“Hermes” by Praxitieles
The god Hermes - known as Mercury in Roman mythology - is depicted here with the infant Dionysos. The messenger god played the role of pseudo-midwife when he rescued the unborn Dionysos from his mother Semele’s dead body after she is exposed to Zeus’ true form of a lightning bolt. Hermes then transferred the infant to Zeus’ leg where he finished his prenatal development. Dionysos was thus born from his father’s leg much like his half-sister Athena was born from Zeus’ head after he swallowed her mother Metis.