Possibly the earliest coin to depict Hermes is a silver stater of Kaunos dated to c. 490 BCE
|To the Greeks he was Hermes. To the Etruscans, he was Turms. To the Romans he was Mercurius.|
He played many different roles in the myths and beliefs of ancient people, but as a god of profit and commerce, he was often represented on money.
Populonia, an important center of iron production, was one of the few Etruscan cities that issued silver coinage in the fourth century BCE. A magnificent didrachm – one of only three known examples – depicts the god Turms.
|The facing head of Hermes, dated to c. 402-399 BCE.|
Perhaps the finest image of Hermes on any ancient coin appears on the reverse of a silver stater of Pheneos, c. 360-350 BCE
C. Mamilius Limetanus denarius serratus c. 82 BC. Bust of Mercury
|One of the last appearances of Mercury on Roman coinage came during the brief reign of the emperor Trajan Decius. (249-251)|
Pheneos produced a small silver obol c. 370-340 BCE
|Hermes was often depicted as a young man, wearing traveling clothes, a flat hat known as 'petasus' and winged sandals on his feet. Often, he was depicted having wings attached to his shoulders and hat. |
He usually held a caduceus, a winged staff with snakes wrapped around it so he could gain access everywhere. This staff helped Hermes to charm the gods. The staff is often mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine.