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Hermaphroditus

by Ryan Tuccinardi
The name given to all people with both masculine and feminine qualities, and more particularly applied to a son of Aphrodite and Hermes.

Hermaphroditus was raised by nymphs in Phrygia. He was remarkably handsome. One day, he was walking by a lake when the nymph of the lake fell in love with him. She made advances which the young man rebuffed. Hermaphroditus was attracted by the clear water, undressed himself and jumped into the lake. The nymph, Salmacis, saw him and embraced him, but he tried to get away. Salmacis prayed to the gods that they should never be separated, the gods granted this wish and fused them into one body. Hermaphroditus thereupon asked the gods that anybody who bathed in this lake should lose his virility, which was also granted.

Ovid IV, 288.


Article details:

  • Pronunciation:
    hur-maf-roh-dy'-tuhs

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