Amalgamated Hamadryads

This one is 16″ wide x 20″ high on stretched canvas and titled Amalgamated Hamadryads.

Prints are available HERE.

There are tons of stories and myths about dryads and hamadryads. and if you have ever read the Metamorphoses of Ovid you are familiar with hamadryads.
Mythology seems to be a not so popular subject nowadays though so I’m guessing you haven’t.
Dryads are basically oak nymphs, or oak spirits, in Greek mythology. Though the word was specific to oak trees with the ancient Greeks it has changed over the centuries to be a generic term for any sort of tree spirit. They were super shy and basically kept to themselves except on rare occasions.
The only ones they liked to chill with regularly that wasn’t one of their own or another sort of forest creature was the goddess Artemis and in a few tales the goddess Demeter which is in some stories the mother of Artemis.
I did a watercolor of Demeter back in 2012 titled “Demeter in the view of mortals” which you can see here… HERE.
Anyways, that is what a dryad is basically.
All dryads were connected to their trees and lived centuries. Hamadryads though were more like an actual part of the tree. If a dryad’s tree was cut down for example it would cause the dryad pain and the dryad would be hurt and need find a new tree. If a hamadryad’s tree were destroyed the hamadryad would die. The Greek gods punished any mortals who harmed a hamadryad’s tree for that reason.
The best story of it (or one of the best) is in the Metamorphoses of Ovid.
It is about this dude named Erysichthon who was the king of Thessaly.
He wanted to build a big house of fine wood and sent his men to cut trees in a grove which was considered sacred. The grove happened to be a favorite place of nymphs and such and also a place that the Goddess Demeter really liked. He was probably F’d just by having that done in itself, but we shall never know because he went a step further.
There was this one really massive oak tree covered with votive wreaths which symbolized the answering of prayers by Demeter herself. That freaked Erysichthon’s men out so they wouldn’t touch the thing. Erysichthon got pissy and cut it down himself. The oak was the home of a hamadryad, or maybe it was the hamydryad itself depending on how you wish to view it. The hamadryad came forth and the hamadryad’s last words were a to put a curse on Erysichthon. Hamydryad curses aren’t worth much, but when the goddess Demeter is on your side it changes the situation. To punish him Demeter asked another goddess named Limos to put a special curse on him. Limos was the goddess of starvation among other things.
An odd note here is that in most mythology concerning Limos and Demeter they are at odds because Demeter was the goddess of the harvest which is pretty much not in lines with famine and starvation.
Anyways… Limos lays a big ass curse on our foolish king. From then on he was so hungry it was his only need and desire to eat food. Sounds bad enough, but with each bite he’d take he’d get hungrier too. It was a never ending and always increasing need. He lost his kingdom and all his money, he sold his daughter as a slave, and eventually got so hungry he ate himself.
Moral of the story? Leave the hamadryads (read trees) alone.

~ by Aarron on May 8, 2017.

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