On This Day 15 May

By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-05-15
On This Day 15 May

495 BCE - dedication of the temple on Aventine Hill to Mercury

uss-aventine

Don't worry, we're not getting our world history mixed up with science fiction! Yes, that is an image of a starship from Star Trek, in particular the ship on the right is a Vesta-class starship captained by Ezri Dax and called the U.S.S Aventine.

Aventine Hill is one of the seven hills (Vesta) on which ancient Rome was built and in 495CE it was dedicated to the Roman god Mercury.

Mercury (Mercurius in Latin) is the god of shopkeepers, merchants, travellers and transporters of goods, as well as thieves and tricksters and was considered the messenger of the gods. There's evidence from Pompeii that he was in fact among the most popular of Roman gods.

The dedication itself caused some conflict in Rome at the time as a dispute arose between two consuls as to who should have the honour of dedicating the temple. The decision was referred to the popular assembly by the senate, however the award was instead awarded to one of the senior officer called Marcus Laetorius.

plebs

As a brief aside - one of the consuls (Publius Servilius Priscus Structus) looked upon the plebeians (also known as the plebs - the common people) with sympathy. Their secession the following year resulted in the establishment of the Council of Plebs whose job was to protect the concerns for plebs against the officials.

As mentioned above, Mercury was also the messenger of the gods and mediated between the gods and merchants. He even featured as the winged messenger on a 1949 St Lucia stamp connected with the postal union.

The below video gives a brief overview of the Aventine Hill and its history - not just that related to the temple.

So while I won't be going out to draw water from a well to sprinkle on TheBoldAge website and on my head (the ritual of worship being to sprinkle water from the well on trade goods), I will be daydreaming about my next trip to Rome and seeing the Aventine Hill and being able to appreciate it just that little bit more knowing what happened there in 495BCE as well as pay a tribute to those plebs who came before us.

Some other events on this day

  • 495 BCE - the temple of the Roman god Mercury was dedicated on the Aventine Hill in Rome
  • 1618 - German astronomer Johannes Kepler discovers the third of his three planetary laws; "harmonics law"
  • 1649 - The 'Rump Parliament' under Oliver Cromwell declares England a 'commonwealth' or free state
  • 1711 - Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Criticism" is published anonymously
  • 1914 - Mountaineer Tenzing Norgay was born in Tshechu (Tibet). He was the first person to stand atop the summit of Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary
  • 1921 - British Legion formed to care for ex-servicemen
  • 1936 - Amy Johnson arrives in Croydon from South Africa - setting the record of 4 days and 16 hours
  • 1940 - the first McDonalds restaurant is opened in California
  • 1944 - Eisenhower, Montgomery, Churchill and King George VI discuss the plans for D-Day
  • 1988 - USSR begins withdrawing 115,000 troops from Afghanistan
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