The Nereids were sea nymphs who were the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris. A sort of mythological foil to the Sirens, Nereids were known to be extremely friendly and helpful to sailors lost at sea. They figure prominently in the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, when they assisted the fleet in navigating the treacherous pathway between Scylla, the sea monster, and Charybdis, the whirlpool. In art, they were characteristically depicted with female torsos and fish tails. The present example derives from a sarcophagus, with a Neried seated upon the tail of the sea god, Triton. Marine thiasoi (godly processions) were a common motif on sarcophagi due to the Roman's philosophical association between the journey of the soul to the underworld and the belief that encounter with water purified the soul. For a complete Nereid sarcophagus see no. 12 in A.M. McCann, Roman Sarcophagi in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.