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. :)

!!!!This is NOT a forum. Comments are to be informative and generally helpful. Clean humor is acceptable, but NOT if it detracts from the entry. This site is to help people find out more about fantastical creatures!!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Nymphs

In Greek mythology, a nymph is any member of a large class of mythological entities in human female form. They were typically associated with particular location or landform. Others were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess, generally Artemis. Nymphs were the frequent target of satyrs. However, it has often been debated whether nymphs are a species of their own, or whether it's just a common name for a seductive female fantastical creature in general as many creatures such as Mermaids, Dryads, and Sylphides can be considered to fall under the category of nymph for a particular element.

Location
Nymphs live pretty much anywhere, the water, the land, the sky, and even fire (though the fire and air nymphs are relatively rare). They can live in mountains and groves, by springs and rivers, and in valleys and cool grottoes.

Appearance
Usually female, they were dressed in white, decked with garlands of flowers, but they frequently had unnatural legs, like those of a goat, donkey or cow. They were so beautiful that the highest compliment was to compare some feature of a woman (eyes, hair, etc.) with that of nereid or nymph. They could move swiftly and invisibly, ride through the air and slip through small holes. Although not immortal, their lives exceeded man's tenfold, and they retained their beauty until death.They tended to frequent areas distant from man, but could be encountered by lone travellers outside the village, where their music might be heard, and the traveller could spy on their dancing or bathing in a stream or pool, either during the noon heat or in the middle of the night. They might appear in a whirlwind. Such encounters could be dangerous, bringing dumbness, besotted infatuation, madness or stroke to the unfortunate human. When parents believed their child to be nereid-struck they would pray to Saint Artemidos, the Christian manifestation of Artemis.

Meaning of nymph
"The idea that rivers are gods and springs divine nymphs," Walter Burkert remarks "is deeply rooted not only in poetry but in belief and ritual; the worship of these deities is limited only by the fact that they are inseparably identified with a specific locality." Nymphs are personifications of the creative and fostering activities of nature, most often identified with the life-giving outflow of springs.

Nymph classifications
As Rose states, "all these names are simply feminine adjectives, agreeing with the substantive nympha, and there was no orthodox and exhaustive classification of these shadowy beings." He mentions dryads and hamadryads as nymphs of trees generally, meliai as nymphs of ash trees, and naiads as nymphs of water, but no others specifically.

The following is not the Greek classification, but is intended simply as a guide:
Land nymphs
Alseids (glens, groves)
Auloniads (pastures)
Hesperides (nymphs of the west, daughters of Atlas)
Aegle ("dazzling light")
Arethusa
Erytheia (or Eratheis)
Hespera (or Hespere)
Hesperia (or Hispereia)
Saraesa (beautiful wind)
Leimakids (meadows)
Minthe (mint)
Napaeae (mountain valleys, glens)
Oreads (mountains, grottoes)
Wood nymphs
Dryads (trees)
Hamadryads (oak tree and others)
Epimeliad (apple tree)
Leuce (white poplar tree)
Meliae (manna-ash tree)
Water nymphs ("ephydriads")
Helead (fen)
Maia (partner of Zeus and mother of Hermes)
Naiads (usually fresh water)
Crinaeae (fountains)
Eleionomae (marshes)
Hyades (rain)
Limnades or Limnatides (lakes)
Pegaeae (springs)
Potameides (rivers)
Corycian Nymphs (Corycian Cave)
Nereids (daughters of Nereus, the Mediterranean Sea)
Oceanids (daughters of Oceanus and Tethys, any water, usually salty)
Other nymphs
Lampades (underworld)
The Muses
Nephelae (clouds)

Nymphs in modern Greek folklore
The ancient Greek belief in nymphs survived in many parts of the country into the early years of the twentieth century, when they were usually known as "nereids". At that time John Cuthbert Lawson wrote: "...there is probably no nook or hamlet in all Greece where the womenfolk at least do not scrupulously take precautions against the thefts and malice of the nereids, while many a man may still be found to recount in all good faith stories of their beauty, passion and caprice. Nor is it a matter of faith only; more than once I have been in villages where certain Nereids were known by sight to several persons (so at least they averred); and there was a wonderful agreement among the witnesses in the description of their appearance and dress."

A special thanks to Wikipedia! And to Archeon of Deviantart.com for this slightly stolen image!

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