Web Theoi
HERMES CULT
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Roman Name
Ἑρμης Hermês Hermes Mercurius, Mercury
OTHER HERMES CULT PAGES
Hermes Titles & Epithets
OTHER HERMES PAGES

Hermes Intro, Index & Gallery
Hermes God of
Hermes Myths 1, Part 2, Part 3
Hermes Wrath
Hermes Favour
Hermes Family
Hermes Loves
Hermes Estate & Attributes
Hermes Summary

HERMES was the god of the herds, markets, athletics and heraldry. His cult was centred in the Peloponnese. Arguably his most important shrine was that of Mount Kyllene in Arkadia, where he was reputed to have been born.

In classical and Hellenistic art Hermes was usually depicted as a handsome, athletic youth, with short, curly hair. He was commonly depicted nude, with a robe draped over his shoulder and arm. Sometimes he was equipped with a winged cap. In older Greek art Hermes was portrayed as a more mature, bearded god, a representation which remained popular on Herma (phallic bust-topped pillar-statues) well into classical times.


S11.1 HERMES
S11.2 HERMES
S11.3 HERMES
S11.4 HERMES

GENERAL CULT

Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 32. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Hermes, Herakles and Theseus, who are honored in the gymnasium and wrestling-ground according to a practice universal among Greeks, and now common among barbarians."

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 5. 15 (trans. Conybeare) (Greek biography C1st to 2nd A.D.) :
"[At the] temple of Hermes . . . one of them [the supplicants requesting wisdom] would hang on the altar gold, another silver, another a herald’s wand of ivory, and others other rich presents of the kind. Now Aesop, she said, was not in a position to own any of these things; but he saved up what he had, and poured a libation of as much milk as a sheep would give at one milking in honour of Hermes, and brought a honeycomb and laid it on the altar, big enough to fill the hand, and he thought of regaling the god with myrtle berries, or perhaps by laying just a few roses or violets at the altar."

CULT OF HERMES IN HOMER

Homer, Odyssey 7. 137 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Odysseus stepped quickly over the threshold into the palace [of King Alkinous of the Phaiakians]. He found the Phaiakian lords and rulers pouring libations from their cups to the Euskopos (Keen-sighted) Argeiphontes (Radiant One) [Hermes] to whom by custom they poured libation last when they turned their thoughts to the night’s rest [at the end of the feast]."

Homer, Odyssey 14. 435 ff :
"[Eumaios the swine-herd of Odysseus] spitted the pieces [of a hog], roasted them carefully, took them all off again, then heaped them on serving-dishes. The swineherd stood up to portion them out justly, as was his way. He divided the whole into seven portions, assigning one, with the due prayer, to the Nymphai and to Hermes son of Maia, and giving the rest to the diners one by one."


THE HERMAI (BOUNDARY STONES)

Hermai were boundary or mile-stones, carved with the the head and phallus of Hermes. They were rural markers which were also supposed to ensure the fertility of the herds and flocks and bring luck. Hermai were erected at boundaries, crossroads and in gymnasia.

Herodotus, Histories 2. 51 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"The ithyphallic images of Hermes [i.e. the Hermai]; the production of these came from the Pelasgians [of Arkadia and Thessalia], from whom the Athenians were the first Greeks to take it, and then handed it on to others. For the Athenians were then already counted as Greeks when the Pelasgians came to live in the land with them and thereby began to be considered as Greeks. Whoever has been initiated into the rites of the Kabeiroi, which the Samothrakians learned from the Pelasgians and now practice, understands what my meaning is [the Kabeiroi gods were the keepers of a sacred phallus]. Samothrake was formerly inhabited by those Pelasgians who came to live among the Athenians, and it is from them that the Samothrakians take their rites. The Athenians, then, were the first Greeks to make ithyphallic images of Hermes, and they did this because the Pelasgians taught them. The Pelasgians told a certain sacred tale about this, which is set forth in the Samothrakian mysteries."

