The Children of Zeus: Hermes (page 108, with art)

Chapter 2: The Olympians

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Homer, Odyssey 1.37-42

we spake to him before, sending Hermes, the keen-sighted Argeiphontes, that he should neither slay the man nor woo his wife; for from Orestes shall come vengeance for the son of Atreus when once he has come to manhood and longs for his own land. So Hermes spoke, but for all his good intent he prevailed not upon the heart of Aegisthus. Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 1.84-87

let us send forth Hermes, the messenger, Argeiphontes, to the isle Ogygia, that with all speed he may declare to the fair-tressed nymph our fixed resolve, even the return of Odysseus of the steadfast heart, that he may come home. Greek text

Homer, Odyssey 5.28-32

He spoke, and said to Hermes, his dear son:“Hermes, do thou now, seeing that thou art at other times our messenger, declare to the fair-tressed nymph our fixed resolve, even the return of Odysseus of the steadfast heart, that he may return with guidance neither of gods nor of mortal men. Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 5.75-148

and there the messenger Argeiphontes stood and marvelled. But when he had marvelled in his heart at all things, straightway he went into the wide cave; nor did Calypso, the beautiful goddess, fail to know him, when she saw him face to face; for not unknown are the immortal gods to one another, even though one dwells in a home far away. But the great-hearted Odysseus he found not within; for he sat weeping on the shore, as his wont had been, racking his soul with tears and groans and griefs, and he would look over the unresting sea, shedding tears. And Calypso, the beautiful goddess, questioned Hermes, when she had made him sit on a bright shining chair: “Why, pray, Hermes of the golden wand, hast thou come, an honorable guest and welcome? heretofore thou hast not been wont to come. Speak what is in thy mind; my heart bids me fulfil it, if fulfil it I can, and it is a thing that hath fulfillment. But follow me further, that I may set before thee entertainment.” Continue ReadingGreek Text

Homer, Odyssey 7.136-38

 There he found the leaders and counsellors of the Phaeacians pouring libations from their cups to the keen-sighted Argeiphontes, to whom they were wont to pour the wine last of all, when they were minded to go to their rest. Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 1.362-64

Up to her upper chamber she went with her handmaids, and then bewailed Odysseus, her dear husband until flashing-eyed Athena cast sweet sleep upon her eyelids. Greek text

Homeric Hymn to Hermes 4.15

a watcher by night, a thief at the gates  Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 8.335-42

“Hermes, son of Zeus, messenger, giver of good things, wouldst thou in sooth be willing, even though ensnared with strong bonds, to lie on a couch by the side of golden Aphrodite?” Then the messenger, Argeiphontes, answered him:“Would that this might befall, lord Apollo, thou archer god—that thrice as many bonds inextricable might clasp me about and ye gods, aye, and all the goddesses too might be looking on, but that I might sleep by the side of golden Aphrodite.” Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 10.277-308

then Hermes, of the golden wand, met me as I went toward the house, in the likeness of a young man with the first down upon his lip, in whom the charm of youth is fairest. He clasped my hand, and spoke, and addressed me: “‘Whither now again, hapless man, dost thou go alone through the hills, knowing naught of the country? Lo, thy comrades yonder in the house of Circe are penned like swine in close-barred sties. And art thou come to release them? Nay, I tell thee, thou shalt not thyself return, but shalt remain there with the others. But come, I will free thee from harm, and save thee. Here, take this potent herb, and go to the house of Circe, and it shall ward off from thy head the evil day. And I will tell thee all the baneful wiles of Circe.  She will mix thee a potion, and cast drugs into the food; but even so she shall not be able to bewitch thee, for the potent herb that I shall give thee will not suffer it. And I will tell thee all. When Circe shall smite thee with her long wand, then do thou draw thy sharp sword from beside thy thigh, and rush upon Circe, as though thou wouldst slay her. And she will be seized with fear, and will bid thee lie with her. Then do not thou thereafter refuse the couch of the goddess, that she may set free thy comrades, and give entertainment to thee. But bid her swear a great oath by the blessed gods, that she will not plot against thee any fresh mischief to thy hurt, lest when she has thee stripped she may render thee a weakling and unmanned.’“So saying, Argeiphontes gave me the herb, drawing it from the ground, and showed me its nature. At the root it was black, but its flower was like milk. Moly the gods call it, and it is hard for mortal men to dig; but with the gods all things are possible. Hermes then departed to high Olympus through the wooded isle, and I went my way to the house of Circe. Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 10.330-32

Surely thou art Odysseus, the man of ready device, who Argeiphontes of the golden wand ever said to me would come hither on his way home from Troy with his swift, black ship. Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 12.389-90

This I heard from fair-haired Calypso, and she said that she herself had heard it from the messenger Hermes. Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 24.1-10

Meanwhile Cyllenian Hermes called forth the spirits of the wooers. He held in his hands his wand, a fair wand of gold, wherewith he lulls to sleep the eyes of whom he will, while others again he wakens even out of slumber; with this he roused and led the spirits, and they followed gibbering. And as in the innermost recess of a wondrous cave bats flit about gibbering, when one has fallen from off the rock from the chain in which they cling to one another, so these went with him gibbering, and Hermes, the Helper, led them down the dank ways. Greek Text

Aischylos, Choephoroi 622

And Hermes overtook him. Greek Text

♠ Homeric Hymn to Hermes 4.572

also that he only should be the appointed messenger to Hades  Greek Text

Cerveteri, Museo Nazionale Cerite (formerly New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art): Attic red-figure calyx krater by Euphronios with Hermes as conductor of soul (psychopompos) of Sarpedon 


Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Berlin, Antikensammlung F2455: Attic white-ground lekythos by the Sabouroff Painter with Charon, Hermes and dead youth

A. Fairbanks, Athenian lekythoi with outline drawing in matt color on a white ground (1914), pl. 3.1

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Munich, Antikensammlungen 2777: Attic white-ground lekythos by the Thanatos Painter, with Charon, Hermes and dead woman

Otto Magnus von Stackelberg, Die Gräber der Hellenen (1837), pl. 47

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

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#Charon, #Hermes, #Sarpedon

Artistic sources edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., and Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, June 2019.

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2021

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