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is commonly called “The messenger of the gods.”
2. He swept the room where the gods supped, and made the beds; and underwent many other the like ' servile employments; hence he was styled Camillus or Casmillus, that is, an inferior servant of gods; for anciently all boys and girls under age were called:Camilli and Camillae: and the same name was afterward given to the young men and maids, who attended the priests at their sacrifices: though the people of Boeotia, instead of Camillus, say Cadmillus; perhaps from the Arabic word chadam, to serve; or from the Phoenician word chadmel, god's servant or minister sacer. 3. He attended upon dying persons to unloose their souls from the chains of the body, and carry them to hell: he also revived, and placed in new bodies those souls which had completed their fall time in the Elysian fields. Almost all which things Virgil comprises in seven verses.
* Dixerat, Ille patris magni parere parabat
Hermes obeys; with golden pinions binds
His remarkable qualities were these : 1. He was the inventor of letters, and excelled in eloquence, so that the Greeks called him Hermes, from his *skill in interpreting or explaining; and, therefore, he is
* 'Aw, re panyivu, i.e. ab interpretando.
accounted the god of the rhetoricians and orators: 2. He is reported to have been the inventor of , contracts, weights, and measures; to have first taught the arts of buying, selling, and trafficking; and to have received the name of Mercury” from his understanding of merchandise. Hence he is accounted the god of the merchants, and the god of gain; so that all unexpected gain and treasure, which comes of a sudden, is from him called posio, or puziov. 3. In the art of thieving he certainly excelled all the sharpers that ever were, or will fbe; and is the prince and god of thieves. The very day on which he was born, he stole away some cattle from king Admetus' herd, although Apollo was keeper of them; who complained much of the theft, and bent his bow against him : but, in the mean time, Mercury stole even his arrows from him. While he was yet an infant, and entertained by Vulcan, he stole his tools from him. He took away by stealth Venus' girdle, while she embraced him ; and Jupiter's sceptre : he designed to steal the thunder too, but he was afraid lest it should burn him. - 4. He was mightily skilful in making peace; and for that reason was sometimes painted with chains of gold flowing from his mouth, with which he linked together the minds of those that heard him. And he not only pacified mortal men, but also the immortal gods of heaven and hell; for whenever they quarrelled among themselves, he composed their differences.
“Pacis et armorum, superis imisque Deorum,
Thee, wing-foot, all the gods, both high and low, The arbiter of war and peace allow. This pacificatory faculty of his is signified by the rod that he holds in his hand, which Apollo hereto
* A mercibus, yel a mercium cura, Philostrat, in Soph. 3. # Lucian. Diall. Apoll. et Vulc
fore goe him, because he had given Apollo a harp. This rod had a wonderful faculty of deciding all controversies. The virtue was first discovered by Mercury, who seeing two serpents fighting, as he travelled, he put his rod between them, and reconciled them presently; for they mutually embraced each other; and stuck to the rod, which is called Caduceus. *Hence all ambassadors sent to make peace are called Caduceatores : for, as wars were denounced by + Feciales, so they were ended by Caduceatores.
QUESTIONS FOR EX.1.MI.N.A TIO.N.
How is Mercury represented 2
What was the third 2
What was the fourth 2
What emblem of peace does he carry :
SEC. 2–ACTIONS OF MERCURY.
Of which the following are the most remarkable:
Hermaphroditus, the son of Mercury and Venus, was a celebrated hunter. In one of his excursions through the forests, he was observed by a wood nymph called Salmacis, who, struck with his manly form and noble visage, both new to her, anxiously followed him wherever he went. But Hermaphroditus inured to solitude by the nature of his pursuits, and unaccustomed to the soft attractions of female society, as anxiously avoided her, until she had recourse to stratagem, and to hide in ambush to behold him. At length, however, they met at a favourite fountain in the midst of the forest, where he usually
* Hom. in Hym. Lexic. Lat. in hoc Verbo.
eame to bathe during the heat of the day. fore the infatuated nymph imprudently disclosed her sentiments. Such frankness merited a generous return, but the ungrateful and sturdy huntsman, unmoved by her advances, rejected her with disgust, upon which the indignant Salmacis prayed the gods to avenge the insult by wedding him for ever to a female form. Her prayer was granted, and the wretched Hermaphroditus, equally amazed and shocked at the change, prayed then in turn, to alleviate the poignancy of his misfortue by sending him companions of similar form. The gods always merciful, listened to his entreaties, and decreed that whoever, thereafter, should bathe in that fountain, should resemble Hermaphroditus, and partake alike the form and qualities of either sex. A herdsmen, whose name was Battus, saw Mercury stealing Admetus' cows from Apollo their keeper. When Mercury perceived that his theft was discovered, he went to Battus, and desired that he would say nothing, and gave him a delicate cow. Battus promised him secrecy. Mercury, to try his fidelity, came in another shape to him, and asked him about the cows; whether he saw them, or knew the place where the thief carried them. Battus denied it; but Mercury pressed him hard, and promised that he would give him both a bull and a cow, if he would discover it. With this promise he was overcome; upon which Mercury was enraged, and laying aside his disguise, turned him into a stone called Index. This story Ovid describes in very elegant verse. * The ancients used to set up statues where the roads crossed: these statues they called Indices, because with an arm or finger held out they showed the way to this or that place. The Romans placed. some in public places and highways; as the Athenians did at their doors to drive away thieves; and