Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods >> Rustic Gods >> Oxylus (Oxylos)


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Beech-Forest? (oxya, hylê)

OXYLOS (Oxylus) was the rustic demi-god (daimon) of mountain forests (or perhaps more specifically the mountain beech). He was a son of Oreios "the Mountain" and husband of Hamadryas "She-with-Tree" and the father of eight Hamadryad-nymph daughters who each presided over a species of tree. His son Andraimon (Andraemon) was an early king of the mountain-dwelling Dryopes tribe. Oxylos was primarily associated with the mountain-forests of central Greece--the Pindus mountain range, Mount Oita (Oeta) and Mount Othrys.

Oxylos' name is perhaps derived from the term axylos hylê, "virgin mountain-forest", or it could be connected with oxya, "beech-tree" (Fagus sylvatica). If the latter is the case, then his wife Hamadryas is probably drys, "oak", rather than drys, "tree" in general.

Oxylos is probably related to Hekateros (Hecaterus) and Seilenos (Silenus)--two rustic demi-gods who were also described as fathers of the Dryades and Satyroi (Satyrs).



OREIOS (Athenaeus 78b)


[1.1] THE HAMADRYADES (KARYA, BALANOS, KRANEIA, MOREA, AIGEIROS, PTELEA, AMPELOS, SYKE) (by Hamadryas) (Phereclus Frag, Athenaeus 78b)
[1.2] THE HAMADRYADES, ANDRAIMON (Antoninus Liberalis 32)


O′XYLUS (Oxulos).A son of Orius, who became the father of the Hamadryades, by his sister Hamadryas. (Athen. iii. p. 78.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 1. 78b (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to C3rd A.D.) :
"The Epic poet Pherenikos (Pherenicus), a Herakleto by birth, declares that the fig (Sykon) was named from Syke (Fig-Tree), the daughter of Oxylos (Beech-Tree); for Oxylos, son of Oreios (Mountain), married his sister Hamadryas (Plum Tree) and begot among others, Karya (Walnut-Tree), Balanos (Oak-Nut Tree), Kraneia (Cornel-Tree), Morea (Mulberry-Bush), Aigeiros (Poplar-Tree), Ptelea (Elm-Tree), Ampelos (Grape-Vine), and Syke (Fig-Tree); and these are called Nymphai Hamadryades (Hamadryad Nymphs), and from them many trees derive their names."

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 32 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Dryops (Oak-Face) was the son of the River Sperkheios (Spercheus) and of Polydore (Many-Gifts), one of the daughters of Danaos (Danaus). He was king in Oita (Oeta) and he had an only daughter, Dryope (Oak-Face). She herself herded the flocks of her father. Now, the Nymphai Hamadryades (Hamadryad Nymphs) [probably the daughters of Oxylos] were very much attached to her and made her their companion, teaching her to sing to the gods and to dance. Apollon, seeing her dancing, felt an urge to couple with her. He first changed himself into a tortoise. Dryope, with the other Nymphai, was amused by it and they made a toy of the tortoise. She placed it in her bosom. He changed from a tortoise to a serpent.
The frightened Nymphai abandoned Dryope. Apollon coupled with her and she ran full of fear to her father's house, saying nother to her parents. When Andraimon (Andraemon), son of Oxylos (Oxylus), later married her, she gave birth to Amphissos, the son of Apollon . . .
He became the king of the places thereabouts. In Dryopis he established a sanctuary of Apollon. One day, as Dryope was approaching the temple, the Nymphai Hamadryades gathered her up affectionately and hid her in the woods. In her place they caused a poplar to appear out of the ground."




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