The Greek mythology holds that Hermes leads the souls of the mortals to the underworld. Facts about the birth of the Greek God, Hermes have made it clear that he was quite a precocious child. The given lines are a brief description of this mighty, and intelligent, Hermes.
The Olympian god is treacherous, thieving, of the articulately literate and the persuasively orate, cunning, exalting commerce and crossing boundaries between worlds by carrying their messages across, swift and athletic, of travel and merchants.
He is believed to be born out of a rape in the deep night between Zeus and the Pleiade, Maia (a mountain nymph and daughter of the Titan Atlas) in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. A child of a higher mind and quite well-advanced for his years, Hermes climbed right out of his cradle the first day he was born.
He got out and found an empty shell of a tortoise to whose back he attached strings of sinew (made of guts of either oxen or sheep) and invented a lyre. As all children quickly lose fancy after a thing overly used for a while, he played it gladly for a bit and then went on to fulfill other curiosities.
Facts About Thievery and Apollo
Hermes went and stole his half-brother Apollo's cattle. He taught the cattle to walk backwards, thus horribly confusing anybody who tried to keep track of where the cattle went. Though, Apollo - the Sun God, who had the gift of 'foresight' couldn't be fooled for too long and accused Hermes of stealing the cattle after Hermes hid it somewhere in Greece.
Maia believed Hermes had been with her all night and couldn't have possibly done it. But Zeus interfered and amidst all of this, Hermes started playing his compelling lyre and Apollo was so fascinated that he took Hermes' lyre and let him keep the cattle.
Hermes had fifty cows out of which he sacrificed two in Pylos, for the twelve Olympian gods and claimed himself to rightfully be the twelfth one. Hermes also made panpipes out of reeds, thus impressing Apollo once more and getting a golden staff, caduceus, in exchange for the panpipes.
The caduceus is often shown as a staff entwined by two serpents - symmetric and showing justice in commerce, negotiation and fair-trade and also protection of shepherds, sheep and cattle. It was also the symbol of Zeus' proclamation of Hermes' position as the official messenger of the Gods.
Thus, Hermes in Greek mythology was believed to always arrive with significant messages. In the recent times, many organizations have adopted the caduceus as the symbol of the medical fraternity.
Hermes grew up to be a very beautifully strong and athletic being, and was faster than the wildest wind. Zeus noticed his son's unique ability and made him the god of commerce and the market-trade. He also made him god of all the gymnastic games.
He is often depicted in paintings and statues as the Greek god with wings on his sandals- talaria that were made of imperishable gold and bore him swiftness over land and sea, and his cap - petasus. These were simply Hermes' symbols of speed.
He was endowed with the role of being a messenger and conductor of souls, often called Psychopomp, to Earth, Heaven, the Underworld and Hades, the Greek god of the Underworld. Hermes was the messenger from Olympus to the world of the mortals.
Hermes had slain the hundred-eyed giant called Argus Panoptes who watched over the nymph Io, who had been turned into a young cow or heifer by Zeus. Argus was appointed by Hera to do so. But Zeus asked Hermes to slay Argus and rescue Io, which he did.
Hera transformed Argus' eyes into pretty jewels upon the tail of her bird, the peacock - which later came to be known as the symbol of Hera. In the Greek myth of Pandora, Pandora was bestowed upon by Hermes - cunning and charm.
She was also escorted to earth by Hermes to Epimetheus who took her as his wife. Hermes gave her a box and asked her never to open it which she did due to her insatiable curiosity given to her by Hera, and brought out the evils that would come to man.
Facts About Powers
Hermes' powers were quite a list of conflicting and beautiful attributes of the God. HIs eloquence of speech to obtain the desired and persuasive charm were the chief powers that made Hermes a messenger. He is said to have invented numbers, the alphabet, the knowledge of the cultivation of the olive tree, astronomy, music, measures and weights.
Hermes was the Greek God of heraldry and of omens- good and bad, and also of prophetic dreams. He was the God of animal-husbandry, of cattle herders, goatherds, mule and horse breeders, grazing pastures, guard-dogs, fertility and disease of herds.
He was the God of fables and rustic poetry and poetic inspiration; of trade and travel- hospitability and protector of guests. Hermes was also known as the God of the home. He was also the God of thievery, luck of gamblers, merchants and traders, of language and education, of athletics and the guide of the dead and visitations of the dead in dreams.
Facts About Family
Hermes was quite a charmer. These names were the love interest of Hermes.
- Aglaurus, an Athenian princess
- Antianeira, Malian princess
- Apemosyne, Cretan princess
- Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of love, raw sexuality and fertility.
- Carmentus, Arcadian nymph
- Chione, Phocian princess
- Dryope, Arcadian nymph
- Eupolomia Phthian
- Herse, Athenian princess
- Pandrosus, Athenian princess
- Persephone, Queen of the Underworld
- A Sicilian nymph who bore Hermes, Daphnis
Greek God Hermes' children were:
- Angelia - Goddess of messages
- Eleusis - The goddess Eleusinian mysteries and daughter of Hermes and Daeira
- Hermaphroditos - His body was merged with a water nymph and he came to have both sexes. He was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite.
- Oreiades - Daughters of Hermes and other Oreiades Nymphai
- Palaistra - Goddess of wrestling
- Pan - The goat-footed son of Hermes and the Nymphe Penelopeia
- Autolycus - Son of Hermes and Chione
- Tyche - Daughter of Hermes and Aphrodite
- Eros - God of love - Son of Hermes and Aphrodite
- Abderus (mother isn't known)
Thus, Hermes the messenger Greek god, who helped Zeus carry out a lot of tasks, was quite an important one amongst all the Greek Gods and Goddesses - full of tricks and sent during the time of the Trojan war too, to attain the unobtainable.
He crossed the line between the living and the dead and was later identified with Mercury - the Roman god and Odin - the Germanic god. All of these facts are sure to have enhanced your knowledge of Greek mythology.