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Olympian God of herds, travel, trade, HERALDRY, language, athletics and thievery and known as the Great Messenger...


Parents

Hermes was born to Zeus (King of the Gods) and Maia (mortal goddess) in a cave of Mount Cyllene in Arcadia.

Unusual Birth Story

Just moments after his birth, baby Hermes escapes his cradle, goes to Pieieria, steals some of Apollo’s oxen (puts on sandals to not be traced) and goes to Pylos were he kills two oxen, and puts the others in a cave. Offering sacrifices to the Gods, Hermes nails the skins of the animals to a rock, eats other parts, and burns the rest. Upon return to Cyllene, Hermes finds a tortoise, takes it shell and invents the lyre (stringed instrument like a small U-shaped harp) and the plectrum. On the other hand, Apollo, using his powers of prophesy, goes to Cyllene to charge the thief against his mother, Maia. After Apollo demanded his oxen from Maia and Zeus, Hermes denied that he had stolen the cattle. Zeus still decided to repay him, but when Apollo heard Hermes playing the lyre from afar, he let him keep the oxen. Afterwards, Apollo and Hermes became intimate friends while Apollo gave Hermes his own golden shepherd’s staff. In addition, Zeus made Hermes his herald (messenger) and the god of the underworld.

Children

Divine Offspring
  • Angelia (goddess of messages)
  • Eleusis (daughter of Daeira, goddess of Eleusinian Mysteries – religious Greek ceremonies)
  • Hermaphroditos (son of Aphrodite, a supernatural creature formed of half-man and half-female)
  • Oreiades/Dryades (mentioned to be supposed daughters of Hermes)
  • Palaistra (goddess of wrestling)
  • Pan (son of Nymphe Penelopeia, goat-footed god of sheperds)
  • The Panes (two Arkadian Gods – goat-footed Panes – were sons of Hermes)
  • Priapos (god of garden fertility)
  • The Satyroi (3 messengers of god Dionysos were sons of Hermes and Nymphe Iphthime, their names were Pherespondos, Lykos, and Pronomos)
Mortal Offspring
  • Abderos (prince of Opous in Lokris)
  • Aithalides (son of Eupolemeia, Lord of Phthiotis)
  • Arabos (son of thronia, King of Arabia)
  • Autolykos (son of Khione, Prince of Phokis)
  • Bounus (son of Alkidameia, King of Korinthos)
  • Daphnis (son of Sykelian Nymphe, Bard of Sikelia)
  • Ekhion (son of Antianeira, Lord of Alope)
  • Eleusis (son of Daeira, King of Eleusis)
  • Euandros (son of Naiad Karmentis, Arkadian man, founded the city of Pallantium)
  • Eudoros (son of Polymele, Lord of Phthiotis, commanded Myrmidones in Trojan War)
  • Eurestos (son of Aptale)
  • Eurytos (son of Antianeira, Lord of Apole)
  • Kaikos (son of Naias Nymphe Okyrrhoe, Lord of Teuthrania)
  • Kephalos (son of Herse – Kreusa, Lord of Attika)
  • Keryx (son of Agraulos, Lord of Attika, first herald of Eleusinian Mysteries)
  • Kydon (son of princess Akalle, Lord of Kydonia in Krete)
  • Libys (son of princess Argive, King of Libya)
  • Myrtilos (son of Theoboula, messenger of King Oinomaos)
  • Norax (son of Erytheia, Prince of Iberia)
  • Orion (gigante conceived by three gods: Hermes, Poseidon, and Zeus to childless Boiotian)
  • Pharis (son of Danaid Phylodamea, Lord of Pharai in Messenia)
  • Phaunos (Italian King slained by Herakles)
  • Polybos (son of Queen Khthonophyle, King of Sikyonia)
  • Saon (son of Nymphe Rhene, King of island Samothrake)

Symbols

Animal Symbols: Some of Hermes’ animal symbols were the tortoise (which he used to make the lyre and the plectrum), the rooster (the sacred bird, who messages the awake of the sun with its cries), the ram (in classic art, Hermes holds a ram in his hands), and the hawk (said to be the darling of Hermes).
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Estate and Attributes in Classical Art : As seen through many paintings, Hermes is seen with winged boots (used to lift him through the skies as herald), his cap (winged hat or wide-brimmed hat), his rod (herald’s staff), his blade (golden or adamantine – unbreakable), his shepherd’s pipes (Hermes’ own invention), and his divine cattle (obtained from Appollon – god of music). One of Hermes’ exclusive symbols is his caduceus (also known as a kerykeion or herald’s rod), usually intertwined with snakes, representing his occupation as messenger of the gods. In addition, since Hermes’ Roman name is Mercury, then the caduceus is the astrological symbol for the planet.

Physical Characteristics / Notable Physical Features K11.9Hermes.jpg

From certain excerpts of classical literature, Hermes is recognized as youth with good looks, slick/smooth blonde hair, a robe hanging aright, polished wand (caduceus), lustrous ankle-wings, and clean-brushed sandals.

Friends / Enemies

Being a messenger of the gods and somewhat of a mischief maker, Hermes is not know for being the most amiable of all gods. Since his birth, Apollo has been known to be a close friend of Hermes. In addition, Hercules was known as an ally of Hermes as well as other Olympian Gods. His known enemies are Ares, Typhon, Pluto, and Demogorge.

Significant Story

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Zeus and Hermes, one holding a royal sceptre and wearing an olive wreath, the other with a herald's wand (kerykeion), winged cap and boots, witness the scene of Pandora being moulded by the craftsman god Hephaistos.
One myth accredited to Hermes is the legend of the creation of the first woman, Pandora. After Zeus decided to make the first woman, Hermes was bestowed the opportunity to guide her to mankind, but there was a catch.

ordered Hermes to lead Pandora into a world of lies and deceitfulness to root her in a shameless mind. Also, by putting speech in her, the herald of the gods contrived her with crafty words to call her Pandora (all-gifts). In the end, Zeus then ordered Hermes to give Pandora to Epimetheus as a gift, even though Epimetheus had a sense to send the gift back in fear Pandora might be harmful to men. Eventually, Epimetheus accepted the gift, but he later saw Zeus’ real intentions of evil.

Role in Trojan Wars

In the Trojan War, Hermes chose to side with the Greeks, and when the war began, he was set to battle Leto (mother of Artemis and Apollo). In return, Hermes responded: “Leto, I will not fight with you; since it is a hard thing to come to blows with the brides of Zeus who gathers the clouds. No sooner you may freely speak among the immortal gods, and claim that you were stronger than I, and beat me.”

Author: Marco A. Lorenz