What Are Symbols of Hermes?

The Greek god Hermes, also known as Mercury in Roman mythology, is the god of commerce, communication, and travelers. He was a popular deity in ancient Greece and was worshipped by merchants, thieves, and athletes alike.

Depictions of Hermes in art and literature often feature various symbols that are associated with his domain of influence. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the symbols of Hermes.

The Caduceus

One of the most recognizable symbols of Hermes is the caduceus. This is a staff that features two intertwined serpents and is topped with wings.

It is said that Hermes used the caduceus to guide the souls of the dead to the underworld. The caduceus has also become associated with medicine in modern times and is often used as a symbol for healthcare organizations.

Winged Sandals

Another iconic symbol associated with Hermes is his winged sandals. According to mythology, these sandals allowed Hermes to move swiftly across great distances.

This made him the patron god of travelers and messengers. The wings on his sandals have come to represent speed and agility.


The petasos was a wide-brimmed hat worn by ancient Greek travelers to protect them from the sun. In depictions of Hermes, he is often seen wearing this hat along with his winged sandals.


Similar to winged sandals, talaria are winged boots that were worn by gods in ancient Greek mythology for their powers of flight. These boots are also associated with Mercury/Hermes because they represent his ability to move quickly between worlds.

The Lyre

Hermes was also considered the god of music and was credited with inventing several musical instruments including the lyre which he gave to Apollo as a gift. The lyre is a stringed instrument that has a U-shaped soundbox and is played by plucking the strings.

The Rooster

In some depictions, Hermes can be seen holding or accompanied by a rooster. This bird was sacred to Hermes because of its association with dawn and the heralding of a new day. It was also said that roosters had the ability to ward off evil spirits.

The Tortoise

Another animal associated with Hermes is the tortoise. According to myth, Hermes used the shell of a tortoise to create the first lyre. The tortoise represents creativity and resourcefulness.

  • In conclusion, these symbols of Hermes have become iconic representations of his various domains of influence including commerce, communication, music, travel, and creativity. From his caduceus to his winged sandals, each symbol has its own story and meaning that contributes to the overall mythos of this beloved god.