This article discusses representations of hermaphrodites in the domestic context of Roman gardens and argues that the spatial context of the hermaphrodite body is as germane to critical understanding as the intersexed body itself. The spatial and semantic interrelations between Roman gardens and hermaphrodite images focus on the dynamics of viewing hermaphrodite types in Italo-Roman art (section 1), the spatial configuration of hermaphrodites with documented findspots (section 2), Ovid's introduction of garden imagery in the tale of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus (Met. 4. 285â388) compared to the Salmakis inscription from Kaplan Kalesi at Halicarnassus (section 3), and the historical correlation to Augustan Rome's vegetative symbolism (section 4). This synthesis of material, literary, and historical evidence for hermaphrodite images indicates that their representation in Roman domestic art can be read as an expression of domestic harmony that mirrored the emphasis on heterosexual union and political concord ushered in by Augustus and Livia.
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