Hermes: Greek God, Trickster and Messenger to the Gods


Kelly Macquire
published on 02 April 2021

Hermes was the Ancient Greek god of trade, wealth, luck, fertility, animal husbandry, sleep, language, thieves, and travel. He is known as the trickster of the Greek pantheon, and most recognisable is his position as the Messenger to the Gods… well, mostly the messenger for Zeus. Along with being very clever and mischievous, Hermes is credited with the invention of the lyre although he is not the god associated with music!

Hermes was a trickster since his first day of life when he stole Apollo's sacred cows, and then sacrificed two of them to the gods! As the herald of the gods, Hermes became associated with crossing boundaries with his movements between the realm of the gods and the world of mortals. The Caduceus, a staff with two serpents twisted around it, is a symbol of Hermes and his association with the crossing of boundaries and the transitions from this life to the afterlife.

Greek Mythology
The Twelve Olympian Gods
The Desecration of the Statues of Hermes, 415 BCE

The Legend of Hercules (Herakles): Greatest Hero in Greek Mythology
Prometheus, the Titan Who Stole Fire and Gave It to Humanity
Sappho of Lesbos: The Female Poet of Ancient Greece

0:00 Introduction
0:55 Who is Hermes?
4:04 Myths of Hermes
7:19 Worship of Hermes
7:43 Hermes in statues
8:51 Outro

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here -

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Mark Cartwright

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2021, April 02). Hermes: Greek God, Trickster and Messenger to the Gods. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Hermes: Greek God, Trickster and Messenger to the Gods." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified April 02, 2021.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Hermes: Greek God, Trickster and Messenger to the Gods." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 02 Apr 2021. Web. 19 Jun 2024.