In Greek mythology, the Nereids (/ˈnɪəriɪdz/ NEER-ee-idz; Greek: Νηρηΐδες Nereides, sg. Νηρηΐς Nereis) are sea nymphs (female spirits of sea waters), the 50 daughters of Nereus and Doris, sisters to Nerites.[1] They often accompany Poseidon, the god of the sea, and can be friendly and helpful to sailors, like the Argonauts in their search for the Golden Fleece.


Nereids are particularly associated with the Aegean Sea, where they dwelt with their father Nereus in the depths within a golden palace.[1] The most notable of them are Thetis, wife of Peleus and mother of Achilles; Amphitrite, wife of Poseidon and mother of Triton; and Galatea, the vain love interest of the Cyclops Polyphemus.

They symbolized everything that is beautiful and kind about the sea. Their melodious voices sang as they danced around their father. They are represented as very beautiful girls, crowned with branches of red coral and dressed in white silk robes trimmed with gold, but who went barefoot. They were part of Poseidon's entourage and carried his trident.

In Homer's Iliad XVIII, when Thetis cries out in sympathy for the grief of Achilles for the slain Patroclus, her sisters appear. The Nereid Opis is mentioned in Virgil's Aeneid. She is called by the goddess Diana to avenge the death of the Amazon-like female warrior Camilla. Diana gives Opis magical weapons for revenge on Camilla's killer, the Etruscan Arruns. Opis sees and laments Camilla's death and shoots Arruns in revenge as directed by Diana.[2]

Modern use

In modern Greek folklore, the term "nereid" (νεράιδα, neráida) has come to be used for all nymphs, fairies, or mermaids, not merely nymphs of the sea.

Nereid, a moon of the planet Neptune, is named after the Nereids.


This list is correlated from four sources: Homer's Iliad,[3] Hesiod's Theogony,[4] the Bibliotheca of Pseudo-Apollodorus[5] and the Fabulae of Hyginus.[6] Because of this, the total number of names goes beyond fifty.[7]

No. Name Sources
Hom. Hes. Ps-Apol. Hyg. Others
2 Agaue
3 Amatheia
5 Amphithoe
6 Amphitrite
8 Arethusa
9 Asia
10 Autonoe
11 Beroe
12 Callianassa
13 Callianeira
14 Calypso
15 Ceto
16 Clio
17 Clymene
18 Cranto
19 Creneis
20 Cydippe
21 Cymo
22 Cymatolege
23 Cymodoce
24 Cymothoe
25 Deiopea
26 Dero
27 Dexamene
28 Dione
29 Doris
30 Doto
31 Drymo
32 Dynamene
33 Eione
34 Ephyra
35 Erato
36 Euagore or Evagore
37 Euarne
38 Eucrante
39 Eudore
40 Eulimene
41 Eumolpe
42 Eunice
43 Eupompe
44 Eurydice
45 Galene
46 Galatea
47 Glauce
48 Glauconome
49 Halie
50 Halimede
51 Hipponoe
52 Hippothoe
53 Iaera
54 Ianassa
55 Ianeira
56 Ione
57 Iphianassa [8]
58 Laomedeia
59 Leiagore
60 Leucothoe
61 Ligea
62 Limnoreia
63 Lycorias
64 Lysianassa
65 Maera
66 Melite
67 Menippe
68 Nausithoe
69 Nemertes
70 Neomeris
71 Nerea [9]
72 Nesaea
73 Niso
74 Opis
75 Oreithyia
76 Panopea
77 Panope
78 Pasithea
79 Pherusa
80 Phyllodoce
81 Plexaure
82 Ploto
83 Polynome
84 Pontomedusa
85 Pontoporeia
86 Poulynoe
87 Pronoe
88 Proto
89 Protomedeia
90 Psamathe
91 Sao
92 Speio
93 Thaleia
94 Themisto
95 Thetis
96 Thoe
97 Xantho
Number of Nereids 34 50 45 47 2


  1. Atsma, Aaron J. "Nereides". Theoi Project Greek Mythology. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  2. Virgil: His life and times by Peter Levi, Duckworth, 1998
  3. Homer. Iliad, Book 18.39-51
  4. Hesiod. Theogony 240-262
  5. Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, 1.2.7
  6. Gaius Julius Hyginus. Fabulae, Preface
  7. Lucian, Dialogues of the Sea-Gods, 14
  8. Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica, 1. 450
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