Three kings or wise men are an integral part of today’s Christmas nativity scenes, plays and songs. In the most popular story, the magi travel from the east, led by the star of Bethlehem, to bring precious gifts to the newborn baby Jesus. But biblical texts tell us very little about these mysterious visitors – only a few verses in the Gospel of Matthew. New insights into who they were, where they came from and the purpose of their visit has been found in an Syriac version of the story. An expert in ancient biblical languages and literature found the manuscript forgotten in the vaults of the Vatican library. He tells us what it reveals about early Christian beliefs.