MichaelEmeryArt

What is the Truth of Greek Myth?

(of all Myths)

"Myth as metaphorical conceptualization of human and societal affairs"


The Origin of Philosophy: The Transition from Myth to Logos

;

Myths

"Mythos" was the narrative story used by the Greeks at that time to explain the world around them. They were narratives told by poets, usually orally, in which the gods gave meaning to the world. The Greek gods and goddesses were the main protagonists of these stories and it was through their actions that gave meaning to the people.

There is no Creator-God in the Greek religious system. The ancient Greek religious system is about getting away from the God of Genesis, and exalting man as the measure of all things. You may think to yourself that the Greeks are exalting gods, not man; but haven't you ever wondered why the Greek gods looked exactly like humans? The answer is the obvious one: for the most part, the gods represented the Greeks' (and our) human ancestors. Greek religion was thus a sophisticated form of ancestor worship. You have no doubt heard of the supposedly great philosopher, Sokrates. In Plato's Euthydemus, he referred to Zeus, Athena, and Apollo as his "gods" and his "lords and ancestors".1 Greek stories about their origins are varied and sometimes contradictory until their poets and artists settle upon Zeus and Hera as the couple from whom the other Olympian gods and mortal men are descended. This brother/sister and husband/ wife pair, the king and queen of the gods, are a match for the Adam and Eve of Genesis. Figure 2 is Hans Holbein's Adam and Eve. This couple is the beginning of the family of man, and the origin of the family of the Greek gods, Zeus and Hera. Figure 3 shows us Zeus and his wife Hera, sculpted on the east frieze of the Parthenon, c. 438 BC. With no Creator-God in the Greek religious system, the first couple advances to the forefront.





Here one must understand my theory on where all "Growth" forms, ←(this meaning of forms, is it is the-" in process of becoming",yet has not become the True Form ,..yet !..)........In what I believe Plato mean't by Good..I believe he also was saying-"GOD" or some great soul etc. are in our minds..all connected related Through a shift in the brain,where the" Right Hemisphere" (Intuition,diffused thinking,meditation,solitude )...takes the dominant role,thru some form of medition such as creating art don't be pre-conceived by the Art(the song,drawing etc.) created,it is the "Act of creating the art " "medition of" this is the part I find people can't seem the grasp,,"it doesn't matter what is formed(painting,sculpture,poem,song...these themself's are a reflection/imitation of what acured by the way of the Act,

. To see glimpse of the True Form one has reached the Highest point of Spirituality possible by a living human being,...and  my belief is,... Also that only The True Creator or Creators know this Form

In my view..we must clearly understand the Form(belief)..god/goddess which they have formed in our own minds

“The gods have become our diseases.”

― C.G. Jung

I started comparing Greek myth to many of our 20th century myth such as Peter Pan,,,the similarity soon begins!

One of the Points I am trying to make on this page is how we have allowed Myth to be believed as reality..examplePan represented freedom of spirit, natural instincts, sinless love. In some parts of the world, prior to the advent of Christianity, women were free, untrammeled by rigid rules of moral conduct, and therefore, when the new religion made its debut, women were called sinful. "The Christians found the women of Europe free and sovereign," says Elizabeth Davis in "The First Sex" (p 229). "The right to divorce, to abortion, to birth control, to property ownership, to the bearing of titles and the inheritance of estates, to the making of wills, to bringing suits at law, all these and many other rights were attrited away by the Church through the Christian centuries." We must remember that the leaders of the early church were Jews, bred in the Hebraic tradition that women were of no account and existed solely to serve men. Orthodox Judaism of the time, like Saint Augustine of Hippo, taught that women had no souls.

It is in witchcraft that Pan - the symbol of Nature - still lives. His worship has ever lingered in field and fold. The new religion was left to the urban centres. Leland recorded the little prayers to Pan still intoned by devotees of 'la vecchia religione' in Tuscany. The Farrars use the name of Pan in their specimen rituals of "The Witches Way', where he is still equated with Herne and Cernunnos. The dualistic philosophy of early Christian theologians only added to the problem of evil and helped create Satan. Beginning with the Fall of Rome in 476 CE, through the Dark and Middle Ages, the Age of Reason and the Renaissance, we find only the Christian conception of Satan. It is to this Satan, 'history' tells us, that men and women sold their souls. Any references made by early theologians to ancient history after the rise of Christianity were used to l'einforce this new Satan and to fortify belief in him. So effective was this inspired campaign that the social and religious rebels of today really believe they worship Satan, and traditionalists and religionists really believe Satan is the god of these non-Christians. Such fraternities and sororities have taken the inverted pentangle as their common sigil for His Satanic Majesty as being a vestigial representation or the goat physiognomy.

Thus, with complete credulity and perhaps justification, Pope Paul VI could say "So we know that this dark and disturbing Spirit really exists, and that he still acts with treacherous cunning." This pronouncement was made in 1973. This year the Pope re-affirmed the traditional view of the Evil One. Thus the long and successful career of Satan, and hence the belief on the part of some sick souls that Satan can indwell, command, direct, use and destroy human life.....In my opinion this is taking a myth like Winnie the Pooh,,,turning into a horror..that people buy into!

1.Question I asked my self..."if it where to say the year 5000..a good part of the Ancient civilization had be lost due to warring,one civilization destroying another,,yet we come across writing's on the "Ancient writings of Peter Pan"...what we think?

2...Etymologically, pansexuality derives from the prefix ‘pan’, which means “all” or “every” and comes from Ancient Greece (there was also a Greek god named Pan, who was the god of fertility and mischief), and the suffix ‘sexual’, which obviously relates to attraction. So, a literal translation would look something like, ‘attracted to all’. But it’s not quite that.

