Of the Sea (halia)
HALIAI (Haliae) were the nymphs of the sea. They were depicted as beautiful maidens often riding through the sea on the backs of hippokampoi (fish-tailed horses) and dolphins.
FAMILY OF THE HALIAE
THE SEA-GODS (Various sources)
HA′LIA (Halia). One of the Nereides (Hom. Il. xviii. 42; Apollod. i. 2. § 6); but the plural, Haliae, is used as a name for marine nymphs in general. (Soph. Philoct. 1470; Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 13.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
LIST OF NAMED HALIAE
AMPHITRITE One of the Nereides and the wife of Poseidon, King of the Sea.
ARGYRA A sea-nymph loved by the hero Selemnos.
BENTHESIKYME (Bethesicyme) A sea-nymph daughter of Poseidon and wife of Enalos king of Aithiopia (Ethiopia).
EIDOTHEA A sea-nymph daughter of Proteus.
GALATEIA (Galatea) A Nereid loved by the Kyklops Polyphemos (Cyclops Polyphemus).
HALIA A sea-nymph daughter of Pontos loved by Poseidon.
KABEIRO (Cabeiro) A sea-nymph daughter of Proteus loved by Hephaistos (Hephaestus).
KALLISTE (Calliste) A sea-nymph daughter of Triton and goddess of the island of Kalliste (Calliste).
KYMOPOLEIA (Cymopoleia) A sea-nymph daughter of Poseidon and the wife of the Hekatonkheir Briareos (Hecatoncheir Briareus).
LEUKOTHEA (Leucothea) A mortal woman and nurse of Dionysos who was transformed into a sea-nymph upon her death.
NEREIDES, THE (Nereids) The fifty sea-nymph daughters of Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea.
PALLAS A sea-nymph daughter of Triton and companion of the goddess Athene.
PSAMATHE The Nereid wife of the sea-god Proteus.
RHODE A sea-nymph daughter of Poseidon, wife of Helios, and goddess of the island of Rhodes.
SKYLLA (Scylla) A sea-nymph daughter of Phorkys (Phorcys) who was transformed into a monster by the witch Kirke (Circe).
THETIS The Nereid wife of the hero Peleus.
THOOSA A sea-nymph daughter of Phorkys loved by Poseidon.
TRITEIA A sea-nymph daughter of Triton loved by Ares.
TRITONIDES Sea-nymph daughters of the marine god Triton.
TRITONIS A sea-nymph daughter of Triton and goddess of the salt-lake Tritonis of Libya.
Of the Sea (halia)
Nymphs of the Sea
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Sophocles, Philoctetes 1470 ff (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Chorus : Come let us go now all together, and pray to the Nymphai Haliai (Sea-Nymphs) to grant us a prosperous voyage."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 23. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Argyra, they say, was a Nymphe Thalassa (Sea-Nymph)."
Orphic Hymn 24 to the Nereides (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"[The Nereides] fifty inspired Nymphai Einalioi (Nymphs of the Sea), who through the main delight to follow in the Tritones' train, rejoicing close behind their ars to keep; whose forms half wide are nourished by the deep, with other Nymphai of different degree, leaping and wandering through the liquid sea. Bright, watery dolphins, sonorous and gay, well-pleased to sport with Bacchanalian play; Nymphai beauteous-eyed, whom sacrifice delights, give plenteous wealth, and bless our mystic rites."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 13. 736 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Many a suitor sought her [the sea nymphe Skylla's] hand, but she repulsed them all and went to the Nymphae Pelagi (Sea-Nymphs), she was the Nymphae's favourite, and told how she'd eluded all the young men's love."
Statius, Silvae 3. 1. 144 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"The very Nymphae (Nymphs) of the green waters leap forth unbidden from their pumice caves; they cling to the streaming rocks nor think shame to gaze unseen on the naked wrestlers [of the Games]."
Statius, Silvae 2. 2. 102 ff :
"Often in autumn-time when the grapes are ripening, a Nereis (Nereid) [here probably meaning a sea-nymph in general] climbs the rocks, and under cover of the shades of night brushes the sea-water from her eyes with a leafy vine-spray, and snatches sweet clusters from the hills. Often is the vintage sprinkled by the neighbouring foam; Satyri (Satyrs) plunge into the waters, and Panes from the mountain are fain to grasp the Sea-Nympha as she flies naked through the waves."
Catullus, Carmina 64. 103 ff (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"And then on that propitious day [the sailing of the first ship] mortal eyes gazed on the Nymphae Marini (Nymphs of the Sea) with naked bodies bare to the breasts outstanding from the foamy swirl."
ANCIENT GREEK & ROMAN ART
- Sophocles, Philoctetes - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- The Orphic Hymns - Greek Hymns C3rd B.C. - C2nd A.D.
- Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Cattulus, Carmina - Latin Poetry C1st B.C.
- Statius, Silvae - Latin Poetry C1st A.D.
See individual Nymph pages.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.