These monumental sculptures took the name the “Enchanted Ones” or “Las Incantadas” from a popular tradition without any historical basis. The pillars belonged to a stoa which connected the palace of Alexander the Great with another in which his guest the king of Thrace lived with his retinue. The queen of Thrace succumbed to Alexander the Great’s charm, and at night he visited her in secret, passing through this stoa. Her husband learned of this and asked that magic spells be cast in the stoa. Aristotle informed Alexander, who did not go out that night. The queen, concerned about his lateness, went with her own retinue to the stoa to wait for him; struck by the magic, she was turned to stone, but immediately after this her husband was also petrified when he too went there to see if the magic had worked.
In popular tradition, stones resembling princes, brides, animals and ships were once real, until a reversal of fate—a divine or magical intervention, a prayer or a curse—turned them to stone and they remained there forever, tangible witnesses to human insignificance before divinity and destiny. Such traditions were already well known from Homer with the ship of the Phaeacians which despite the will of Poseidon brought Odysseus from Corcyra (Corfu) to Ithaca, and Poseidon in anger turned the ship to stone. One of these legends is that of The Marble King, who when surrounded by Turks was lifted by an angel who hid him in a cave and petrified him; he remained there until the time came for the angel to bring him back to life to free Constantinople.
Similar legends appear in many cultures and belong among etiological myths, since they normally attempt to interpret historical events of particular significance, mythical or historical figures, natural formation, or ancient monuments whose meaning has been altered or forgotten over the centuries.