Mercury (mythology)

Mercury (mythology)

Overview
Mercury was a messenger who wore winged sandals, and a god of trade, the son of Maia Maiestas and Jupiter
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

 in Roman mythology
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

. His name is related to the Latin word merx ("merchandise"; compare merchant, commerce, etc.), mercari (to trade), and merces (wages). In his earliest forms, he appears to have been related to the Etruscan deity
Etruscan mythology
The Etruscans were a diachronically continuous population, with a distinct language and culture during the period of earliest European writing, in the Mediterranean Iron Age in the second half of the first millennium BC...

 Turms
Turms
In Etruscan mythology, Turms was the equivalent of Greek Hermes, god oftrade and the messenger god between people and gods.Turms is also a character in a book by Mika Waltari "Turms the Immortal" which takesplace at the end times of Etruscan civilization....

, but most of his characteristics and mythology were borrowed from the analogous Greek god, Hermes
Hermes
Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Kyllini in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and...

.
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Mercury was a messenger who wore winged sandals, and a god of trade, the son of Maia Maiestas and Jupiter
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

 in Roman mythology
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

. His name is related to the Latin word merx ("merchandise"; compare merchant, commerce, etc.), mercari (to trade), and merces (wages). In his earliest forms, he appears to have been related to the Etruscan deity
Etruscan mythology
The Etruscans were a diachronically continuous population, with a distinct language and culture during the period of earliest European writing, in the Mediterranean Iron Age in the second half of the first millennium BC...

 Turms
Turms
In Etruscan mythology, Turms was the equivalent of Greek Hermes, god oftrade and the messenger god between people and gods.Turms is also a character in a book by Mika Waltari "Turms the Immortal" which takesplace at the end times of Etruscan civilization....

, but most of his characteristics and mythology were borrowed from the analogous Greek god, Hermes
Hermes
Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Kyllini in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and...

. Latin writers rewrote Hermes' myths and substituted his name with that of Mercury. However, there are at least two myths that involve Mercury that are Roman in origin. In Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

's Aeneid
Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

, Mercury reminds Aeneas
Aeneas
Aeneas , in Greco-Roman mythology, was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, making Aeneas Priam's second cousin, once removed. The journey of Aeneas from Troy , which led to the founding a hamlet south of...

 of his mission to found the city of Rome. In Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

's Fasti
Fasti (poem)
The Fasti is a six-book Latin poem by Ovid believed to have been left unfinished when the poet was exiled to Tomis by the emperor Augustus in the year 8...

, Mercury is assigned to escort the nymph Larunda
Larunda
Larunda was a naiad or nymph, daughter of the river Almo in Ovid's Fasti. She was famous for both beauty and loquacity . She was incapable of keeping secrets, and so revealed to Jupiter's wife Juno his affair with Juturna...

 to the underworld. Mercury, however, fell in love with Larunda and made love to her on the way; this act has also been interpreted as a rape. Larunda thereby became mother to two children, referred to as the Lares
Lares
Lares , archaically Lases, were guardian deities in ancient Roman religion. Their origin is uncertain; they may have been guardians of the hearth, fields, boundaries or fruitfulness, hero-ancestors, or an amalgam of these....

, invisible household gods.

Mercury has influenced the name of many things in a variety of scientific fields, such as the planet Mercury
Mercury (planet)
Mercury is the innermost and smallest planet in the Solar System, orbiting the Sun once every 87.969 Earth days. The orbit of Mercury has the highest eccentricity of all the Solar System planets, and it has the smallest axial tilt. It completes three rotations about its axis for every two orbits...

, and the element mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

. The word mercurial is commonly used to refer to something or someone erratic, volatile or unstable, derived from Mercury's swift flights from place to place. He is often depicted holding the Caduceus
Caduceus
The caduceus is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek mythology. The same staff was also borne by heralds in general, for example by Iris, the messenger of Hera. It is a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings...

 in his left hand.

Worship



Mercury did not appear among the numinous
Numina
Numen is a Latin term for a potential, guiding the course of events in a particular place or in the whole world, used in Roman philosophical and religious thought...

 di indigetes
Di indigetes
In Georg Wissowa's terminology the di indigetes or indigites were Roman deities and spirits not adopted from other mythologies, as distinguished from the di novensides...

of early Roman religion
Religion in ancient Rome
Religion in ancient Rome encompassed the religious beliefs and cult practices regarded by the Romans as indigenous and central to their identity as a people, as well as the various and many cults imported from other peoples brought under Roman rule. Romans thus offered cult to innumerable deities...

