Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Siren or Nymph?

waterhouse, originally uploaded by nrillustration.

While thinking about nymphs (yesterday's post), I wondered about the difference between a nymph and a siren. Pictured here is Odysseus and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse (yes, I did post Waterhouse yesterday but it seems he's very good at painting these things).

Both originate in Greek mythology but the sirens' role is very specific-they are winged maidens that live on a specific island and lure mariners toward the perilous rocks (think Odysseus). Later Latin European folklore morphs the sirens into water creatures, which may explain the nymph confusion. Now you know.

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