Melia (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Melia or Melie (Ancient Greek Μελία, Μελίη) was the name of several figures.[1] The name Melia comes from μελία, the ancient Greek word for ash-tree.[2] In the plural, the Meliae were a class of nymphs associated with trees, particularly ash-trees. There were several other nymphs (or possible nymphs) named Melia, not necessarily associated with trees, these include:[3]

Two other personages named Melia, are known from scholia citing the fifth-century BC mythographer Pherecydes:

  • Melia, daughter of Agenor and Damno (daughter of Belus), and the sister of Phoenix and Isaie, she and Isaie became the wives of their first cousins (and uncles) Danaus and Aegyptus, sons of Belus.[6]
  • Melia, one of the Niobids, the children of Amphion and his wife Niobe, slain by Apollo and Artemis, because of a boast by Niobe. According to the scholia, Pherecydes said she had seven brothers: Alalkomenus, Phereus, Eudoros, Lysippos, Xanthus, and Argeius, and six sisters: Chione, Clytie, Hore, Damasippe, and Pelopia.[7]


  1. ^ Smith, s.v. Melia.
  2. ^ LSJ s.v. μελία; Frazer's note 2 to Apollodorus 2.5.4.
  3. ^ Joseph Fontenrose, p. 318, referring to these Melian nymphs, grandly speculates that "there appear to be one and the same original behind all these nymphs; the chaos demoness who was the first mother of all creatures."
  4. ^ Fowler 2013, p. 219; Alexander Aetolus fr. 9 Powell = Strabo, 12.4.8, 14.5.29; cf. Apollodorus, 2.5.4 where an unnamed Melian nymph is the mother by Silenus of the centaur Pholus.
  5. ^ Fowler 2013, pp. 511, 512; Callimachus, Aetia fr. 75.62 (Trypanis, Gelzer, and Whitman, pp, 60, 61).
  6. ^ Gantz, p. 208; Pherecydes fr. 21 Fowler 2000, p. 289 = FGrHist 3 F 21 = Scholia on Apollonius RhodiusArgonautica 3.1177-87f.
  7. ^ Fowler 2013, p. 367; Pherecydes fr. 126 Fowler 2000, p. 342 = FGrHist 3 F 126 = Scholia on Euripides, Phoenician Women 159.


  • Callimachus: Aetia, Iambi, Hecale and Other Fragments; Musaeus: Hero and Leander. Edited and translated by C. A. Trypanis, T. Gelzer, Cedric H. Whitman. Loeb Classical Library No. 421. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973. ISBN 978-0-674-99463-8. Online version at Harvard University Press.
  • Fontenrose, Joseph Eddy, Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origins, University of California Press, 1959. ISBN 9780520040915.
  • Fowler, R. L. (2000), Early Greek Mythography: Volume 1: Text and Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0198147404.
  • Fowler, R. L. (2013), Early Greek Mythography: Volume 2: Commentary, Oxford University Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0198147411.
  • Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, Two volumes: ISBN 978-0-8018-5360-9 (Vol. 1), ISBN 978-0-8018-5362-3 (Vol. 2).
  • Smith, William; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, London (1867). Online version at the Perseus Digital Library
  • Strabo, Geography, translated by Horace Leonard Jones; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd. (1924). LacusCurtis, Online version at the Perseus Digital Library, Books 6–14.