The Nymphs of various kinds were therefore always presented to the imagination, in the perfection of female youth and beauty. Under the various appellations of Oreades, Dryades, Naides, Limniades, Nereides, they dwelt in mountains, trees, springs, lakes, the seas where, in caverns and grottos, they passed a life whose occupations resembled those of females of human race.
The Wood-nymphs were the companions and attendants of the huntress goddess Artemis; the Sea-nymphs averted shipwreck from pious navigators; and the Spring- and River-nymphs poured forth fruitfulness on the earth. All of them were honoured with prayer and sacrifice; and all of them occasionally ‘mingled in love’ with favoured mortals. In the Homeric poems, the most ancient portion of Grecian literature, we meet the various classes of Nymphs. In the Odyssey, they are the attendants of Calypso, herself a goddess and a nymph. Of the female attendants of Circe, the potent daughter of Helios, also designated as a goddess and a nymph.