Achelous , in Greek mythology, river god; son of Oceanus and Tethys. He possessed the power to appear as a bull, a serpent, or a bullheaded man. Hercules defeated him and broke off one of his horns, which, according to one legend, became the cornucopia. He is sometimes said to be the father of the Sirens. As the god of the largest fresh-water river in Greece, he was often represented as the god of fresh water in general. Akheloios once competed with Herakles in a contest for the hand of the Aitolian princess Deianeira. In their wrestling contest, Herakles tore of the god’s horn, out of which was made a cornucopia or horn of plenty.The river occurs in Greek art in three forms. In vase painting he was depicted as either a “merman,” with a coiled fish tail descending from below his chest, or as a large man-headed bull. In both cases his head was crowned with a horn. In mosaic art he appears as a reclining man with an amphora.The Akheloios river rises in the Pindar ranges, to flow down through the heart Aitolia and Akarnania, reaching the Ionian Sea near the mouth of the Gulf of Korinthos. The most important neigh-bouring river was the Euenos to the east.
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