Nereides (Ancient Greek: Νηρηΐδες, sg. Νηρηΐς) fifty Haliad Nymphs the sea-nymph daughters of Nereus & Doris. The most famous and beautiful among them was Amphitrite she became the wife of Poseidon.

They are sea Nymphs (female spirits of sea waters) and are sisters to Nerites. The Nereides were distinct from the mermaid-like Sirens. They often accompany Poseidon and can be friendly and helpful to sailors fighting perilous storms.  Supposedly there were fifty though more than just the fifty have been named between the major Ancient Poets (Hesiod, Homer, ApollodorusHyginus).

History

Nereides are particularly associated with the Aegean Sea, where they dwelt with their father in the depths within a silvery cave. The most notable of them are Thetis, wife of Peleus and mother of Akhilles; Amphitrite, wife of Poseidon; and Galatea, love of the Kyclops Polyphemus. In Iliad XVIII, when Thetis cries out in sympathy for the grief of Achilles for the slain Patroclus, her sisters appear.

The nymph Opis is mentioned in Virgil's Aeneid. She is called on by the goddess Diana to avenge the death of the Amazon-like female warrior Camilla. Diana gives Opis magical weapons with which to take revenge on Camilla's killer, the Etruscan Arruns. Opis sees and laments Camilla's death and shoots Arruns in revenge as directed by Diana.

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

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