Greek Mythology >> Nymphs >> Naiads >> Callirhoe (Kallirhoe)


Greek Name

Καλλιρροη Καλλιροη


Kallirrhoê, Kallirhoê

Latin Spelling

Callirhoe, Calliroe


Beautifully-Flow (kalli-, rhoos)

KALLIRHOE (Callirhoe) was the Naiad-nymph of a spring or fountain of the main town of Akarnania (Acarnania) (central Greece). She was a daughter of the river-god Akheloios (Achelous) who wed the Argive prophet Alkmaion (Alcmaeon) when he founded a settlement in the region. Kallirhoe inadvertently brought about her husband's death by demanding the cursed necklace of Harmonia as a wedding gift.


AKHELOIOS (Apollodorus 3.88, Pausanias 8.24.9)


AMPHOTEROS, AKARNAN (by Alkmaion) (Apollodorus 3.88, Pausanias 8.24.9)


CALLI′RRHOE (Kallirroê). A daughter of Achelous and wife of Alcmaeon, whom she induced to procure her the peplus and necklace of Harmonia, by which she caused her husband's death. Callirrhoë then requested Zeus, with whom she lived in close intimacy, to grant that her sons by Alcmaeon might grow up to manhood at once, in order that they might be able to avenge the death of their father. Zeus granted the request, and Amphoterus and Acarnan killed the murderers of their father, the sons of Phegeus, at Delphi, and afterwards Phegeus himself also. (Apollod. iii. 7. § 6.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 88 - 91 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"The oracular god [Apollon] told him [Alkmaion (Alcmaeon)] to go to [the river-god] Akhelous (Achelous) and receive a second purification from him . . . Finally he made his was to the springs of Akhelous, was purified by him and given his daughter Kallirrhoe (Callirhoe). He also colonized Akhelous' alluvial land and settled there.
In time, Kallirhoe developed a yearning for the necklace and robe [of Harmonia], and threatened to leave Alkmaion if she did not get them. So Alkmaion returned to Psophis and told Phegeus it was prophesied that his sanity depended on his taking the necklace and the robe to Delphoi as offerings. Phegeus believed this and gave them to him, but when a servant disclosed that Alkmaion was really taking the articles to Kallirhoe, he had his sons ambush Alkmaion and murder him . . .
Kallirhoe, who was having an affair with Zeus when she heard about Alkmaion's fate, begged that Alkmaion's and her sons be made adult in order to avenge their father's murder. This was immediately accomplished, and the grown sons set out to gain satisfaction for their father . . . Amphoteros (Amphoterus) and Akarnan (Acarnan)."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 24. 9 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"On discovering the alluvial deposit of the Akheloios (Achelous) [in Akarnania] he [Alkmaion (Alcmaeon)] settled there, and took to wife Kallirhoe (Callirhoe), said by the Akarnanians to have been the daughter of Akheloios. He had two sons, Akarnan (Acarnan) and Amphoteros (Amphoterus) . . . Kallirhoe conceived a passion for the necklace of Eriphyle, and for this reason sent Alkmaion against his will to Phegea."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 9. 396 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Iolaus was now restored in form and features to his early prime. This guerdon was the gift of Hebe Junonia [daughter of Juno-Hera], to gratify her husband's [the apotheosed Heracles'] wish. She meant to swear not to bestow such gifts on any man thereafter, but was stopped by Themis. ‘Civil war’, she said, ‘embroils Thebae (Thebes) now . . . [and Alcmaeon] distraught with troubles, driven from his mind and home, the Eumenides [Erinyes] and his mother's [Eriphyle's] ghost (umbra) shall hound him till his consort [Callirhoe] shall demand the fatal golden necklace, and the sword of Phegeus drain the blood of kith and kin. And then at last [i.e. after the death of her husband] Callirhoe Acheloia [daughter of Achelous], for her infant sons shall beg those years [removed from Iolaus] from Jove [Zeus] on bended knee, to speed their vengeance for the victor's death. And, at her suit, Jove [Zeus] shall foreclaim that gift of his stepdaughter [Hebe], and her sons shall be transformed from their infancy.’
Themis, who foreknew the future, spoke these prophecies. A rumbling argument arose in heaven, the gods all grumbling why others should not be allowed to grant such gifts [i.e. the rejuvenating power of the goddess Hebe] . . . till Juppiter [Zeus] unlocked his lips. ‘If you at all,’ he said, ‘Hold me in honour, what possesses you? Does anyone suppose he has the power to conquer fate? It was the will of fate that Iolaus gained his years again; to fate the children of Callirhoe will owe their manhood, not to canvassing or conflict.’"





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