Hermes Family Tree: A Complete Family Tree of the Greek God of Herds in Greek Mythology

Hermes is the beloved messenger of the Greek gods. He’s reliable and always there at the right time, thanks to his trusty winged sandals. As the god of herds and the patron of travelers, heralds, athletes, thieves, and commerce, Hermes was one of the most revered deities of ancient Greece. Being an Olympian and a son of Zeus helps with popularity points, too.

Hermes’ family tree is expansive and complex; he has innumerable half-siblings whose births span centuries. That’s not to mention his own children, either. And things can get pretty confusing when any ol’ speedster is assumed to be a child of Hermes.

Hermes’ Parents and Birth

Hermes’ parents tend to be listed as the Pleiad nymph, Maia, and the celebrated god of storms, Zeus. The nature of their relationship is debated, as some describe Maia as having been in love with Zeus. Others note that Maia avoided contact with the gods, leading Zeus to seek her out in the dead of night while she slept.

READ MORE: 41 Greek Gods and Goddesses: Family Tree and Fun Facts

Hesiod’s Theogony confirms Hermes as the son of Zeus and Maia. Moreover, his parentage is further verified in Homeric Hymn 4 to Hermes, where we get a peak at infant Hermes and his wily tendencies.

Within hours of his birth, Hermes makes the first-ever lyre, steals Apollo’s oxen, invents “fire sticks and fire,” lies to Apollo, and charms the pants off of his dad.

In Greek mythology, it is said that Hermes was born on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. His mother and aunts, the Pleiades, were also born on Mount Cyllene to the Titan Atlas and the Oceanid Pleione. Thus, the mountain became a sacred spot for him and he gained the epithet Cyllenius.

READ MORE: The 12 Greek Titans: The Original Gods of Ancient Greece

Siblings of Hermes

Hermes has a lot of big-name siblings out there. It’s thought his father had anywhere between 90 and 100 children, so you can expect how crowded family reunions got. Meanwhile, he was his mother’s only child. Since he had no full sibs, Hermes has a long list of half-siblings that he either got along with or didn’t.

Of his half-siblings, the most notable divine ones include…

However, there is more to the Greek god family tree than just divine blood. Between trysts with mortals (both consensual and nonconsensual) and strange encounters under the guise of some animal or another, Hermes also has plenty of demigod siblings. Some of these mortals are better known than others.

Here is a short list of Hermes’ most well-known mortal half-siblings:

Once again, Zeus has a ton of children who are usually just name-dropped in a single, obscure myth. And if not in a myth, then in some royal genealogical record.

READ MORE: Zeus Family Tree: The Family Tree of the King of the Gods

Relationships and Children

As with most Hellenic deities, Hermes had relationships with mortals, nymphs, and other gods. Not all of these relationships were serious. Not all of them resulted in children, either.

Hermes was married, according to Nonnus, to the goddess of persuasion, Peitho. Alternatively, there’s a belief that Hermes never settled down and that Peitho was instead wed to the primordial hero-king of Argos, Phoroneus. At least, that’s what the Athenian playwright Euripides tells us. Regardless, Hermes and Peitho never had kids.

Peitho was a member of Aphrodite’s entourage, however, and Hermes undoubtedly had relations with that woman. He also fooled around with a handful of nymphs and mortals, not all of whom were named in history.