Instead, pansexuality is a transcendence of identity in attraction. Unlike a bisexual person who can be attracted to both sexes or genders (or combinations thereof), or heterosexual who are attracted to the opposite sex, or homosexual who are attracted to the same sex, or polysexual who are attracted to multiple genders and/or sexes, or even polyamory which is the desire to be intimate with more than one person at once, pansexuality, rather, is the inclusion of all gender and sex identities of attraction.

          I personally closely relate to being pansexual..yet mentally being much more fem or anima(Carl Jung's Archetypes →Anima is, in short, the woman in men. There are certain secondary female sexual features in male. On the psychological plane we talk about the soul, or sensuality as opposed to rationality and reason (animus). But anima is much more than the sexual and psychological aspects. It is relational. That is, the anima archetype rules over the relationship between men and women. It is a kind of innate guide that leads one through the ambiguous path of meeting the woman and interact with her.)...In others words for myself ,if I am attracted to a man(which is rare,as I am extremely selective)..my role is being female,being breed by him,which can be that he climaxes either in my bottom or my mouth to swallow.this is simple symbolic in the fact he has Impregnated me with his sperm..

       I would imagine this is similar feeling a female has when she has met a a male she wants to have a child with..for example a past lover(32 year old black guy,very handsome,built like myself,thin,yet strong"runner type" bi-top,8" beautiful cock)...any way,..I always wanted to see him..I would call him,,then say almost always.."I need you to breed me,or I need you to climax inside of me"..he even at times might say,,"you sure know your objective!"..I might even at time say,,".In another Life ,I'd like to have your baby",,I wore him out!!...sure this was fantasy we both knew it!...yet Factual I am much more Anima in my mind.

       Example; if you where to see my friend above copulating  →one of the meanings is "To transfer male reproductive cells to another individual →this is what is happening and is the objective of what is happening,sexual pleasure is secondary(matter of fact ,I seldom have a need to climax myself when being breed by a man).

For my friend,sure it was was sexually pleasurable,yet he often said " I realize your true objective is for me to climax in your body"..one has to realize to,,I knew nothing of "Microchimerism"  until recently I had never heard of it....I think to this may change the "out of Africa idea" as all humans are from a pair of two individuals?

3. If we keep in mind Plato's Forms,,,

(read; David Macintosh's→ "Theory of forms" on this site)..in essense the phrase "can't see the forest for the trees" addresses this

excerpt from above site    Spermatazoa contains living anatomical elements. When it is impregnated into the human body it swims, attaches and burrows into  tissues, organs and glands. If its in your mouth it swims and climbs into your nasal passages, inner ear, and behind your eyes. Then digs in. It enters your blood-stream and collects in your brain and spine.

4. Realizing the context or true form between my friend above I will call" William"..1. we were and are true friends(care much for each other)..one day after William and I had copulated,,a friend of his stopped by,whom I had never met..he and William talked a bit,then he left..upon him leaving,I commented "he is very sexy"..William replied "yeah he has a big cock too!"..I made it sound as if joking,but I then said.."maybe he'd like to breed me",William replied "I'll call and ask him right now!,,before he gets to far"..he called him,within 15 minutes,,William's friend was coming in the door,I got on my knees,he mounted me,,within 5min's he was climaxing inside my bottom....this became fairly routine for some time. Matter of fact soon I was asking both William and his friend(Aren),if they would call me "Michelle" instead of Michael..Myth of sorts..yet for myself made me more female,,I wanted to present myself to them as that I know,I even began dressing fem like for them,when it was time for me to be breed(I had to be very clean anally,which takes time)well lubed especially with Aren cause he is very large 10"...for me I would be somewhat in a state of Heat, meaning they were welcome to copulate with me as much as they where able,often if we could,all three of us would take a weekend trip somewhere,have our cabin,hotel etc,We may go see a site in the local,,come back,,They both would climax in me,,both are multi-orgasmic,,so often several times,,maybe nap..go out again,etc..come back..repeat .Of course for me personally I was getting impregnated,thus more semen in my body by two people I adored!,for them they where getting pleasure of impregnating me with their semen(procreation even if sub-conscientiously)..Myth..it still is very powerful ,,,to point of very spiritual for myself...this is one reason I had to give up on Christianity,,,because the "Form" that religion places on Sodomy-Originally, the term sodomy, which is derived from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Book of Genesis, was commonly restricted to anal sex. Sodomy laws in many countries criminalized the aforementioned behaviors. In the Western world, many of these laws have been overturned or are not routinely enforced

..This was very difficult..that is to change a belief that I held since a young age..I had to because of the extreme Cognitive dissonance this caused me,,which lead to great depression,which lead to my alcoholism.I look back at it all now,,,and see number each and everyone of us is a individual,thus we must be able to have our own spiritual belief. The Three of us in the above scenario's are as highly moral and as far as ethic's above averge..to be called sinners...I must walk away!

5. One of my objective's here is to show a example of "Theory of Forms"..in a context,that first shows to see a male or female...you are seeing 1...the human form as you came to know it since birth,,we where taught he is male because he has a penis,,she is female because she doesn't...simple most can be smart enough to learn this!,,,yet only through great Attention,,can you truly know the "Form"...you see!

6.It is my opinion,this is from talking to many people about "Allegory of the Cave " and thus " Forms"

.very few people know anything about either,upon first asking them.

7. If I refer to Scenario any where on this site it's base or model is hypothetical (meaning-imagined or suggested but not necessarily real or true ) I began writing a novel about 3 years ago,which the manuscript is about 800 pages,.."The Terrace" y(William and Jodi and myself are main charactors)..Jodi is a female artist,William is a medical doctor,myself a carpenter/artist model.

