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A Nympha dwelt there, not one to bend the bow or join the hunt or run to win the race; she was the only of the Naides unknown to swift Diana [Artemis].

Many a time her sisters chide her: ‘Come, Salmacis, get out your spear or painted quiver; vary your hours of ease with hardships of the chase.’ Yet never spear she took nor painted quiver, nor would vary her hours of ease with hardships of the chase; but in her pool would bathe her lovely limbs, and with a comb of boxwood dress her hair, and, gazing long, take counsel of the waters what style were best.

Some were real freaks, others were "made" by (at the least) shaving and making up one side of the body, or by the use of hormones to grow breasts so a performer born male could also display his upper "female" half.

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Hermaphroditos was a son of Hermes and Aphrodite, the gods of male and female sexuality.

According to some he was once a handsome youth who attracted the love of a Naiad nymphe Salmakis (Salmacis).

Now on the soft green grass or on soft leaves in gauzy dress she lay; now gathered flowers--and, gathering, chanced to see the boy and seeing, saw her heart's desire, Yet though her heart would haste she paused awhile till, dress inspected, all in order placed, charm in her eyes set shining, she deserved to look so lovely, then began to speak: ‘Fair boy you seem--how worthily you seem!

--a god, and, if a god, Cupido (Love) [Eros] himself, or if a mortal, happy pair are they who gave you birth; blest is your brother, blest indeed is your sister, if you have one, and the nurse who suckled you, but far, of far, more blest she, your betrothed, found worthy of your love!

The idea itself was probably derived from the worship of nature in the East, where we find not only monstrous compounds of animals, but also that peculiar kind of dualism which manifests itself in the combination of the male and female.