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Hermes. 3625: Kopf des Hermes von Olympia um 330/20 v. Chr. Landesmuseum Oldenburg, Das Schloß.

"Better to live in fellowship with the deathless gods continually, rich, wealthy, and enjoying stores of grain, than to sit always in a gloomy cave: and, as regards honor, I too will enter upon the rite that Apollo has. If Zeus will not give it me, I will seek to be a prince of robbers. And if Apollo shall seek me out, I think another and a greater loss will befall him. For I will break into his great house, and will plunder therefrom splendid tripods, and cauldrons, and gold, and plenty of bright iron, and much apparel." (Hermes to Maia. Homeric Hymn to Hermes 170).

"Child, lying in the cradle, make haste and tell me of my cattle, or we two will soon fall out angrily. For I will take and cast you into dusky Tartarus and awful hopeless darkness, and neither your mother nor your father shall free you." (Apollo to Hermes. Homeric Hymn to Hermes 255).

Hermes is the messenger of Zeus and the herald of the gods. To him is ascribed the introduction of the sending of embassies to sue for peace. Hermes, the robber and cattle driver, the prince of tricksters, the thief at the gates, the bringer of dreams, the patron of travellers, is also the governor of the tongue, and the guide of intelligent speech. Hermes is called Argiphontes, for having killed the All-seeing Argus 1 who guarded Io, and Psychopompus for being the guide of souls to the Underworld.

Born in Arcadia

Maia gave birth to Hermes in a cave in Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. Some say that Hermes was raised by Acacus, son of the Arcadian king Lycaon 2. Hermes was born with the dawn, at mid-day he played on the lyre, and in the evening he went to Pieria, a region about Mount Olympus in northern Thessaly, and stole the cattle of Apollo, while Apollo was distracted because of his love for Hymenaeus 2. The theft was witnessed by Battus 1, who promised not to tell. But, not being able to keep his promise, he was turned by Hermes into a stone. Also others had later their shapes transformed by Hermes: the Athenian Aglaurus 2 was transformed into a stone (see Envy), and for having offended the gods, he transformed Agron 1 into a plover, Eumelus 5 into a raven, and Alcathoe, Arsippe and Leucippe 4 into birds.

Hermes invents the lyre

When stealing the cattle, and in order not to be detected, Hermes put shoes on their feet and brought them to Pylos, hiding the rest in a cave. He sacrificed two animals and then returned to Cyllene where he found a tortoise, and having strung its shell with chords made of the cattle he had sacrificed, he produced a lyre and invented the plectrum too.

"If you die, then you shall make sweetest song" (Hermes to the tortoise. Homeric Hymn to Hermes 39).

Apollo is as clever as Hermes

In the meantime, Apollo came to Pylos looking for Hermes, but no one in the city was able to say in which direction the boy with the cattle had disappeared. So Apollo, having discovered the circumstances of the theft by divination, came to Maia at Mount Cyllene, and accused Hermes. But Maia could only show him the innocent child in his cradle. So Apollo took the child to Zeus, and claimed the cattle back. Hermes at first denied the theft, but as nobody believed him, he was forced to lead Apollo to Pylos, and restore the cattle.

Exchange of gifts

However, in the process Apollo discovered the lyre that Hermes had invented, and was willing to give Hermes the cattle in exchange for the musical instrument. So they agreed, and Hermes went pasturing the cattle, making a shepherd's pipe for himself. And this pipe was so amazing that Apollo desired it too. So Apollo offered to give Hermes the golden wand that he used while he herded cattle, but in the bargain Hermes received from Apollo, besides the wand, the art of divining by pebbles. The golden wand, the Caduceus, is a splendid staff of riches and wealth, which keeps Hermes scatheless. Hermes gave another lyre to Amphion 1, who fortified the city of Thebes, the stones following his lyre.

1009: Head of Hermes Ludovisi from 2C AD, after an Attic model from 5C BC. Städtische Galerie-Liebighaus, Museum alter Plastik, Frankfurt.

Hermes defends Heaven

When Typhon revolted against heaven, the monster severed Zeus' sinews and put them away, hidden in a bearskin, and he set to guard them the she-dragon Delphyne, who was a half-bestial maiden. But Hermes and Aegipan 1 stole the sinews, and fitted them unobserved to Zeus (Typhon's attack against heaven may be read at Zeus). And when the GIANTS revolted against the gods, Hermes, wearing Hades' helmet, killed the giant Hippolytus 3.