      My point here pertaining to the topic at hand is Michael belongs to a very,very unique club,called the "Indigo Club",which is a group of highly educated Neuroscientists,Artists,Philosophers...all of whom are black..only blackmen are allowed to be what I call "Donors"...Michael is a "recipient".Now to explain,..these men..because they have all achieved a high degree of self-actualizing,all highly spiritual in their own way,well educated,in good shape,and all 100% percent heterosexual..chose to do controlled research where they impregnate non-black men,by means of anally and orally..climaxing in the recipient's body by way of sodomizing . There are many more details to this,yet hopefully the idea is clear,..Michael is very much a consenting.."Recipient"..the number of "Donors" is 50,same for Recipients-50.The goal,,is that the Donor impregnate each Recipient no less then once every two weeks,yet can as often as wishs if feasible,for example in the story ..Michael starts his day out 7 days a week-5am to11am,,going to the Indigo club,,there is a private room..more like small apartment,,he can read,,etc..while he waits for a Donor..(which is always soon)..due to the fact the Donor must impregnate all 50 Recipients in two weeks,at least once.Yet is stressed to impregnate as much as possible(they all have a equal vested interest in the research) So in all reality Michael finds the demand for at least himself is enough so that if he can get impregnated at least 5 times ever morning,he has been with all 50 Donors. However if a Donor has for some reason not,impregnated him,,there must be a time set-up to allow them to meet ,,if example on agreement with Michael and 10 Donors on a weekend to group impregnate Michael(everybody in same room same time) ,,which is routine as all 50 Donors know each other, Recipients ,do not know each other!...threesome are often in morning due to fact two Donors work together,golf etc. Also the Donors can be with the Recipients as often as wishs with the Recipients  consent(note→There is no need for bondage,s/m type acts,,and is seen as "primordial")by all ,also all Donors must be married with female wives,whom have given full consent.A issue that arises is friendships form,and all the Donors are very healthly,active men..thus many wish to see Michael more then once every two weeks,thus Michael finds time is a issue,as far as seeing all the Donors,,he loves to be "impregnated",he loves the feeling of satisfying them sexual..he likes them all,some more then others due to....." Form"....1.physical reasons(looks,cock size,to Michael,bigger the better.their skill at love-making,their mount time,,(mount time describes the time the Donor is able to thrust in and out of his bottom prior to ejaculation) and Amount- Average ejaculation volume ranges from 2 to 6 ml, according to most medical sources. Higher volumes have been reported and are considered normal, but consistently higher volumes are considered a disease called hyperspermia, which may bring about many complications including sterility. These are the medical facts. On the other hand, in this pages I've read of someone claming his record ejaculation volume was as high as 13 ml,   etc)........................2. and emotional reasons(interests,repore..etc,)note; this is factual for myself personally as far as..Form,1 and 2..in reality when I perform-" FELLATIO  "I am able to deep-throat 10" (learning on Aren) as well as anally.just my flavor you might say.Anyway-"Terrace"  is a Myth,,,like all fables,fiction,etc.

      

Here is a person I think that defines "Thinking outside the box"

Following is Books by Rosalind Ridley

." Hyginus' compilation represents in primitive form what every educated Roman in the age of the Antonines was expected to know of Greek myth, at the simplest level. The Fabulae are a mine of information today, when so many more nuanced versions of the myths have been lost.

In Greek mythology, when a figure's hubris offends the gods of ancient Greece, it is usually punished; examples of such hubristic, sinful humans include Icarus, Phaethon, Arachne, Salmoneus, Niobe, Cassiopeia, and Tereus.

Links to explore

excerpt from above site →"Few dramatic genres are as neglected and as abused as poor “mungrell Tragy-comidie” (Sidney’s Defence of Poetry), and yet tragicomedy has steadily gained influence over the past several hundred years until the point where it now dominates modern dramatic arts (read any Pinter or Stoppard lately?).Shakespeare scholars in particular have a love-hate relationship with tragicomedy: most critics admit to its influences on Shakespeare’s works, but no one is quite sure which, if any, of his plays are “tragicomedies” in a formal sense.Instead, we make do with descriptions like “the problem plays” or “the dark comedies” or “the late plays.”This seminar will attempt to trace a reliable pedigree for this “mongrel” in order to better explore Shakespeare’s relationship with the genre that has been called “the human spirit’s attempt to build itself a world which is compatible with how it wishes to live.”

"I will make it a mixture: let it be a tragicomedy. I don't think it would be appropriate to make it consistently a comedy, when there are kings and gods in it. What do you think? Since a slave also has a part in the play, I'll make it a tragicomedy."—Plautus, Amphitryon[4]

excerpt from above → "Of all the classical philosophers, however, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are generally considered the most important and influential. Socrates did not write any books himself and modern scholars debate whether or not Plato's portrayal of him is accurate. Some scholars contend that many of his ideas, or at least a vague approximation of them, are expressed in Plato's early socratic dialogues.[58] Meanwhile, other scholars have argued that Plato's portrayal of Socrates is merely a fictional representation intended to expound Plato's own opinions who has very little to do with the historical figure of the same name.[59] The debate over the extent to which Plato's portrayal of Socrates represents the actual Socrates's ideas is known as the Socratic problem.[60][61]

Asexual reproduction by females, parthenogenesis, is not only possible but it still occurs here and there in the modern world, pernaps as an atavistic survival of the once only means of reproduction in an all female world.- Elizabeth Gould Davis

We have to be very careful before saying something is "Certain"

(myth or reality)

Men insist that they don’t mind women succeeding so long as they retain their “femininity”. Yet the qualities that men consider “feminine” timidity, submissiveness, obedience, silliness, and self-debasement—are the very qualities best guaranteed to assure the defeat of even the most gifted aspirant.
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-Elizabeth Gould Davis

Two notable historians who lived during the Classical Era were Herodotus of Halicarnassus and Thucydides. Herodotus is commonly called "The Father of History."[48] His book The Histories is among the oldest works of prose literature in existence. Thucydides's book History of the Peloponnesian War greatly influenced later writers and historians, including the author of the book of Acts of the Apostles and the Byzantine Era historian Procopius of Caesarea.[49]

Acts of the Apostles (Ancient Greek: , Práxeis tôn Apostólōn; Latin: Actūs Apostolōrum), often referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman Empire.[1]

One has to wonder where our History,belief's are rooted,,as far as Western Civilization.

