Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri known by his name of art Dante Alighieri or as Dante, was an Italian poet during the Late Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy called Comedìa and christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio, is considered the most important poem of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language. In the late Middle Ages, most poetry was written in Latin, making it accessible only to the most educated readers. In De vulgari eloquentia, Dante defended the use of the vernacular in literature, he would write in the Tuscan dialect for works such as The New Life and the Divine Comedy. Dante was instrumental in establishing the literature of Italy, his depictions of Hell and Heaven provided inspiration for the larger body of Western art, he is cited as an influence among many others. In addition, the first use of the interlocking three-line rhyme scheme, or the terza rima, is attributed to him. In Italy, he is referred to as il Sommo Poeta and il Poeta. Dante was born in Republic of Florence, present-day Italy.
The exact date of his birth is unknown, although it is believed to be around 1265. This can be deduced from autobiographic allusions in the Divine Comedy, its first section, the Inferno, begins, "Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita", implying that Dante was around 35 years old, since the average lifespan according to the Bible is 70 years. Some verses of the Paradiso section of the Divine Comedy provide a possible clue that he was born under the sign of Gemini: "As I revolved with the eternal twins, I saw revealed, from hills to river outlets, the threshing-floor that makes us so ferocious". In 1265, the sun was in Gemini between May 11 and June 11. Giovanni Boccaccio described Dante's appearance and demeanor as follows: "the poet was of middle height, in his years he walked somewhat bent over, with a grave and gentle gait, he was clad always in most seemly attire, such as befitted his ripe years. His face was long, his nose aquiline, his eyes big rather than small, his jaws were large, his lower lip protruded.
He had a brown complexion, his hair and beard were thick and curly, his countenance was always melancholy and thoughtful." Dante claimed that his family descended from the ancient Romans, but the earliest relative he could mention by name was Cacciaguida degli Elisei, born no earlier than about 1100. Dante's father, Alighiero or Alighiero di Bellincione, was a White Guelph who suffered no reprisals after the Ghibellines won the Battle of Montaperti in the middle of the 13th century; this suggests that Alighiero or his family may have enjoyed some protective prestige and status, although some suggest that the politically inactive Alighiero was of such low standing that he was not considered worth exiling. Dante's family was loyal to the Guelphs, a political alliance that supported the Papacy and, involved in complex opposition to the Ghibellines, who were backed by the Holy Roman Emperor; the poet's mother was Bella a member of the Abati family. She died when Dante was not yet ten years old, Alighiero soon married again, to Lapa di Chiarissimo Cialuffi.
It is uncertain whether he married her, since widowers were limited in such matters, but this woman bore him two children, Dante's half-brother Francesco and half-sister Tana. When Dante was 12, he was promised in marriage to Gemma di Manetto Donati, daughter of Manetto Donati, member of the powerful Donati family. Contracting marriages at this early age was quite common and involved a formal ceremony, including contracts signed before a notary, but by this time Dante had fallen in love with another, Beatrice Portinari, whom he first met when he was only nine. Years after his marriage to Gemma he claims to have met Beatrice again; the exact date of his marriage is not known: the only certain information is that, before his exile in 1301, he had three children. Dante fought with the Guelph cavalry at the Battle of Campaldino; this victory brought about a reformation of the Florentine constitution. To take any part in public life, one had to enroll in one of the city's many commercial or artisan guilds, so Dante entered the Physicians' and Apothecaries' Guild.
In the following years, his name is recorded as speaking or voting in the various councils of the republic. A substantial portion of minutes from such meetings in the years 1298–1300 was lost, however, so the true extent of Dante's participation in the city's councils is uncertain. Gemma bore Dante several children. Although several others subsequently claimed to be his offspring, it is that only Jacopo, Pietro and Antonia were his actual children. Antonia became a nun, taking the name Sister Beatrice. Not much is known about Dante's education, it is known that he stud
Aeacus was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. Aeacus was the son of Zeus by Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus, thus, brother of Damocrateia. In some accounts, his mother was Europa and thus possible brother to Minos and Sarpedon, he was the father of Peleus and Phocus and was the grandfather of the Trojan war warriors Achilles and Telemonian Ajax. In some accounts, Aeacus had a daughter called Alcimache. Aeacus was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, where Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents; some traditions related that, at the time when Aeacus was born, Aegina was not yet inhabited, that Zeus either changed the ants of the island into the men over whom Aeacus ruled, or he made the men grow up out of the earth. Ovid, on the other hand, supposed that the island was not uninhabited at the time of the birth of Aeacus, instead stating that during the reign of Aeacus, jealous of Aegina, ravaged the island bearing the name of the latter by sending a plague or a fearful dragon into it, by which nearly all its inhabitants were carried off.
