History of Magic


Magic (sometimes referred to as stage magic to distinguish it from paranormal or ritual magic) is a performing art that entertains audiences by staging tricks or creating illusions of seemingly impossible or supernatural feats using natural means. These feats are called magic tricks, effects, or illusions.

A professional who performs such illusions is called a magician or an illusionist. Some performers may also be referred to by names reflecting the type of magical effects they present, such as prestidigitators, conjurors, hypnotists, mentalists,

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The term “magic” is etymologically derived from the Greek word mageia (μαγεία). Greeks and Persians had been at war for centuries and the Persian priests, called magosh in Persian, came to be known as magoi in Greek; that which a Persian priest did come to be known as mageia and then magika, a term which eventually referred to any foreign, unorthodox or illegitimate ritual practice.

Performances which modern observers would recognize as conjuring have probably been practiced throughout history. For many recorded centuries, magicians were associated with the devil and the occult. During the 19th and 20th centuries, many stage magicians even capitalized on this notion in their advertisements. The same level of ingenuity that was used to produce famous ancient deceptions such as the Trojan Horse would also have been used for entertainment, or at least for cheating in money games. They were also used by the practitioners of various religions and cults from ancient times onwards to frighten uneducated people into obedience or turn them into adherents. However, the profession of the illusionist gained strength only in the 18th century, and has enjoyed several popular vogues since.

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