Hermes is familiar as the messenger god in Greek mythology. In a related capacity, he brought the dead to the Underworld in his role of "Psychopompos". Zeus made his thieving son Hermes god of commerce. Hermes invented various devices, especially musical ones, and possibly fire. He is known as a helpful god.
Another aspect of Hermes is fertility god. It may be in connection with this role that the Greeks sculpted phallic stone markers or herms for Hermes.
Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia (one of the Pleiades).
Offspring of Hermes
Hermes' union with Aphrodite produced Hermaphroditus. It may have yielded Eros, Tyche, and perhaps Priapus. His union with a nymph, perhaps Callisto, produced Pan. He also sired Autolycus and Myrtilus. There are other possible children.
Romans called Hermes Mercury.
Hermes is sometimes shown as young and sometimes bearded. He wears a hat, winged sandals, and short cloak. Hermes has a tortoise-shell lyre and the staff of a shepherd. In his role as psychopomps, Hermes is the "herdsman" of the dead. Hermes is referred to as luck-bringing (messenger), giver of grace, and the Slayer of Argus.
Hermes is called Psychopompos (Herdsman of the dead or guider of souls), messenger, patron of travelers and athletics, bringer of sleep and dreams, thief, trickster. Hermes is a god of commerce and music. Hermes is the messenger or Herald of the gods and was known for his cunning and as a thief from the day of his birth. Hermes is the father of Pan and Autolycus.
Ancient sources for Hades include Aeschylus, Apollodorus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Diodorus Siculus, Euripides, Hesiod, Homer, Hyginus, Ovid, Parthenius of Nicaea, Pausanias, Pindar, Plato, Plutarch, Statius, Strabo, and Vergil.
Myths about Hermes (Mercury) re-told by Thomas Bulfinch include:
- Golden Fleece - Medea
- Juno and Her Rivals, Io and Callisto - Diana and Actaeon - Latona and the Rustics
- Prometheus and Pandora
- Cupid and Psyche
- Hercules -- Hebe and Ganymede
- Midas - Baucis and Philemon