Together with Tree
THE HAMADRYADES were eight Dryad daughters of the forest-spirit Oxylos ("Of the Forest") and the nymph Hamadryas ("One With Tree") of Mount Oita (Oeta) in Malis (northern Greece).
The eight nymphs each presided over a specific type of tree:--
Aigeiros was the nymph of the black poplar (Populus nigra);
Ampelos the nymph of the vine--including the wild grape (Vitis silvestris), bryony (Bryonia creticus), black bryony (Tamus communis) and the wrack (Fucus volubilis);
Balanis the nymph of oak-trees--such as the holm oak (Quercus ilex) and prickly-cupped oak (Quercus aegilops);
Karya the nymph of the nut tree--both the hazel (Corylus avellana) and the walnut (Juglans regia), and perhaps also the sweet chestnut (Castanea vesca);
Kraneia the nymph of the cornelian cherry-tree (Cornus mas);
Morea the nymph of the mulberry tree (Morus nigra) or else the wild olive;
Ptelea the nymph of the European elm tree (Ulmus glabra);
and Syke the nymph of the fig tree (Ficus carica).
The parents of the Hamadryades, Oxylos and Hamadryas, may also have presided over specific species of trees--for oxua in Greek can mean "beech tree" (Fagus silvatica) in addition to generic "woodland" and drus is sometimes "holm oak" (Quercus ilex) as well as the generic word for "tree".
[1.1] OXYLOS & HAMADRYAS (Pherenicus Frag, Athenaeus 78b)
[1.2] OXYLOS (Antoninus Liberalis 32)
KARYA, BALANOS, KRANEIA, MOREA, AIGEIROS, PTELEA, AMPELOS, SYKE (Athenaeus 78b)
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 1. 78a (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd 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 (Thick with Woods); for Oxylos, son of Oreios (of the Mountain), married his sister Hamadryas (One with 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 (Hamadryad Nymphs), and from them many trees derive their names. Hence, also, he adds, Hipponax says : ‘The black fig-tree (syke), sister of the vine (ampelos).’"
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 described by Athenaeus above] 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 (Amphissus), 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. Beside it they made a spring to gush forth. Dryope was changed from mortal to Nymphe. Amphissos, in honour of the favour shown to his mother, set up a shrine to the Nymphai and was the first to inaugurate a foot-race there. To this day local people maintain this race. It is not holy for women to be present there because wo maidens told local people that Dryope had been snatched away by Nymphai. The Nymphai were angry at this and turned the maidens into pines."
NAMES OF THE HAMADRYADES
Vine or Grapevine
- Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae - Greek Rhetoric C3rd A.D.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.