In Greek mythology, Achelous (Ancient Greek: Ἀχελῷος Achelōios) was the patron deity of the "silver-swirling" Achelous River, which is the largest river of Greece, and thus the chief of all river deities, every river having its own river spirit. His name is pre-Greek, its meaning unknown. Acheloo≤s was a suitor for Deianeira, daughter of Oeneus king of Calydon, but was defeated by Heracles, who wed her himself.was defeated by Heracles, who wed her himself. The sacred bull, the serpent and the Minotaur are all creatures associated with the Earth goddess Gaia. Achelous was most often depicted as a gray-haired old man or a vigorous bearded man in his prime, with a horned head and a serpent-like body. When he battled Heracles over the river nymph Deianeira, Achelous turned himself into a bull. Heracles tore off one of his horns and forced the god to surrender. Achelous had to trade the goat horn of Amalthea to get it back. Heracles gave it to the Naiads, who transformed it into the cornucopia (a symbol of plenty consisting of a goat's horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn.)
Achelous had several forms. Usually depicted from the waist down like fish, bearded with horns on his head.
Other forms of this river god was like a snake, like a bull as a humanoid creature with a bull's head from his beard running many waters (Anthropomorphic of the river-sided). The only certainty is that in most forms of Achelous was (seemed) an ugly monster.
- Herman Rechberger - Instrumentation
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