Who Were the Three Wise Men?

The Three Wise Men, also known popularly as the Three Kings, were a group of distinguished foreigners who, in the tradition of Christianity and according to the Gospel of Matthew, visited Jesus upon his birth. They came bearing him gifts.

The Three Wise Men regarded Jesus as royalty, even in his infant state, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, which were rather expensive and would be fit for a king according to social custom. The Gospel notes that the men came from "the east," but never specifically mentions the number of people. The number of gifts, however, led to the assumption that there were three, and it is depicted this way in Nativity scenes.