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Alpheus Ax


ALPHEUS ('AX etos; mod. Ruphia), the chief river of Pelo ponnesus. The Alpheus proper rises near Asea in central Arcadia, but its passage thither by subterranean channels from the Tegean plain, and its union with the Eurotas, are probably mythical (W. Loring, Journ. Hell. Studies, xv. p. 67). The shallow and rapid stream occupies but a small part of its broad, stony bed. Leaving the plain of Megalopolis by a rugged gorge, it receives above Olympia two large tributaries, Erymanthus and Ladon, from the north-east and empties itself into the Ionian sea. Strictly, Ruphia is the modern name for the Ladon, but the name has been given to the whole river. Pliny states that it was navigable for six Roman miles from its mouth. Alpheus was recognized as the typical river-god in the Peloponnesus, as was Achelous (q.v.) in northern Greece. His waters were said to pass beneath the sea and rise again in the fountain Arethusa at Syracuse.