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Encyclopedia > Mercury (mythology)
A sculpture of the Roman god Mercury by 17th-century Flemish artist Artus Quellinus.
A sculpture of the Roman god Mercury by 17th-century Flemish artist Artus Quellinus.

In Roman mythology, Mercury (IPA: /ˈmɜːkjəri/, Latin: Mercurius listen ) was a major god of trade, profit and commerce, the son of Maia Maiestas and Jupiter. His name is related to the Latin word merx ("merchandise"; compare merchant, commerce, etc.). In his earliest forms, he appears to have been related to the Etruscan deity Turms, but most of his characteristics and mythology were borrowed from the analogous Greek deity Hermes. This file has been listed on Wikipedia:Possibly unfree images, because it is missing information on its source or copyright status. ... This file has been listed on Wikipedia:Possibly unfree images, because it is missing information on its source or copyright status. ... The term Flemings (Dutch: ) is currently mostly used to refer to the ethnic group native to Flanders (the northern half of Belgium, historically part of the Southern Netherlands), which in total numbers about 6 million people in Belgium (the majority of all Belgians) . The term also designates, not only the... Roman mythology, the mythological beliefs of the people of Ancient Rome, can be considered as having two parts. ... For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words see here. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... Image File history File links La-cls-Mercurius. ... The Greek Maia was identified in Roman mythology with Maia Maiestas (also called Fauna, Bona Dea (the Good Goddess) and Ops), a goddess who may be equivalent to an old Italic goddess of spring. ... Jupiter et Thétis - by Jean Ingres, 1811. ... The Etruscans were a race of unknown origin from North Italy who were eventually integrated into Rome. ... The Oricoli bust of Zeus, King of the Gods, in the collection of the Vatican Museum. ... For other uses, see Hermes (disambiguation). ...


Mercury has influenced the name of a number of things in a variety of scientific fields, such as the planet Mercury, the element mercury, and the plant mercury. The word mercurial is commonly used to refer to something or someone erratic, volatile or unstable, derived from Mercury's swift flights from place to place. Note: This article contains special characters. ... General Name, Symbol, Number mercury, Hg, 80 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 12, 6, d Appearance silvery white Atomic mass 200. ... Species Mercurialis annua - annual mercury Mercurialis perennis - perennial mercury Mercurialis tomentosa et al. ... Look up Mercurial in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Contents

Worship

A sculpture from Veii of Turms, the Etruscan god equivalent to the Roman Mercury and the Greek Hermes.
A sculpture from Veii of Turms, the Etruscan god equivalent to the Roman Mercury and the Greek Hermes.

Mercury did not appear among the numinous di indigetes of early Roman religion. Rather, he subsumed the earlier Dei Lucrii as Roman religion was syncretized with Greek religion during the time of the Roman Republic, starting around the 3rd century BC. From the beginning, Mercury had essentially the same aspects as Hermes, wearing winged shoes and a winged petasos, and carrying the caduceus, a herald's staff with two entwined snakes that was Apollo's gift to Hermes. He was often accompanied by a cockerel, herald of the new day, a ram or goat, symbolizing fertility, and a tortoise, referring to Mercury's legendary invention of the lyre from a tortoise shell. Image File history File links Turms. ... Image File history File links Turms. ... Veii - or Veius - was in ancient times, an important Etrurian city 18 km NNW of Rome, Italy. ... For other uses, see Hermes (disambiguation). ... Numina (presence, singular numen) is a Latin term for deity and conveys the sense of immanence, of the sacred spirit that informs places and objects in Roman religion. ... The di indigetes (indigenous gods) were a group of Roman gods, goddesses and other beings not adopted from other mythologies (di novensides, newcomer gods in Georg Wissowas terminology). ... Religion in ancient Rome combined several different cult practices and embraced more than a single set of beliefs. ... In early Roman mythology, the Dei Lucrii were early gods of wealth, profit, commerce and trade. ... Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile disparate, even opposing, beliefs and to meld practices of various schools of thought. ... Greek religion is the polytheistic religion practiced in ancient Greece in form of cult practices, thus the practical counterpart of Greek mythology. ... See also Roman Republic (18th century) and Roman Republic (19th century). ... (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium) The 3rd century BC started on January 1, 300 BC and ended on December 31, 201 BC. // Events The Pyramid of the Moon, one of several monuments built in Teotihuacán Teotihuacán, Mexico begun The first two Punic Wars between Carthage... For other uses, see Hermes (disambiguation). ... A petasos is a style of hat, usually made of felt, with a broad, floppy brim. ... The Caduceus Two caduceuses without wings as decoration of door portal in Ztracená street in Olomouc (Czech Republic). ... Lycian Apollo, early Imperial Roman copy of a fourth century Greek original (Louvre Museum) In Greek and Roman mythology, Apollo (Ancient Greek , Apóllōn; or , Apellōn), the ideal of the kouros, was the archer-god of medicine and healing, light, truth, archery and also a bringer of death... ... Fertility is the ability of people or animals to produce healthy offspring in abundance, and of the earth to bear fruit. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...