Afterward, Zeus restored the population by changing the ants into men. These legends seem to be a mythical account of the colonization of Aegina, which seems to have been inhabited by Pelasgians, afterwards received colonists from Phthiotis, the seat of the Myrmidons, from Phlius on the Asopus. While he reigned in Aegina, Aeacus was renowned in all Greece for his justice and piety, was called upon to settle disputes not only among men, but among the gods themselves, he was such a favourite with the latter, that when Greece was visited by a drought as a consequence of a murder, committed, the oracle of Delphi declared that the calamity would not cease unless Aeacus prayed to the gods to end it. Aeacus prayed, as a result, the drought ceased. Aeacus demonstrated his gratitude by erecting a temple to Zeus Panhellenius on Mount Panhellenion, afterward, the Aeginetans built a sanctuary on their island called Aeaceum, a square temple enclosed by walls of white marble. Aeacus was believed in times to be buried under the altar of this sacred enclosure.
A legend preserved in Pindar relates that Apollo and Poseidon took Aeacus as their assistant in building the walls of Troy. When the work was completed, three dragons rushed against the wall, though the two that attacked the sections of the wall built by the gods fell down dead, the third forced its way into the city through the portion of the wall built by Aeacus. Thereafter, Apollo prophesied that Troy would fall at the hands of Aeacus's descendants, the Aeacidae. Aeacus was believed by the Aeginetans to have surrounded their island with high cliffs in order to protect it against pirates. Several other incidents connected to the story of Aeacus are mentioned by Ovid. By Endeïs Aeacus had two sons and Peleus, by Psamathe a son, whom he preferred to the former two sons, both of whom conspired to kill Phocus during a contest, subsequently fled from their native island. After his death, Aeacus became one of the three judges in Hades and, according to Plato, was concerned with the shades of Europeans upon their arrival to the underworld.
In works of art he was depicted bearing the keys of Hades. Aeacus had sanctuaries in both Athens and in Aegina, the Aeginetans regarded him as the tutelary deity of their island by celebrating the Aeacea in his honor. In The Frogs by Aristophanes, Dionysus proclaims himself to be Heracles. Aeacus, lamenting the fact that Heracles had stolen Cerberus, sentences Dionysus to Acheron to be tormented by the hounds of Cocytus, the Echidna, the Tartesian eel, Tithrasian Gorgons. Alexander the Great traced his ancestry through his mother to Aeacus; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed.. "Aeacus". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
In Greek mythology, Charon or Kharon is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage an obolus or danake, was sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person; some authors say that those who could not pay the fee, or those whose bodies were left unburied, had to wander the shores for one hundred years. In the catabasis mytheme, heroes – such as Aeneas, Heracles, Odysseus, Pirithous, Psyche and Sisyphus – journey to the underworld and return, still alive, conveyed by the boat of Charon. Charon is the son of Erebus, he was the brother of, among many others and Hypnos. The name Charon is most explained as a proper noun from χάρων, a poetic form of χαρωπός, "of keen gaze", referring either to fierce, flashing, or feverish eyes, or to eyes of a bluish-gray color; the word may be a euphemism for death. Flashing eyes may indicate the anger or irascibility of Charon as he is characterized in literature, but the etymology is not certain.
