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The "Herald of the Gods" brings the good fortune

to land travel and merchants.


MERCURIUS in Roman mythology, the god of merchandise (merx) and merchants. His nature is more intelligible and simple than that of any other Roman deity. In the native Italian states no trade existed till the influence of the Greek colonies on the coast introduced Greek customs and terminology, and in 495 the Greek god Hermes was introduced into Rome under the Italian name of Mercurius (Livy ii. 21, 27), as protector of the grain trade, especially with Sicily. Preller thinks that at the same time the trade in grain was regulated by law and a regular college or gild of merchant! instituted. This college was under the protection of the god its annual festival was on the i sth (the ides) of May, on which day the temple of the god had been dedicated at the southern end oi the Circus Maximus, near the Aventine; and the members were called mercuriales as well as mercatores. The isth of May was chosen as the feast of Mercury,  it established on a legitimate and sure basis the trade between Rome and the Greek colonies of the coast, whereas formerly this trade had been exposed to the capricious interference of government officials. 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. There was a spring dedicated to Mercury between his temple and the Porta Capena; every shopman drew water from this spring on the isth of May, and sprinkled it with a laurel twig over his head and over his goods, at the same time entreating Mercury to remove from his head and bis goods the guilt of all his deceits (Ovid, Fasti, v. 673 seq.). Roman statuettes of bronze, in which Mercury is represented, standing holding the caduceus or staff in the one hand and a purse in the other are exceedingly common

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