Mercury, the smallest planet in our solar system and the closest to the sun, was known by various names in ancient times. In this article, we’ll explore the different names given to Mercury in different cultures.
Ancient Roman Name
In Roman mythology, Mercury was the messenger of the gods and was associated with commerce, travel, and thievery. The Romans named him after their god of commerce and profit, Mercurius. The planet’s fast orbit around the sun reminded the Romans of their fleet-footed messenger god.
Ancient Greek Name
The ancient Greeks called Mercury Hermes. In Greek mythology, Hermes was also a messenger of the gods and was associated with eloquence, poetry, and music.
He had winged sandals that allowed him to fly between worlds. The Greeks believed that Mercury moved faster than any other planet because he had to carry messages between the gods faster than anyone else.
The ancient Egyptians called Mercury “Stargazer.” They believed that it appeared as a morning star just before dawn and as an evening star just after sunset. The Egyptians were known for their astronomical knowledge and were able to predict when Mercury would appear in the sky.
The Babylonians referred to Mercury as Nabu. Nabu was their god of wisdom and writing, and they believed that he could help them interpret dreams and omens. They also associated him with communication because he could convey messages from one person to another.
In Chinese astronomy, Mercury is called Chen Xing or “the morning star.” It is closely associated with the element water and is sometimes referred to as “the water star.” The Chinese believed that it had a yin energy which represented femininity or receptivity.
In conclusion, Mercury has been known by many different names throughout history. It is fascinating to see how different cultures have interpreted the planet and associated it with different gods, elements, and energies. Regardless of what it was called in ancient times, Mercury remains an important planet in our solar system and continues to fascinate astronomers and scientists today.