through Solomon, King of Israel, and the thought fabled Queen of Sheba. It is legend that in the 8th year of his reign, Christ was born. Although Ethiopia is well known as an ancient source of gold, King Bazen is said to have brought Frankincense to the Christ child.
Contrary to what you may have thought, this is not an article about the star the Magi followed to Jerusalem. This article is concerning the symbol which has become associated with the Magi throughout the ages even until today; the eight pointed star.
It is found throughout history on ancient inscriptions and modern flags for countries like Moldovia.
The eight pointed star has its origins in Babylonian astrology, but it probably goes much deeper than that.
An Italian nobleman named Pietro della Valle discovered the use of an eight-point star as a seal in the ruins of the ancient city of Ur (~2000BC), Tell al Muqayyar, in the mid-seventeenth century. He wrote
“I found on the ground some pieces of black Marble…which seem to be a kind of Seal like what the Orientals use at this day: for their Seals are only letters or written words…Amongst the other letters I discovered in a short time was…a star of eight points…”
SO as far back 2000 BC or later in the ancient city of UR they used this as a seal. Interestingly this is where Abraham was said to have come from as well as it later being home to the CHaldean clan, the Magi, who became the religious hierarchy of Zoroastrianism.
It was on the coat of arms of the French family Beaux pictured on the upper left (although with 16 points instead of 8) who claimed their lineage to the traditional wiseman, Balthazar. The 16 pointed star was used as well in other instances. Pictured on the upper right, the heraldy shield of the Italian Balzo family (descendants of the Beaux) also display the 16 pointed star.
It is also found in occult literature
and the Tarot for the card simply named, the Star.
Thus showing the occult side of the Magi.
I have found that this symbol used in heraldry and flags tends to reaveal a deep connection with the Magi. Iran had the star on their flag till 1963. As we will see, the Magi originated in this area on into Iraq and Turkey. The flag of Moldova also carries the star. It was also found that descendants of the Magi fled Persia at its fall and moved into this area.
Azerbaijan has a long history of Magi fleeing the Sassanian empire after the collapse of the Parthian empire from what is now Iraq and Iran. The seal of that country, displayed above, still holds the eight point star showing their influence. Also the the fire symbol is seen in its center. The Magi were historically known for their temples brandishing an eternal flame.