Magi, the priestly caste of the ancient Persians. It was formerly held that they were a.Median race, and that the revolution which gave them their supremacy was a Median outbreak. According to Rawlinson and other recent writers, however, Magism was the old Scythic religion, which maintained itself in Persia after the Aryan conquest, and grew in power and influence despite the frowns of the court until Gomates, a Magus, was raised to the throne as successor of Cambyses. He was speedily overthrown and slain by Darius Hys-taspis, and the Aryan religion was restored in triumph over Magism. The wisdom of the Magi caused a secret knowledge of religion and philosophy to be ascribed to them. The name early lost whatever it originally had of ethnological significance, and came to indicate only a caste; and in later times it was applied to diviners and sorcerers of every nation.
Magna Graecia, the collective name of the ancient Greek cities and districts in southern Italy (according to Strabo, also of those in Sicily), applied chiefly to the cities on the Ta-rentine gulf (Tarentum, Sybaris, Croton, Me-tapontum, Locris, Rhegium, etc.) and on the western coast (Cumae, Neapolis, &c). Improperly the name is used also for the whole south of Italy, including especially the provinces of Apulia, Calabria, Lucania, and Bruttium, and not alone of the Grecian settlements.
Magnet (from Gr. ni0os Mayvntns, the Mag-nesian stone), the name applied to a mass of steel or iron, or of natural iron ore, that has the property of attracting to itself otherwise inert iron. Magnets probably first became known to the Aryan races through the discovery of natural magnets by the Greeks in the Thessalian district of Magnesia. The various phenomena presented in experiments with magnets have given rise to the modern branches of physical science known as magnetism, terrestrial magnetism, electro-magnetism, and magneto-electricity, which are treated under their own names. Natural iron magnets are exceedingly rare, but a magnetic iron ore is found in large quantities in Sweden and in the states of New York and New Jersey. The important property that a freely supported magnetic bar possesses of turning steadfastly toward the poles of the earth under the influence of terrestrial magnetism is treated of in the article on that subject. (See also Compass.)
Magnus Fredrik Ferdinand Bjornstjerna, count, a Swedish statesman and author, born in Dresden, Oct. 10, 1779, died in Stockholm, Oct. 6, 1847. He went to Sweden in 179,8, entered the army, served in the war in Finland, and in Germany at the battles of Dessau and Leipsic, negotiated the capitulation of Lil-beck with Gen. Lallemand, and, after taking an active part in the military operations in Hol-stein and Norway, concluded the convention which established the union of Sweden and Norway. In October, 1812, he negotiated at London the sale of Guadeloupe. He wrote a work on the theogony, philosophy, and cosmogony of the Hindoos, and another on the British rule in India.