What Is a Myth Associated With Hermes?

Hermes, the Greek god of commerce, communication, and trickery, is known for his winged sandals and caduceus staff. He is often depicted as a messenger of the gods, delivering messages between the divine and mortal worlds. However, like many figures in Greek mythology, there are myths associated with him that have been misunderstood or misinterpreted over time.

One myth that is commonly associated with Hermes is that he was a thief. While it’s true that Hermes was known for his cunning and trickery, he was not necessarily a thief in the traditional sense. In fact, he was more of a trickster who used his wit and charm to get what he wanted.

According to one myth, Hermes stole Apollo’s cattle shortly after he was born. To avoid getting caught by Apollo, Hermes cleverly disguised the cows’ tracks by walking them backwards. When Apollo eventually confronted Hermes about the theft, Hermes played dumb and innocent until Apollo found out the truth from a witness.

However, this myth has been misinterpreted to suggest that Hermes was a thief who stole from others without remorse. In reality, Hermes was more of a mediator between different factions of gods and mortals. He used his cunning to negotiate deals and settle disputes rather than to steal from others.

Another myth associated with Hermes is that he was only interested in material wealth and personal gain. This is also a misconception as Hermes was actually quite philanthropic in nature. He would often assist travelers who were lost or in need of help on their journeys.

Hermes was also known for his role as a psychopomp – guiding souls to the afterlife. This shows that he had an interest in helping others beyond just material wealth or personal gain.

In conclusion, while there are myths associated with Hermes that portray him as a thief or selfish figure, these interpretations are largely incorrect. As with many figures in Greek mythology, it’s important to understand the context and symbolism behind the myths to truly appreciate the complexity of these characters. Hermes, with his wit, charm, and penchant for mediation, is a fascinating figure who continues to captivate readers and scholars alike.