Aedes Mercuri (Nova Roma)
Mercurius is the God of commerce. The guild of merchants honored Mercurius at his temple near the Circus Maximus on his festival on May 15. They also sprinkled themselves and their merchandise with sacred water in a ceremony at the Capena Gate. When Mercurius became identified with Hermes, he took on the duties of messenger of the Gods, Psychopompus who guides the souls of the dead through the Underworld, and God of sleep and dreams. He also became God of thieves and trickery, owing to a trick he had played on Apollo by stealing and hiding the Sun God's cattle. His serpent-twined staff, the caduceus, was originally a magician's wand for wealth (which may be why it is the symbol of the medical profession) but became identified later as a herald's staff. But Mercurius has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...
Prayers to Mercurius
- Ovid Fasti 5.663-70:
Glorious Mercury, grandson of Atlas, be present here today as You were once upon Arcadia's hill, a Pleiad's son by Jove. Arbiter in peace and in arms among the Gods of the heavens above and on earth, traveler on winged feet, You who enjoys the lyre and who takes pleasure in whoever glistens with the wrestler's ointment, You who has taught eloquent speech in all tongues, for You on the Ides of May, the Fathers once dedicated a sacred shrine near the Circus and named this day ever after to be Your feast day.
- Ovid Fasti 5.681-90==
(O Mercury) whether I have falsely called You to bear witness in the past, or deceitfully called upon Jupiter not to hear my empty promises, or if there is some other god or goddess that I knowingly deceived, wash away my past perjuries, wash away yesterday's perfidious words, and allow me new perjuries to make when the new day dawns, and make the gods be indifferent to my lies. Grant that I may profit, grant joy in making a profit, grant that I may enjoy once more swindling my customers with deceitful words.
- Horace Satires 2.6.4-5:
It is well. Nothing more ample do I pray, O Maia's son, save that You will make these my gifts last throughout my life.
- Horace Carmina 1.10.1-8; 20-24:
Mercurius, by Atlas born to Maia, God who fashioned our uncivilized ancestors into cultured men of urbane speech and athletic bearing, to You I sing, Messenger of the Gods and of mighty Jove, inventor of the curved lyre, it pleases You to compose secret jokes and play pranks skillfully. Gladly You restore pious souls to their proper places and by the golden staff confine the trivial quarrel. Dear are You to the Gods above and below.
- Horace Carmina 3.11.1-8:
Mercurius, once You taught Amphion how to move dumb stones by the power of song, and it was You who taught the tortoise shell to resonate with seven well placed strings, once silent and now beloved at monthly banquets and in temples, teach me now how to unstop Lyde's obstinate ears.
- Horace Satires 2.6.14-5:
May You, Mercurius, make plump the riches of my house and all else there, spare my natural talents in any case, and as usual, may You remain the primary guardian over me.
- Manilius Astronomicon 1.30ff:
Mercurius Cyllenius, principle author of all sacred knowledge, at times within Heaven, at other times travelling within the starry signs to open the celestial paths to the highest parts above and the lowest paths beneath the earth. You stitch together the stars in the empty void of space into constellations, name them and determine their course; may it have been for us to reverently use the greater powers of the universe that You make, pondering them, not in all matters, but in the potential of things in themselves, and to learn of the divine plan set for the greatest nations.
- Martial Epigrammata 7.74:
Mercury, Cyllene's Glory, Heaven's pride, Messenger with the clever tongue, around whose golden staff the serpent coil, may it shine brightly among the Gods. May You enjoy Your stolen loves, whether You desire Venus or Ganymede, and on the Ides may Your Mother's altar be adorned with laurels, and Your grandfather Atlas bear a lighter load, if You will allow Norbana and Carpus, who met for the first time today, to always celebrate their nuptials together. This a pious master of the arts offer a gift to Your wisdom, this incense I send to You, faithfully I pray, and faithfully also to Jupiter.
- Ovid Fasti 5.447-8:
Advise me, Pleiad Maia's son, Mercurius, god of the venerated potent staff, often have You seen the court of Stygian Jove.
- Plautus Stichus 402-5:
"Thanks be to Neptunus and the Tempestates, for returning me safely home again, my venture a success! And also to Mercurius, who helped me in my mercantile affairs and quadrupled my fortune with profit.
- Persius Satires 2.45:
Lusting for wealth you slay an ox and call to Mercurius, "Grant that my Penates may fortunately prosper. Grant that my flocks and herds may be fertile.
- Plautus Asinaria 545-6:
Praise and thanks we ought justly to give to the great god of treachery (Mercurius), for surely there is no end in sight to our own slanderous ways, our deceitfulness or our slyness.