Known and suspected lovers of Hermes (not including Aphrodite or Peitho) are as follows:

  • Penelope, wife of the hero Odysseus
    • Alternatively, a nymph named Penelopeia
  • Iphthime, daughter of King Dorus
  • Eupolemeia, daughter of King Myrmidon
  • Khione, a nymph
  • Persephone, goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld*
  • Hecate, goddess of witchcraft*
  • Perseus, his half-brother and a son of Zeus and Argive princess Danaë
  • Herse of Athens*
  • Several unnamed women from across the Greek world

From a handful of these relations, we know of several children:

  • Pan
  • Pherespondus
  • Lycus
  • Pronomus
  • Hermaphroditus
  • Angelia
  • Palaestra
  • Aethilades
  • Autolycus
  • Abderus

*It is speculated that Hermes was one of the gods that attempted to woo Persephone before her marriage to Hades

*Hecate is considered a potential consort to Hermes Chthonius in the Thessalian cults of Pherae and Eleusis

*The only account of Herse of Athens as a lover of Hermes is in Book 2 of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Divine Offspring of Hermes

Hermes has about seven known divine offspring, all of which are results from his romantic encounters with goddesses and nymphs alike. These include the god Pan, some of the first Satyrs (Pherespondus, Lycus, and Pronomus), and the god Hermaphroditus. Lesser known are the goddesses Angelia and Palaestra.

The trickiest to get to the bottom of is Pan, god of the wilds, who was born from a nameless daughter of Dryops, or a certain Penelope. Yeah – possibly the famously faithful Penelope of Homer’s Odyssey. This was the account given by the historian Herodotus, among several others. Otherwise, the other kids have relatively straightforward accounts of their mothers. That is, as straightforward as ancient records could be.

The Satyrs Pherespondus, Lycus, and Pronomus were born from a union with a possible nymph, Iphthime. She was the daughter of Dorus, the founding king of the Dorians.

Hermaphroditus was the offspring of Hermes and the Olympian goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite. He is considered one of the Erotes. Myths say that he was a beautiful child preyed on by a Naiad, Salmacis, who prayed to be united with him eternally. For some reason, her prayer was answered, and Hermaphroditus became intersex as a result.

The mother of Angelia is unknown, or otherwise nonexistent. She is a message personified, so there is a bit of wiggle room with her parentage. Pindar only refers to her as “Hermes’ daughter” in his Olympian Odes. Likewise, Palaestra, the goddess of wrestling, has no recorded mother, but she was born and raised in Arcadia.

Mortal Offspring of Hermes

As far as demigods go, Hermes has a handful associated with him. Compared to other Olympians, there aren’t many. The mortal children of Hermes are said to have inherited his cunning, leading lives of thievery and adventure.

The first of these mortal offspring is Aethalides, the herald of the Argonauts from the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece. Though clever, his most outstanding quality was that of his memory: he could remember just about anything, even after death. Such hints at Hermes’ role as a guide of the dead. It is said he is the son of the messenger god and the Phthian princess Eupolemeia.

READ MORE: Jason and the Argonauts: The Myth of the Golden Fleece

Then, there is the famed robber Autolycus, the son of Hermes by a nymph, Khione (or, Chione). He could make whatever he stole invisible and his wife was capable of shapeshifting. One of his daughters was Anticlea, the mother of Odysseus, and Polymede, the mother of Jason. Both heroic descendants were marked by their quick thinking and determination, much akin to their great-grandfather.

The last demigod of note may or may not have been a child of Hermes – it depends on the author. Abderus was said to be a son of Hermes and an unnamed Locrian woman. Abderus was a companion of Heracles featured in his Eighth Labor. The Labor involved wrangling the man-eating horses of Diomedes which, while successful, led to Abderus’ untimely demise.

Wrapping Up the Family Tree of the Ancient Greek God

Like father, like son. Well, kind of.

Hermes’ lineage offers rich insight into how he was viewed by the ancient Greeks. Through his descendants, we see first-hand his quick wit and gift of gab. Despite not always being the most likable of folks, those descended from Hermes were capable, inventive, and heroic in their own ways. That is, when they wanted to be.

Being the kid of a god isn’t easy. The unique experience is something Hermes and his half-siblings knew far too well. Consequently, Hermes’ offspring came to know the same feeling. Life isn’t easy out there for a fledgling god – and especially not for a demigod, for that matter.

In Greek mythology, no child of an immortal could escape the high expectations.

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