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According to HyginusFabula, Pan, the Greek god of nature, shepherds and flocks, is the son of Hermes through the nymph Dryope. It is likely that the worship of Hermes himself actually originated as an aspect of Pan as the god of boundaries, which could explain their association as parent and child in Hyginus. In other sources, the god Priapus is understood as a son of Hermes.

According to Pseudo-Apollodorus’ Bibliotheca, Autolycus, the Prince of Thieves, was a son of Hermes and Chione, making Hermes a great-grandfather of Odysseus.

Photius wrote that Polydeuces, one of the Dioscuri, was a lover of Hermes.

Once, Hermes chased either Persephone or Hecate with the aim to rape her but the goddess snored or roared in anger, frightening him off so that he desisted, hence her earning the name “Brimo” .

Offspring and mothers, Table 1


Temples And Sacred Places

There are only three temples known to have been specifically dedicated to Hermes during the Classical Greek period, all of them in Arcadia. Though there are a few references in ancient literature to “numerous” temples of Hermes, this may be poetic license describing the ubiquitous herms, or other, smaller shrines to Hermes located in the temples of other deities. One of the oldest places of worship for Hermes was Mount Cyllene in Arcadia, where some myths say he was born. Tradition holds that his first temple was built by Lycaon. From there, the Hermes cult would have been taken to Athens, from which it radiated to the whole of Greece. In the Roman period, additional temples to Hermes were constructed across the Empire, including several in modern-day Tunisia. Mercury’s temple in Rome was situated in the Circus Maximus, between the Aventine and Palatine hills, and was built in 495 BC.

In most places, temples were consecrated to Hermes in conjunction with Aphrodite, as in Attica, Arcadia, Crete, Samos and in Magna Graecia. Several ex-votos found in his temples revealed his role as initiator of young adulthood, among them soldiers and hunters, since war and certain forms of hunting were seen as ceremonial initiatory ordeals. This function of Hermes explains why some images in temples and other vessels show him as a teenager.

Plato’s Concept Of Soulmates

A long time ago, there were three kinds of human beings: male, descended from the sun female, descended from the earth and androgynous, descended from the moon. Each human being was completely round, with four arms and fours legs, two identical faces on opposite sides of a head with four ears, and all else to match. They were powerful and unruly. Otis and Ephialtes even dared to scale Mount Olympus.

To check their insolence, Zeus devised a plan to humble them and improve their manners instead of completely destroying them. He cut them all in two and asked Apollo to make necessary repairs, giving humans the individual shape they still have now. Apollo turned their heads and necks around towards their wounds, he pulled together their skin at the abdomen, and sewed the skin together at the middle of it. This is what we call navel today. He smoothened the wrinkles and shaped the chest. But he made sure to leave a few wrinkles on the abdomen and around the navel so that they might be reminded of their punishment.

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As A Chthonic And Fertility God

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Beginning with the earliest records of his worship, Hermes has been understood as a chthonic deity . As a chthonic deity, the worship of Hermes also included an aspect relating to fertility, with the phallus being included among his major symbols. The inclusion of phallic imagery associated with Hermes and placed, in the form of herma, at the entrances to households may reflect a belief in ancient times that Hermes was a symbol of the household’s fertility, specifically the potency of the male head of the household in producing children.

The association between Hermes and the underworld is related to his function as a god of boundaries , but he is considered a psychopomp, a deity who helps guide souls of the deceased to the afterlife, and his image was commonly depicted on gravestones in classical Greece.

In The Hellenistic Period

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Hermes Fastening his SandalLysippan

As Greek culture and influence spread following the conquests of Alexander the Great, a period of syncretism or interpretatio graeca saw many traditional Greek deities identified with foreign counterparts. In Ptolemaic Egypt, for example, the Egyptian god Thoth was identified by Greek speakers as the Egyptian form of Hermes. The two gods were worshiped as one at the Temple of Thoth in Khemenu, a city which became known in Greek as Hermopolis. This led to Hermes gaining the attributes of a god of translation and interpretation, or more generally, a god of knowledge and learning. This is illustrated by a 3rd-century BC example of a letter sent by the priest Petosiris to King Nechopso, probably written in Alexandria c. 150 BC, stating that Hermes is the teacher of all secret wisdoms, which are accessible by the experience of religious ecstasy.

An epithet of Thoth found in the temple at Esna, “Thoth the great, the great, the great”, became applied to Hermes beginning in at least 172 BC. This lent Hermes one of his most famous later titles, Hermes Trismegistus , “thrice-greatest Hermes”. The figure of Hermes Trismegistus would later absorb a variety of other esoteric wisdom traditions and become a major component of Hermeticism, alchemy, and related traditions.

