Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology
Hermaphroditos, the personage in Greek and Roman myth and iconography possessing both male and female sexual features, first appears in Greek literary and epigraphical sources in the fourth century B.C., although a pedigree as the offspring of Hermes is not provided before the mid-first century D.C. In addition to the proper name Hermaphroditos, the term used generically, along with its adjectival form describes these Mischwesen as they are reported by various ancient authors to occur in nature. But from the inscriptions, literary testimonia, and artifacts, it appears that the Greeks and Romans considered Hermaphroditos a divinity with a variety of divine functions and characteristics. Representations of Hermaphroditos occur in large and small scale stone sculpture and reliefs, in marble, bronze and terracotta figurines, wall paintings, in a few mosaics and on gems. The distribution of these objects ranges from points in Italy, Austria, France, and England to Greece, Cyprus, Asia Minor and North Africa. Through this survey of Hermaphroditos in Greek and Roman art I will attempt to answer the following questions: What constitutes the representation of an hermaphrodite in ancient art? How did these figures function and what did they mean to the Greeks and Romans? Did they have cult significance? This study focuses on three major types of hermaphrodite representations: the so-called anasyromenos variety, where Hermaphroditos makes its identity known by raising the front of its garment to reveal male genitals, the well known Sleeping Hermaphrodite, and some group compositions where Hermaphroditos wrestles with a satyr. All three of these types have traditionally been thought to have their origins in the Greek world, but, securely be as we will see, only connected with Greece. the anasyromenos type can The Sleeping Hermaphrodite type, and the wrestling groups probably developed in Italy during the second century B.C.
Ajootian, Aileen. “Natus Diformis: Hermaphrodites in Greek and Roman Art.” PhD diss., Bryn Mawr College, 1990.