The ancient historian Diodorus Siculus thought that the ferryman and his name had been imported from Egypt. Charon is depicted in the art of ancient Greece. Attic funerary vases of the 5th and 4th centuries BC are decorated with scenes of the dead boarding Charon's boat. On the earlier such vases, he looks like a rough, unkempt Athenian seaman dressed in reddish-brown, holding his ferryman's pole in his right hand and using his left hand to receive the deceased. Hermes sometimes stands by in his role as psychopomp. On vases, Charon is given a more "kindly and refined" demeanor. In the 1st century BC, the Roman poet Virgil describes Charon, manning his rust-colored skiff, in the course of Aeneas's descent to the underworld, after the Cumaean Sibyl has directed the hero to the golden bough that will allow him to return to the world of the living: There Charon stands, who rules the dreary coast –A sordid god: down from his hairy chinA length of beard descends, unclean. Other Latin authors describe Charon, among them Seneca in his tragedy Hercules Furens, where Charon is described in verses 762–777 as an old man clad in foul garb, with haggard cheeks and an unkempt beard, a fierce ferryman who guides his craft with a long pole.
When the boatman tells Heracles to halt, the Greek hero uses his strength to gain passage, overpowering Charon with the boatman's own pole. In the second century, Lucian employed Charon as a figure in his Dialogues of the Dead, most notably in Parts 4 and 10. In the 14th century, Dante Alighieri described Charon in his Divine Comedy, drawing from Virgil's depiction in Aeneid 6. Charon is the first named mythological character Dante meets in the underworld, in Canto III of the Inferno. Dante depicts him as having eyes of fire. Elsewhere, Charon appears as a mean-spirited and gaunt old man or as a winged demon wielding a double hammer, although Michelangelo's interpretation, influenced by Dante's depiction in the Inferno, shows him with an oar over his shoulder, ready to beat those who delay. In modern times, he is depicted as a living skeleton in a cowl, much like the Grim Reaper; the French artist, Gustave Dore, depicted Charon in two of his illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy. The Flemish painter, Joachim Patinir, depicted Charon in his Crossing the River Styx.
And the Spanish painter, Jose Benlliure y Gil, portrayed Charon in his La Barca de Caronte. Most accounts, including Pausanias and Dante's Inferno, associate Charon with the swamps of the river Acheron. Ancient Greek literary sources – such as Pindar, Euripides and Callimachus – place Charon on the Acheron. Roman poets, including Propertius and Statius, name the river as the Styx following the geography of Virgil's underworld in the Aeneid, where Charon is associated with both rivers. Charon, the largest moon of the dwarf planet Pluto, is named after him; the hadrosaurid Charonosaurus is named in Charon's honor because it was found along the banks of the Amur River in the Far East. "Haros" is the modern Greek equivalent of Charon, usage includes the curse "you will be eaten by Haros", or "I was in the teeth of Haros". During the Korean War, the Greek Expeditionary Force defended; the Greek soldiers referred to it as "Outpost Haros". Charon's obol - a coin placed in the mouth of the dead Charun - an Etruscan counterpart to Charon Isle of the Dead - a painting Manannán mac Lir - Ferryman from Irish mythology Manunggul Jar - Early depiction similar figure on burial jar from Tabon Caves on Palawan Phlegyas - another god associated with ferrying the dead Psychopomp - the general word for a guide of the dead Urshanabi - Ferryman from Mesopotamian mythology Smith, William.
"Charon" Media related to Charon at Wikimedia Commons The Theoi Project, "KHARON" Images of Charon in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database
Theseus was the mythical king and founder-hero of Athens. Like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, Theseus battled and overcame foes that were identified with an archaic religious and social order: “This was a major cultural transition, like the making of the new Olympia by Hercules”. Theseus was a founding hero for the Athenians in the same way that Heracles was the founding hero for the Dorians; the Athenians regarded Theseus as a great reformer. The myths surrounding Theseus – his journeys and friends – have provided material for fiction throughout the ages. Theseus was responsible for the synoikismos – the political unification of Attica under Athens – represented emblematically in his journey of labours, subduing ogres and monstrous beasts; because he was the unifying king, Theseus built and occupied a palace on the fortress of the Acropolis that may have been similar to the palace, excavated in Mycenae. Pausanias reports that after the synoikismos, Theseus established a cult of Aphrodite Pandemos and Peitho on the southern slope of the Acropolis.
