The Magus, a legendary magician of superhuman powers, is an archetype central to myth and religion across many cultures. Identifying its anthropological origins in ancient rituals performed by a shaman or wizard to ensure the prosperity of his tribe, E. M. Butler goes on to trace its subsequent development in pre-Christian religious and mystic philosophers, in medieval sorcerers and alchemists, and finally in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century occult revival. From Zoroaster to Solomon, Merlin to Faust, Cagliostro to Rasputin, legends of the Magus are explored and where possible compared with the historical record, in this fascinating account, first published in 1948, of one of the major figures in religious and occult mythology.
'This is the book on Alexander we have all been waiting for. Bosworth has achieved that uncompromising balance which is or ought to be the aim of all professional historians. This is a book which the complete non-specialist will enjoy and can rely on unconditionally. An enviably superb book.' The Times Higher Education Supplement