Protection of Dionysus 2 and Nephele 2

It was Hermes, who protecting the child Dionysus 2 from the wrath of Hera, entrusted the infant Dionysus 2 to Athamas 1 and Ino, and persuaded them to rear him as a girl. He also gave the Ram with the Golden Fleece to Nephele 2. This ram bore Phrixus 1 and Helle through the sky to Colchis (see also ARGONAUTS).

One of his many messages

When a dispute arose about the kingdom of Mycenae, Zeus sent Hermes to Atreus and told him to stipulate with Thyestes 1 that Atreus should be king if the sun should go backwards; and when Thyestes 1 agreed, the sun set in the east.

The Judgement of Paris

Following Zeus' decision, the three goddesses, Athena, Hera and Aphrodite, were led by Hermes to Mount Ida (near Troy) in order to be judged by Paris, who decided which one would have the Apple of Eris, a beauty award.



Zeus & Maia


Maia is the eldest of the PLEIADES.


Mates & Offspring
"a)", "b)", etc. = different versions






Abderus was native of Opus in Locris. He was Heracles 1's minion. After him the city of Abdera, founded by Heracles 1, was named. Abderus was killed by the MARES OF DIOMEDES 1.


Aethalides 1

Eupolemia was a daughter of Myrmidon. Aethalides 1 was the herald of the ARGONAUTS.
Arg.1.641; Hyg.Fab.14; Val.1.437.


Agreus 2

Sose is a nymph. Agreus 2 is one of the PANS who came to join Dionysus 2 in his campaign against India.



Thronia was daughter of King Belus 1 of Egypt. Arabus is the eponym of Arabia.

a) Chione 2
b) Philonis

Autolycus 1

"a)", "b)", etc. = different versions. Chione 2 was daughter of Daedalion. Hermes touched her face with his sleep-compelling wand, and then made love to her. Hermes gave his son the gift of being such a skilful thief that he could not be caught, making him able to change whatever he stole into some other form or colour.
Apd.1.9.16; Hom.Od.11.85, 19.415; Hyg.Fab.200, 201; Ov.Met.11.313; Pau.8.4.6; Strab.12.3.11.



To Bunus Aeetes entrusted the kingdom of Corinth when he departed to Colchis.

a) Herse 2
b) Creusa 1

Cephalus 2

"a)", "b)", etc. = different versions.

Herse 2, daughter of King Cecrops 1 of Athens and Aglaurus 1, threw herself from Acropolis for letting Athena's secret of Erichthonius 2 come out. Creusa 1 is the daughter of Erechtheus and Praxithea 4. Cephalus 2 was carried off by Eos (Dawn) to Syria. (For the love affair of Hermes and Herse 2, and what happened to her sister Aglaurus 2, see Envy.)
Apd.3.14.3; Hes.The.986; Hyg.Fab.160; Pau.1.3.1.

Aglaurus 2


Aglaurus 2 was consumed by Envy because of Hermes' love for her sister Herse 2. She was killed by the serpent coiled about the babe Erichthonius 2, or was driven mad by the anger of Athena, and threw herself from the Acropolis. Others say that she threw herself into the sea, and still others say that she was turned by Hermes into a black stone (see Envy).


Cydon 1

Acalle is a daughter of Minos 2, also loved by Apollo. Cydon 1 migrated to Crete where the city Cydonia was called after him. He let his daughter be sacrificed in order to get a better result in war, as an oracle had advised (for other examples of these strange remedies suggested by oracles see Tiresias and Trojan War).
Parth.36; Pau.8.53.4.

Nymph 14 Sicilian

Daphnis 4

Daphnis 4, also called Bucolus 3, was endowed with the gift of song, and invented the bucolic or pastoral poem. His lover bade him never have to do with mortal women; if he disobeyed, his fate would be to lose his eyes. This happened when a Sicilian princess made him drunk and consorted with him.
Dio.4.84.2; Parth.29.1-2.

Antianira 1

Echion 1

Echion 1 is found among the ARGONAUTS, and among the CALYDONIAN HUNTERS.
Arg.1.51ff.; Hyg.Fab.14, 173; Pin.Pyth.4.179; Val.1.440.



