Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Human magic-user;
former Sorcerer Supreme
Group Membership: Sorcerers Supreme
Affiliations: Aged Genghis, the Vishanti (Hoggoth, Oshtur, Agamotto);
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Thrice Great, Thrice-Greatest
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
at least formerly Egypt
First Appearance: There is some contention as to whether the first references to Thrice-Great occurred around 64-141 AD or as early as 172 BC;
(Marvel version referenced) Marvel Tarot#1 (June, 2007)
Powers/Abilities: Hermes Trismegistus was one of the most powerful magic users of his era. He could almost certainly access the astral plane and other dimensions, transport others across dimensional barriers, project magical bolts, magically extend his lifespan for at least 3200 years, and call on power from entities such as the Vishanti.
He presumably possessed and could utilize the Book of the Vishanti and the Eye(s) of Agamotto.
The full range of his abilities remains unrevealed.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7: Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) (fb) - BTS) <Circa 5000 BC> - Sorcerer Supreme Ayesha asked the Genghis to help locate her successor. The competition was held as the Egyptian civilization began to develop, and one of its wizards became the first human male to bear the title. Changing his name to Hermes Trismegistus, he protected the Earth from 5000 to 1800 BC, leaving a wealth of scholarly tomes on magic, alchemy and astrology.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7: Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) (fb) - BTS) - Hermes Trismegistus was succeeded by the Persian Wizard Priest Zoroaster.
Comments: Adapted to the Marvel Universe by David Sexton.
Hermes Trismegistus is a legendary figure in the real world. You can
search the internet for a wealth of information on him, but here's a
summary (we don't know how much of it is "true" in Reality-616),
courtesy of our old friend Wikipedia:
Hermes Trismegistus ("thrice-greatest Hermes") is the purported author of the Hermetic Corpus, a series of sacred texts that are the basis of Hermeticism.
Greeks in the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt recognized the equivalence of the Graeco-Roman/Olympian god Hermes of interpretive communication (among other things) and the Egyptian/Heliopolitan god Thoth of wisdom (etc.) through the interpretatio graeca. Consequently, the two gods were worshipped as one, in what had been the Temple of Thoth in Khemenu, which was known in the Hellenistic period as Hermopolis; this combined being was the patron of astrology and alchemy.
The Hermetic literature among the Egyptians, which was concerned with conjuring spirits and animating statues, inform the oldest Hellenistic writings on Greco-Babylonian astrology and on the newly developed practice of alchemy. In a parallel tradition, Hermetic philosophy rationalized and systematized religious cult practices and offered the adept a means of personal ascension from the constraints of physical being. This latter tradition has led to the confusion of Hermeticism with Gnosticism, which was developing contemporaneously.
As a divine source of wisdom, Hermes Trismegistus was credited
with tens of thousands of highly esteemed writings, which were reputed to be of
immense antiquity. Plato's Timaeus and Critias state that in the temple of
Neith at Sais there were secret halls containing historical records which had
been kept for 9,000 years. Clement of Alexandria was under the impression that
the Egyptians had forty-two sacred writings by Hermes, writings that detailed
the training of Egyptian priests; other sources describe the figure forty-two as likely stemming from the number of Egyptian
nomes, and thus conveys the notion of completeness.
The Hermetica is a category of papyri containing spells and initiatory induction procedures. The dialogue called the Asclepius (after the Greek god of healing) describes the art of imprisoning the souls of demons or of angels in statues with the help of herbs, gems, and odors, so that the statue could speak and engage in prophecy. In other papyri, there are recipes for constructing such images and animating them, such as when images are to be fashioned hollow so as to enclose a magic name inscribed on gold leaf.
Some authorities regard him as a contemporary of Abraham, and claim that Abraham acquired a portion of his mystical knowledge from Hermes himself. Other sources consider Hermes Trismegistus to be a contemporary of Moses, or the third in a line of men named Hermes, i.e. Enoch, Noah, and the Egyptian priest king who is known to us as Hermes Trismegistus on account of being the greatest priest, philosopher, and king.
According to the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, he knows the three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe, the three parts being alchemy, astrology, and theurgy. It was Marsilio Ficino who stated that "they called him Trismegistus because he was the greatest philosopher and the greatest priest and the greatest king". Another explanation, in the Suda (10th century), is that "He was called Trismegistus on account of his praise of the trinity, saying there is one divine nature in the trinity."
Per writer David Sexton:
I was looking at what civilization was at its zenith... or seemed to be at the center of the world... and what famous wizard was connected to that civilization. In this case it was an Egyptian/Greek hybrid. I read that he was called "thrice great" thus TRIS magistus which fit into my mythology of the 3 eyes of Agamotto which granted the user power over the self, the natural world and the mystic planes. It fits in with Hermes writing about alchemy, astrology and theurgy.
His name is spelled "Hermes Trismegistrus" in the Marvel Tarot and the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Maybe that's an alias, maybe that's how is name is spelled in Reality-616...or maybe Ian McNee just misspelled it.
Profile by Snood.
Hermes Trismegistus should be distinguished from:
images: (without ads)
Marvel Tarot#1, pg. 4, panel 1 (two images from a book) - originally by Johann Theodor de Bry from the book Hermetic Corpus.
Marvel Tarot (2007) - David Sexton (writer/designer), Doug Sexton (technical consultant), Jeff Christiansen (continuity consultant), Michael Short & Cory Levine (assistant editors), Mark D. Beazley & Jennifer Grunwald (associate editors), Jeff Youngquist (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7 (2009): Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) - David Sexton (writer), Jeff Christiansen (head writer/coordinator), Madison Carter, Mike Fichera & Stuart Vandal (coordination assistants), Jeff Youngquist & Jennifer Grunwald (editors)
First posted: 08/11/2018
Last updated: 08/11/2018
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Characters