Brief biography of Hermes (Mercury), the "Messenger of the Gods"

Brief biography of Hermes (Mercury), the

Hermes, for the Romans Mercury, was the son of Zeus and Maya, and one of the 12 Olympic Divinities, known as the «Messenger of the Gods«.

Hermes Biography

Hermes was the god of commerce and thieves, of youth and oratory.

The Homeric hymn says about him that born with the dawn, he played the lyre by day and stole the oxen of Apollo.

Newborn shed his diapers, left the grotto where he was born with the shell of a turtle he invented the lyre and he not only stole his brother's oxen, but he concealed his tracks.

When Apollo found them, he returned the animals and gave him the lyre, or according to another version, he exchanged it for the Caduceus.

It became the «Messenger of the Gods» (The odyssey, V, 21) replacing Iris and helping other gods in various tasks.

Helps other characters

Hermes has been characterized by helping various gods and characters of Ancient Greece. For example, it helped:

  • Zeus, in the fight the giants killing Hippolytus and in the fight against Typhus
  • Killing Argos who was watching Io
  • Apollo, taking care of Asclepius.
  • Heracles, when descended into hades to find Cerberus.
  • Perseus, when he should have killed the Gorgon Medusa.

How Psychopompic God he accompanied souls to Hell.

Too He was the God who protected the travelers (The Iliad XXIV, 334 sqq.).

Had countless children with nymphs and mortals. He is credited with paternity of pan with the Nymph Driope, with another Nymph to Daphnis, to Etálides with Eupoleme (was the guide of the Argonauts), with Quione he had Autolycus (who received the gift of metamorphosing what he stole) a thief of flocks (for example that of Laertes and Ifito).

He was considered a benefactor of humanity and was represented with the winged sandals that gave him great speed, the Caduceus and the Petaso, his winged hat.

He also possessed a prodigious memory and a voice superior to that of the hero Estentor, who surpassed that of 50 people shouting in unison.


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