Saturday, June 25, 2022

Arethusa, an ace nymph; Pausanias, Desc. Graec. 5.7.2

 Content Warning: sexual assault

de quo vulgata est fabula, virum illum [Alphaeum] fuisse venatorem, Arethusam amasse, & ipsam venandi studiosam. Quae quum illius nuptias recusasset, in insulam, cui Ortygiae nomen fuit, prope Syracusas, dicitur transmisse, atque ibi in fontem conversam: ipsi etiam Alpheo accidisse, ut prae amore in amnem mutaretur.

λέγεται δὲ καὶ ἄλλα τοιάδε ἐς τὸν Ἀλφειόν, ὡς ἀνὴρ εἴη θηρευτής, ἐρασθῆναι δὲ αὐτὸν Ἀρεθούσης, κυνηγετεῖν δὲ καὶ ταύτην. καὶ Ἀρέθουσαν μὲν οὐκ ἀρεσκομένην γήμασθαι περαιωθῆναί φασιν ἐς νῆσον τὴν κατὰ Συρακούσας, καλουμένην δὲ Ὀρτυγίαν, καὶ ἐνταῦθα ἐξ ἀνθρώπου γενέσθαι πηγήν: συμβῆναι δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ ἔρωτος καὶ Ἀλφειῷ τὴν ἀλλαγὴν ἐς τὸν ποταμόν.


--Pausanias, Descriptio Graecae 5.7.2; Translated into Latin by Romulus Amasaeus (1696)

It is said that Alphaeus was a hunter who loved Arethusa (who also was a hunter). Since Arethusa rejected the idea of marriage, she fled to the island next to Syracuse called Ortygia, and transformed into a spring. Alphaeus did the same thing: he transformed himself into a river out of love for her.




Name:  Pausanias

Date:  110 – 180 CE

Works:  Description of Greece



Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



 Pausanias was a Greek writer who lived during the era of the “Five Good Emperors.” His work, the Description of Greece, is an important source for geographical, historical, archaeological, and cultural information about ancient Greece.


ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)


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