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10.  Ærmís (HermêsGr. Ἑρμῆς, ΕΡΜΗΣ. Pronounced: ayr-MEES, accent on the second syllable and rolling the r slightly.)

Being one of the Dohdækáthæon (Dodecatheon = The Twelve Olympian Gods; Gr. Δωδεκάθεον), Ærmís (Hermes) is one of the most important deities of all Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, a God most high. He is the son of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) and Maia (Gr. Μαῖα, the daughter of Átlas; Gr. Ἄτλας), born in a cave in Arcadian Kyllíni (Cyllene; Gr. Κυλλήνη).

haracteristics of Ærmís

Directly after he was born, according to the Homeric hymn to the God, Ærmís got out of his cradle and stole the cattle of his brother ApóllohnHe then sacrificed some of the animals and by this act created the means of worshiping the Gods. When Apóllohn discovered the theft, he seized the young God and presented him to Zefs for judgement. Ærmís then made peace with his brother and offered him a present. He had recently invented a musical instrument by stretching strings across the shell of a tortoise, the kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα) or lyre; this he presented to Apóllohn as a gesture of friendship.

Ærmís is, particularly, the great herald his father; he is the Ángælos (angelos; Gr. ἄγγελος), the angel or messenger of Zefs. He performs this task for other of the high Gods in all the three realms. Thus he is a great God of speech; he is the deity who bestows skill, cleverness, and eloquence in language and communication, as well as gracefulness in social interactions and persuasion. Ærmís is the messenger who delivers to man the dreams sent by Zefs in sleep.

Ærmís is the Psychopompós (Gr. Ψυχοπομπός) who guides the souls of the dead as they embark on their journey between lives.

Ærmís is the great friend of mankind and the protector of slaves as well as their liberator. 

Ærmís’ interests include commerce and measures and weights, and thus he bestows wealth, especially unexpected good fortune the windfall.  

Ærmís watches over roads and protects travelers. Thus, statues of the God were erected at forks in roads and doors and gates, often in the form of Ærmai (Herms; Ἑρμαῖ [pl.], a rectangular sculpture which usually sported only the head of Ærmís and his genitalia. 

Ærmís is associated with gymnastic games and is the patron of the gymnasium; for this reason, it is traditional to place a statue of the God in the gymnasium.

Ærmís invented the military arts, numbers and the alphabet, and the science of astronomy. 

Ærmís is a pastoral God; he protects the flocks and bestows fertility to sheep and protection to shepherds and pastures.

Ærmís, Athiná, and Apóllohn work together as a great triad for the benefit of the Virtuous. This can be gleaned from the close proximity they share in the plays of the great tragedians and in the mythology in general.  

The hare, the ram, the tortoise, and the hawk are animals sacred to Ærmís. Crocus, the palm, and the strawberry tree are plants which are sacred to the God. 

Traditional offerings to Ærmís include incense in general and frankincense in particular (according to the Orphic hymn dedicated to him). Also appropriate are the gifts of honey, and cakes in the shape of pigs, lambs, and goats, animals which were sacrificed to him in antiquity.   

Ærmís in Iconography

Ærmís appears in iconography either as a resplendent beardless youth or bearded and mature. He holds the golden herald's staff known as the Kirýkeion (Gr. Κηρύκειον; Roman: Caduceus), usually represented with two serpents and crowned with wings; the wings are absent from the vast majority of depictions of the staff in ancient Greek art. According to the mythology, it was given to him by Apóllohn; it is the scepter of Phánis (Phanes; Gr. Φάνης) and a symbol of his father Zefs. Ærmís dons the wide-brimmed traveler's cap or a winged cap; he sports winged, golden sandals as well. Ærmís' attire is a simple khlamýs (chlamys; Gr. χλαμύς), a rectangular cloak pinned over the right shoulder. Sometimes he is depicted naked as a beautiful boy. Perhaps the most familiar image of Ærmís is that of the resplendent, youthful, naked God, running, with his winged cap and sandals, as though he is rushing off with a message from Zefs.

The Orphic Hymn to Ærmís

Please visit this page for a thorough examination of the Orphic hymn to Ærmís, a veritable snapshot of the essence of the God. It includes the Thomas Taylor translation, the original Greek text, an easy transliteration of the Greek text for anyone who may wish to learn the hymn in ancient Greek, a word-by-word examination of the poem, and a new translation of the hymn for purposes of study:

The Orphic Hymn to Ærmís

Ærmís and Orphismós

Ærmís rules the Tenth Orphic Íkos (Oikos; Gr. οἶκος. English: house) in the month of Karkínos (Cancer; Gr. Καρκίνος) from June 21 through July 20, and his dominion is the Natural Law of Movement in the Divine World. Mighty Ærmís presides over the Solstice at the commencement of Karkínos, June 21. The Divine Consort of Ærmís is the Goddess Athiná (Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ); these two are called the youngest of the Dohdækáthæon (Dodecatheon = the Olympian Gods; Gr. Δωδεκάθεον). Athiná and Ærmís are the great cultivators of the soul; metaphorically, Ærmís is the plow which Athina is guiding. The Orphic Hymns suggest the offering of frankincense to Ærmís.

A festival associated with Ærmís and Athiná: Iærǽs Ároti


Please visit this page: The Epithets of Ærmís

The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


"...Apollo (ed. Apóllohn; Gr. Ἀπόλλων), son of Leto (ed. Litόh; Gr. Λητώ), swore to be fellow and friend to Hermes (ed. Ærmís), vowing that he would love no other among the Immortals, neither God nor man sprung from Zeus (ed. Zefs; Gr. Ζεύς), better than Hermes: and the Father sent forth an eagle in confirmation. And Apollo sware also: 'Verily I will make you only to be an omen for the Immortals and all alike, trusted and honoured by my heart. Moreover, I will give you a splendid staff of riches and wealth: it is of gold, with three branches, and will keep you scatheless, accomplishing every task, whether of words or deeds that are good, which I claim to know through the utterance of Zeus....

...So he spake. And from heaven father Zeus himself gave confirmation to his words, and commanded that glorious Hermes should be lord over all birds of omen and grim-eyed lions, and boars with gleaming tusks, and over dogs and all flocks that the wide earth nourishes, and over all sheep; also that he only should be the appointed messenger to Hades (ed. Aidis; Gr. Ἅιδης), who, though he takes no gift, shall give him no mean prize.

Thus the lord Apollo showed his kindness for the Son of Maia (ed. Gr. Μαῖα) by all manner of friendship: and the Son of Cronos (Kronos or Cronus; Gr. Κρόνος) gave him grace besides. He consorts with all mortals and immortals: a little he profits, but continually throughout the dark night he cozens the tribes of mortal men."

(Homeric Hymn Ærmís 524-578 [conclusion of the hymn], trans. by Hugh G. Evelyn-White in Hesiod: The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, 1914; found here in the 1936 edition, Harvard [Cambridge, MA]-Heinemann [London, England] pp. 401-405)

Foto by Kallímakhos who releases it to the Public Domain. Bronze sculpture in the possession of the author: Ærmís Jesting with Ærm (Herm) of Diónysos

The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages:

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For answers to many questions: Hellenismos FAQ

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