The uppercase form of the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet; pronounced Ne (the E being long); lower case: ν.


The nymphs of the rivers, lakes and springs.


A river nymph; one of the Naiads, i.e. a nymph of rivers, lakes or springs.


The son of the nymph, Leiriope, and the river, Kephisos (Cephisus) who rejected the love of the beautiful nymph, Ekho (Echo).

Either Aphrodite (goddess of Love) or Nemesis (Divine Retribution) punished his arrogance by causing him to become obsessed with his own image; he spent his life gazing at his reflection and finally wasted away; after death he was transformed into a flower that still bears his name, the Narcissus.


A son of Amphithemis and a Libyan nymph; the grandson of Apollon and the brother of Kaphauros (Caphaurus).


The father of Klytoneos (Clytoneos) and the son of Lernos; the great-great-grandson of Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and Amymone (the daughter of Danaus).


An ancient Greek city in northern Egypt on the western branch of the Nile river delta.

Nauplios (1)

One of the Argonauts; a son of Klytoneos (Clytoneos) and descended from Amymone (the daughter of Danaus) and Poseidon (lord of the Sea).

Nauplios (2)

A son of Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and Amymone (daughter of Danaus); he exceeded all mortals in seamanship; he was the great-great-great-grandfather of the Argonaut, Nauplios.


The daughter of king Alkinoos (Alcinous) of the island of Phaiakia (Phaiacia).

Athene (Athena) came to Nausikaa in a dream and told her to go to the shore with her laundry; she and her companions found Odysseus and brought him back to their city where he found sanctuary and assistance.


Nausinoos and Nausithoos were the sons of Odysseus and the sea nymph, Kalypso (Calypso).


Nausithoos and Nausinoos were the sons of Odysseus and the sea nymph, Kalypso (Calypso).

The modern name for the city of Pylos (Pilos); a seaport on the southwestern Peloponnesian Peninsula in the ancient district of Messenia.

The shrine of Apollon at Delphi has a stone depression that is called the Navel of the World; the depression is covered by a stone known as the Omphalos, which literally means Navel.


A Greek island in the southern Aegean Sea.

Naxos is the largest island in the Kyklades (Cyclades) Group; 169 square miles (438 square kilometers) in size; also known as Dia.

Naxos was the island where Theseus deserted Ariadne and she met the god of wine, Dionysus; Ariadne either fell in love with Dionysus or she threw herself from the cliffs of Palatia into the sea.

Marble for the statues which decorated the sacred island of Delos were quarried on Naxos.

The island became the crux of the armed conflict known as the Ionian Revolt when the Persians tried to invade the island and gain a staging area for the conquest of the other islands of the Kyklades and, eventually, mainland Greece; after a four month siege, the Persians withdrew from Naxos without any significant gains.

Later, circa 490 BCE, the troops of king Darius invaded Naxos but the people ran rather than resist the massive Persian force; all those who were captured were enslaved.

Approximate east longitude 25.35 and north latitude 37.02.


A robe made of fawn skin worn by Bakkhus (Bacchus) and his followers.

Necklace of Harmonia

A priceless necklace which was designed and crafted by the Smith of the Gods, Hephaistos (Hephaestus).

The legend of the Necklace of Harmonia goes back to the origins of the city of Thebes and its first king, Kadmus (Cadmus); when Kadmus married Harmonia, the daughter of Ares (god of War) and Aphrodite (goddess of Love), he gave her a necklace designed and crafted by Hephaistos.

The necklace was passed down through the generations and came into the possession of one of the sons of Oedipus, Polynikes (Polynices); after Oedipus was exiled from Thebes, Polynikes took refuge in Argos and assembled an army to attack Thebes so that he might depose his older brother, Eteokles (Eteocles) and claim the throne for himself.

In order to get the help of a warrior named Amphiaraus, Polynikes gave the Necklace of Harmonia to Amphiaraus’ wife, Eriphyle; Amphiaraus was a seer and knew that he would die if he marched against Thebes but he accepted his fate and joined forces with Polynikes; Amphiaraus did not die in battle but he was swallowed by the earth during the siege; because of the supernatural death of Amphiaraus, the Necklace of Harmonia was thought to be cursed.

