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My Favourite Planet > English > People > Hermaphroditus

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Hermaphroditus

Ancient Greek mythology, religion and art

Hermaphroditus (Greek, Ἑρμαφρόδιτος, Hermaphroditos; also referred to as Ἑρμαφροδίτη, Hermaphrodite) was the child of Hermes and Aphrodite (the Roman equivalents were Mercury and Venus), who had combined male and female characteristics.

In the art of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the trans-sexual deity is often depicted in explicitly erotic and even seductive poses, with exposed breasts and male genitals. [1]
 
References to Hermaphroditus
on My Favourite Planet
 
Hellenistic statue of Hermaphroditus from Pergamon.
With photos of other artworks featuring the deity.

Pergamon gallery 2, page 17

A marble statuette of Hermaphroditus carrying an infant Eros in the fold of her garment. at My Favourite Planet

Marble statuette of Hermaphroditus
carrying an infant Eros in the fold
of her garment.

From Tor Marancia, Rome.

Capitoline Museums, Rome.
Chablais Collection. Inv. No. MC370.
 

The Berlin Hermaphroditus statue at My Favourite Planet

The "Berlin Hermaphroditus" wearing a
mithra, a woman's scarf. Thasian marble.
Circa 120-140 AD. 172.3 cm high.

Altes Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. Sk 193.
 
Hermaphroditus figurine from the Yortanli Dam Salvage<br>excavation, near Pergamon at My Favourite Planet

Ceramic figurine of Hermaphroditus.
From the Yortanli Dam Salvage
excavation, near Pergamon.

Bergama Archaeological Museum.
 

Marble statue of Hermaphroditus from Pergamon at My Favourite Planet

Marble statue of Hermaphroditus
from Pergamon. Hellenistic period,
3rd - 2nd century BC.

Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
Inv. No. 363 T. Cat. Mendel 624.

See Pergamon gallery 2, page 17.
 
Statue of Hermaphroditus from Pompeii at My Favourite Planet

Statue of Hermaphroditus from Pompeii.

National Archaeological Museum, Naples.
 

Marble herm of Hermaphroditus from the river Kestel, Pergamon at My Favourite Planet

Marble herm of Hermaphroditus
from the river Kestel, Pergamon.
Hellenistic period.

Bergama Archaeological Museum.
 
Statue of Hermaphroditus from Izmir at My Favourite Planet

Statue of Hermaphroditus of a common
type showing the deity raising his/her
garment to reveal male genitals.
Roman period, 2nd century AD.

Izmir Museum of History and Art.
Inv. No. 5921.
Statue of Hermaphroditus and a satyr at My Favourite Planet

Statue of Hermaphroditus and a satyr at erotic play.

Parian marble. 2nd century AD Roman copy of a Hellenistic original,
probably of the 2nd century BC. Height of Hermaphroditus 122.6 cm.

The statue group has been restored. The satyr's head is modern,
Hermaphroditus' head is ancient but belongs to another statue.
The objects below the couple are Dionysian-bucolic attributes,
including musical instruments and a tortoise.

Altes Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. 195.
Acquired in Rome in 1826.
Fresco of Hermaphroditus and a satyr at erotic play, from Pompeii at My Favourite Planet

Fresco of Hermaphroditus and a satyr at erotic play.

From Pompeii. 1-50 AD.

National Archaeological Museum, Naples. Inv. No. 110878. Secret Cabinet.
Relief of dancing Hermaphroditus at My Favourite Planet

Fragment of a neo-Attic wine bowl with a relief of Hermaphroditus dancing.
Augustan age, 27 BC - 14 AD. Pentelic Marble.

Barracco Museum, Rome. Inv. No. MB 170.
From the Steinhäuser Collection.
Marble table support in the form of Hermaphroditus at My Favourite Planet

Detail of a table support in the form of Hermaphroditus.
1st century BC - 1st century AD. Parian marble.

Barracco Museum, Rome. Inv. No. MB 183.
Fresco painting of Hermaphroditus at My Favourite Planet

Fragment of a fresco with Hermaphroditus from Capua, Campania, Italy.
Second half of the 3rd century AD.

Hermaphroditus is shown naked apart from a red cloak and a golden laurel wreath.
In the manner of depictions of Dionysus, he/she rests his left hand on his head
and carries a kithara in his left.

Barracco Museum, Rome. Inv. No. MB 214.
A fresco painting of Hermaphroditus from Herculaneum at My Favourite Planet

Fresco painting of Hermaphroditus.

From Herculaneum. 1-50 AD.

National Archaeological Museum, Naples. Inv. No. 9224. Secret Cabinet.
Fresco with Hermaphroditus, a satyr and maenad, from Pompeii at My Favourite Planet

Fresco with Hermaphroditus, an aged satyr (Silenus) and a maenad.

From Casa di Epidio Sabino, Pompeii (IX, 1, 22). 50-79 AD.

Hermaphroditus sits on a bench with an exposed erect penis. The satyr, standing behind him,
grasps his right arm. To the right stands a maenad, wearing a wreath and a doeskin, and
holding a thyrsos and kantharos (drinking cup), attributes of Dionysus, and a tamborine.

National Archaeological Museum, Naples. Inv. No. 27875. Secret Cabinet.
Fresco with Hermaphroditus and a satyr from Herculaneum at My Favourite Planet

Fresco with Hermaphroditus and a satyr.

From Herculaneum. 1-50 AD.

National Archaeological Museum, Naples. Inv. No. 27701. Secret Cabinet.
Fresco painting of Hermaphroditus and Pan from Pompeii at My Favourite Planet

Fresco with Hermaphroditus and Pan.

From the atrium of the Casa dei Dioscuri, Pompeii (VI, 9, 6). 1-50 AD.

Although several Roman artworks show Hermaphroditus defending herself from erotic advances
of satyrs, here the tables have been turned. It appears that the goat-footed god Pan, shown in
other scenes sexually drawn to Aphrodite and even goats (see the Pan page), is here trying to
escape from Hermaphroditus' grasp. The signal he sends with his raised right hand says it all.

National Archaeological Museum, Naples. Inv. No. 27700. Secret Cabinet.
 
Hermaphroditus Notes, references and links  

1. Hermaphroditus

See Victor Ljunggren Szepessy's MA thesis dealing with this statue:

Victor Ljunggren Szepessy, The Marriage Maker: The Pergamon Hermaphrodite as the God Hermaphroditos, Divine Ideal and Erotic Object. Master of Arts Thesis in Art History. University of Oslo, 2014.
 
Photos and articles © David John
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