Her"mes(?), n. [L., fr. Gr. .] 1. (Myth.) See Mercury.
Hermes Trismegistus [Gr. 'Ermh^s trisme`gistos, lit., Hermes thrice greatest] was a late name of Hermes, especially as identified with the Egyptian god Thoth. He was the fabled inventor of astrology and alchemy.
2. (Archology) Originally, a boundary stone dedicated to Hermes as the god of boundaries, and therefore bearing in some cases a head, or head and shoulders, placed upon a quadrangular pillar whose height is that of the body belonging to the head, sometimes having feet or other parts of the body sculptured upon it. These figures, though often representing Hermes, were used for other divinities, and even, in later times, for portraits of human beings. Called also herma. See Terminal statue, under Terminal.
Her*met"ic*al(?), } a. [F. hermtique. See Note under Hermes, 1.] 1. Of, pertaining to, or taught by, Hermes Trismegistus; as, hermetic philosophy. Hence: Alchemical; chemic. "Delusions of the hermetic art." Burke.
The alchemists, as the people were called who tried to make gold, considered themselves followers of Hermes, and often called themselves Hermetic philosophers.A. B. Buckley.
2. Of or pertaining to the system which explains the causes of diseases and the operations of medicine on the principles of the hermetic philosophy, and which made much use, as a remedy, of an alkali and an acid; as,
3. Made perfectly close or air-tight by fusion, so that no gas or spirit can enter or escape; as, an
hermetic seal. See Note under Hermetically.
Hermetic art, alchemy. --
Hermetic books. (a) Books of the Egyptians, which treat of astrology. (b) Books which treat of universal principles, of the nature and orders of celestial beings, of medicine, and other topics.
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