I suppose that when history, astronomy and poetry became particularly literary in ancient Greece, one should count the Muses as goddesses of writing (of writing these things, if not of the act of writing itself). In conjunction with the Muses' mother Mnemosyne, who was the goddess of memory, Hermes was the god of speech, language and learning, and the patron of the art of writing. Together with the three Moirai [Fates], he composed the alphabet. Hyginus says that the Fates invented the first letters of the alphabet and then Hermes continued. The Kanaanite prince Kadmos, who spent his childhood in Egypt, received these letters there from Hermes. Kadmos' father Agenor then moved with his wife and children, Kadmos included, to Kanaan when Agenor became king of that region. Kadmos then took the letters he had with him to Greece upon his migration there. Evander, son of Hermes and Carmentis or Carmenta, upon his exile from Arcadia, took these letters to Italy, where his mother Carmenta changed them to Latin, and Apollo[n] there completed the alphabet using his lyre. Another version of this myth says that Linos, son of Ourania (the Muse of astronomy) by Amphimaros, Hermes or Apollon, is the one who discovered the rules of harmony and brought the alphabet from Phoenicia (= Kanaan) to Greece. Perhaps because of the Phoenician connection, the invention of the alphabet is otherwise ascribed to Prince Phoinix [Phoenix] of Ormenion, whose name is the same as that of the brother of Kadmos who renamed Agenor's kingdom Phoinikia [Phoenicia] upon his accession to the throne of the region. All of this, however, is inconsistent with the idea that it was from the Titan Prometheus that humankind received the art of writing.
The fact that Hermes was so closely identified with Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing, suggests that he was understood in the same capacity by the Greeks.
Cheers Alejandro. Aside from inventing the letters and presumably writing them down inorder to comminicate them, are there any references to a Greek God actually writing (like Jehovah who wrote on the wall during Belshazzer's feast)? They might have inspired or dictated writing (like Apollo inspired the Pythia), but are there any references to them producing it physiically,, like when Hephaestus produced weaponry and automaton, and Athena produced tapestry and sculpture?
Unlike his Egyptian counterpart Thoth, there don't seem to be any stories about Hermes himself writing, apart from the example you've given in the alphabet-invention myth. Representing the transition between oral and literary poetry, Kalliope, the Muse of epic poetry, was, in older art, depicted holding a lyre while in the so-called Classical period she was represented bearing a stylus and tablet or scroll. But then again, I don't see any stories in which she actually wrote anything.
The primeval Orphic god Phanes, also known by the names Eros, Protogonos, Thesis and Erikepaeios, is said, in Nonnos' Dionysiaka, to have written upon seven tablets the histories of all the rulers of the universe from the time of the Titan Ophion up until the futures yet unknown during the reign of Zeus. I think it's these same tablets which Nonnos also calls the tablets of Harmonia, which were kept in the palace of the sun-god Helios and guarded by the goddess Harmonia or by Phanes' sisters the twelve Horai (the twelve Daylight Hours) who also served as Helios' handmaidens. Not that this makes Phanes a patron of writing, but maybe it's noteworthy that he is a deity in the cult/religion of Orpheus, who was the son of Kalliope.
After a bit of racking my brains again I came up with a few examples from Greek/Roman myth, though not all are writings by Gods.
1. The Golden apple of Eris, thrown onto the banqueting table at the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, it bore the words “for the fairest” and prompted the competition between Aphrodite, Hera and Athena, the judgement of Paris, and the Trojan War. So not only could Eris write, but the Gods could also read.
2. The Siblline prophecies, written by the Sibyl of Cumae and offered to Tarquinius Priscus, King of Rome, who refused to buy them, causing her to burn six of the books, forcing the king to purchase the remaing three at the original price. The Cumaen Sibyl was offered a wish by Apollo in return for sleeping with her, and she asked for as many years of life as grains of sand that she could hold in her hand. She then rebuked him, and so Apollo allowed her to grow old without eternal youth, so she grew withered away to nothing.
