Hermafrodite

Another factor linking Hermaphroditus to weddings was his parents' role in protecting and blessing brides.

Hermaphroditus's name is derived from those of his parents Hermes and Aphrodite.

We find in Alciphron that there was at Athens a temple of Hermaphroditus.

The passage proposes that he might be considered as the deity who presided over married people; the strict union between husband and wife being aptly represented by a deity, who was male and female inseparably blended together.

All three of these gods figure largely among erotic and fertility figures, and all possess distinctly sexual overtones.

Sometimes, Hermaphroditus is referred to as Aphroditus.

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This double sex also attributed to Dionysus and Priapus – the union in one being of the two principles of generation and conception – denotes extensive fertilizing and productive powers.Some say that this Hermaphroditus is a god and appears at certain times among men, and that he is born with a physical body which is a combination of that of a man and that of a woman, in that he has a body which is beautiful and delicate like that of a woman, but has the masculine quality and vigour of a man.But there are some who declare that such creatures of two sexes are monstrosities, and coming rarely into the world as they do they have the quality of presaging the future, sometimes for evil and sometimes for good. According to Ovid, he was born a remarkably handsome boy with whom the naiad Salmacis fell in love and prayed to be united forever.A god, in answer to her prayer, merged their two forms into one and transformed them into an androgynous form.

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