Greek Nymphs of the Trees and Forests
The Greek Nymphs of the Forest, Trees and Woods were called the Dryads. The Hamadryads were those born bonded to a particular tree. The names given to Hamadryads and their affinities to particular trees were:
- Daphnaeae (Laurel tree)
- Epimeliades (Apple tree)
- Kissiae (Ivy)
- Meliae (Ash tree)
- Balanos (Oak)
- Kraneia (Dogwood)
- Morea (Mulberry)
- Aigeiros (Poplar)
- Ptelea (Elm)
The Greek Mountain Nymphs
The Oreads, or Greek mountain nymphs, were supposed to reside in the mountain solitudes, and guide weary travelers safely through their rocky mazes. There is a famous Greek myth about the Oreads. A favorite of the Oreads, a musician called Marsyas, was killed by Apollo. As soon as the Oreads heard of their favorite’s sad death, they began to weep, and shed such torrents of tears, that they formed a new river, called the Marsyas, in memory of the musician. Another Greek myth relates to the mountain nymph Echo (an Oread) who loved her own voice.
Picture of Echo, a Greek nymph
The Greek Meadow and Valley Nymphs
The valley nymphs, the Napaeae were believed to keep the valleys green and fruitful by their watchful care. The Anthousai were the Greek nymphs of flowers, the Alseides were the Greek nymphs of groves, the Auloniades were the Greek nymphs of pastures and the Leimonides were the Greek spirits of the meadows.
Greek Constellation Nymphs - the Pleiads
There is another famous Greek myth about the Constellation Nymphs, the Pleiads. The Seven Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, served Artemis, the Greek goddess. These lovely, minor goddesses needed but to be seen to be passionately loved they were very coy. Orion sought to approach them but turned and fled. Orion pursued them and the prayed to Zeus for help. He turned the Pleiads into seven snow-white pigeons who flew into the sky. In a second transformation the Pleiades were changed into a constellation, composed of seven bright stars. The myth continues when the city of Troy fell into the enemy’s hands, all of the Pleiades turned pale with grief, and one, more impressionable than the rest, withdrew from sight to hide her anguish from the curious eyes of men.
Types of Greek Nymphs - the Lesser Goddesses
The following minor goddesses are also referred to as nymphs, although not directly connected with nature
- The 9 Muses had wonderful gifts that allowed them to entertain the gods
- The 3 Graces were the daughters of Aphrodite and minor goddesses who presided over the banquet and the dance
- The Horae were also called 'the Seasons', the goddesses of time who guarded the gates to the home of the gods
- The Pleiades were the seven sisters who were the celestial nymphs of the stars.
- The Hyades were 7 half-sisters of the Pleiades and celestial Greek nymphs
- The Hesperides were of the evening who guarded a beautiful garden
- The Atlantides were a group who guarded the golden apples that Gaea gave as a wedding gift to Hera. The Atlantides was also another name given to the Pleiades and also to the Hesperides
Picture of Hylas and the river nymphs
Pictures of Greek Nymphs
The following four pictures of artist impressions of a Greek Nymph.
Clytie, water nymph
Dryad - Wood Nymph
We hope that you have enjoyed discovering interesting information and facts about the Greek Nymphs who featured in the legends and mythology of the Ancient World. Fascinating, fun information to increase your knowledge about the their roles in ancient Mythology and Legend.