Hermes Trismegistus

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The ‘thrice great Hermes’ of Milton's ‘Il Penseroso’, the name given by the Neoplatonists and the devotees of mysticism and alchemy to the Egyptian god Thoth, regarded as more or less identical with the Grecian Hermes, and as the author of all mystical doctrines. From the 3rd cent. onwards the name was applied to the author of various Neoplatonic writings, including one On the Divine Intelligence. This work, translated by Ficino (c.1490) into Latin and by John Everard (1650) into English, made a notable impact on 16th‐ and 17th‐cent. minds. Its influence cannot, however, be isolated from the general one exercised by the Neoplatonist, cabbalistic, and occultist tradition which had such a marked effect on writers like G. Chapman (Euthymiae Raptus; or The Teares of Peace, 1609), H. Vaughan, Sir T. Browne, Comenius, and the Cambridge Platonists.

Subjects: Literature — Classical Studies.

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