Arethusa, the Nymph of Springs and a fresh water fountain of Sicily
Arethusa, a daughter of Nereus (hence a Nereid nymph) and his wife Doris, was a nymph of springs and forests and a huntress. Arethusa was a companion of Goddess Artemis
, the goddess of the hunt. Her name is derived from the ancient Greek verb
, meaning "to water".
According to legend, Arethusa was loved by the hunter Alpheus, whom Arethusa tried to avoid with the help of the goddess Artemis. Artemis wrapped her in a cloud and took her to Ortygia, an island opposite Syracuse in Sicily, where she transformed her into a spring of gurgling water.
Alpheus could not bear to be separated from Arethusa and wandered desperately about to find his lost love. Until one day Zeus
, the king of the gods. took pity on Alpheus and transformed him into the great river of the Peloponnese, whose waters, when they flow into the sea, cross the sea and reach Sicily, where they unite with Arethusa's waters.
Location of Ortygia
The myth symbolizes the "union" of freshwater rivers and springs that flow into the sea.
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