NEREAS

Greek Sea God

In Greek mythology, Nereas (or, Nereus) was a sea god. Called by Homer ''Old Man of the Sea'', Nereas predates Poseidon, god of the sea and other waters. Nereas was noted for his wisdom, his truthfulness, his smooth and kind character, his gift of prophecy and his ability to change his shapes. The shape-shifting god that could not tell a lie was the son of Pontus, the pre-Olympian god of the Sea and Gaia (or Gaea), the goddess of Earth. The Nereids (water nymphs) were his daughters by the Oceanid Doris, and he lived with them in the depths of the Aegean Sea. Aphrodite (or Venus), the goddess of beauty and love, was a pupil of Nereas.

According to one of the most characteristic mythological references to his gift of prophecy, Nereas was the first to tell Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, that his act of abducting Helen, the beautiful wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta, was an evil act which would result in the devastation of his homeland. The Greek hero Heracles, in his quest for the golden apples of the Hesperides, obtained directions from Nereus by wrestling with him in his many forms. Sailors and seamen were never afraid of Nereas, for his powers were perceived as positive and beneficial. According to Theogony, Nereas is a truthful, suave old man who deserves only trust, as his mind generates only rightful thoughts. It follows that Nereas is directly associated with the various faces of the sea which, as long as it is respected and trusted, never deceives the people with false promises and always offers itself as a means for human prosperity.