3. According to Euripides, Phaedra, the wife of Theseus, left her husband a suicide note accusing Hippolytus (Theseus’ son and her step-son) of trying to seduce her.
4. Proitos, king of Tiryns, sent his father in law, Iobates, King of Lycia, a letter requesting that he kill the letter bearer, Bellerophon. Proitos’ wife had had her amorous intensions rebuffed by Bellerophon, and then told her husband he had tried to rape her, causing Proitos to seek his death. Iobates sent him against the Chimaera, marauding pirates, and the Amazons but with the help of Pegasus Bellerophon defeated them all and Iobates gave him his daughter in marriage.
Not sure how the final one fits in chronoligically with Kadmos.
Strange how all these relate writing to misfortune through failed loves.
The earliest Greek representation of someone reading (c.440BC). It shows the musician Linos reading from a papyrus roll, with the poet Mousaios reading from wooden tablets.
Linos was a son of a Muse, either Kalliope (by Apollo or King Oiagras), or Urania (by Apollo, or Hermes, or Amphimarus son of Poseidon), or Terpsichore (by Apollo). He invented melody and rhythm, and taught music to Herakles, who killed him in a fit of anger.
Mousaios is sometimes said to be the son of Orpheus (and Linos' nephew), or the son of Selene, the moon goddess, and the singer Eumolpus. He reputedly composed poems in praise of Demeter.
This depiction gives the idea that these ancient composers (according to one 5thCentruy BC artist) wrote down their compositions rather than reciting from memory. Interestingly Linos is reading something rather than playing his lyre. Any idea what the text says on the papyrus?
Also, at Athens, by the way, it was believed that it was the Athenian king Kekrops I who, with the assistance of Athena, invented writing. The story of Bellerophon and Iobates could work chronologically with that of Kadmos, since Kadmos' brother Kilix ruled Lycia one or two reigns before Iobates; Kadmos' nephews Minos and Sarpedon were respectively ruling Crete and Lycia around the time that Amisodaros was rearing the Khimaira [Chimaera]; and Kadmos' grandson Dionysos invaded Argolis during the reigns of Proitos and Perseus. So there's provision that Kadmos brought the Phoenician alphabet to Greece as early as two generations before the time of Iobates.
The only other "writing" stories that I can think of, from the mythology, are war-related. Among the spoils brought by Amphitryon from the kingdom of Pterelaos, Amphitryon dedicated a tripod to Apollon Ismenios, on which he inscribed in the Theban royal family's Kadmeian (i.e., originally Phoenician) writing: "Amphitryon dedicated me from the spoils of the Teleboai."
There is an obscure myth (found in Photios' Myriobiblon if I'm not mistaken) about the Gigantos Enkelados writing on Athena's peplos (a sort of garment) before his defeat in Gigantomakhia [the Gigantomachy]. It is not mentioned what he wrote nor what the importance of this writing event was. Maybe it's somehow related to the story of Laodike. While on his way back home after the Trojan War, King Agapenor of Arkadia was thrown by a storm onto Cyprus Island, where he founded New Paphos City. Born in this new city, Agapenor’s daughter Laodike sent to her father’s home city of Tegea, Arkadia a robe as a gift for Athena Alea. The inscription on the robe read: “This is the robe of Laodike; she offered it to her Athena, sending it to her broad fatherland from divine Kypros [Cyrpus].”
During or after the sacking of their cities, both Daphne (a daughter of the prophet Teiresias) of Thebes and Queen Hekabe [Hecuba] of Troy wrote letters to people to whom they were close.
Robert Graves claims, in his book The Greek Myths, that the name of the Centaur Pholos means "Read."
Nah, at this size the text from Linos' papyrus in your image is kinda illegible, besides which he seems to be deliberately masking the text in such a way that we can't see a single complete line therefrom. Unless it's actually just one word written a little bit haphazardly from top to bottom (maybe?).