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Maia - Greek Nymph Maia


Definition: The Greek nymph Maia was a daughter of the Titan Atlas and Pleione. Maia was one of the seven mountain nymphs known as Pleiades (Taygete, Elektra, Alkyone, Asterope, Kelaino, Maia, and Merope). Maia was the mother of Hermes (Roman Mercury) with Zeus and was associated, by the Romans, with the goddess of spring, Maia Maiestas.

From the Homeric Hymn to Hermes:
    "Muse, sing of Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia, lord of Cyllene and Arcadia rich in flocks, the luck-bringing messenger of the immortals whom Maia bare, the rich-tressed nymph, when she was joined in love with Zeus, -- a shy goddess, for she avoided the company of the blessed gods, and lived within a deep, shady cave. There the son of Cronos used to lie with the rich-tressed nymph, unseen by deathless gods and mortal men, at dead of night while sweet sleep should hold white-armed Hera fast."

Sources include: Hesiod, Alcaeus, Simonides, Apollodorus, Hyginus, Vergil, Horace, Ovid, and Macrobius.

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