At times it is very difficult to put into words,my thoughts clearly even to myself,,,so the following is a idea or form of thought..example " I can remember in school being taught .My point Might be we have been teaching for so long not to explore the Full Context of very many things,as though to be entertained or just remember a few facts for a test!..where much more could be learned!..Here  is something of this nature of what I was taught in school "The Boy who Flew too High

I’ve told you before about the half man-half half-bull called the Minotaur. This strange and terrible beast lived in a deep, dark Labyrinth on the island of Crete. Well, you may remember that the Labyrinth was created by the cunning and ingenious mind of Daedalus.

Daedalus was a brilliant architect and inventor – in fact, he was so brilliant that King Minos of Crete did not want to let him go back to his home in Athens. Instead, he kept him as a prisoner. Daedalus lived with his son Icarus in a tower of the palace, and King Minos made him invent weapons of war that would make his army and navy even more powerful than they already were.

Although Daedalus and Icarus had every comfort they could ask for, the father longed to return home to Athens. His son hardly remembered his home city, but he too wanted to leave because he longed to run and play in the open, rather than live in a tower all day.

Daedalus looked out over the waves of the Mediterranean Sea, and he realised that even if they could manage to slip out of the tower and find a little boat, they wouldn’t be able to sail very far before they were spotted and caught by one of the ships of King Minos’ navy.

He thought for a long time about the best way to escape, and finally he came up with a plan, and this is what he did… He told King Minos that he needed feathers and wax for a new invention that he was working on. When these were brought to him, he took them up onto the roof of the tower. Here he arranged them into four lines, starting with the smallest feathers, and followed those with the longer ones so that they formed gentle curves. He then began to stick the feathers together with thread in the middle and wax at the base. While he was working, Icarus played with the wax, squashing it between his finger and thumb, and when the feathers blew away in the breeze he ran after them and caught them.

When Daedalus had finished, he showed Icarus his work. He had made the feathers into two pairs of wings. He fastened the larger pair to his arms, and began to flap them until his feet took off from the floor and he began to hover in mid air. Icarus laughed with delight and could not wait to try out the smaller pair of wings. Over the next few days, father and son both practised with them until little Icarus was almost as good at flying as his father was.

Then one morning Daedalus said to Icarus, “Now Son, we are ready to leave this island for good. We shall fly home to Athens. Although you are now quite good at flying, you must not forget that it can be very dangerous. Listen to my instructions and be sure to follow them to the letter. At all times follow me, for I will find the way home. Do not veer off on a different flight path, or you will soon be lost. Do not fly too low or your wings will fill with moisture from the waves, and if they will become too heavy you will sink down. Nor should you fly too high, or the sun will heat the wax and your wings will fall apart. Have you understood all that I have said?”

Little Icarus nodded to show his father that he had understood. Then Daedalus led his son up onto the battlements of the tower, and like a bird leading her fledglings from the nest for the first time, he jumped into mid air and flapped his wings, Icarus followed soon after.

If a fisherman or a shepherd had looked up just then, he would have seen two very unusual birds hovering above the waves. No doubt he would have thought that they had caught sight of two winged gods. Who could have believed that a mortal father and son had mastered the art of flight?

Over the seas they sailed, and at first Icarus felt frightened for he had never ventured very far in his practice flights, but soon he found that he was really good at flying. In fact, it was the most tremendous fun you could ever have. He began to swoop up and down with the sea gulls. Wow! It was amazing! His father turned round and called, “Icarus, take care!” and for a while after that Icarus obeyed his father, and flapped along behind him. But then his wings caught a warm air current, and he found that he could soar along and upwards almost without any effort. This was the life! He was floating ever so high above the waves and the ships down below were like tiny little specks.

His father called up to him, “Icarus, remember what I told you. Come down right now!” Icarus could not hear him however, and his father could not catch up with him.

Icarus was far too close to the sun, and soon the wax that held the feathers together began to melt. Gradually his wings began to lose their shape, and some of the feathers even began to fall off. Icarus flapped his arms frantically, but it was too late. He had lost the power of flight and down he plunged into the sea. "Yet I believe after my research,the Greeks would have been using this to teach the meaning of Hubris

Hubris : from ancient Greek  describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous overconfidence,[1] often in combination with (or synonymous with) arrogance.[2] In its ancient Greek context, it typically describes behavior that defies the norms of behavior or challenges the gods, and which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris.

Hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs/ from ancient Greek ὕβρις) describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous overconfidence,[1] often in combination with (or synonymous with) arrogance.[2] In its ancient Greek context, it typically describes behavior that defies the norms of behavior or challenges the gods, and which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris.

The adjectival form of the noun hubris is "hubristic". Hubris is usually perceived as a characteristic of an individual rather than a group, although the group the offender belongs to may suffer collateral consequences from the wrongful act. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments or capabilities.

excerpt from wikipediIn Greek mythology, Icarus (the Latin spelling, conventionally adopted in English; Ancient Greek: , Íkaros, Etruscan: Vikare[1]) is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth. Often depicted in art, Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus' father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris, asking that he fly neither too low nor too high, so the sea's dampness would not clog his wings or the sun's heat melt them. Icarus ignored his father's instructions not to fly too close to the sun; when the wax in his wings melted he tumbled out of the sky and fell into the sea where he drowned.

