A nymph in Greek mythology is a supernatural being associated with many other minor female deities that are associated with the air, seas or water, or particular locations or landforms. Different from Greek goddesses, nymphs are more regarded as divine spirits who animate or maintain Nature for the environments where they live, are depicted as beautiful, young graceful maidens, they are divided into various broad subgroups, such as Aurai, Nereides and Dryades The Greek word νύμφη has the primary meaning of "young woman. Yet the etymology of the noun νύμφη remains uncertain; the Doric and Aeolic form is νύμφα. Modern usage more applies to young women at the peak of their attractiveness, contrasting with parthenos "a virgin", generically as kore "maiden, girl"; the term is sometimes used by women to address each other and remains the regular Modern Greek term for "bride". Nymphs were sometimes beloved by many and dwell in most specific areas related to the natural environment. E.g. mountainous forests by springs or rivers.
Other nymphs appeared in the shape of young maidens, were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess the huntress Artemis. The Greek nymphs were spirits invariably bound to places, not unlike the Latin genius loci, sometimes this produced complicated myths like cult of Arethusa to Sicily. In some of the works of the Greek-educated Latin poets, the nymphs absorbed into their ranks the indigenous Italian divinities of springs and streams, while the Lymphae, Italian water-goddesses, owing to the accidental similarity of their names, could be identified with the Greek Nymphae; the classical mythologies of the Roman poets were unlikely to have affected the rites and cults of individual nymphs venerated by country people in the springs and clefts of Latium. Among the Roman literate class, their sphere of influence was restricted, they appear exclusively as divinities of the watery element; the ancient Greek belief in nymphs survived in many parts of the country into the early years of the twentieth century, when they were known as "nereids".
Nymphs tended to frequent areas distant from humans but could be encountered by lone travelers outside the village, where their music might be heard, the traveler could spy on their dancing or bathing in a stream or pool, either during the noon heat or in the middle of the night. They might appear in a whirlwind; such encounters could be dangerous, bringing dumbness, besotted infatuation, madness or stroke to the unfortunate human. When parents believed their child to be nereid-struck, they would pray to Saint Artemidos. A motif that entered European art during the Renaissance was the idea of a statue of a nymph sleeping in a grotto or spring; this motif came from an Italian report of a Roman sculpture of a nymph at a fountain above the River Danube. The report, an accompanying poem on the fountain describing the sleeping nymph, are now concluded to be a fifteenth-century forgery, but the motif proved influential among artists and landscape gardeners for several centuries after, with copies seen at neoclassical gardens such as the grotto at Stourhead.
As H. J. Rose states, all the names for various classes of nymphs are plural feminine adjectives agreeing with the substantive nymphai, there was no single classification that could be seen as canonical and exhaustive. Thus, the classes of nymphs tend to overlap. Rose mentions dryads and hamadryads as nymphs of trees meliai as nymphs of ash trees, naiads as nymphs of water, but no others specifically; the following is not the authentic Greek classification, but is intended as a guide: The following is a list of groups of nymphs associated with this or that particular location. Nymphs in such groupings could belong to any of the classes mentioned above; the following is a selection of names of the nymphs whose class was not specified in the source texts. For lists of Naiads, Dryades etc. See respective articles. Sabrina Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-36281-9. Larson, Jennifer Lynn. Greek Nymphs: Myth, Lore. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514465-9.
Lawson, John Cuthbert, Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1910, p. 131 Nereids paleothea.com homepage Tomkinson, John L.. Haunted Greece: Nymphs and Other Exotika. Athens: Anagnosis. ISBN 978-960-88087-0-6; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Nymphs". Encyclopædia Britannica. 19. Cambridge University Press. P. 930. Theoi.com: Nymphs Theoi Project – List of Nymphs
A hamadryad is a Greek mythological being that lives in trees. They are a particular type of dryad. Hamadryads are born bonded to a certain tree; some believe that hamadryads are the actual tree, while normal dryads are the entities, or spirits, of the trees. If the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well. For that reason and the gods punished any mortals who harmed trees; the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus lists eight hamadryads, the daughters of Oxylus and Hamadryas: Karya Balanos Kraneia Morea Aigeiros Ptelea Ampelos Syke Their mother, Hamadryas, is immortalized in two scientific names: the generic name of the cracker butterfly, the specific name of the northernmost monkey in Asia Minor, the hamadryas baboon. The cracker butterfly is more arboreal than most butterflies, as it camouflages itself on trees, it feeds on rotting fruit and dung. The hamadryas baboon is one of the least arboreal monkeys, but was the most common monkey in Hellenic lands. Atlanteia Chrysopeleia Phoebe Byblis Dryope Heliades Hesperides Hamadryad is referenced as a whole in Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Sonnet To Science".
Hamadryad is referenced in Anthony Ashley Cooper's Characteristics of Men, Opinions, Times. In Aldous Huxley's Crome Yellow, Anne Wimbush is referred to as "the slim Hamadryad whose movements were like the swaying of a young tree in the wind". In George Eliot's The Mill on The Floss, Book V, Chapter 3, the character Philip Wakem uses the term to describe Maggie Tulliver. In William Faulkner's novel Soldier's Pay, Chapter 2, Januarius Jones uses this term to describe a young lady. Both hamadryads and dryads exist in C. S. Lewis's Narnia. In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, Hamadryad is the name of a "young" woman. In John Steinbeck's To a God Unknown, Chapter 16: “Jesus is a better savior than a hamadryad”. In Nalo Hopkinson's short story "The Smile on the Face", the main character swallows a cherry from the cherry tree that seems to be inhabited by a hamadryad. Querquetulanae, Roman nymphs of the oak Dryad The Deipnosophists, or, Banquet of the Learned of Athenaeus presented online by the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center Theoi Project - Hamadryades
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