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The Nereides were the 50 daughters of Nereus and Doris. Nereus was the eldest son of Pontus (the Sea,) and his wife/mother Gaia (the Earth), who was his only parent (though Aether, the upper air, may have been his father). Nereus was a shape shifter with the power of prophecy. According to Hesiodus, "They call him the Old Gentleman because he is trustworthy, and gentle, and never forgetful of what is right, but the thoughts of his mind are mild and righteous." Doris ("gift," "bounty" or "pure, unmixed") was the daughter of Oceanus, the divine personification of the river that encircled the world, the father of everything, the eldest son of Uranus and Gaia. Oceanus and his wife/sister Tethys, parented 3,000 Oceanids (including Doris) as well as all the rivers, fountains, and lakes. Doris was the goddess of the rich fishing-grounds at the mouths of rivers, where fresh water mingled with the brine; she represented the fertility of the ocean. The Nereides symbolized everything beautiful and kind about the sea. They were represented as beautiful, barefoot girls, crowned with branches of red coral,and dressed in white silk robes trimmed with gold. They were part of Poseidon's entourage and carried his trident. Their brother was Nerites. He was so beautiful that Aphrodite fell in love with him even before she rose up from the sea, but he refused to leave his family to go with her to Olympos, so she changed him into a shellfish. His sisters persuaded Poseidon to restore him to his previous condition, and he became the sea-god's charioteer. Anteros ("love returned"), the god of requited love and the punisher of those who scorn love and the advances of others, arose from the mutual love of Poseidon and Nerites.
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