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HERMES 100.00%
Son of Zeus and of the Naiad Maia, daughter of Atlas. Immediately after his birth upon the Arcadian mountain of Cyllene, he gave proof of his chief characteristics, inventiveness and versatility, united with fascination, trickery, and cunning. Born in the morning, by mid-day he had invented the lyre; in the evening he stole fifty head of cattle from his brother Apollo, which he hid so skilfully in a cave that they could not be found; after these exploits he lay down quietly in his cradle. Apollo, by means of his prophetic power, discovered the thief and took the miscreant to Zeus, who ordered the cattle to be given up. However, Hermes so delighted his brother by his playing on the lyre that, in exchange for it, he allowed him to keep the cattle, resigned to him the golden staff of fortune and of riches, with the gift of prophecy in its humbler forms, and from that time forth became his best friend. Zeus made his son herald to the gods and the guide of the dead in Hades. In this myth we have allusions to several attributes of the god. In many districts of Greece, and especially in Arcadia, the old seat of his worship, Hermes was regarded as a god who bestowed the blessing of fertility on the pastures and herds, and who was happiest spending his time among shepherds and dallying with Nymphs, by whom he had numberless children, including Pan and Daphnis. In many places he was considered the god of crops; and also as the god of mining and of digging for buried treasure, His kindliness to man is also shown in his being the god of roads. At cross-roads in particular, there were raised in his honour and called by his name, not only heaps of stones, to which every passer by added a stone, but also the quadrangular pillars known as Hermae (q.v.) At Athens these last were set up in the streets and open spaces, and also before the doors. Every unexpected find on the road was called a gift of Hermes (hermaion). Together with Athene, he escorts and protects heroes in perilous enterprises, and gives them prudent counsels. He takes special delight in men's dealings with one another, in exchange and barter, in buying and selling; also in all that is won by craft or by theft. Thus he is the patron of tradespeople and thieves, and is himself the father of Autolycus (q.v.), the greatest of all thieves. He too it is who endowed Pandora, the first woman, with the faculty of lying, and with flattering discourse and a crafty spirit. On account of his nimbleness and activity he is the messenger of Zeus, and knows how to carry out his father's commands with adroitness and cunning, as in the slaying of Argos (the guard of Io), from which he derives his epithet of Argos-Slayer, or Argeiphontes. Again, as Hermes was the sacrificial herald of the gods, it was an important part of the duty of heralds to assist at sacrifices. It was on this account that the priestly race of the Kerykes claimed him as the head of their family (see ELEUSINIA). Strength of voice and excellence of memory were supposed to be derived, from him in his capacity of herald. Owing to his vigour, dexterity, and personal charm, he was deemed the god of gymnastic-skill, which makes men strong and handsome, and the especial patron of boxing, running, and throwing the discus; in this capacity the palaestrae and gymnasia were sacred to him, and particular feasts called Hermaia were dedicated to him. He was the discoverer of music (for besides the lyre he invented the shepherd's pipe), and he was also the god of wise and clever discourse. A later age made him even the inventor of letters, figures, mathematics, and astronomy. He is, besides, the god of sleep and of dreams, with one touch of his staff he can close or open the eyes of mortals; hence the custom, before going to sleep, of offering him the last libation. As he is the guide of the living on their way, so is he also the conductor of the souls of the dead in the nether-world (Psuchopompos), and he is as much loved by the gods of those regions as he is by those above. For this reason sacrifices were offered to him in the event of deaths, Hermae, were placed on the graves, and, at oracles and incantations of the dead, he was honoured as belonging to the lower world; in general, he was accounted the intermediary between the upper and lower worlds. His worship early spread through-out the whole of Greece. As he was born in the fourth month, the number four was sacred to him. In Argos the fourth month was named after him, and in Athens he was honoured with sacrifices on the fourth of every month. His altars and images (mostly simple Hermae) were in all the streets, thoroughfares, and open spaces, and also at the entrance of the palaestra. In art he is represented in the widely varying characters which be assumed, as a shepherd with a single animal from his flock, as a mischievous little thief, as the god of gain with a purse in his hand (cp. fig. 1), with a strigil as patron of the gymnasia, at other times with a lyre but oftenest of all as the messenger of the gods. He was portrayed by the greatest sculptors, such as Phidias, Polyclitus, Scopas, and Praxiteles, whose Hermes with the infant Dionysus was discovered in 1877, in the temple of Hera, at Olympia. (See PRAXITELES, and SCULPTURE, fig. 10.) In the older works of art he appears as a bearded and strong man; in the later ones he is to be seen in a graceful and charming attitude, as a slim youth with tranquil features, indicative of intellect and good will. His usual attributes are wings on his feet, a flat, broad-brimmed hat (see PETASUS), which in later times was ornamented with wings, as was also his staff. This last (Gr. kerykeion; Lat. caduceus, fig. 2) was originally an enchanter's wand, a symbol of the power that profinces wealth and prosperity, and also an emblem of influence over the living and the dead. But even in early times it was regarded as a herald's staff and an emblem of peaceful intercourse; it consisted of three shoots, one of which formed the handle, the other two being intertwined at the top in a knot. The place of the latter was afterwards taken by serpents; and thus arose our ordinary type of herald's staff. By the Romans Hermes was identified with MERCURIUS (q.v.).
