Λέγεται: κρείων. Ονομάζεται: Αχελώιος. Χαρακτηρίζεται ως ο μεγαλύτερος ποταμός. (Ιλ. Φ 194)
Achelous (Acheloios), the god of the river Achelous which was the greatest, and according to tradition, the most ancient among the rivers of Greece. He with 3000 brother-rivers is described as a son of Oceanus and Thetys (Hes. Theog. 340), or of Oceanus and Gaea, or lastly of Helios and Gaea (Natal. Com. vii. 2). The origin of the river Achelous is thus described by Servius (ad Virg. Georg. i. 9; Acn. viii. 300): When Achelous on one occasion had lost his daughters, the Sirens, and in his grief invoked his mother Gaea, she received him to her bosom, and on the spot where she received him, she caused the river bearing his name to gush forth. Other accounts about the origin of the river and its name are given by Stephanus of Byzantium, Strabo (x.), and Plutarch (De Flum. 22). Achelous the god was a competitor with Heracles in the suit for Deianeira, and fought with him for the bride. Achelous was conquered in the contest, but as he possessed the power of assuming various forms, he metamorphosed himself first into a serpent and then into a bull. But in this form too he was conquered by Heracles, and deprived of one of his horns, which however he recovered by giving up the horn of Amalthea (Ov. Met. ix. 8, &c.; Apollod. i. 8.1, ii. 7.5). Sophocles (Trachin. 9, &c.) makes Deianeira relate these occurrences in a somewhat different manner. According to Ovid (Met. ix. 87), the Naiads changed the horn which Heracles took from Achelous into the horn of plenty. When Theseus returned home from the Calydonian chase he was invited and hospitably received by Achelous, who related to him in what manner he had created the islands called Echinades (Ov. Met. viii. 547, &c.). The numerous wives and descendants of Achelous are spoken of in separate articles. Strabo (x.) proposes a very ingenious interpretation of the legends about Achelous, all of which according to him arose from the nature of the river itself. It resembled a bull's voice in the noise of the water; its windings and its reaches gave rise to the story about his forming himself into a serpent and about his horns; the formation of islands at the mouth of the river requires no explanation. His conquest by Heracles lastly refers to the embankments by which Heracles confined the river to its bed and thus gained large tracts of land for cultivation, which are expressed by the horn of plenty. Others derive the legends about Achelous from Egypt, and describe him as a second Nilus. But however this may be, he was from the earliest times considered to be a great divinity throughout Greece (Hom. Il. xxi. 194), and was invoked in prayers, sacrifices, on taking oaths, &c. (Ephorus ap. Macrob. v. 18), and the Dodonean Zeus usually added to each oracle he gave, the command to offer sacrifices to Achelous. This wide extent of the worship of Achelous also accounts for his being regarded as the representative of sweet water in general, that is, as the source of all nourishment (Virg. Georg. i. 9). The contest of Achelous with Heracles was represented on the throne of Amyclae (Paus. iii. 18.9), and in the treasury of the Megarians at Olympia there was a statue of him made by Dontas of cedar-wood and gold (Paus. vi. 19.9). On several coins of Acarnania the god is represented as a bull with the head of an old man.
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Κατά τον Ομηρο ήταν δύο στον αριθμό (Οδ. μ 52), ενώ κατά τους μεταγενέστερους συγγραφείς ήταν τρεις ή τέσσερις. Ζούσαν μεταξύ της Αιαίας νήσου και της Σκύλλας και με την εξαίσια φωνή τους προσέλκυαν προς αυτές τους παραπλέοντες και τους φόνευαν (Οδ. μ 39 & 52).
(Seirenes). The daughters of Phorcys, according to later legend of Achelous, and one of the Muses. In Homer there are two, in later writers, three, called Ligea, Leucosia, and Parthenope, or Aglaopheme, Molpe, and Thelxiepea. Homer describes them as dwelling between Circe's isle and Scylla, on an island, where they sit in a flowery meadow, surrounded by the mouldering bones of men, and with their sweet song allure and infatuate those that sail by. Whoever listens to their song and draws near them never again beholds wife and child. They know everything that happens on earth. When Odysseus sailed past, he had stopped up the ears of his companions with wax, while he had made them bind him to the mast, that he might hear their song without danger. Orpheus protected the Argonauts from their spell by his own singing. As they were only to live till some one had sailed past unmoved by their song, they cast themselves into the sea, on account either of Odysseus or of Orpheus, and were changed to sunken rocks. When the adventures of Odysseus came to be localized on the Italian and Sicilian shore, the seat of the Sirens was transferred to the neighbourhood of Naples and Sorrento, to the three rocky and uninhabited islets called the Sirenusae, the Sirenum scopuli of Vergil, or to Capri, or to the Sicilian promontory of Pelorum. There they were said to have settled, after vainly searching the whole earth for the lost Persephone, their former playmate in the meadows by the Achelous; and later legend also assigned this at the time when they in part assumed a winged shape. They were represented as great birds with the heads of women, or with the upper part of the body like that of a woman, with the legs of birds, and with or without wings. At a later period they were sometimes regarded as retaining their original character of fair and cruel tempters and deceivers. But they are more generally represented as singers of the dirge for the dead, and they were hence frequently placed as an ornament on tombs; or as symbols of the magic of beauty, eloquence, and song, on which account their sculptured forms were seen on the funeral monuments of fair women and girls, and of orators and poets-- for instance, on those of Isocrates and Sophocles. The National Museum at Athens contains several examples of stone Sirens, not as reliefs, but as separate figures; and a funeral monument of this type may be noticed on a vase in the British Museum, where the Siren is standing on a pillar and playing the lyre.
This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Siren Aglaope : Perseus Encyclopedia
Sirens : Various WebPages
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