Plato, Hipparchus 228d (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"Sokrates : Hipparkhos [an Athenian statesman late C6th B.C.] . . . among the many goodly proofs of wisdom that he showed . . . proceeded, with the design of educating those of the countryside, to set up figures of Hermes (Hermai) for them along the roads in the midst of the city and every district town . . . that his people should not admire those wise Delphic legends of 'Know thyself' and 'Nothing overmuch', and the other sayings of the sort, but should rather regard as wise the utterances of Hipparkhos; and that in the second place, through passing up and down and reading his words and acquiring a taste for his wisdom, they might resort hither from the country for the completion of their education. There are two such inscriptions of his: on the left side of each Hermes there is one in which the god says that he stands in the midst of the city or the township, while on the right side he says : `The memorial of Hipparkhos: walk with just intent.' There are many other fine inscriptions from his poems on other figures of Hermes, and this one in particular, on the Steiria road, in which he says : `The memorial of Hipparkhos : deceive not a friend.'"

Aesop, Fables 564 (from Babrius 48) (trans. Gibbs) (Greek fable C6th B.C.) :
"There was a four-cornered statue of Hermes [a Herma] by the side of the road, with a heap of stones piled at its base."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 17. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"In the gymnasium not far from the market-place [of Athens], called Ptolemy's from the founder, are stone Hermai [primitive stone statues of Hermes] well worth seeing."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 24. 3 :
"The Athenians are far more devoted to religion than other men . . . they were the first to set up limbless Hermai."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 38. 7 :
"Mount Parnon, on which the Lakedaemonian border meets the borders of the Argives and Tegeatai [of Arkadia]. On the borders stand stone figures of Hermes, from which the name of the place is derived."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 33. 3 :
"At the Arkadian gate [of Ithome, Messenia] leading to Megalopolis is a Herma of Attic style; for the square form of Herma is Athenian, and the rest adopted it thence."


CULT IN ATTIKA (SOUTHERN GREECE)

See also the Hermai (above)

Plato, Lysis 203a & 206d (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"I was making my way from the Academy straight to the Lykeion (Lyceum), by the road outside the town wall . . . and they [at the Lykeion gymnasium] are keeping the Hermaia (Festival of Hermes), so that the youths and boys are all mingled together . . . I took Ktesippos with me into the wrestling school, and the others came after us. When we got inside, we found that the boys had performed the sacrifice in the place and, as the ceremonial business was now almost over, they were all playing at knuckle-bones and wearing their finest attire." [N.B. The festival of Hermes, who was specially honored in wrestling schools.]

I) ATHENS Chief City of Attika

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 2. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"One of the porticoes [of the Kerameikos of Athens] contains shrines of gods, and a gymnasium called that of Hermes."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 15. 1 :
"As you go to the portico [in the marketplace of Athens] which they call painted, because of its pictures, there is a bronze statue of Hermes Agoraios (of the Market-place), and near it a gate."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 17. 2 :
"In the gymnasium not far from the market-place [of Athens], called Ptolemy's from the founder, are stone Hermai [primitive stone statues of Hermes] well worth seeing."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 22. 8 :
"Right at the very entrance to the Akropolis [of Athens] is a [statue of] Hermes called Hermes Propylaios (of the Gateway)."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 24. 3 :
"The Athenians are far more devoted to religion than other men . . . they were the first to set up limbless Hermai."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 27. 1 :
"In the temple of Athena Polias (Of the City ) is a wooden Hermes, said to have been dedicated by [the mythical king] Kekrops, but not visible because of myrtle boughs."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 28. 6 :
"There are images of Plouton [Haides], Hermes, and Gaia (Earth) [in the temple of the Eumenides at Athens], by which sacrifice those who have received an acquittal on the Hill of Ares; sacrifices are also offered on other occasions by both citizens and aliens."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 30. 2 :
"[In the Akadamia of Athens] there is an altar to the Mousai, and another to Hermes, and one within to Athena, and they have built one to Herakles."

Aelian, Historical Miscellany 2. 41 (trans. Wilson) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"Dionysios offered a prize of a golden crown at the festival of the Khoes for the man who drank most. It was won by Xenokrates of Khalkedon [head of the Academy 339-312 B.C.]. He took his crown, went home after dinner and put it on the statue of Hermes by his front door, following the custom he had observed during the preceding days--in fact he had rested there crowns made from flowers, myrtle, ivy, and laurel and left them."

II) OROPOS Village in Attika

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 34. 3 :
"The altar [of Amphiaraus at Oropos] shows parts . . . the third [part] is to Hestia and Hermes and Amphiaraus and the children of Amphilokhos."

III) ELEUSIS Town in Attika

Hermes was one of the gods of the Eleusinian Mysteries. He was the god who escorted Persephone to earth in spring and returned her to the underworld in autumn.

Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 280 (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"[The Eleusinian gods were hymned at the Thesmophoria festival of Athens :]
Woman Herald : Silence! Silence! Pray to the Thesmophorai, Demeter and Koura [Persephone]; pray to Ploutos, Kalligeneia, Kourotrophos [Hekate], Ge (the Earth), Hermes and the Kharites (Graces), that all may happen for the best at this gathering, both for the greatest advantage of Athens and for our own personal happiness!"

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 3. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The story told at the Mysteries of the Mother [Demeter at Eleusis] about Hermes and the ram I know but do not relate."

IV) HESTIA ROAD Road in Attika

Suidas s.v. Trikephalos (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Trikephalos (Three-Headed) : Hermes, in the role of someone teaching about the roads and bearing an inscription indicating where this road leads, and where that. But perhaps having a head pointing towards each road. The person who set up the Hermes Trikephalos, as Philokhoros says, was Prokleides, a lover of Hipparkhos. Isaios in the speech On Eukleides writes: `a short way up from the Trikephalos (Three-Headed), by the Hestia road.' In full this is `the Hermes Trikephalos.'"


S11.5 HERMES
S11.6 HERMES
S11.7 HERMES
S11.8 HERMES

CULT IN KORINTHIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)

I) KORINTHOS Chief City of Korinthia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 2. 8 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"There are two bronze, standing images of Hermes [in Korinthos], for one of which a temple has been made."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 3. 4 :
"Proceeding on the direct road to Lekhaion [the port of Korinthos] we see a bronze image of a seated Hermes. By him stands a ram, for Hermes is the god who is thought most to care for and to increase flocks, as Homer puts it in the Iliad:--`Son was he of Phorbas, the dearest of Trojans to Hermes, rich in flocks, for the god vouchsafed him wealth in abundance.' The story told at the mysteries of the Mother [Demeter] about Hermes and the ram I know but do not relate."


CULT IN SIKYONIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)

I) SIKYON Chief City of Sikyonia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 9. 8 :
"Hard by [the market-place of Sikyon] stands Hermes Agoraios (of the Market-place)."


CULT IN THE ARGOLIS (SOUTHERN GREECE)

I) ARGOS Chief City of Argolis

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 19. 6 - 7 :
"As to the wooden images of Aphrodite and Hermes [in the temple of Apollon Lykios in Argos], the one [the statue of Hermes] they say was made by Epeios [the builder of the Trojan Horse] . . . Within the temple is a statue of . . . Hermes with a tortoise which he has caught to make a lyre."

II) TROIZENOS City in Argolis

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 31. 10 :
"Here [in Troizenos, Argolis] there is also a Hermes called Polygios. Against this image, they say, Herakles leaned his club."

III) METHANA Village in Argolis

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 34. 1 :
"In the market-place [of Methana, Argolis] is an image of Hermes."

IV) MT PARNON Mountain in Argolis & Lakedaimonia & Arkadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 38. 7 :
"Mount Parnon, on which the Lakedaimonian border meets the borders of the Argives [of Argolis] and Tegeatai [of Arkadia]. On the borders stand stone figures of Hermes, from which the name of the place is derived."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 10. 6 :
"On the way from the Hermai [on the borders of Argos] to Lakedaimonia the whole of the region is full of oak-trees."


CULT IN LAKEDAIMONIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)

I) SPARTA Chief City of Lakedaimonia

Pindar, Nemean Ode 10. 52 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"The two brothers [the Dioskouroi], at the games of Sparta’s wide-built city, joint partons with Hermes and with Herakles the presidency share."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 11. 11 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"There is also [a statue of] Hermes Agoraios (of the Market-place) [in the market-place of Sparta, Lakedaimonia] carrying Dionysus as a child."

II) Near BOIAI Village in Lakedaimonia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 22. 13 :
"The ruins of Etis [in Lakedaimonia] are not more than seven stades distant from Boiai. On the way to them there stands on the left a stone image of Hermes."

III) LAS Village in Lakedaimonia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 24. 7 :
"Beside the spring [at Las, Lakedaimonia is] a gymnasium, which contains an ancient statue of Hermes."


CULT IN MESSENIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)

I) HIEROTHESION Village in Messenia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 32. 1 :
"The place called Hierothesion [in Messenia] by the Messenians contains statues of all the gods whom the Greeks worship . . . The statues in the gymnasium are the work of Aigyptian artists. They represent Hermes, Herakles and Theseus, who are honored in the gymnasium and wrestling-ground according to a practice universal among Greeks, and now common among barbarians."

