THE DRYADES & OREIADES were the beautiful Nymphs of the trees, groves, woods and mountain forests. They were the ladies of the oaks and pines, poplar and ash, apple and laurel. For those known as Hamadryades, trees sprung up from the earth at their birth, trees to which their lives were closely tied. While the tree flourished, so did its resident nymph, but when it died she passed away with it.
There were several classes of Dryades associated with a particular types of tree:
(1) The Meliai were the Nymphs of the ash-trees. They sprang up from Gaia the Earth when she was impregnated by the blood of the castrated Ouranos. The men of the Silver Age married these Nymphai (in the time before women were created) and from them all of mankind was descended.
(2) The Oreiades were the Nymphs of the mountain conifers. The first of these were offspring of the five Daktyloi and the five Hekaterides. Subsequent generations were descended from these elder Oreiades and their brothers the Satyroi.
(NB The old forests of ancient Greece were primarily found high in the mountains, since the majority of the lowland forest had been cleared for farming. It was therefore natural for the Greeks to think of the Dryades as mountain-dwelling).
(3) The Hamadryades were the Nymphs of oak and poplar trees. These were usually associated with river-side trees and sacred groves.
(4) The Maliades, Meliades or Epimelides were Nymphai of apple and other fruit trees. They were also protectors of sheep. The Greek word melas from which their name derives means both apple and sheep.
(5) The Daphnaie were Nymphs of the laurel trees, one of a class of rarer tree-specific Nymphai. Others included the Nymphai Aigeiroi (black poplar), Ampeloi (grape vine), Balanis (ilex), Karyai (hazel-nut), Kraneiai (cherry-tree), Moreai (mulberry), Pteleai (elm), and Sykei (fig).
Others with simply associated with a location: Oreiades were nymphs of the mountain heights, Alseides of the sacred groves, Aulonides of the glens, Napaiai of the vales.
|PARENTS OF OREIADES
[1.1] THE DAKTYLOI & THE HEKATERIDES (Strabo 10.3.19)
HERMES & THE OREIADES (Homeric Hymn V To Aphrodite 256)
[3.1] THE SATYROI & THE OREIADES (Homeric Hymn V To Aphrodite 256)
|PARENTS OF HAMADRYADES
[1.1] SEILENOS (Propertius Elegies 2.32)
[2.1] OUROS (Athenaeus 3.78 )
[3.1] OXYLOS & HAMADRYAS (Athenaeus 3.78 )
DRYADES (Druades) All nymphs, whose number is almost infinite, may be divided into two great classes. The first class embraces those who must be regarded as a kind of inferior divinities, recognised in the worship of nature. The early Greeks saw in all the phenomena of ordinary nature some manifestation of the deity; springs, rivers, grottoes, trees, and mountains, all seemed to them fraught with life; and all were only the visible embodiments of so many divine agents. The salutary and beneficent powers of nature were thus personified, and regarded as so many divinities; and the sensations produced on man in the contemplation of nature, such as awe, terror, joy, delight, were ascribed to the agency of the various divinities of nature.
The nymphs of the first class must again be sublatter divided into various species, according to the different parts of nature of which they are the representatives.
1. Nymphs of mountains and grottoes, are called Orodemniades and Oreiades but sometimes also by names derived from the particular mountains they inhabited, as Kithairônides, Pêliades, Korukiai, &c. (Theocrit. vii. 137; Virg. Aen. i. 168, 500; Paus. v. 5. § 6, ix. 3. § 5, x. 32. § 5; Apollon. Rhod. i. 550, ii. 711; Ov. Her. xx. 221; Virg. Eclog. vi. 56.)
2. Nymphs of forests, groves, and glens, were believed sometimes to appear to and frighten solitary travellers. They are designated by the names Alsêïdes, Holêôroi, Aulôniades, and Napaiai. (Apollon. Rhod. i. 1066, 1227; Orph. Hymn. 50. 7; Theocrit. xiii. 44; Ov. Met. xv. 490; Virg. Georg. iv. 535.)
3 . Nymphs of trees, were believed to die together with the trees which had been their abode, and with which they had come into existence. They were called Dryades, Hamadruades or Hadryades, from drys, which signifies not only an oak, but any wild-growing lofty tree; for the nymphs of fruit trees were called Mêlides, Mêliades, Epimêlides, or Hamamêlides. They seem to be of Arcadian origin, and never appear together with any of the great gods. (Paus. viii. 4. § 2; Apollon. Rhod. ii. 477, &c.; Anton. Lib. 31, 32; Hom. Hymn. in Ven. 259, &c.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
|LIST OF DRYADES
|AIGEIROS A Hamadryad of the black poplar-tree.
|AMPELOS A Hamadryad of the wild grape vine.
|ATLANTEIA An Libyan Hamadryad nymph who was the mother of several of the Danaides by King Danaus.