An attribute of Hermes (q.v.).
The guider of souls, another name for Hermes.>
The deities who rule under the earth or who are connected with the lower world, as Hades, Pluto, Persephone, Demeter, Dionysus, Hecate, and Hermes.
PEITHO 25.38%
In Greek mythology the personification of persuasion Like Eros and the Graces, with whom Hesiod mentions her [Works and Days, 73], she usually appears in the train of Aphrodite. She was, indeed, considered the daughter of the goddess, and was honoured together with her, as in Athens. She was also connected with Hermes as the god of eloquence.
STENTOR 24.53%
One of the Greeks before Troy, who could shout as loudly as fifty men together (Il. v 785]. He is said to have been a Thracian or Arcadian, and to have found his death in a contest of shouting with Hermes.
HERMAE 23.78%
Pillars, smaller at the base than at the summit, which terminated generally with a head of Hermes. In the earliest times, Hermes (in whose worship the number 4 played a great part) was worshipped [especially in Arcadia, see Pausanias, viii 4 section 4; cp. iv 33 section 4] under the form of a simple quadrangular pillar of marble or wood, with the significant mark of the male sex. As art advanced, the pillar was surmounted, first with a bearded head, and afterwards with a youthful head of the god. Hermes being the god of traffic, such pillars were erected to him in the streets and squares of towns; in Attica, after the time of Hipparchus, the son of Pisistratus, they were also erected along the country roads as mile-stones. Sometimes they were inscribed with apophthegms and riddles, in addition to directions as to the way; [sometimes also with inscriptions in honour of those who had fought bravely for their country. Dem., Lept., 112; Aeschines, Or. 3 section 183.] In Athens there was an especially large num of them; in the market-place to the N.W. of the Acropolis, the Hermae, erected partly by private individuals and partly by corporations, formed a long colonnade extending between the Hall of Paintings (stoa poikile) and the King's Hall (stoa basileios). Accordingly, the latter was sometimes called the Hall of Hermae. When the heads of other divinities (such as Athene, Heracles, Eros) were placed on such pillars, these were then called Hermathene, Hermeracles, Hermeros.
DAPHNIS 22.84%
A hero of the Sicilian shepherds, son of Hermes and of a nymph. A beautiful child, he was exposed by his mother in a grove of bay trees, brought up by nymphs and Pan, and taught by Pan to play the shepherd's flute. He had plighted his troth to a nymph, but breaking his word, he was punished by her with blindness, or (according to another story) turned into a stone. According to another fable, Aphrodite inflicted upon him a hopeless and fatal passion for a woman, because he had despised the love of a girl whom she had wished him to wed. Hermes took him up to heaven and created a fountain at the spot where he was taken. At this fountain the Sicilians offered yearly sacrifices. Daphnis was regarded as the inventor of bucolic poetry, and his fate was a favourite subjecit with bucolic poets. [See Theocritus, Idyll i.]
CHIONE 22.03%
Daughter of Daedalion, mother of Philammon by Apollo, and of Autolycus by Hermes. She was slain by Artemis for venturing to compare her own beauty with that of the goddess. (See DAeDALION.)
