This context of magic has become an academic study, especially in the last twenty years.
Pervasive throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia until late antiquity and beyond, mágos, "Magian" or "magician", was influenced by (and eventually displaced) Greek goēs (γόης), the older word for a practitioner of magic, to include astrology, alchemy and other forms of esoteric knowledge.
Accordingly, the more skeptical writers then also identified the "magicians" – i.e. In Plato's Symposium (202e), the Athenian identified them as maleficent, allowing however a measure of efficacy as a function of the god Eros.
But most of their material vanished and what we have left are their quotations." According to Robert Parker, "magic differs from religion as weeds differ from flowers, merely by negative social evaluation"; magic was often seen as consisting of practices that range from silly superstition to the wicked and dangerous.And on the account of Suetonius, Augustus ordered the burning of 2,000 magical scrolls in 13 BC.Betz states: "As a result of these acts of suppression, the magicians and their literature went underground.The Greek magical papyri contain many instances of such egyptianizing transformations, which take very different forms in different texts or layers of tradition.In Greek literature, the earliest magical operation that supports a definition of magic as a practice aimed at trying to locate and control the secret forces (the sympathies and antipathies that make up these forces) of the world (physis) is found in Book X of The Odyssey (a text stretching back to the early 8th century BCE).