Last Updated on 2022/10/11
Hermaphroditus was the mythological son of Aphrodite and Hermes.
The naiad Salmacis sought to rape him while he was a little child and begged to be linked with him forever, according to Ovid. He is regarded as the name’s source since a deity, in response to her request, combined their two bodies into one and changed him into a hermaphrodite. His parents’ names, Hermes and Aphrodite, (Venus and Mercury), are combined to form their name. He belonged to the Erote race. He is often referred to as Atlantiades since Hermaphroditus was a child of Hermes and hence a great-grandchild of Atlas (Hermes’ mother Maia was the daughter of Atlas).
Related article: Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Rome
Hermaphroditus, the two-sexed offspring of Aphrodite and Hermes, was shown as a female figure with male genitalia in Greco-Roman art, and he had long been a symbol of androgyny or effeminacy.
According to Theophrastus, Hermaphroditus and the institution of marriage are related in some way. It is significant that the fourth day of the month be mentioned since it is the luckiest day for weddings. Hermaphroditus was supposedly associated with marriage because, by having both masculine and feminine traits, he represented the merger of men and women in a holy union. Hermaphroditus’ parents’ involvement in guarding and blessing brides was another element connecting him to weddings.
Featured image: Hermaphroditos, holding a torch and a kantharos, between Silenus (right) and maenad (left); Roman fresco from the triclinium of the procurator in the Casa del Centenario (IX 8,3–6) in Pompeii.
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