Mercury (Deity)

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Definition

Mercury (Mercurius) was the Roman god of commerce, often serving as a mediator between the gods and mortals, his winged feet giving him the advantage of speed, and so was the patron of circulation in general - of people, goods and messages. Mercury protected both merchants, especially those dealing in grains, and travelers. Merchants would pray to him for high profits and protection of their trade goods. However, to many, he was also known for being cunning and shrewd as well as a deceiver, often pulling pranks on the unsuspecting, especially the god Apollo. Mercury was the son of the king of the gods Jupiter and purportedly Maia, goddess of the plains. Considered by some to be of foreign origin, he is often associated with his Greek counterpart Hermes. His Roman name Mercurius is probably derived from the Latin word for merchandise (merx).

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