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River Spercheus

SPERKHEIOS (Spercheus) was a river-god of Malis in central Greece.

The River Sperkheios had its headwaters in the Pindus mountain range and flowed east emptying into the Gulf of Malis. The most important neighbouring rivers were the Peneios (Peneus) and Anauros of Thessalia to the north and the Kephisos (Cephisus) of Boiotia and Phokis to the south.




[1] MENESTHIOS (by Polydora) (Homer Iliad 16.173, Apollodorus 3.168, Strabo 9.5.9)
[2] DRYOPS (by Polydore) (Antoninus Liberalis 32)
[3] THE SPERKHEIDES, DIOPATRE (by Deino) (Antoninus Liberalis 22)


SPERCHEIUS (Spercheios), a Thessalian river god, became the father of Menesthius by Polydora, the daughter of Peleus. (Hom. Il. xvi. 174, xxiii. 142; Apollod. iii. 14. § 4; Paus. i. 37. § 2; Herod. vii. 198).

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Homer, Iliad 16. 137 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Menesthios (Menesthius) of the shining corselet, son of Sperkheios (Spercheus), the river swelled from the bright sky, born of the daughter of Peleus, Polydore (Polydora) the lovely, to unremitting Sperkheios, when a woman lay with an immortal."

Homer, Iliad 23. 141 ff :
"He [Akhilleus (Achilles)] stood apart from the pyre [of Patroklos (Patroclus)] and cut off a lock of fair hair which he had grown long to give to the river Sperkheios (Spercheus), and gazing out over the wide wine-blue water, he spoke forth : ‘Sperkheios, it was in vain that Peleus my father vowed to you that there, when I had won home to the beloved land of my fathers, I would cut my hair for you and make you a grand and holy sacrifice of fifty rams consecrate to the waters of your springs, where is your holy ground and your smoking altar. So the old man vowed, but you did not accomplish his purpose. Now, since I do not return to the beloved land of my fathers, I would give my hair into the keeping of the hero Patroklos.’"

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 168 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Polydora, who bore a son Menesthios (Menesthius) whom he [Peleus] called his own, but whose father was the river Sperkheios (Spercheus)."

Strabo, Geography 9. 5. 9 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Sperkheios (Spercheus) was a river of this country [Malis], not only by the assertion of Akhilleus (Achilles) [i.e. in the Iliad] that he ‘fostered the growth of his hair as an offering to Sperkheios,’ but also by the fact that Menesthios (Menesthius), one of his commanders, was called the son of Sperkheios and the sister of Akhilleus."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 37. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"By the river [Kephisos (Cephisus) in Attika] 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 (Achiles) from Troy he will cut off the young man's hair as a gift for the Sperkheios (Spercheus)."

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 22 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[Kerambos (Cerambus) said that] the Nymphai (Nymphs) [of Mount Othrys], were not descended from Zeus, but that Deino had given birth to them, with the River Sperkheios (Spercheus) was the father."

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 32 :
"Dryops was the son of the River Sperkheios (Spercheus) and of Polydore (Polydora), one of the daughters of Danaus. He was king in Oita (Oeta) and he had an only daughter, Dryope."




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