Hymen comes from the Greek hyalos, membrane. The Greeks used the term for any type of anatomical membrane, including the peritoneum, pericardium, and meninges.
Vesalius, in the 16th century, was the first to use hymen specifically for the membrane of the vaginal orifice, perhaps inspired by the name of the Greek god of marriage, Hymen.
|Cupid Rekindling the Torch of Hymen. A statue by the Scottish sculptor George Rennie (1802-1860); Victoria and Albert Museum, London. |