II) ITHOME Town in Messenia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 33. 3 :
"At the Arkadian gate [of Ithome, Messenia] leading to Megalopolis is a Herma of Attic style; for the square form of Herma is Athenian, and the rest adopted it thence."

III) OIKHALIA Village in Messenia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 33. 4 :
"[At a] site anciently called Oikhalia, in our time the Karnasian grove, thickly grown with cypresses. There are statues of the gods Apollon Karneios, also Hermes carrying a ram."


CULT IN ELIS (SOUTHERN GREECE)

Strabo, Geography 8. 3. 12 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The whole country [of Elis] is full of temples . . . and there are also numerous shrines of Hermes on the roadsides."

I) OLYMPIA Village & Santuary in Elis

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 1. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Eleans said that Pelops was the first to found a temple of' Hermes in Peloponnesos and to sacrifice to the god, his purpose being to avert the wrath of the god for the death of Myrtilos."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 14. 8 :
"After this [the great altar of Zeus at Olympia] comes an altar of Apollon and Hermes in common, because the Greeks have a story about them that Hermes invented the lyre and Apollon the lute."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 14. 9 :
"Quite close to the entrance to the stadium [at Olympia are two altars; one they call the altar of Hermes Enagonios (of the Games), the other the altar of Kairos (Opportunity)."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 15. 5 :
"As you go to the starting-point for the chariot-race [at Olympia] there [are several altars including] an oblong altar of the Moirai (Fates), after it one of Hermes, and the next two are of Zeus Most High."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 15. 11 :
"Each month the Eleans sacrifice once on all the altars I have enumerated. They sacrifice in an ancient manner; for they burn on the altars incense with wheat which has been kneaded with honey, placing also on the altars twigs of olive, and using wine for a libation . . . The traditional words spoken by them in the Town Hall at the libations, and the hymns which they sing, it were not right for me to introduce into my narrative. They pour libations, not only to the Greek gods, but also to the god [Zeus Ammon] in Libya, to Hera Ammonia and to Parammon (from Ammon), which is a surname of Hermes."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 17. 3 :
"At a later date other images were dedicated in the Heraion [temple of Hera at Olympia], including a marble Hermes carrying the baby Dionysos, a work of Praxiteles." [N.B. The sculpture is extant, for a photo see S11.1.]

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 20. 2 :
"[In the temple of Hera at Olympia] there are figures of Hera, Zeus, the Mother of the gods [Rhea], Hermes, and Apollo with Artemis. Behind is the disposition of the games."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 27. 8 :
"[Amongst the offerings at Olympia is a statue of] Hermes carrying the ram under his arm, with a helmet on his head, and clad in tunic and cloak . . . [it was] given to the god by the Arkadians of Pheneus. The inscription says that the artist was Onatas of Aigina helped by Kalliteles, who I think was a pupil or son of Onatas. Not far from the offering of the Pheneatians is another image, Hermes with a herald's wand. An inscription on it says that Glaukias, a Rhegian by descent, dedicated it, and Gallon of Elis made it."

II) KYLLENE Village in Elis

Pausanias, Description of Greece 6. 26. 5 :
"In Kyllene [in Elis] . . . the image of Hermes, most devoutly worshipped by the inhabitants, is merely the male member upright on the pedestal."


S11.9 HERMES
S11.10 HERMES
S11.11 HERMES
S11.12 HERMES

CULT IN AKHAIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)

I) PHARAI Town in Akhaia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 22. 2 :
"The market-place of Pharai [in Akhaia] is of wide extent after the ancient fashion, and in the middle of it is an image of Hermes, made of stone and bearded. Standing right on the earth, it is of square shape, and of no great size. On it is an inscription, saying that it was dedicated by Simylos the Messenian. It is called Hermes Agoraios (of the Market), and by it is established an oracle. In front of the image is placed a hearth, which also is of stone, and to the hearth bronze lamps are fastened with lead. Coming at eventide, the inquirer of the god, having burnt incense upon the hearth, filled the lamps with oil and lighted them, puts on the altar on the right of the image a local coin, called a 'copper,' and asks in the ear of the god the particular question he wishes to put to him. After that he stops his ears and leaves the marketplace. On coming outside he takes his hands from his ears, and whatever utterance he hears he considers oracular."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 22. 4 :
"At Pharai [in Akhaia] there is also a water sacred to Hermes. The name of the spring is Hermes' stream, and the fish in it are not caught, being considered sacred to the god. Quite close to the image stand square stones, about thirty in number. These the people of Pharai adore, calling each by the name of some god. At a more remote period all the Greeks alike worshipped uncarved stones instead of images of the gods."