|BALANIS A Hamadryad of the acorn tree, or ilex.
|BYBLIS A girl of Miletos in Karia transformed into a Hamadryas.
|DAPHNIS An Oreiad of Mount Parnassos in Phokis who was appointed by the goddess Gaia as the prophetess at the oracle at Delphoi (in the time before it passed into the hands of Apollon).
|DRYOPE A Hamadryad nymph of Mount Othrys in Malis. She was a princess of the Dryopes who was transformed into a poplar-tree nymph by her Hamadryad sister-in-laws.
|EIDOTHEA A Oreiad of Mt Othreis in Malis who was loved by the god Poseidon.
|EKHO A Oreiad nymph of Mount Helikon in Boiotia, and a handmaiden of the goddess Hera. She was cursed to only repeat the words of others by her mistress. When she fell in love with the self-obsessed youth Narkissos, he spurned her advances, and she faded away in her grief.
|ERATO A prophetic Arkadian Dryad nymph of Mount Kyllene, the wife of King Nyktimos.
|HELIADES Daughters of the sun-god Helios, the Heliades were transformed into amber-teared poplar trees. They were probably regarded as a type of Hamadryad.
|HESPERIDES The three guardians of the golden apples were sometimes regarded as Hamadryad or Hamameliad (apple-tree) nymphs.
|KARYA A Hamadryad nymph of the hazel or chestnut-tree.
|KHELONE An Arkadian Oreiad nymph who ignored the summons to attend the wedding of Zeus and Hera and as punishment was transformed into a tortoise .
|KLAIA A Messenian Oreiad nymph who had a cavern shrine on Mt Kalathion.
|KRANEIA A Hamadryad nymph of the cherry tree.
|KYLLENE An Arkadian Oreiad who was the eponym of Mt Kyllene in Arkadia. She was the wife of Pelasgos the very first king of Arkadia.
|MOREA A Hamadryad of the mulberry-tree.
|NOMIA An Oreiad of Mount Nomia in Arkadian.
|OTHREIS An Oreiad of Mount Othrys in Malis. She was loved by the gods Apollon and Zeus.
|PENELOPEIA An Oreiad or Epimellid nymph of Mount Kyllene in Arkadia. She was the mother of the god Pan by Hermes.
|PHIGALIA An Oreiad nymph who gave her name to the Arkadian town of Phigalia.
|PHOIBE A Libyan Hamadryad nymph who was the mother of several of the Danaides by King Danaus.
|PITYS An Oreiad nymph loved by Pan. She fled his advances and was transformed into a pine-tree.
|PTELEA A Hamadryad of the elm tree.
|SINOE An Oreiad nymph of Mount Sinoe in Arkadia. She nursed the infant god Pan.
|SOSE An Oreiad nymph prophetess loved by the god Hermes. She bore him one of the Panes.
|SPHRAGITIDES The Oreiad nymphs of a cavern oracle located on Mount Kithairon in Attika.
|SYKE A Hamadryad nymph of the fig tree.
|TITHOREA An Arkadian Dryad who gave her name to the town of Tithorea.
ALTERNATIVE NAMES & TYPES OF DRYADES & OREIADES
|Of the Tree.
Of the Oak-Tree
||Of the Trees,
Together with Trees,
Together with Oaks
||Of the Groves
||Of the Glens
||Of the Vales,
||Watchers of the
||Of the Laurel Trees
||Of the Ivy
||Of the Orchards,
Of the Flocks
Orchards, of Flocks
||Together with Fruit
|Of the Mountain
||Of the Mountains
||Living on the
GENERAL DESCRIPTIONS OF DRYADES & OREIADES
Homer, Iliad 20. 4 ff ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"But Zeus, from the many-folded peak of Olympos, told Themis to summon all the gods into assembly. She went everywhere, and told them to make thier way to Zeus' house. There was no River [Potamoi] that was not there, except only Okeanos, there was not one of the Nymphai who live in the lovely groves (alsea) [i.e. Dryades], and the springs of rivers (pegai potamon) [i.e. Naiades] and the grassy meadows (pisea poiêenta), who came not. These all assembling into the house of Zeus cloud-gathering took places among the smooth-stone cloister walks."
Hesiod, Theogony 129 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Long Hills (Ourea), graceful haunts of the Goddess Nymphai who dwell amongst the glens of the hills (ourea bêssêenta)."
Hesiod, Fragments of Unknown Position 6 (from Strabo 10.3.19) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"But of them [the daughters of Hekateros] were born the divine mountain nymphs (theai nymphai oureiai) and the tribe (genos) of worthless, helpless Satyroi (Satyrs)."
Hesiod, The Precepts of Chiron Fragment 3 (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"A chattering crow lives out nine generations of aged men, but a stag's life is four times a crow's and a raven's life makes three stags old, while the Phoenix outlives nine raves, but we, the rich-haired Nymphai, daughters of Zeus the aigis-holder, outlive ten phoenixes."
Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 256 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.) :
"[Aphrodite to Ankhises (Anchises):] ‘As for the child [Aeneas, son of Ankhises and Aphrodite], as soon as he sees the light of the sun, the deep-breasted Mountain (oreskôoi) Nymphai [i.e. Oreiades] who inhabit this great and holy mountain [Ida] shall bring him up. They rank neither with mortals nor with immortals: long indeed do they live, eating ambrosia and treading the lovely dance among the immortals, and with them the Seilenoi and the sharp-eyed Argeiphontes [Hermes] mate in the depths of pleasant caves; but at their birth pines or high-topped oaks spring up with them upon the fruitful earth, beautiful, flourishing trees, towering high upon the lofty mountains (and men call them holy places of the immortals, and never mortal lops them with the axe); but when the fate of death (moira thanatoio) is near at hand, first those lovely trees wither where they stand, and the bark shrivels away about them, and the twigs fall down, and at last the life of the Nymphe and of the tree leave the light of the sun together. These Nymphai shall keep my son [Aeneas] with them and rear him, and as soon as he is come to lovely boyhood, the goddesses (theiai) will bring him here to you and show you your child . . .
Say he is the offspring of one of the flower-like Nymphe who inhabit this forest-clad hill.’"
Homerica Fragments of Unknown Position 6 (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic B.C.) :
"But of them [the daughters of Hekateros] were born the divine Nymphai Oureiai (Mountain Nymphs)."
Aristophanes, Birds 1088 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"[Comedy-Play] I [a bird] winter in deep caverns, where I frolic with the Nymphai Oreiai (Mountain Nymphs)."
Aristophanes,Thesmophoriazusae 324 ff :
"[Invocation in the Thesmophoria festival of Demeter:] ‘Come, ye Nymphai Oreiplanktoi (Mountain-Wandering Nymphs).’"
Aristophanes,Thesmophoriazusae 990 ff :
"Dionysos, who delightest to mingle with the dear choruses of the Nymphai Oreiai (Mountain Nymphs), and who repeatest, while dancing with them, the sacred hymn, Euios, Euios, Euoi! Ekho (Echo), the Nymphe of Kithairon, returns thy words, which resound beneath the dark vaults of the thick foliage and in the midst of the rocks of the forest; the ivy enlaces thy brow with its tendrils charged with flowers."
Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 1066 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Her [Kleite's] death was bewailed even by the Nymphai Alseides (Woodland Nymphs) [of Mysia], who caused the many tears they shed to unite in a spring, which the people call Kleite in memory of a peerless but unhappy bride."
Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 1224 ff :
"The Nymphai [of Bithynia] were about to hold their dances--it was the custom of all those who haunt (Hylêôroi) the beautiful headland [of Pegai in Mysia] to sing the praise of Artemis by night. The Nymphai of the Mountain Peaks and the Caverns were all posted some way off to patrol the woods." Nymphe of the Waters (nymphê ephytatiê).
Callimachus, Hymn 4 to Delos 75ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Goddesses mine, ye Mousai (Muses), say did the oaks come into being at the same time as the Nymphai [Dryades]? The Nymphai rejoice when the rain makes the oaks to grow; and again the Nymphai weep when there are no longer leaves upon the oaks."
Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 19 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Further, one might also find . . . these Daimones [Kouretes, Satyroi and Oreiades] . . . were called, not only ministers of gods, but also gods themselves. For instance, Hesiod says that five daughters were born to Hekateros (Hecaterus) and the daughter of Phoroneus, ‘from whom sprang the mountain-ranging Nymphai [Oreades], goddesses, and the breed of Satyroi, creatures worthless and unfit for work, and also the Kouretes, sportive gods, dancers.’"
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 4. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"They used to call some Nymphai Dryades other Epimeliades, and others Naides, and Homer in his poetry talks mostly of Naiades Nymphai."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 32. 9 :
"Those [Nymphai Dryades] who in days of old, according to the story of the poets, grew out of trees and especially out of oaks."
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 2. 11 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[Description of an ancient Greek painting:] Here are the Nymphai in a group, but do you look at them by classes . . . and the lean slenderness of the Boukolai (Pastoral Nymphai) [Oreiades and Dryades] is no white less beautiful than dew."
Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 78b (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"The Epic poet Pherenikos, a Herakleto by birth, declares that the fig (Sykon) was named from Syke (Fig-Tree), the daughter of Oxylos (Thick with Woods); for Oxylos, son of Oreios (Mountain), married his sister Hamadryas (Oak-Tree) and begot among others, Karya (Nut-Tree), Balanos (Acorn-Tree), Kraneia (Cornel-Tree), Morea (MulberryTree), Aigeiros (Black Poplar-Tree), Ptelea (Elm-Tree), Ampelos (Vines), and Syke (Fig-Tree); and these are called Nymphai Hamadryades, and from them many trees derive their names. Hence, also, he adds, Hipponax says: ‘The black fig-tree (syke), sister of the vine (ampelos).’"
