The Ancient Library

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chap, vii AT SACRED SPRINGS 117

Not only are offerings made to rivers by generals, who wish to cross them,1 but rivers possess their own priests or revert), and sacrifices and dedications are made to them.2 There are even suggestions in myth that at one time the practice of offering human sacrifices to rivers was not unknown.3 Greek literature and mythology are full of Acheloos and the river gods.4

The reason for the sanctity of rivers in Greece is largely to be sought in the value naturally attaching to water in a dry and thirsty land, and also perhaps to marked characteristics

Ditt. Syll. 600 a; Museo Italico, iii. 657, quoted Rouse, Greek Votive Offerings, p. 12, n. 2.

1 E.g. Herodotos vi. 76, vii. 54, vii. 113; Lukian, Alex. 47; Plutarch, Lucullus 24.

2 Iliad xi. 727, v. 77, xxi. 130, xxiii. 146 ; Pindar, Pyth. xii. 27 ; Pausanias iv. 3. 10 ; Herodotos viii. 138 ; Diodoros iv. 23. 4. Dedi­cations to rivers, J.H.S. xxv. p. 60, No. 22; C.I.G. 3700; Galatian and Phrygian inscriptions, J.H.S. xix. p. 76, Nos. 31, 32; B.C.H. xxv. p. 328; Kerkyra, I.G.A. 347. At Chalkedon a river cult apparently gave the name Trord/uos to one of the months, J.H.S. vii. p. 154. The river-god figures frequently on coins.

3 Pausanias vii. 21. 1-5, ix. 33. 4, vii. 19. 4, vii. 20. I; Frazer, Pausanias, v. p. 143.

4 Acheloos is the river-god far excellence. "Acheloum generaliter propter antiquitatem fluminis omnem aquam veteres vocabant," Servius, Georg. i. 9 ; cf. Ephoros ap. Macrobium, Sat. v. 18, F. H. G. i. p. 239. That is why the Megarians dedicated an altar to Acheloos in the place where they diverted the waters of a stream, Paus. i. 41. 2. For the worship of Acheloos at Oropos, Athens, Mykonos, Mantineia, Rhodes, Sicily and Greece in general, see Frazer, Pausanias, i. p. 527, and references.

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