An etiological mythology of Hermes
“There through the dews beside me
Behold a youth that trod,
With feathered cap on forehead, and poised a golden rod.
With lips that brim with laughter
But never once respond,
And feet that fly on feathers,
And serpent-circles wand.”
The Merry Guide
The Herald is an honored position in all religious beliefs. Primarily, the conflict that arose between Hermes and Apollo exposes the immortal’s character. Secondarily, Hermes’s nature saved him because the lyre caused the reconciliation between the two. Thirdly, it is the nature of a Herald, in Hermes, that models this immortal position in Roman Greek mythology.
The conflict displays of the nature of Hermes. From the beginning of this myth the future herald is mischievous. Hermes was written about in a “Homeric hymn” he was the son of Zeus and Maia. The hymn continues of Hermes character. “Devious, winning in his cleverness, a guide of dreams, born on the lyre, and stole cattle.”(257, Morford) The conflict between the two builds where a miscommunication between the immortal sons of Zeus is described. Hermes had a natural instinct for trouble. Contrasting Hermes, Apollo had a natural immortal glow, being in his prime at the time of this incident of theft. Helios finds one day that Apollo’s cows are missing. Apollo went in search of the missing cattle and found an old man. The old man stated that it was a child that drove the cattle away. He went then to Maia and Hermes’s cave and searched the everywhere for the cattle. When the two met, it was exciting where Apollo was threatening to throw Hermes into the dark depths of tarsus. Tension rose up into the air. Characteristics of the justice of immortals saved Hermes from immediate death. The two then travel together as the conflict approached the climax. They searched till they came to the place where Hermes had hidden them, here the conflict reached a climax. The conflict defines the justice and deviously wild character of the Herald. The conflict wasn’t resolved and these aren’t the only things an immortal herald must define in his person.
It was the lyre, created from a tortoise and two deceased cattle that reconciled the conflict. The tortoise was found by Hermes at the entrance of the cave. After killing the reptile, Hermes went after mammals to finish the lyre. He stole Apollo’s immortal cattle. Fifty to be exact, and drove them across a beach so their foot prints went backwards. He took the cattle over many shady mountains and told one old man to keep his mouth shut. Once there he cut open two of the cattle and he divided up the meat into twelve offerings, then destroyed the evidence. When he went home he got back into his cradle and his mother said, “you devious rough” (291, Morford). To this Hermes replies how he will be great and strong. This once again portrays Hermes mischievous spirit. When the conflict was at its climax, in Hermes’s cleverness he brought out the newly invented lyre. He began to play the instrument and the tension disappeared. Apollo who like music, was so surprised at the sound the lyre made he decided he would forgive and let Hermes keep the cattle in trade for the lyre. The conflict between the two was resolved and displayed the clever inventive nature of a herald.
The Herald is an honored position in all religious beliefs. The herald, synonymous with angles, brings messages and prayers from earth to the heavens and back to earth again. Etiologically the myth of Hermes and Apollo is the exploration of the…