the three wise men
High priests of the mazdean religion: considered in the legend as Kings. Powerful, wise and learned, they practised astrology. Guided by their knowledge of the stars, they arrived at Jerusalem just after the birth of Jesus Christ. After being baptised by St.Thomas they returned to their own land to spread the Gospel to their people. In the Maurel ‘Pastoral’ the Three Kings appear as follows: The Black King, known also as the King of the Moors, is Melchior. In his hands he clasps a drinking-cup, or ciborium, containing incense. He is sumptuously clad - from whence comes the expression, used when referring to a richly dressed woman, ‘she's taken the King of the Moor's robes’. Melchior is the symbol of the African races and of youth.
The White King, Balthazar, offers myrrh. He represents the prime of life, and the Semitic peoples.
The Kneeling King is Gaspard. His gift is a chest filled with gold. His hair and beard are grey. He symbolises age, and the white races.
The Three Kings of the crib wear royal robes decorated with the fleur de lys.