PEIRENE (or Pirene) was the Naiad Nymph of the fresh-water spring of the city of Korinthos (Corinth) on the Isthmos (southern Greece).
She was a daughter of the Sikyonian River-god Asopos who was carried off by Poseidon to the site of the town. There she bore him two sons after whom the city's twin ports, on opposite coasts of the Isthmus, were named. Her own name "the tying" or "fastening one" may refer to the important portage road linking these two ports.
[1.1] ASOPOS (Bacchylides Frag 9)
[1.2] ASOPOS & METOPE (Diodorus Siculus 4.72.1-5)
[2.1] AKHELOIOS (Pausanias 2.2.2)
[3.1] OIBALOS (Pausanias 2.2.2)
LEKHES, KENKHRIAS (by Poseidon) (Pausanias 2.2.2)
PEIRENE (Peirênê), a daughter of Achelous, Oebalus or Asopus and Methone, became by Poseidon the mother of Leches and Cenchrias (Paus. ii. 2. § 3; Diod. iv. 74). She was regarded as the nymph of the well Peirene near Corinth. which was believed by some to have arisen out of the tears which she shed in her grief at the death of her son Cenchrias. (Paus. ii. 3. § 5.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
Pindar, Olympian Ode 13 ep3 (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"That grandsire [the hero Bellerophon] who once strove in vain beside Peirene's spring [a fountain on the citadel Akrokorinthos (Acrocorinth)], and suffered much, seeking to yoke the snake-head Gorgon's offspring, Pegasos."
Bacchylides, Fragment 9 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"The bright-belted daughters [of Asopos] whom gods settled with happy fortunes as founders of invoilate cities. Who does not know of . . . Peirene [fountain of Corinth] the maiden of the twining garland."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 2. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Lekhes (Leches) and Kenkhrias (Cenchrias) [of Korinthos (Corinth)], said to be children of Poseidon and Peirene the daughter of Akheloios (Achelous), though in the poem called The Great Eoiai Peirene is said to be a daughter of Oibalos (Oebalus)."
[N.B. Lekhes and Kenkhrias gave their names to the twin harbours of the city.]
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 3. 3 :
"[In Korinthos (Corinth)] is the entrance to the water of Peirene. The legend about Peirene is that she was a woman who became a spring because of the tears shed in lamentation for her son Kenkhrias (Cenchrias), who was unintentionally killed by Artemis. The spring is ornamented with white marble, and there have been made chambers like caves, out of which the water flows into an open-air well. It is pleasant to drink."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 5. 1 :
"The spring, which is behind the temple [of Aphrodite on the Akrokorinthos (Acrocorinth)], they say was the gift of Asopos to Sisyphos . . . I have heard people say that this spring and Peirene are the same, the water in the city flowing hence underground."
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 72. 1 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Asopos made his home in Phlios [the region of Sikyon], where he married Metope, the daughter of Ladon, to whom were born two sons, Pelasgos and Ismenos, and twelve daughters, Korkyra and Salamis, also Aigina, Peirene, and Kleone, then Thebe, Tanagra, Thespeia, and Asopis, also Sinope, and finally Ornia and Khalkis."
- Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th BC
- Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th BC
- Pausanias, Guide to Greece - Greek Geography C2nd AD
- Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st BC