Why Is Hermes Important to Greek Mythology?

Greek mythology is a fascinating subject that has captivated people for centuries. Among the numerous gods and goddesses in Greek mythology, Hermes is one of the most important and intriguing figures.

Hermes is known as the messenger of the gods, the god of commerce, thieves, travelers, and shepherds. He’s also known for his cunning and mischievous nature. In this article, we’ll explore why Hermes is so important to Greek mythology.

Birth of Hermes

Hermes was born to Zeus, the king of gods, and Maia, a nymph. According to legend, when Hermes was born, he immediately showed his mischievous nature by stealing Apollo’s cattle. To hide his tracks, he put shoes on their feet backward so that they would appear to be walking in the opposite direction.

Hermes’ Attributes

Hermes is often depicted wearing a wide-brimmed hat called a petasos and a pair of winged sandals called talaria. He also carries a staff called a caduceus that features two snakes wrapped around it. The caduceus has become a symbol of medicine in modern times as it represents healing powers.

Hermes’ Role in Greek Mythology

As mentioned earlier, Hermes is known as the messenger of the gods. He’s responsible for delivering messages from one god to another and from the gods to mortals. He’s also known for his role as a guide for souls entering the afterlife.

In addition to being a messenger, Hermes is also associated with commerce and trade. He’s considered to be the patron god of merchants because he oversees all commercial transactions.

Another interesting aspect of Hermes’ character is his association with thieves and travelers. As the god of thieves, he was believed to protect those who stole from others but did so with skill and cunning rather than brute force. As the god of travelers, he was responsible for ensuring safe journeys and protecting travelers from harm.

Hermes in Art and Literature

Hermes is a popular subject in Greek art and literature. He’s often depicted in paintings, sculptures, and other works of art wearing his petasos hat and talaria sandals while carrying his caduceus staff. In literature, he appears in numerous myths and stories, including the story of Perseus where he helps the hero defeat Medusa.


In conclusion, Hermes is an important figure in Greek mythology due to his multiple roles as a messenger, patron god of merchants, protector of thieves and travelers, and guide for souls entering the afterlife. With his mischievous nature and cunning abilities, Hermes has become an intriguing character that continues to captivate people to this day.