Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-Greece/mythology2.asp?pg=44

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

E. M. Berens
Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome - Part II

From, A Handbook of Mythology, New York 1886
{ } = Page Numbers in the print edition,   [ ] = Footnote Numbers

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HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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Page 44

THE NYMPHS.

The graceful beings called the Nymphs were the presiding deities of the woods, grottoes, streams, meadows, &c.

These divinities were supposed to be beautiful maidens of fairy-like form, and robed in more or less shadowy garments. They were held in the greatest veneration, though, being minor divinities, they had no temples {166} dedicated to them, but were worshipped in caves or grottoes, with libations of milk, honey, oil, &c.

They may be divided into three distinct classes, viz., water, mountain, and tree or wood nymphs.

WATER NYMPHS.

OCEANIDES, NEREIDES, AND NAIADES.

The worship of water-deities is common to most primitive nations. The streams, springs, and fountains of a country bear the same relation to it which the blood, coursing through the numberless arteries of a human being, bears to the body; both represent the living, moving, life-awakening element, without which existence would be impossible. Hence we find among most nations a deep feeling of attachment to the streams and waters of their native land, the remembrance of which, when absent in foreign climes, is always treasured with peculiar fondness. Thus among the early Greeks, each tribe came to regard the rivers and springs of its individual state as beneficent powers, which brought blessing and prosperity to the country. It is probable also that the charm which ever accompanies the sound of running water exercised its power over their imagination. They heard with delight the gentle whisper of the fountain, lulling the senses with its low, rippling tones; the soft purling of the brook as it rushes over the pebbles, or the mighty voice of the waterfall as it dashes on in its headlong course; and the beings which they pictured to themselves as presiding over all these charming sights and sounds of nature, corresponded, in their graceful appearance, with the scenes with which they were associated.

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Cf. A Day in Old Athens * A Short History of Greek Philosophy
Toynbee, Ancient Greek History and the West * Livingstone, On the Ancient Greek Literature

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-Greece/mythology2.asp?pg=44