In Greek mythology, Doris is a goddess who ruled the sea. She belonged to a group of goddesses called sea nymphs, or “Oceanids.” Unlike other sea gods and goddesses, Doris was a kind and nurturing ruler. Her name means “bounty of the sea,” and she provided food and habitat for all creatures that lived in the ocean. Doris was also responsible for creating fertile soils along rivers and lakes. Usually, she produced fertile soils in places where freshwater met salt water, which was often the world’s oceans. The fertile soils that Doris created made the surrounding water areas perfect for fish, which led to large numbers of fish appearing in those places. Because of her ability to create life, Doris’s name is associated with the Greek words “Doron,” which means “gift-giver” and “Zoros,” which means “pure” or “fresh.” The word “Zoros” is also used in Greek mythology as a synonym for fresh water or a woman’s soul.
Like many Greek gods and goddesses, Doris has an extensive and complicated family tree. Doris is the offspring of Thethys and Oceanus. She was also married to Nereus. Doris’s children were Nerites and a group of fifty Nereids, who in turn produced a number of children. Starting with her parents, Doris’s family was associated with waterways, rivers, and the seas. Her father, Oceanus, was the god of the sea, and he is said to have presided over a river that circled the world. Thethys, Doris’s mother, was a Titan goddess. Titans were the first gods to appear in Greek mythology, and they are said to have sprung from the heavens. Thethys, like her daughter and husband, was a goddess of the rivers and sea. She had many siblings, including Theia, Rhea, Phoebe, Coeus, and Cronus. Doris reportedly lived with her husband, Nereus, in the Aegean Sea, where they raised their offspring and kept watch over the earth’s waterways. Nereus was more or less the male equivalent of Doris, and he was tasked with keeping watch over the rivers and seas. Also like Doris, he was a “good” god who sought to bring peace and do good things to the world.
Nerites, the son of Doris and Nereus, is a minor god in Greek mythology. Like his parents, he was a ruler of the sea. Nerites was famous for his beauty and good looks. He is romantically linked to the goddess Aphrodite in several versions of Greek mythology. Nerites was a brother to the fifty Nereids, who were kind-hearted sea nymphs that helped sailors safely navigate the world’s ocean passages.
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