Greek Mythology >> Nymphs >> Naiads >> Moria


Greek Name




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Sacred Olive-Tree (moria)

MORIA was a Naiad-nymph of the Lydian river Hermos (in western Anatolia) whose brother Tylos (Tree-Knot) was slain by a local Drakon (Dragon-Serpent). She later discovered a magical herb which she used to restore her brother to life.

Moria's story appears to be a Lydian version of the tale of Pelops--the boy restored to life by the Moirai (Fates). As such she was no doubt identified with these goddesses. The other characters of the story, Damasen and Tylos, were probably the two mythical Lydian kings mentioned by Herodotos--Manes, son of Gaia (the Earth), and Atyllos, son of Manes. The Greeks usually equated this pair in myth with Tantalos and Pelops.


Presumably a daughter of the River HERMOS


Nonnus, Dionysiaca 25. 452 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Tylos was walking once on the overhanging bank of neighbouring Hermos (Hermus) the Mygdonian River, when his hand touched a serpent. The Drakon (Dragon-Serpent) lifted his head and . . . curled round the man's body in clinging rings, then darting at his face tore the cheeks and downy chin with sharp rows of teeth, and spat the juice of Moira (Fate) out of his poisonous jaws . . . Then he fell dead to the ground, like an uprooted tree.
A Naias (Naiad) [Moria] unveiled pitied one so young, fallen dead before her eyes; she wailed over the body beside her, and pulled off the monstrous beast, to bring him down. For this was not the first wayfarer that he had laid low, not the first shepherd, Tylos not the only one he had killed untimely . . . Often he pulled in the wayfarer terrified by his lurking breath, and dragged him rolling over and over his mouth--he could be seen from afar swallowing the man whole in his gaping maw.
So Moria watching afar saw her brother's murderer; the Nymphe trembled with fear when she beheld the serried ranks of poisonous teeth, and the garland of death wrapt round his neck. Wailing loudly beside the dragonvittling den, she met Damasen, a gigantic son of Gaia (the Earth), whom his mother once conceived and brought forth by herself . . .
This was he whom the Nymphe beheld on the fertile slope of the woodland. She bowed weeping before him in prayer, and pointed to the horrible reptile, her brother's murderer, and Tylos newly mangled and still breathing in the dust. The Gigas (Giant) did not reject her prayer, that monstrous champion; but he seized a tree and tore it up from its roots in mother earth, then stood and came sidelong upon the ravening Drakon [and slew it] . . .
T he Drakon lay on the ground immovable, a coiling corpse. Suddenly the female serpent his mate came coiling up, scraping the ground with her undulating train, and crept about seeking for her misshapen husband, like a woman who missed her husband dead. She wound her long trailing spine with all speed among the tall rocks, hurrying towards the herbdecked hillside; in the coppice she plucked the flower of Zeus with her snaky jaws, and brought back the pain-killing herb in her lips, dropt the antidote of death into the dry nostril of the horrible dead, and gave life with the flower to the stark poisonous corpse. The body moved of itself and shuddered; part of it still had not life, another part stirred, half-restored the body shook another part and the tail moved of itself; breath came again through the cold jaws, slowly the throat opened and the familiar sound came out, pouring the same long hiss again. At last the serpent moved, and disappeared into his furtive hole.
Moria also caught up the flower of Zeus, and laid the lifegiving herb in the lifebegetting nostril [of Tylos]. The wholesome plant with its painhealing clusters brought back the breathing soul into the dead body and made it rise again. Soul came into body the second time; the cold frame grew warm with the help of the inward fire. The body, busy again with the beginning of life, moved the sole of the right foot, rose upon the left and stood firmly based on both feet, like a man lying in bed who shakes the sleep from his eyes in the morning. His blood boiled again; the hands of the newly breathing corpse were lifted, the body recovered its rhythm, the feet their movement, the eyes their sight, and the lips their voice."




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