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.
You might also be interested in:
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
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. Semele was the daughter...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
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 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
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 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