Daira is one of the OCEANIDS. The city of Eleusis is named after this Eleusis, sometimes called Eleusinus.
Apd.1.5.2; Hom.Dem.2.105; Hyg.Fab.147; Pau.1.38.7.

Polymele 2


Eudorus was commander of a company of Myrmidons during the Trojan War.

Antianira 1

Eurytus 2

Eurytus 2 is found among the ARGONAUTS, and among the CALYDONIAN HUNTERS.
Hyg.Fab.14, 160, 173; Pin.Pyth.4.179; Val.1.439.


Evander 2

Carmentis, a seeress, was skilled in the art of divination. She was the first to foretell the future of Aeneas' line. Evander 2, the wisest among the Arcadians, emigrated to Italy and founded a city, Pallantium, on the banks of the river Tiber.
DH.1.32.1; Ov.Fast.1.471ff., 1.521, 4.65, 5.90; Pau.8.43.2; Vir.Aen.8.52, 8.104, 8.336, 8.511.


Faunus 2

A king in Italy who loved to sacrifice his guests to the god that was his father. He was killed by Heracles 1.



Hermaphroditus was loved by the Naiad Salmacis and their bodies were united in one.



Lara (also called Tacita), was a naiad who could not hold her tongue, and reported to Hera that Zeus loved Juturna. For this, Zeus wrenched from her the indiscreet tongue, and told Hermes to take her to Hades as she was to become an infernal nymph. The LARES are twin brothers, who guard the crossroads and ever keep watch in the city.
Ov.Fast.2.616, 5.129ff.

Iphthime 2

Lycus 13

Lycus 13 is one of the leaders of the SATYRS who joined the army of Dionysus 2 in his campaign against India.

Theobula 2


(For the story of Myrtilus, charioteer of Oenomaus 1, see also Pelopides.)
Apd.Ep.2.6-8; Hyg.Ast.2.13; Hyg.Fab.84, 224; Nonn.20.160; Pau.8.14.10.


Nomius 2

Nomius 2 is one of the PANS who came to join Dionysus 2 in his campaign against India.

Erythia 2


Erythia 2 is daughter of Geryon (see Heracles 1 for this one). Norax is said to have led the Iberians to Sardinia.

a) Penelope
b) Dryops 4's Daughter


"a)", "b)", etc. = different versions.





Pharis is the founder of Pharae in Messenia.

Iphthime 2


Pherespondus is one of the PANS who came to join Dionysus 2 in his campaign against India.
Nonn.14.106ff., 18.313.


Polybus 9

Polybus 9 was King of Sicyon. On his death Adrastus 1 received the throne.
Hdt.5.67; Pau.2.6.6.



Phallic deity.
Dio.4.6.1; Hyg.Ast.2.23; Hyg.Fab.160; Ov.Fast.1.415ff., 6.335ff.; Pau.9.31.2; Strab.13.1.12.

Iphthime 2

Pronomus 2

Pronomus 2 is one of the leaders of the SATYRS who joined the army of Dionysus 2 in his campaign against India.

Rhene 2

Saon 2

Rhene 2 is a nymph of Cyllene. Saon 2, also called Samon, was a Samothracian, the first settler of the island, which was called after him and the name of Thrace.
DH.1.61.3; Dio.5.48.1.

Peitho 1


Aes.Supp.1039; Hes.WD.73; Nonn.3.84, 4.69, 4.140, 5.574, 8.221, 10.280, 11.280, 16.139; Pau.1.22.3.