II) PELLENE Town in Akhaia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 27. 1 :
"As you go to Pellene [in Akhaia] there is, by the roadside, an image of Hermes, who, in spite of his surname of Dolios (Crafty), is ready to fulfill the prayers of men. He is of square shape and bearded, and on his head is carved a cap."


CULT IN ARKADIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)

I) MEGALOPOLIS Chief City of Arkadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 30. 6 :
"Near it [the market-place of Megalopolis in Arkadia] I found a temple of Hermes Akakesios in ruins, with nothing remaining except a tortoise of stone."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 31. 6 - 7 :
"In the temple [of Demeter at Megalopolis] are images made by Damophon, a wooden Hermes and a wooden Aphrodite with hands, face and feet of stone."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 32. 2 :
"The sanctuary built in common for the Mousai, Apollon and Hermes had for me to record only a few foundations, but there was still one of the Mousai, with an image of Apollon after the style of the square Hermai."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 32. 3 :
"The temple near the race-course [of Megalopolis, Arkadia] shared by Herakles and Hermes was no longer there, only their altar was left."

II) PHENEOS Town in Arkadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 14. 10 :
"Of the gods the people of Pheneos [in Arkadia] worship most Hermes, in whose honor they celebrate the games called Hermaia; they have also a temple of Hermes, and a stone image, made by an Athenian, Eukheir the son of Euboulides. Behind the temple is the grave of Myrtilos. The Greeks say that he was the son of Hermes, and that he served as charioteer to Oinomaos."

III) TRIKRENA MTS Mountains in Arkadia (near Pheneos)

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 16. 1 :
"As you travel through the land of Pheneos, are mountains of the Pheneatians called Trikrena (Three Springs), and here are three springs. In them, says the legend, Hermes was washed after birth by the Nymphai of the mountain, and for this reason they are considered sacred to Hermes."

IV) MTS KYLLENE Mountain in Arkadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 17. 1 - 2 :
"The highest mountain in Arkadia is Kyllene, on the top of which is a dilapidated temple of Hermes Kyllenios (of Mt Kyllene). It is clear that Kyllenos, the son of Elatos, gave the mountain its name and the god his surname. In days of old, men made wooden images, so far as I have been able to discover, from the following trees ebony, cypress, cedar, oak, yew, lotus. But the image of Hermes Kyllenios is made of none of these, but of juniper wood. Its height, I conjecture, is about eight feet."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 17. 5 :
"Adjoining [Mount] Kyllene [in Arkadia] is another mountain, Khelydorea (Rich in Tortoises), where Hermes is said to have found a tortoise, taken the shell from the beast, and to have made therefrom a harp."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 225 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Those who first built temples to the gods . . . Lycaon [the mythical first king of Arkadia], son of Pelasgus, built a temple [the first] to Mercurius [Hermes] of Cyllene in Arcadia."

V) STYMPHALIS Lake in Arkadia

Aeschylus, Fragment 150 Psychagogi (from Aristophanes, Frogs 1266 with Scholiast) (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"We, who dwell by the lake [Stymphalis in Arkadia], honour Hermes as our ancestor."

VI) HERMAION Village in Arkadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 34. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"At Hermaion [in Arkadia], where is the boundary between Messenia and Megalopolis they have made a Hermes also on a slab."

VII) Near PHAIDRIES Village in Arkadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 35. 2 :
"About fifteen stades distant from Phaidries is an Hermaion (Temple of Hermes) called 'by the Mistress' ; it too forms a boundary between Messenia and Megalopolis [in Arkadia]. There are small images of Despoine (the Mistress) and Demeter; likewise of Hermes and Herakles."

VIII) AKAKESION Village in Arkadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 36. 10 :
"At the foot of this hill [the Akakesion Hill in Arkadia] used to be a city Akakasion, and even to-day there is on the hill a stone image of Hermes Akakesios, the story of the Arkadians about it being that here the child Hermes was reared, and that Akakos the son of Lykaon became his foster-father."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 3. 2 :
"Akakos [a mythical hero] founded Akakesion. It was after this Akakos, according to the Arcadian account, that Homer made a surname for Hermes."

