Hermaphroditus

Hermaphroditus statue from Roman timesA number of ancient deities combine male and female characteristics. Perhaps the most archetypal is Hermaphroditus, from whose name we get the word hermaphrodite. In Greek mythology, Hermaphroditus was the offspring of the Goddess Aphrodite and the God Hermes. Originally a boy, he was transformed into a male-female hybrid through union with a water nymph. The cult of Hermaphroditus was popular in ancient Rome, where he was worshipped as the deity of bisexuality and effeminacy. The statue shown here is from Monte Porzio in Italy, and dates from the 2nd century AD. It is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

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