Salmacis fountain

Salmacis fountain is located near the ancient Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, and it is now a tourist attraction located in present-day Bodrum, Turkey. The waters of Salmacis fountain were said to have relaxing properties. Although excellent to drink, in classical times, it was thought to have the effect of making men effeminate and soft.[1] Ovid creates or recounts the myth of how the fountain came to be so in the story of Hermaphroditus and Salmacis. The following passage by Vitruvius gives a different story:

There is a mistaken idea that this spring infects those who drink of it with an unnatural lewdness. It will not be out of place to explain how this idea came to spread throughout the world from a mistake in the telling of the tale. It cannot be that the water makes men effeminate and unchaste, as it is said to do; for the spring is of remarkable clearness and excellent in flavour. The fact is that when Melas and Arevanias came there from Argos and Troezen and founded a colony together, they drove out the Carians and Lelegans who were barbarians. These took refuge in the mountains, and, uniting there, used to make raids, plundering the Greeks and laying their country waste in a cruel manner. Later, one of the colonists, to make money, set up a well-stocked shop, near the spring because the water was so good, and the way in which he carried it on attracted the barbarians. So they began to come down, one at a time, and to meet with society, and thus they were brought back of their own accord, giving up their rough and savage ways for the delights of Greek customs. Hence this water acquired its peculiar reputation, not because it really induced unchastity, but because those barbarians were softened by the charm of civilization.[2]

In 1995, The Salmakis Inscription was discovered by Turkish authorities. A partially damaged but mainly well preserved inscription cut into an ancient wall. It was a poem in elegiac verse. The first lines form the poet’s invocation of the goddess Aphrodite. Early in Aphrodite’s story we encounter her son Hermaphroditus, as well as the water nymph Salmacis. The inscription was written sometime during the Hellenistic period.[3

In Greek mythology, Salmacis (Ancient Greek: Σαλμακίς) was an atypical naiad who rejected the ways of the virginal Greek goddess Artemis in favour of vanity and idleness. Her attempted rape of Hermaphroditus places her as the only nymph rapist in the Greek mythological canon (though see also Dercetis).

"There dwelt a Nymph, not up for hunting or archery:
unfit for footraces. She the only Naiad not in Diana’s band.
Often her sisters would say: “Pick up a javelin, or
bristling quiver, and interrupt your leisure for the chase!”
But she would not pick up a javelin or arrows,
nor trade leisure for the chase.
Instead she would bathe her beautiful limbs and tend to her hair,
with her waters as a mirror."

Ovid, Metamorphoses. Book IV, 306-312.

In Ovid's Metamorphoses, she becomes one with Hermaphroditus, and Hermaphroditus curses the fountain to have the same effect on others

The Story of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus

How Salmacis, with weak enfeebling streams
Softens the body, and unnerves the limbs,
And what the secret cause, shall here be shown;
The cause is secret, but th' effect is known.

The Naids nurst an infant heretofore,
That Cytherea once to Hermes bore:
From both th' illustrious authors of his race
The child was nam'd, nor was it hard to trace
Both the bright parents thro' the infant's face.
When fifteen years in Ida's cool retreat
The boy had told, he left his native seat,
And sought fresh fountains in a foreign soil:
The pleasure lessen'd the attending toil,
With eager steps the Lycian fields he crost,
A river here he view'd so lovely bright,
It shew'd the bottom in a fairer light,
Nor kept a sand conceal'd from human sight.
The stream produc'd nor slimy ooze, nor weeds,
Nor miry rushes, nor the spiky reeds;
But dealt enriching moisture all around,
The fruitful banks with chearful verdure crown'd,
And kept the spring eternal on the ground.
A nymph presides, not practis'd in the chace,
Nor skilful at the bow, nor at the race;
Of all the blue-ey'd daughters of the main,
The only stranger to Diana's train:
Her sisters often, as 'tis said, wou'd cry,
"Fie Salmacis: what, always idle! fie.
Or take thy quiver, or thy arrows seize,
And mix the toils of hunting with thy ease."
Nor quiver she nor arrows e'er wou'd seize,
Nor mix the toils of hunting with her ease.
But oft would bathe her in the chrystal tide,
Oft with a comb her dewy locks divide;
Now in the limpid streams she views her face,
And drest her image in the floating glass:
On beds of leaves she now repos'd her limbs,
Now gather'd flow'rs that grew about her streams,
And then by chance was gathering, as he stood
To view the boy, and long'd for what she view'd.

Fain wou'd she meet the youth with hasty feet,
She fain wou'd meet him, but refus'd to meet
Before her looks were set with nicest care,
And well deserv'd to be reputed fair.
"Bright youth," she cries, "whom all thy features prove
A God, and, if a God, the God of love;
But if a mortal, blest thy nurse's breast,
Blest are thy parents, and thy sisters blest:
But oh how blest! how more than blest thy bride,
Ally'd in bliss, if any yet ally'd.
If so, let mine the stoln enjoyments be;
If not, behold a willing bride in me."

The boy knew nought of love, and toucht with shame,
He strove, and blusht, but still the blush became:
In rising blushes still fresh beauties rose;
The sunny side of fruit such blushes shows,
And such the moon, when all her silver white
Turns in eclipses to a ruddy light.
The nymph still begs, if not a nobler bliss,
A cold salute at least, a sister's kiss:
And now prepares to take the lovely boy
Between her arms. He, innocently coy,
Replies, "Or leave me to my self alone,
You rude uncivil nymph, or I'll be gone."
"Fair stranger then," says she, "it shall be so";
And, for she fear'd his threats, she feign'd to go:
But hid within a covert's neighbouring green,
She kept him still in sight, herself unseen.
The boy now fancies all the danger o'er,
And innocently sports about the shore,
Playful and wanton to the stream he trips,
And dips his foot, and shivers as he dips.
The coolness pleas'd him, and with eager haste
His airy garments on the banks he cast;
His godlike features, and his heav'nly hue,
And all his beauties were expos'd to view.
His naked limbs the nymph with rapture spies,
While hotter passions in her bosom rise,
Flush in her cheeks, and sparkle in her eyes.
She longs, she burns to clasp him in her arms,
And looks, and sighs, and kindles at his charms.

