Last modified on 21 May 2014, at 12:53


Ancient GreekEdit


Of Old Iranian origin presumably akin to Old Persian/Median 𐎶𐎦𐎢𐏁 (maγu-) and Avestan moġu- (moġu-). Both attested Old Iranian words are hapaxes, and of indeterminable meaning. Possibly from Proto-Indo-European *meh₂gh- (to be able to, to help; power, sorcerer). Probably unrelated to Av. maga- (cognate with Skt. magha-, "gift"). Attestation in Greek predates attestation in Old Iranian.



Μάγος (Mágos) (genitive Μάγου) m, second declension

  1. name of a Median tribe. This usage is only attested once; Herodotus Histories 1.101.
  2. title of Iranian priests (typically interpreted as Zoroastrian). Compare e.g. Herodotus Hist. 1.132f, Xenophon Cyropedia 8.3.11, Porphyry Life of Pythagoras 12, Heraclitus apud Clemens Protrepticus 12, etc.
Note: the two meanings are frequently conflated as one, giving "name of a Median priestly tribe" or similar.


Derived termsEdit