Psychopomp: Greek Edition II
Guide of the Dead
Messenger of the Gods
God of Travelers and Thieves
Hermes is the Greek god of roads, speed, messengers, commerce, travel, thieves, merchants, athletes, and mail deliverers. His Roman counterpart is Mercury. His symbol is the Caduceus. Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia, daughter of the Titan Atlas, and was born in a cave on mount Cyllene in Arcadia. He is the fastest of the gods, and his position is as the Messenger to Zeus and all the other gods. He is also the Divine Herald, the solemn guide who knew the road to hell and would lead the souls of the dead down to the Underworld, after Thanatos (God of Death) did his job. That's why he was also called Psychopompus, a name given to him for being the guide of souls to the Underworld.
Hermes is also the Greek god of Commerce and the Market, and thus the patron of traders, merchants and thieves. His distinguishing qualities were cunning, ingenuity, knowledge and creativity.
His realm included Gymnastics; he was the patron of all gymnastic games in Greece, and gymnasia were under his protection. The Greek artists derived their ideal of the god from the gymnasium and thus they represented Hermes as a handsome youth with beautiful limbs harmoniously developed by athletic exercises and gymnastic excellence.
As the messenger of gods Hermes would often serve as the intermediary between the gods and the mortal world. As a result, Hermes became the only major Olympian that could freely enter the realm of any other god without an invitation.
|Hades: Ruler of the Underworld|
Hades, like his brother Zeus, soon realizes his abilities. He hires him to his kingdom and instructs to him the call and transfer of the dead to their new home. Hermes, with the jurisdictions that Hades offers him, is the only major god who crosses and acts in the three worlds: in the sky, in earth and in the Underworld. Other gods with similar jurisdiction are Hecate, Titan Goddess of Magic, and Iris, Messenger of Hera and Goddess of Rainbow. Since another one of Hermes' jobs is to guide the souls of the deceased into the Underworld, he is one of the few Olympians to have been on good terms with Hades. In most mythological themes and incidents, Hermes takes place with the three most basic properties: the messenger, the soul carrier and the companion and protector.
The actions of Hermes to the Underworld as an intermediary and savior are not inferior to his actions as a messenger. Hermes stole the dead Alcmene, mother of Heracles, and brought her to the island of Makaron. Hermes again helped Heracles, who wanted to raise the Cerberus to earth. Hermes again brought back Persephone to the world, daughter of Demeter who was grabbed by the god of the Underworld, after he persuaded Hades to let her go.
Hermes invited with his wand the souls of the dead suitors of Penelope that lay in the palace of Odysseus and annoyed the hell out Penelope and her son, and led them to the Underworld. The myths surrounding the life and action of Hermes, as also the facts on which he participated, converge on the outline of a single character. The variety and richness of the factors that his personality has, degrades his appearance as a god in a good way. In other words, he embodies virtues and defects of a mortal man.