The Necklace of Harmonia can be traced from Hephaistos to Eriphyle thusly: Hephaistos > Kadmus > Harmonia > Polydorus > Labdakos > Laius > Oedipus > Polynikes > Eriphyle.


Grievances; the children of Eris (Discord).


A river god of the river commonly known as the Nile of Egypt; one of the sons of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys.

Zeus gave the Rivers, Apollon and the Okeanids the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.


The son of Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and Tyro.

After Neleus refused to absolve Herakles (Heracles) for the murder of Iphitus, Herakles killed him and two of his sons, Khromios (Chromios) and Periklymenos (Periclymenos); his only surviving son, Nestor, was one of the heroes of the siege of Troy.

Neleus’ daughter, Pero, was so beautiful that he would not allow any man to marry her unless he could steal the cattle of Iphikles (Iphicles); Kretheus (Cretheus) was the only man to attempt the feat and was captured by Iphikles and held captive for one year before he was released and allowed to marry Pero.


A valley in north-eastern Argolis on the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

Nemean Games

One of the four great national festivals of ancient Greece held at the Peloponnesian city of Nemea in the second and fourth year of each Olympiad, i.e. the four year period between the Olympic Games.

The Nemean Games were founded to honor the infant son of Lykurgos (Lycurgus) who has been named as either Arkhemoros (Archemoros) or Opheletes (the name Opheletes implies a debt or obligation); the nurse of the infant, Hypsipyle, was preoccupied while trying to assist the soldiers known as the Seven Against Thebes and left the child unattended; either a snake or a dragon killed the boy and, in order to spare the nurse’s life for her blunder and to appease the king, the Nemean Games were instituted at the insistence of the soldiers.

Nemean Lion

The lion slain by Herakles (Heracles) as part of his First Labor.

The Nemean lion was the predatory offspring of the dog, Orthos and the serpent-monster, Ekhidna (Echidna), and presumably, the sister of the deadly Sphinx of the city of Thebes and the half-sister of Kerberos (Cerberus), the watchdog of the gates of the Underworld.

Killing the Nemean Lion is considered to be Herakles’ First Labor because he was often depicted in ancient artwork wearing the lion’s skin; the hide of the Nemean Lion and the club were Herakles’ trademark, i.e. it was assured that any unnamed hero in ancient Greek art wearing the lion skin and carrying a club was Herakles.

For more information on Herakles and the Nemean Lion I suggest that you consult the Immortals section of this site.


One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus; her name means The Truthful.

(Theogony, line 262);


The goddess of Divine Retribution.

Nemesis was the daughter of Nyx (Night); without her there will be no escape from worldly evil; in a surviving portion of the Epic Cycle, Kypria, Nemesis is said to be the daughter of Zeus and that she went to extraordinary lengths to avoid his amorous advances; Zeus chased her over land and sea as she assumed the guise of fish or land creatures to escape him.


The son of Akhilleus (Achilles) and Deidamia.

After the death of his father at Troy, Neoptolemus was summoned to Troy for the actual sack of the city where he killed the Trojan king, Priam, and the princess, Polyxena; as his portion of the booty from Troy he was allowed to have Andromakhe (Andromache), the widow of the fallen hero, Hektor (Hector).

The name Pyrrhus (red-haired) comes from Neoptolemus’ later life where he is credited as the progenitor of the kings of the district of Epirus in north-western Greece.


A woman formed from a cloud by Zeus as a counterfeit Hera in order to deceive the lustful father of the Centaurs, Ixion.

Nephele was the wife of king Athamas of Orkhomenos (Orchomenus) and the mother of Helle and Phrixus; when Athamas’ second wife, Ino, tried to have Helle and Phrixus killed, Nephele helped them escape on the magical flying ram with the Golden Fleece; her name literally means Cloud.


The fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris; called the Daughters of the Sea.

Listed by Hesiod in Theogony (lines 240-264) as: Agaue, Aktaie (Actaie), Alimede, Amphitrite, Autonoe, Doris, Doto, Dynamene, Eione, Erato, Euagore, Euarne, Eudora, Eukrante (Eucrante), Eulimene, Eunike (Eunice), Eupompe, Galatea, Galene, Glauke (Glauce), Glaukonome (Glauconome), Halie, Hipponoe, Hippothoe, Kymatolege (Cymatolege), Kymo (Cymo), Kymodoke (Cymodoce), Kymothoe (Cymothoe), Laomedeia, Leagore, Lysianassa, Melite, Menippe, Nemertes, Neso, Nesaie Panopeia, Pasithea, Pherousa, Ploto, Poulynoe, Pontoporeia, Pronoe, Proto, Protomedeia, Psamathe, Sao, Speio, Themisto, Thetis and Thoe.


The son of Aglaia and king Kharopos (Charopos) of the island of Syme.

Since his mother was one of the Graces, Nereus was, after Akhilleus (Achilles), the most handsome of the Greek soldiers at the siege of Troy; he was not brave and considered to be a weakling.


One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus.


One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus.

Nessos (1)

The Centaur who was responsible for the death of Herakles (Heracles).

When Herakles, his wife Deianeira, and his son Hyllos, were traveling, they came to the river Evenus and encountered Nessos.

Nessos offered to carry Deianeira across the river on his back while Herakles waded across with Hyllos; Nessos quickly transported Deianeira across the river and, with unbridled depravity, tried to forcibly seduce her; Herakles fell on the Centaur with savage fury and moments later Nessos lay bleeding to death on the riverbank.

Before he died Nessos secretly told Deianeira that his blood was a powerful love potion and that if she were to put the magic blood on Herakles it would bind him to her forever; Deianeira collected some of Nessos’ blood and put it on Herakles’ cloak; the blood was poison to Herakles and burned him like acid; Deianeira was horrified that she had mortally wounded the man she had hoped to bind with love; she killed herself in desperation; Herakles was in excruciating pain as a result of poison and also killed himself but he was raised onto Mount Olympos (Olympus) where he became immortal.

Nessos (2)

A river god; one of the sons of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys.

Zeus gave the Rivers, Apollon and the Okeanids the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.


The only son of Neleus and Khloris (Chloris) to survive the wrath of Herakles (Heracles).

Nestor had two brothers and one sister: Khromios (Chromios), Periklymenos and beautiful Pero.

Nestor was married to Eurydike (Eurydice) and had many children: Antilokhos (Antilochus), Aretos, Polykaste (Polycaste), Ekhephron (Echephron), Stratios, Perseus, Thrasymedes, Khromios (Chromios) and Peisistratos.

Nestor was the elder warrior and advisor for the Greeks at the siege of the city of Troy; he was as patient and wise as he was brave and vigorous; his advice was often couched in the form of stories about long dead heroes and bitterly fought battles; he was the king of the port city of Pylos on the south-western Peloponnesian Peninsula; Nestor was a significant figure in both The Iliad and The Odyssey.

New Comedy

A classification of Ancient Greek comedy which arose towards the end of the fourth century BCE; generally, this comedic form employed stock characters and plots drawn from contemporary bourgeois life.


The sixth Eurypontidai king of the city of Sparta who ruled circa 750-720 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of king Eurypon and the other was required to be a descendant of king Agis I (respectively known as the Eurypontidai and the Agiadai).

Very little is known about Nikandros and the dates given for his rule are extrapolations and should be used only as approximations.


The winged goddess Victory; the daughter of Styx and Pallas; she has no home except where Zeus resides.


(died 413 BCE) An Athenian statesman and general during the time of the Peloponnesian War; the son of Nikeratus (Niceratus).

His most notable accomplishment during the Peloponnesian War was a peace treaty he negotiated in the spring of 421 BCE which became known as the Peace of Nikias; the treaty maintained an uneasy peace between Athens and Sparta until 416 BCE when full blown hostilities resumed.

