The name is created by Shakespeare for a character in his play 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596). It was Inspired by the Ancient Greek “Niriis (Νηρηΐς) Niriides (Νηρηΐδες)”. The Nereids are sea nymphs (female spirits of sea waters), the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris, sisters to Nerites. They were distinct from the mermaid-like Sirens. They often accompany Poseidon and can be friendly and helpful to sailors fighting perilous storms.