Wood Nymphs

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The Mythology of the Ancient Wood Nymphs
The definition, names, roles, myths and legends surrounding the Wood Nymphs

Wood Nymphs
Discover fascinating information about the beautiful, supernatural, young maidens referred to as Wood Nymphs who featured in the legends and mythology of Ancient Greece. Forest, Tree and Wood Nymphs were minor goddesses of nature. The ancient Greeks believed that Wood Nymphs inhabited the forests, woods, groves and trees of ancient Greece. This article provides facts, pictures and information about the different types of Wood Nymphs who played prominent roles in some of the most famous myths and legends of the Ancient Greeks. Additional interesting facts and information about the mythology of individual goddesses can be accessed via the following links:

Gods and Deities

Nymphs

Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses

 

 

Ancient Greek Wood Nymphs

Definition of Wood Nymphs - Dryads and Hamadryads
The meaning and definition of the wood nymphs are as follows: Definition of Wood Nymphs: The Forest and Wood nymphs are referred to as Dryads or Hamadryads in Ancient Greek mythology. The wood nymphs were minor goddesses and beautiful nymphs who were depicted as young maidens who inhabited the trees, woods, groves and forests of Ancient Greece. The Dryad wood nymphs were originally the spirits of oak trees (from the Greek word 'dryos' meaning “tree”) but but with the passing of time the name was later applied to all tree and wood nymphs. The Dryad wood nymphs were believed to be immortal and lived forever. The forest and wood nymphs referred to as Hamadryads were not immortal, these tree and wood nymphs who only lived as long as the trees they inhabited. The Hamadryads were born bonded to a particular tree.

Picture of Pan and Psyche

Picture of Pan and Psyche

Wood Nymphs and Ancient Greek Mythology and Legends
Wood nymphs were often depicted in ancient Greek Mythology and art accompanied, or being pursued by, their male equivalents, the satyrs. Forest and Wood nymphs were also companions of Pan, the Greek god of fertility, shepherds and music. Most of the nymphs were horrified at the appearance and lustful advances of Pan and ran from him. A wood nymph called Syrinx ran away from Pan and was transformed into a clump of marsh reeds, out of which he made his famous pan-pipes. Wood nymphs were also the favorite companions of Artemis the Greek goddess of the hunt. Artemis had twenty Wood Nymphs who served as her handmaidens and to watch her dogs and bow while she rested. In one myth about Artemis she was in the forest attended by her hand servant Wood nymphs when they was seen by satyrs who tried to ravage them.

Artemis and the Satyrs

Picture of the Goddess Artemis, the Forest and Wood Nymphs and the Satyrs

Description of Wood Nymphs
The Woods nymphs are alluded to in many of the legends of Greek mythology. These references to the Forest and Wood nymphs contribute to their description:

  • Young, slender and beautiful maidens
  • The Dryads lived forever, the Hamadyads lived only as long as the trees they inhabited
  • They were described as minor goddesses, whose special duties assigned by the powerful Olympian gods
  • They were usually conceived as being both lovely and amorous
  • Forest, Tree and Wood nymphs were quite fragile, delicate creatures but would punish any thoughtless mortal who had somehow injured a tree
  • The lives of the wood nymphs were irrevocably connected with that of the trees
  • They were worshiped as spirits of fertility and guardians of vegetation
  • They could disappear by stepping into a tree
  • Offerings were made to the Forest and Wood Nymph to appease or thank the dryads it was necessary to harvest trees or branches
  • The sacrifices offered to them usually consisted of lambs, milk, and oil, but never of wine
  • They were generally very kind and believed to watch over the fate of mortals but conversely some were believed sometimes to appear to and frighten solitary travellers
  • The number of forest and wood nymphs is almost infinite
  • Some Dryades were also connected with the Naiads of rivers and springs who presided over the trees sprouting on their banks
  • Other forest and tree nymph were also connected were Oreiades (mountain nymph) connected with the dry-growing mountain fir and ash trees
  • They were also known as the Forest Queens
Picture of Pomona Dryad

Names of Wood Nymphs
The following chart contains the names of different types of Wood Nymph who featured in the legends from classical ancient Greek mythology and legends.

Wood Nymphs from Ancient Greek Mythology

Trees Names of Wood Nymphs
Laurel tree The Daphnaeae was the name given to the nymph that inhabited the Laurel tree
Apple tree The Epimeliades was the name given to the nymph that inhabited the Apple tree
Ivy The Kissiae was the name given to the nymph that inhabited the Ivy
Ash tree The Meliae was the name given to the nymph that inhabited the Ash tree
Oak Tree The Balanos was the name given to the nymph that inhabited the Oak tree
Dogwood The Kraneia was the name given to the nymph that inhabited the Dogwood
Mulberry The Morea was the name given to the nymph that inhabited the Mulberry
Poplar The Aigeiros was the name given to the nymph that inhabited the Poplar tree
Elm The Ptelea was the name given to the nymph that inhabited the Elm tree
Flowers

The Anthousai were the nymph of flowers

Groves

The Alseides were the nymph of groves

Wood Nymphs from Ancient Greek Mythology

Wood Nymphs

  • Minor Greek Goddesses
  • Roles & Names of the minor female deities
  • The names of the Forest, tree and Wood Nymph in Greek mythology and legends
  • Educational resource for schools, kids and children
  • Facts and information about Greek Wood Nymph for schools and kids
  • Forest Queens
 

 
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