Nephele was the first wife of Athamas, and the mother of Phrixus and Helle. Her name means 'cloud' (nephele) and it was also borne by a number of other heroines. Clouds played a fairly important role in mythology. Aristophanes wrote a play called Clouds (in Greek Nephelai) ridiculing Socrates.

In this he gave them their own genealogy: they are the daughters of Oceanus (like all water gods and goddesses) and live either on the peaks of Olympus, or in the Hesperides, or in the distant sources of the river Nile.