Hermes and the Caduceus
The Caduceus means “herald’s staff of office” in Greek. The caduceus can be described as two serpents criss-crossed around a staff that is topped by a round knob and flanked by wings. The coiled snakes or serpents relate to myths concerning the Tree of Life. The caduceus was used as a symbol by printers because it was the staff of Hermes who was the messenger god and the deliverer of information. The caduceus has also been the symbol of the American medical profession for nearly 100 years reflecting the gift from Apollo the god of healing and medicine.
Hermes and the Caduceus
The Family of Hermes
According to Greek legends and myths the family of Hermes were as follows:
- Father: Zeus
- Mother: Maia
- He had no Brothers or sisters
- Wife: Dryope
- Famous Son: Pan
Hermes and Mount Olympus
In Greek Mythology the principle Greek gods, that included Hermes, were referred to as the Twelve Olympians and lived on the summit of Mount Olympus which was protected by a special layer of clouds. The gods and goddesses who lived on Mount Olympus attended sumptuous banquets in the council-chamber of the gods and feasted on ambrosia (the food of the gods) and nectar (the drink of the gods). The names of the other Olympian gods were Zeus, Hera, Athena, Hestia or Dionysus, Apollo, Ares, Aphrodite, Poseidon, Demeter, Artemis, Hephaestus and Hermes.
The Greek Gods Family Tree and Genealogy
The genealogy of these ancient deities can be established via the Greek gods family tree which also provides an overview of the relationship of Hermes to the other Greek gods and deities. The Greek gods family tree and genealogy provides an overview of his relationship to the other Greek gods and deities.
The Symbols of Hermes
In the sculptures, vases, mosaics and paintings of Greek Art the god Hermes was often illustrated with images representing his symbols - his winged sandals and helmet, caduceus (a staff entwined by snakes), tortoise and hawk.
The symbols of Hermes were:
- Winged sandals and helmet
- The symbol of the winged sandals and winged helmet represents his speed and ability to fly
- The Caduceus (staff)
- He is often depicted holding a caduceus which was a magical staff with snakes curling around it which he used to charm the gods and heal mortals
- The Tortoise
- The symbol of the tortoise relates to the legend that he made a lyre from the shell of a tortoise
- The Hawk
- The symbol of the snake is associated with the god due to myth in which he transformed two men, Hierax and Daidalon, into hawks
Facts about Hermes in Greek Mythology
Discover interesting information and facts about Hermes, the messenger of the gods featured in the stories, myths and legends in Greek Mythology. The facts about Hermes provides a list detailing fascinating additional info to increase your knowledge about Hermes in Greek Mythology.
Myths and Legends about Hermes in Greek Mythology
He presided over commerce, wrestling and other gymnastic exercises. He also presided over thieves and everything that required skill, cunning and dexterity. The most famous myths and legends relating to Hermes (Mercury) are:
- The theft of the cattle of Apollo refer to Hermes and Apollo
- The transformation of Battos to stone
- The slaying of Argos Panoptes, the hundred-eyed guardian of the nymph Io
- The myth of Perseus and the gorgon Medusa
- The myth of Odysseus
Worshipping the gods
Hermes - Greek Gods & Greek Mythology for Kids
Hermes, the messenger of the gods, was one of the extraordinary number of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. The legend and myth about Hermes has been passed down through the ages and plays an important role the history of the Ancient World and the study of the Greek classics. Hermes features in the religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks which are based on the idea that these supernatural beings resembled mortals but possessed great magical and mystic powers. Greek gods and goddesses, such as Hermes, possessed supernatural powers and presided over specific dominions and were strongly associated with areas of power. Hermes is known as the messenger of the gods.