Plutarch's Life of Theseus makes use of varying accounts of the death of the Minotaur, Theseus' escape, the love of Ariadne for Theseus. Plutarch's sources, not all of whose texts have survived independently, included Pherecydes, Demon and Cleidemus; as the subject of myth, the existence of Theseus as a real person has not been proven, but scholars believe that he may have been alive during the Late Bronze Age as a king in the 8th or 9th century BC. Aegeus, one of the primordial kings of Athens, was childless. Desiring an heir, he asked the Oracle of Delphi for advice, her cryptic words were "Do not loosen the bulging mouth of the wineskin until you have reached the height of Athens, lest you die of grief." Aegeus was disappointed. He asked the advice of king of Troezen. Pittheus understood the prophecy, got Aegeus drunk, gave Aegeus his daughter Aethra, but following the instructions of Athena in a dream, Aethra left the sleeping Aegeus and waded across to the island of Sphairia that lay close to Troezen's shore.
There she poured a libation to Sphairos and Poseidon, was possessed by the sea god in the night. The mix gave Theseus a combination of divine as well as mortal characteristics in his nature. After Aethra became pregnant, Aegeus decided to return to Athens. Before leaving, however, he buried his sandals and sword under a huge rock and told Aethra that when their son grew up, he should move the rock, if he were heroic enough, take the tokens for himself as evidence of his royal parentage. In Athens, Aegeus was joined by Medea, who had left Corinth after slaughtering the children she had borne, had taken Aegeus as her new consort. Priestess and consort together represented the old order in Athens, thus Theseus was raised in his mother's land. When Theseus grew up and became a brave young man, he moved the rock and recovered his father's tokens, his mother told him the truth about his father's identity and that he must take the sword and sandals back to king Aegeus to claim his birthright. To journey to Athens, Theseus could choose to go by sea or by land, following a dangerous path around the Saronic Gulf, where he would encounter a string of six entrances to the Underworld, each guarded by a chthonic enemy.
Young and ambitious, Theseus decided to go alone by the land route and defeated a great many bandits along the way. At the first site, Epidaurus, sacred to Apollo and the healer Asclepius, Theseus turned the tables on the chthonic bandit, the Club Bearer, who beat his opponents into the Earth, taking from him the stout staff that identifies Theseus in vase-paintings. At the Isthmian entrance to the Underworld was a robber named Sinis called "Pityokamptes", he would capture travellers, tie them between two pine trees that were bent down to the ground, let the trees go, tearing his victims apart. Theseus killed him by his own method, he became intimate with Sinis's daughter, fathering the child Melanippus. In another deed north of the Isthmus, at a place called Crommyon, he killed an enormous pig, the Crommyonian Sow, bred by an old crone named Phaea; some versions name the sow herself as Phaea. The Bibliotheca by Pseudo-Apollodorus described the Crommyonian Sow as an offspring of Typhon and Echidna.
Near Megara, an elderly robber named Sciron forced travellers along the narrow cliff-face pathway to wash his feet. While they knelt, he kicked them off the cliff behind them. Theseus pushed him off the cliff. Another of these enemies was Cercyon, king at the holy site of Eleusis, who challenged passers-by to a wrestling match and, when he had beaten them, killed them. Theseus beat Cercyon at wrestling and killed him instead; the last bandit was Procrustes the Stretcher, who had two beds, one of which he offered to passers-by in the plain of Eleusis. He made them fit into it, either by stretching them or by cutting off their feet. Since he had two beds of different lengths, no one would fit. Theseus turned the tables on Procrustes, decapitating him with his own axe; when Theseus arrived at Athens, he did not reveal his true identity immediately. Aegeus gave him
Dionysus is the god of the grape-harvest and wine, of fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth. Wine played an important role in Greek culture, the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus for its unrestrained consumption, his worship became established in the seventh century BC. He may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenaean Greeks. His origins are uncertain, his cults took many forms. In some cults, he arrives as an Asiatic foreigner; some scholars believe that Dionysus is a syncretism of a local Greek nature deity and a more powerful god from Thrace or Phrygia such as Sabazios or Zalmoxis. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults, he is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, becoming important over time, included in some lists of the twelve Olympians, as the last of their number, the only god born from a mortal mother.
