Alpheus

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Alpheus (ălfē´əs) or Alfiós (älfēôs´), river, c.70 mi (110 km) long, rising in the Taygetus Mts., S Greece. The longest river in the Peloponnesus, it flows northwest through gorges, past Olympia, and onto the Olympia plains before entering the Ionian Sea. In Greek mythology, its waters were said to pass under the sea and to emerge at Syracuse (Italy) in the fountain of Arethusa. Hercules, to clean the stables of Augeas, turned the Alpheus through them. It is the river Alph of Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan. The lower Alpheus was formerly known as Rouphia.

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Alpheus in Greek mythology, a river-god who fell in love with the nymph Arethusa. Having fled to Ortygia to escape him, she was turned into a fountain; according to the legend, Alpheus then flowed under the sea to reach the fountain, and this gave rise to the ancient belief that the water of the river Alpheus flowed through the sea without mixing with it.

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Alpheus (ălfē´əs), river god: see Arethusa.