The Official Collection of Fantastical Creature Information--Updated Randomly

For all your fantastical creature needs! This is the beginning of my encyclopedia, and I'm collecting as much information as I can on various fantasy creatures. Most of my stuff can be found on wikipedia. However, no source is perfect, so the stuff that is my input is often italicized. Help me by sending me more information at Questkid13@gmail.com

Side Note: There have been concerns about my using Wikipedia because it is not a reliable resource. I am well aware of wikipedia's unreliable nature--but that's exactly why I use it. Fantasy creatures are available to all, and everyone should have a chance to add their "discoveries." This website is supposed to be a fun collection of fantastical creature information with fun images to go with. I am not a reliable source--I'm just a collector. Though at this point, I am flattered that people are concerned with the validity of my site. :)

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Naiad

In Greek Mythology, the Naiads (from the Greek νάειν, "to flow," and νἃμα, "running water") were a type of nymph who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks, as river gods embodied rivers, and some very ancient spirits inhabited the still waters of marshes, ponds and lagoon-lakes, such as pre-Mycenaean Lerna in the Argolid. Naiads were associated with fresh water, as the Oceanids were with saltwater and the Nereids specifically with the Mediterranean; but because the Greeks thought of the world's waters as all one system, which percolated in from the sea in deep cavernous spaces within the bosom of the earth, to rise freshened in seeps and springs, there was some overlap. Arethusa, the nymph of a spring, could make her way through subterranean flows from the Peloponnesus, to surface on the island of Sicily. In his Dionisiaca, Nonnus gave the naiads the nonce-name Hydriades ("water ladies").

A Naiad by John William Waterhouse, 1893: a water nymph approaches the sleeping Hylas
Otherwise, the essence of a naiad was bound to her spring. If a naiad's body of water dried, she died. Though Walter Burkert points out, "When in the Iliad [xx.4–9] Zeus calls the gods into assembly on Mount Olympus, it is not only the well-known Olympians who come along, but also all the nymphs and all the rivers; Okeanos alone remains at his station," (Burkert 1985), Greek hearers recognized this impossibility as the poet's hyperbole, which proclaimed the universal power of Zeus over the ancient natural world: "the worship of these deities," Burkert confirms, "is limited only by the fact that they are inseparably identified with a specific locality."
They were often the object of archaic local cults, worshipped as essential to fertility and human life. Boys and girls at coming-of-age dedicated their childish locks to the local naiad of the spring. In places like Lerna their waters' ritual cleansings were credited with magical medical properties. Animals were ritually drowned there. Oracles might be sited by ancient springs.


When a mythic king is credited with marrying a naiad and founding a city, Robert Graves offers a sociopolitical reading: the new arriving Hellenes justify their presence by taking to wife the naiad of the spring, so, in the back-story of the myth of Aristaeus, Hypseus, a king of theLapiths wed Chlidanope, a naiad, who bore him Cyrene. In parallels among the Immortals, the loves and rapes of Zeus, according to Graves' readings, record the supplanting of ancient local cults by Olympian ones. Aristaeus had more than ordinary mortal experience with the naiads: when his bees died in Thessaly, he went to consult the naiads. His aunt Arethusa invited him below the water's surface, where he was washed with water from a perpetual spring and given advice. A less well-connected mortal might have drowned, being sent as a messenger in this way to gain the advice and favor of the naiads for his people.
Naiads could be dangerous: Hylas of the Argo's crew was lost when he was taken by naiads fascinated by his beauty. The naiads were also known to exhibit jealous tendencies. Theocritus' story of naiad jealousy was that of a shepherd, Daphnis, who was the lover of Nomia; Daphnis had on several occasions been unfaithful to Nomia and as revenge she permanently blinded him. Salamacis the god Hermaphroditus into a carnal embrace and, when he sought to get away, fused with him.
The Naiads were either daughters of Zeus or various Oceanids, but a genealogy for such ancient, ageless creatures is easily overstated. The water nymph associated with particular springs was known all through Europe in places with no direct connection with Greece, surviving in the Celtic wells of northwest Europe that have been rededicated to Saints, and in the medieval Melusine.


Types of Naiads
Crinaeae (fountains)
Limnades or Limnatides (lakes)
Pegaeae (springs)
Potameides (rivers)
Elinomae (marshes)

Individual Naiads

Undine, by John Waterhouse
Abarbarea
Aegle
Arethusa
Bateia
Callirrhoe
Castalia
Cleochareia
Corycian
Corycia
Kleodora or Cleodora
Melaina
Creusa
Drosera
Echenais
Harpina
Lara
Lethe
Lilaea
Melite
Minthe
Nomia
Orseis
Periboea
Pitane
Praxithea
Salmacis
Styx
Undine

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