Eurotas

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This article is about a mythical king of southern Greece. For other uses of Eurotas, see Eurotas (disambiguation).
Eurotas
King of Laconia[1]
Eurotas evlahos.jpg
Eurotas, from the modern monument of Leonidas I, Thermopylae
Consort Clete
Issue Sparta
Father Myles

In Greek mythology, Eurotas (/jʊˈrtəs/; Greek: Εὐρώτας) was a king of Laconia, the son of King Myles and grandson of Lelex, eponymous ancestor of the Leleges. He had no male heir, but he did have a daughter Sparta and wife Clete. Eurotas bequeathed the kingdom to Lacedaemon, the son of Taygete, after whom Mount Taygetus is named, and Zeus, according to Pausanias.[2] Lacedaemon married Sparta and renamed the state after his wife.

Pausanias says: "It was Eurotas who channelled away the marsh-water from the plains by cutting through to the sea, and when the land was drained he called the river which was left running there the Eurotas."[2] The "cutting through" is seen by Pausanias’ translator and commentator, Peter Levy, S.J., as an explanation of Eurotas (or Vrodamas) Canyon, a ravine north of Skala where the river has cut through the foothills of Taygetus after changing direction to the west of the valley.[3]

Variants[edit]

The Bibliotheca gives a slight variant of the mythological generation of Eurotas: the latter is the son of Lelex, born from the ground and Cleocharia.[4]

Eurotas in art[edit]

River-gods are typically represented in Greek art, such as coin motifs, as figures with the bodies of bulls and the faces of humans. If only the face appears, they might wear horns and have wavy hair or be accompanied by fish. Claudius Aelianus states that the Eurotas and other rivers are like bulls.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Malkin, Irad (1994). Myth and territory in the Spartan Mediterranean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 6. 
  2. ^ a b Guide to Greece, 3.1.1-3.
  3. ^ Pausanias; Peter Levy, S.J. (Translator, Contributor) (1971). Pausanias Guide to Greece. Volume 2, Southern Greece. Penguin Books. p. 10 Note 3. 
  4. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.10.3.
  5. ^ Collignon, Maxime; Harrison, Jane E. (Translator, Contributor) (1899). Manual of Mythology in Relation to Greek Art (New and Cheaper Revised ed.). London: H. Grevel & Co. p. 204.  on Aelian, Variae Historiae, 2.33.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Eurotas at Wikimedia Commons
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Myles
King of Sparta
Pre-Dorian
Succeeded by
Lacedaemon