ASTERODEIA was the Naiad Nymph of a gold-bearing stream of the Kaukasos (Caucasus) Mountains. She was loved by King Aeetes of Kholkis (Colchis), bearing him a son Apsyrtos.
Her name was derived from the words astêr, star, and rhodos, rose, and her son's from syrtos, that which is washed down from a river (usually used to describe gold). The suggestion being, that Asterodeia was the Nymphe of a gold-bearing stream, gold sparkling bright like a rosy-star.
This also ties in with the belief that the Golden Fleece originated in tales of Kaukasian tribesmen collecting gold from mountain streams with the aide of lambs' fleeces. In the story of the Argonauts, they carried away not only the fleece, but also the boy of the gold-bearing stream Apsyrtos.
|Perhaps a daughter of the River PHASIS
|APSYRTOS (by Aeetes) (Apollonius Rhodius 3.240)
Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3. 240 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"[At Kholkis] Higher buildings stood at angles to this court on either side. In one of them, the highest, King Aeetes lived with his queen; in another, his son Apsyrtos, whom a Kaukasian (Caucasian) Nymphe named Asterodeia had borne to him before he married Eidyia, the youngest daughter of Tethys and Okeanos."
- Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd BC