I have long honored Hermes as my professional (IT) patron, and more generally as the patron of the Internet; some of His most common associations, as patron of commerce and of communication (and of thieves, let’s face it :) make this new one fairly obvious. However, I have recently had cause to rethink this a bit; not to minimize His importance, but to consider Another Who may have just claim to share these honors – Athena.
I recently read James Essinger’s 2004 book, Jacquard’s Web, which details how and to what degree Charles Babbage was inspired by and indebted to the automatic weaving loom, as perfected by Joseph-Marie Jacquard, in the design of his Analytic Engine (the ancestor of the modern computer in all its glory) – as it turns out, the debt is significant to the point of being essential. It is quite possible that without Babbage’s interest in the Jacquard loom, computers might not exist in the form that we know them today; it was from Jacquard that Babbage got the idea to use punched cards to automate the computing process that was done manually in his first creation, the famous Difference Engine (which was in effect just a calculator).
Given this relationship, I have become convinced that Athena is due honor as another patron of computing in general and of the Net in particular, and I hereby so honor Her. It also occurs to me to wonder whether, in the indirect manner of oracles throughout history and around the world, the terminology of Web and Net that has come to be synonymous with computing is entirely coincidental?