HERMES was the Olympian god of the herds, trades, athletes and heralds.
This page lists his cult titles and poetic epithets.
CULT TITLES & EPITHETS
The first of Hermes' cult refer to his various divine functions, as god of herds and flocks, markets and trade, craftiness, roads and travel, athletics and the Games:--
Keeper of the Flocks
Of the Market-Place
Of Crafts, Of Wiles
Of the Games
Three-Headed (Of Road-Intersections)
Another set of cult titles were derived from the locations of his shrines, founders of his cult, and descriptions of their locale:--
Of Mt Cyllene (Arcadia)
Of Acacesium (Arcadia)
Of Aepytus (hero Arcadia)
Of the Gateway
Of the Fore-Temple
Some names are more obscure:--
POETIC TITLES & EPITHETS
I. Common Homeric titles of Hermes:--
Slayer of Argos
Of Mt Cyllene
Son of Maia
II. Common Homeric epithets of Hermes:--
Messenger of the Gods
Messenger of the Blessed
Of the Golden Wand
Thief, Robber, Rustler
Leader of Robbers, Thieves
Full of Various Wiles
Slayer of Oxen
Comrade of the Feast
Giver of Joy
Giver of Good Things
Famous, Glorious, Splendid
Splendid, Bright, Glorious
II. Other poetic epithets, used by the tragedians and others:--
Some general terms pertaining to the god's cult include:--
Temple of Hermes
Games & Festival of Hermes
Pillar-Statues of Hermes
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 143 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Mercurius [Hermes] explained [or created] the languages of men (whence he is called ermeneutes, ‘interpreter’, for Mercurius in Greek is called Ermes; he too, divided the nations)."
Suidas s.v. Argeiphontes (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Argeiphontes (Argos-Slayer): Hermes."
Suidas s.v. Deilakrion :
"Deilakrion (Poor fellow) : Hermes was called [this], because he was greedy. For when pieces of meat were shown to him, he dug in right away."
Suidas s.v. Eriounios :
"Eriounios : Very useful. An epithet of Hermes."
ENCYCLOPEDIA HERMES TITLES
ACACE′SIUS (Akakêsios), a surname of Hermes (Callim. Hym. in Dian. 143), for which Homer (Il. xvi. 185; Od. xxiv. 10) uses the form akakêta (akakêtês). Some writers derive it from the Arcadian town of Acacesium, in which he was believed to have been brought up by king Acacus; others from kakos, and assign to it the meaning: the god who cannot be hurt, or who does not hurt. The same attribute is also given to Prometheus (Hes. Theog. 614), whence it may be inferred that its meaning is that of benefactor or deliverer from evil. (Compare Spanh. ad Callim. l. c.; Spitzner, ad Il. xvi. 185.)
AGE′TOR (Agêtôr), a surname given to several gods, for instance, to Zeus at Lacedaemon (Stob. Serm. 42): the name seems to describe Zeus as the leader and ruler of men; but others think, that it is synonymous with Agamemnon :-- to Apollo (Eurip. Med. 426) where however Elmsley and others prefer halêtôr :-- to Hermes, who conducts the souls of men to the lower world. Under this name Hermes had a statue at Megalopolis. (Paus. viii. 3. § 4.)
AGO′NIUS (Agônios), a surname or epithet of several gods. Aeschylus (Agam. 513) and Sophocles (Trach. 26) use it of Apollo and Zeus, and apparently in the sense of helpers in struggles and contests. (Comp. Eustath. ad Il. p. 1335.) But Agonius is more especially used as a surname of Hermes, who presides over all kinds of solemn contests. (Agônes, Paus. v. 14. § 7; Pind. Olymp. vi. 133, with the Schol.)
AGORAEUS and AGORAEA (Agoraia and Agoraios), are epithets given to several divinities who were considered as the protectors of the assemblies of the people in the agora, such as Zeus (Paus. iii. 11. § 8, v. 15. § 3), Athena (iii. 11. § 8), Artemis (v. 15. § 3), and Hermes. (i. 15. § 1, ii. 9. § 7, ix. 17. § 1.) As Hermes was the god of commerce, this surname seems to have reference to the agora as the market-place.
ARCAS (Arkas). A surname of Hermes. (Lucan, Phars. ix. 661; Martial, ix. 34. 6.)
ARGEIPHONTES (Argeiphontês), a surname of Hermes, by which he is designated as the murderer of Argus Panoptes. (Hom. Il. ii 103, and numerous other passages in the Greek and Latin poets.)
CATAE′BATES ( Kataibatês), occurs as a surname of several gods . . . 2. Of Acheron, being the first river to which the shades descended in the lower world . . . 4. Of Hermes, who conducted the shades into Hades. (Schol. ad Aristoph. Pac. 649.)
CTE′SIUS (Ktêsios), the protector of property, occurs as a surname of Zeus at Phlyus, and of Hermes. (Athen. xi. p. 473; Paus. i. 31. § 2.)
CYLLE′NIUS (Kullênios), a surname of Hermes, which he derived from mount Cyllene in Arcadia, where he had a temple (Paus. viii. 17. § 1), or from the circumstance of Maia having given birth to him on that mountain. (Virg. Aen. viii. 139, &c.)
ERIU′NIUS (Eriounios) or ERINNES, the giver of good fortune, occurs as a surname of Hermes, but is also used as a proper name instead of Hermes. (Hom. Il. xxiv. 440, 457, Od. viii. 322 ; Aristoph. Ran. 1143.)
I′MBRAMUS (Imbramos), a surname of Hermes (Eustath. ad Dionys. Per. 524; Steph. Byz. s. v. Imbros), in which Welcker (Trilogie, p. 217) recognises a name of the Pelasgian Hermes, who went from Attica to Lemnos, Imbros and Samothrace, and is said to have been identical with Himerus. He is seen on a coin of Imbros, with a patera and a knotty staff.
I′MBRASUS (Imbrasos) is, according to Eustathius (ad Hom. p. 985), identical with Imbramus, the surname of Hermes.
NO′MIUS (Noumios), a surname of divinities protecting the pastures and shepherds, such as Apollo, Pan. Hermes, and Aristaeus. (Aristoph. Thesmoph. 983; Anthol. Palat. ix. 217; Callim. Hymn. in Apoll. 47.)
PRO′MACHUS (Promakhos). The name Promachus, that is, "the champion," also occurs as a surname of Heracles at Thebes (Paus. ix. 11. § 2), and of Hermes at Tanagra (ix. 22. § 2).
[PRONAUS and] PRONAEA (Pronaia), a surname of Athena, under which she had a chapel at Delphi, in front of the temple of Apollo. (Herod. i. 92; Aeschyl. Eum. 21; Paus. ix. 10. § 2.) Pronaus also occurs as a surname of Hermes. (Paus. l. c.)
THEOXE′NIUS (Theoxenios), a surname of Apollo and Hermes. (Paus. vii. 27. § 2; Schol. ad Pind. Ol. ix. 146, Nem. x. 32.) Respecting the festival of the Theoxenia, see Dict. of Antiq. s. v.
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
- Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th - 4th B.C.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- Suidas, The Suda - Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.
See Cult of Hermes page.