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The Potamoi (Greek: Ποταμοί, "Rivers") are the gods of rivers and streams of the earth in Greek mythology.


The river gods were the 3000 sons of the great earth-encircling river Oceanus and his wife Tethys and the brothers of the Oceanids.[1] They were also the fathers of the Naiads.[citation needed] The river gods were depicted in one of three forms: a man-headed bull, a bull-headed man with the body of a serpent-like fish from the waist down, or as a reclining man with an arm resting upon an amphora jug pouring water.[citation needed]

Notable river gods include:

  • Achelous, the god of the Achelous River, the largest river in Greece, who gave his daughter in marriage to Alcmaeon,[2] and was defeated by Heracles in a wrestling contest for the right to marry Deianira.[3]
  • Alpheus, who fell in love with the nymph Arethusa, pursuing her to Syracuse, where she was transformed into a spring by Artemis.[4]
  • Inachus, the first king of Argos and progenitor of Argive line through his son Argus.
  • Nilus, Egyptian river god and the father of numerous daughters who mingled with the descendants of Inachus, forming a dynasty of kings in Egypt, Libya, Arabia and Ethiopia.
  • Peneus, river god of Thessaly flowing from the foot of Pindus. He was the father of Daphne and Stilbe, love interests of the god Apollo.
  • Scamander, who fought on the side of the Trojans during the Trojan War, and, offended when Achilles polluted his waters with the a large number of Trojan corpses, overflowed his banks nearly drowning Achilles.[5]

List of Potamoi[edit]

The following are the sons of Oceanus and Tethys:[6]

Name of river River god Sources Location Son of Oceanus and Tethys
Hes. Ovid Apol. Plut. Hyg. Pau. Others
Achelous or Akheloios Aetolia
Acheron Underworld and Thesprotia *presumably
Acis Changed into a river Sicily son of Pan and nymph Symaethis
Acragas ?[citation needed] Sicily
Aeas Epirus *
Aegaeus Apollonius Scheria (Corcyra) *
Aesar Strabo Tyrrhenia or Etruria *
Aesepus Troad
Almo Latium *
Alpheus Arcadia
Amnisos Apollonius,


Crete *
Amphrysos Thessaly *
Anapos Nonnus Sicily *
Anauros ?[citation needed] Thessaly
Anigros Strabo Elis *
Apidanus Thessaly *
Arar River named after Gallia Celtica (Celtic Gaul)
Araxes River named after Armenia son of Pylus
Ardescus Thrace
Arnos Strabo Etruria *
Ascanius Antoninus Mysia *
Asopus Boeotia and Argos ✓; some accounts, son of Zeus and Eurynome or Poseidon and either Pero or Celusa
Asterion Argos *
Axenus or Axius Paeonia and Macedonia
Baphyras ?[citation needed] Pieria
Borysthenes Antoninus Scythia *
Brychon Lycophron Chersonnese *
Caicinus Bruttium *
Caicus Teuthrania, Mysia
Cayster Lydia *
Cebren Parthenius Troad *
Cephissus Phocis, Attica, Argos
Chremetes Nonnus Libya *
Cladeus ?[citation needed] Elis *
Clitumnus ?[citation needed] Umbria *
Cocytus Oppian Underworld and Thesprotia *
Cratais [citation needed] *
Crinisus Virgil, Lycophron Sicily *
Cydnos Nonnus Cilicia *
Cytheros ?[citation needed] Elis *
Elisson ?[citation needed] Statius Achaea *
Enipeus Thessaly *
Erasinus Argos *
Eridanus Attica
Eridanus Virgil, Nonnus Hyperborea,
Erymanthus Aelian Attica *
Euphrates Assyria
Eurotas ✓ River named after Laconia son of Lelex and Cleocharia or of Myles
Evenus or Aetolia ✓ ; some accounts, a mortal son of Ares and either Demodice or Stratonice who flung himself to the river Lycormas
Ganges India *
Granicus Troad
Haliacmon Macedonia
Halys Apollonius, Valerius Flaccus Paphlygonia and Pontos *
Hebrus Lucian Ciconia, Thrace *
Heptaporus Troad
Hermus Lydia *
Hydaspes Nonnus India ✓; son of Thaumas and Electra
Ilissos Plato Attica *
Imbrasos Athenaeus Samos *
Inachus Argos
Indus India or Caria
Inopos Callimachus Delos *
Ismenus Boeotia
Istrus or Ister Scythia
Ladon Arcadia
Lamos Nonnus Cilicia or Boeotia
Marsyas River named after Phrygia a satyr; son of Hyagnis and either Olympus or Oeagrus
Maeander Caria
Meles Hellanicus, Eugaeon Lydia *
Mincius Virgil Gallia, Italy *
Nestos or Nessus Bistonia, Thrace
Nilus Egypt
Numicius Latium, Italy *
Nymphaeus ?[citation needed] Quintus Smyrnaeus Bithynia and Paphlagonia
Orontes Syria
Pactolus Nonnus Lydia *
Parthenius Paphlagonia
Phasis Colchis
Phlegethon or Pyriphlegethon Virgil, Statius Underworld son of Cocytus
Phyllis Apollonius Thynia, Anatolia *
Peneus Thessaly
Pleistos Apollonius Phocis *
Porpax ?[citation needed] Sicily
Rhesus Troad
Rhine Nonnus Switzerland/Germany/Netherlands *
Rhodius Troad
Rhyndacus Nonnus Phrygia and Bithynia *
Sangarius or Sagaris Phrygia
Satnioeis ?[citation needed] Homer Troad
Scamander Troad
Selemnus ?[citation needed] Achaea
Simoeis Troad
Spercheus Malis
Strymon Edonia, Thrace
Symaethus Sicily *
Tanais Scythia
Termessus Boeotia *
Thermodon Pontos and Assyria
Tiberinus Virgil Latium, Italy *
Tigris Assyria
Titaressus ?[citation needed] Homer, Strabo, Seneca Thessaly
TOTAL 25 25 17

See also[edit]



External links[edit]