5th Century BC: Hermes Kriophoros

Hermes Kriophoros - Roman copy of 5th century BC Greek original

Hermes Kriophoros – Roman copy of 5th century BC Greek original

“Kriophoros” is Greek for “ram-bearer.” The epithet became associated with the god Hermes in connection with a story from the city of Tanagra, here retold by the traveler and geographer Pausanias:

There are sanctuaries of Hermes Kriophoros and of Hermes called Promachos [“champion”]. They account for the former surname by a story that Hermes averted a pestilence from the city by carrying a ram round the walls; to commemorate this, Calamis made an image of Hermes carrying a ram upon his shoulders. Whichever of the youths is judged to be the most handsome goes round the walls at the feast of Hermes, carrying a lamb on his shoulders.

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