Oppian, Cynegetica 1. 77 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd A.D.) :
"[Invocation of Oppian as he begins his poem on bird hunting:] Thou . . . choir of Dryades who love the birds, grant me your grace!"
Oppian, Cynegetica 4. 265 ff :
"[Aristaios] received the infant Dionysos from the coffer of Ino and reared him in his cave and nursed him with the help of the Dryades and the Nymphai that have bees in their keeping and the maidens of Euboia and the Aionian women."
Tryphiodorus, 322 ff The Taking of Ilias (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C5th A.D.) :
"And as they haled [the Trojans dragged the Wooden Horse into Troy], loud rose the din and the vaunting. Groaned shady Ida together with her Nymphe-haunted oaks: the eddying waters of the river Xanthos shrieked, and the mouth of Simoeis rang aloud: and in heaven the trumpet of Zeus prophesied of the war they drew."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 689 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Once there lived on the cold mountainsides of Arcadia a Naias, who among the Hamadryades Nonacrinae (of lofty Nonacris) was the most renowned. Syrinx the Nymphae called her."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 3. 402 ff :
"Narcissus mocked her [Ekho]; others too [who sought his love], Nymphae of Hill [Oreades] and Water [Naides] and many a man he mocked; till one scorned youth, with raised hands, prayed, ‘So may he love – and never win his love!’ And Rhamnusia [Nemesis] approved the righteous prayer . . . [and caused Narkissos to fall in love with his own image in a pool of water, and like Ekho, unrequited in his love wasted away]."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 3. 505 ff :
"On the green grass he [the handsome youth Narkissos] drooped his weary head, and those bright eyes that loved their master’s beauty closed in death . . . His sister Naides wailed and sheared their locks in mourning for their brother; the Dryades too wailed and sad Echo wailed in answering woe."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 15 & 6. 44 ff :
"In all the towns of Lydia Arachne’s work had won a memorable name, although her home was humble and Hypaepae where she lived was humble too. To watch her wondrous work the Nymphae would often leave their vine-clad slopes of Tmolus [Oreades], often leave Pactolus’ stream [Naiades], delighted both to see the cloth she wove and watch her working too; such grace she had . . . Pallas [Athena] [came to challenge Arakhne] and threw aside the old crone's guise and stood revealed. The Nymphae and Lydian women knelt in reverence."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 392 ff :
"The countryfolk, the Sylvan Deities (Numina Silvarum), the Fauni [Panes] and brother Satyri and the Nymphae [probably here meaning the Oreades], were all in tears [at the flaying alive of the Satyrus Marsyas], Olympus too."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 453 ff :
"Richly robed in gorgeous finery, and richer still her beauty; such the beauty of the Naides and Dryades, as we used to hear, walking the woodland ways."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 11. 47 ff :
"All wept and mourned for [the bard] Orpheus; forest trees cast down their leaves, tonsured in grief, and Flumina [Potamoi, Rivers] too, men say, were swollen with their tears, and Naides wore, and Dryades too, their mourning robes of black and hair dishevelled."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 14. 326 ff :
"King Picus, son of Saturnus [Kronos], ruled the land of Ausonia [Latium] . . . You observe his features. Gaze upon his striking grace and from his likeness here admire the truth . . . Many a glance he drew from Dryades born among the Latin hills; he was the darling of the Fountain-Sprites (Numina Fontana) and all the Naides of Albulba and Anio and Almo's streams [but he loved and married Canens alone, daughter of Janus]."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 14. 622 ff :
"Pomona lived in good King Proca's [of Latium] reign and none of all the Hamadryadae Latinae was cleverer than she in garden lore nor keener in the care of orchard trees. Thence came her name. For in her heart she loved not woods nor rivers, but a plot of ground and boughs of smiling apples all around."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 15. 490 ff :
"Deep in the forests of Aricia's vale, and there her [the Nymphe wife of the Latin king Numa] moans of misery disturbed Diana's [Artemis'] shrine that once Orestes built. How many times the Nymphae of Lake (Limnatides) and Grove (Auloniades) warned her to cease and tried to comfort her!"
Ovid, Fasti 2. 155 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Callisto once belonged to the sacred circle of Hamadryades and huntress Diana [Artemis] . . . Phoebe [Artemis] returned from hunting scores of forest beasts, as the sun occupied or passed midday. When she reached the grove (a grove dark with dense ilex, around a deep fountain of cool water), she said, `Let’s bathe here in the wood.'"
