Surely, there is no better place to start telling you the history of Madrid than this one; Cybeles Square. And why? You would ask yourself… it´s quite simple, it is her, the Cybeles goddess, the Mother Nature, who gave this city its name… Well… more or less.
Since we are not going to get into deep, brainy and endless etymological discussions, but instead we are going to find out what´s there to see, to learn something and to enjoy it, we will respectfully leave the pre-Roman settlements and the Arabic forts to one side, to immerse ourselves in the waters of mythology and the heroic adventures of a character that will appear in some of our other audio-guides about what we must see in this inexhaustible city of Madrid. We are talking about Ocnus Bianor.
Let´s travel then, to the beginning of our story, around the year eleventh hundred before our era, next to the eternal Troy, which from its walls, the golden curls of Hellen forever changed the face of Europe, when Aeneas, the Trojan prince, ran away on a ship from the Greek massacre to later found Rome, and when his father missed the ship and had no other choice but to surround the black sea walking, until he reached the actual Albania. A quite entertained walk, we could say…
There he had two children, one of them with a peasant called Manto, and to continue the familiar tradition, and also to complicate history more, he called him Bianor. Over the years this Bianor II, who in reality was the third, since his grandfather also had the same name, was kindly invited to leave those lands which his stepbrother ruled.
So, he took his mother with him and took back the family custom of travelling, until after another walk of many kilometres, they stopped to found the city that he named after his mother and that today we know as Mantua.
But the settled life of our Bianor lasted for a very short time, since the God Apollo himself appeared in his dreams, threatening him with all sorts of misfortunes if he didn’t start to travel again. And so, packing his bags once again and now with a nickname he had earn thanks to his visions, Ocnus, meaning the one who sees the future in dreams, we find him again on a journey through the roads of the time.
It took ten years for Apollo to reappear again, to tell him this time, that he had reached his destiny, and that the Indians that were around him, the Carpetani, whose name means ¨people without a city¨, would help him to build a new city.
But this is not the end of Ocnus Bianor´s adventures and misadventures. It seems that time after, Apollo was feeling idle and had no better idea but to appear again to ask him to hand over the city to Metragirta, daughter of Saturn and Goddess of the Earth and to also to give his life in order to keep the peace within its citizens just like the Goddess had done.
The good and patient Bianor, did as he was told again; he ordered to dig a pit in which he entered and asked for it to be closed with a stone slab while his fellow citizens cried and prayed for him. But as it turned out the Goddess found out about Apollo´s urges and appeared on her carriage pulled by two lions in the middle of a storm she had formed over Guadarrama.
The final act of this legend tells us how the Goddess made our patient hero disappear and the people of the city, instead of remembering him they chose to please the Goddess giving the city her name: Metragirta, as years went by it became Magerit and finally Madrid. And as Ocnus would say, from here to heaven!
Before we finish, let´s go back to the statue you are looking at and i´m sure taking photographs of. The set, fountain included, was ordered to be built around 1780 by Carlos III and represents, in the neoclassical style of the time, the Goddess Metragirta or Cybeles seated in her carriage pulled by two lions. What we don’t know for sure is if she is trying to rescue Ocnus, celebrating a Real Madrid victory or trying to direct the agonizing traffic that surrounds her nowadays.