Meaning “great” in Latin, it is rumored that it became a Scandinavian name under rushed, uninformed circumstances: King Olaf Hardaldsson’s illegitimate son was born while he was away. Born prematurely and not breathing, they made a poet his godfather and did a hasty baptism, as they did not expect the child to live long. He named him after the king’s role model, Karlas Magnus, not realizing that Magnus meant “The Great” and wasn’t part of his name. The boy went on to not only survive, but become very strong, and the King of both Norway and Denmark. Whether his name was a misunderstanding or not, he was a real person, best known as “Magnus the Good.”
Magnus the Good was the first of 7 King Magnus’ to rule Norway. 4 Kings of Swede, 1 in Livonia and 4 Dukes were also named Magnus. Also a Roman usurper, Roman consul a prince, and a bishop. Certainly a powerful and regal history!
Saints include Magnus of Anagni, a hepard who donated all his earnings to the poor. Magnus of Avigon is the patrol saint of those selling fish.
And of course more down to earth notables have the name as well including many musicians, scientists and athletes.
Besides being so handsome as a formal name, it has the most adorable nicknames. Maggie and Gus.