Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia, daughter of Atlas; born in a cave on mount Cyllene in Arcadia. Hermes appears more often in the myths than any other god or goddess. He is the fastest of the gods, and his position was as Zeus' messenger. He was also the shrewdest and most cunning of all the gods, he was the Master Thief, who started his carrier before his was one day old, by stealing Apollo's herds. Zeus made him give them back, and Hermes won Apollo's forgiveness by given him the lyre which he made out of a tortoise shell.
To the people Hermes was the God of Commerce and the Market, patron of traders, merchants and thieves. In odd contrast he was also the Divine Herald, the solemn guide of the dead who leads their souls down to the underworld, after Thanatos did his job.
Because of a famous statue, Hermes' appearance is well known and he is easily recognized in art. He always wore his winged sandals and his winged cap (petassos); Caduceus, a magic wand given to him by Apollo was always with him as well. He invented quite a few things, some of which are: the lyre, the pipes, the musical scale, astronomy, weights and measures, boxing, gymnastics and the care of olive trees.