The old shepherd of Neleus. He witnessed the theft of Apollo's cattle by Hermes. The god asked for his silence in exchange for a heifer, and the old man readily agreed, saying, "that stone would betray you quicker than I" and he pointed out a stone.

Hermes mistrusted him nevertheless, and pretended to leave but soon returned in another form and voice, and asked the shepherd if he had seen the cattle being driven off. As a reward, he would offer a bull and its heifer. Battus, upon hearing his reward doubled, broke his vow, and told Hermes where the cattle went. Hermes touched him with his staff, and transformed him into a flint (or herma).



  • Antoninus Liberalis, 22.
  • Ovid. Metamorphoses ii, 688 ff.