His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. He is known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans and the frenzy he induces is bakkheia, his thyrsus, sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. As Eleutherios, his wine and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful; those who partake of his mysteries are empowered by the god himself. The cult of Dionysus is a "cult of the souls", he is sometimes categorised as a dying-and-rising god. Dionysus is depicted in myth as the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, although in the Orphic tradition, he was identified as the son of Zeus and Persephone. In the Eleusinian Mysteries he was identified with the son of Demeter; the dio- element has been associated since antiquity with Zeus. The earliest attested form of the name is Mycenaean Greek, di-wo-nu-so, written in Linear B syllabic script for /Diwonūsoio/.
This is attested on two tablets, found at Mycenaean Pylos and dated to the 12th or 13th century BC, but at the time, there could be no certainty on whether this was indeed a theonym. But the 1989–90 Greek-Swedish Excavations at Kastelli Hill, unearthed, inter alia, four artefacts bearing Linear B inscriptions. Variants include Dionūsos and Diōnūsos in Boeotia. A Dio- prefix is found in other names, such as that of the Dioscures, may derive from Dios, the genitive of the name of Zeus; the second element -nūsos is associated with Mount Nysa, the birthplace of the god in Greek mythology, where he was nursed by nymphs, but according to Pherecydes of Syros, nũsa was an archaic word for "tree". Nonnus, in his Dionysiaca, writes that the name Dionysus means "Zeus-limp" and that Hermes named the new born Dionysus this, "because Zeus while he carried his burden lifted one foot with a limp from the weight of his thigh, nysos in Syracusan language means limping". In his note to these lines, W. H. D. Rouse writes "It need hardly be said that these etymologies are wrong".
The Suda, a Byzantine encyclopedia based on classical sources, states that Dionysus was so named "from accomplishing for each of those who live the wild life. Or from providing everything for those who live the wild life."R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin of the name; the cult of Dionysus was associated with trees the fig tree, some of his bynames exhibit this, such as Endendros "he in the tree" or Dendritēs, "he of the tree". Peters suggests the original meaning as "he who runs among the trees", or that of a "runner in the woods". Janda accepts the etymology but proposes the more cosmological interpretation of "he who impels the tree"; this interpretation explains how Nysa could have been re-interpreted from a meaning of "tree" to the name of a mountain: the axis mundi of Indo-European mythology is represented both as a world-tree and as a world-mountain. The earliest cult images of Dionysus show a mature male and robed, he holds a fennel staff, known as a thyrsus. Images show him as a beardless, naked or half-naked androgynous youth: the literature describes him as womanly or "man-womanish".
In its developed form, his central cult imagery shows his triumphant, disorderly arrival or return, as if from some place beyond the borders of the known and civilized. His procession is made up of bearded satyrs with erect penises; the god himself is drawn in a chariot by exotic beasts such as lions or tigers, is sometimes attended by a bearded, drunken Silenus. This procession is presumed to be the cult model for the followers of his Dionysian Mysteries. Dionysus is represented by city religions as the protector of those who do not belong to conventional society and he thus symbolizes the chaotic and unexpected
In Greek mythology, Ixion was king of the Lapiths, the most ancient tribe of Thessaly, a son of Ares, or Leonteus, or Antion and Perimele, or the notorious evildoer Phlegyas, whose name connotes "fiery". Peirithoös was his son. Ixion promised his father-in-law a valuable present. However, he did not pay the bride price, so Deioneus stole some of Ixion's horses in retaliation. Ixion invited his father-in-law to a feast at Larissa; when Deioneus arrived, Ixion pushed him into a bed of wood. These circumstances are secondary to the fact of Ixion's primordial act of murder. Ixion went mad. Thereafter, Ixion was shunned. By killing his father-in-law, Ixion was reckoned the first man guilty of kin-slaying in Greek mythology; that alone would warrant him a terrible punishment. However, Zeus had pity on Ixion and brought him to Olympus and introduced him at the table of the gods. Instead of being grateful, Ixion grew lustful for Hera, Zeus's wife, a further violation of guest-host relations. Zeus found out about his intentions and made a cloud in the shape of Hera, which became known as Nephele and tricked Ixion into coupling with it.
