A river god and king of Argos, is described as a son of Oceanus and Tethys. By a Melian nymph, a daughter of Oceanus, or, according to others, by his sister Argea, he became the father of Phoroneus and Aegialeus, to whom others add Io, Argus Panoptes, and Phegeus or Pegeus.1
Inachus is the most ancient god or hero of Argos. The river Inachus is said to have received its name from the fact of Inachus throwing himself into it, at the time when Zeus, enraged at the reproaches which Inachus made on account of the treatment of Io, sent a fury to pursue him.2 The river had before borne the name of Carmanor or Haliacmon; and as Inachus was the first ruler and priest at Argos, the country is frequently called the land of Inachus.3
In the dispute between Poseidon and Hera about the possession of Argos, Inachus decided in favor of Hera, and hence it was said that Poseidon deprived him and the two other judges, Asterion and Cephissus, of their water, so that they became dry except in rainy seasons. 4
The ancients themselves made several attempts to explain the stories about Inachus: sometimes they looked upon him as a native of Argos, who after the flood of Deucalion led the Argives from the mountains into the plains, and confined the waters within their proper channels; and sometimes they regarded him as an immigrant who had come across the sea as the leader of an Egyptian or Libyan colony, and had united the Pelasgians, whom he found scattered on the banks of the Inachus.5
His descendants are called Inachides.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library ii, 1.1, 3; Hyginus. Fabulae, 143, 145; Tzetzes on Lycophron, 177; Scholiast on Euripides' Orestes, 920, 1239; Ovid. Metamorphoses i, 583 ff., 640 ff.; Amores iii, 6, 25; Servius on Virgil's Georgics iii, 153.
- Pseudo-Plutarch. De Fluviis, 18.
- Euripides. Orestes, 932; Dionysius, i, 25; Hyginus. Fabulae, 143.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 15.4 ff.; comp. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library ii, 1.4.
- Scholiast on Euripides' Orestes, 920, 932; Sophocles ap. Dionysius, l.c.
- 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.