[[caption-width-right:334:"Guys, I think we should go to that town..."]]

In Christian tradition the Magi (Greek: μάγοι magoi), Three Wise Men, Three Kings or Kings from the East are said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts. They are mentioned only in the Gospel of Matthew , which says that they came "from the east to Jerusalem" to worship the Christ, "born King of the Jews". Because three gifts were recorded, there are traditionally said to have been three Magi, though Matthew does not specify their number.

According to Matthew, the magi followed a star which came to be known as the StarOfBethlehem. As they approached Jerusalem, Herod tried to trick them into revealing where Jesus was, so that he might be put to death. Upon finding Jesus, they gave him three symbolic gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. The tradition of gift giving for Christians dates back to this story. In many countries, they're the equivalent of SantaClaus. Furthermore, they have dreams from God warning them of King Herod's murderous true intentions for Jesus and return home by a different route to ensure they tell him nothing. Unfortunately, this inadvertently leads to Herod committing the Massacre of the Innocents in Bethlehem to attempt to remove this threat to his throne. (Of course, Jesus and his family manage to escape in time; NiceJobBreakingItHerod.)

The Eastern church gives a variety of different names for the kings. In the West, the kings are traditionally named Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, but the New Testament never explicitly identifies any of the Magi by name.

No relation to [[MonkeyMoralityPose The Three Wise Monkeys]], nor to the film ''Film/ThreeKings''.

!!Appearances of the Magi in Fiction:
* They appear in ''Film/FromTheMangerToTheCross'', a film about [[UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} you-know-who]].
* The three wise men appear during the opening of ''Film/BenHur1959.'' About thirty years later Balthasar appears again, looking to find Jesus a second time and befriends Judah, the main character.
* They are the main characters of an eponymous animated movie made in Spain by 2D animators from Don Bluth and Disney who'd been put out of a job when Don Bluth's studio and Disney's European subdivision, respectively, were dissolved. It centers on the three's quest to ''get'' the gifts in the first place so that they can give it to "[[UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} the newborn King of all Kings]]". Their efforts are countered by King Herode and his demonic advisor Belial.
* In the ''ComicBook/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' comic story "2000 Light Years to Christmas" the League helps three aliens counterparts of the Magi recover the gifts they bore for a messiah born on another planet that they had lost on Earth.
* In ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' episode "Paladin of the Lost Hour" the old man who holds back doomsday from happening hints that he's really Caspar.
* In the short story "The Fourth Wise Man" the Mage Artaban arrives too late to meet baby Jesus, as he had stopped along the way to help people in need. He only finds Jesus on the day he was crucified, and fails to rescue him because, again, he stopped to help someone. A voice (presumably Jesus') tells him however that his kindness to others was just the kind of real gift he wanted from people.
* The Magi themselves do not appear in O. Henry's "Literature/TheGiftOfTheMagi", but they inspired the characters to give each other presents.
* The Three Sages in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' are named after the Magi, at least in the English version.
* The three Magi arrive with gifts for Brian at the start of ''Film/MontyPythonsLifeOfBrian'', though it turns out that the real Messiah had been born across the street.
* In ''Series/TheXFiles'' episode "Existence", which likens Baby William's birth heavily to the birth of Christ (including a prominent StarOfBethlehem), the Lone Gunmen step into this role, bringing gifts and admiring the baby.
* The Magi are the night visitors in ''Theatre/AmahlAndTheNightVisitors''.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' ChristmasSpecial "Jingle Jingle Jangle", the Kanker sisters take on the role, bringing the Eds the gifts of "mold, franks and cents, and fur."
* An ''Creator/{{SCTV}}'' Christmas show has an extended commercial with Edna Boil and her line of holiday fashion for dogs, modeled by little yappy dogs. Creepy enough, then she highlights the true meaning of Christmas with Magi costumes worn by "We Three Pups".
* The Creator/TomHolt novel ''Grailblazers'' reveals that Santa Claus was one of the Wise Men, doing community service to expiate the sin of ConvenienceStoreGiftShopping for the Messiah; unlike his colleagues who planned ahead, he left things until the last minute and couldn't come up with anything better than a pair of socks.
* The French movie ''Les Rois Mages'' (lit. "The mage-kings", which is how they're called in France) is a comedy about the Magi suddenly finding themselves in modern-day Paris. They end up [[spoiler:finding a baby underground... at the ''Place de l'Étoile'' ("Star square")]].
* In MikeRoyko's humorous column "Mary and Joe: Chicago Style," the Nativity is set in 1960s UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}}, where the Magi are mistaken for hippies and detained for illegal possession of gold and suspicious herbs. Meanwhile, there's no room for a poor couple from out of town in any of the city's social services, but Mary gets treated for post-partum delusion when she mentions who the baby's father is...
* In Creator/UmbertoEco's novel ''Literature/{{Baudolino}}'', the Magi are thought to have come from the legendary kingdom of Prester John. In order to get Emperor Frederick's support for an expedition to the kingdom, the protagonist produces the relics of the Magi, found in a church in Constantinople, though he and the canon he gets the relics from both acknowledge that they're not the real remains.
* Played by Quagmire, Joe and Cleveland a ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' parody.
* A popular Christmas card reads "Fortunately, a few hours later, three wise ''women'' stopped by..." Mary's exclaiming "Diapers, receiving blankets and an infant mule seat! Now ''these'' I can ''use!''"
* In ''Literature/LambTheGospelAccordingToBiff'', Jesus' childhood buddy Levi, (but mostly called by his nickname Biff) is resurrected to tell his version of the Gospel. In this version, [[JesusTheEarlyYears the years where Jesus disappears from the Bible]] he spent looking for the 3 wise men, trying to learn ''how'' to be the Messiah. In the book, the three turn out to be an immortal ([[ImmortalityImmorality and rather immoral]]) magician, a [[WarriorMonk Shaolin master]], and a hermetic [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogi Yogi]]. Jesus learns important things from all of them, even if sometimes the most important thing he learns is what ''not'' to do.
* Referred to once as the "Three Wise Guys" in ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide''.
* In ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', the MAGI supercomputer consists of three systems named, appropriately enough, after the wise men.
* The 1999 ChristmasEpisode of ''Radio/ImSorryIHaventAClue'' had a Sound Charades round in which Barry and Graeme played Caspar and Melchior ... who sounded strangely similar to Hamish and Dougal. "You'll have had your myrrh?" They were a bit annoyed to learn a family of carpenters had taken the last room in the inn, and persuaded the innkeeper to move them to the stables.
* In a {{cutaway}} gag in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', two of the wise men are upset that the third has brought an expensive gift of gold, upstaging their gifts of frankincense and myrrh which they bought assuming a $5 limit. They propose putting the three gifts together and labeling them collectively, but this starts an argument.
* A Christmas sweatshirt in the Signals catalog had the slogan "3 Wise Men? Be Serious."
* David Jaffe originally planned for the God of War Series to end with Kratos as well as his Norse & Egyptian equals becoming this after killing their respective pantheons together.
* They have roles in ''Film/TheNativityStory'', naturally enough, journeying to [[AwayInAManger the manger]] to give their gifts and providing some comic moments.

