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Several heroines were called by this name, which means 'the lovely stream'.

  1. The daughter of Ocean and Tethys who by her marriage to Chrysaor, the son of the Gorgon and Poseidon, gave birth to the monsters Geryon and Echidna (Table 32). She had other children: Minyas, fathered by Poseidon, Chione by Nilus and Cotys by Manes, the first king of Lydia.

  2. The daughter of the river god Achelous. She married Alcmaeon, who fathered her two sons, Amphoterus and Acarnan (Table 1). After the death of her husband at the hands of the sons of Phegeus, she was loved by Zeus; she asked him to make her two sons grow up immediately and to give them the strength to avenge their father, Zeus did as she asked and in this way Alcmaeon was avenged. These misfortunes were due to Callirhoe's desire to own the necklace and gown of Harmonia, the divine gifts which were under a curse.

  3. A Callirhoe, possibly the same as that in 2 above, was associated with the Troad; she was a nymph loved by Paris at the time when he looked after the flocks on Mount Ida, before his intrigue with Helen. Paris left Callirhoe for Helen and Callirhoe is said to have wept bitterly for her lost love.

  4. The river god Scamander also had a daughter called Callirhoe. She married Tros and by him had four children: Cleopatra, Ilus, Assaracus and Ganymede (Table 7).

  5. A daughter of Lycus, king of Libya. After the Trojan War, Diomedes was cast up by a storm on the shores of Libya. Lycus captured him and was on the point of sacrificing him to Ares when Callirhoe, who had falled in love with the hero, freed him. Diomedes left her, however, and in her despair she hanged herself.

  6. Yet another Callirhoe gave her name to a spring near Calydon. She is said to have been a girl who had rejected the advances of a priest of Dionysus, called Coresus; he complained of his rebuff to Dionysus, who spread an outbreak of madness throughout the land. The inhabitants consulted the oracle of Dodona, which disclosed that, to appease the god, the girl, or someone in her stead, would have to be sacrificed at the altar attended by Coresus. Just as he was about to sacrifice her, Coresus, overcome by his love, lost his resolve and killed himself. Callirhoe, in her shame, committed suicide beside the spring which thereafter bore her name.


Table of Sources

  1. - Hesiod, Theog. 288ff.
    - Homeric Hymn to Demeter 419
    - Tzetzes on Lyc. Alex. 651; 874
    - Hyg. Fab. 111
    - Apollod. Bibl. 2, 5, 10
    - Serv. on Virgil, Aen. 4, 250
    - Dion. Hal. 1, 27
  2. - See Alcmeon; Acarnan.
    - Apollod. Bibl. 3, 7, 5
    - Paus. 8, 24, 9
  3. - Apollod. Bibl. 3, 12, 2
    - schol. on Hom. Il. 20, 232
    - schol. on Persius 1, 134
  4. - Plutarh, Parallel. 23, 311b
  5. - Paus. 7, 21, 1

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