In Greek mythology, the Nereids (// NEER-ee-idz; Greek: Νηρηΐδες Nereides, sg. Νηρηΐς Nereis) are sea nymphs (female spirits of sea waters), the 50 daughters of Nereus and Doris, sisters to their brother Nerites. They often accompany Poseidon, the god of the sea, and can be friendly and helpful to sailors (such as the Argonauts in their search for the Golden Fleece).
Nereids are particularly associated with the Aegean Sea, where they dwelt with their father Nereus in the depths within a golden palace. The most notable of them are Thetis, wife of Peleus and mother of Achilles; Amphitrite, wife of Poseidon and mother of Triton; and Galatea, the vain love interest of the Cyclops Polyphemus.
They symbolized everything that is beautiful and kind about the sea. Their melodious voices sang as they danced around their father. They are represented as very beautiful girls, crowned with branches of red coral and dressed in white silk robes trimmed with gold, but who went barefoot. They were part of Poseidon's entourage and carried his trident.
In Homer's Iliad XVIII, when Thetis cries out in sympathy for the grief of Achilles for the slain Patroclus, her sisters appear. The Nereid Opis is mentioned in Virgil's Aeneid. She is called by the goddess Diana to avenge the death of the Amazon-like female warrior Camilla. Diana gives Opis magical weapons for revenge on Camilla's killer, the Etruscan Arruns. Opis sees and laments Camilla's death, and kills Arruns with an arrow in revenge as directed by Diana.
This list is correlated from four sources: Homer's Iliad, Hesiod's Theogony, the Bibliotheca of Pseudo-Apollodorus and the Fabulae of Hyginus. Because of this, the total number of names goes beyond fifty.
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- Atsma, Aaron J. "Nereides". Theoi Project Greek Mythology. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- Virgil: His life and times by Peter Levi, Duckworth, 1998
- Homer, Iliad 18.39-51
- Hesiod, Theogony 240-262
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1.2.7
- Hyginus, Fabulae Preface
- Parada, Carlos. "Nereids". Greek Mythology Link. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- This was definitely a misinterpretation of Hyginus in Virgil's Georgics 4.346 which suggests that Arethusa was a naiad, more likely Oceanides, rather than a Nereides.
- Virgil, Georgics 4.346
- This was definitely a misinterpretation of Hyginus in Virgil's Georgics 4.343 which suggests that Arethusa was a naiad, more likely Oceanides, rather than a Nereides.
- Virgil, Georgics 4.343
- This was definitely a misinterpretation of Hyginus in Virgil's Georgics 4.341 which clearly states that ". . .Clio, too, And Beroe, sisters, ocean-children both, . . ."
- It is possible that only one Nereid was named as Clymene who was Homer's Clymene but the other Clymene in Virgil, Georgics 4.345 was suggested to be a naiad, apparently an Oceanid rather than a Nereid. This was misinterpreted by Hyginus in his Fabulae Preface that is why, two Nereids were named Clymene in the text.
- Virgil, Georgics 4.345
- This was definitely a misinterpretation of Hyginus in Virgil's Georgics 4.339 which suggests that Cydippe was a naiad, more likely Oceanides, rather than a Nereides.
- Virgil, Georgics 4.339
- Virgil, Georgics 4.338; Aeneid 5.826
- This was definitely a misinterpretation of Hyginus in Virgil's Georgics 4.343 which suggests that Deiopea was a naiad, more likely Oceanides, rather than a Nereides.
- This was definitely a misinterpretation of Hyginus in Virgil's Georgics 4.336 which suggests that Drymo, Xantho, Ligea and Phyllodoce were naiads, more likely Oceanides, rather than Nereides: ". . .Even from her chamber in the river-deeps, His mother heard: around her spun the nymphs, Milesian wool stained through with hyaline dye, Drymo, Xantho, Ligea, Phyllodoce, Their glossy locks o'er snowy shoulders shed, . . ."
- Lucian, Dialogi Marini 14
- Virgil, Aeneid 5.825
- Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 1.450
- Zervas, Theodore G. (2016). Formal and Informal Education During the Rise of Greek Nationalism: Learning to be Greek. Springer. p. 121. ISBN 9781137484154.
- Nereid Lake. SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica
- Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae from The Myths of Hyginus translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Gaius Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica translated by Mozley, J H. Loeb Classical Library Volume 286. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1928. Online version at theio.com.
- Gaius Valerius Flaccus, Argonauticon. Otto Kramer. Leipzig. Teubner. 1913. Latin text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Hesiod, Theogony from The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, MA.,Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
- Homer, The Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924. ISBN 978-0674995796. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Homer, Homeri Opera in five volumes. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 1920. ISBN 978-0198145318. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Lucian of Samosata, Dialogues of the Sea Gods translated by Fowler, H W and F G. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. 1905. Online version at theoi.com
- Luciani Samosatensis, Opera. Vol I. Karl Jacobitz. in aedibus B. G. Teubneri. Leipzig. 1896. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. ISBN 0-674-99135-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
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