RHENE was a Nymph of the island of Samothrake in the north Aegean. She was perhaps the Naias of the spring or fountain of the island's main town.
Rhene was loved by the god Hermes, and bore him a son, Saon, the first king of Samothrake, after whom Mount Saon was named, the site of the island's famous Mysteries. The pair may have coupled in the shape of a ram and sheep, for Rhene, means simply "the sheep", while Hermes was the god of flocks. Alternatively Rhene and/or the unnamed Samothrakian Nymphe, might be Hekate, the goddess of the holy Zerynthian Cave on Mount Saon.
In other accounts an unnamed Samothrakian Nymphe was the mother of Saon by Zeus. She is probably the same as the Pleiad Elektra, and Saon an alternate name for Iasion.
|Perhaps the daughter of a mainland RIVER-GOD
|[1.1] SAON (Rhene by Hermes) (Diodorus Siculus 5.48.1)
[1.2] SAON (unnamed Nymphe by Zeus) (Diodorus Siculus 5.48.1)
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 48. 1 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"One of the inhabitants of the island [of Samothrake], a certain Saon, who was a son, as some say, of Zeus and a Nymphe, but, according to others, of Hermes and Rhene, gathered into one body the peoples who were dwelling in scattered habitations and established laws for them [i.e. he established the main town of the island]."
- Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st BC