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Author Topic: Mercury and Tortoises  (Read 7212 times)
QuercusRobur
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« Topic Start: July 12, 2008, 09:31:05 am »

I've been reading Proinsias MacCana's "Celtic Mythology" and in one part of it there is a picture of a statue of Mercury with a tortoise, and the tortoise is referenced as a symbol of Mercury.

I've been wondering why, as Mercury is linked with quickness and a tortoise is slow.
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« Reply #1: July 12, 2008, 09:35:18 am »

I've been reading Proinsias MacCana's "Celtic Mythology" and in one part of it there is a picture of a statue of Mercury with a tortoise, and the tortoise is referenced as a symbol of Mercury.

I've been wondering why, as Mercury is linked with quickness and a tortoise is slow.

One reason (although Probably not definative)

Tortoise shell was used to make the first lyre, which mercury gave to apollo.

NOw Im not fully functional atm, did I cross relgions again?

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QuercusRobur
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« Reply #2: July 12, 2008, 09:44:31 am »

NOw Im not fully functional atm, did I cross relgions again?

I don't think so, although I find it difficult at times to remember which is Greek and which is Roman...
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sashapablo
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« Reply #3: July 12, 2008, 10:52:43 am »

I don't think so, although I find it difficult at times to remember which is Greek and which is Roman...

Hermes is Greek, Mercury is Roman. Hermes made the lyre.

Sasha
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Melamphoros
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« Reply #4: July 12, 2008, 01:17:05 pm »

Hermes is Greek, Mercury is Roman. Hermes made the lyre.

But still there is a lot of overlap thanks to the Romans taking Greek Myths and applying it to their gods.

Does anyone know if the story of the lyre was told by the Romans featuring Mercury?
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« Reply #5: July 12, 2008, 01:19:30 pm »

I've been reading Proinsias MacCana's "Celtic Mythology" and in one part of it there is a picture of a statue of Mercury with a tortoise, and the tortoise is referenced as a symbol of Mercury.

I've been wondering why, as Mercury is linked with quickness and a tortoise is slow.

Why is Mercury in a book of Celtic Mythology?
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« Reply #6: July 12, 2008, 01:21:50 pm »

Why is Mercury in a book of Celtic Mythology?

My guess is because there is a lot of Roman influence there because of the time they spent conquering areas of Europe and Britain. Take a look at Sulis Minerva for example.
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« Reply #7: July 12, 2008, 01:22:25 pm »

Why is Mercury in a book of Celtic Mythology?

Because when the Romans invaded a land, they tried to identify the gods of the conquered area with their own.  Supposedly it was to help the conquered to assimilate.  I think Mercury was identified with Lugh but since I know little about Roman or Celtic mythology I would need someone to verify this.
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« Reply #8: July 12, 2008, 01:25:24 pm »


Oh. Okay, I guess that makes sense.  Just never related him to Celtics. Smiley
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« Reply #9: July 12, 2008, 01:34:28 pm »

Oh. Okay, I guess that makes sense.  Just never related him to Celtics. Smiley

Yeah. You get a lot of "X who is like Y" going on. I'm not Roman or Celtic, but as I understand it, they're not saying Sulis IS Minerva. They're saying Sulis has many of the traits as Minerva.

This is way late for me and not even my area, but it seems like that's what I'm recalling from earlier discussions.
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« Reply #10: July 12, 2008, 07:08:58 pm »

Hermes is Greek, Mercury is Roman. Hermes made the lyre.

Sasha

you would THINK I'd have remebred that. regardless of how tired I Am
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« Reply #11: July 12, 2008, 09:10:04 pm »

I've been reading Proinsias MacCana's "Celtic Mythology" and in one part of it there is a picture of a statue of Mercury with a tortoise, and the tortoise is referenced as a symbol of Mercury.

I've been wondering why, as Mercury is linked with quickness and a tortoise is slow.


Hellenic Gods and Goddesses usually have both 'light' and 'shadow' aspects. Apollo is a God of healing, who can also slay thousands with plague. Similarly, just as Hermes is the patron of both honest business activity and thievery, perhaps a secondary reason for the association with the tortoise is that it possesses the opposite of one of Hermes' most widely recognized attributes.

I'm certainly no classics scholar, but I'd say that Steve's explanation is still the most probable though.
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« Reply #12: July 19, 2008, 03:34:37 pm »

Why is Mercury in a book of Celtic Mythology?

It's in the section on Gaulish gods, and as Melamphros says when the Romans conquered they identified the indiginous gods with their own.  And the Romans stamped heavily over Gaul, so it must be quite a job sorting out characteristics of Gualish gods - thank the gods they never got to Ireland!  I've got enough trouble sorting out who is or isn't a deity without them being intermingled with Roman ones.
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« Reply #13: July 19, 2008, 03:37:34 pm »

I think Mercury was identified with Lugh but since I know little about Roman or Celtic mythology I would need someone to verify this.

MacCanas book says the Romans linked Mercury with Lugh, but thankfully it doesn't seem to have got to the merging point where they tacked Lugh's name on to Mercury, and thus Lugh would have subsumed by Mercury.
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« Reply #14: August 21, 2008, 12:44:42 pm »

I've been reading Proinsias MacCana's "Celtic Mythology" and in one part of it there is a picture of a statue of Mercury with a tortoise, and the tortoise is referenced as a symbol of Mercury.

I've been wondering why, as Mercury is linked with quickness and a tortoise is slow.

I've been noting my own rabbit and turtle qualities lately so I am pleased to see the tortoise assosiated with one of the messanger gods, does anyone know of him being assosiated with a rabbit or hare?
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