Genealogical Charts

Names in this chart (512): Abas 3 F8, Abderus A1, Acalle A1, Acarnan 1 H6, Acastus F6, Acusilaus B6, Admete 2 D10, Admetus 1 F8, Adrastus 1 D2, Adrastus 4 D4, Aechmis D10, Aegeus 2 E4, Aegialeus 1 D3, Aegialia D3, Aeginetes 2 D10, Aegipan 1 C2, Aemilia C7, Aeolia F9, Aepytus 1 H1, Aepytus 2 L6, Aepytus 3 D4, Aepytus 4 C9, Aeropus 2 E6, Aeson E5, Aethalides 1 A1, Agamedes 2 C6, Aganus I7, Agapenor D9, Agelaus 3 K6, Agelaus 4 C6, Ageleus J10, Agesilaus F3, Agis 1 E3, Aglaurus 2 A1, Agorius K6, Agreus 2 A1, Agrius 3 I9, Agrius 4 B6, Alastor 1 G4, Alba C8, Alcamenes F3, Alcathous 1 I9, Alcestis F6, Alcidamea A1, Alcidice D5, Alcimenes 2 F10, Alcmaeon 1 H6, Alcmaeon 2 I3, Aletes 1 J6, Alexander 2 E10, Alexida H8, Alitherses K10, Alopecus F2, Althaea J10, Amphalces G8, Amphiaraus G9, Amphicles F3, Amphidamas 1 D8, Amphidamas 2 D5, Amphilochus 1 H6, Amphilochus 2 I6, Amphisthenes F2, Amphithea 1 H6, Amphoterus 1 H6, Amythaon 1 E5, Anaxibia 2 F10, Ancaeus 1 D8, Ancaeus 2 K10, Andraemon 4 K6, Andraemon 5 H2, Androclus G2, Andropompus 1 G2, Anogon J8, Anteias B6, Antianira 1 B1, Anticlia 1 A3, Antigona F8, Antilochus H3, Antimache D8, Antimachus 2 K9, Antimenes L9, Antinoe 1 E6, Antinoe 2 F6, Antiochus 2 I10, Antiphates 3 G9, Aollius C7, Aphrodite B1, Arabus A1, Archelaus 4 F3, Ardeias B6, Aretus 2 H3, Argeus 2 L9, Argia 1 D3, Argia 4 E4, Aristodemus L7, Aristomachus 1 G8, Aristomachus 2 K8, Arius 1 F10, Asterion 5 F8, Asterius 2 F4, Asteropia F6, Astrabacus F2, Astycratea H9, Astynome 1 H8, Astynous 1 B4, Atalanta D8, Atlas A1, Auge 2 D5, Autesion 1 D4, Autolycus 1 A1, Beroe 5 C4, Biantes 1 H5, Bias 1 F9, Borus 3 G2, Braesia C4, Briacas D10, Bunomus I7, Bunus A1, Callias K6, Callidice 3 C3, Callithoe C3, Capaneus H8, Carmentis B1, Castor 1 (see DIOSCURI) J9, Celeus 1 B2, Celeutor I9, CENTAURS E10, Centaurus E9, Cephalus 2 A1, Cepheus 2 D5, Cercyon 2 C9, Ceryx A1, Ceyx B4, Charillus F2, Chione 2 A1, Chromius 5 G4, Chrysothemis 1 J6, Chthonophyle C1, Cinyras 1 B4, Cleodaeus 2 K8, Cleopus H2, Clisidice C3, Clitus 3 G9, Clymenus 1 J10, Clytaemnestra J9, Clytaemnestra's Child J6, Clytius 11 H6, Cnopus H2, Codrus 1 G2, Coeranus 1 G10, Comaetho 4 K8, Cometes 2 H8, Cometes 4 I6, Cometes 5 J10, Corythus 4 I7, Cresphontes L7, Creusa 1 A1, Crotus C2, Ctesippus 4 K9, Ctimene B5, Cyanippus K8, Cyaretus H2, Cydon 1 A1, Cydrelus H2, Cylarabes H8, Cyllen D4, Cypselus 1 C9, Daedalion B4, Daimenes I6, Daira B1, Damasichthon 3 H2, Damasius K6, Daphnis 4 B1, Deianira 1 K10, Deimachus 2 G4, Deiphontes K9, Deipyle D3, Demo 2 C3, Demonassa 4 H6, Demonice H10, Demophon 2 B3, Diogenia 