The Legend of Prince Bianor, And The Name of Madrid

The Legend of Prince Bianor, And The Name of Madrid

It seems that in the Spanish Golden Age, many writers and scholars worked on a legend to explain the origin of the name of Madrid.

This legend begins with the survivors of the Battle of Troy, and being Prince Bianor one of them, who tried to return to Greece, without success. Eventually he settled and founded his kingdom, in what today is Albania.

Bianor had two sons, Tiberis, and Ocno Bianor. The latter was his illegitimate son.

When Tiberis succeed to the throne, he gave a large sum of money to Ocno Bianor’s mother, the beautiful Manto, so that her son would have no claim to the throne, and in return, they had to leave the kingdom.

Mother and son went north, and founded the city of Mantua in the honor of the mother, in the current Lombardy.

Bianor Ocno had the inborn gift of interpreting dreams. That is the reason for his name Ocno, which means, “one who sees the future through dreams”. In those dreams the god Apollo appeared, and showed him the direction that his life should follow.

La Cibeles vista hacia el Norte, con el Palacio de Linares a la derecha.
La Cibeles vista hacia el Norte, con el Palacio de Linares a la derecha.

In one of his dreams, he interpreted that he needed to leave Mantua, in order to obtain fortune, and also to protect its citizens from a deadly epidemic. He needed to head, and set route to a place where the sun sets.

According to legend, after an adventurous journey that lasted 10 years, Apollo came again to express in a dream, which Bianor interpreted as the need to found a new city, and to give his life in sacrifice, so that the inhabitants could be happy.

The next morning when he woke up, he could see that he was surrounded by the dreamed beautiful place, full of oaks, strawberry and pine trees, abundant water, and fertile land. He also found a group of shepherds, who called themselves Carpetani, and that were waiting for a sign from God, so that they could stop being nomads, and could settle down somewhere.

As Bianor told them his dream, both the Carpetani and his army, started building a palace, a wall, and a small village. When they started building the temple, the people could not agree on who they would pray and give their offerings, since they didn’t see Apollo as their god.

Ocno Bianor called on Apollo again to resolve the dilemma. Finally, Apollo gave the answer: The city was devoted to the goddess Metragirta, which is also called Cybele. This goddess of the Earth, Saturn’s daughter, had given her own life to finish with conflict on Earth.

And so they did, and after the ceremony, following the example of Metragirta, Bianor ordered to dig a pit, where he got buried, and covered with a heavy slab over his tomb.

The Carpetani stayed nearby for an entire lunar cycle, until the last night, when they got the heaviest storm. Between lightning and thunder, Goddess Metragirta appeared on a chariot pulled by two lions, took Ocno from his grave and disappeared.

Metragirta’s city, as time passed, came to be known as MAGERIT, and as we know it today, MADRID.

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