The Legend of Hermes: the Agile Messenger of the Greek Pantheon

The history of antiquity is full of fascinating characters, but few embody the vivacity and ingenuity of Hermes, the winged messenger of the Olympian gods. This versatile god had more than one trick up his sleeve when it came to seducing, convincing and guiding deities and mortals alike. His presence is an Ariadne's thread through the Greek myths, weaving a web of stories highlighting the richness of mythology.

Hermes is the fruit of the union between Zeus, king of the gods, and Maia, one of the Pleiades. He was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia, and from the very first day of his life, he demonstrated his mischievous and ingenious character.

  • Among his earliest exploits, he made a lyre from a tortoise shell and stole his brother Apollo's flock, only to cover his tracks with cunning.

The Attributes of Hermes

The Caduceus

  • Symbolism : The caduceus, with its two snakes entwined around a wand, is often associated with peace and negotiation, reflecting Hermes' ability to soothe and communicate.

The Winged Sandals

  • Significance: They gave him divine speed, illustrating his nature as a messenger and his freedom to travel between worlds.

The Petascus

  • Hermes' hat: This attribute, often overlooked, represented his role as guide and protector of travelers.

Other Attributes

  • Lyre and purse : The lyre symbolized harmony, while the purse reflected his influence on commerce and transactions.

The Functions and Roles of Hermes

As messenger of the gods, Hermes served as a link between Olympus and earth, but also as conductor of souls , escorting mortals on their journey to the afterlife. His dualism also made him the protector of merchants and thieves, a god of opportunism and of dexterity. Chauffeur of Olympus, he watched over those who took the road, offering them his benevolence.

The Adventures of Hermes

  • The invention of the lyre: With malice, he created this instrument and calmed Apollo's wrath, thus beginning an eternal friendship with him.
  • The theft of the flocks**: A witty story in which Hermes uses subterfuge to conceal his misdeed, before brilliantly negotiating.
  • The Trojan War**: In this epic, Hermes plays crucial roles, navigating between the camps with his divine messages.
  • Mythological interactions: His encounter with the giant Argos and his intervention in the myth of Orpheus are just some of the chapters in his complex legend.

Hermes in Literature and Art

From the dawn of ancient texts, with Homer and Hesiod, Hermes is present, agile and cunning. His image is engraved in the stone of temples and statuettes, remaining a constant source of inspiration for artists the world over , far beyond the borders of ancient Greece.

Hermes' legacy in the modern world

Even today, Hermes is part of our daily lives, whether in astrology , where he is associated with Mercury, in Jungian psychology, or through brands and cultural references, proving that his legend is alive and well.


Hermes, with his winged sandals and caduceus, has never ceased to captivate and guide mankind. He remains a symbol of intelligence, movement and insight, his legend continuing to resonate through time.


The myths recounted and interpretations of the Hermes story are drawn from various sources, including the Homeric works, the writings of Hesiod and the epics that shaped Greek mythology.

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