The name “Doris” (Greek Δωρίς, translit. Dōrís) may be connected to the Greek word δῶρον (dôron), meaning “gift.” This linguistic element also appears in the names of a few of Doris’ sisters, including Eudora and Polydora.
Doris Δωρίς (Dōrís)
[DAWR-is, DOHR-, DOR-] /ˈdɔr ɪs, ˈdoʊr-, ˈdɒr-/
Titles and Epithets
As a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, Doris was commonly referred to as an “Oceanid” (Ὠκεανίς, Ōkeanís). Hesiod also described Doris individually as “fair-haired” (εὔκομος, eúkomos)—a very common epithet among Greek goddesses.
Doris, one of the Oceanids, was a beautiful nymph and a minor goddess of the sea. Very little is known about her; other than being the wife of Nereus and the mother of the Nereids, she did not have any unique attributes that set her apart from other nymphs.
In ancient art, Doris was sometimes represented alongside her husband or daughters. However, she was usually depicted as a fairly generic goddess (attractive, dressed in a flowing robe) and is thus difficult to identify with any certainty, except in cases where the artist labeled her.
Doris’ parents were Oceanus and Tethys, early gods of the sea and two of the original twelve Titans born to Gaia and Uranus. Doris and her sisters made up the three thousand Oceanids, while her brothers were the three thousand Potamoi, or “Rivers.”
Doris married Nereus, another sea god, and together they had fifty sea nymph daughters known as the Nereids. According to one source, she also had a son, Nerites, who became a handsome companion of Poseidon.
Doris did not have much in the way of an individual mythology. According to Hesiod, she was an Oceanid, one of the daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. She eventually married Nereus, the sea god known as the “Old Man of the Sea,” and gave birth to the fifty Nereids, whom Hesiod described as “passing lovely amongst goddesses.”
A few of Doris’ Nereid daughters were significant figures. Thetis, for example, married the hero Peleus and became the mother of Achilles; Amphitrite became the wife of Poseidon and ruled as queen of the sea; and Galatea was known as the unhappy love interest of the Cyclops Polyphemus.
Doris is not as familiar in modern pop culture as many of the more powerful gods of the Greek pantheon, but she has featured in some recent adaptations of Greek mythology. For instance, she appears in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
Doris remains a common name in the Western world; the Oceanid’s namesakes include famous figures such as the actress Doris Day. Doris Cove in Antarctica is also named after the Oceanid Doris.