Gediz River in its downstream section crossing İzmir Province
|Mouth||Aegean Region, Turkey|
|Length||401 km (249 mi)|
|Official name: Gediz Delta|
|Designated:||April 15, 1998 |
The Gediz River (Turkish: Gediz Nehri, Turkish pronunciation: [ˈɡediz]) is the second-largest river in Anatolia flowing into the Aegean Sea. The ancient names Hermos and Hermus are sometimes still used.
The ancient Greek name of the river was Hermos (Ἕρμος), Latinized as Hermus.
The name of the river Gediz may be related to the Lydian proper name Cadys; Gediz is also the name of a town near the river's sources. The name "Gediz" may also be encountered as a male given name in Turkey.
The Hermos, so-named in Greek antiquity in Homer's Iliad (20.390ff) and in Hesiod's Theogony (337ff), dates from 700-650BC. Far away northeast in ancient Mysia, the river born on holy Mt. Dindymene picks up enough speed and volume in Sardis from the rivers Hyllos and Paktolos to form powerful swirls that drill and earn it a reputation as Nature's Restless Sculptor. Its origin on Mount Dindymene was sufficiently important for Herodotos (1.80) and Strabo (13.4.5) to mention and connect it in the Argosy (A.R.1.1126) with Kyllenian Hermes pictured with scales after 525BC as a fore-caster of Destinies (moiragêtês). Its legendary status for conveying riches occurs in traditions involving gold dust deposited by the Paktylos flowing down from Mt. Tmolos that represented "windfall wealth," or hermaion. "Gold fever" may have attracted the tyrant house of Gyges (ca.675-650BC) and his ancestors for five generations up to Kroisos 560-546BC (Strabo13.4.5), whose rule at Sardis was recorded by Herodotos (1.1-7, 1.48-55, 5.101). The Hermos river valley included a blackened volcanic region 65x50 miles named Katakekaumênê famous for fine wine, known to Homer (IL.2.865) as the Counch of Typhon, inhabited by Arimi, where famous battles were fought by Gyges and by the Persian conqueror Kyros. The First Homeric Epigram (300BC) officially connects the river with Hermes son of Zeus. The river-name found in elegiac poet Mimnermos of Kolophon (620BC), the sculptor Arkhermos of Khios (Pliny NH 36.4.11, 560BC), an Ionian mercenary Hegesermos (580BC), Ageshermos (CIG 5126), Pythermos (Ath.625CD), Philermos (EM 6249), Nikermos, and Hermokreon, an Athenian arkhon (501/0BC), demonstrates some connection with the Olympian god Hermes born on Arkadian Mount Kyllene. Xenophon (Anab.7.1.45, Strabo 13.1.1-6) spoke of Phrykonian Larisa on the Hermos as Kyllene (modern Buruncuk). Both Sardis and Larisa on the Hermos featured major royal cemeteries constructed from rock cut by iron chisels sacred to the god (Homeric Hymn to Hermes 41). An archaic guild of hermogluphoi (Plato Smp 215B, Plut. Mor.580C, ARV2.75.59 519BC) operating near the Agora, sculpted square-figures of Hermes (Hdt.2.51, Paus.1.24.3) inscribed with proverbs from Hipparkhos (Plato Hipparkhos 228D). Along the Lydian river inhabited with inedible catfish (Paus.4.34.2), caves cut from rock, and free-standing square-stone tombs constructed with tetragonôn marble, introduce poetic analogies with Hermes angelos of Hades (Homeric Hymn to Hermes 572) and leader of souls to Hades in the Odyssey (24.1-10). Both the symbolic connections between sculpting and the swirling Hermos, nature's sculptor, and rivers used to convey fallen warriors out to sea, offer examples of early poetic imagery. In archaic Athens, a deme named Hermos (Harpokration) was located en route on the Sacred Way to escort worshippers to Demeter and Eleusis. Hermos deme (Zopyros FGH4F531), so-named in 507/6 BC or earlier, was considered home to Lydian artisans practicing their pottery and painting in the Kerameikos. A famous ceramic painter named Lydos (the Lydian) flourished there ca.540BC. The Hermos River separated Aeolia from Ionia, except for Ionic Phocaea, which was north of the Hermos. The valley of the Hermos was the heartland of the ancient Lydian Empire and overlooking the valley was the Lydian capital Sardis.
Gediz River rises from Murat Mountain and Şaphane Mountain in Kütahya Province and flows through Uşak, Manisa and İzmir Provinces. It joins the sea in the northern section of the Gulf of Izmir, close to the gulf's mouth, near the village of Maltepe in Menemen district, south of the coastal town of Foça.
The Gediz Basin lies between northern latitudes of 38004’–39013’ and southern longitudes of 26042’–29045’. It covers 2.2% of the total area of Turkey. Larger part of the alluvial plain called under the same name as the river (Gediz Plain) is within the area of Manisa Province and a smaller downstream section within İzmir Province.
The Gediz Delta is important as a nature reserve and is home to rare bird species. However, the reserve suffers from water shortages due to heavy demands from irrigation projects, connected to the Demirköprü Dam.
High level of urbanization and industrialization along its basin also caused Gediz River to suffer severe pollution, particularly by sand and gravel quarries and leather industry. These factors contributed to the river's formerly rich fish reserves to become a thing of the past in recent years.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gediz River.|