Saturday, April 5, 2014
Heigh ho Hermes?
Well, he wasn't Moses - although Marsilio Ficino, who was a servant of Cosimo de Medici, thought so. Indeed, did he actually exist at all? His full name - Hermes Trismegistus - was attached to a huge collection of documents relating to astrology, alchemy, magic, philosophy and religion some of which were said to date from over nine thousand years before the death of Christ. Unsurprisingly, none of these seem to have survived to modern times, though one Egyptian temple was once said to have a collection of some of them, together with a few documents written by Hermes himself. Though the Church condemned Hermes' writings because of their association with astrology, many of them prefigured Christian beliefs and attitudes - suggesting that the Creator made the seven planets to govern the Earth, their movements causing all earthly events. Hermes' great associate was the Egyptian god Thoth - both were gods of writing and magic, and Thoth in particular, the god of intellect, had an interest in astrology.