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GREEK FAERIES

Perhaps the earliest form of faeries can be found loosely in the mythical beings in Greek mythology, such as the nymphs, satyrs and sileni. The nymphs from ancient Greek myths can be considered as fairies and they existed as early as the time of Homer writing the Iliad and the Odyssey. Even the river gods in Greek myths can be classified as fairies. These are spirits or minor deities of nature or of the natural phenomena.

The idea that the world is full of spirit beings both bad and good is one we find in the oldest myths and tales from cultures the world over. In ancient Greece, the Neo-Platonist Porphyry (c. 232-c. 305 A.D.) wrote that the air was inhabited by good and bad spirits with fluid bodies of no fixed shape, creatures who change their form at will. These were certainly faeries. Porphyry explained that the bad spirits were composed of turbulent malignity and created disruptions whenever humans failed to address them with respect.

In ancient Greek literature, the sirens in Homer's Odyssey are fairies, and a number of the heroes in his Iliad have fairy lovers in the form of nymphs.

Here is the partial list of Greek faeries (fairies):

  ASH TREE NYMPHS: The Ash Tree Nymphs were generated from Uranus' blood resulting from his castration by Cronus
  FATES: The classical Greek Fates were believed to control the destiny of the human race.
  NYMPHS:
  SILENI:
  SIRENS:
  SYLVANS: Woodland faeries who lead humans to their death.  There are three types: Sylens, Satyrs and Fauns.

"Where round the bed, whence Achelous springs,
That wat'ry Fairies dance in mazy rings."

Homer (Iliad, B. xxiv. 617.)


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