The god of the river Asopus, was a son of Oceanus and Tethys, or according to others, of Poseidon and Pero, of Zeus and Eurynome, or lastly of Poseidon and Celusa.1 He was married to Metope, the daughter of the river god Ladon, by whom he had two sons and twelve, or, according to others, twenty daughters. Their names differ in the various accounts.2 Several of these daughters of Asopus were carried off by gods, which is commonly believed to indicate the colonies established by the people inhabiting the banks of the Asopus, who also transferred the name of Asopus to other rivers in the countries where they settled.
Aegina was one of the daughters of Asopus, and Pindar mentions a river of this name in Aegina.3 In Greece there were two rivers of this name, the one in Achaea in the Peloponnese, and the other in Boeotia, and the legends of the two are frequently confounded or mixed up with each other. Hence arose the different accounts about the descent of Asopus, and the difference in the names of his daughters. But as these names have, in most cases, reference to geographical circumstances, it is not difficult to perceive to which of the two river gods this or that particular daughter originally belonged.
The more celebrated of the two is that of the Peloponnese. When Zeus had carried off his daughter Aegina, and Asopus had searched after her everywhere, he was at last informed by Sisyphus of Corinth, that Zeus was the guilty party. Asopus now revolted against Zeus, and wanted to fight with him, but Zeus struck him with his thunderbolt and confined him to his original bed. Pieces of charcoal which were found in the bed of the river in later times, were believed to have been produced by the lightning of Zeus.4
According to Pausanias5 the Peloponnesian Asopus was a man who, in the reign of Aras, discovered the river which was subsequently called by his name.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 12.6; Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 5.2, 12.5.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, l.c.; Diodorus Siculus, iv, 72; Scholiast on Pindar's Olympian Odes vi, 144; Isthmian Odes viii, 37; Pausanias. Description of Greece ix, 1.2; Herodotus. Histories ix, 51; Eustathius on Homer, p. 278.
- Nemean Odes iii, 4, with the Scholiast.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 5.1 ff.; Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 12.6.
- Description of Greece ii, 12.5.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.