Now all undrest upon the banks he stood,
And clapt his sides, and leapt into the flood:
His lovely limbs the silver waves divide,
His limbs appear more lovely through the tide;
As lillies shut within a chrystal case,
Receive a glossy lustre from the glass.
He's mine, he's all my own, the Naid cries,
And flings off all, and after him she flies.
And now she fastens on him as he swims,
And holds him close, and wraps about his limbs.
The more the boy resisted, and was coy,
The more she clipt, and kist the strugling boy.
So when the wrigling snake is snatcht on high
In Eagle's claws, and hisses in the sky,
Around the foe his twirling tail he flings,
And twists her legs, and wriths about her wings.

The restless boy still obstinately strove
To free himself, and still refus'd her love.
Amidst his limbs she kept her limbs intwin'd,
"And why, coy youth," she cries, "why thus unkind!
Oh may the Gods thus keep us ever join'd!
Oh may we never, never part again!"

So pray'd the nymph, nor did she pray in vain:
For now she finds him, as his limbs she prest,
Grow nearer still, and nearer to her breast;
'Till, piercing each the other's flesh, they run
Together, and incorporate in one:
Last in one face are both their faces join'd,
As when the stock and grafted twig combin'd
Shoot up the same, and wear a common rind:
Both bodies in a single body mix,
A single body with a double sex.

The boy, thus lost in woman, now survey'd
The river's guilty stream, and thus he pray'd.
(He pray'd, but wonder'd at his softer tone,
Surpriz'd to hear a voice but half his own.)
You parent-Gods, whose heav'nly names I bear,
Hear your Hermaphrodite, and grant my pray'r;
Oh grant, that whomsoe'er these streams contain,
If man he enter'd, he may rise again
Supple, unsinew'd, and but half a man!

The heav'nly parents answer'd from on high,
Their two-shap'd son, the double votary
Then gave a secret virtue to the flood,
And ting'd its source to make his wishes good.

Salmacis and Hermaphroditus merge.

 ‘Then she was truly pleased. And was inflamed with desire for his naked form. The nymph’s eyes blazed with passion, as when ’s likeness is reflected from a mirror, that opposes his brightest unclouded orb. She can scarcely wait, scarcely contain her delight, now longing to hold him, now unable to keep her love to herself. He, clapping his open palms to his side, dives into the pool, and leading with one arm and then the other, he gleams through the pure water, as if one sheathed an ivory statue, or bright lilies behind clear glass. “I have won, he is mine”, the naiad cries, and flinging aside all her garments, she throws herself into the midst of the water.

 ‘She held him to her, struggling, snatching kisses from the fight, putting her hands beneath him, touching his unwilling breast, overwhelming the youth from this side and that. At last, she entwines herself face to face with his beauty, like a snake, lifted by the king of birds and caught up into the air, as Hermaphroditus tries to slip away. Hanging there she twines round his head and feet and entangles his spreading wings in her coils. Or as ivy often interlaces tall tree trunks. Or as the cuttlefish holds the prey, it has surprised, underwater, wrapping its tentacles everywhere.

 ‘The descendant of holds out, denying the nymph’s wished-for pleasure: she hugs him, and clings, as though she is joined to his whole body. “It is right to struggle, perverse one,” she says, “but you will still not escape. Grant this, you gods, that no day comes to part me from him, or him from me.” Her prayer reached the gods. Now the entwined bodies of the two were joined together, and one form covered both. Just as when someone grafts a twig into the bark, they see both grow joined together, and develop as one, so when they were mated together in a close embrace, they were not two, but a two-fold form, so that they could not be called male or female, and seemed neither or either.

 ‘When he saw now that the clear waters which he had penetrated as a man, had made him a creature of both sexes, and his limbs had been softened there, , stretching out his hands, said, but not in a man’s voice, “Father and mother, grant this gift to your son, who bears both your names: whoever comes to these fountains as a man, let him leave them half a man, and weaken suddenly at the touch of these waters!” Both his parents moved by this, granted the prayer of their twin-formed son, and contaminated the pool with a damaging drug.’

Hermaphroditus

1. Literary sources and myth

Hermaphroditus is depicted in Greek and Roman mythology and art as the creature which simultaneously bears the characteristics of both genders. The earliest reference to him is the one made by Theophrastus, in the 4th century BC.1 We also have knowledge of the writing of a homonymous tragedy by the Greek comedy writer Poseidippus, who lived in the first half of the 3rd century BC, but the play has unfortunately not survived our days.2 All the other literary sources which refer to him are later. Diodorus of Sicily, in the middle of the 1st century BC, informs us on Hermaphroditus’ descent and the meaning of his name. More specifically, he states that he was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, and that his name is a combination of his parents’ names.3

More extensively, the myth of Hermaphroditus was perpetuated by Ovid, the Latin poet who lived in the 1st century BC.4 Hermaphroditus was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, whom the nymphs raised in the caves of mount Ide of Phrygia. His expression projected the grace and beauty of both his parents, from whom he took his name. When he turned fifteen, he abandoned the mountain where he grew up, in order to wander around Asia Minor and become acquainted with new places. He passed by the towns of Lycia, as well as Caria, where he stopped to rest at a fountain called Salmacis, whose water formed a lake.5 The homonymous nymph of the lake, the skittish Salmacis, was enraptured by the youth’s beauty and fell deeply in love with him. Yet, Hermaphroditus remained unmoved and indifferent to her passion. When she realized that all her efforts to seduce him were unavailing, she made a feint of being indifferent and moved away from the fountain. Hermaphroditus, thinking that he was left alone, jumped into the water. Salmacis, however, hidden behind a nearby bush and watching all of his moves – defenseless as he was in her kingdom’s territories – sprang out from behind the bush and jumped into the water. Hermaphroditus, despite all of his efforts, did not manage to escape the nymph’s embraces, as she was blinded with passion and implored the gods to never separate them. The gods made her wish come true and united the two bodies in one, by creating a new type of living being, which had a double nature, neither female nor male. Hermaphroditus, as he felt his body being united with the female one, cursed the fountain, and implored his parents to transform any man who would fall in the same pool into an effeminate creature. Hermes and Aphrodite heard their son’s request and granted the fountain this mysterious power.6


