Nilus (mythology)

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Nilus or Neilos
River God of the Nile
Member of the Potamoi
New Wing, Vatican Museums (25497052238).jpg
AbodeRiver Nile in Egypt
Personal information
ParentsOceanus and Tethys
SiblingsPotamoi and Oceanides
ConsortNephele, Callirhoe
OffspringAchiroe, Memphis, Telephassa, Chione, Anippe, Caliadne (possibly), Polyxo (possibly)

Nilus /ˈnlʊs/ or Neilos (Ancient Greek: Νειλος or Νεῖλόν), in Greek mythology, was one of the Potamoi who represent the god of the Nile river itself.


Nilus was one of 3,000 river gods children of Oceanus and Tethys.[1][2] He was father to several children, of these included Memphis[3] (mother of Libya by Epaphus a king of Egypt), as well as a son named Nilus Ankhmemiphis (the father of Anchinoe and Telephassa)[citation needed].

His granddaughter Libya in turn became mother to Belus and Agenor. These sons then married (presumably) younger daughters of his son Nilus named Anchiroe[3] and Telephassa respectively. A daughter Chione[4] was said to be borne to Nilus and Callirhoe, an Oceanid. His other children include: Argiope,[5] Anippe,[6] Eurryroe, Europa[7] and possibly Caliadne, Polyxo and Thebe.[8]



And Tethys bore to Ocean eddying rivers, Nilus, and Alpheus, and deep-swirling Eridanus.

From Oceanus and Tethys [were born] the Oceanides . . . Of the same descent Rivers : Strymon, Nile, Euphrates, Tanais, Indus, Cephisus, Ismenus, Axenus, Achelous, Simoeis, Inachus, Alpheus, Thermodon, Scamandrus, Tigris, Maeandrus, Orontes.


When Epaphos was ruler of the Aigyptians (Egyptians), he married Neilos' daughter Memphis, and in her honour founded the polis of Memphis, and fathered a daughter Libya. [N.B. Libya was the ancient Greek name for the continent of Africa.]

  • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca:

Belos (Belus) [grandson of Epaphos] remained to become king of Aigyptos (Egypt), and married Neilos' daughter Ankhinoe (Anchinoe), who gave him twin sons, Aigyptos (Aegyptus) and Danaus.

  • Pseudo-Plutarch, Greek and Roman Parallel Stories:

Bousiris (Busiris), the son of Poseidon and Anippe, daughter of Neilos ... So says Agathon of Samos.

  • Tzetzes, Chiliades:

Hippostratus says that Aegyptus has begotten only by Eurryroe,
The daughter of Nilus, fifty sons;
As well as Danaus has begotten all his daughters,
By Europa, the daughter of Nilus,...


  1. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 337 ff
  2. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae Preface
  3. ^ a b Apollodorus, 2.1.4
  4. ^ Servius, Commentary on Virgil's Aeneid 4.250
  5. ^ Gantz, p. 208; Pherecydes fr. 21 Fowler 2000, p. 289 = FGrHist 3 F 21 = Scholia on Apollonius RhodiusArgonautica 3.1177-87f.
  6. ^ Plutarch, Parallela minora 38
  7. ^ Tzetzes, Chiliades 7.37 p. 368-371
  8. ^ Scholia on Homer, Iliad 9.383


Further reading[edit]

  • Fowler, Robert. L. (2000), Early Greek Mythography: Volume 1: Text and Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0198147404.
  • Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, Two volumes: ISBN 978-0-8018-5360-9 (Vol. 1), ISBN 978-0-8018-5362-3 (Vol. 2).