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  5. "Mercurius itinera regit."

"Mercurius itinera regit."

Translation:Mercurius rules journeys.

October 12, 2019



I've been thinking about this. English often uses "governs" in the sense of rules over, guides, controls or has dominion over. The sun governs the day, the stars govern the night - and Mercury governs travel.


Rules journeys? The god of journeying?


Among other things, yes.

  • 1090

So where some modern Catholics will ask for the patronage of St. Christopher for a safe journey, would an ancient Roman do the same of Mercury?


Especially prominent was 'Iupiter hospitalis' who watched over the 'ius hospitii' analogous to Zeus Xenios (Greek). Mercurius was esp. associated with merchants, and as Iupiter's son, he's often closely associated with Iupiter, as is the case in Ovid's story of Baucus and Philemon in the Metamorphoses, in which the two gods arrive in a village disguised as peasants; the inhabitants don't treat the travelers with proper hospitium in contrast to Baucus and Philemon. The gods destroy the village but grant Baucus and Philemon's touching request. Cf. Acts 14:12 where the townspeople think the itinerant apostles, Barnabus and Paul, are Zeus and Hermes, which in Latin becomes: et vocabant Barnaban Iovem Paulum vero Mercurium quoniam ipse erat dux verbi. Presupposed in the story is the social-spiritual value of xenios / hospitium. On hospitium: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Hospitium.html


How about "is in control of" or "guides," as alternatives to "rules" ?


"Rules" is better. Rules means he guides, he controls, he rules over. All those meanings in a same word.

To rule something is a structure used especially for gods, or for instance, astrological influences. So gods and planets rule, don't guide. And also kings rule.


I think "is the god of" is more common.


iter, initeris is a neuter 3rd declension noun


[ iter, itineris , n. ]. Yes; it's the source of English words like "itinerant" and "itinerary." For all forms of the Latin word "journey" or "trip," except the nominative/accusative singular form (used here), you'll see the 'base' itiner- before all the endings: ablative singular itinere (as in "on a journey," in itinere), nominative/accusative plural "journeys" (as in Itinera sunt difficilia , "Journeys are difficult," or Multa itinera facimus , "We make many journeys.").


Why is 'reigns' not accepted here?


On its own, reigns doesn't work in English. Would need to be something such as 'reigns over.' You can Report, "my answer should be accepted," and eventually it might be but don't hold your breath.

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