Hermes with his mother Maia. Detail of the side B of an Attic red-figure belly-amphora, c. 500 BC.
Hermes is the messenger of the gods. He is the god of travellers and shepherds in Greek mythology. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and is often shown with his caduceus.
Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia. He was born on Mount Cyllene. The story of his birth was told in the Homeric Hymn, which means Hymn to Hermes. It said that Maia was a nymph.
Hermes was very clever and on his first day invented the lyre, by using the shell of a tortoise. One of the myths about Hermes is that he once stole his brother's oxen, and burned them as a sacrifice.
Images for kids
Kriophoros Hermes (which takes the lamb), late-Roman copy of Greek original from the 5th century BC. Barracco Museum, Rome
Statue of Hermes wearing the petasos, a voyager's cloak, the caduceus and a purse. Roman copy after a Greek original (Vatican Museums).
Archaic bearded Hermes from a herm, early 5th century BC.