The nature of magic goes back to Pagan religion back in prehistoric times when people used the stars. The word “magic” derived from the Greek word from megas, meaning “great.”
Ancient Egyptian magic systems were among the earliest known of magic, already thousands of years old when Athens was prominent in 400 B.C. or Caesars reign in A. D. and many of the secrets remain a mystery. The magic would reign until the Middle Ages, when the Christian church condemned it as witchcraft but yet the church created Pagan holidays.
European magic before the Crusades remained largely mishmash of ancient religions and surviving folk magic. In those times secret societies and secret sorceries flourished. Basic principles included “As above, so below” the idea is that everything in the universe is connected between numbers, letters, the heavens, elements and so on. One could magically tap the creative power of the universe. This was the belief in medieval times.
In literature, however, fantasy elements began to pop up in romance books in the 13th century, mostly knight filled adventures of heroic quests of fighting dragons, yet the emphasis on love and courtly manners would distinguishes it from other kinds of epics. No one saw epic fantasy until the 20th century with the publication of “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. This did much to establish the genre as commercially distinct and viable.
Today fantasy continues to grow as a muti-layered medium, including many subgeneres like tadeonal high fantasy, sword and sorcery, magical realism, and horror-dark fantasy.
speaking of fantasy, my debut book is available