Hermes, the messenger of Olympian gods. God of commerce, protector of traders, herds and thieves. As deity of athletes, he protected gymnasiums and stadiums and was believed to bring good luck and wealth. He conducted souls of death into Underworld (Hades). He was connected with bringing sleep and dreams to mortals. He was also known as a prankster, dangerous foe, trickster and thief. He was cunning and shrewd. Son of Zeus and mountain nymph Maia, daughter of the Titan Atlas. As a newborn baby, he was remarkably precocious. According to one myth he was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. Zeus had impregnated Maia at the death of night, while other gods slept. When dawn break he was amazingly born. Maia wrapped him into swaddling bands. Then she fell asleep. Hermes got free and ran off to Thessaly. This is where Apollo, his brother grazed his cattle. Hermes stole the herd and drove them back into Greece. Hermes hid them in grotto near the city of Pylos. He covered the tracks. Before he had return to the cave he found tortoise, killed it and removed its entrails. He used the cow’s intestines and hollow tortoise shell and made the first lyre. When he was back in cave he wrapped himself into swaddling bands. Later Apollo realized that he was robbed he said Maia that it was Hermes, who robbed him. Maia looked at Hermes in swaddling bands and protested that it could not be Hermes. Zeus intervened, that he was watching and Hermes should return the cattle to Apollo. But Hermes started to play his new-invented lyre and the sweet music charmed Apollo so much that he exchanged the cattle for the lyre, which later became the symbol of Apollo and his master instrument. Later as Hermes looked after his herd he invented panpipes known as syrinx, which was made from reeds. He also invented flute, which he trade with Apollo. He received golden staff, known as caduceus. His other inventions were foot racing and boxing. At Olympia, his statue stand at the entrance of stadium and his statue was in every gymnasium through Greece. His name is probably derived from herma (herm), the Greek word for a heap of stones, such as was used in the country to indicate boundaries or as a landmark. There he was especially worshipped as the god of fertility, and his images were ithyphallic. Hermes was in archaic art, apart from the stylized herms, depicted as a full-grown man with beard.
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Hermes - Greek God of Commerce
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