CERYX 21.90%
The son of Pandrosos and Hermes, and the ancestor of the Keryces of Eleusis (see CERYX, 2). Herse (or Erse) was mother, by Hermes, of the beautiful Cephalus (See CEPHALUS). She had a special festival in her honour, the Arrhephoria (see ARREPHORIA). Agraulos, mother of Alcippe, by Ares, was said in one story to have thrown herself down from the citadel during a war to save her country. It was, accordingly, in her precincts on the Acropolis that the young men of Athens, when they received their spears and shields, took their oath to defend their country to the death, invoking her name with those of the Charities Auxo and Hegemone. According to another story, Athene entrusted Erichthonius to the keeping of the three sisters in a closed chest, with the command that they were not to open it. Agraulos and Herse disobeyed, went mad, and threw themselves down from the rocks of the citadel.
CERYX 21.62%
In Greek mythology, the son of Hermes, the herald of the gods, by Agraulos the daughter of Cecrops, or (according to another story) of Eumolpus, and ancestor of the Eleusinian family of the Kerykes, one of whose members always performed the functions of a herald at the Eleusinian mysteries.
MAIA 20.07%
Daughter of Atlas and Pleione, one of the Pleiads (q.v.), mother of Hermes by Zeus. The Romans identified her with an old Italian goddess of spring, Maia Maiestas (also called Fauna, Bona Dea, Ops), who was held to be the wife of Vulcan, and to whom the flamen of that god sacrificed a pregnant sow on the 1st of May.
Son of Hermes and Chione, or (according to another account) Philonis, father of Anticleia, the mother of Odysseus. In Greek mythology he figured as the prince of thieves. From his father he inherited the gift of making himself and all his stolen goods invisible, or changing them so as to preclude the possibility of recognition. He was an accomplished wrestler, and was said to have given Heracles instruction in the art.
PELOPS 19.02%
Son of the Lydian or Phrygian king Tantalus and Dione, daughter of Atlas. When he was a child, his father slew him, cut him to pieces and seethed him, and set him as food before the gods. The gods did not touch the horrible meal; only Demeter, absorbed in grief for her stolen daughter, ate one shoulder. By the command of Zeus, Hermes replaced the pieces in the caldron, and Clotho drew the boy from it in renewed beauty, while Demeter replaced the missing shoulder by one made of ivory. Hence it was that his descendants, the Pelopidae, bore on one shoulder a mark of dazzling whiteness. Pelops, when grown to manhood, went to Pisa in Elis as a wooer of Hippodamia, daughter of king (Enomaus. He won the victory, the bride, and the kingdom, by the help of the winged steeds given him by Poseidon, and by the treachery of Myrtilus, the chariot driver of (Enomaus. When Myrtilus (or Myrsilus), a son of Hermes, claimed the promised reward, half the kingdom, Pelops hurled him from his chariot into the sea. Through his curse and the anger of Hermes, the baneful spell was once more cast upon the house of Pelops. He returned to Pisa, and, after he had made himself master of Olympia, he is said to have restored the games with great splendour, a service for which his memory was afterwards honoured above that of all other heroes. By another act of violence he obtained possession of Arcadia, and extended his power so widely over the peninsula that it was called after his name the Peloponnesus, or "island of Pelops." By Hippodamia he had six sons (cp. ALCATHOUS, ATREUS, PITTHEUS, THYESTES), and two daughters; and by then Nymph Axioche, a son Chrysippus. The latter, his father's favourite, was killed by Atreus and Thyestes, at the instigation of Hippodamia, and his dead body was cast into a well. Peleus discovered the crime, and banished the murderers from the country. Hippodamia thereupon took refuge with her sons at Midea in Argolis. On her death, Peleus buried her bones in the soil of Olympia.
EIRENE 18.44%
The Greek goddess of peace, one of the Horae. She was worshipped as goddess of wealth, and represented accordingly as a young woman with Platus in her arms. (See PLUTUS.) Among her other attributes are the cornucopia, the olive branch, Hermes' staff, and ears of corn in her hand and on her head. The corresponding deity among the Romans was Pax, to whom an altar was set up on July 4th, 13 B.C., on the return of Augustus from Gaul.