From the union of Ixion and the false-Hera cloud came Imbros or Centauros, who mated with the Magnesian mares on Mount Pelion, Pindar told, engendering the race of Centaurs, who are called the Ixionidae from their descent. Ixion blasted with a thunderbolt. Zeus ordered Hermes to bind Ixion to a winged fiery wheel, always spinning. Therefore, Ixion is bound to a burning solar wheel for all eternity, at first spinning across the heavens, but in myth transferred to Tartarus. Only when Orpheus played his lyre during his trip to the Underworld to rescue Eurydice did it stop for a while. "The details are odd, the narrative motivation creaks at every juncture," observes Robert L. Fowler, he notes that Martin Nilsson suggested an origin in rain-making magic, with which he concurs: "In Ixion's case the necessary warning about the conduct of magic has taken the form of blasphemous and dangerous conduct on the part of the first officiant." In the fifth century, Pindar's Second Pythian Ode expands on the example of Ixion, applicable to Hiero I of Syracuse, the tyrant of whom the poet sings.
Ixion was a figure known to the Etruscans, for he is depicted bound to the spoked wheel, engraved on the back of a bronze mirror, ca 460-450 BC, in the British Museum. Whether the Etruscans shared the Ixion figure with Hellenes from early times or whether Ixion figured among those Greek myths that were adapted at dates to fit the Etruscan world-view is unknown; the figure on the mirror-back is shown as winged, a characteristic shared with Etruscan daimones and Underworld figures rather than human heroes. In Chapter 22 of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, Steerforth declares: "As to fitfulness, I have never learnt the art of binding myself to any of the wheels on which the Ixions of these days are turning round and round." In the Epilogue to Moby-Dick, the only surviving crewmember at the sinking of the Pequod, likens himself to "another Ixion." In Guillaume Apollinaire's poem Vendémiaire, "...open-air chimneys impregnate the clouds/As once did the mechanical Ixion" In Lord Byron's satiric poem Don Juan: Dedication, "Not a sprightly blunder's spark can blaze / From that Ixion grindstone's ceaseless toil, / That turns and turns to give the world a notion / Of endless torments and perpetual motion."
In John Keats's epic poem Hyperion, the Goddess Thea's power is such that it can'sta Ixion's wheel'. Wanyūdō Sisyphus Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History translated by Charles Henry Oldfather. Twelve volumes. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Vol. 3. Books 4.59–8. Online version at Bill Thayer's Web Site Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica. Vol 1-2. Immanel Bekker. Ludwig Dindorf. Friedrich Vogel. in aedibus B. G. Teubneri. Leipzig. 1888-1890. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library. Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae from The Myths of Hyginus translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies. Online version at the Topos Text Project. John Tzetzes, Book of Histories, Book IX-X translated by Jonathan Alexander from the original Greek of T. Kiessling's edition of 1826. Online version at theio.com Pindar, Odes translated by Diane Arnson Svarlien. 1990. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Lucian of Samosata, Dialogues of the Gods translated by Fowler, H W and F G. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.
1905. Online version at theoi.com Luciani Samosatensis, Opera. Vol I. Karl Jacobitz. in aedibus B. G. Teubneri. Leipzig. 1896. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library. Pindar, The Odes of Pindar including the Principal Fragments with an Introduction and an English Translation by Sir John Sandys, L
Hermes is the god of trade, merchants, roads, trickery, sports and athletes in Ancient Greek religion and mythology. Hermes was the messenger of the gods. Hermes was "the divine trickster" and "the god of boundaries and the transgression of boundaries... the patron of herdsmen, thieves and heralds." He is described as moving between the worlds of the mortal and divine, was the conductor of souls into the afterlife. He was viewed as the protector and patron of roads and travelers. In some myths, he is a trickster and outwits other gods for his own satisfaction or for the sake of humankind, his attributes and symbols include the herma, the rooster, the tortoise, satchel or pouch, winged sandals, winged cap. His main symbol is the Greek kerykeion or Latin caduceus, which appears in a form of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff with carvings of the other gods. In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon, Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury, though inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics such as being the patron of commerce.
