Nymph | Mythic Creature

Nymph Greek Mythology

Nymphs (in classical Greek: Νύμφαι; in modern Greek: Νύμφες), in Greek mythology, are natural female spirits, attached to a particular place or object in nature. Often, nymphs make up the aspect of varied gods and goddesses, see also the genealogy of the Greek gods. They are often the target of the satyrs' lust. Simply put, nymphs would be wingless fairies, light and delicate. They are the personification of creative and fecundating grace in nature.

Cult and mythology

Nymph derives from Νύμφη (nymph), meaning "bride," "veiled," "rosebud," among other meanings. They are spirits, inhabitants of lakes and streams, woods, forests, meadows and mountains.

They are often associated with major gods and goddesses, such as the hunter Artemis, the prophetic aspect of Apollo, the god of trees and Dionysus, the shepherding aspect of Hermes.

A special class of nymphs, the meliades, were mentioned by Homer as the most ancestral of the nymphs. While the other nymphs are usually daughters of Zeus, the meliades are descended from Uranus.

Despite being considered minor deities, spirits of nature, the nymphs were deities worshiped, with great devotion and even awe, throughout the Hellenic world. According to Greek mythology, Dione was the queen of the fairies and nymphs.

Although not immortal, nymphs were very long-lived and did not age. They were beneficent and provided everything to men and nature. They also had the gift of prophesizing, healing, and nurturing.


We find several types or classes of nymphs according to their habits, or the different natural spheres they are associated with.

Among the most popular are:

Epigeias (Επιγαῖαι) - This is a group of earth or crop nymphs:
Oréades (Ὀρειάδες) or Orestíades (Όρεστιάδες) - associated with mountains.
Antrichades (Ἀντριάδες) - associated with caves.
Auloníades (Αὐλωνιάδες) - associated with grasslands.
Napeias (Ναπαῖαι) - associated with valleys.

Limachids (Λειμακίδες) or Limonids (Λειμωνιάδες) - associated with grasslands and the meadows.
Alseids (Ἀλσηίδες) - associated with woodlands.
Antusas (Ἀνθούσαι) - associated with flowers.
Dríades (Δρυάδες) - associated with trees (oaks).

Hamadríades (Ἁμαδρυάδες) - associated with all other trees.
Melias (Μελιάδες) or Melias (Μελίαι) - associated with the ash tree.
Daphneas (Δαφναῖαι) - associated with the laurel tree.
Cissias (Κισσιαι)- associated with the ivy (plant species).
Bucolics (Bukólai)-is a group of nymphs of the flocks and orchards:

Epimelides (Ἐπιμηλίδες) - associated with orchards.
Perimelides (Περιμηλίδες) - associated with the flocks.
Halíades (Ἁλλιάδες) or Halias (Ἅλιαι) - This is a group of saltwater nymphs:
Oceânides (Ὠκεανίδες) - daughters of Oceano, any body of water, usually salt water.

Nereides (Νηρηίδες) - daughters of Nereus, associated with the Mediterranean Sea, calm seas and coastal waters.
Hydriades (Ὑδριάδες) - This is a group of nymphs of the fresh waters:
Naiades (Ναϊάδες) - associated with freshwater.
Crineias (Κρηναῖαι) - associated with springs.

Pegeias (Πηγαῖαι) - associated with springs.
Potamides (Ποταμίδες) - associated with rivers.
Limenides (Λειμενίδες) or Limnades (Λιμνάδες) - associated with lakes.
Heleiades (Ελειάδες) or Heleionomos (Ἑλειονόμοι) - associated with swamps.
Uranias (Οὐρανίαι) - This is a group of nymphs associated with the sky:

Nepheles (Νεφέλαι) - cloud nymphs.
Boréades - nymphs of the winds.
Asterias (Ἀστερίαι) - This is a group of nymphs associated with the stars:
Hyades (Ὑάδες) - daughters of Atlas and or Etra, sisters of Hías. They were responsible for the care of Dionysus, nymphs of navigation.

Pleiades (Πλειάδες) - daughters of Atlas and Pleione, nymphs of rain and sisters of the Hias.
Hesperides (Ἑσπερίδες) - daughters of Atlas and Hesperia, nymphs of the evening. They were responsible for the care of the garden of golden pomes.

Other types of nymphs:
Cabyrids (Καβειρίδες) - sisters of the Cabiros, were part of the Samothracian mysteries.

Scylla (Σκύλλα) - the nymph who became a sea monster.
Hecatérides (Ἑκατερίδες) - sisters of the Dactyls, mothers of the Oréades, Satyrs and Curetes.

Heliades (Ἡλιάδες) - daughters of Helios, Sun god, sisters of Phaethon, were turned into poplars after the death of their brother.
Melissas (Μέλισσαι) - honey nymphs, were part of the Eleusinian mysteries of Démeter.

Ménades (Μαινάδες) or Bacantes (Βάκχαι) - frenzied nymphs of Dionysus' retinue.
The Muses (Μούσαι) - daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, or of Uranus and Gaia, became part of Apollo's retinue during the Olympian age:

Calliope - epic poetry
Clio - history
Erato - lyric or erotic poetry
Euterpe - music
Melpomenus - tragedy

Polymnia - sacred poetry
Thalia - comedy
Terpsichore - dance
Urania - astrology
Thrias (Θρίαι) - nymphs associated with bees.

Lampades (Λαμπάδες) - associated with the underworld, make up the retinue of Hecate.

Themides (Θεμείδες) - The Themides were nymph daughters of Zeus and the titanid Themis, who lived in a cave on the river Eridan; They personified the divine laws and were the guardians of important artifacts of the gods.
Quione (Χιόνη) - perhaps the only snow nymph, daughter of Boreas.


Chalimachus, in his "Hymn to Delos," describes for us the anguish of a nymph for her oak tree recently struck by lightning.

Nymphs often appear as helpers to other deities, as for example Circe's nymphs, or as helpers to certain gods, particularly Artemis, or even to other nymphs of higher status like Calypso.

Nymphs also appear a lot in legends where love is the central motif, such as the stories of Echo and Callisto, and also where the role of a hero's wife is somewhat of a recurring theme, as for example the legend of Aegina and Aeacus or that of the nymph Taigete.