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We all know myths that come from the Greeks and we all have heard the name of characters such as Hercules and Cybele. We have also heard (and probably seen the movie) about the Trojan War with warriors like Achilles, Hector and Paris. But what almost no one knows is the huge relationship between classic myths and Madrid. This time I will tell you what Hercules and Cybele have to do with this city.

Spanish coat of arms

The first fact is so simple that it will dazzle you. Have you observed the Spanish coat of arms minutely? Yes, we have the symbols of Castilla and Leon, a crown and other elements, but there is also a column at each side. Do you know where they come from?  Those are the Pillars of Hercules, those which, according to Greeks, indicated the end of the world. Greeks said: “Non plus ultra”, which means “Nothing beyond” or “No beyond”. Nevertheless, when Europeans found out there was another continent, that idea changed and, during the reign of Charles I, the motto adopted was “Plus ultra”, which remains in the coat of arms still today.

But there is something even more interesting: a legend that has its origins in a classic myth. Remember the Trojan War? Well, they say that Bianor III, the descendant of one of the princes of Troy, wandered until he arrived to the territory where he found the city of Mantua de Carpetania. Afterwards, Apollo presented to him in a dream, telling him he would have to start a new journey until he found a signal.

Time passed and Bianor dreamt once again with Apollo, who indicated he had come to the right place to found a new city. It was to be consecrated to Cybele, who was also called Metragirta. The city, thus, received that name, which changed with time until it became Magerit and, finally, Madrid.

Did you even suspect such a legendary origin for the city? Just like this story, there are many, many others that give name to the streets or that explain certain circumstances. However, most of them remain secret. That is why my advice will always be to take a tour around the city with expert guides.