Couldn't find element LayerAd

Error finding content

Mercury and the Birth of Bacchus in Roman Mythology - Windows to the Universe

Shop Windows to the Universe

Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.
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, Jupiter, when Bacchus was born. Bacchus was the son of Semele and Jupiter. Semele was the daughter of Cadmus, the brother of Europa, and Harmonia, the daughter of Mars and Venus. When Jupiter and Semele first got to know each other, Jupiter was disguised in simple clothes. Jupiter's wife, Juno, was angry with both Jupiter and Semele. Juno disguised herself as Semele's nurse and made Semele curious about her new boyfriend. The next time Jupiter visited, Semele made him promise that the next time he came, he would come to her as he really was. On his next visit, he came as the god Jupiter, and Semele was consumed 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 includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?...more

Jupiter

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 and the Birth of Dionysus

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. Semele was the daughter...more

Gaea

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

Following the defeat of the Titans by the Jovian gods, Hades obtained the kingdom of the underworld. One day, while he was riding through the field of battle, the goddess Aphrodite had her companion Eros...more

Neptune

Neptune was the name that ancient Romans gave to the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes, Poseidon. He was the brother of Jupiter (Zeus) and of Pluto (Hades). After the defeat of their father Saturn (Cronos),...more

Pluto

Following the defeat of the Titans by the Jovian gods, Pluto obtained the kingdom of the underworld. One day, while he was riding through the field of battle, the goddess Venus had her companion, Cupid,...more

Poseidon

Poseidon was the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes. Poseidon was depicted as a bearded man with long hair, holding a trident and accompanied by dolphins and fish. He had the reputation for having a...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF