Who Was The First Hermaphrodite?


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In Greek myth, Hermes, the messenger god, and Aphrodite, the love goddess, had two sons. One of these was Hermaphroditus, who was so handsome that a water-nymph, Salmacis, fell in love with him. He refused her advances, and she prayed to the gods to let them be united for ever. Then Hermaphroditus went to bathe in the river and the nymph embraced him, clinging to him until they merged into one; after that Hermaphroditus was both male and female. This is the origin of the term "hermaphrodite" used today by scientists to describe someone who has the physical characteristics of both sexes.
By contrast, the other son of Hermes and Aphrodite was Priapus, known chiefly for his enormous penis. There was a phallus-worshipping cult of Priapus which lasted for hundreds of years; its origins are probably much older than Greek myth. There was also a less-widespread cult of Hermaphroditus; both cults probably started in Asia Minor.

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