2 C3, Diomedes 2 D3, Doryssus F3, Dotadas L6, Dryops 4's Daughter C1, Echelas J6, Echemus E6, Echephron 2 H3, Echestratus E3, Echion 1 B1, Electra 2 J6, Eleusis B1, Enudus K10, Eosphorus B3, Epicasta 1 F10, Epilaus G4, Epochus D8, Erigone 1 J6, Eriopis 2 F10, Eriphyle H8, Erythia 2 C1, Euchenor 2 H9, Euchenor 3 H10, Eudorus B1, Eulimene 2 B2, Eumedes 2 I10, Eumelus 1 F5, Euneus 1 E10, Eunomus 2 F2, Eupolemia A1, Europas F4, Euryalus 1 D2, Euryalus 4 I10, Euryalus 9 C6, Eurybius 1 G4, Eurybius 2 E10, Eurydice 9 H6, Eurymede 2 J10, Eurymedon 6 C2, Eurymenes 1 G4, Eurypon E2, Eurypylus 2 J10, Eurypylus 5 K6, Eurypylus 6 E7, Eurysthenes 1 E2, Eurystheus D9, Eurytus 2 B1, Evaechme 2 K8, Evagoras 2 G4, Evander 2 B1, Evenus 2 I10, Everes 2 C7, Evippus 1 J10, Faunus 2 B1, Glaucus 8 L6, Glenus K9, Gorge 2 J10, Gortys 1 C6, Gras K5, Haemon 2 K7, Hegeleos E8, Helen I9, Hermaphroditus B1, Hermes A1, Hermione I7, Herse 2 A1, Hippasus 5 B5, Hippomedon 1 H8, Hipponous 4 D3, Hippothoe 2 F6, Hippothous 6 C9, Holaeas C9, Hylas B5, Hyllus 1 K9, Hymenaeus 2 G6, Hyperlaus I10, Hypermnestra 2 J10, Hyraeus E4, Hyrnetho K6, Iasus 1 D8, Idaeus 5 I7, Idmon 2 G10, Idomene F8, Iphianira 2 H9, Iphiclus 2 I10, Iphigenia J6, Iphimedon E10, Iphthime 2 B1 and C1, Irbus F2, Ischys C4, Isthmius 2 L6, Italus B7, Ixion E9, Jason E9, Labotas F3, Lacoon I9, Ladocus J8, Laeas F4, Lanassa K8, Laodamia 2 F7, Laodice 1 C4, Laogore C4, Lara B1, LARES B1, Latinus 1 B6, Latinus 2 C8, Laurine C7, Lavinia 1 B2, Lavinia 2 B7, Leda I10, Leodocus F10, Leontomenes I6, Leontophonus C6, Leucaria C7, Leuconoe 3 B4, Leucopeus I9, Lycomedes 3 L10, Lycopeus I9, Lycurgus 2 D5, Lycurgus 3 F8, Lycurgus 4 H6, Lycus 13 B1, Lysianassa 3 C2, Lysimache 1 G10, Macaria K9, Maesis F4, Magnes 3 G6, Maia A1, Mantius G9, Manto 2 H9, Manto 3 G9, Mecisteus 1 D2, Medon 11 H2, Medon 7 J6, Medus E10, Medusa 4 G6, Melampus 1 F9, Melanion D8, Melanippe 5 J10, Melanippus 9 I9, Melanthus 1 G2, Melas 1 I9, Meleager K10, Mentor 2 E10, Mermerus 1 E10, Merope 2 C9, Metidice H8, Mnesileus J8, Molus 2 I10, Mothone I8, Myrtilus C1, Naoclus H2, Nausinous C6, Nausithous 2 C6, Neaera 3 D5, Nebrophonus 1 E10, Neileus G2, Neleus F5, Nestor G4, Nicostratus I7, Nomius 2 C1, Norax C1, Nymph 14 Sicilian B1, Odysseus B5, Oelycus E4, Oicles G9, Olenias I8, Onchestus 1 I9, Onites 1 K9, Opheltes 1 F9, Orestes 2 J6, Orsedice C4, Orsobia L9, Oxylus 1 F10, Oxylus 2 K6, Oxyporus C4, Pallas 6 B2, Pallas 7 C2, Pammerope C3, Pan C1, PANS C2, Parthenopaeus G8, Parthenope 1 C6, Parthenope 2 K10, Patroclus 1 F7, Peitho 1 C1, Pelias 1 F5, Pelopia 1 F6, Penelope C1, Penthilus 2 