Friday, November 23, 2012

Expanding the story of the Nereids through the time honored tradition of making shit up

I'm tired, I'm not in the right frame of mind to do the work necessary to move forward, I'm waiting for someone who is usually late and may have forgot she is coming, so I'm going expand some of what we went over here.  Specifically the part where it's just a list of minor goddesses names and meanings, and nothing else.  I tried, I swear I did, to find any actual tradition on these people, but I did not succeed and so... making stuff up.

Also, I think I started this (and wrote the above) three days ago.


Nereus and a beautiful haired daughter Okeanos named Doris, had fifty daughters collectively named the Nereids.  The Nereids are:

Ploto, whose name means swimmer, or floater, in all its senses, especially the metaphorical.  When the Nerieds first wondered at the Argos, the first shift every to sail the waves, it was Ploto who saw the potential it held, floating buildings that could swim across the surface of the deep, connecting previously unknown lands, mixing peoples long kept apart.  It is not surprise that her name came to be associated with navigable waters, for she made herself patron of navigation as soon as their was navigation to be patron of.

Never ranging far from the water, except for very special occasions, Ploto is seen, even to this day, as a dripping wet maiden present at rescues and escapes, but she is also not without her wrath, and it is said that her glare could ignite water itself when she overlooks easily avoided disasters on the sea.

She never forgot her relatives, the perpetual swimmers: fish -all sea life- and she watches over them as well.  Rumors that she holds sway with a Kracken waiting to be unleashed in overfished places are probably just rumors.

She is said to enjoy swimming competitions, and reward those who remember her in their prayers.

Eukrante, whose name means good or successful voyage shares many of the same duties as Ploto.  Indeed most successful voyages naturally involve the use of Ploto's navigable waters, but where Ploto is much more concerned with the act of swimming from shore to shore, Eukrante is concerned also with the intent.  For Ploto it is the journey that matters, and while she's willing to help the innocent be rescued or escape calamity, especially if such itself involves feats of swimming or shipping, she cares little about the destination.

Ploto's protection is welcome to every voyager through the seas, but if one is concerned with getting there, wherever there may be, on time and with intact cargo, Eukrante deserves libation as well.

Sao, rescue, oversees what is unfortunately necessary because not all voyages can fall into Eukrante's domain.  She can often depend on Ploto to help her, and Eukrante is usually quite willing to lend a hand, but even together the three are not nearly powerful enough to protect all who would roam the seas.

Even together all the Nereids are not powerful enough to protect all who would roam the seas.

Sao counts those she saves, rather than dwelling on those she does not.  If she dwelled on all those she couldn't save she would sink into depression and despair, but instead she comforts herself by remembering the names and the faces of those whom she did save, and reminding herself that she made a difference to them.

Amphitrite married into the new order by becoming Poseidon's wife.  For more information on her one need only look at everything Poseidon ever did that didn't involve extra-marital affairs.

Eudoragood gifts, oversees all the gifts of the seas, from the bountiful harvests it gives to fishermen, to the iridescent shells left on its shores, to the way it smooths broken glass into almost mystical gem-like objects.

Her domain may be less glamorous than some of her sisters, but it is none the less important, for without the seas where would life on earth be?  The clouds themselves, overseen by Okeanids, are a gift of the sea, and without them no rain would fall.  All life on land would cease.

Thetis.  While all the Nereids came to wonder at the Argo, the first ship to swim through the water, it was only Thetis who fell in love with one of the sailors on it.  This would come to dominate her story.

The courtship was delayed some time because Zeus sought her out, in spite of already having a wife in Hera, but finally Prometheus warned Zeus that Thetis would bear a son greater than his father and Zeus, mindful of how he had come to power, and his father before him, finally decided that it was best to let Thetis marry the mortal she had fallen in love with.

So Peleus and Thetis were wed, and Thetis would bear Achilles, whose story would overshadow her own for all time.  Thus Thetis is remembered not for her own deeds (such as pushing for serious renovation of the afterlife so that her son's eternal existence would not suck) but for being the mother of Achilles.

Galenecalm of the sea, has two sides.  On the one hand she can be the safe waters that are easy to navigate, on the other she can be the doldrums that are impossible to escape.  All sailors wish her to bless their voyage, just not too much.

She has extended her domain to include those who are on the sea, and so can settle frantic sailors, but can also lull them into complacency.

As with most gods, it's best to be on her good side.

Glaucegleaming, is a simple goddess of simple pleasures, the glittering reflections of lights upon the water -moon light, sunlight, artificial light, all light - she does that.  All of it.  Across the orb of the world.

