Nymphs of Pelion
THE PELIONIDES were nymphs of Mount Pelion in Magnesia, Thessalia (northern Greece). They were nurses of the infant Kentauroi (Centaurs) which were spawned by the cloud-nymph Nephele on the slopes of Mount Pelion. The god Apollon also entrusted them with the care of his new-born son Aristaios (Aristaeus).
The Pelionides are variously described as Oreiad-, Naiad- and Epimelid-nymphs of the mountain, its springs and its flocks respectively.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Pindar, Pythian Ode 4 ant5 - ep5 (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"[The hero Iason (Jason) speaks :] ‘Kheiron (Chiron) my teacher was, this shall I prove. From Khariklo (Chariclo), I say, and Philyras cave I come, where the [Nymphai (Nymphs)] chaste daughters of the Kentauros (Centaur) nursed my young days.’"
Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 549 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"From the mountain heights the Nymphai Peliades (Nymphs of Pelion) admired Athene's work [the ship Argo] and the gallant Argonauts themselves, tugging at the oars."
Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 812 ff :
"[Hera addresses Thetis :] ‘Your son Akhilleus (Achilles), who is now with Kheiron the Kentauros (Chiron the Centaur) and is fed by Neiades (Naiads) [of Mount Pelion] though he should be at your breast.’"
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 4. 128 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"[The wedding of Peleus and Thetis :] Singing of Peleus' Bridal of Delight, which all the blest Immortals brought to pass by Pelion's crests; sang of the ambrosial feast when the swift Horai (Seasons) brought in immortal hands meats not of earth, and heaped in golden maunds; sang how the silver tables were set forth in haste by Themis blithely laughing; sang how breathed Hephaistos (Hephaestus) purest flame of fire; sang how the Nymphai (Nymphs) in golden chalices mingled ambrosia."
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 69. 4 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"The Kentauroi (Centaurs), according to some writers, were reared by the Nymphai (Nymphs) on Mount Pelion, and when they attained to manhood they consorted with mares and brought into being the Hippokentauros (Horse-Centaurs)."
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 81. 1 :
"Kyrene (Cyrene), who was reared in the neighbourhood of Mount Pelion . . . Apollon begat by Kyrene in that land a son Aristaios (Aristaeus) and gave him while yet a babe into the hands of the Nymphai (Nymphs) to nurture, and the latter bestowed upon him three different names, calling him, that is, Nomios (the Shepherd), Aristaios, and Argeus (the Hunter). He learned from the Nymphai how to curdle milk [i.e. make cheese], to make bee-hives, and to cultivate olive-trees, and was the first to instruct men in these matters."
- Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
- Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
- Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st B.C.
- Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy - Greek Epic C4th A.D.