), a hermaphrodite. This conception belongs to art as
well as to mythology, and will here be briefly noticed from the former point
of view. “The idea itself was probably derived from the worship of
nature in the East, where we find not only monstrous compounds of
animals, but also that peculiar kind of dualism which manifests itself
in the combination of the male and female” (Dict.
s. v.). The exchange of dresses by Hercules and Omphale, and
similar proceedings in Cyprian, Lydian, and Greek worships, are thought to
point to the same Oriental origin. The traditional derivation of the name
from Hermes and Aphrodite is pronounced doubtful by Baumeister, who thinks
that some foreign words may be concealed under it; nothing definite,
however, is yet proposed. Hermaphroditus was regarded as an emblem of
indissoluble marriage, in opposition to the ready divorces of ancient
manners: and chaplets were hung up in his shrine at Athens by widows who
desired to testify their fidelity to the deceased (Alciphr.
4.37). This, according to Baumeister, is also the
explanation of the fable of Hermaphroditus and the nymph Salmacis in Ov. Met. 4.285
Five marble statues of this class are extant; the oldest gives its name to
the Sala dell' Ermafrodito
in the Uffizi at Florence; two are
in the Louvre, one in the Villa Borghese, the fifth has lately been dug up
in Rome (figured Mon. dell' Inst.
11.43). Of these the
Borghese and one of the Louvre statues are the most celebrated, but a strong
resemblance runs through them all; in each the figure is lying on its side
or face downwards, and the delicate outlines of the back, turned towards the
spectator, alone suggest the bisexual form. This type is probably derived
from the bronze original of the elder Polycles (Plin. Nat. 34.80
), and thus does not go further back than the
later Athenian school. Other less modest representations are given by Clarac
(pl. 666 ff.
). By an obvious symbolism, the
hermaphrodite form occurs in reliefs among Bacchanalian dances, Hermae of
the bearded Dionysus, and Erotes. (Müller, Archäol.
§ § 128 n. 2, 392 n. 2; Baumeister,
Denkmäler, s. v. Hermaphrodit.