The dryads (gr. Δρυάδες - Dryádes ) are tree spirits of Greek mythology . In fact, they are nymphs of the oak trees , but the term has become common to all tree nymphs. The Greek word δρῦς (drys) means "tree, oak", from the Indo-European root * derew (o) - "tree" or "wood". They are presented as beautiful females.
The nymphs of the ash trees were called Meliai . They looked after the child Zeus in Rhea's cave on Crete . Gaia gave birth to the Meliai after fertilization by falling drops of blood from the discarded genitals of the emasculated Uranus .
Dryads, like all nymphs, were supernaturally long-lived and tied to their homes, but some of them went a little further than that. These were the hamadryads that were part of their trees, so that when the tree died, so did its hamadryad. For this reason, dryads and the Greek gods punished any mortal who injured a tree without first calling on the tree nymphs. If a dryad is separated from its tree for too long or if the tree suffers, the dryad suffers too.
According to Pherenikos, the Hamadryads were the daughters of the forest spirit Oxylos and his sister, the Dryad Hamadryas . The hamadryads handed down by name were Aigeiros , Ampelos , Balanos , Karya , Kraneia , Orea , Ptelea and Syke . In addition, Oxylos and Hamadryas had other daughters. The name of each of these daughters was the inspiration for the Greek name of a tree species, Aigeiros for the black poplar , Ampelos for the vine , Balanos for the oak , Karya for the walnut tree ( hazel and walnut tree , possibly also for the chestnut ), Kraneia for the Cornelian cherry , Orea for the black mulberry tree or the wild olive tree , Ptelea for the mountain elm and Syke for the fig tree .
- Leo Bloch : Nymphs . In: Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Hrsg.): Detailed lexicon of Greek and Roman mythology . Volume 3.1, Leipzig 1902, Sp. 500-567 ( version ).
- Der Neue Herder, From A to Z, first half volume: A to L, Freiburg im Breisgau 1949 (Herder Verlag), column 816, there the article "Dryade"
- Trees and Forests, Hamburg 2010 (Verlag Friedrich Oetinger GmbH), page 56
- Hamadryades . theoi.com. Retrieved April 20, 2017.