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Celtic Epithets And Cult Titles

Apollo was worshipped throughout the Roman Empire. In the traditionally Celtic lands, he was most often seen as a healing and sun god. He was often equated with Celtic gods of similar character.

As A God Of Boundaries

In Ancient Greece, Hermes was a phallic god of boundaries. His name, in the form herma, was applied to a wayside marker pile of stones and each traveler added a stone to the pile. In the 6th century BC, Hipparchus, the son of Pisistratus, replaced the cairns that marked the midway point between each village deme at the central agora of Athens with a square or rectangular pillar of stone or bronze topped by a bust of a bearded Hermes. An erect phallus rose from the base. In the more primitive Mount Kyllini or Cyllenian herms, the standing stone or wooden pillar was simply a carved phallus. “That a monument of this kind could be transformed into an Olympian god is astounding,” Walter Burkert remarked. In Athens, herms were placed outside houses, both as a form of protection for the home, a symbol of male fertility, and as a link between the household and its gods with the gods of the wider community.

In 415 BC, on the night when the Athenian fleet was about to set sail for Syracuse during the Peloponnesian War, all of the Athenian hermai were vandalized. The Athenians at the time believed it was the work of saboteurs, either from Syracuse or from the anti-war faction within Athens itself. Socrates‘ pupil Alcibiades was suspected of involvement, and one of the charges eventually made against Socrates which led to his execution 16 years later was that he had either corrupted Alcibiades or failed to guide him away from his moral corruption.

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Building The Walls Of Troy

Once Apollo and Poseidon served under the Trojan king Laomedon in accordance to Zeus’ words. Apollodorus states that the gods willingly went to the king disguised as humans in order to check his hubris. Apollo guarded the cattle of Laomedon in the valleys of mount Ida, while Poseidon built the walls of Troy. Other versions make both Apollo and Poseidon the builders of the wall. In Ovid’s account, Apollo completes his task by playing his tunes on his lyre.

In Pindar‘s odes, the gods took a mortal named Aeacus as their assistant. When the work was completed, three snakes rushed against the wall, and though the two that attacked the sections of the wall built by the gods fell down dead, the third forced its way into the city through the portion of the wall built by Aeacus. Apollo immediately prophesied that Troy would fall at the hands of Aeacus’s descendants, the Aeacidae .

However, the king not only refused to give the gods the wages he had promised, but also threatened to bind their feet and hands, and sell them as slaves. Angered by the unpaid labour and the insults, Apollo infected the city with a pestilence and Posedion sent the sea monster Cetus. To deliver the city from it, Laomedon had to sacrifice his daughter Hesione .

During his stay in Troy, Apollo had a lover named Ourea, who was a nymph and daughter of Poseidon. Together they had a son named Ileus, whom Apollo loved dearly.

Postclassical Art And Literature

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Dance and music

Apollo has featured in dance and music in modern culture. Percy Bysshe Shelley composed a “Hymn of Apollo” , and the god’s instruction of the Muses formed the subject of Igor Stravinsky‘s Apollon musagète . In 1978, the Canadian band Rush released an album with songs “Apollo: Bringer of Wisdom”/”Dionysus: Bringer of Love”.


Apollo been portrayed in modern literature, such as when Charles Handy, in Gods of Management uses Greek gods as a metaphor to portray various types of organizational culture. Apollo represents a ‘role’ culture where order, reason, and bureaucracy prevail. In 2016, author Rick Riordan published the first book in the Trials of Apollo series, publishing four other books in the series in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The Overthrow of Apollo and the Pagan GodsOn the Morning of Christ’s Nativity


Apollo has been depicted in modern filmsfor instance, by Keith David in the 1997 animated feature film Hercules, by Luke Evans in the 2010 action film Clash of the Titans, and by Dimitri Lekkos in the 2010 film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

Video games

Apollo has appeared in many modern video games. Apollo appears as a minor character in Santa Monica Studio‘s 2010 action-adventure game God of War III with his bow being used by Peirithous. He also appears in the 2014 Hi-Rez StudiosMultiplayer Online Battle Arena game Smite as a playable character.

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Nurturer Of The Young

Apollo Kourotrophos is the god who nurtures and protects children and the young, especially boys. He oversees their education and their passage into adulthood. Education is said to have originated from Apollo and the Muses. Many myths have him train his children. It was a custom for boys to cut and dedicate their long hair to Apollo after reaching adulthood.

Chiron, the abandoned centaur, was fostered by Apollo, who instructed him in medicine, prophecy, archery and more. Chiron would later become a great teacher himself.

