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March 6, 2015     Post-Gazette
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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 6, 2015 by Prof. Edmund Turiello A weekly column highlighting some of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. HERMES AND MERCURY Hermes was the Greek god of herds, commerce, travel, and messenger of other gods. Mercury was the name of his Roman counterpart, and both are considered to be one and the same. Trickery, cun- ning, inventiveness and ver- satility were his major char- acteristics. These became apparent from the moment of his birth. Stories about his escapades sound incred- ible, but then, that's what legends are all about. Before noon on the day he was born, he found a tortoise shell, made holes in the op- posite ends of it, and drew cords of linen through them, and thereby invented the lyre. Later that same day he stole 50 head of cattle from his brother Apollo, and then hid them in a cave before bedding down for the night in his cradle. Later, this young god was ordered to re- turn the cattle, however, he had so delighted his brother by playing the lyre, that Apollo made him a gift of the cattle. Mercury was also made herald to the gods in addition to the guide of the dead in the lower world. This god was also wor- shipped as the one who be- stowed the benevolence of fertility on the herds and their pastures. Again, leg- end tells us that he spent a considerable amount of time in those pastures, and an equal amount of time with the wood nymphs, be- stowing the blessing of fer- tility on them also. He be- came the father of many children by these nymphs, Pan and Daphnis being the most widely known. Pan, as you may recall, became a god of the fields, forests, Real Estate Mercury (front view), 1580, by Giambologna. Bronze, height 180 cm, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence. flocks, and shepherds. He was usually represented with horns, ears and legs of a goat. Daphnis became the Sicilian shepherd that taught Pan to play the flute. Daphnis was also consid- ered to be the inventor of bucolic (rustic or countrified) poetry. Hermes (Mercury) pre- sided over commerce, gym- nastics, thievery, and every- thing else that required skill Moff6o Gollo Appraisals Sales & Rentals 376 North Street Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-2100 Fax (617) 523-3530 and dexterity. As the god of commerce and guardian of the roads he showed his be- nevolence to all men. Any- thing found on the roads by travelers was considered to be a gift from this god. Mounds of stones were raised in his honor at rural crossroads as every passerby added a stone. Square posts were set up in streets, open spaces, before entrances, and as mile stones along certain roads. These posts were made of wood or stone, and the head of the god was carved at the top. Some of these posts were carved with proverbs or riddles, while others contained the names of those who had fought and died for their country. This concept was also used in Rome as a decorative fea- ture in houses, villas, and for garden rails. As the father of Autolycus, the prince of thieves, Mer- cury bestowed upon his son, the gift of changing stolen goods so as to make them unrecognizable. By this gift, Autolycus became the first stolen goods "fence" in world history. Mercury was represented in art by some of the world's greatest sculptors. Most famous, no doubt, is the form which is similar to the FTD florists' emblem. The original statue, now in the Bargello of Florence, was done in bronze by Florentine sculptor Giambol- ogna. He depicted Mercury as a slender youth with calm features, winged hat, and winged sandals. In one hand Mercury holds a purse, the symbol of the mischievous little thief and the god of gain, while in the other hand he carries the "cadu- ceus," emblem of his influ- ence over the living and the dead. This caduceus, the winged staff with two ser- pents twined about it, is the symbol of the medical profes- sion today. As the gods of sleep and sweet dreams, Mercury could open or close the eyes of mortals. This is the rea- son why the last libation of the day was offered to him, and if forgotten, became a good excuse for just one R Publica by David TrumbuU Live Racing to Return to Suffolk Downs Last Friday officials of Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC and the New England affiliate of the Horsemen's Benevo- lent and Protective Association ("NEHBPA') announced that they had reached an agreement for the horsemen to lease the East Boston racetrack for live racing in 2015-2016. The two-year licensing deal is subject to the passage of enabling legislation to extend racing and simulcasting in Massachusetts. The current law sunsets March 31st. Approval of the agreement by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission ("MGC") is also required. According to Suffolk Downs and the Horsemen's Associa- tion, the duration of the 2015 Thoroughbred season has yet to be determined. It may be from one live racing day up to 50 days, depending upon the MGC's final approval as well as the distribution of funding for purses from the state. The Horsemen's Association hopes to make it a full 50-day season of live racing, as do I. There's little better in this life than an aftemoon at the track, especially ff it is a warm, sunny Saturday in May. Suffolk Downs opened On July 10, 1935. According to information on the Suffolk Downs website: "Immediately, the track became entrenched into the city's sporting and social fabric, attracting an average daily attendance of nearly 15,000 in its fn-st year, a figure that peaked at 18,388 in 1945. Average attendance remained 5 figures until the early 1970s, when the racing schedule was drastically expanded to as many as 200 days a year." However, over time, public tastes regarding professional sporting events changed. "In the 1920s and 1930s the sport- ing public's attention was divided among baseball, horse racing, and boxing. After the war, however, the field grew to include, most prominently, football and basketball, but also hockey, professional wrestling, and, eventually, soccer." -- American History through American Sports: from Colonial Lacrosse, Volume I, edited by Danielle Sarver Coombs, Bob Batchelor. It is also no coincidence that attendance at Suffolk Downs began to shrink in the 1970s. In 1971 the Commonwealth instituted the Massachusetts Lottery. That, and other legal gaming opportunities, cut into the business at the track, formerly the only place to wage a legal bet in the U.S. out- side of the State of Nevada. By the late 1980's, "The Downs" was suffering and closed at the end of the 1989 season. The venerable track re-opened in 1992, but closed again at the end of the 2014 season. The potential restoration of live racing at the 80-year-old landmark will protect hundreds of direct and non-direct Thoroughbred industry jobs in the Commonwealth while preserving the 62 breeding farms and 6,650 acres of open green space in the state-wide agricultural network. Residential Street Sweeping Update The Boston Public Works Department announced that posted residential street sweeping will be postponed in neighborhoods with March street sweeping until streets are cleared to the curb and gutters are free of ice and snow. In order for streets to be properly swept, a thaw and large scale melting must occur. The Public Works Department will notify residents once streets are clear enough for street sweeping to resume. The City's Daytime Neighborhood Street Cleaning pro- gram currently runs from April Ist through November 30a for all neighborhoods except the North End, the South End, and Beacon Hill. The daytime program parking restrictions are not in effect during the months of December and March except in the North End, the South End, and Beacon Hill. In the event that Public Works decides to cancel street sweeping and parking enforcement for weather related rea- sons, notifications will be sent out by e-mail to NO-TOW subscribers or you may contact the Mayor's 24 Hour Hotline for updated information at 617-635-4500. more nightcap, salutel r y I NEXT WEEK: INCOM TAX PREPARATION Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love 1 Financial Services | I Professional Tax Consultant [ I DRII/ER $ CDL=A | * Personal & Business | I wow. Check-out our New Pay Package, I Monthly Bonuses! Stop-Off, Layover, Detention I Year Round Service / I It'S Awesome. More per mile! / / I Short-Haul PAY! IM.P. & Co. TAX & FINANCIAL SrRVICrSI I 877-704-3773 GRACEPREV,TEMAGOON, E" / DIAMONDS " 617 569 0175 l ROLEX l I 146Maverick Street, East Boston, MA 02128 I l web site: www.mptaxfin.com e-mail: mptaxfin@aol.com / Bought & Sold l ESTABLISHED IN 1938 1 Jewelers Exch. Bldg. 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