Hermes is the Greek god of riches, trade and good fortune and also the messenger or herald of the gods. He is the son of Zeus and Maia, one of the Pleiades. Hermes was an early fertility deity, and crude phallic images of him, called hermae, where set up at crossroads and in front of houses.
Five minutes after he was born, he stole a herd of cows from Apollo. He invented the lyre from a cow's internal fibers. After the Apollo learned what happened, he knew that his half-brother should be one of the pantheon. Hermes was the patron of trickster and thieves because of his actions early in life. He served as messenger for Zeus and as a psychopomp ("conductor of souls") Hermes escorted the souls of the dead to Hades.
He is typically portrayed wearing a petasos, a broad-brimmed traveler's hat, and winged sandals called talaria. He also carries the herald's staff (caduceus), intertwined with ribbons or serpents. The great thief Autolycus is his son. His Roman name is Mercury.