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River Pactolus

PAKTOLOS (Pactolus) was a river-god of Lydia in Anatolia (modern Turkey). His streams were flecked with gold from the time King Midas washed away the curse of the golden touch in his waters.

The Paktolos River was a small tributary of the River Hermos which flowed from the Lydian Mount Tmolos near the town of Sardis.


OKEANOS & TETHYS (Nonnus Dionysiaca 24.43)




Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 15 (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Nymphae (Nymphs) would often leave their vine-clad slopes of [Mt] Tmolus [i.e. Oreades], often leave Pactolus' stream [i.e. Naiades], delighted both to see the cloth she [Arachne] wove and watch her working too; such grace she had."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 10. 142 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[The young god Dionysos grew up in the care of Rhea in Lydia :] To escape the midday lash of Helios (the Sun) moving on high, he [Dionysos] cleansed his body in the stream of the Meionian (Maeonian) River [in Lydia] bubbling gently; Paktolos (Pactolus) glad to gratify Lyaios [Dionysos] murmured as he poured the goldsowing water upon the purple sand, and the gilded fish went swimming in wealthy sounding where the rich ore lay deep."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 12. 123 ff :
"[Dionysos mourns the death of his beloved Ampelos :] Before the unsmiling countenance of Dionysos [mourning the death of his love Ampelos], full of love and piteous pining, the reedy Lydian Hermos (Hermus) held up his course, and his fastrolling waves which poured on with weatherbeaten throb--he cared no more to flow; Paktolos (Pactolus) yellow as saffron with the wealth deep under his flood, stayed his water in mourning, like the image of a sorrowful man; Sangarios the Phrygian stream, in honour of the dead, checked back the course of his banked fountains."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 24. 23 ff :
"[The River Hydaspes cries out after being set on fire by Dionysos during the Indian War :] ‘Remember Maionia (Maeonia) your own country, for Hydaspes is brother of your charming [river] Paktolos (Pactolus). Grant now this one boon to all these Rivers, my brothers, and withdraw your flame.’"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 43. 400 ff :
"[The River-Gods came to the wedding of Poseidon and Beroe bearing gifts :] Old [River] Paktolos (Pactolus) came bringing the like offerings from his opulent mines, with cautious hands, for he feared the Lydian master, Bakkhos (Bacchus) his king [i.e. who lost the contest for Beroe], and he feared Rheia his neighbour, the cityholder of his country Mygdonia."





A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.