Few facts are known about the Magi of ancient Persia , the land that is now Iran, but some scholars believe they were a caste of priests from the Medes tribe. The Magi were widely known in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean as wise men. The link in people’s minds between wisdom and the supernatural soon gave rise to a folk belief that the Magi had power over demons. The word Magi shares its roots with the modern word magic.
Perhaps the most familiar reference to the Magi comes in the Gospel according to Matthew in the New Testament. The Magi visited the baby Jesus and presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Although the gospel does not specify how many Magi attended, folklore claims they were three in number, and they are generally referred to as the Three Wise Men. In Western tradition, the three were named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, while Eastern Christians call them Larvandad, Hormisdas, and Gushnasaph.
Zoroaster, the great religious sage and leader, who is also known as Zarathustra, may have been one of the Magi. The religion that he formed, Zoroastrianism, which became the dominant religion of Persia, was led by Magian priests.
In 637 C.E.,Arabs invaded Persia, and Islam replaced Zoroastrianism in the region. But the Parsee religion, sometimes called Farsi, is a direct descendant of Zoroastrianism and is still practiced in modern Iran and India.