Ovid, Fasti 4. 751 ff :
"I entered a forbidden wood, and the Nymphae and half-goat god [Faunus-Pan] bolted from my sight. If any knife has robbed a grove of a shady bough to give ailing sheep a basket of leaves: forgive my offence. Do not fault me for sheltering my flock from the hail in a rustic shrine, nor harm me for disturbing the pools. Pardon, Nymphae, trampling hooves for muddying your stream . . . placate the gods dispersed through every grove. Keep from our sight the Dryades and Diana's [Artemis'] bath and Faunus [Pan] lying in the fields at noon."
Virgil, Aeneid 1. 500 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"By the banks of Eurotas or over the Cynthian slopes Diana [Artemis] foots the dance, and a thousand Oreades following weave a constellation around that arrowy one, who in grace of movement excels all goddesses."
Virgil, Aeneid 1. 168 ff :
"Under these twin mountains [on the coast of Libya] the bay lies still and sheltered: a curtain of overhanging woods with their shifting light and shadow forms the backdrop; at the seaward foot of the cliffs there's a cave of stalactites, fresh water within, and seats which nature has hew from the stone--a home of the Nymphai (Oreades)."
Propertius, Elegies 1. 20 (trans. Goold) (Roman elegy C1st B.C.) :
"Ward off from him [the handsome youth] the ever lustful hands of the Nymphae (the Ausonian [Italian] Adryades are no less amorous than their sisters) . . . Beneath the crest of Arganthus’ mount [in Mysia] lay the well of Pege, a watery haunt dear the Nymphae Thyniae; overhead from deserted trees hung dewy apples, owing naught to the hand of man, and round about in the water-meadow grew white lilies mingled with crimson poppies . . . With lowered hands he prepares to cup the water, leaning on his right shoulder to draw a full measure. When the Dryades [the story usually features Naiades not Dryades], fired by his beauty, abandoned in wonder their accustomed dance and on his slipping pulled him nimbly through the yielding water."
Propertius, Elegies 2. 32 :
"She [Aphrodite] loved a shepherd [Ankhises] and amid his flocks gave herself, a goddess, to him; their armour was witnessed by the band of sister Hamadryades as well as the Sileni and the father of the company himself [Silenos], with whom were Naiads gathering apples in the vales of Ida."
Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 1. 105 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"They whose labour was in the fields and with the peaceful plough are aroused by the sight of Fauni [Satyroi] about the thickets and ways in the clear light of day, and woodland Goddesses [Dryades] and Rivers [Potamoi] with lofty horns."
Statius, Thebaid 4. 259 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Forest-queens [Dryades] and spirits enshrined in rivers [Naiades] . . . [and] Napaea (Nymphs of the Glade)."
Statius, Thebaid 4. 329 ff :
"[Atalanta to her son Parthenopaios:] ‘Thou a boy scarce ripe for the embarces of Dryades or the passions of Erymanthian Nymphae.’"
Statius, Thebaid 5. 580 ff :
"The Nymphae who were wont to strew him [the guardian Drakon of the Nemean groves] with vernal flowers, and Nemea’s fields whereon he crawled; ye too, ye woodland Fauni [Satyroi], bewailing him in every grove with broken reeds."
Statius, Thebaid 6. 90 ff :
"As they go [felling the trees] the woodland groans in sympathy, nor can the Nymphae loose the trees from their embrace."
Statius, Thebaid 9. 385 ff :
"I [the Naias Ismenis] was held a greater goddess and the queen of Nymphae. Where alas! is that late crowd of courtiers round thy mother's halls, where are the Napaeae (Maidens of the Glen) that prayed to serve thee [her mortal son Krenaios]?"
Seneca, Phaedra 782 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"For thy [the hunter Hippolytus'] slumbers the frolicsome goddesses of the groves (nemorum deae) will lay their snares, the Dryads, who pursue Panes wandering on the mountains."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 2. 92 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"The Hadryades Nymphai [Hamadryads] lamented the lost shade of their yearsmate trees [destroyed in the rampages of the monster Typhoeus].
One Hamadryas leapt unveiled from the cloven shaft of a bushy laurel (daphne), which had grown with her growth, and another maiden stepping out of her pine-tree (pityos) appeared beside her neighbour the exiled Nymphe, and said: ‘Laurel (Daphnaie) Hamadryas, so shy of the marriage bed, let us both take one road, lest you see Phoibos, lest I espy Pan! Woodmen, pass by these trees! Do not fell the afflicted bush of unhappy Daphne! Ship-wright, spare me! Cut no timbers from my pine-tree, to make some lugger that may feel the billows of Aphrodite, Lady of the Sea! Yes, woodcutter, grant me this last grace: strike me with your axe instead of my clusters, and drive our unmarried Athena’s chaste bronze through my breast, that I may die before I wed, and go to Haides a virgin, still a stranger to Eros, like Pitys and like Daphne!’
