Hermes – Messager god
Essay written by Jamecca
The idea of gods and goddesses began as far back as the ancient Egyptians, but the ancient Greeks were the first group to form a religion based on gods and goddesses. They believed that the gods and goddesses were not different from humans. Some of the few ways humans were different from gods were that the gods were stronger and lived forever. Since the Greeks believe in many gods, they are Polytheists.
The gods and goddesses were thought to control different parts of the universe. For example, Zeus is the king of the gods, controlled weather. Or like Athena who was the goddess of wisdom. You learn about different gods and goddesses in myths. A myth is a story about a god or goddess. Homer, a blind poet, is famous for telling myths. He told myths because no one could read or write.
Hermes (Latin name Mercury) is the messenger of the gods. He is the fastest of all the gods and goddesses. He is the son of Zeus and Maia. He is a guide who knew the way to the underworld. So he would show the dead souls the way to the underworld. Hermes is also known as the patron of traders, merchants, thieves and everyone who lived by their wits.
Some characteristics of Hermes include his ingenuity, knowledge, creativity, and is known to be very cunning. He is also quite good at gymnastics. Hermes is an incredibly clever god. He found a tortoise outside of his cave and displayed his godly talent by placing strings over the shell, inventing the first lyre. As a child he was very precious, even for a god. But he caused a great deal of trouble. But one day, he went too far and learned a very important lesson.
Hermes is a master thief. He started his career as a thief before he was more than a few hours old! It was his intelligence and theft abilities in the following myth that won him recognition as a god.
The worship of Hermes began in his birthplace, Arcadia. People of Arcadia would hold festivals called Hermaea in his honor. The sacrifices offered to him included honey, incense, cakes, pigs, lambs, and young goats.
One of the most famous myths about Hermes shows his extreme intellect. One day after his mother fell asleep, Hermes tip-toed to the pasture where his brother Apollo kept a large heard of cows. Thinking of mischief, he picked the fifty best cows. To keep Apollo from knowing which direction he led the cows, Hermes wrapped the cows? hooves with bark to cover the tracks. He also tied brooms to the cows? tails so it would erase any tracks. To confuse Apollo even further, he tied bundles of branches to his own feet and drove the cows backward out of the pasture. He hid the cows in a near- by grove. The next day, Apollo stormed into the cave where Hermes lived and commanded that he return the cows at once. Hermes made an excuse but it didn?t fool Apollo. Apollo chased Hermes out of the cave and Zeus saw the toddler running from Apollo and laughed at the scene. He then asked very politely that Hermes would show where the cows were hidden. Obeying his father?s commands, he showed Apollo where he had hid the cows. Apollo quickly noticed that two of his cows were missing. Expecting Apollo to become angry, he pulled out a lyre and played beautiful music. Apollo, being the god of music and all, forgave his brother and exchanged his heard of cows for the lyre.
Hermes learned an important lesson in this myth. Hermes never again told a lie (but he didn?t always tell the whole truth) and he never stole. But he happened to be a patron of both! I really enjoyed reading this myth!
I had a lot of fun doing this project. It was an interesting topic to research. I never knew there was so much information about different gods, goddesses and myths. The shield was also fun to make. It made you think about characteristics of your god or goddess. This project was a lot of work but it was worth it.
I know a lot more than I did before after I did this project. I have a better understanding on the Greek religion. Mythology is so complicated! I also learned report writing skills and note taking skills.