Like Hermes, he was also a messenger of the gods and a god of trade, particularly of the grain trade. Mercury was also considered a god of abundance and commercial success, particularly in Gaul. He was also, like Hermes, the Romans' psychopomp, leading newly-deceased souls to the afterlife. Additionally, Ovid wrote that Mercury carried Morpheus' dreams from the valley of Somnus to sleeping humans.[1] The word grain has several meanings, most being descriptive of a small piece or particle. ... Map of Gaul circa 58 BC Gaul (Latin: ) was the name given, in ancient times, to the region of Western Europe comprising present-day northern Italy, France, Belgium, western Switzerland and the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine river. ... Many sets of religious beliefs have a particular spirit, deity, demon or angel whose responsibility is to escort newly-deceased souls to the afterlife, such as Heaven or Hell. ... Engraved frontispiece of George Sandyss 1632 London edition of Publius Ovidius Naso (Sulmona, March 20, 43 BC â€“ Tomis, now Constanta AD 17) Roman poet known to the English-speaking world as Ovid, wrote on topics of love, abandoned women, and mythological transformations. ... Sleep and his half-brother Death (Hypnos and Thanatos) by John William Waterhouse (1874) Morpheus (he who forms, shapes, molds, from the Greek morphe) is the principal Greek god of dreams and sleep. ... In Greek mythology, Hypnos was the personification of sleep; the Roman equivalent was known as Somnus. ...


Mercury's temple in the Circus Maximus, between the Aventine and Palatine hills, was built in 495 BC. This was a fitting place to worship a swift god of trade and travel, since it was a major center of commerce as well as a racetrack. Since it stood between the plebeian stronghold on the Aventine and the patrician center on the Palatine, it also emphasized the role of Mercury as a mediator. For other uses, see Circus Maximus (disambiguation). ... The Aventine Hill is one of the seven hills that ancient Rome was built on. ... 17th century aviaries on the hill, built by Rainaldi for Odoardo Cardinal Farnese: once wirework cages surmounted them. ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 540s BC 530s BC 520s BC 510s BC 500s BC - 490s BC - 480s BC 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC Years: 499 BC 498 BC 497 BC 496 BC - 495 BC - 494 BC 493 BC 492 BC... In Ancient Rome, the plebs was the general body of Roman citizens, distinct from the privileged class of the patricians. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... A large statue in Bangalore depicting Shiva meditating The term Meditation describes a variety of practices with a variety of goals. ...


Because Mercury was not one of the early deities surviving from the Roman Kingdom, he was not assigned a flamen ("priest"), but he did have a major festival on May 15, the Mercuralia. During the Mercuralia, merchants sprinkled water from his sacred well near the Porta Capena on their heads. The Roman Kingdom (Latin: Regnum Romanum) was the monarchal government for the city of Rome and its territories from its founding. ... Bust of a flamen, 3rd century, Louvre A flamen was a name given to a priest assigned to a state supported god or goddess in Roman religion. ... May 15 is the 135th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (136th in leap years). ... Mercuralia is a Roman celebration known also as the Festival of Mercury. Mercury was thought to be the god of merchants and commerce. ... Porta Capena is a place near Rome, formerly a sacred forest, where Numa Pompilius and Egeria met. ...


Syncretism

A three-headed image of a Celtic deity interpreted as Mercury and now believed to represent Lugus.
A three-headed image of a Celtic deity interpreted as Mercury and now believed to represent Lugus.