She is largely content with doing this, her constantly changing art form, but if angered she can cast a glare in just the wrong place at just the wrong moment.

An artist at heart, she can be the decisive force in a conflict at sea.

Kymothoewave-swift, is one of two messengers of the group.  They do not always travel in a pack and so need communications of their own if they are to stay in contact and keep each other safe.  One might expect her role to be diminished by the likes of Iris and Hermes, but the Nereids prefer to keep things in the family, so to speak.

As with many of her sisters, she can also show a side frightful to those who test the seas.  Swift waves fall within her domain, and while she may not be responsible for all of them, she can certainly create them if she wants to.

Speioseacave, there are places where the race of land dwelling mortals might encounter some of her haunts, but in truth she prefers those hidden beneath the waves.

It is said that some of her closest friends are octopodes.

Thoeswift, the second of the messengers of the Nereids, as well as the one you want to pray to if you need your journey to be done fast, she never stays in one place for long, and is always on the move.

It is a feat to slow her down, and when she must remain still or slow, she has a tendency to fidget.

Charming Haliebrine, is what she sounds like.  In the beginning Pontos was the Salty Sea, largely still, Okeanos, the sea river, brought currents and fresher water, Thalassa was somewhere between the two and assisted in smoothly bringing the two together into what mortals perceive as a single entity, but the difference between brackish water and fresh was never named or embodied, it was never given form, until charming Halie was born.

She also happens to oversee the preservation of food by means of salt.

Pasitheaall-divine, is the great mediator of the sea.  She overseas and brings together all the various deities who dwell in or have control over the sea, and while several of them may have more authority than her, only the very foolish would attempt to use that to influence her.  All the divinities of the sea are known to Pasithea, and she is known by all of them.  And somehow -somehow- she has managed to stay of the good side of all of them.

Eratolovely, has become the unofficial leader of the various artists among her sisters, as well as the patron of lovers on and around the sea and, strangely, vomiting.

If that seems an odd combination then it perhaps speaks well to her diverse personality and varied interests.  She can call together her sisters Glauce and Kumo to put on a show as rosy fingered dawn is reflected on the winedark sea while bringing together lovers on the beach and making and entire ship seasick.  It's just the way she is.

Rosy-armed Eunikegood victory, a goddess for those who understand that not all victories are good, and also happen to be engaged in naval combat.  For the longest time she oversaw disputes between fish, but it wasn't long after the invention of ships that her domain expanded to include battles between ships.

She can bless one side with a good victory, or she can deny it, provided a more powerful god is not involved.  If she is extremely displeased she'll deny a good victory to either side.

Graceful Melitehoney, oversees, of course, all things related to honey on the seas.  Whether transported as a good, or mixed with wine as a drink, or included in a libation.  Or, for that matter, when slathered on a wound to keep the Nosi away and so ward off grim Moros and the Kyres.

As with many of her sisters, she takes her duties metaphorically as well, and tries to bring out the sweetness of the sea when she sees fit.

Eulimenesafe-harbor, crafted the first natural harbors, and oversees the creation of artificial ones, unless she considers the mortals creating them to be overreaching.

Great cities have sprung up due to her creations, and any sailor lost at sea prays for her to lead her to the nearest of her domains.

Agaueillustrious, watches over all mortals and deeds which are illustrious, noble, or both.  She does her part to protect those who are deserving and assist those causes which are worthy.

Dotogiver, some think that Doto is redundant, that her older sister Eudora makes her role pointless.  Others say that without Doto none would oversee where Eudora's good gifts went.

Both miss a larger point: Doto doesn't just give out that which is good.

Protofirst; took it upon herself to oversee all beginnings on the sea.  The first ship she followed from when the Nereids first came upon it until it completed the first voyage, then the first round trip.  She saw the first of each new type of fish, She was there when the first bird flew across the sea.

Wherever there is something new on the sea, Proto daughter of Doris will be there.

Everything new, good or bad.  She was witness to the first betrayal at sea as well

Pherusacarrying off, speeds ships along their appointed ways, even if those are not their intended ways.  She can bring glory or ruin, and she meets out each as she sees fit and is within her power.

Dynamenepowerful, the seas by this time were full of powers, but there was none to unite and oversee them, unless you count Pasithea as having that job.  With her birth Dynamene gave the powers of the sea a name, a form, a voice, and a united purpose.

