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For other uses, see Nereid (disambiguation).

In Greek mythology, the Nereids (/ˈnɪəriɪdz/ NEER-ee-idz; Greek: Νηρηΐδες Nereides, sg. Νηρηΐς Nereis) are sea nymphs (female spirits of sea waters), the 50 daughters of Nereus and Doris, sister to Nerites.[1] They often accompany Poseidon, the god of the sea, and can be friendly and helpful to sailors, like the Argonauts in their search for the Golden Fleece.[2]


Nereid riding a sea-bull (latter 2nd century BC)

Nereids are particularly associated with the Aegean Sea, where they dwelt with their father Nereus in the depths within a golden palace.[1] The most notable of them are Thetis, wife of Peleus and mother of Achilles; Amphitrite, wife of Poseidon; and Galatea, the vain lover of the Cyclops Polyphemus.

They symbolized everything that is beautiful and kind about sea. Their melodious voices sang as they danced around their father. They are represented as very beautiful girls, crowned with branches of red coral and dressed in white silk robes trimmed with gold, but who went barefoot. They were part of Poseidon's entourage and carried his trident.

In Homer's Iliad XVIII, when Thetis cries out in sympathy for the grief of Achilles for the slain Patroclus, her sisters appear. The Nereid Opis is mentioned in Virgil's Aeneid. She is called by the goddess Diana to avenge the death of the Amazon-like female warrior Camilla. Diana gives Opis magical weapons for revenge on Camilla's killer, the Etruscan Arruns. Opis sees and laments Camilla's death and shoots Arruns in revenge as directed by Diana.[3]

Modern use[edit]

In modern Greek folklore, the term "nereid" (νεράϊδα, neráïda) has come to be used for all nymphs, fairies, or mermaids, not merely nymphs of the sea.

Nereid a moon of the planet Neptune, is named after the Nereids.


French Empire mantel clock (1822) depicting the nereid Galatea velificans

This list is correlated from four sources: Homer's Iliad,[4] Hesiod's Theogony,[5] the Bibliotheca, and Hyginus. Because of this, the total number of names goes beyond fifty.[2]

  • Actaea (Ἀκταίη)[4][5]
  • Agaue (Ἀγαυὴ)[4][5]
  • Amatheia (Ἀμάθεια)[4]
  • Amphinome (Ἀμφινόμη)[4]
  • Amphithoe (Ἀμφιθόη)[4]
  • Amphitrite (Ἀμφιτρίτη);[5] the youngest Nereid, wife of Poseidon and mother of Triton
  • Apseudes (Ἀψευδὴς)[4]
  • Arethusa
  • Asia
  • Autonoe (Αὐτονόη)[5]
  • Beroe
  • Callianassa (Καλλιάνασσα)[4]
  • Callianeira (Καλλιάνειρα)[4]
  • Ceto
  • Clio
  • Clymene (Κλυμένη)[4]
  • Cranto
  • Creneis
  • Cydippe
  • Cymo (Κυμώ)[5]
  • Cymatolege (Κυματολήγη)[5]
  • Cymodoce (Κυμοδόκη)[4][5]
  • Cymothoe (Κυμοθόη)[4][5]
  • Deiopea
  • Dero
  • Dexamene (Δεξαμένη)[4]
  • Dione[6]
  • Doris (Δωρίς)[4][5]
  • Doto (Δωτώ)[4][5]
  • Drymo
  • Dynamene (Δυναμένη)[4][5]
  • Eione (Ἠιόνη)[5]
  • Ephyra
  • Erato (Ἐρατώ)[5]
  • Euagore (Εὐαγόρη)[5]
  • Euarne (Εὐάρνη)[5]
  • Eucrante (Εὐκράντη)[5]
  • Eudore (Εὐδώρη)[5]
  • Eulimene (Εὐλιμένη)[5]
  • Eumolpe
  • Eunice (Εὐνίκη)[5]
  • Eupompe (Εὐπόμπη)[5]
  • Eurydice
  • Galene (Γαλήνη)[5]
  • Galatea (Γαλάτεια)[4][5]
  • Glauce (Γλαύκη)[4][5]
  • Glauconome (Γλαυκονόμη)[5]
  • Halie (Ἁλίη)[4][5]
  • Halimede (Ἁλιμήδη)[5]
  • Hipponoe (Ἱππονόη)[5]
  • Hippothoe (Ἱπποθόη)[5]
  • Iaera (Ἴαιρα)[4]
  • Ianassa (Ἰάνασσα)[4]
  • Ianeira (Ἰάνειρά)[4]
  • Ione
  • Iphianassa
  • Laomedeia (Λαομέδεια)[5]
  • Leiagore (Ληαγόρη)[5]
  • Leucothoe
  • Ligea
  • Limnoreia (Λιμνώρεια)[4]
  • Lycorias
  • Lysianassa (Λυσιάνασσα)[5]
  • Maera (Μαῖρα)[4]
  • Melite (Μελίτη)[4][5]
  • Menippe (Μενίππη)[5]
  • Nausithoe
  • Nemertes (Νημερτής)[4][5]
  • Neomeris
  • Nerea (Νηρεας)[4][5]
  • Nesaea (Νησαίη)[4][5]
  • Neso (Νησώ)[5]
  • Opis
  • Oreithyia (Ὠρείθυια)[4]
  • Panopea (Πανόπεια)[5]
  • Panope (Πανόπη)[4]
  • Pasithea (Πασιθέη)[5]
  • Pherusa (Φέρουσά)[4][5]
  • Phyllodoce
  • Plexaure
  • Ploto (Πλωτώ)[5]
  • Polynome
  • Pontomedusa
  • Pontoporeia (Ποντοπόρεια)[5]
  • Poulynoe (Πουλυνόη)[5]
  • Pronoe (Προνόη)[5]
  • Proto (Πρωτώ)[4][5]
  • Protomedeia (Πρωτομέδεια)[5]
  • Psamathe (Ψαμάθη)[5]
  • Sao (Σαώ)[5]
  • Speio (Σπειώ)[4][5]
  • Thaleia (Θάλειά)[4]
  • Themisto (Θεμιστώ)[5]
  • Thetis (Θέτις);[4][5] Leader of the Nereids and mother of Achilles
  • Thoe (Θόη)[4][5]
  • Xantho


  1. ^ a b Atsma, Aaron J. "Nereides". Theoi Project Greek Mythology. Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Virgil: His life and times by Peter Levi, Duckworth, 1998
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj Homer, Iliad XVIII 39-51
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba Hesiod, Theogony 240-262
  5. ^ Apollodorus. Library, 1.2.7.

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