Hermaphroditus was a figure in Greek mythology, known as the son of Hermes, the messenger god, and Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.

He was originally a handsome young man who attracted the love of a water nymph named Salmacis.

The story goes that Salmacis was deeply enamored with Hermaphroditus and attempted to seduce him. When he resisted her advances, she prayed to the gods to be united with him forever.

The gods granted her wish, and their bodies were fused together, creating a being that possessed both male and female physical characteristics.

This fusion resulted in Hermaphroditus being depicted as having both male and female genitalia, and from this myth, the term “hermaphrodite” (meaning a person or animal having both male and female sex organs) is derived.

Hermaphroditus is often depicted in classical art as a figure with a beautiful, androgynous form, embodying the attributes of both sexes.

His story is a symbol of the blending of male and female characteristics and has been interpreted in various ways through history, reflecting ancient views on gender and sexuality.

Characteristics or stories similar to Hermaphroditus

CultureNameDescriptionSimilarity to Hermaphroditus
HinduArdhanarishvaraA composite form of the god Shiva and his consort Parvati, depicted as half male and half female.Embodies both male and female aspects, similar to Hermaphroditus’ androgyny.
NorseLokiAlthough not typically androgynous, Loki gave birth to Sleipnir after transforming into a mare.Shows fluidity in gender roles and transformation.
MesopotamianIshtarA goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, and war, sometimes depicted with dual characteristics.Represents a combination of traits typically associated with both genders.
EgyptianHapiThe god of the Nile’s inundation, often depicted with both male and female attributes, such as breasts and a beard.Depicted with both male and female characteristics.
Native American (Zuni)AhsonnutliA creator deity, often considered both male and female.Combines male and female elements, similar to Hermaphroditus.
African (Yoruba)ObatalaA god associated with creation and purity, sometimes depicted as having both male and female traits.Contains aspects of both genders, akin to Hermaphroditus’ androgynous nature.
PolynesianTāne MahutaA god of forests and birds who, in some stories, is considered to have dual gender characteristics.Depicted with dual gender traits in certain narratives.

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