With these words, she contrived a makeshift kirtle with leaves, and modestly covered the circle of her breasts with this green girdle, pressing thigh upon thigh. The other seeing her so down-cast, answered thus: ‘I feel the fear inborn in a maiden, because I was born of a laurel, and I am pursued like Daphne. But where shall I flee? Shall I hide under a rock? No, thunderbolts have burnt to ashes the mountains hurled at Olympos; and I tremble at your lustful Pan, who will persecute me like Pitys, like Syrinx--I shall be chased myself until I become another Ekho, to scour the hills and second another's speech. I will haunt these clusters no longer; I will leave my tree and live in the mountains which are still half to be seen . . .
Let me be another tree, and pass from tree to tree keeping the name of a virtuous maid; may I never, instead of laurel, be called that unhallowed plant which gave its name to Myrrha (myrrh-tree). Yes, I beseech thee, let me be one of the Heliades beside the stream of mourning Eridanos: often will I drop amber from my eyelids; I will spread my leaves to entwine with the dirge-loving clusters of my neighbouring poplar, bewailing my maidenhood with abundant tears--for Phaethon will not be my lament. Forgive me, my laurel; I shrink from being another tree after the tree of my former wood.’"
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 3. 61 ff :
"Already the bird of morning was cutting the air with loud cries [on the island of Samothrake]; already the helmeted bands of desert-haunting Korybantes were beating on their shields in the Knossian dance . . . Aye, and the trees whispered, the rocks boomed, the forests held jubilee with their intelligent movings and shakings, and the Dryades did sing. Packs of bears joined the dance, skipping and wheeling face to face; lions with a roar from emulous throats mimicked the triumphant cry of the priests of the Kabeiroi, sane in their madnes."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 6. 257 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"The sea rose [during the great deluge] until Nereides became Oreiades on the hills over the woodland."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 12. 372 ff :
"Another [drunken Satyros] turning his unsteady took towards a tree espied a Nymphe half-hidden, unveiled, close at hand; and he would have crawled up he highest tree in the forest, feet slipping, hanging on by his toenails, had not Dionysos held him back."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 14. 1 ff :
"Then [while the armies of Dionysos were mustering around her palace in Phrygia] swiftshoe Rheia haltered the hairy necks of her lions beside their highland manger . . . She traversed the firmament to south, to morth, to west, to the turning-place of dawn, gathering the divine battalions for Lyaios: one all-comprehending summons was sounded for Trees and for Rivers, one call for Neiades and Hadryades, the troops of the forest. All the divine generations heard the summons of Kybele, and they came together from all sides."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 14. 203 ff :
"These combatants [those divinities summoned by Rheia to join Dionysos in his war against the Indians] were joined by Bakkhai, some coming from the Meionian rocks, some from the moutain above the precipitous peaks of Sipylos. Nymphai hastened to join the soldiers of the thyrsus, the wild Oreiades with hearts of men trailing their long robes. Many a year had they seen roll round the turning-point as they lived out their long lives. Some were the Epimelides who lived on the heights near the shepherds; some were from the woodland glades, and the ridges of the wild forest Meliai nymphs of the mountain ash-coeval with their tree. All these pressed onwards together to the fray, some with brassbacked drums, the instruments of Kybelid Rheia, others with overhanging ivy-tendrils wreathed in their hair, or girt with rings of snakes. They carried the sharpened thyrsus which the mad Lydian women then took with them fearless to the Indian War."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 15. 370 ff :
"At the lot of [the shepherd] Hymnos perishing [slain by a Nymphe he dared to love], even the trees [Dryades] uttered a voice [calling for vengeance]: ‘How did the oxheard offend you [Nikaia] so much? May Kythereia never be merciful to you, Artemis never!’"
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 16. 356 ff :
"[Nikaia cries out after being seduced in drunken sleep by Dionysos:] ‘. . . Hamadryas Nymphai, whom shall I blame for Hypnos, Eros, trickery and wine, are the robbers of my maiden state! . . . Why did not Pitys (the Pine) whisper in my ear, too low for Bakkhos to hear? Why did not Daphne (the Laurel) speak out – "Maiden, beware, drink not the deceiving water!"?’"
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 17. 310 ff :
"The dead body of Orontes [the Indian chief] was carried away swollen by the restless waters, until the stream vomited out the floating corpse upon the bank breathless and cold. There the Nymphai gave it burial and sang their dirges, the Nymphai Hamadryades, beside the stem of a golden laurel on the bank of the river stream, and inscribed upon the trunk above – ‘Here lies Indian Orontes, leader of the host, who insulted Bakkhos and slew himself with his own hand.’"
