When Hermes was born, he jumped out of his crib, stole Apollo’s cattle and then went back to his crib playing innocent. However, Apollo figured it out, grabbed Hermes and went to Zeus to complain. The father of gods simply laughed and didn’t punish Hermes. To apologise, Hermes gave Apollo the lyre which he had just invented. Hermes appeared in many other myths; in the Odyssey, Odysseus was instructed by the god to chew a magic herb with which he would be able to avoid Circe’s powers and not be transformed to animals like his companions; in the myth of Pandora, when the gods provided a trait to her, Hermes gave her the ability to lie and seduce with her words.


View from Varnevo I - Mt Cyllene by Amphithoe, 2015.
Via Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/amphithoe/18512064489

Homeric Hymn 4: To Hermes: 

Muse, sing of Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia, lord of Cyllene and Arcadia, rich in flocks, the luck-bringing messenger of the immortals whom Maia bare, the rich-tressed nymph, when she was joined in love with Zeus, —a shy goddess, for she avoided the company of the blessed gods, and lived within a deep, shady cave. There the son of Cronos used to lie with the rich-tressed nymph, unseen by deathless gods and mortal men, at dead of night while sweet sleep should hold white-armed Hera fast. 

And when the purpose of great Zeus was fulfilled, and the tenth moon with her was fixed in heaven, she was delivered and a notable thing was come to pass. For then she bare a son, of many shifts, blandly cunning, a robber, a cattle driver, a bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, a thief at the gates, one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds among the deathless gods. Born with the dawning, at mid-day he played on the lyre, and in the evening he stole the cattle of far-shooting Apollo on the fourth day of the month; for on that day queenly Maia bare him.

- Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White (X)


Attic Black-Figure Epinetron Depicting Dionysus, Athena and Hermes, C. 500-490 BC

This large black-figure epinetron fragment depicts three of the most celebrated mythological personalities of ancient Greece in fine detail. An enthroned Dionysus, god of wine and fertility, is represented on the left hand side, identified by his drinking horn (keras). He looks on to Athena, patron goddess of Athens and warfare, wisdom, and handicrafts, who steps on to her war chariot clad in her customary goatskin aegis, wearing an Attic helmet, and heavily armed with a spear and a goad. The goddess appears to have received some urgent news from Hermes, the multi-faceted messenger god that urges her to take swift action. The deity carries a caduceus, a characteristic attribute that served as his staff, and was the symbol of commerce, an additional role of the god.

Epinetra are one of the more unusual painted pottery forms, in the sense that they did not function as vessels, but were exclusively used by women, placed over the thigh during the preparation of wool for weaving in order to protect the leg. They were a popular wedding present and were sometimes used as votive offerings dedicated to Athena. Later examples are decorated in red-figure.

[A young May Castellan is walking home from work, escorted by Hermes who is attempting to flirt with her to varying degrees of success]

May(Unlocking the front door): Is there a point to actually inviting you in when you’d just follow me anyway?

Hermes(Hands over his heart in mock injury): May, you wound me! A gentleman never comes in uninvited.

May(Amused): Even when that gentleman is the god of burglars?

Hermes(Walking inside after her): Thieves, May, that’s THIEVES. And particularly then.

May(Crossing towards the bathroom): Well, I’m going to go shower. In the meantime, the kettle’s on the stove if you want tea, and I give you free range of the fridge. Do you think you can manage not to steal anything while I’m gone?

Hermes(Leaning against the doorway): The only thing I’m trying to steal is your heart, May.

May(Trying and failing not to smile): You’re not that talented a thief, mister.