IX) PHIGALIA Town in Arkadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 39. 6 :
"The image of Hermes in the gymnasium [of Phigalia, Arkadia] is like to one dressed in a cloak; but the statue does not end in feet, but in the square shape."

X) TEGEA City in Arkadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 47. 4 :
"Some three stades away from the fountain [of Tegea, Arkadia] is a temple of Hermes Aipytos."


S11.13 HERMES
     

CULT IN BOIOTIA (CENTRAL GREECE)

I) THEBES Chief City of Boiotia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 10. 2 :
"First at the entrance [of the temple of Apollon Ismenion at Thebes in Boiotia] are Athena and Hermes, stone figures and named Pronai (Of the fore-temple ). The Hermes is said to have been made by Pheidias, the Athena by Skopas."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 17. 2 :
"[At Thebes is a statue of] Hermes called Agoraios (of the Market-place)."

II) TANAGRA Village in Boiotia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 20. 3 :
"There is near Tanagra [in Boiotia] . . . Mount Kerykios (of the Herald), the reputed birthplace of Hermes."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 22. 1 - 2 :
"There are sanctuaries of Hermes Kriophoros (Ram-bearer) and of Hermes called Promakhos (Champion) [at Tanagra in Boiotia]. They account for the former surname by a story that Hermes averted a pestilence from the city by carrying a ram round the walls; to commemorate this alamis made an image of Hermes carrying a ram upon his shoulders. Whichever of the youths is judged to be the most handsome goes round the walls at the feast of Hermes, carrying a lamb on his shoulders. Hermes Promakhos (Champion) is said, on the occasion when an Eretrian fleet put into Tanagra from Euboia, to have led out the youths to the battle; he himself, armed with a scraper like a youth, was chiefly responsible for the rout of the Euboians. In the sanctuary of Promakhos (the Champion) is kept all that is left of the wild strawberry-tree under which they believe that Hermes was nourished. Near by is a theater and by it a portico. I consider that the people of Tanagra have better arrangements for the worship of the gods than any other Greeks. For their houses are in one place, while the sanctuaries are apart beyond the houses in a clear space where no men live."

III) KORSEIA Village in Boiotia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 24. 5 :
"At Korseia [in Boiotia], under which is a grove of trees that are not cultivated, being mostly evergreen oaks. A small image of Hermes stands in the open part of the grove."

IV) KORONEIA Village in Boiotia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 34. 3 :
"On the market-place of Koroneia [in Boiotia] I found . . . an altar of Hermes Epimelios (Keeper of flocks)."

V) MT HELIKON Mountain in Boiotia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 30. 1 :
"There is also on [Mount] Helikon [at the shrine of the Mousai, in Boiotia] a bronze Apollon fighting with Hermes for the lyre."


CULT IN THE TROAD (ASIA MINOR)

I) KHRYSA Town in Troia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 12. 6 :
"Her [the Sibylla Herophile's] tomb is in the grove of [Apollon] Sminthios with these elegiac verses inscribed upon the tomb-stone:--`. . . I am buried near the Nymphai and this Hermes. The Hermes stands by the side of the tomb, a square-shaped figure of stone.'"


CULT IN PHRYGIA (ASIA MINOR)

I) THEMISONION Town in Phrygia (near Laodikeia)

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 32. 4 :
"Themisonion above Laodiceia is also inhabited by Phrygians. When the army of the Gauls was laying waste Ionia and the borders of Ionia, the Themisonians say that they were helped by Herakles, Apollon and Hermes, who revealed to their magistrates in dreams a cave, and commanded that in it should be hidden the Themisonians with their wives and children. This is the reason why in front of the cave they have set up small images, called Gods of the Cave, of Herakles, Hermes and Apollon. The cave is some thirty stades distant from the city, and in it are springs of water. There is no entrance to it, the sunlight does not reach very far, and the greater part of the roof lies quite close to the floor."


Sources:

  • Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
  • Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Fragments - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Aesop, Fables - Greek Fables C6th B.C.
  • Herodotus, Histories - Greek History C5th B.C.
  • Plato, Hipparchus - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Plato, Lysis - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
  • Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana - Greek Biography C2nd A.D.
  • Aelian, Historical Miscellany - Greek Rhetoric C2nd-3rd A.D.
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Suidas - Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.