Asclepius in his childhood gained much knowledge pertaining to medicinal arts by his father. However, he was later entrusted to Chiron for further education.

Anius, Apollo’s son by Rhoeo, was abandoned by his mother soon after his birth. Apollo brought him up and educated him in mantic arts. Anius later became the priest of Apollo and the king of Delos.

Iamus was the son of Apollo and Evadne. When Evadne went into labour, Apollo sent the Moirai to assist his lover. After the child was born, Apollo sent snakes to feed the child some honey. When Iamus reached the age of education, Apollo took him to Olympia and taught him many arts, including the ability to understand and explain the languages of birds.

Apollo adopted Carnus, the abandoned son of Zeus and Europa. He reared the child with the help of his mother Leto and educated him to be a seer.

Physical Descriptions Of Ares

Classical literature offers only a few, brief descriptions of the physical characteristics of the gods.

Homer, Iliad 5. 592 ff :”Ares made play in his hands with spear gigantic and ranged now in front of Hektor and now behind him.Diomedes of the great war cry shivered as he saw him.”

Homer, Iliad 18. 516 ff :” And Ares led them , and Pallas Athene. These were gold, both, and golden raiment upon them, and they were beautiful and huge in their armour, being divinities, and conspicuous from afar, but the people around them were smaller.”

Hesiod, Shield of Heracles 56 ff :”Ares insatiable in battle, blazing like the light of burning fire in his armour and standing in his chariots, and his running horses trampled and dented the ground with their hooves . . . And all the grove and the altar . . . were lighted up by the dread god, Ares, himself and his armour, and the shining from his eyes was like fire . . . manslaughtering Ares screaming aloud, courses all over the sacred grove.”

Hesiod, Shield of Heracles 191 ff :” And on the shield stood the fleet-footed horses of grim Ares made gold, and deadly Ares the spoil-winner himself. He held a spear in his hands and was urging on the footmen: he was red with blood as if he were slaying living men, and he stood in his chariot. Beside him stood Deimos and Phobos , eager to plunge amidst the fighting men.”

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Etruscan And Roman Temples

  • Veii : The temple of Apollo was built in the late 6th century B.C. and it indicates the spread of Apollo’s culture in Etruria. There was a prostyle porch, which is called Tuscan, and a triple cella 18,50 m wide.
  • Falerii Veteres : A temple of Apollo was built probably in the 4th-3rd century B.C. Parts of a teraccotta capital, and a teraccotta base have been found. It seems that the Etruscan columns were derived from the archaic Doric. A cult of Apollo Soranus is attested by one inscription found near Falerii.

Explore The Colorful Inclusive World Of Sylvester’s ‘step Ii’

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In the latest episode of For The Record, learn how disco maverick Sylvester crafted Step II, a touchstone of the genre and a clarion call for LGBTQ+ culture.

In the latest episode of For The Record, takes you into the colorful, inclusive world of Step II, the classic album from disco maverick Sylvester. Released in 1978, Step II is powered by Sylvester’s chart-topping signature song “You Make Me Feel ,” with both the album and track leaving a profound mark on disco. Hitting the Billboard charts and receiving gold certification by the RIAA in the late ’70s, Step II is today considered a touchstone of disco and a clarion call for LGBTQ+ culture.

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In The Mycenaean Period

The earliest written record of Hermes comes from Linear B inscriptions from Pylos, Thebes, and Knossos dating to the Bronze Age Mycenaean period. Here, Hermes’ name is rendered as emaa . This name is always recorded alongside those of several goddesses, including Potnija, Posidaeja, Diwja, Hera, Pere, and Ipemedeja, indicating that his worship was strongly connected to theirs. This is a pattern that would continue in later periods, as worship of Hermes almost always took place within temples and sanctuaries primarily dedicated to goddesses, including Hera, Demeter, Hecate, and Despoina.

In The Archaic Period

In literary works of Archaic Greece, Hermes is depicted both as a protector and a trickster. In Homer‘s Iliad, Hermes is called “the bringer of good luck”, “guide and guardian”, and “excellent in all the tricks”. In Hesiod‘s The Works and Days, Hermes’ is depicted giving Pandora the gifts of lies, seductive words, and a dubious character.

The earliest known theological or spiritual documents concerning Hermes are found in the c. 7th century BC Homeric Hymns. In Homeric Hymn 4 to Hermes describes the god’s birth and his theft of Apollo‘s sacred cattle. In this hymn, Hermes is invoked as a god “of many shifts” , associated with cunning and thievery, but also a bringer of dreams and a night guardian. He is said to have invented the chelys lyre, as well as racing and the sport of wrestling.

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