The Greek words for magic and magician, μαγεία and μάγος, are admittedly of Persian origin, and in all probability did not find their way into Greece before the Persian War, that is, before about 480 b.c. It was therefore an obvious inference, which was drawn in 1863 by O. Hirschfeld ( de incantationibus et devinctionibus amatoriis apud Graecos Romanosque ), that as the name magic was not known in Greece before the Persian Wars, neither was the thing. The inference is indeed obvious, but it is not necessarily correct: magic is practised by tribes who have not developed any general term for magic. It is therefore conceivable, at least, that the Greeks and Italians also before 480 b.c. practised magical rites, even though they then had no word for magic in general. The question is one of facts and not merely of words. What do we know of the facts before 480 b.c.? Unfortunately, according to M. Mauss, in his article on magic in Daremberg and Saglio’s Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines , ‘we are in almost complete ignorance of the primitive and original forms of magic in Italy and Greece.’ In view, then, of our almost complete ignorance, it may perhaps be allowable to start from a hypothesis—the hypothesis that the primitive and original forms of magic amongst the Greeks and Romans were much the same as they are amongst the undeveloped peoples who possess them at the present day, and, like the Greeks and Romans of the earliest times, have no general term for magic.