Stronger gods might be able to push her around or bend her to their whims at times, but stronger gods only take an interest at times.  Dynamene is always there.

Nesaeainsular; and her younger sister Neso oversaw all that was specific to the many islands.  Their duties were never specifically divided and they usually worked hand in hand, but Nesaea more often dealt with those things with were from the islands while Neso more often dealt with the things that the sea gave to the islands.

Actaeaof the shore.  The surf and the tidepools, the breaking waves and sea foam. The gulls that grab molusks from the shallows only to drop them upon the rocks, those who fish not with boats but by wading out into the sea, the rocks that stop Kymo in a mighty crash, all these things are of Actaea.

Protomedeafirst ruler.  This song is, perhaps, sung in the wrong language, because I could have said first arts, first council, first plans, or first schemes and been just as true to the meaning of her name.  Protomedea is about sticking to the original.  The original captain, the original idea, the original suggestion.  Protomedea oversees plan A, and if it were in her power there would never be need for a plan B.

She's a traditionalist.

Dorisbountiful, named after her mother, and works with her older sisters Doto and Eudora in overseeing and lotting out the bounties of the sea.  Of fish, and shrimp and crab and seaweed, Doris daughter of Doris knows the bounties of the sea.

Panopeaall seeing, and all that is seen, and all who are seeing.  Panopea sees all that happens on the seas, and counts all who would see or be seen on the seas as within her domain.

It might seem a small thing, but every journey weary sailor who has just sighted land knows that seeing on the sea is important indeed.

Beautiful Galatiamilk-white, was and is the foam of the sea.  Before her only the birth of Aphrodite had produced sea foam, and then only for a short time.  Now she's everywhere.

Lovely Hippotheoswift horses, the connection between horses and the sea has gone back to a time before the gods we know, before there was such a think as horse.  When horses were just an idea loosely understood in the backs of the minds of gods of the sea, as dimly understood as something one feels in the dark but never sees by light of day, and as fleeting as that which can only be seen out of the corner of one's eye.

Hippotheo, obviously, watches over swift horses, but she is also involved with waves as swift as horses.

Rosy armed Hipponoehorse sense, is responsible for giving horses their acute senses and wide field of vision.  Much greater than that which Prometheus gave to humans.

Hipponoe is almost impossible to sneak up on, and can hear the approach of an unfriendly god or mortal from any direction.

She is an ideal guard.

Kymodokewave receiver, and Kymatolegewave-stiller, can, with their beautiful ankled older sister Amphitrite still seas swollen by storms or ravaged by winds.  Of course, that isn't their only power.

Kymodoke is one of the artists of the sea, crafting the beauty of the breaking waves as the are received by the shore.  Kymatolege can, without her two sisters, calm seas that are not quite so ravaged, or make swollen seas somewhat less swollen.  It may seem a small gift, but a times it can make all the difference to those on those seas.

Kymowave.  The only constant is change.  Even when the sea's surface appears to remain the same a closer examination will reveal that no two moments are alike, no two waves are alike.  Kymo may leave the waves that break on shore to her older sister Kymodoke, but those in open water are her tapestry and she keeps it always in motion, always changing, at no two moments alike.

Kymo understands change, and also the stability that can be found in it.  On calm seas, like those overseen by Galene, there is at once an overall ongoing sense of sameness, yet on closer examination a constant stream of change.  Two things may seem alike, but they never truly are, and Kymo has accepted this into her deepest being and made it a part of what she is.

Whatever the seas' mood, whether calm or raging, she crafts her self, her waves, upon it.

Eionebeach strand, is the moist part of the beach, closest to the water, where a footstep can push the water out of the sand, and a small hole will fill with water.  She gets stepped on a lot.

Well crowned Halimedebrine queen, can be heard whispering counsel from the waves of Kymo if one is only listening quietly and with a clear mind.

Laughter-loving Glauconomemasterer of the grey; counts as hers those who would spend a lifetime mastering the ways of the deep until they understand the moods of the sea as well as their own.

Pontoporeiasea-traverser, counts amoung her clients all those who cross the seas, be they human, fish, or whale.  Leaving shorter voyages to her younger sisters she feels a special kinship with those who would go from one side of a sea to the other.

Leagore is the assembler, and so she oversees the assemblies, of men, of fishes, it doesn't much matter to her.  As long as the assembly is conducted properly then that's all she cares about.

Euagore, formal praise/good assembly, oversees schools of fish, pods of whales, armadas of ships, and assemblies of people, like her older sister, but unlike her sister her specialty is in the ones that go well or serve good purposes.  She also oversees formal praise.

