Hermes was the Greek god of commerce, son of Zeus and Maia. Quick acting and cunning, he was able to move swiftly between the world of man and the world of gods, acting as a messenger of the gods and the link between mortals and the Olympians.
He was the protector of travelers, thieves and athletes. He occassionally tricked the other gods for his own amusement or in an effort to protect humans. With the ability to move freely between worlds, he also served as the guide of the souls of the dead to the underworld and the afterlife.
When Hermes was born, he jumped out of his crib, stole Apollo's cattle and then went back to his crib playing innocent. However, Apollo figured it out, grabbed Hermes and went to Zeus to complain. The father of gods simply laughed and didn't punish Hermes. To apologise, Hermes gave Apollo the lyre which he had just invented. Hermes appeared in many other myths; in the Odyssey, Odysseus was instructed by the god to chew a magic herb with which he would be able to avoid Circe's powers and not be transformed to animals like his companions; in the myth of Pandora, when the gods provided a trait to her, Hermes gave her the ability to lie and seduce with her words.
Hermes is also called Mercury.