The earliest form of the name Hermes is the Mycenaean Greek *hermāhās, written e-ma-a2 in the Linear B syllabic script. Most scholars derive "Hermes" from Greek ἕρμα herma, "prop, heap of stones, boundary marker", from which the word hermai derives; the etymology of ἕρμα itself is unknown, but it is not a Proto-Indo-European word. However, the stone etymology is linked to Indo-European *ser-. Scholarly speculation that "Hermes" derives from a more primitive form meaning "one cairn" is disputed. In Greek, a lucky find. According to one theory that has received considerable scholarly acceptance, Hermes himself originated as a form of the god Pan, identified as a reflex of the Proto-Indo-European pastoral god *Péh2usōn, in his aspect as the god of boundary markers; the epithet supplanted the original name itself and Hermes took over the roles as god of messengers and boundaries, which had belonged to Pan, while Pan himself continued to be venerated by his original name in his more rustic aspect as the god of the wild in the isolated mountainous region of Arcadia.
In myths, after the cult of Pan was reintroduced to Attica, Pan was said to be Hermes's son. Other origins have been proposed. R. S. P. Beekes suggests a Pre-Greek origin. Other scholars have suggested. Homer and Hesiod portrayed Hermes as the author of skilled or deceptive acts and as a benefactor of mortals. In the Iliad, he is called "the bringer of good luck", "guide and guardian", "excellent in all the tricks", he was a divine ally of the Greeks against the Trojans. However, he did protect Priam when he went to the Greek camp to retrieve the body of his son Hector and accompanied them back to Troy, he rescued Ares from a brazen vessel where he had been imprisoned by Otus and Ephialtes. In the Odyssey, Hermes helps his great-grand son, the protagonist Odysseus, by informing him about the fate of his companions, who were turned into animals by the power of Circe. Hermes instructed Odysseus to protect himself by chewing a magic herb; when Odysseus killed the suitors of his wife, Hermes led their souls to Hades.
In The Works and Days, when Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create Pandora to disgrace humanity by punishing Prometheus's act of giving fire to man, every god gave her a gift, Hermes' gifts were lies, seductive words, a dubious character. Hermes was instructed to take her as wife to Epimetheus. Aeschylus wrote in The Eumenides that Hermes helped Orestes kill Clytemnestra under a false identity and other stratagems, said that he was the god of searches, those who seek things lost or stolen. In Philoctetes, Sophocles invokes Hermes when Odysseus needs to convince Philoctetes to join the Trojan War on the side of the Greeks, in Euripides' Rhesus Hermes helps Dolon spy on the Greek navy. Aesop featured him in several of his fables, as ruler of the gate of prophetic dreams, as the god of athletes, of edible roots, of hospitality, he said that Hermes had assigned each person his share of intelligence. Peitho, the goddess of seduction and persuasion, was said by Nonnus to be the wife of Hermes. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was wooed by Hermes.
After she had rejected him, Hermes sought the help of Zeus to seduce her. Zeus, out of pity, sent his eagle to take away Aphrodite's sandal when she was bathing, gave it to Hermes; when Aphrodite came looking for the sandal, Hermes made love to her. She bore him Hermaphroditus. Apemosyne, a princess of Crete. One day while travelling, Hermes fell in love with her, he was unable to catch her since she was swifter than him. So he strewed some newly stripped hides along the road, on which she slipped when she was returning after a while, he made love to her. When she disclosed to her brother, what had happened, he took her story about the god to be an excuse, killed her with a kick of his foot. Chione, a princess of Phokis, attracted the attention of Hermes, he slept with her. To Hermes she bore Autolycus. Penelopeia, an Arcadian nymph, was loved by Hermes, their son is said to be the god Pan. She has been confused or