The figure of Hermes stands on the trophy, he was the son of Zeus and Maia. He was the swift god, who used his speed for the service of Jupiter is made of 18 carat gold. He is poised on a breath of wind and the head of the little wind god himself is resting on a dark bronze pedestal on which the victors’ names are to be inscribed. He is holding a caduceus or golden wand. He was given this by Apollo, who told him that it possessed the faculty of uniting in love all beings divided by hate. Wishing to prove this assertion, Hermes threw it down between fighting snakes, whereupon the angry combatants clasped each other in a loving embrace.
The wand typified power, the serpents; wisdom and the wings: dispatch
Hermes and his brother, Apollo had a little falling out but when this was resolved, Zeus gave the young god a winged cap; (Petasus) and silver wings for his feet; (Talaria) and was forthwith appointed herald of the Gods. This was when Apollo also gave him the caduceus.
At the side are seated figures, on the right is industry, resting after his toil, on the left is a female figure; invention (or is it fame) holding the wreath of evergreen over the victor’s name.
He was the trusted ambassador of all gods. He was worshipped as the God of eloquence, most probably from the fact as ambassador he was entrusted with negotiations. He was patron of commerce and the promoter of intercourse among nations, hence he is essentially the god of travelers, over whose safety he presided. He was also guardian of streets and road. He presided over the rearing and education of the young and encouraged exercise and athletic pursuits.
Hermes was a Greek god, whereas Mercury was his name as a Roman god.
The design on the Tourist Trophy is based on Giambologna’s sculpture of Hermes. (but some would say it is Mercury!)