Monday, August 24, 2009

Hermes and the Golden Cattle

This is one of my favorite Greek myths, and I wanted to share it with everyone. I have always liked Hermes. He's a trickster, but he is good-natured for the most part, and unlike most of the other Greek gods and goddesses, he is said to care about the individual lives of mortals.

Hermes was the son of Zeus, and the nymph Maia (one of the Pleiades and the child of Atlas). He was born in secret (so that Hera, Zeus' jealous wife would not find out), on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. When he was born, Maia wrapped him in cloth, and exhausted, fell asleep. Hermes, although a newborn, was very intelligent and cunning. He broke free from his clothes, and ran off. He finally came to Thessaly, and found the golden cattle of Apollo. Hermes stole the herd of cattle, and made his way back to Mount Cyllene. On his way back, he killed a tortoise and removed it's shell. He took the shell, and the intestines of one of the cattle, and created the first lyre.
In the morning, Apollo saw that his herd was missing, and being a god, knew that it was Hermes who had stolen his cattle. He went to Mount Cyllene to confront Hermes. Zeus was called to judge Hermes' actions. While Apollo told Zeus what had occurred, and the trial went on, Hermes began to play his lyre. Apollo, who is the God of music, was enthralled by the beautiful sound of the lyre. He then made a deal with Hermes. Apollo agreed to let Hermes keep the cattle in exchange for the lyre.

I always loved this story. I like the idea that the beauty of art or music can cause people to put their differences aside. That is one of the things that I take away from this myth.

Blessed Be,


  1. I almost forgot to credit my refrence. I used this to page to fill in the blanks of what I couldn't recollect from childhood.

  2. Absolutely precious, I love it when people stop to see the beauty of a story. Some could focus on the robbery, but you saw the pretty!