Nilus /ˈnləs/ or Neilos (Ancient Greek: Νεῖλος), in Greek mythology, was one of the Potamoi who represent the god of the Nile river itself.

Nilus or Neilos
River God of the Nile
Member of the Potamoi
Nilus in a Coptic tapestry.
AbodeRiver Nile in Egypt
Personal information
ParentsOceanus and Tethys
SiblingsPotamoi and Oceanids
ConsortNephele, Callirhoe, Euthenia
OffspringAchiroe, Memphis, Telephassa, Chione, Anippe, Caliadne (possibly), Polyxo (possibly)

Family edit

Nilus was one of 3,000 river gods children of the Titans Oceanus and his sister-wife Tethys.[1] He was father to several children, of these included Memphis[2] (mother of Libya by Epaphus a king of Egypt), as well as a son named Nilus Ankhmemiphis (the father of Anchinoe and Telephassa)[citation needed].

His granddaughter Libya in turn became mother to Belus and Agenor. These sons then married (presumably) younger daughters of his son Nilus named Anchiroe[2] and Telephassa, respectively. A daughter Chione[3] was said to be borne to Nilus and Callirhoe, an Oceanid. His other children include: Argiope,[4] Anippe,[5] Eurryroe, Europa[6] and possibly Caliadne, Polyxo and Thebe.[7]

Mythology edit

Parentage edit

And Tethys bore to Ocean eddying rivers, Nilus, and Alpheus, and deep-swirling Eridanus.

From Oceanus and Tethys [were born] the Oceanides . . . Of the same descent Rivers : Strymon, Nile, Euphrates, Tanais, Indus, Cephisus, Ismenus, Axenus, Achelous, Simoeis, Inachus, Alpheus, Thermodon, Scamandrus, Tigris, Maeandrus, Orontes.

Offspring edit

When Epaphos was ruler of the Aigyptians (Egyptians), he married Neilos' daughter Memphis, and in her honour founded the polis of Memphis, and fathered a daughter Libya. [N.B. Libya was the ancient Greek name for the continent of Africa.]

Belos (Belus) [grandson of Epaphos] remained to become king of Aigyptos (Egypt), and married Neilos' daughter Ankhinoe (Anchinoe), who gave him twin sons, Aigyptos (Aegyptus) and Danaus.

  • Pseudo-Plutarch, Greek and Roman Parallel Stories:

Bousiris (Busiris), the son of Poseidon and Anippe, daughter of Neilos ... So says Agathon of Samos.

  • Tzetzes, Chiliades:

Hippostratus says that Aegyptus has begotten only by Eurryroe,
The daughter of Nilus, fifty sons;
As well as Danaus has begotten all his daughters,
By Europa, the daughter of Nilus,...

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 337 ff; Hyginus, Fabulae Preface.
  2. ^ a b Apollodorus, 2.1.4
  3. ^ Servius, Commentary on Virgil's Aeneid 4.250
  4. ^ Gantz, p. 208; Pherecydes fr. 21 Fowler 2000, p. 289 = FGrHist 3 F 21 = Scholia on Apollonius RhodiusArgonautica 3.1177-87f.
  5. ^ Plutarch, Parallela minora 38 with Agatho the Samian as the authority
  6. ^ Tzetzes, Chiliades 7.37 p. 368-371
  7. ^ Scholia on Homer, Iliad 9.383

References edit

  • Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. ISBN 0-674-99135-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
  • Fowler, Robert. L. (2000), Early Greek Mythography: Volume 1: Text and Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0198147404.
  • Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, Two volumes: ISBN 978-0-8018-5360-9 (Vol. 1), ISBN 978-0-8018-5362-3 (Vol. 2).
  • Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae from The Myths of Hyginus translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
  • Hesiod, Theogony from The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, MA.,Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
  • Tzetzes, John, Book of Histories, Book VII-VIII translated by Vasiliki Dogani from the original Greek of T. Kiessling's edition of 1826. Online version at
  • Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, Moralia with an English Translation by Frank Cole Babbitt. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William Heinemann Ltd. 1936. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
  • Maurus Servius Honoratus, In Vergilii carmina comentarii. Servii Grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii carmina commentarii; recensuerunt Georgius Thilo et Hermannus Hagen. Georgius Thilo. Leipzig. B. G. Teubner. 1881. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.