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Post  Wynterrose on Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:59 am

THE AMNISIADES were Naiad Nymphs of the River Amnisos in Krete (Greek Aegean). Twenty of them partially formed Artemis's Kretan retinue, which was completed by sixty of the Okeanids.

Artemis was the goddess protector of maidens (pre-marital, virgin girls). All maidens were figuratively speaking her companions, and performed ritual dances in her honour. By extension, all the maiden nymphai were her literal companions, as well as certain favoured heroines of myth.

Artemis loved the Nymphe of Gortyn and Kyrene above the rest.

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ARTEMIS ATTENDANTS: BAND OF NYMPHAI "Artemis Iokheaira (far-shooting) ranges the mountainside - on lofty Taygetos, it may be, or it may be on Erymanthos - taking her pleasure among the boars and the running deer; Nymphai Agronomoi (of the countryside), daughters of Zeus who holds the aigis, are all around her and share her pastime; Leto her mother is glad at heart. With head and forehead Artemis overtops the rest, and though all are lovely, there is no mistaking which is she." - Homer, Odyssey 6.102

"[Persephone tells Demeter of her abduction:] 'All we were playing in a lovely meadow, Leukippe and Phaino and Elektra and Ianthe [and various other maiden Nymphai Okeanides] ... with Pallas [Athena] who rouses battles and Artemis Iokheaira (delighting-in-arrows): we were playing and gathering sweet flowers in our hands, soft crocuses mingled with irises and hyacinths, and rose-blooms and lilies, marvellous to see." - Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 415

"Artemis, standing in her golden chariot after she has bathed in the gently water of Parthenios or the streams of Amnisos, and driving off with her fast-trotting deer over the hills and far away to some rich-scented sacrifice. Attendant Nymphai have gathered at the source of Amnisos or flocked in from the glens and upland springs to follow her; and fawning beasts whimper in homage and tremble as she passes by." - Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3.879

"The Nymphai [of Kios in Mysia] were about to hold their dances - it was the custom of all those who haunt the beautiful headland to sing the praise of Artemis by night. The Nmphai of the mountain peaks and caverns were all posted some way off to patrol the woods." - Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.1225

"[Artemis to Zeus] ‘And give me sixty daughters of Okeanos (Okeanines) for my choir - all nine years old, all maidens yet ungirdled; and give me for handmaidens twenty Nymphai of Amnisos (Amnisides) who shall tend well my buskins, and, when I shoot no more at lynx or stag, shall tend my swift hounds." - Callimachus, Hymn III to Artemis 12

"And the maiden [Artemis] fared unto the white moutain of Krete leafy with woods; thence unto Okeanos; and she chose many Nymphai all nine years old, all maidens yet ungirdled. And the River Kairatos was glad exceedingly, and glad was Tethys that they were sending their daughters to be handmaidens to the daughter of Leto." - Callimachus, Hymn III to Artemis 40

"For thee [Artemis] the Amnisiades rub down the hinds [the golden horned deer that draw the chariot of Artemis] loosed from the yoke, and from the mead of Hera they gather and carry for them to feed on much swift-springing clover, which also the horses of Zeus eat; and golden troughs they fill with water to be for the deer a pleasant draught ... But when the Nymphai encircle thee in the dance, near the springs of Aigyptian Inopos or Pitane - for Pitane too is thine - or in Limnai or where, goddess, thou camest from Skythia to dwell, in Alai ... for the god Helios never passes by that beauteous dance, but stays his car to gaze upon the sight, and lights of day are lengthened." - Callimachus, Hymn III to Artemis 170

"Artemis was holding at Letrinoi [in Elis] an all-night revel with the Nymphai who were her playmates, and to it came Alpheios. But Artemis had a suspicion of the plot of Alpheios [to rape her], and smeared with mud her own face and the faces of the Nymphai with her. So Alpheios, when he joined the throng, could not distinguish Artemis from the others, and, not being able to pick her out, went away without bringing off his attempt." - Pausanias, Guide to Greece 6.22.8