. Rather, he subsumed the earlier Dei Lucrii
Dei Lucrii
In early Roman mythology, the Dei Lucrii were early gods of wealth, profit, commerce and trade. They were later subsumed by Mercury....

 as Roman religion was syncretized
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 with Greek religion during the time of the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

, starting around the 4th century BC. From the beginning, Mercury had essentially the same aspects as Hermes
Hermes
Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Kyllini in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and...

, wearing winged shoes talaria
Talaria
Talaria are winged sandals, a symbol of the Greek Messenger God Hermes . They were said to be made by the god Hephaestus of imperishable gold and they flew the god as swift as any bird...

 and a winged petasos
Petasos
A petasos or petasus is a sun hat of Thessalian origin worn by the ancient Greeks, often in combination with the chlamys cape. It was usually made of wool felt, leather or straw, with a broad, floppy brim. It was worn primarily by farmers and travellers, and was considered characteristic of rural...

, and carrying the caduceus
Caduceus
The caduceus is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek mythology. The same staff was also borne by heralds in general, for example by Iris, the messenger of Hera. It is a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings...

, a herald's staff with two entwined snakes that was Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

's gift to Hermes. He was often accompanied by a cockerel, herald of the new day, a ram or goat, symbolizing fertility
Fertility
Fertility is the natural capability of producing offsprings. As a measure, "fertility rate" is the number of children born per couple, person or population. Fertility differs from fecundity, which is defined as the potential for reproduction...

, and a tortoise, referring to Mercury's legendary invention of the lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

 from a tortoise shell.


Like Hermes, he was also a messenger of the gods and a god of trade, particularly of the grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

 trade. Mercury was also considered a god of abundance and commercial success, particularly in Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

. He was also, like Hermes, the Romans' psychopomp
Psychopomp
Psychopomps are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply provide safe passage...

, leading newly-deceased souls to the afterlife. Additionally, Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

 wrote that Mercury carried Morpheus
Morpheus (mythology)
Morpheus in Greek mythology is the god of dreams, leader of the Oneiroi. Morpheus has the ability to take any human form and appear in dreams...

' dreams from the valley of Somnus
Hypnos
In Greek mythology, Hypnos was the personification of sleep; the Roman equivalent was known as Somnus. His twin was Thánatos ; their mother was the primordial goddess Nyx . His palace was a dark cave where the sun never shines. At the entrance were a number of poppies and other hypnogogic plants...

 to sleeping humans.

Mercury's temple in the Circus Maximus
Circus Maximus
The Circus Maximus is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue located in Rome, Italy. Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome and its later Empire...

, between the Aventine
Aventine Hill
The Aventine Hill is one of the seven hills on which ancient Rome was built. It belongs to Ripa, the twelfth rione, or ward, of Rome.-Location and boundaries:The Aventine hill is the southernmost of Rome's seven hills...

 and Palatine
Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city...

 hills, was built in 495 BC. This was a fitting place to worship a swift god of trade and travel, since it was a major center of commerce as well as a racetrack. Since it stood between the plebeian
Plebs
The plebs was the general body of free land-owning Roman citizens in Ancient Rome. They were distinct from the higher order of the patricians. A member of the plebs was known as a plebeian...

 stronghold on the Aventine and the patrician center on the Palatine, it also emphasized the role of Mercury as a mediator
Mediation
Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution , a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties. A third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate their own settlement...

.

Because Mercury was not one of the early deities surviving from the Roman Kingdom
Roman Kingdom
The Roman Kingdom was the period of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by a monarchical form of government of the city of Rome and its territories....

, he was not assigned a flamen
Flamen
In ancient Roman religion, a flamen was a priest assigned to one of fifteen deities with official cults during the Roman Republic. The most important three were the flamines maiores , who served the three chief Roman gods of the Archaic Triad. The remaining twelve were the flamines minores...

("priest"), but he did have a major festival on May 15, the Mercuralia
Mercuralia
Mercuralia is a Roman celebration known also as the "Festival of Mercury". Mercury was thought to be the god of merchants and commerce. On May 15 merchants would sprinkle their heads, their ships and merchandise, and their businesses with water taken from the well at Porta Capena....

. During the Mercuralia, merchants sprinkled water from his sacred well near the Porta Capena
Porta Capena
The Porta Capena was a gate in the Servian Wall near the Caelian Hill, in Rome, Italy according to Roman tradition the sacred grove where Numa Pompilius and the nymph Egeria used to meet. It was one of the main entries to the city of Rome, since it opened on the Appian Way...

 on their heads.