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 21. 279 ff :
"He [Dionysos’ messenger] found the Seilenoi in high glee: Dionysos had come up out the waters [after being driven into the sea by Lykourgos] and joined the Nymphai Oreiades. The Satyroi skipt, the Bakkhantes danced about, [the Seilenos] Maron with his old legs led the music between two Bakkhantes, with his arms laid round their necks, and bubbles of fragrant wine at his lips. The Mimallon unveiled trilled a song, how the footstep of Dionysos had come that way again."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 22. 1 ff :
"Then sounded the womanish song of the Bassarides [in Dionysos' war with the Indians], making Phrygian festival for Lyaios of the Night, and the hairy company of Satyroi rang out with mystic voice. All the earth laughed, the rocks bellowed, the Naiades [Water-Nymphs] sang alleluia, the Nymphai circled in mazes over the silent streams of the river, and sang a melody of Sikelian tune like the hymns which the minstrel Seirenes pour from their honeytongued throats. All the woodlands rang thereat: the trees found skill to make music like the hoboy, the Hadryades [Tree-Nymphs] cried aloud, the Nymphai sang, peeping up halfseen over her leafy cluster. The fountain, though but water, turned white and poured a stream of snowy milk; in the hollow of the torrent the Naiades bathed in milky streams and drank the white milk."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 22. 82 ff :
"[In the Indian War of Dionysos:] And now the swarthy Indians would have leapt from their hidden ambush and attacked the army of Bakkhos at their meal; but a Hamadryas Nymphe peering over a high branch sprang up, leafy to the hips [she appeared first as a woman growing out of her tree]. Holding thyrsus in hand, she looked like a Bakkhante, with bushy ivy thick in her hair like one of them; first she indicated the enemies’ plot by eloquent sings, then whispered in the ear of Lyaios of the grapes: ‘Vinegod Dionysos, lord gardener of the fruits! Your plant gives grace and beauty to the Hadryades! I am no Bassaris, I am no comrade of Lyaios, I carry only a false thyrsus in my hand. I am not from Phrygia, your country, I do not dwell in the Lydian land by that river rolling in riches. I am a Hamadryas of the beautiful leaves, in the place where the enemy warriors lie in ambush. I will forget my country and save your host from death: for I offer loyal faith to your Satyroi, Indian though I am. I take sides with Dionysos instead of Deriades; I owe my gratitude to you, and I will pay it, because your Father, mighty Zeus of the raincloud, always brings the watery travail to the rivers, always feeds the trees with his showers of rain. Give me your leaes, and here I will plant them; give me your clusters of grapes which drive our cares away! But my friend, do not hasten to cross the river, or the Indians, who are near, may overwhelm you in the water. Direct your eye to the forest, and see in the leafy thickets a secret ambuscade of men unseen hidden there. But what will those weaklings in their thickets do to you? Your enemies live so long as you still hold back your thyrsus. Silence between us now, that the enemy near may not hear, that Hydaspes may not tell it to the hidden Indians.’
When she had said this, the Hamadryas Nymphe went away again quick as a wing, quick as a thought; and changing her shape to look like a bird she sped through the secret wood, down upon her oak her yearsmate."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 24. 94 ff :
"All the denizens of Olympos who cared for their beloved oaks, rescued Hadryas Nymphai [when the Indian River Hydaspes tried to drown them with the rest of the army of Dionysos]; and most especially laurel-Apollon appeared and saved the Daphnaiai (Laurel-Nymphs); and Leto his mother stood by her son and helped them, for she still honoured the tree which helped her childbirth [the Delian palm]."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 24. 123 ff :
"They [the Panes, Satyroi and Bakkhantes] leapt about dancing on the Indian crags, along the rocky paths; then they built shelters undisturbed in the dark forest, and spent the night among the trees. Some went deerhunting with dogs after the long-antlered stags: the Hydriades (Water-Nymphs) of plantloving Dionysos mingled with the Hamadryades of the trees. Groups of Bassarides in this Erythraian wilderness suckled cubs of a mountain lioness, and the juicy milk flowed of itself out of their breasts."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 24. 148 ff :
"When Bakkhos came near, the pipes were sounded, the raw drumskin was beaten, on either side was the noise of beaten brass and the wail of the syrinx. The whole forest trembled, the oaktrees [Hamadryades] uttered voices and the hills danced, the Naiades sang alleluia."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 32. 143 ff :
"[Dionysos was driven into a murderous frenzy by Hera:] He chased the Hadryades, he volleyed the cliffs and drove the Naias Nymphai out of the river homeless."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 37. 10 ff :
"The woodman's axe cut down the trees in long rows. Many an elm was felled by the long edge of the axe, many an oak with leaves waving high struck down with a crash, many a pine lay all along, many a fir stooped its dry needles; as the trees were felled far and wide, little by little the rocks were bared. So many a Hamadryade Nymphe sought another home, and swiftly joined the unfamiliar maids of the brooks."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 43. 62 ff :
"Melantheus . . . an Indian chief and the son of Oinone the Ivy-nymphe (Kisseias): his mother had wrapt her boy in leafy tips of the sweet-smelling vine for swaddlings, and bathed her son in the winepress teeming with strong drink. Such was the host armed with missiles of ivy which followed Bakkhos."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44. 12 ff :
"At times a Hamadryas shot out of her clustering foliage and half showed herself high in a tree, and praised the name of Dionysos cluster-laden; and the unshod Nymphe of the Spring sang in tune with her."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44. 88 ff :
"Beside the trunk of a tall pinetree where Kithairon spreads his lofty head; he [Teiresias the seer] told her [Agaue following a disturbing dream] to offer a female sheep to the Nymphai Hamadryades in the thicket . . . Agaue the tender mother obeyed the wise old man, and went to the lofty hill together with Kadmos while Pentheus followed. At the horns of the altar Kadmos Agenorides made one common sacrifice to Zeus and the Hadryades, female and male together, sheep and horned bull, where stood the grove of Zeus full of mountain trees; he lit the fire on the altar to do pleasure to the gods, and did sacrifice to both. When the flame was kindled, the rich savour was spread abroad with the smoke in fragrant rings."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44. 142 ff :
"[King Pentheus of Thebes threatens Dionysos:] ‘Drag hither the mad Bassarides, drag the Bakkhantes hither, the handmaids who attend on Bromios – hurl them into the watery beds of [the River] Ismenos here in Thebes, mingle the [Bassaris] Naiades with the Aonian [Boeotian] river-Nymphai their mates, let old Kithairon receive [Bassaris] Hadryades to join his own Hadryades instead of Lyaios.’"
