(Μαῖα) was the eldest of the Pleiades, the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. She and her sisters, born on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia, are sometimes called mountain goddesses. She was a lover of Zeus and the mother of Hermes.


Maia and her sisters were pursued by Orion, and turned into doves to preserve their safety.

Zeus, in the dead of night, secretly begot Hermes upon Maia, who avoided the company of the gods, in a cave of Cyllene. After giving birth to the baby, Maia wrapped him in blankets and went to sleep. The rapidly-maturing infant Hermes crawled away to Thessaly, where by nightfall of his first day he stole some of his half-brother Apollo's sacred cattle and invented the lyre. Maia refused to believe Apollo when he claimed Hermes was the thief but Zeus then sided with Apollo. Finally, Apollo, enchanted by the newly invented lyre, exchanged the cattle for the instrument.Maia is the word that they use to make the flying shoes of Hermes sprout wings and fly;inspired by his mother's name.

Maia also raised the infant Arcas to protect him from Hera, who had turned his mother, Callisto, into a bear.


Maia was the oldest, most beautiful, and the most shy of her sisters. She is called "mountain Maia of the lovely black eyes".

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