Laomedeiastone queen, leader of people, given a pun for a name, Laomedeia's domain is all things at sea that make their homes on land.  Peoples, animals, birds, and anything else amphibious, she is to oversee all of them.  And so she does.

Poulynoe, much thinking, able to think in flowing patterns equal to the complexity of the sea itself she is the companion of any with a mind like her own, or any who strives to have one.

Autonoethinking itself, she isn't all thought, she specializes in thought on thought.  Logic, epistemology, thinking implying the requite precondition of being, that sort of thing.

Lysianassadeliverer of homes, she cannot save all dwelling places, but where possible she does, and it's generally a good idea to pour a libation to her when some of Typhon's winds are heading in.

Euarne who was of lovely stature and flawless shape was known, oversees good sheep good denials because... Muses?  A little help on this one?  Because why not.  Sometimes you just feel like overseeing good sheep and good denials.  It happens.[1]

Psamathe, with an elegant body, has a wide and strange domain.  She principally overseas the sands of the seashore and crumbling knowledge, such as that swept away by the waves, but she also oversees learning that is shallow, the sort that will fade like footprints on the shore given the waves of time, and that which is polished, like a stone left amid the sands of the shore for centuries until it's rough edges are smoothed away.

Wondrous Menippehorse strength, giver of strength to waves and horses, and one of the stronger Nereids.

Nesoto/for the island, worked hand in hand overseeing the many islands with her older sister Nesaea, specializing in those things that the sea gave to the islands.

Eupompegood guide, giver of fair winds, and always able to bring people where they need to go, even if it isn't where they expected to go.

Themisto was the keeper of customs and rights as well as one of the two oracles of the Nereids.

Pronoeforethought, was a master planner and the second oracle of the Nereids, with her sister Themisto she watched over mortal the oracles of the sea and steered her sisters toward better futures.

Finally unerring Nemertes, who was like her father, heart and soul.

Fifty daughters were born to blameless Nereus and fair haired Doris, all excel in skills to perfection.  But there are fifty one Nereids [3].  Chaos, still at work in the world, added one to their number.  Some say that only Nereus and Doris know for sure which one, others say that even they cannot tell.  All that is known is that there is one more than there should be.  It is not remarked upon, and any speculation between the sisters as to which one isn't really one of them is considered extremely ill mannered.

Indeed one of the few ways to provoke the entire family into violently forcing one to leave is to bring up the subject and refuse to drop it.


[Footnotes largely recycled.]

[1] It's her name.  The Eu is "good" arne is harder to figure out, could come from the root for lamb, could come from the root for denial.  Could be a play on words indicating that she's the embodiment of good lambs who deny things well.

[2] Again, the name.  I've got the options of psa+mathe = crumbling/rubbed/lightly-touched + learning, p+ sama +the = away from/on/childless + sign/wonder + run/wonder at, and saying it looks like psymathai, which would appear to be a very rare word for sandy seashore, or it looks like psamathos which is sand of the seashore.

In all likelihood it has to do with sand and seashore because we are talking about the descendant of one of the embodiments of the sea on her father's side and another of the embodiments of the sea on her mother's side.  However crumbling knowledge being like a sandcastle being swept away is just... there's metaphorical possibilities there.

The middle possibility is really reaching, I think, because the only way I can see to get a plain "p" as a prefix would be if the word being prefixed started with a vowel, which would not result in the psi that the name begins in since s is not a vowel.  So "childless sign you wonder at" or "wonder you run away from" or the various other possibilities from that are just right out.

[3] Seriously, count them.  If you get fifty two then you probably counted Amphitrite twice, an easy mistake to make.  Some solve the problem by saying that Kymatolege (appearing in the same section as Amphitrite's second mention) is the same as Kymo, I guess Kymo would be a nickname but then one wonders how she laid claim to it when she has two older sisters who could claim the same (and make better arguments for why it makes sense for them) plus why there's no indication that this Kymo is the same as the Kymatolege just mentioned.  Besides, I like the idea of, there are precisely 50 daughters, there are 51 in the group, no one knows where the other one came from or which one it is.

The fact that Thetis' name is seriously close to a word meaning adopted (thetos, e, on if I transliterated right) will be mentioned (see, I just did) but not expanded on in any meaningful way.


[Rewriting Greek Myth Index]


  1. That bit about the extra one seems... terribly appropriate, somehow.

  2. I love this. <3

    And can you just imagine feast holidays with this bunch...