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In Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Maia, the messenger of the gods, and god of merchants, thieves, and oratory. He was portrayed as a herald equipped for travelling, with broad-brimmed hat, winged shoes, and a winged rod. His Roman equivalent is Mercury.

He was also associated with fertility, and from early times was represented by a stock or stone (a Herm), generally having a human head carved at the top and a phallus halfway up it. As patron of flocks and herds, he may be shown carrying a lamb or a calf, and thus may be taken as the equivalent of Christ as the Good Shepherd.

Hermes Trismegistus a legendary figure regarded by Neoplatonists and others as the author of certain works on astrology, magic, and alchemy. Latin Trismegistus means ‘thrice-greatest Hermes’, in reference to Thoth, identified with Hermes.

Subjects: Classical studies

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