According to Greek mythology, after the overthrow of the Titans, the new pantheon of gods and goddesses ruled from Olympus. Besides the Olympians there were other residents of the pantheon who were descended from the old and new gods.
Nymphs are mythological nature spirits that appear as beautiful young women. They are not immortal and can metamorph into plants or animals. Human women can be changed into nymphs. Nymphs are associated with satyrs. Dionysus and Apollo are leaders of nymphs. Some nymphs share their names with the places they inhabited. Rivers and their personifications often share names. There are several types of myths.
The Naiades were fresh-water Nymphs who inhabited the rivers, streams, lakes, marshes, fountains and springs of the earth. They were immortal, minor divinities who were invited to attend the assemblies of the gods on Mount Olympus. The Naiades, along with Artemis, were regarded as the divine nurses of the young, and the protectors of girls and maidens, overseeing their safe passage into adulthood.
The Dryads were the beautiful Nymphs of the trees, groves, woods and mountain forests. They were the ladies of the oaks and pines, poplar and ash, apple and laurel. For some, trees sprung up from the earth at their birth, trees to which their lives were closely tied. While the tree flourished, so did its nymph, but when it died she passed away with it.
The Nereids were goddesses of the sea. They were the children of Nereus. They were the patrons of sailors and fishermen, who came to the aid of men in distress, and goddesses who had in their care the sea’s rich bounty.
The Satyrs were rustic fertility creatures of the wilderness and countryside. They were close companions of the gods. They were depicted as animal-like men with the tail of a horse, ears of an ass, upturned pug noses, and reclining hair-lines. As companions of Dionysos they were usually shown drinking, dancing, playing tambourines and flutes.
The Centaurs were a tribe of half man, half horse creatures who inhabited the mountains and forests. They were a primitive race who made their homes in mountain caves, hunted wild animals for food and armed themselves with rocks and tree branches. Centaurs were depicted with the upper body of a man, from head to loins, set upon the body of a horse. Sometimes it had the facial feature of a man, at other times it was portrayed with the snub nose and pointed ears of a rustic Satyrs.
The Furies pursue those guilty of crimes against blood-relatives and the natural order. They were particularly concerned with homicide, unfilial conduct, crimes against the gods, and perjury. A victim seeking justice could call down the curse of the Furies upon the criminal. They were depicted as ugly, winged women with hair, arms and waists entwined with poisonous serpents. They wielded whips and were clothed either in the long black robes of mourners, or the short-length skirts and boots of huntress- maidens.
Tomorrow, The Adopted Gods Rita Bay