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Ladon, a river god of Arcadia, is described as a son of Oceanus and Thetys, and as the husband of Stymphalis, by whom he became the father of Daphne and Metope. (Hes. Theog. 344; Schol. ad Pind. Ol. vi. 143; Diod. iv. 72 Paus. viii. 20. !F 1, x. 7, in fin.)
Apollo and Daphne
Once upon a time Apollo questioned the power of Eros, who decided to show him exactly what it was that he could do. To do that, he made two arrows, one of gold and one of lead. The first, that he stuck into Apollo’s heart, had the ability to make people love madly whereas the other, that he sent to the nymph Daphne, made her abhor any idea of loving. The combination led to a continuous chase of Daphne by Apollo, which ended in an unexpected way; Daphne was the daughter of Ladon or of Peneus, who, as river-gods, had the ability of transformation. So when, finally, Apollo caught her, she had nothing else to do than ask her father to transform her. Her request was taken into account and suddenly she started to change into a laurel tree. Since then, Apollo has the laurel tree as his sacred plant.
Daphne and Leucippus
The Ladon is the most lovely river in Greece, and is also famous for the legend of Daphne that the poets tell. Oenomaus, prince of Pisa, had a son Leucippus. Leucippus fell in love with Daphne, but despaired of winning her to be his wife by an open courtship, as she avoided all the male sex. The following trick occurred to him by which to get her. Leucippus was growing his hair long for the river Alpheius. Braiding his hair as though he were a maiden, and putting on woman's clothes, he came to Daphne and said that he was a daughter of Oenomaus, and would like to share her hunting. As he was thought to be a maiden, surpassed the other maidens in nobility of birth and skill in hunting, and was besides most assiduous in his attentions, he drew Daphne into a deep friendship. Forthwith Daphne and the other maidens conceived a longing to swim in the Ladon, and stripped Leucippus in spite of his reluctance. Then, seeing that he was no maid, they killed him with their javelins and daggers.
- Perseus: Pausanias, Description of Greece, Arcadia
There are many references of mythology to the river Ladonas. This is where the myth of Levkippos who dressed up as a woman in order to be close to his beloved nymph Daphne (an action which he paid with his life when he was revealed) took place. Here is also the place where Dimitra used to wash her hair, Artemis , the goddess of hunting used to hunt, the goatfooted god Pan used to roam. The latter, when going after the beautiful nymph Syringe approached her and transformed her to a reed of which he made his well-known pipe, which was named syringe. Here after a successful chase, Hercules caught the deer. In this place, in the beautiful mountains of Soronas, previously referred to as Aphrodisio Mountain, Aphrodite used to meet her Lover, god Mars (today there are ruins of an ancient temple and the baths of Eurikine Aphrodite).
Nymph daughter of Ladon
- Daphne: Perseus Encyclopedia
Daphne, a fair maiden who is mixed up with various traditions about Apollo. According
to Pausanias (x. 5.3) she was an Oreas and an ancient priestess of the Delphic
oracle to which she had been appointed by Ge. Diodorus (iv. 66) describes her
as the daughter of Teiresias, who is better known by the name of Manto. She was
made prisoner in the war of the Epigoni and given as a present to Apollo. A third
Daphne is called a daughter of the rivergod Ladon in Arcadia by Ge (Paus. viii.
20.1; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 6; Philostr. Vit. Apollon. i. 16), or of the river-god
Peneius in Thessaly (Ov. Met. i. 452; Hygin. Fab. 203), or lastly of Amyclas.
(Parthen. Erot. 15.) She was extremely beautiful and was loved and pursued by
Apollo. When on the point of being overtaken by him, she prayed to her mother,
Ge, who opened the earth and received her, and in order to console Apollo she
created the ever-green laurel-tree (daphne), of the boughs of which Apollo made
himself a wreath. Another story relates that Leucippus, the son of Oenomaus, king
of Pisa, was in love with Daphne and approached her in the disguise of a maiden
and thus hunted with her. But Apollo's jealousy caused his discovery during the
bath, and he was killed by the nymphs. (Paus. viii. 20.2; Parthen. l. c.) According
to Ovid (Met. i. 452, &c.) Daphne in her flight from Apollo was metamorphosed
herself into a laurel-tree.
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology (ed. William Smith)
Pan had fallen in love with the river-nymph Syrinx and was trying to get her. When one day he did get her, by the sides of the river Ladon, she changed into a reed to avoid him. Pan cut the reed and made a flute.
- Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)