Greek Mythology >> Nymphs >> Naiads >> Spercheides (Sperkheides)


Greek Name

Νυμφαι Σπερχειδες


Nymphai Sperkheides

Latin Spelling

Nymphae Spercheides


Nymphs of Spercheus

THE SPERKHEIDES (Spercheides) were the Naiad-nymphs of the springs of the river Sperkheios (Spercheus) on Mount Othrys in Malis (northern Greece). The god Poseidon turned them into poplar trees in order to ravish their sister Diopatre. When the youth Kerambos (Cerambus) repeated the shameful tale, they turned him into a beetle.

The Sperkheides were perhaps related to the Hamadryades of Oita.


[1] ZEUS (Antoninus Liberalis 22)
[2] SPERKHEIOS & DEINO (Antoninus Liberalis 22)


[1] DIOPATRE (Antoninus Liberalis 22)


MELIADES (Meliades), the same as the Maliades, or nymphs of the district of Melis, near Trachis. (Soph. Philoct. 715.)

MA′LIADES (Maliades numphai). The name is given to the nymphs of the district of the Malians on the river Spercheius. (Soph. Philoct. 725.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 22 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Kerambos (Cerambus), son of Eusiros, who was the son of Poseidon and of Eidothea the Nymphe of Othreis, lived in the land of the Melians on the spurs of Mount Othrys. He had numerous flocks and herded them himself. Nymphai (Nymphs) [i.e. the Sperkheides] would help him since he delighted them as he sang among the mountains. He is said to have been the best singer of those days and was famous for his rural songs. In those hills he devised the shepherd's pipes and was the first to teach mankind to play the lyre, composing many beautiful songs.
It is said that because of this the Nymphai one day became visible to Kerambos as they danced to the strumming of his lyre. Pan, in good will, gave him this advice: to leave Othrys and pasture his flocks on the plain, for the coming winter was going to be exceptionally and unbelievably severe.
Kerambos, with the arrogance of youth, decided--as though smitten by some god--not to drive his beasts from Othrys to the plain. He also uttered graceless and mindless things to the Nymphai, saying they were not descended from Zeus, but that Deino had given birth to them, with the River Sperkheios (Spercheus) was the father. He also said that Poseidon, for lust of one of them, Diopatre (Diopatra), had made her sisters put down roots and turned them into poplars until, satiated with his desires, he had returned them to their original shapes.
Thus did Kerambos taunt the Nymphai. After a short while there came a sudden frost and the streams froze. Much snow fell on the flocks of Kerambos and they were lost to sight as well as were the trees and paths. The Nymphai, in anger against Kerambos because of his slanders, changed him into a wood-gnawing kerambyx beetle.
He can be seen on trunks and has hook-teeth, ever moving his jaws together. He is black, long and has hard wings like a great dung beetle. He is called the ox that eats wood and, among the Thessalians, kerambyx. Boys use him as a toy, cutting off his head, to wear as a pendant. The head looks like the horns of a lyre made from a tortoiseshell."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 7. 353 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Othrys and those fair uplands that Cerambus' fate made famous long ago. By the Nymphae's (Nymphs') aid wings bore him through the air, and when the earth's great mass was whelmed beneath Deucalion's flood, he escaped unflooded by the sweeping sea."





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