Nymphs of Amnisus
THE AMNISIADES were Naiad-nymphs of the River Amnisos of the island of Krete (Crete). They were virgin handmaidens of the goddesss Artemis.
AMNISOS (Callimachus Hymn to Artemis)
AMNISI′ADES (Amnisiades or Amnisides), the nymphs of the river Amnisus in Crete, who are mentioned in connexion with the worship of Artemis there. (Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 15, 162 ; Apollon. Rhod. iii. 881.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3. 879 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Like Artemis, standing in her golden chariot after she has bathed in the gently water of Parthenios (Parthenius) or the streams of Amnisos (Amnisus), and driving off with her fast-trotting deer over the hills and far away to some rich-scented sacrifice. Attendant Nymphai (Nymphs) have gathered at the source of Amnisos or flocked in from the glens and upland springs to follow her; and fawning beasts whimper in homage and tremble as she passes by."
Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 12 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"[A young Artemis addresses her father Zeus :] ‘And give me sixty Okeanines (Oceanids) (daughters of Okeanos) for my choir--all nine years old, all maidens yet ungirdled; and give me for handmaidens twenty Nymphai Amnisides (Nymphs of Amnisus) who shall tend well my buskins, and, when I shoot no more at lynx or stag, shall tend my swift hounds.’"
Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 40 ff :
"And the maiden [Artemis] fared unto the white moutain of Krete (Crete) leafy with woods; thence unto Okeanos (Oceanus); and she chose many Nymphai (Nymphs) all nine years old, all maidens yet ungirdled. And the River Kairatos (Caeratus) [another name for the Amnisos] was glad exceedingly, and glad was Tethys that they were sending their daughters to be handmaidens to the daughter of Leto.
And straightway she [Artemis] went to visit the Kyklopes (Cyclopes) . . . And the Nymphai [companions of Artemis] were affrighted when they saw the terrible monsters like unto the crags of Ossa . . . The Okeaninai (Oceanids) could not untroubled look upon them to face nor endure the din in their ears. No shame to them!"
Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 170 ff :
"For thee [Artemis] the Amnisiades rub down the hinds [i.e. the golden-horned deer which draw her chariot] loosed from the yoke, and from the mead of Hera they gather and carry for them to feed on much swift-springing clover, which also the horses of Zeus eat; and golden troughs they fill with water to be for the deer a pleasant draught . . .
But when the Nymphai (Nymphs) encircle thee in the dance, near the springs of Aigyptian (Egyptian) Inopos or Pitane--for Pitane too is thine--or in Limnai (Limnae)or where, goddess, thou camest from Skythia (Scythia) to dwell, in Alai (Alae) . . . for the god Helios (the Sun) never passes by that beauteous dance, but stays his car to gaze upon the sight, and lights of day are lengthened."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48. 302 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Artemis queen of the hunt was hunting over the hills, and her skin was beaten by the glow of the scorching heat, in the middle of flowing summer . . . so she got ready her car to cool her hot frame along with Naias Nymphai (Naiad Nymphs) in a bath in some hill burn."
- Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
- Callimachus, Hymns - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
- Nonnus, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th A.D.