Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods >> Rustic Gods >> River Gods >> Cephisus (Kephisos)


Greek Name

Κηφισος Κηφισσος


Kêphisos, Kêphissos

Latin Spelling

Cephisus, Cephissus


River Cephisus

KEPHISOS (Cephisus) was a river-god of Attika in southern Greece.

There were two rivers named Kephisos in Attika over which the god presided. The first had its headwaters in the foothills of Mount Parnes and flowed past Athens to enter the Saronic Gulf south of the port of Peiraios (Piraeus). The second flowed from Mount Kithairon (Cithaeron), through the Nysian plain, to enter the sea near the town of Eleusis. It is possible that the same river-god presided over the Kephisos river of Attika, the Kephisos of northern Boiotia and the Kephisos of Argos. The most important neighbouring rivers were the streams of the Asopos to the north and west and the Athenian Ilissos to the south.




[1] DIOGENEIA (Apollodorus 3.196)


Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 196 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Erekhtheus (Erechtheus) [king of Athens] married Praxithea, daughter of Phrasimos and Kephisos' (Cephisus') daughter Diogeneia."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 34. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[In the sanctuary of Amphiaraus in Oropos (Oropus) in Attika :] The altar shows parts . . . The fifth is dedicated to the Nymphai (Nymphs) and Pan, and to the rivers Akheloos (Achelous) and Kephisos (Cephisus)."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 37. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"By the river [Kephisos (Cephisus) in Athens] is a statue of Mnesimakhe (Mnesimache), and a votive statue of her son cutting his hair as a gift for Kephisos. That this habit has existed from ancient times among all the Greeks may be inferred from the poetry of Homer, who makes Peleus vow that on the safe return of Akhilleus (Achilles) from Troy he will cut off the young man's hair as a gift for the Sperkheios (Spercheus)."

Aelian, Historical Miscellany 2. 33 (trans. Wilson) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"The nature of rivers, and their streams, are visible to us. But men who honour them, and have statues made of them, in some cases set up anthropomorphic statues, while others give them bovine form. A likeness to cattle is attributed . . . by the Argives to the Kephisos (Cephisus) [i.e. the other river Kephisos] . . . The Athenian portray the Kephisos [i.e. their river Kephisos] as a human bust but with horns just showing."




A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.