When they described the gods of Celtic and Germanic tribes, rather than considering them separate deities, the Romans interpreted them as local manifestations or aspects of their own gods, a cultural trait called the interpretatio Romana. Mercury in particular was reported as becoming extremely popular among the nations the Roman Empire conquered; Julius Caesar wrote of Mercury being the most popular god in Britain and Gaul, regarded as the inventor of all the arts. This is probably because in the Roman syncretism, Mercury was equated with the Celtic god Lugus, and in this aspect was commonly accompanied by the Celtic goddess Rosmerta. Although Lugus may originally have been a deity of light or the sun (though this is disputed), similar to the Roman Apollo, his importance as a god of trade and commerce made him more comparable to Mercury, and Apollo was instead equated with the Celtic deity Belenus.[1] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (480x808, 150 KB) Gravure dun dieu trichéphale, identifié souvent comme Lugus, dont le bas-relief est découvert à Paris en 1867 et préservé au musée Carnavalet. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (480x808, 150 KB) Gravure dun dieu trichéphale, identifié souvent comme Lugus, dont le bas-relief est découvert à Paris en 1867 et préservé au musée Carnavalet. ... Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. ... Lugus was a deity widely hypothesized to have been worshipped in Gaul, Britain, Ireland, Spain and other ancient Celtic regions. ... Interpretatio graeca is a Latin term for the common tendency of ancient Greek writers to equate foreign divinities to members of their own pantheon. ... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ... Gaius Julius Caesar[1] (Latin pronunciation ; English pronunciation ; July 12 or July 13, 100 BC – March 15, 44 BC) was a Roman military and political leader and one of the most influential men in world history. ... Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile disparate, even opposing, beliefs and to meld practices of various schools of thought. ... Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. ... Lugus was a deity widely hypothesized to have been worshipped in Gaul, Britain, Ireland, Spain and other ancient Celtic regions. ... In Continental Celtic mythology, Rosmerta was a goddess of fire, fertility and warmth, as well as flowers and death. ... Lycian Apollo, early Imperial Roman copy of a fourth century Greek original (Louvre Museum) In Greek and Roman mythology, Apollo (Ancient Greek , Apóllōn; or , Apellōn), the ideal of the kouros, was the archer-god of medicine and healing, light, truth, archery and also a bringer of death... In Celtic mythology, Belenus (also Belinus, Belenos, Belinos, Belinu, Bellinus, Belus, Bel) was a deity worshipped in Gaul, Britain and Celtic areas of Italy and Austria. ...


Mercury was also strongly associated with the Germanic god Wotan; 1st-century Roman writer Tacitus identifies the two as being the same, and describes him as the chief god of the Germanic peoples. Germanic paganism refers to the religion and mythology of the Germanic nations preceding Christianization, including Norse, Anglo-Saxon mythology, information obtained from archaeological finds and remnants of pre-Christian beliefs in the folklore of medieval and modern Germanic peoples. ... The 6th century Vadstena bracteate, showing a horse, a bird and a human head commonly identified as an early form of Scandinavian Odin. ... Gaius Cornelius Tacitus Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (c. ...


In Celtic areas, Mercury was sometimes portrayed with three heads or faces, and at Tongeren, Belgium, a statuette of Mercury with three phalli was found, with the extra two protruding from his head and replacing his nose, respectively; this was probably because the number 3 was considered magical, making such statues good luck and fertility charms. The Romans also made widespread use of small statues of Mercury, probably drawing from the ancient Greek tradition of hermae markers. Tongeren is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg near Hasselt. ... Mural of Mercury in Pompeii. ... This article discusses the number three. ... In ancient Greece, before his role as protector of merchants and travelers, Hermes was a phallic god, associated with fertility, luck, roads and borders. ...


Mercury and modern occultism

In occult circles Mercury is given primary rulership over things magical. This may in part be due to Mercury's association with Odhinn by way of the days of the week. Odin is the magical god, and also the head of the Norse pantheon. Mercury's quickness may be likened to the sparrow. Odin (Old Norse Óðinn) is considered the chief god in Norse mythology and Norse paganism, like the Anglo-Saxon Woden it is decended from Proto-Germanic *Wōdinaz or *Wōđanaz. ...


Names and epithets

Mercury, known to the Romans as Mercurius and occasionally in earlier writings as Merqurius, Mirqurios or Mircurios, had a number of epithets representing different aspects or roles, or representing syncretisms with non-Roman deities. The most common and significant of these epithets included: An epithet (Greek - επιθετον and Latin - epitheton; literally meaning imposed) is a descriptive word or phrase. ...

