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It seems as if Hermes helped Zeus and other gods who sided with the Trojans in the war. What was his reason?

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  • I could not find any clear quote in the Illiad for why he chose to side with the Greeks. Why would he have chosen otherwise?
    – Mauricio
    Mar 1 at 16:03
  • IIRC Hermes also guided Priam through the Achaean camp to recover Hector's body, so he might not have been completely one sided
    – Tom Sol
    Apr 11 at 19:15

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Hermes, along with some of the other gods, was more or less dragged into the war, with no actual interest for either side. He allowed his direct Trojan opponent, Leto (mother of Artemis and Apollo), to beat him in battle. However, Hermes had a great interest in Odysseus, who was a descendant of his son Autolycus. But generally, he didn’t favor either side. Technically you could say he sided with the Greeks, but with no actual opinion on the war itself. It could also be that Zeus is his father, but I wouldn’t count on that particularly.

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  • I believe that Autolycus is not Hermes' son in the Odyssey (Pherecydes seems to be the source of that invention), though he did favor him. But where does Hermes show especial favor to Odysseus?
    – cmw
    Aug 10 at 13:01
  • In Odyssey 10, Hermes shows up out of the blue, after Odysseus has landed on Aiaia Island, to give the wandering hero instructions about how to avoid getting turned into an animal by Circe & also how to rescue those of his companions who have already suffered such an ignominy. Apollodorus, Athenaeus, Hyginus & Ovid also make references to the encounter.
    – Adinkra
    Aug 10 at 17:58
  • @Adinkra I'm not sure I'd call that special favor, and both Athena and Ino-Leukothea help Odysseus on his journey. Also by that point Aeolus has helped him, too. Given that Poseidon was in favor of the Greeks but turned against Odysseus, I don't we can say for sure the Greeks would have attributed this action to any family ties.
    – cmw
    Aug 10 at 21:34
  • I'd always been almost certain that the Odyssey 10 preemptive rescue had something to do with Odysseus' descent from Hermes via Autolykos until you pointed out the absence of this genealogical connection in Homer. But ah, well, whatever the case, I'm guessing this must be what is being referring to by JavaJay - who I think has done well in parsing out a possible rationale for Hermes' motivations both on the Trojan battlefield & in Odysseus' adventures.
    – Adinkra
    Aug 11 at 3:07
  • Also, your mention of Athena makes me think, though, that whatever the (otherwise unmentioned?) reason for it, the Aiaia meeting must be a special favour on the part of Hermes. Athena definitely goes out of her way to be Odysseus' patron in the Odyssey , & apparently other divinities (viz. Leukothea, Aiolos & Hermes) like him enough to lend him their helping hand as well.
    – Adinkra
    Aug 11 at 3:10

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