Nymph - Bisexual Female Deity Story
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Example of Authentic Ancient
Greek city of Histiaia in Euboia Silver Tetrobol Struck circa 300-200 B.C.
Reference: Sear 2496; B.M.C. 8. 47-8
Head of nymph Histiaia right, wreathed with vine, hair rolled.
ISTIAIEΩN, nymph Histiaia right on stern of galley, ornamented with
wing, holding naval standard.
This type, commemorated the expulsion, with Athenian
help of the pro-Macedonian tyrant Philistides in 340 B.C.
Situated in the far north of the island, Histiaia did not begin
producing coinage until the mid-4th Century B.C. From its extensive
silver issues in the Hellenistic age it would appear to be a place of
considerable commercial importance.
Istiaia (Ιστιαία) is a municipality in
Greece, and the former capital of the
Evia. Its population is 7,353 (2001).
The town is located in the northern end of the island.
minor female nature deity typically associated with a particular
location or landform. There are 5 different types of nymphs, Celestial
Nymphs, Water Nymphs, Land Nymphs, Plant Nymphs and Underworld Nymphs.
Different from goddesses, nymphs are generally regarded as divine
spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, youngnubilemaidens
who love to dance and sing; their amorous freedom sets them apart from
the restricted and chaste wives and daughters of the Greekpolis.
They are believed to dwell in mountains andgroves,
by springs and rivers, and also in trees and in valleys and coolgrottoes.
Although they would never die of old age nor illness, and could give
birth to fully immortal children if mated to a god, they themselves were
not necessarily immortal, and could be beholden to death in various
Other nymphs, always in the shape of young maidens, were part of theretinueof
a god, such asDionysus,Hermes,
or a goddess, generally the huntressArtemis.Nymphs
were the frequent target ofsatyrs.
They are frequently associated with the superior divinities: the
the reveller and god ofwine,Dionysus;
and rustic gods such as Pan and Hermes.
Nymphs are personifications of the creative and fostering activities of
nature, most often identified with the life-giving outflow of springs:
1985:III.3.3) remarks, "The idea that rivers are gods and springs divine
nymphs 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."
"bride" and "veiled" among its meanings: hence a marriageable young
woman. Other readers refer the word (and alsoLatinnubereandGermanKnospe)
to a root expressing the idea of "swelling" (according toHesychius,
one of the meanings ofνύμφηis
The Greek nymphs were spirits invariably bound to places, not unlike the
loci, and the difficulty of transferring their cult may
be seen in the complicated myth that broughtArethusato
Sicily. In the works of the Greek-educatedLatin
poets, the nymphs gradually absorbed into their ranks the
indigenous Italian divinities of springs and streams (Juturna,Egeria,Carmentis,Fontus),
Lumpae), Italian water-goddesses, owing to the accidental similarity of
their names, could be identified with the Greek Nymphae. The mythologies
of classicizing Roman poets were unlikely to have affected the rites and
cult of individual nymphs venerated by country people in the springs and
class, their sphere of influence was restricted, and they appear almost
exclusively as divinities of the watery element.
In modern Greek
A Sleeping Nymph Watched by a ShepherdbyAngelica
Kauffman, about 1780, (V&A Museum no. 23-1886)
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."
Nymphs tended to frequent areas distant from humans but could be
encountered by lone travelers outside the village, where their music
might be heard, and the traveler 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.
Due to the depiction of the mythological nymphs as females who mate with
men or women at their own volition, and are completely outside male
control, the term is often used for women who are perceived as behaving
similarly. (For example, the title of thePerry
novelThe Case of the
Negligent Nymph(1956) byErle
derived from this meaning of the word.)
created by modernpsychologyas
referring to a "desire to engage inhuman
a level high enough to be considered clinically significant",nymphomaniacbeing
the person suffering from such a disorder. Due to widespread use of the
term among lay persons (often shortened tonympho)
and stereotypes attached, professionals nowadays prefer the termhypersexuality,
which can refer to males and females alike.
used to identify a sexually precocious girl. The term was made famous in
Nabokov. The main character,Humbert
Humbert, uses the term many times, usually in reference to
the title character.
Nymphs who mate with the god Poseidon are believed to give birth to the
the names for various classes of nymphs are plural feminine adjectives
agreeing with the substantivenymphai,
and there was no single classification that could be seen as canonical
and exhaustive. Thus the classes of nymphs tend to overlap, which
complicates the task of precise classification. Rose mentionsdryadsandhamadryadsas
nymphs of trees generally,meliaias
nymphs of water, but no others specifically.