Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Roman Name
Ἑρμης Hermês Hermes Mercurius, Mercury

Hermes Cult

HERMES was the god of the herds, markets, athletics and heraldry.

This page describes his various cult titles and poetic 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:-

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Επιμηλιος Epimêlios Epimelius Keeper of the Flocks
Κριοφορος Kriophoros Criophorus Ram Bearer
Αγοραιος Agoraios Agoraeus Of the Market Place
Δολιος Dolios Dolius Of Crafts, Of Wiles
Τρικεφαλος Trikephalos Tricephalus Three-Headed (Of
Εναγωνιος Enagônios Enagonius Of the Games
Προμαχος Promakhos Promachus Champion
Ἑρμηνευτης Hermêneutês Hermeneutes Interpretor,

Another set of cult titles were derived from the locations of his shrines, founders of his cult, and descriptions of their locale:-

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Κυλληνιος Kyllênios Cyllenus Of Mt Kyllene
(in Arkadia)
Ακακησιος Akakêsios Acacesius Of Akakesion
(in Arkadia)
Αιπυτος Aipytos Aepytus Of Aipytos
(hero Arkadia)
Προπυλαιος Propylaios Propylaeus Of the Gateway
Προναος Pronaos Pronaus Of the Fore-Temple

Some names are more obscure:-

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Πολυγιος Polygios Polygius --
Παραμμων Paramnôn Paramnon --


I) Common Homeric titles of Hermes:-

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Αργειφοντης Argeiphontês Argeiphontes Slayer of Argos
Κυλλενιος Kyllenios Cyllenius Of Mt Kyllene
Μαιαδος Ὑιος Maiados Huios -- Of Mt Son of Maia

II) Common Homeric epithets of Hermes:-

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Διακτορος Diaktoros Diactorus Guide, Minister,
Immortal Guide
Ανγελος Αθανατων Angelos Athanatôn Angelus Athanaton Messenger of
the Gods
Ανγελος Μακαρων Angelos Makarôn Angelus Macaron Messenger of
the Blessed Ones
Χρυσορραπις Khrysorrhapis Chrysorrhapis Of the Golden Wand
Φηλητης Phêlêtês Pheletes Thief, Robber, Rustler
Αρχοσ Φηλητεων Arkhos Phêlêteôn Archus Pheleteon Leader of Robbers
and Thieves
Κλεπσιφρων Klepsiphrôn Clepsiphron Deceiver, Dissembler
Μηχανιωτης Mêkhaniôtês Mechaniotes Trickster, Contriver
Ποικιλομητης Poikilomêtês Poecilometes Full of Various Wiles
Πολυτροπος Polytropos Polytropus Wily, Shifting,
Πονεομενος Poneomenos Poneomenus Busy One
Βουφονος Bouphonos Buphonus Slayer of Oxen
Οιοπολος Oiopolos Oeopolus Sheep-Tending,
Δαις Ἑταιρος Dais Hetairos Daïs Hetaerus Comrade of the Feast
Χαρμοπηρων Kharmophrôn Charmophron Glad-Hearted,
Εριουνης Eriounês Eriounes Luck-Bringing,
Ευσκοπος Euskopos Euscopus Keen-Sighted,
Δωτορ Εαων Dôtor Eaôn Dotor Eaon Giver of Good Things
Χαριδωτης Kharidôtês Charidotes Giver of Joy
Ακακητα Akakêta Acaceta Guileless, Gracious
Κυδιμος Kydimos Cydimus Glorious
Ερικυδης Erikydês Ericydes Famous, Glorious,
Αγλαος Aglaos Aglaus Splendid, Bright,
Κρατυς Kratus Cratus Strong, Mighty
Κρατερος Krateros Craterus Strong, Mighty

II) Other poetic epithets, used by the tragedians and others:-

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Μαστηριος Mastêrios Masterius Of Searchers
Πομπαιος Pompaios Pompaeus The Guide


Some general terms relating to the god's cult include:-

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Ἑρμαιον Hermaion Hermaeum Temple of Hermes
Ἑρμαια Hermaia Hermaea Games of Hermes,
Festival of Hermes
Ἑρμαι Hermai Hermae Pillar-Statues
of Hermes


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.

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."


  • Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C9th-8th BC
  • The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th-4th BC
  • Pausanias, Guide to Greece - Greek Geography C2nd AD
  • Suidas - Byzantine Lexicographer C10th AD
  • Others, see Cult of Hermes page