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Mercury

by Micha F. Lindemans
Mercury is god of trade and profit, merchants and travelers, but originally of the trade in corn. In later times he was equated with the Greek Hermes. He had a temple in Rome near the Circus Maximus on the Aventine Hill which dates back to 495 BCE. This temple was connected to some kind of trade fair. His main festival, the Mercuralia, was celebrated on May 15 and on this day the merchants sprinkled their heads and their merchandise with water from his well near the Porta Capena.

Mercury

During the time of the Roman Empire the cult of Mercury was widely spread, especially among the Celtic and Germanic peoples. The Celts have their Gaulish Mercury, and the Germans identified him with their Wodan.

The attributes of Mercury are the caduceus (a staff with two intertwined snakes) and a purse (a symbol of his connection with commerce). He is portrayed similarly to Hermes: dressed in a wide cloak, wearing talaria (winged sandals) and petasus (winged hat).

Mercury is also known as Alipes ("with the winged feet").


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Mercurius
    Alipes
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