Nikias was not considered to be an outstanding military commander because of his inherently peaceful nature; his poor health and his opposition to the Athenian expedition to the island of Sicily caused the disastrous defeat of the Athenian army, where he met his death along with many of the Athenian soldiers he commanded; he is mentioned often in the book History of the Peloponnesian War by Thukydides (Thucydides).


The father of Aristotle and physician to Amyntas, the father of Philip II who was, in turn, the father of Alexander the Great.


The port city on the Ionian Sea at the entrance to the Gulf of Amurakia.


A son of Menelaos (Menelaus) and Helen who, with his illegitimate brother, Megapenthes, expelled Helen from Sparta when Menelaos died; he was the brother of Hermione.


The primary river of Egypt lorded over by the river god Neilos.

Approximately 3,405 miles (5,480 kilometers) in length, the Nile originates at Lake Victoria in the African interior and flows north to empty into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Nile was a well known river in ancient Greece and the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet, Delta, was used to describe the shape of the Nile’s intersection with the Mediterranean Sea.

The historian Herodotus (died 425? BCE) visited Egypt and recounted the size and shape of the river; Herodotus was not convinced when the Egyptian priests told him that the river’s annual floods were caused by snow melting in the distant mountains; Herodotus was sure that the priests were mistaken and carefully explained how the river must have been fed by rain and not by snow; apparently he could not imagine the length of the Nile or the immensity of the continent of Africa.

It’s also interesting to note that by the time of the poet Euripides, the matter of the source of the Nile’s waters had been resolved; the very first lines of Euripides’ play, Helen (produced in 412 BCE), has the main character saying that she is in Egypt, the land of the Nile, which gets its water, not from rain, but from melting snow.

The Nile river valley is divided into Upper Egypt (the southern Nile) and Lower Egypt (the northern Nile).


A shining cloud surrounding a deity when on earth, i.e., halo.


The Assyrian name for their ancient capital city, known to the Greeks as Ninus; located on the Tigris River on the site of the modern city of Mosul in northern Iraq.


The Greek name for the city of Nineveh; the ancient capital of Assyria; located on the Tigris River on the site of the modern city of Mosul in northern Iraq.


The daughter of Tantalus and the wife of one of the builders of the city of Thebes, Amphion.

Niobe provoked Apollon and Artemis to vengeance by insulting their mother, Leto; Niobe likened herself to Leto and boasted that she had many children and Leto only had two; Niobe had six boys and six girls in the flower of their youth; Apollon killed the boys and Artemis killed the girls; the bloody bodies of the children laid exposed for nine days before Zeus allowed the other Olympians to bury them; Niobe was turned into stone on the slopes of Mount Sipylos near the waters of Akhelous (Achelous), in which state she still weeps over her loss.


The original name of the city of Megara on the Saronic Gulf west of the Isthmus of Korinth (Corinth).

Nitokris (1)

One of the two women mentioned by Herodotus as a queen of the city Babylon.

Nitokris was noted for the extensive alterations to the Euphrates River; she dramatically changed the course of the river and created swamps and a large lake as protection against invasion from the west; she bridged the Euphrates so the citizens of Babylon no longer had to use ferryboats to go from one portion of the city to the other.

Nitokris also revealed her sense of humor by placing her tomb over one of the gates to the city; she put an inscription on the tomb saying that any future king of Babylon who lacked money should open the tomb and take whatever they desired BUT if anyone opened the tomb needlessly, they would be cursed; the tomb laid undisturbed until the time of the Persian king, Darius; he had refused to use the gate which was roofed by the tomb because he thought it would be bad luck to do so; for reasons of pure greed, he opened the tomb and found only the dead body of Nitokris and an inscription saying that only a person who was “insatiate of wealth and basely desirous of gain” would disturb the dead.

The other woman that Herodotus mentioned as a queen of Babylon was named Semiramis and she ruled five generations before Nitokris.

