Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia, and soon after his birth, he stole some cattle from his brother Apollo. This is the first instance of his trickster side. To calm the resulting argument and potential fight, he played the lyre he built from the intestines of one of the cows.
Hermes is athletic and quick, which fits with his role as the messenger of the gods. As messenger, he escorts souls to the underworld and gives dreams to mortals. He is usually depicted as an athletic, handsome young man with a winged hat and winged sandals. He has a golden winged staff with two serpents winding around it. This staff is linked to the medical field, though Hermes has little connection with the healing arts.
Hermes is considered the inventor of foot racing and boxing, and he has a statue at the original Olympic stadium because of his reputation as an athlete. The Roman counterpart to Hermes is Mercury, who has the same general roles within the pantheon and mythology.Learn more about Folklore