A Gaulish depiction of Mercury, now at the Carnavalet Museum in Paris.
  • Mercurius Artaios, a combination of Mercury with the Celtic god Artaios, a deity of bears and hunting who was worshiped at Beaucroissant, France.[2]
  • Mercurius Arvernus, a combination of the Celtic Arvernus with Mercury. Arvernus was worshiped in the Rhineland, possibly as a particular deity of the Arverni tribe, though no dedications to Mercurius Arvernus occur in their territory in the Auvergne region of central France.[2]
  • Mercurius Cissonius, a combination of Mercury with the Celtic god Cissonius, who is written of in the area spanning from Cologne, Germany to Saintes, France.[2]
  • Mercurius Esibraeus, a combination of the Iberian deity Esibraeus with the Roman deity Mercury. Esibraeus is mentioned only in an inscription found at Medelim, Portugal, and is possibly the same deity as Banda Isibraiegus, who is invoked in an inscription from the nearby village of Bemposta.[3]
  • Mercurius Gebrinius, a combination of Mercury with the Celtic or Germanic Gebrinius, known from an inscription on an altar in Bonn, Germany.[2]
  • Mercurius Moccus, from a Celtic god, Moccus, who was equated with Mercury, known from evidence at Langres, France. The name Moccus ("pig") implies that this deity was connected to boar-hunting.[2]
  • Mercurius Visucius, a combination of the Celtic god Visucius with the Roman god Mercury, attested in an inscription from Stuttgart, Germany. Visucius was worshiped primarily in the frontier area of the empire in Gaul and Germany. Although he was primarily associated with Mercury, Visucius was also sometimes linked to the Roman god Mars, as a dedicatory inscription to "Mars Visucius" and Visucia, Visicius' female counterpart, was found in Gaul.[2][4]

Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (775x2048, 609 KB) Stèle de Mercure Stèle de Mercure au grand caducée, calcaire, Époque gallo-romaine, lieu de découverte: Hôtel-Dieu, 1867 Musée Carnavalet Photographe: Clio20 File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (775x2048, 609 KB) Stèle de Mercure Stèle de Mercure au grand caducée, calcaire, Époque gallo-romaine, lieu de découverte: Hôtel-Dieu, 1867 Musée Carnavalet Photographe: Clio20 File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia... In Celtic mythology, Avernus was the god of the Gallic Averni. ... The Rhineland (Rheinland in German) is the general name for the land on both sides of the river Rhine in the west of Germany. ... A map of Gaul in the 1st century BC, showing the relative position of the Arverni tribe. ... Auvergne coat of arms Auvergne (Occitan: Auvèrnha) was the name of an historically independent county in the center of France, as well as later a province of France. ... Cissonius (also Cisonius, Cesonius) was an ancient Gaulish god. ... For other uses, see Cologne (disambiguation). ... Saintes is a town and commune in France, in the Charente-Maritime département, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... The Lady of Baza, made by Iberians The Iberians were an ancient, Pre-Indo-European people who inhabited the east and southeast of the Iberian Peninsula in prehistoric and historic times. ... Banda is a brass-based form of traditional Mexican music. ... Bemposta may refer to: Locations in Portugal: Bemposta (Abrantes), a parish in the municipality of Abrantes. ... Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany, located about 20 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. ... Categories: France geography stubs | Communes of Haute-Marne ... Visucius was a Gallo-Roman god, usually identified with Mercury. ... Stuttgart [], located in southern Germany, is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg with a population of approximately 590,000 (as of September 2005) in the city and around 3 million in the metropolitan area. ... Image of Mars/Ares from the Villa Hadriana. ... Visucius was a Gallo-Roman god, usually identified with Mercury. ...

See also

  • Hermes

For other uses, see Hermes (disambiguation). ...

References

  1. ^ a b Littleton, C. Scott (Ed.) (2002). Mythology: The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth and Storytelling (pp. 195, 251, 253, 258, 292). London: Duncan Baird Publishers. ISBN 1-904292-01-1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Green, Miranda J. (1992). Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend (pp. 148–149). London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-01516-3.
  3. ^ Alarcão, Jorge de (1988). Roman Portugal. Volume I: Introduction (p. 93). Warminster: Aris and Phillips.
  4. ^ Espérandieu, E. (1931). Recueil Général des Bas-relief, Statues et Bustes de la Germanie Romaine. Paris and Brussels.
Roman mythology series
Major deities
Apollo | Ceres | Diana | Juno | Jupiter | Mars | Mercury | Minerva | Venus | Vulcan
Divus Augustus | Divus Julius | Fortuna | Lares | Pluto | Quirinus | Sol | Vesta
Trade and craft deities
Minerva | Dei Lucrii | Eventus Bonus | Furina | Mercury | Portunes

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Mercury (Mythology) - LoveToKnow 1911 (467 words)
MERCURY (MERcuRIus), in Roman mythology, the god of merchandise (merx) and merchants; later identified with the Greek Hermes.
The 15th of May was chosen as the feast of Mercury, obviously because Maia was the mother of Hermes, that is of Mercury; and she was worshipped along with her son by the mercuriales on this day.
Mercury became the god, not only of the mercatores and of the grain trade, but of buying and selling in general; and it appears that, at least in the streets where shops were common, little chapels and images of the god were erected.
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