Mercury (mythology)

Introduction

Mercury is a major Roman god, being one of the Dii Consentes within the ancient Roman pantheon. 

He is the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages/communication (including divination), travellers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he is also the guide of souls to the underworld. 

He was considered the son of Maia and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is possibly related to the Latin word merx ("merchandise"; compare merchant, commerce, etc.), mercari (to trade), and merces (wages).

In his earliest forms, he appears to have been related to the Etruscan deity Turms, both of which share characteristics with the Greek god Hermes. In Virgil's Aeneid, Mercury reminds Aeneas of his mission to found the city of Rome.

In Ovid's Fasti, Mercury is assigned to escort the nymph Larunda to the underworld. Mercury, however, fell in love with Larunda and made love to her on the way. Larunda thereby became mother to two children, referred to as the Lares, invisible household gods.

Influence

Mercury has influenced the name of many things in a variety of scientific fields, such as the planet Mercury, and the element 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. 

He is often depicted holding the caduceus in his left hand.

see also Mercury

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