A nymph is a femlae minor local deity. Nymphs are commonly associated to forests, lakes, rivers, or even springs and particular trees. As minor deities they're not immortal but lives longer lifes than typicall live-forms, according to a myth collected by Hesiod, they live 9720 human generations i.e. 466 560 years with an average human life of 48 years. Nymphs are heavily confused with other entities of different nature e.g. Valkyries , mermaids or fairies .
Greek mythology proposes many origins according to their classification, for example oceanids are daughters of Oceanus while nereids are daughters of Nereus and others are believed to be the offspring of Zeus. As nymph is a general category for female spirtis with physical vessel it is neccesary to keep in mind their origin.
Nymphs are clasificated according to their associated place or nature phenomena.
Spirits associated with water bodies like the sea or rivers. There are two main families, both descendants from Oceanus, a Titan, first one are Oceanides which are entities that live in the oceans an seas; commonly there are a list of 41 acepted Oceanides according to the Theogony. They can transfigure in young beautiful and terrible ladies, they have the control of sea water and causes earthquakes beneath seabed. Oceanus also give to live Pontus, a maskulin deity, who have Nereus as son. Nereus procreated the Nereids, half human and half nymph. They have no power over the sea itself but over the marine creatures, they're specially associated with dolphins, seahorses and sharks. Nereids don't live in the deep sea but near coasts of the major seas (Caribbean, egeus, mediterranea, black sea etc.)
The other family are Oceanidas or 'Naiads' , they were borne by Oceanus and Gea. They are associated with fresh water bodies and thus there exist an artificial classification according to the linked body. Naiads have a complete control over the waters that flows in their water body and their inhabitants. According to this association, their lives end with water body ones. So by drying or poisoning a river o a like, they dwelling nymph will also die.
Forest and plants nymphsEdit
For many european mythologies forest were sacred and misterious places where "supernatural" creatures lived. Nymphs and their equivalent in german mythology play relevant roles in forest life. Nymphs were associated with the entire forest (Driads) or with specific trees (Hamadriads). As the naiads, hamadriads were linked to their trees, they're also able to fuse with the wood (as the naiads with the water body).
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