It was this silt (brought down by the Achelous) which in early times caused the country called Paracheloitis, which the river overflows, to be a subject of dispute, since it was always confusing the designated boundaries between the Acarnanians and the Aetolians; for they would decide the dispute by arms, since they had no arbitrators, and the more powerful of the two would win the victory; and this is the cause of the fabrication of a certain myth, telling how Heracles defeated Achelous and, as the prize of his victory, won the hand of Deianeira, the daughter of Oeneus, whom Sophocles represents as speaking as follows:
For my suitor was a river-god, I mean Achelous, who would demand me of my father in three shapes, coming now as a bull in bodily form, now as a gleaming serpent in coils, now with trunk of man and front of ox.
Some writers add to the myth, saying that this was the horn of Amaltheia, which Heracles broke off from Achelous and gave to Oeneus as a wedding gift. Others, conjecturing the truth from the myths, say that the Achelous, like the other rivers, was called "like a bull" from the roaring of its waters, and also from the the bendings of its streams, which were called Horns, and "like a serpent" because of its length and windings, and "with front of ox" for the same reason that he was called "bull-faced"; and that Heracles, who in general was inclined to deeds of kindness, but especially for Oeneus, since he was to ally himself with him by marriage, regulated the irregular flow of the river by means of embankments and channels, and thus rendered a considerable part of Paracheloitis dry, all to please Oeneus; and that this was the horn of Amaltheia.
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