Alpheus in Greek mythology, was a god of a river, the son of Oceanus and Tethys, famous for his love for the nymph Arethusa, who bathed in the river which he ruled over. She refused his proposal and fled, leaving her dress behind her. Alpheus was already close upon her, when she prayed to Diana, who covered her with a cloud. However, Alpheus followed the cloud, when it was suddenly changed into water. Alpheus now changed himself into his watery form and sought to mix his stream with hers, but Diana removed her to the island of Ortygia. Again Alpheus found a way to her, and Arethusa, not wishing to withstand such a passionate love, permitted him to mix his waves with hers. The ancients related some very wonderful things about these two streams. The Arethusa was said to become of a red color when the blood of the sacrifices at Olympia flowed into Alpheus. The latter is also said to have slain his brother, and in despair he threw himself into the Nyctimus River, which subsequently bore his name. The water was said to possess the virtue of giving to departed souls forgetfulness of all the past. The Alpheus River rises on the southern limit of Arcadia, and runs through Elis, in Peloponnesia.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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