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ARETHUSA , town in Judea, probably located in the Shephelah. Arethusa is mentioned by Josephus (Ant., 14:75; Wars, 1:156) as one of the towns under Jewish rule that was returned to the Gentiles by Pompey. Its Greek inhabitants called it by the name of the Macedonian or Syrian town from which they came, which in turn was named after the famous source Arethusa in Sicily. It has been tentatively suggested to identify the place with the site of *Rosh ha-Ayin (Aphek, Antipatris) because of its rich water supply.


Avi-Yonah, Geog, 129; E. Ciaceri, Culti e miti nella storia dell'antica Sicilia (19272); V. Tcherikover, Die hellenistischen Staedtegruendungen… (1927), 63.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

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Arethusa (ărĬthōō´sə), in Greek mythology, nymph favored by Artemis and loved by the river god Alpheus. While Arethusa was bathing in his stream, Alpheus rose up and tried to abduct her, but she fled under the ocean to the isle of Ortygia. There Artemis changed her into a fountain. But Alpheus followed her and was himself changed into a river and united with her. In ancient times it was believed that the waters of the Alpheus River flowed beneath the sea from Greece and reappeared in the fountain of Arethusa in the harbor of Syracuse.

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Arethusa the nymph with whom Alpheus fell in love, and who was turned into a fountain in her attempt to escape him.

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Arethusa: see orchid.