Swift on his feet and called upon to deliver good and bad news, Hermes is the messenger of the gods, as well as the god of business (or merchants). Appearing as a young man with handsome qualities, Hermes wears wings upon his hat and sandals, and carries around a golden staff with serpents twined around. In this article, you will learn more about the god who is best known for his speed.
His Roman Counterpart
The Roman equivalent of Hermes is Mercury.
The Symbolism of Hermes’ Staff
The Greeks called Hermes’ staff, ‘kerkerion,’ which was used as a symbol to represent the work of doctors. However, the connection between Hermes and healing is not strong.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Hermes is smart, determined, bold, and has great athletic abilities. As a magician, he is powerful. He is also known to charm monsters by using his flute or the music of his lyre. Some myths say that Hermes invented the lyre by using a turtle shell. When it comes to weaknesses, Hermes was also known as the god of cheaters and thieves. Even as a child, he had an impulse to steal.
Hermes was born in a cave on Mount Cylene in Arcadia. His father was Maia, who had only slept with his father, the almighty Zeus, on the night before his birth. When it came to taking someone as his wife, Hermes never settled down. However, he did have an affair with Dryope, which produced the “lusty god of the wild” , Pan, the companion of the nymphs, who is also the god of shepherds and flocks, hunting and rustic music.
With the goddess of love, Aphrodite, Hermes had Hermaphroditus, who was a deity that had both the characteristics of man and woman. Abderus was another child of Hermes, whose mother is unknown.
The God of Travelers and Other Inventions
Hermes was known to help travelers enjoy safe and uncomplicated adventures, which is why numerous Greeks would sacrifice to Hermes before embarking on a trip. Some tales say that Hermes was the inventor of fire , amongst other things. Many types of racing, wrestling, and boxing were believed to be of his invention as well. This is why Hermes was also a patron of athletes.
Temples were not erected in honor of Hermes, but he had plenty of statues raised in his honor. Square blocks of marble were also scattered about town that showed a head and male genitalia. They were dubbed ‘Herms’ and placed in many different places. The statues generally showed Hermes with a beard.
Myth Involving Hermes
Hermes is not only the herald of the gods, but also the guide that leads human souls into and sometimes, out of the Underworld. He also helps Zeus out of some of his sticky situations and sends him to work out some of his problems. For example, he sent Hermes to put Argos to sleep so that he could allow one of his mistresses, Io, escape from his angry wife, Hera. Another time, Hermes was behind the escape of Odysseus from Callisto.