G3, Pereus C4, Periclymenus 1 F4, Perilaus 1 K10, Perimedes 1 E10, Perimele 2 G5, Perimele 3 E8, Periopis F8, Periphas 5 J10, Pero 2 F4, Persepolis B7, Perseus 2 H3, Phaethon 1 B3, Phalanthus 2 D7, Pharis C1, Pheneus I10, Pheres 1 E5, Pheres 2 E10, Pherespondus C1, Philammon B5, Philonis A1, Phintas L6, Phisadie E9, Phoebe 6 J9, Phrasius 1 G4, Phylodamia C1, Phylonoe J9, Pirithous E9, Pisidice 2 F6, Pisidice 3 G3, Pisistratus 1 H3, Pisistratus 2 H2, Pleione A1, Plexippus 1 J10, Plisthenes 3 I7, Poliporthes B6, Polyboea 2 H9, Polybus 9 C1, Polycaste 2 G3, Polydectes 2 F2, Polydeuces (see DIOSCURI) J9, Polydora 3 K10, Polydorus 1 H7, Polyidus 1 H10, Polymede A3, Polymele 2 B1, Polymestor 2 D10, Polyphides 2 G9, Polypoetes 1 F10, Polypoetes 4 C6, Pompus D10, Porthaon H10, Priapus C1, Prima C7, Procles 2 E2, Promachus 1 H5, Promachus 2 E9, Promethus H2, Pronax G8, Pronoe 3 G9, Pronomus 2 C1, Prothous 1 I9, Prothous 5 J10, Protogenia 2 F10, Prytanis 2 F2, Pylaon G4, Pylus I10, Pyrrhus 2 L8, Rhene 2 C1, Roma 2 E7, Romanus B6, Romulus B7, Romus B6, Saesara B3, Samus K10, Sandocus B4, Saon 2 C1, Sicelus 2 B7, Sillus I3, Silvius C7, Silvius Aeneas C8, Simus D10, SIRENS I10, Smyrna C4, Sose A1, Sous E2, Sparton 1 I6, Sternops I10, Sterope 2 I9, Sterope 4 E6, Sterope 5 F7, Sthenelaus 1 I10, Sthenele 2 F7, Sthenelus 2 H8, Stratichus H3, Strophius 3 J6, Stymphalus 1 C4, Sybotas L6, Talaus E5, Taurus 1 F4, Teleclus F3, Telegonus 3 B6, Telegonus 4 C7, Telemachus B6, Telephus D7, Tellis I6, Temenus 2 K7, Thamyris 1 B5, Theobula 2 C1, Theoclymenus 1 G10, Theras E4, Thermius K6, Thersander 1 D4, Thersites I9, Thessalus 2 F10, Thestius 1 I10, Thiodamas 3 G9, Thoas 2 J9, Thoas 2's Daughter K7, Thrasyanor K9, Thrasymedes 1 H3, Thrasymedes 2 G4, Thronia A1, Thyreus J10, Timandra 1 J9, Timeas D4, Tisamenus 1 D4, Tisamenus 2 I7, Tisandrus F10, Tisiphone 2 I6, Tithonus 2 B3, Tlesimenes G5, Toxeus 1 J10, Triptolemus B2, Tydeus 2 J9, Tyro E5, Tyrsenus E7, Xanthippus 1 L9, Xanthippus 2 I10, Zeus A1.


Aes.Aga.515; Apd.1.9.16, 2.5.8, 3.10.2, 3.14.3; Apd.Ep.7.39; Arg.1.51ff.; DH.1.61.3; Dio.4.84.2, 5.75.1; Eur.Ele.462; Eur.Ion.4 and passim; Hdt.2.145; Hes.Ast.1; Hes.The.938; Hom.Herm.1; Hom.Il.16.179; Hom.Pan.19.1; Hyg.Ast.2.13, 2.7, 2.19; Hyg.Fab.14, 147, 160, 200, 201, 224; Nonn.2.302, 3.429, 5.574, 9.17, 9.217, 14.106ff., 14.91ff.; Ov.Fast.1.471ff., 2.616, 2.743; Ov.Met.4.288ff., Parth.29.1-2; Pau.1.38.3, 1.38.7, 2.3.10, 2.6.6, 4.30.2, 7.22.5, 8.32.4, 8.43.2, 8.53.4, 10.17.5; Pin.Oly.6.79; Pin.Pyth.4.179; Pla.Phae.263; Plu.PS.38; Stat.Theb.2.7; Strab.1.2.34; Val.1.439; Vir.Aen.8.52, 8.138, 8.336.