LYCUS 17.89%
Son of Poseidon and the Pleiad Celaeno, married to Dirce. He took over the government of Thebes after his brother Nyoteus, for Labdacus, who was a minor; and, after the death of Labdacus for his son Laius. He was either killed by Amphion (q.v.) and zethus, or (according to another account) handed the government of Thebes over to them at the behest of Hermes.
ANUBIS 17.36%
An Egyptian god, son of Osiris, conductor and watcher of the dead, whose deeds he and HORUS (q.v.) were supposed to weigh in the balance in presence of their father Osiris. He was represented with the head of a jackal or dog-ape. The worship of Anubis was introduced among the Greeks and Romans (who represented him in the form of a dog), together with that of Serapis and Isis; especially in the time of the emperors, as he was identified with Hermes.
PETASUS 15.81%
A flat felt hat, with a broad and round brim, usually worn among the Thessalians. The brim is often parted into four bow-shaped indentations (fig. 2). It is said to have been introduced into Greece along with the chlamys as a distinguishing mark of the ephebi. Hermes is usually represented with the winged petasus. The Romans wore a similar hat in the country, and when travelling; in the city it was generally used only in the theatre, as a protection from the sun.
IRIS 15.41%
The daughter of Thaumas and of Electra, and a sister of the Harpies. She is the personification of the rainbow which unites heaven and earth. As a virgin goddess, swift as the breeze and with wings of gold, she is the messenger of the gods, especially of Zeus and Hera, and, according to later writers, exclusively of the latter. She bears their behests from the ends of the earth even to the river Styx, and into the depths of the sea. As a messenger of the gods she resembles Hermes, and therefore carries the herald's staff of that divinity.
PERSEUS 15.05%
Son of Zeus and Danae, grandson of Acrisius (q.v.). An oracle had declared that Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, would give birth to a son who would kill his grandfather. Acrisius committed Perseus with his mother to the sea in a wooden box, which was carried by the waves to the isle of Seriphus. Here the honest fisherman Dictys son of Magnes (See AeOLUS, 1) brought it to land with his net, and took care of mother and child. Dictys' brother Polydectes, however, the king of the island, conceived a passion for the fair Danae, and finding the son in the way, betrayed the young Perseus, who was now grown out of boyhood, into promising, on the occasion of a banquet, to do anything for him, even should he order the head of Medusa, and held him to his word. Encouraged and assisted by Athene and Hermes, Perseus reached the Graiae (q.v.), in the farthest part of Libya; and by capturing the single eye and tooth which they possessed in common, compelled them to show him the way to their sisters the Gorgons (q.v.). He also made them equip him for the undertaking with the winged sandals, the magic bag, and the helmet of Hades, which made the wearer invisible. Hermes added to these a sharp sword shaped like a sickle. Thus provided, he flew to the Gorgons on the shores of Oceanus, found them asleep, and, since their glance turned the beholder to stone, with face averted smote and cut off Medusa's head, which Athens showed him in the mirror of her shield, while she guided his hand for the blow. He thrust it quickly into his bag, and flew off through the air, pursued by the other two Gorgons; but, by virtue of his helmet, he escaped them, and came in his flight to Aethiopia. Here he rescued Andromeda (q.v.), and won her as his bride. Returning with her to Seriphus, he avenged his mother for the importunities of Polydectes by turning the king and his friends into stone by the sight of Medusa's head; set Dictys on the throne of the island; gave up the presents of the, Graiae to Hermes, who restored them; and presented the Gorgon's head to Athene, who set it in the middle of her shield or breastplate. Then he returned with his mother and wife to Argos. But before his arrival Acrisius bad gone away to Larissa in Thessaly, and here Perseus unwittingly killed him with a discus at the funeral games held in honour of the king of that country. He duly buried the body of his grandfather, but, being unwilling to succeed to his inheritance, effected an exchange with Megapenthes, his uncle Proetus' son, took Tiryns in exchange for Argos and built Midea and Mycenae. By Andromeda he had one daughter, Gorgophone, and six sons. The eldest, Perses, was regarded as the ancestor of the Persians; Alcaeus, Sthenelus, and Electryon were the fathers respectively of Amphitryon, Eurystheus, and Alcmene, the mother of Heracles. Perseus had a shrine (heroon) on the road between Argos and Mycenae, and was worshipped with divine honours in Seriphus and Athens.
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