The gods' messenger
and protector of the travelers, merchants, herds, gymnasiums, stadium, good
luck and wealth, Hermes was pictured with winged sandals, a winged hat (petasos)
and a magic wand (caducee) . His father was Zeus
and his mother the Titan
Maia. He was the main god worshipped in Arcadia and with the nymph
Dryops he had the son Pan.
Hermes was also a psychopomp, the guide of the deads' souls to the underworld. He was a trickster, a dubious character in mythology, and was the protector of thieves as well.
According to myth, Hermes had invented the lyre out of the shell of a turtle and intestants of sheep He then gave it to Apollo as a peace offering after being accused of stealing the gods herd. In return, Apollo gave him a golden rod.
Hermes was also the god of good speech and was worshipped as such in the ancient gymnasiums. When Paulus and Barnabus were taken for gods in Lystra the people called Paulus Hermes, since he was the preacher.
He was also the gods of athletics. On roads travellers would put stones in piles as roadmarks, and eventually heads of Hermes were put there. These roadmarks, which could also be found outside houses, were called herms. When Alcibiades was charged with vandalisation in Athens, it was all the herms of the city that had been destroyed.
The Romans called Hermes Mercurius, in English Mercury.
Hermes also had the following epithets:
Acacesius, Agetor, Agoraeus, Criophorus, Cyllenius, Epimelius, Nomacriates, Polygius, Promachus, Psychopompus.