The Naming of Mercury
If you’ve been following our journey through the solar system, you have likely picked up on a common trend when it comes to naming the planets. Most were derived from a Roman god, Mercury being among them. Observed long before the age of telescopes, it’s difficult to pinpoint who first saw this speeding planet, with mentions of it going as far back as the Late Archaic period, between 2000 and 1001 BCE. During that time, the Babylonians named the planet, Nabu. Due to Mercury’s rapid orbit around the sun, Ancient Greeks gave the planet two names – Apollo, when it was visible in the morning and Hermes, at night, but it was the Roman moniker for the Messenger God, Mercury, that wound up sticking.