"There was a valley clothed in hanging woods of pine and cypress, named Gargaphie, sacred to chaste Diana [Artemis], huntress queen ... Here, tired after the hunt, the goddess loved her Nymphae to bathe her with the water’s balm. Reaching the cave, she gave her spear and quiver and bow unstrung to an attendant Nympha; others received her robes over their arms; two loosed her sandals; more expert than these Crocale (Sea-Shore) tied the hair loose on her shoulders into a knot, her own hair falling free. Then Nephele (Cloud) and Hyale (Crystal) and Rhanis (Rain-Drop) and Phiale (Water-Pitcher) and Psecas (Rain-Shower) brought the water in brimming jars and poured it over her. And while Titania [Artemis] bathed there in the pool ... it chanced [Aktaion] ... the day’s hunt finished, idly wandering through unknown clearings of the forest, found the sacred grove ... At once, seeing a man, all naked as they were, the Nymphae, beating their breasts, filled the whole grove with sudden screams and clustered round Diana [Artemis] to clothe her body with their own." - Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.138

"Dictynna [Artemis] across high Maenalus progressing with her troop, proud of her kills, observed the girl [Kallisto] and called her [join the group] ... Diana [Artemis], wearied by her brother’s beams and by the chase, reached a cool shady grove, through which there flowed a babbling rivulet, whose gliding current shaped its shelving sands. Charmed by the place, the goddess dipped her feet into the stream; and that was charming too. ‘No spy is near’, she said, ‘here let us strip and bathe." - Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.414

"[Near] the towns of Lycia ... and Carae ... there is a pool, a limpid shining pool, clear to its very bottom ... A Nympha [Salmakis] dwelt there, not one to bend the bow or join the hunt or run to win the race; she was the only of the Naides unknown to swift Diana [Artemis]. Many a time her sisters chide her: ‘Come, Salmacis, get out your spear or painted quiver; vary your hours of ease with hardships of the chase." - Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.302

"The sacred circle of Hamadryades of huntress Diana [Artemis] ... Phoebe [Artemis] returned from hunting scores of forest beasts, as the sun occupied or passed midday. When she reached the grove (a grove dark with dense ilex, around a deep fountain of cool water), she said, ‘Let’s bathe here in the wood ... ’She had instructed the Nymphae too. The Nymphae undress." - Ovid, Fasti 2.155

"By the banks of Eurotas [in Lakedaimonia, Southern Greece] or over the Cynthian slopes [of the island of Delos] Diana [Artemis] foots the dance, and a thousand Oreades following weave a constellation around that arrowy one, who in grace of movement excels all goddesses." - Virgil, Aeneid 1.500

"Frightened troops of [Latin] Nymphae were fleeing from Pan ... With speedy steps Diana [Artemis] approached, as she ranges the seven hills and tracks the flight of a deer on Aventine; the goddess was vexed to see it, and turning to her trusty comrades: ‘Shall I never keep this unseemly, wanton brood from lustful rapine? Must my chaste band of followers ever grow fewer?’ ... The Nais [Pholoe], Phoebe’s [Artemis’]." - Statius, Silvae 2.3.1

"I will give you sixty dancing handmaids, to complete the unnumbered dance that attends you, as many as the servants of the mountain Archeress [Artemis], as many as the daughters of Okeanos; then Artemis hunting will not rival you, even if she be the mistress of the hunt." - Nonnus, Dionysiaca 16.127

"[Artemis] and maiden Aura mounted the car [Artemis' chariot], took reins and whip and drove the horned team [of deer] like a tempest. The unveiled daughters of everflowing Okeanos her servants made haste to accompany the Archeress: one moved her swift knees as her queen’s forerunner, another tucked up her tunic and ran level not far off, a third laid a hand on the basket of the swiftmoving car and ran alongside. Archeress diffusing radiance from her face stood shining above her attendants ... The goddess [Artemis] leapt out of her car [of her chariot]; Oupis took the bow from her shoulders, and Hekaerge the quiver; the daughters of Okeanos took off the well-strung hunting nets, and another took charge of the dogs; Loxo loosed the boots from her feet." - Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48.302


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