Syncretism


When they described the gods of Celtic and Germanic tribes, rather than considering them separate deities, the Romans interpreted them as local manifestations or aspects of their own gods, a cultural trait called the interpretatio Romana. Mercury in particular was reported as becoming extremely popular among the nations the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 conquered; Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 wrote of Mercury being the most popular god in Britain and Gaul, regarded as the inventor of all the arts. This is probably because in the Roman syncretism
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

, Mercury was equated with the Celtic god
Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure...

 Lugus
Lugus
Lugus was a deity of the Celtic pantheon. His name is rarely directly attested in inscriptions, but his importance can be inferred from placenames and ethnonyms, and his nature and attributes are deduced from the distinctive iconography of Gallo-Roman inscriptions to Mercury, who is widely believed...

, and in this aspect was commonly accompanied by the Celtic goddess Rosmerta
Rosmerta
In Gallo-Roman religion, Rosmerta was a goddess of fertility and abundance, her attributes being those of plenty such as the cornucopia. Rosmerta is attested by statues, and by inscriptions...

. Although Lugus may originally have been a deity of light or the sun (though this is disputed), similar to the Roman Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, his importance as a god of trade made him more comparable to Mercury, and Apollo was instead equated with the Celtic deity Belenus
Belenus
In Celtic mythology, Bel, Belenos was a deity worshipped in Gaul, Cisalpine Gaul, and Celtic areas of Austria, Britain and Spain. He is particularly associated with Cornwall, West Cornwall being anciently called Belerion, the place of Bel...

.

Romans associated Mercury with the Germanic god
Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism refers to the theology and religious practices of the Germanic peoples of north-western Europe from the Iron Age until their Christianization during the Medieval period...

 Wotan
Wodanaz
or is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of a god of Germanic paganism, known as in Norse mythology, in Old English, or in Old High German and in Lombardic...

, by interpretatio Romana; 1st-century Roman writer Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 identifies him as the chief god of the Germanic peoples.

In Celtic areas, Mercury was sometimes portrayed with three heads or faces, and at Tongeren, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, a statuette of Mercury with three phalli
Phallus
A phallus is an erect penis, a penis-shaped object such as a dildo, or a mimetic image of an erect penis. Any object that symbolically resembles a penis may also be referred to as a phallus; however, such objects are more often referred to as being phallic...

 was found, with the extra two protruding from his head and replacing his nose; this was probably because the number 3 was considered magical, making such statues good luck and fertility charms. The Romans also made widespread use of small statues of Mercury, probably drawing from the ancient Greek tradition of herma
Herma
A Herma, commonly in English herm is a sculpture with a head, and perhaps a torso, above a plain, usually squared lower section, on which male genitals may also be carved at the appropriate height...

e markers.

Names and epithets


Mercury is known to the Romans as Mercurius and occasionally in earlier writings as Merqurius, Mirqurios or Mircurios, had a number of epithets representing different aspects or roles, or representing syncretisms with non-Roman deities. The most common and significant of these epithets included:

  • Mercurius Artaios, a combination of Mercury with the Celtic god Artaios
    Artaios
    Artaius is a Celtic epithet applied to the Roman god Mercury during the Romano-Celtic period. It is known from a single inscription from Beaucroissant in the Isère:...

    , a deity of bears and hunting who was worshiped at Beaucroissant
    Beaucroissant
    Beaucroissant is a commune in the Isère department in south-eastern France....

    , France.

  • Mercurius Arvernus, a combination of the Celtic Arvernus
    Arvernus
    In Gallo-Roman religion, Arvernus was an epithet of the Gaulish Mercury. Although the name refers to the Arverni, in whose territory Mercury had at important sanctuary at the Puy-de-Dôme, all of the inscriptions to Mercury Arvernus are found farther away along the Rhenish frontier. The name is also...

     with Mercury. Arvernus was worshiped in the Rhineland
    Rhineland
    Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

    , possibly as a particular deity of the Arverni
    Arverni
    The Arverni were a Gallic tribe living in what is now the Auvergne region of France during the last centuries BC. One of the most powerful tribes in ancient Gaul, they opposed the Romans on several occasions...

     tribe, though no dedications to Mercurius Arvernus occur in their territory in the Auvergne
    Auvergne (province)
    Auvergne was a historic province in south central France. It was originally the feudal domain of the Counts of Auvergne. It is now the geographical and cultural area that corresponds to the former province....

     region of central France.

  • Mercurius Cissonius, a combination of Mercury with the Celtic god Cissonius
    Cissonius
    Cissonius was an ancient Gaulish god. After Visucius, Cissonius was the most common name of the Gaulish Mercury; around seventeen inscriptions dedicated to him extend from France and Southern Germany into Switzerland....

