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An Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology - Second Edition

An Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology - Second Edition

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Check out the second edition, with hundreds of full colour illustrations.
Check out the second edition, with hundreds of full colour illustrations.

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Published by: James Hampton Belton on Aug 03, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/06/2014

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The Nereides were the daughters of Nereus and Doris, and were nymphs of the Mediterranean Sea.
They were similar in appearance to the Oceanides, but their beauty was of a less shadowy order, and was

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Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology

more like that of mortals. They wore flowing, pale green robes; their liquid eyes resembled, in their clear
depths, the lucid waters of the sea they inhabited; their hair floated carelessly over their shoulders, and
assumed the greenish tint of the water itself, which, far from detracting from their beauty, greatly added to its
effect. The Nereides either accompanied the chariot of the mighty ruler of the sea, or followed in his train.
We are told by the poets that the lonely mariner watches the Nereides
with silent awe and wondering delight, as they rise from their grotto-
palaces in the deep, and dance, in joyful groups, over the sleeping
waves. Some, with arms entwined, follow with their movements the
melodies which seem to hover over the sea, whilst others scatter liquid
gems around, these being emblematical of the phosphorescent light,
so frequently observed at night by the traveller in southern waters.
The best known of the Nereides were Thetis, the wife of Peleus,
Amphitrite, the spouse of Poseidon, and Galatea, the beloved of Acis.
Poseidon's delightful abode was surrounded on all sides by wide
fields, where grew tall grasses, which, growing upwards, formed
emerald caves and grottoes such as the Nereides loved. In some parts
of Greece, Poseidon was identified with the sea-god Nereus, for which
reason the Nereides are represented as accompanying him.
When Ino, daughter of Cadmus, flung herself with her child into the
deep to escape her husband Athamus, they were kindly received by
the Nereides, and became sea-divinities under the name of Leucothea
and Palæmon.
When Cassiopea, queen of Æthiopia, boasted that her beauty
surpassed that of the Nereides, the angry sea-nymphs appealed to
Poseidon to avenge their wrongs, whereupon the sea-god devastated the country with a terrible inundation,
which brought with it a huge monster who devoured all that came in his way.

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