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 45. 174 ff :
"[A] band of woodmen cutting timbers for a ship troubled the Nymphai of the trees."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 47. 456 ff :
"[At the wedding of Dionysos and Ariadne:] The Hamadryas sang of the wedding, the Naias Nymphe by the fountains unveiled unshod praised the union of Ariadne with the vine-god."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48. 188 ff :
"That was a wedding [the marriage of Dionysos and Pallene] of many songs: the bridechamber was never silent, Seilenoi chanted, Bakkhantes danced, drunken Satyroi wove a hymn of love and sang the alliance which came of this victorious match . . . many a Hamadryas of Athos kindled a Thrakian torch for the bridal in fiery Lemnos close by."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48. 514 ff :
"Beside a fragrant myrtle he [Dionysos] stayed his feet for a soothing rest at midday. He leaned against a tree and listened to the west breeze whispering, overcome by fatigue and love; and as he sat there, a Hamadryas Nymphe [of the myrtle-tree] at home in the clusters of her native tree, a maiden unveiled, peeped out and said, true both to Kypris and to loving Lyaios: ‘Bakkhos can never lead Aura to his bed, unless he bends her first in heavy galling fetters, and winds the bonds of Kypris round hands and feet; or else puts her under the yoke of marriage in sleep, and steals the girl's maidenhood without brideprice.’
Having spoken she hid again in her tree her agemate, and entered again her woody home."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48. 640 ff :
"The Hamadryas half-visible shook her agemate fir."
- Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C9th-8th BC
- Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C9th-8th BC
- Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th BC
- The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th-4th BC
- Homerica, Fragments - Greek Epic BC
- Aristophanes, Birds - Greek Comedy C5th-4th BC
- Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae - Greek Comedy C5th-4th BC
- Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd BC
- Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae - Greek Cullinary Guide C3rd AD
- Callimachus, Hymns - Greek C3rd BC
- Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st BC - C1st AD
- Pausanias, Guide to Greece - Greek Geography C2nd AD
- The Orphic Hymns - Greek Hymns BC
- Philostratus the Elder, Imagines - Greek Art History C3rd AD
- Virgil, Aeneid - Latin Epic C1st BC
- Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st BC - C1st AD
- Ovid, Fasti - Latin Epic C1st BC - C1st AD
- Valerius Flaccus, The Argonautica - Latin Epic C1st AD
- Propertius, Elegies - Latin Elegy C1st BC
- Cicero, De Natura Deorum - Latin Philosophy C1st BC
- Seneca, Phaedra - Latin Tragedy C1st AD
- Statius, Thebaid - Latin Epic C1st AD
- Oppian, Cynegetica - Greek Poetry C3rd AD
- Tryphiodorus, The Taking of Ilias - Greek Epic C5th AD
- Nonnos, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th AD
Other references to Draydes, Adryades & Hamadryades not currently quoted here: Stephanus Byzantium s.v. Dryope; Sophocles OT 1108
Other references to Meliades, Epimeliades, Maliades: Eustathius on Homer's Odyssey 1963; Sophocles Philoctetes 715 (Meliades)
Other references to Oreiades, Orodemniades: Theocritus 7.137 & 8.44; Virgil Georgics 4.535
Other references to Alseides, Auloniades, Napaia: Orphic Hymns 50.7 (Auloniades); Theocritus 8.44 & 13.44 (Auloniades); Virgil Georgics 4.535 (Auloniades, Napaia)