delivery boy

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German runner's messenger around the middle of the 15th century

A messenger (v. Althochdt .: boto offer), also known as an errand boy , is the deliverer of a message at the instigation of a sender to a recipient .

A courier refers to the person delivering a message or a (small) object (see also courier service ). In the diplomatic service, the courier designates a state messenger to deliver important secret messages and documents. The term is derived from the French courrier = courier, to courir = to run, to run, from (cf. Latin : currere = to run, to run). A courier is a "fast runner".

From a formal point of view, a messenger is initially and fundamentally a medium that conveys information to an addressee .

In contrast to the abstract medium, however, the messenger appears concretely and bodily as a person . From a legal point of view, a messenger is the transmitter of a declaration of intent .


Animals also appear as messengers in mythology. The Teutons knew woodpecker and magpie . In Hebrew mythology, raven and dove were considered to be the conveyors of the water level of the Flood .

The Greek mythology knows the messenger god Hermes . The god, equipped with wing shoes and a herald's staff , acts as a link between Olympus and earth and at times causes greater unrest (see: Pan ). Its female counterpart is Iris , whose attribute of the rainbow illustrates the bridging function of the messenger.

Equipped with the messenger symbol of the wings, the angels ( angeloi ) appear in numerous cultures. Their appearance and their message triggers on the one hand joy ( eu-angelion as good cheerful message), on the other hand also fear and horror.

In addition to the heavenly court, the Greek language also calls the earthly human messengers angels ( angeloi ).

The bad news conveyed by messengers ( Job 1: 14-19  EU ) has become proverbial , as a synonym for bad luck or disaster messages.

Recognizability of the messenger

The obvious recognizability serves the legitimation as well as privilege (right of way, transport, support). Therefore, he was given certain insignia from the start. The herald wore certain clothing as well as the herald's staff. The Werler foot messengers carried a shield with the city arms on their chest. Later on, the postman and the postman appear in uniform, identifiable acoustically by a horn signal . The reliability of the messenger is a prerequisite for its suitability.

The bearer of the bad news

The pattern of behavior of holding the bearer of bad news accountable for its cause has been observed many times in history. Examples of this can also be found in centuries-old myths and stories that go back to the time of the ancient Greeks.

Messenger and commandment

What the etymology suggests is confirmed in reality. Simplified and generally can be said: A messenger is from a master summoned to bids to convey. This proclamatory aspect can be found in the origins of the Roman nuncio or legate .

This characteristic also applies in the field of religion to the missionary , in ideology to the propagandist , in politics to the agitator and demagogue , in trade and economy to the representative or advertising .

The special office of ambassador has been established in international relations . The diplomat acts analogous to the messenger than the mouth of the government, as well as their eyes and ears.

The secret messenger

Unlike the messenger who acts in public, the secret messenger has to hide his message from being accessed by others. From the beginning of human communication, efforts were made to use hiding methods and encryption techniques (for more see cryptography , steganography ).

Three levels

The oral messenger

The original, most physically tangible messenger, still “tangible” today in the form of an ambassador , had to deliver his message orally. He learned the message by heart so that he could recapitulate it with the recipient.

Another step was the herald , who read an order written by the ruler in front of the subjects or members of foreign powers and thus made it valid.

The mail carrier

See also: Metzgerpost , Postreiter

The mail carrier only transports the letter written on a material by the sender. This letter is locked, in a vessel, rolled or in an envelope and secured by a seal against unauthorized inspection.

On the other hand, the messengers conveyed through the printed paper of the newspapers play a more important role.

Legal term

In German private law, the messenger is sharply distinguished from the representative . The representative is another in the name, but gives its own declaration of intent from - making it on their effectiveness for capacity arrives the representative. The messenger, on the other hand, does not transmit his own declaration of intent, but someone else's declaration of intent. In case of doubt, whether a messenger or a representative is present can be determined through interpretation. The legal capacity of the messenger is irrelevant. Memorandum: Even if the child is so small, it can already be a messenger.

Example 1:

A instructs B to buy him a particular newspaper. B is A's messenger. At the kiosk, B submits a foreign declaration of intent.

Example 2:

A instructs B to get him any magazine. B chooses a magazine at the kiosk. B acts as A's representative and makes his own declaration of intent in someone else's name. B had some room for maneuver, since he should buy A any magazine.

According to the prevailing opinion , however, §§ 177 ff. BGB apply analogously to the messenger if he acts as a messenger and "delivers" a declaration of intent that does not actually originate from the person who is stated as the person making the declaration (so-called pseudo-messenger ). In this case the messenger is treated like a representative , even though he is a messenger. The liability of the messenger corresponding to the representative according to § 179 BGB then presupposes his full legal capacity. For the contestation , § 120 BGB expressly regulates that in the event of incorrect transmission, the same conditions apply as in § 119 BGB for an erroneously submitted declaration of intent.

Official messenger

A so-called official messenger is employed in many authorities . Officials are civil servants or employees of the simple service who are usually paid according to grade A1 / A6 . They run typical errands in which they distribute files, letters or other things to the respective clerks . In addition, they mostly do simple tasks such as making photocopies .

See also

Web links

Commons : Messenger  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Bote  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Heinrich Mathias Kruchem: The bridge of Erbsälzer. European and Westphalian postal documentation 1600-1900. Verlag A. Steinsche Buchhandlung, Werl 1975, ISBN 3-920980-09-3 , p. 81
  2. Herbert Huber: Bringer of the bad news .