According to Herodotus, the Magi were tribes associated with the Medes. In Greek, they were referred to as ‘Magos’ or Magoi (μάγοι, mágoi).[1]  The Magi held prominent roles as religious leaders in the Medo-Persian empire, particularly within the Mithraic and Zoroastrian doctrines. They were well-known among the Greeks and Romans, not only for their clairvoyance and ability to predict future events but also as representatives of religious beliefs and doctrines.

The Magi played a significant role in the prediction and announcement of the birth of Christ. It is documented that three Magi journeyed to Palestine guided by the star ‘Sirius’, ultimately arriving in Bethlehem where they encountered Mary, Joseph, and the infant Christ.[2]


Within the temples of the Magi, there existed pools that served a purpose in astronomy, allowing them to study the night sky. This method, though simple, proved to be effective, as prolonged observation of the night sky could be challenging. The pool acted as a mirror, reflecting the celestial lights and providing a comfortable environment for their astronomical studies.

The Magi attributed specific earthly properties to each star in the sky. During their visit to the infant Jesus, each Magus presented a gift. One offered gold, symbolizing Jupiter (Hurmuz), another offered myrrh, symbolizing Saturn (Kaywan), and the third offered frankincense, symbolizing Mercury (Zawa).

Historically, it is believed that the journey of the three Magi originated from the Parthian Empire, specifically the Ashkanian region, and concluded in Palestine, more precisely Bethlehem of Judea. It was during this period that independent kingdoms emerged in Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. The Magi were said to originate from Commagene and held royal positions in the territories of Haran, Urfa, and possibly Armenia.

On July 29, 7 BCE, a rare celestial event occurred in the night sky when both Jupiter and Saturn aligned. The Magi considered this event to be of great significance, and it became the catalyst for their diligent search for the divine newborn, the chosen one. Descriptions and depictions of the Magi praising the infant Jesus depict one Magus on his knees, offering a kiss to the feet of the infant Jesus, while the other two offer praise to the Lord. Symbolically, the Magi represented the planets in the sky, with Mercury (Zawa) personified by the Magus on his knees, and Jupiter (Hurmuz) and Saturn (Kaywan) embodied by the other two Magi. Each of the gifts they presented held specific meanings: gold symbolized wealth, myrrh represented wisdom and spirituality, and frankincense signified longevity.[3]

Adrian G. Gilbert, Magi: The Quest for a Secret Tradition, p.224.

For further insights into the Magi and the period of Jesus’ birth, the source ‘Magi’ is recommended as it provides valuable information on the subject.

According to Eubulus sources, the Magi societies were structured into three distinct classes. The first class consisted of individuals with high ranks who underwent comprehensive training in various aspects of life. It is worth noting that this high-class society seemingly adhered to a vegan lifestyle, abstaining from the consumption of animal products. Hunting, in particular, was strictly prohibited. The second class comprised warriors who received military training and did not have specific dietary restrictions, although the slaughter of animals, especially domestic ones, was not a common practice among them. The third class, considered the ordinary class, displayed less stringency in their dietary choices, consuming animal products, including domestic livestock.[4]

According to legend, the Magi had their own unique perspective on life, viewing it as a battle where victory could only be achieved by faithfully adhering to the laws revealed to them by the divine Magi of ancient times. it says:[5]

Life is battle , and to issue forth from it victorious the law must be faithfully fulfilled that the divinity himself revealed to the ancient Magi.

My Analysis

Firstly, Vermes Geza, a Hungarian writer,[6]  put forth a reinterpretation regarding the alignment of celestial bodies during the time of Jesus’ birth. He questioned whether the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn truly held any significance, or if it was the result of a celestial object, specifically the Halley’s comet. Geza’s speculation focused on the brightness emanating from the comet’s tail, which could have illuminated the night sky during that period. This raises the question of whether the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn or the radiance from Halley’s comet played a role in the phenomenon observed.

Over the years, a diverse range of theories has been proposed to explain the nature of the star. Some theories suggest it was a supernova, others propose Halley’s comet as the cause, while some attribute it to the extraordinary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Personally, I have long held the opinion that the luminosity observed was likely a result of Halley’s comet. Astronomical studies indicate that the comet appears approximately every 75-79 years. The earliest recorded sightings of this celestial object date back to 240 BCE by the Babylonians and Chinese, and the subsequent appearance occurred in 12 BCE.

The connection between the appearance of Halley’s comet and the birth of Jesus has been suggested for centuries. For instance, in a painting from 1305 by the Italian artist Giotto, three Zoroastrian Magi are depicted paying homage to the newborn Jesus, with a star’s tail included in the artwork. It is plausible that Giotto incorporated the portrayal of a star’s tail due to witnessing the event of Halley’s comet four years earlier (during that time, people referred to the comet as a star rather than a comet).

The question arises: could Jesus’ birth have coincided with the appearance of Halley’s comet in 12 BCE? However, it remains challenging to provide precise details about every event from the past.

image of Ghetto painting of Magi, the artist illustrated the visit of the three wise men ‘Magi’ to pay homage to the newborn Jesus













Secondly, as discussed earlier in this study, it has been established that the Magi inhabited the region of Ray, which corresponds to present-day Iran. Notably, recent archaeological excavations in the Kurdistan region have uncovered intriguing artifacts adorned with captivating paintings. These depictions portray groups of females engaged in celebratory activities, serving as a testament to the enduring presence of such traditions among the Kurdish people. I invite you to examine the image below, showcasing a vibrant pottery piece unearthed from the Hills of Syalik.


Credit source: https://www. sourcememory. net/veleda/?p=385)











Remarkably, this particular artwork showcases a scene of males partaking in festive rituals, expertly painted directly onto the surface of the pottery.

Source: Iranian historical archives by Ahmed Amin, p. 226








It is evident that the Magi, or Magos, indeed resided in the Ray region, leaving behind a rich cultural legacy.

[1] Gibert, 49.

[2] Ibid., 88.

[3] Ibid., 222-8.

[4] G. R. S. Mead, The Mysteries of Mithra (Theophania Publishing, 1907), 35.

[5] Cumont, 140.

[6] Vermes, 106.

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