The Nymphs were feminine forms of divine origin, all young looking. Living in the wild and wandering in the mountains, they accompanied goddess Artemis and were playing with her. The were all beautiful, but none could be compared to Artemis.
Nymphs are generally regarded as something between goddesses and mortals, not actual goddesses. The were not immortal, but lived too long and fed with ambrosia. Related to major gods, Hermes was considered to be the son of Maia the Nymph. Overall, the prevailing perception was that were daughters of Zeus. This led to three types of Nymphs:
- Naiades, or nymphs of the rivers, the sources and fountains and are the best known,
- Oreades, who lived in the mountains where there are sources,
- Dryades, who lived into the forests
There were also well-known stories of Nymphs falling in love with shepherds, that usually pasture their sheep on the banks of rivers. Then the nymphs gave birth to mortal sons, but wise and brave. Equally famous were the love stories of Apollo with Nymphs and especially the history of Dafne. Apollo tried to seduce her with great perseverance, without success. Once given the opportunity, he began to hunt her. Once ready to be seized, Daphne desperately asked her mother, Gaia, to assist. So really, the earth opened and swallowed Daphne. In the exact spot a tree grew that was named «dafne».
According to tradition, the nymphs, were also nurses of many gods and heroes replacing their natural mothers, by wet nurning them untill they reach the desired age. The god of gods, Zeus himself was nurtured by them in Crete. The prevailing perception was that they knew how to interpret the will of the superior deity, Erato the aspirations of Pan, Daphne those of Gaia. The Nymphs have survived to our time, thanks to tradition, known as fairies, living in mountains, in fairycaves and fairyfountains.
At Olumpus, they were usually sitting next to Apollo, praising Zeus, giving grace to the home of the gods with their presence and charming voices. Also members of the dance team of Olympus, along with Eve, the Ganymedes, Ores, Armonia and Venus.Nymphs were also fond of music, poetry, dance and the rhetoric and often connected to the Muses.
But above all, the were goddesses of physical grace and enchanting beauty, granting mortals with the gifts of seduction and pushing them to love and pleasure with the most pure and humble way. In this way human life acquires meaning and substance.