How Was Hermes Born?

Hermes, the Greek God of commerce, thieves, and travelers, is one of the most important gods in Greek mythology. He is also known as the messenger of the gods, as he was responsible for carrying messages from one god to another.

But have you ever wondered how Hermes was born? Let’s delve into his fascinating origin story.

The Parents of Hermes

Hermes was born to Zeus and Maia. Zeus, the king of gods, fell in love with Maia, who was a nymph and daughter of Atlas.

They had a secret affair in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. It is said that when Hermes was born, he immediately showed his mischievous nature by stealing Apollo’s cattle.

The Birth of Hermes

The birth of Hermes was unusual as he was born with extraordinary abilities like speed and cunningness. According to legend, Maia gave birth to him in a cave on Mount Cyllene at dawn and by midday he had already invented the lyre using a tortoise shell.

Hermes’ Childhood

As a child, Hermes was known for his love for mischief and trickery. He would often steal things from other gods and play pranks on them.

However, when he stole Apollo’s cattle, things took a serious turn. Apollo demanded that Hermes return his cattle or face dire consequences.

The Theft of Apollo’s Cattle

Hermes cleverly hid the cattle by making them walk backward so their tracks would lead to their original location. When Apollo found out about this trickery, he confronted Hermes. However, instead of returning the cattle directly to Apollo, Hermes offered him his lyre as compensation.

Hermes’ Role as Messenger of the Gods

After this incident with Apollo, Zeus decided to make use of Hermes’ cunningness and appointed him as the messenger of the gods. Hermes quickly became known for his speed and efficiency in delivering messages between the gods.

The Symbolism of Hermes

Hermes is often depicted with a winged hat, sandals, and a staff. The winged hat symbolizes his speed, while the sandals represent his ability to travel quickly. The staff, also known as the caduceus, is a symbol of commerce and negotiation.


Hermes’ birth and childhood were full of mischief and trickery, which set the tone for his role in Greek mythology as the god of commerce, thieves, travelers, and messenger of the gods. His unique abilities made him an important figure in Greek mythology who was revered for his cunningness and speed.