As the child of Zeus and Maia, Hermes was precocious, naughty, and michievous. He was known for stealing Apollo's cattle and won his forgiveness by inventing the lyre. Zeus gave Hermes the title of messenger god to keep him out of trouble. To Hermes is ascribed the introduction of the sending of embassies to sue for peace. He is the governor of the tongue and the guide of intelligent speech.
When a dispute arose about the kingdom of Mycenae, Zeus sent Hermes to Atreus and told him to stipulate with Thyestes that Atreus should be king if the sun should go backwards; and when Thyestes agreed, the sun set in the east.