The myth that was delivered by Ovid is explanatory and probably of Greek origin. The poet begins his mythical narration by trying to justify the bad reputation that the fountain Salmacis had acquired, to which Strabo7 as well as Vitruvius8 make mention. At the same time, Ovid justifies the peculiar physiology and the unusual name of Hermaphroditus.9 His paradoxical double hypostasis provoked the interest of many writers of the later period, like that of Lucian,10 Martialis11 and Ausonius.12 A reference to Hermaphroditus is also made in the Palatine Anthology, and is associated with the tradition of possible sexual intercourse with Silenus, also encountered in art.13


2. Cult

The deification and the origins of the cult of hermaphrodite beings stem from Eastern religions, where the hermaphrodite nature expressed the idea of a primitive being that united both genders and possessed the power of self fertilization. In Greece and Asia Minor, hermaphrodite features appear in cases of well-known deities, such as Dionysus, Zeus Stratius, Eros, Cybele, Agdistis and Aphrodite, the latter being worshipped as ‘Aphroditos’ in Cyprus and depicted as a female figure with a beard and a phallus.14

In the Greek world, the cult of Hermaphroditus must have been introduced in the early 4th century BC, yet our knowledge on it remains scant. No information exists on whether he was one of the most significant deities in the Greek pantheon, or on his particular properties. A view has been expressed that, as Hermaphroditus embodied the full unity and harmony of the two genders, he was probably a deity directly linked to fertility and reproduction, and was worshipped as a protector of marriage and sexual union.

At the same time, Hermaphroditus’ depictions in the Hellenistic and Roman periods in private houses, theatres, baths and gymnasia led to the conclusion that he was probably assigned an apotropaic character. Moreover, Hermaphroditus’ terracotta figures were found in Hellenistic graves in Greece and his depictions on Roman grave monuments perhaps revealed a chthonic substance. It is notable that Greek and Latin writers did not appear to associate him with people who possessed ambiguous sexual characteristics upon birth and were considered inauspicious and miasmatic creatures, thus were killed for this reason.15 From Theophrastus’ sayings it is evident that Hermaphroditus accepted ritual honours, while Alciphron16 makes mention of the presence of a sanctuary devoted to the deity, in the deme of Alopeke in Attica. Unfortunately, there is no evidence on sanctuaries devoted to Hermaphroditus in Asia Minor.


3. Art

Hermaphroditus is often portrayed in sculpture, wall-paintings and mosaics of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Literary and epigraphic evidence cites sculpture with his figure. Pliny’s mention to a bronze statue referred to as Hermaphroditus nobilis and created by the sculptor Polycles is notable.17

Hermaphroditus is depicted nude or half-nude in works of art, either having the body of a teenager with female breasts and male genitals, or with a flexible, well-shaped female body and male genitals. In the field of sculpture, a most popular type was the one of the ‘anasyromenos ('revealing type') Hermaphroditus’, who exhibits his genitals by raising his cloak. However, the figure of the so called ‘sleeping Hermaphroditus’ was also popular, which is a piece of art that belongs to the Hellenistic period and has survived in many Roman copies. Hermaphroditus is often encountered in statue groups, either together with Aphrodite or together with the Cupids or Pan, and even with figures from the dionysian thiasus. On the wall paintings of Pompey he is depicted with Silenus, a fact that most likely echoes the tradition that links these two mythical figures. We do not know of any works of art in Antiquity that portray the myth of Hermaphroditus and the nymph Salmacis, as cited by Ovid. On the contrary, in the Renaissance and during the later periods this myth became a source of inspiration for many artists.18

In Asia Minor a small number of sculptures were found in the form of Hermaphroditus. There is a statue of the revealing type which comes from Smyrna, while two marble Hermaic stelai in the form of Hermaphroditus were discovered in Pergamon. A marble statue of him was also found there, which is dated to the 2nd century BC. It depicts Hermaphroditus standing half-nude with a cloak thrown on his left arm and his body bent backwards, thus showing his genitals. This position reminds of the statue types of Aphrodite, Dionysus and Apollo. Some parts of statue groups of the Roman era that depicted Hermaphroditus together with a satyr were found in Side, Smyrna, and in Antioch (Syria), whence fragments of mosaics originated, also depicting Hermaphroditus with a satyr.19



1. Thphr., Char. 16.10. According to Theophrastus, garlands were offered to Hermaphroditus on the fourth and seventh days of each month. It has been claimed, though, that Theophrastus does not only refer to the deity, but also to Hermaic stelai of Aphrodite, LIMC 5.1 (1990), p. 269, see entry ‘Hermaphroditos’ (A. Ajootian)· Ussher, R.G., The Characters of Theophrastus (London 1960), pp. 149-151. Also, epigraphic evidence from the 4th century BC survives, which proves Hermaphroditus’ worship in Greece, as – for example – the statue base from Vari in Attica, which bore a votive inscription to Hermaphroditus and dates to the beginning of the 4th century BC, see Kirchner, J. – Dow, S., “Inschriften vom Athenischen Lande”, AM 62 (1937), pp. 7-8.

2. CAF III, 338-339, fr. 11.

3. Diod. Sic. 4.6.5.

4. Ov. Met. 4.285-4.388.

5. The name ‘Salmacis’ was also used to refer to an ancient site close to Halicarnassus, as mentioned by Stephanus of Byzantium, see Zgusta, L., Kleinasiatische Ortsnamen (Heidelberg 1984), p. 529· Blümel, W., “Einheimische Ortsnamen in Karien”, EA 30 (1998), p. 178.

6. Ov. Met. 4.285-4.388· Kakridis, I. Th. (ed.), Ελληνική Μυθολογία 3: οι Ήρωες (Athens 1986), pp. 339-341· Grimal, P., Dictionary of Greek Mythology (edited by Β. Άτσαλος, Thessaloniki 1991), pp. 211-212· LIMC 5.1 (1990), pp. 268-269, see entry ‘Hermaphroditos’ (A. Ajootian).

7. Strabo 14.2.16. Strabo mentions the following; “The fountain of Salmacis has the bad reputation, I do not know the reason why, of making those who drink from its waters milder. It seems, however, that the tendency towards well-being makes humans find the reasons in climate or water. The reasons behind softness, though, are not the above; these are wealth and self-indulgent life”.

8. Vitr., De arch. 2.8.11-2.8.12. Vitruvius specifically claims that the reputation of the fountain involving people in an abnormal and aphrodisiac behaviour, and rendering those who drink from its water effeminate and obscene, is false and groundless.

9. Ajootian, A., “Mostrum or Daimon. Hermaphrodites in Ancient Art and Culture”, in Berggreen, B. – Marinatos, N. (ed.), Greece and Gender (Papers from the Norwegian Institute at Athens 2, Bergen 1995), pp. 93-108· Kakridis, I. T. (ed.), Ελληνική Μυθολογία 3: οι Ήρωες (Athens 1986), pp. 339-341.

10. Lucian, Dial. D. 3.1, 17.2. Lucian mainly refers to Hermaphroditus’ descent.

11. Mart., Epigrams 14.

12. Aus., Epigrams 102, 103.

13. Palatine Anthology 9.783. There is a reference to a piece of sculpture by Hermaphroditus which was placed in a bath. The passage 9.317 is in dialogue form, based on the dialogue between Hermaphroditus and Silenus. The latter claims that he has had sexual intercourse with Hermaphroditus three times. Hermaphroditus complains and objects to the fact by invoking Hermes in an oath, while Silenus invokes Pan for the reliability of his allegations.

14. Kakridis, I. T. (ed.), Ελληνική Μυθολογία 3: οι Ήρωες (Athens 1986), pp. 339-341· Ajootian, A., “Mostrum or Daimon. Hermaphrodites in Ancient Art and Culture”, in Berggreen, B. – Marinatos, N. (ed.), Greece and Gender (Papers from the Norwegian Institute at Athens 2, Bergen 1995), pp. 93-108· Lexikon der Griechischen und Römischen Mythologie II (1886-1890), columns 2314-2342, see entry “Hermaphroditos” (P. Hermann)· RE VIII.1 (1912), columns 714-721, see entry “Hermaphroditos” (J. Jessen). Reallexikon fur Antike und Christentum 14 (1988), columns 650-682, see entry “Hermaphrodit” (M. Delcourt – K. Hoheisel). It has been formerly claimed that Aphroditus was identified with Hermaphroditus, and particularly that the name ‘Aphroditus’ changed when his cult was introduced in Greece because of the Hermaic stelai that were constructed depicting his figure, which were called Hermaphrodits. This view is not met in recent bibliography.

15. Kakridis, I. T. (ed.), Ελληνική Μυθολογία 3: οι Ήρωες (Athens 1986), pp. 339-341· Ajootian, A., “Mostrum or Daimon. Hermaphrodites in Ancient Art and Culture”, in Berggreen, B. – Marinatos, N. (ed.), Greece and Gender (Papers from the Norwegian Institute at Athens 2, Bergen 1995), pp. 93-108· LIMC 5.1 (1990), pp. 268-285, see entry “Hermaphroditos” (A. Ajootian).

16. Alciph., Epist. 2.35.

17. Plin., HN 34.80. According to Politt, J.J., Art in the Hellenistic Age (Cambridge 1986), p. 149, the word ‘nobilis’ here probably means ‘very well-known’ rather than ‘noble’. Unfortunately, it remains unknown to which one of the three sculptors of Antiquity who bore this name Pliny refers to. See LIMC 5.1 (1990), p. 270, entry “Hermaphroditos” (A. Ajootian).

18. Lexikon der Griechischen und Römischen Mythologie II (1886-1890), columns 2314-2342, see entry “Hermaphroditos” (P. Hermann)· LIMC 5.1 (1990), PP. 268-285, see entry “Hermaphroditos” (A. Ajootian)· LIMC 5.2 (1990), pp. 190-8· Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum 14 (1988), columns 650-682, see entry “Hermaphrodit” (M. Delcourt – K. Hoheisel)· Smith, R.R.R., Hellenistic Sculpture (London) 1991), pp. 130, 140, 156· Ajootian, A., “Ex Utroque Sexu: The Sleeping Hermaphrodite and the Myth of Agdistis”, AJA 92 (1987), PP. 275-6. The statue groups of Hermaphroditus with satyrs are considered to be based on the aesthetic principles of the works of art of the sculptor Cephisodotus, son of Praxiteles, who, according to Pliny, created statue groups in Pergamon. Plin., HN 36.24· Dickins, G., Hellenistic Sculpture (Oxford 1920), pp. 4-5.

19. LIMC 5.1 (1990), pp. 268-285, see entry “Hermaphroditos” (A. Ajootian)· LIMC 5.2 (1990), PP. 190-8· Winter, F., Pergamon VII.1 (1903), pp. 132-3, 220-1· Ohnlemutz, E., Die Kulte und Heiligtümer der Götter in Pergamon (Darmstadt 1968), p. 266· Smith, R.R.R., Hellenistic Sculpture (London 1991), pp. 130, 140, 156. The statue of Hermaphroditus that was found in Pergamon was claimed to remind of works by Praxiteles, see Bieber, M., The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age (New York 1954), pp. 124-5. Moreover, the Palatine Anthology (2.102-2.107) informs of the existence of a bronze statue of Hermaphroditus, which used to decorate the Baths of Zeuxippus in Constantinople, and was burned down in 532 AD. On the topic see Stupperich, R., “Das Statuenprogramm in den Zeuxippos- Thermen”, IstMitt 32 (1982), pp. 210-235.

1. Literary sources and myth

2. Cult

3. Art