Herm (sculpture)

A herma (Ancient Greek: ἑρμῆς, pl. ἑρμαῖ hermai),[1] commonly herm in English, is a sculpture with a head and perhaps a torso above a plain, usually squared lower section, on which male genitals may also be carved at the appropriate height. Hermae were so called either because the head of Hermes was most common or from their etymological connection with the Greek word ἕρματα (blocks of stone), which originally had no reference to Hermes at all. The form originated in ancient Greece, and was adopted by the Romans (called mercuriae), and revived at the Renaissance in the form of term figures and atlantes.

Herma of Demosthenes from the Athenian Agora, work by Polyeuktos, c. 280 BC, Glyptothek

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