Magonia (mythology)

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Magonia is the name of the cloud realm whence felonious aerial sailors were said to have come according to the polemical treatise by Carolingian bishop Agobard of Lyon in 815, where he argues against weather magic. The treatist is titled De Grandine et Tonitruis ("On Hail and Thunder").

Description[edit]

The inhabitants of this realm were said to travel the clouds in ships and worked with Frankish tempestarii ("tempest-raisers" or weather-magi) to steal grain from the fields during (magically raised) storms.[1] In his writings against these popular superstitions, Agobard denounced the belief in witchcraft and the ascription of tempests to magic.

Document history[edit]

Agobard's works were lost until 1605, when a manuscript was discovered in Lyons and published by Papirius Masson, and again by Baluze in 1666. For later editions see August Potthast, Bibliotheca Historica Medii Aevi. The life of Agobard in Ebert's Allgemeine Geschichte der Literatur des Mittelalters im Abendlande (1880), Band ii., is still the best one to consult. For further indications see A. Molinier, Sources de l'histoire de France, i. p. 235.

Popular Culture[edit]

Magonia is featured in Jacques Vallee's book Passport to Magonia, which explores the link between modern UFO visitations and reports from antiquity of contact with these "space beings" where he quotes Agobard's description.

Maria Dahvana Headley's young adult novel Magonia also references the mythological realm.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ De Grandine et Tonitruis pp. 8-10: "Plerosque autem vidimus et audivimus tanta dementia obrutos, tanta stultitia alienatos, ut credant et dicant quandam esse regionem, quæ dicatur Magonia, ex qua naves veniant in nubibus, in quibus fruges, quæ grandinibus decidunt, et tempestatibus pereunt, vehantur in eamdem regionem, ipsis videlicet nautis aëreis dantibus pretia tempestariis, et accipientibus frumenta vel ceteras fruges. Ex his item tam profunda stultitia excoecatis, ut haec posse fieri credant, vidimus plures in quodam conventu hominum exhibere vinctos quatuor homines, tres viros, et unam feminam, quasi qui de ipsis navibus ceciderint; quos scilicet per aliquot dies in vinculis detentos, tandem collecto conventu hominum exhibuerunt, ut dixi, in nostra præsentia, tanquam lapidandos. Sed tamen vincente veritate, post multam ratiocinationem, ipsi qui eos exhibuerant, secundum propheticum illud confusi sunt, sicut confunditur fur quando deprehenditur".
    Translation: "Indeed, [what] we have seen and we have heard however, were buried in such madness, such is the alienating foolishness, that they may believe and say there is a certain country, which is said to be Magon, from which ships come in the clouds, in which the result, which is hail, falls down, and lost in storms, are carried [to] the same country, that is to say [in] the air, for tempest-raisers who give payment for storms to the [aerial] sailors, when it results in corn or any other crop. From this it is also so profound, [a] folly so blind, that I may believe that these things might be, we saw a number of the prisoners of the four men in a certain company present, the three men and one woman, as it were, who were of the ships of the fall; to wit, for several days and those in prison, and at last gathered together the men assembled, as I have said, in our presence, as it were [we] joined them. But the overwhelming truth however, after a lot of reasoning, is that they themselves were causing them. According to the prophet, the plowmen were ashamed, as the thief is shamed when caught [out]."