!!Tropes involving the Magi:
* {{Astrologer}}: The Magi interpret the StarOfBethlehem to announce the birth of UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}}; they're exactly right.
* AwayInAManger: Canonically, [[Literature/TheFourGospels the Gospel of Matthew]] says that the Magi arrived "at the house", not the manger, indicating that their visit likely occurred some time later when Mary and Joseph had found a more permanent accommodation. (This might also explain why Herod ordered all male children under two years to be killed, not just newborns.) However, they are often portrayed in Nativity scenes, probably a fair case of ArtisticLicense.
* BadassBeard: All have it.
* CanonForeigner: The Fourth Wise Man.
* CourtMage: Some historical interpretations of the word "Magi" see their role as closer to this rather than being kings themselves.
* CrossCulturalKerfuffle:
** Should kids in Hispanic America--especially in Puerto Rico-- get their presents from Santa or the Magi? The eternal debate!
** The Magi are often pictured in Arabic gear.
** In the Oriental Orthodox church, it's maintained that at least one of the Magi was from China.
* TheDeterminator: Artaban spent *his whole life* trying to deliver his present to Jesus.
* GiftOfTheMagiPlot: {{Trope namer}}s, indirectly.
* JesusWasWayCool: So cool, multiple kings show up to give him birthday presents!
* NiceJobBreakingItHerod: The Wise Men see through Herod's ruse and give him the slip without showing him where the Messiah was, setting up this trope.
* NumerologicalMotif: Three Kings, three presents.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Like traveling on camel to deliver presents to the Son Of God personally.
* RuleOfThree: Naturally. (Except in "The Fourth Wise Man.")
* SamaritanSyndrome: What kept Artaban from finding Jesus.
* StarOfBethlehem: Led them to Jesus.
* TokenMinority: Melchior is often depicted as being Black.
** FiveTokenBand: Many versions actually make the three different races to symbolize the entire world coming together in awe of Christ. As noted above, in some Eastern Orthodox traditions, at least one of the wise men is described as coming all the way from China.
* WordOfDante:
** Literature/TheBible never specifies exactly how many Magi there were; the number three is a later tradition due to them bringing three gifts. A few Eastern Orthodox traditions say there were as many as twelve.
** The non-canonical names "Melchior, Balthazar, and Caspar" apparently came from a Greek manuscript from Alexandria that was written around AD 500.