Nitokris (2)

The only female ruler of ancient Egypt.

The priests of Egypt showed the historian, Herodotus, a list of the three hundred and thirty Egyptian rulers and Nitokris was the only woman on the list; she was elevated to queen after her brother was slain by his subjects.

Nitokris devised a plan to avenge her brother’s death and proceeded to build a large underground chamber and invited the people she thought were responsible for her brother’s murder to a banquet in the newly constructed chamber; when the doomed guests were within the chamber, she opened floodgates which allowed the Nile waters to drown them; she then killed herself by jumping into a pit of hot ashes.


An ancient hymn sung to the accompaniment of the lyre and, in later times, the flute; usually dedicated to Apollon.

North Sea

The body of water located north of Europe and known to the ancient Greeks as a source of amber and tin.

Northern Sporades
Vories Sporades

A group of islands near the eastern coast of mainland Greece and directly north of the large island of Euboea.

The modern names of the Northern Sporades are: Skyros, Skopelos, Skiathos, Alonissos, Peristera, Pelagos, Gioura, Piperi, Skantzoura, Adelfio, Skyropoula, Valaxa and Sarakina.


The ancient Greek personification of the South Wind.

Notos was one of the sons of Eos (the Dawn) and Astraios; his brothers are: Zephyros (West Wind) and Boreas (North Wind).

There are two types of winds: 1) the divinely created winds, i.e. Boreas (North Wind), Notos (South Wind), Zephyros (West Wind) and the Etesian winds, and 2) the ill-favored winds that were created by the monster, Typhoeus, when Zeus imprisoned him under the earth; the divinely created winds nourish and bless the earth but the winds of Typhoeus are wild and destructive.


The son of Khthonios (Chthonios) and the king of Boeotia whose daughter, Antiope, was seduced by Zeus and gave birth to twin sons, Amphion and Zethos (Zethus).

The pregnancy of his unwed daughter was so disgraceful to Nykteus that he killed himself but before he died, he made his brother, Lykus (Lycus), promise to punish Antiope for her presumed immoral behavior.

Nykteus and Lykus were sons of one of the Spartoi, i.e. the soldiers born from the dragon’s teeth sown by Kadmus (Cadmus); Lykus made good his promise and imprisoned Antiope; Zeus was not forgiving to anyone who would harm his consort; Lykus and his wife, Dirke (Dirce) were duly punished for their transgressions by Antiope’s sons, Amphion and Zethos.


A general term for maidens who occupy rivers, springs, mountains, etc.

The name nymph literally means Bride; there are several specific types of nymphs:

  1. Okeanid (a nymph of the ocean);
  2. Naiad (a nymph of a river, lake and spring);
  3. Hamadryad or Dryad (a nymph of a tree);
  4. Sylph (a nymph of the air); and
  5. Oread (a nymph of a mountain).
Nymphs of the Ash Trees

The nymphs which were created when the Titan, Kronos (Cronos), attacked his father, Ouranos (the Heavens).

The blood that issued from Ouranos’ wounds produced the Furies, the Giants, the Nymphs of the Ash Trees and the goddess of Love, Aphrodite.


A mountain in Phoenicia, near the streams of Aegyptus; the birthplace of Dionysus.

Dionysus was cared for by the local nymphs which took their name from the mountain they inhabited, i.e. the Nysaean nymphs (also called Nyseides).


Night; one of the children of Khaos (Chaos).

The children of Nyx are: Apate (Deception), Eris (Discord), Geras (Old Age), The Hesperides (Hespere, Eretheis and Aegle), Hypnos (Sleep), Kera (Fate), Keres (Misery), Moirai (The Fates: Klotho, Lakhesis and Atropos), Momos (Blame), Moros (End), Nemesis (Divine Retribution), Oizys (Pain), Oneiroi (the Tribe of Dreams), Philotes (Affection) and Thanatos (Death).



Home • Essays • People, Places & Things • The Immortals
Greek Myths Bookshop • Fun Fact Quiz • Search/Browse • Links • About