24. Νηρηίδων, θυμίαμα ἀρώματα.
To the Neireids, Goddesses of the Sea
Divine medium: aromatics
Νηρέος εἰναλίου νύμφαι καλυκώπιδες ἁγναί,
Nereos’ sea Nymphs, pure veiled faces,
σφράγιαι βύθιαι, χοροπαίγμονες, ὑγροκέλευθοι,
Mark the depths, playful choral water dancers,
πεντήκοντα κόραι περὶ κύμασι βακχεύουσαι,
Fifty daughters surround the swells of Bacchic essence,
Τριτώνων ἐπ' ὄχοισιν ἀγαλλόμεναι περὶ νῶτα
Triton’s chariot gloriously powered upon the surface,
θηροτύποις μορφαῖς, ὧν βόσκει σώματα πόντος,
Beastlike forms nourish Pontos’ body,
ἄλλοις θ' οἳ ναίουσι βυθόν, Τριτώνιον οἶδμα,
The sea’s divine dwellers, deep in Triton’s wavy,
ὑδρόδομοι, σκιρτηταί, ἑλισσόμενοι περὶ κῦμα,
Watery domain. Leaping, whirling pregnant swells on
ποντοπλάνοι δελφῖνες, ἁλιρρόθιοι, κυαναυγεῖς.
Pontos’ planes: dolphins sea-leaping in deep blue dawning light.
ὑμᾶς κικλήσκω πέμπειν μύσταις πολὺν ὄλβον·
With this hymn I call, send forth the mystae with many blessings,
ὑμεῖς γὰρ πρῶται τελετὴν ἀνεδείξατε σεμνὴν
With this hymn bestow initial completion rites declared solemnly:
εὐιέρου Βάκχοιο καὶ ἁγνῆς Φερσεφονείης,
Holy Bacchos and pure Phersephone,
Καλλιόπηι σὺν μητρὶ καὶ Ἀπόλλωνι ἄνακτι.
Kalliope together with Mothers and Apollon ruling.
Nereides (Νηρεΐδες), aka Nereis (Νηρεΐς), are the 50 beautiful, young Goddesses of various aspects of the sea, such as the sea’s brine, foam, waves, and currents. They are known for aiding sailors in distress.
In this hymn they are described as nymphs. Nymphs are beautiful, young Goddesses who prevail over particular locations in nature.
In Bacchylides, Dithyramb the Nereids are described in the depths of the ocean in the house of Nereus (Νηρέος), their father, God of the sea floor:
“Trembling, [Theseus] gazed at the famous daughers of Nereus the rich,
whose lovely flesh sent out a light like the light of a fire.
Gold-braided glittering ribbons sparkled and gleamed in their tresses
as they danced on spray-wet feet, hearts athrob with delight.”
Another translation of this passage is provided by Richard C. Webb:
“There beheld he the glorious daughters of blest Nereus, and was awe-struck;
for a splendour as of fire shone from their radiant forms;
fillets inwoven with gold encircled their hair;
and they were delighting their hearts by dancing with lissom feet.”
Euripides in his play Iphigenia in Aulis describes the Nereids:
“Weaving their figures on silvery sands,
fifty maidens, daughters of Nereus,
linking hands and, singing for joy,
danced for the wedding.”
Triton (Τρίτων) is the immortal God who rides his chariot over the surface of the sea, half-humanlike and half-fishlike.
Pontos (Πόντος) is the immortal God of the Sea and the father of Nereos by Gaia, Goddess of generative earth.
Bacchos is the immortal God of wine and its effects.
P(h)ersephone is the immortal Goddess of the afterlife and Spring rebirth.
Kalliope is the immortal Muse of beauty.
Apollo is the immortal God of inspiration.
 Bacchylides, Dithyramb 17(61-64), Classical Myth, 3rd ed, Barry B. Powell, p. 429, Prentice Hall, NJ, 2001.
 Dithyramb 16, p. 386-387, trans. Richard C. Webb, Cambridge University Press, 1905. https://archive.org/stream/bacchylidespoem00jebbgoog#page/n416/mode/2up/search/nereus
 Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis 1051-1055) (406 BCE) describes the Nereids (Powell, p. 517):