    , who is written of in the area spanning from Cologne
    Cologne
    Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

    , Germany to Saintes
    Saintes
    Saintes is a French commune located in Poitou-Charentes, in the southwestern Charente-Maritime department of which it is a sub-prefecture. Its inhabitants are called Saintaises and Saintais....

    , France.

  • Mercurius Esibraeus, a combination of the Iberian
    Iberians
    The Iberians were a set of peoples that Greek and Roman sources identified with that name in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula at least from the 6th century BC...

     deity Esibraeus with the Roman deity Mercury. Esibraeus is mentioned only in an inscription found at Medelim, Portugal, and is possibly the same deity as Banda
    Banda
    -People:*Banda people, an ethnic group of the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Sudan*Rupiah Banda, President of Zambia*Hastings Banda, former President of Malawi...

     Isibraiegus, who is invoked in an inscription from the nearby village of Bemposta
    Bemposta (Abrantes)
    Bemposta is a Portuguese parish, located in Abrantes Municipality, in Santarém District. The parish has a population of 2,252 inhabitants and a total area of 187.73 km²....

    .

  • Mercurius Gebrinius, a combination of Mercury with the Celtic or Germanic Gebrinius
    Gebrinius
    Gebrinius is a local Celtic version of the god Mercury. In the 2nd century AD an altar was set up at Bonn to honour him. The stone depicts the god in full Roman aspect, but is nevertheless dedicated to "Mercury Gebrinius", perhaps of the name of a local divinity of the Ubii, whose cult was linked...

    , known from an inscription on an altar in Bonn
    Bonn
    Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

    , Germany.

  • Mercurius Moccus, from a Celtic god, Moccus
    Moccus
    Moccus is a Celtic god who was equated with Mercury. He may have been associated with hunting. "Moccus" is a Gaulish word for "pig" or "hog", and Moccus may have been the protector of boar hunters among the tribe of the Lingones, where he was invoked at the tribal centre, Langres.- References...

    , who was equated with Mercury, known from evidence at Langres
    Langres
    Langres is a commune in north-eastern France. It is a subprefecture of the Haute-Marne département in the Champagne-Ardenne region.-History:As the capital of the Romanized Gallic tribe the Lingones, it was called Andematunnum, then Lingones, and now Langres.The town is built on a limestone...

    , France. The name Moccus ("pig") implies that this deity was connected to boar-hunting.

  • Mercurius Visucius, a combination of the Celtic god Visucius
    Visucius
    Visucius was a Gallo-Roman god, usually identified with Mercury. He was worshipped primarily in the east of Gaul, around Trier and on the Rhine; his name is recorded on about ten dedicatory inscriptions. One such inscription has also been found in Bordeaux...

     with the Roman god Mercury, attested in an inscription from Stuttgart
    Stuttgart
    Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

    , Germany. Visucius was worshiped primarily in the frontier area of the empire in Gaul and Germany. Although he was primarily associated with Mercury, Visucius was also sometimes linked to the Roman god Mars
    Mars
    Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

    , as a dedicatory inscription to "Mars Visucius" and Visucia, Visicius' female counterpart, was found in Gaul.

Mercury's net in Orlando Furioso



Vulcan
Vulcan (mythology)
Vulcan , aka Mulciber, is the god of beneficial and hindering fire, including the fire of volcanoes in ancient Roman religion and Roman Neopaganism. Vulcan is usually depicted with a thunderbolt. He is known as Sethlans in Etruscan mythology...

 created a net out of unbreakable steel so that he could catch Venus
Venus (mythology)
Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex,sexual seduction and fertility, who played a key role in many Roman religious festivals and myths...

, the goddess of beauty, and Mars
Mars (mythology)
Mars was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions...

, the god of war, in the act of making love. He was jealous of their relationship, because Venus was his wife. Vulcan managed to catch them but, afterwards, Mercury stole the net from the blacksmith god so that he could catch Cloris, a nymph who he admired. Cloris was tasked with flying after the sun while it rose and scattering lilies, roses and violets behind it. Mercury lay in wait for at least several days until he caught her wing in the net over an unnamed great river in Ethiopia. Mercury then gave the net to the temple of Anubis at Canopus to protect the sacred spot. In Ludovico Ariosto
Ludovico Ariosto
Ludovico Ariosto was an Italian poet. He is best known as the author of the romance epic Orlando Furioso . The poem, a continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens with diversions...

's Orlando Furioso
Orlando Furioso
Orlando Furioso is an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto which has exerted a wide influence on later culture. The earliest version appeared in 1516, although the poem was not published in its complete form until 1532...

, the net is stolen 3,000 years later by Caligorant, who goes on to destroy the temple and the city.