Nicolas Poussin: "The Infant Bacchus Entrusted to the Nymphs of
Nysa; The Death of Echo and Narcissus" (1657). The painting shows Mercury delivering the newly born baby Bacchus to Ino.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of the Fogg Art Museum. Gift of Mrs. Samuel Sachs in memory of Mr. Samuel Sachs. To be reproduced only by permission of the Harvard University Art Museums. (c) President and Fellows of Harvard College, Harvard University Art Museums.
Mercury and the Birth of Bacchus
Mercury was popular among the gods
because he was playful, innocent, and helpful.
Mercury helped his father,
when Bacchus was born.
Bacchus was the son of Semele and Jupiter. When Jupiter and
Semele first got to know each other, Jupiter was disguised in simple
clothes. When he finally visited Semele as the god Jupiter, she was
turned to ashes by his brillance. Jupiter took Semele's baby, Bacchus, and
nurtured him until he was ready to be born. Once he was born, Jupiter
gave Bacchus to Mercury to protect the baby from Jupiter's wife, who was
jealous. Mercury put the baby Bacchus in the care of Io, Semele's sister.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable....more
In Roman mythology Jupiter was the king of heaven and Earth and of all the Olympian gods. He was also known as the god of justice. He was named king of the gods in the special meeting that followed his...more
Hermes was popular among the gods because he was playful, innocent, and helpful. Hermes helped his father, Zeus, when Dionysus was born. Dionysus was the son of Semele and Zeus. When Zeus and Semele first...more
Gaea, or Mother Earth, was the great goddess of the early Greeks. She represented the Earth and was worshipped as the universal mother. In Greek mythology, she created the universe and gave birth to both...more
Hades was the god of the underworld. One day, while he was riding through the field of battle, the goddess Aphrodite had her companion Eros playfully shoot an arrow into the heart of Hades. Struck by Eros...more
Neptune was the name that ancient Romans gave to the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes, Poseidon. Neptune was depicted as a bearded man with long hair, holding a trident and accompanied by dolphins...more
Pluto was the god of the underworld. One day, while he was riding through the field of battle, the goddess Venus had her companion, Cupid, playfully shoot an arrow into the heart of Pluto. Struck by Cupid's...more
Poseidon was the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes. Poseidon was depicted as a bearded man with long hair, holding a trident. He had a very bad temper. The symbol of Poseidon's power was the three pronged...more