Having already talked about the Muses, it is a good reason to dedicate more blog posts to other smaller deities that enriched the daily lives of the Olympian Gods and the mortals with their supernatural attributes. In this article, we are going to focus on the Nymphs, the feminine divine spirits associated with nature.
It is believed that the Nymphs were related to many Olympian Gods. It is said for example that they were daughters of Zeus, while others believe that they were daughters of a big river such as Achelous or Pineios, or even to the Okeanos.
The Nymphs were uniquely connected to the element of water, and more specifically to freshwater. This connection is symbolic pointing out the importance of the water for the existence of life on our planet. Through the water flow, the Nymphs were spreading across the mountains and forests, being deeply related to the vegetation. This is why the version of being the daughters of big rivers or ever the daughter of Okeanos, stands. That is also why there are 3 types of Nymphs:
Naiads: the nymphs of the rivers, the lakes, the springs, and the fountains (they used to live into caves or under the freshwater).
Oreads (in Greek ‘Oros’ means mountain): the nymphs inhabited in the mountains where there were springs.
Dryads: the nymphs of the forests and the lonely trees.
The truth is that they weren’t immortals, but they lived for many years, as they were eating ‘Ambrosia’. Actually, they lived until the water dried out from the part of nature they were committed to and vice versa, something which means that for example, a pine tree started to grow as soon as the life of the Nymph into it started!
Hill of Nymphs - credits: Milangonda/depositphotos
Being considered as divine spirits and depicted as young beautiful women, usually, they were beloved by many men. There are also many stories of passionate pairings of the Nymphs with shepherds, who used to leave their sheep in the river shores to graze. After these rural matings, Nymphs were giving birth to mortal, but brave and wise men! However, the most known love affair was that of Apollo with the Nymph Dafne. Apollo was courting persistently the young Nymph for a long time. One day, he took the chance and started chasing her. At the moment he caught her, she was disappeared and replaced with the homonym plant, after the intervention of Gaia.