A god of ways and byways

A longer-standing equation that many philologists have looked on with favour is that of the Vedic god Pusan with the Greek Pan.5 Pan is absent from Homer and other early poetry: he became famous only in the fifth century, his cult having previously, as it seems, been confined to Arcadia. There,

3 Mannhardt (1936), 356, 371, 402; Usener (1896), 95.

4 A. Mayer, Glotta 31 (1951), 238-43, cf. id. (1957-9), ii. 125 f.; F. M. Heichelheim, RE viiiA. 2095 f. On Viöarr cf. de Vries (1956), ii. 275-7.

5 P. von Bradke, Theologische Literaturzeitung 20 (1895), 581; A. Döhring, Etymologische Beiträge zur griechischen und deutschen Mythologie (Progr. Königsberg 1907), 11; W. Schulze, ZVS 42 (1909), 81, 374 = id. (1966), 217 f.; cf. Pisani (1969), 315 n. 3; Puhvel (1987), 63, 132; F. Bader, Revue de Philologie 63 (1989), 7-46; E. C. Polome in EIEC 415; M. S. Rodriguez, JIES 23 (1995), 209-11; N. Oettinger in Mir Curad, 539-48; id. in B. Forssman-R. Plath (edd.), Indoarisch, Iranisch und die Indogermanistik (Wiesbaden 2000), 393-400; T. Oberlies, ibid. 380. On Pusan see Macdonell (1898), 35-7; Oldenberg (1917), 234-7; Hillebrandt (1927-9), ii. 326-35; Oberlies (1998), 201-4.

however, he may have been an old survival. The familiar form of his name is contracted from earlier nawv, genitive naovos, which is attested on a sixth-century dedication (IG v(2). 556). The prototype reconstructed is a derivative from the root *peh2 'guard, watch over' (cf. Hittite pahs-, Vedic and Avestan pa-, Latin pas-tor): perhaps *Peh2ush35(n) and (by laryngeal metathesis) genitive *Puh2s(h3)nes. Partial generalization of the different Ablaut grades could have led on the one hand to Puasan-, genitive Puasnah, on the other to *Pa(u)son- > na(h)ov- > ffiiv-.6

The probability of the identification depends on the degree of similarity obtaining between the functions of the two deities. They have in fact enough in common to encourage the equation. Both are pastoral gods, with a special affinity with the goat. Pusan has goats to pull his car (RV 1. 138. 4; 6. 55. 3-4, cf. 6; 58. 2; 9. 67. 10; 10. 26. 8), and goats were sacrificed to him on occasion; Pan has goat's legs (Hymn. Hom. 19. 2, 37; Anon. mel. P. Oxy. 2624 fr. 1. 4 = SLG 387). Both have bushy beards (RV 10. 26. 7; Hymn. Hom. 19. 39, PMG 936. 11) and keen sight: Pusan goes about surveying everything (RV 2. 40. 5; 3. 62. 9; 6. 58. 2); Pan roams the mountains and climbs the peaks to view the flocks.7 Pusan follows and protects the cattle (RV 6. 54. 5-10, 58. 2, 53. 9; a producer of cattle, TS 2. 1. 1. 6; 2. 4. 4. 3). He is a guardian of roads who protects the wayfarer from wolves and brigands (RV 1. 42. 1-3, 7; 6. 49. 8, 53. 1, 54. 9). Pan's province includes 'the rocky tracks' (Hymn. Hom. 19. 7), and in Hellenistic Egypt he was worshipped as evoSos, 'of good journeying' (OGIS 38, 70-2, al.).

Some of Pusan's functions parallel those for which Hermes is noted rather than Pan.8 Hermes too is a good lookout (evoKonos Apyei^ovrns), a god of roads (oSios, evoSios, nopnaios) and a guardian of flocks and herds. As fivxonopnos he guides the dead on the path that they must go, and similarly Pusan conducts the dead to join their ancestors (RV 10. 17. 3-6; AV 18. 2. 53-5, cf. 16. 9. 2). Both gods also lead the bride to the groom.9 With his knowledge of ways and byways, Hermes can spirit away cattle or other property; he is the patron god of the sneak-thief. But by the same token he is good at finding things that are hidden, he knows where animals have strayed, and he gets the credit if someone makes a lucky discovery (eppaiov). As paorypios (Aesch. Supp. 920) he helps people to track down their stolen

6 On the linguistic analysis see especially N. Oettinger (as n. 5, 2000), 394-400.

7 Hymn. Hom. 19. 10 f. (cf. 14 for his sharp eyes); Leonidas epigr. 29. 3, Inscriptiones Creticae i. xvi. 7. 2, Philip epigr. 20. 1, 'forest-watcher'; Babr. 3. 7 'Pan who watches over the glens'; Orph. Hymn. 11. 9.

8 Cf. Oldenberg (1917), 237 n. 1; C. Watkins in Cardona et al. (1970), 345-50 = id. (1994), 446-51; Oberlies (1998), 202 f.

property. Pusan for his part is the patron of professional trackers, and can bring lost, hidden, or stolen goods to light.10 In general he is a god of gain (RV 1. 89. 5; 6. 54. 4, 8; TS 1. 2. 3. 2; 2. 4. 5. 1), and the same can be said of Hermes.

So the Arcadian Pan and the Panhellenic Hermes overlap, and both have many features in common with Pusan. Pan was held to be Hermes' son. It seems likely that they were originally the same. Paon-Pan in the mountain fastnesses of Arcadia preserved the old Graeco-Aryan name, which elsewhere in Greece, already in the Mycenaean period, was replaced by the title 'herma-god'.11 Herma seems to have had the basic meaning of an upright stone or pile of stones; hence it is used of a prop for a beached ship, an underwater reef, a foundation stone. It was no doubt used of the occasional stone pillars which marked out the way through the mountains, and to which every passing traveller added a stone to build up a cairn. These erections once belonged to Pan, but in time he was remembered only as the herma-god. The pillar itself became a Hermes, a herm.

The Roman Mercury was primarily a god of commerce. He was equated with Hermes, who also had this function, but he is not (except in consequence of this equation) notable for the features that link Hermes with Pan and Pusan, and I am not inclined to identify him with them. However, among the various Celtic gods that the Romans equated with Mercury there was perhaps one who does belong here. Caesar (Bell. Gall. 6. 17. 1) names Mercury as the Gauls' principal god and says that they regard him as, among other things, the patron of roads and journeys, uiarum atque itinerum ducem. The god of roads appears again, without a name, in a dedication of 191 ce from Thornbrough, North Yorkshire, deo qui uias et semitas commentus est (CIL vii. 271).

In Lithuania too there is record of such a figure. The sixteenth-century chronicler Matys Stryjkowski lists 'Kielu Dziewos der Reisegott' (i.e. Keliu dievas, 'god of roads'). He describes the sacrifice and prayer made to him by those setting out on a journey. Something over a century later, Matthaeus Praetorius knows him as 'Kellukis, der auf die Wege Achtung hat'.12

10 RV 1. 23. 13; 6. 48. 15, 54. 1-2, 8, 10; AV 7. 9. 4; Macdonell (1898), 36; Hillebrandt (1927-9), ii. 328-30; Oberlies (1998), 202.

11 Mycenaean Hermahas, later Eppeias, Eppawv, Eppys, etc. For this interpretation of Hermes' name cf. M. P. Nilsson, Griechische Feste von religiöser Bedeutung (Leipzig 1906), 388-90; id., Geschichte der griechischen Religion (3rd edn., Munich 1967), i. 503-5.

12 Mannhardt (1936), 331, 545; Usener (1896), 93, 114.

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