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LYCUS (Λύκος), is the name of a great many rivers, especially in Asia, and seems to have originated in the impression made upon the mind of the beholder by a torrent rushing down the side of a hill, which suggested the idea of a wolf rushing at his prey. The following rivers of this name occur in Asia Minor:--


The Lycus of Bithynia: it flows in the east of Bithynia in a western direction, and empties itself into the Euxine a little to the south of Heracleia Pontica, which was twenty stadia distant from it. The breadth of the river is stated to have been two plethra, and the plain near its mouth bore the name of Campus Lycaeus. (Scylax, p. 34; Orph. Argon. 720; Arrian, Peripl. p. 14; Anonym. Peripl. p. 3; Xenoph. Anab. 6.2.3; Ov. Epist. ex Pont. 10.47; Memnon, ap. Phot. 51; Plin. Nat. 6.1, who erroneously states that Heracleia was situated on (appositum) the river.)


The Lycus of Cilicia is mentioned only by Pliny (5.22) as flowing between the Pyramus and Pinarus.


The Lycus of Lydia was a tributary of the Hermus, flowing in a south-western direction by the town of Thyatira: whether it emptied itself directly into the Hermus, or only after its juncture with the Hyllus, is uncertain. (Plin. Nat. 5.31; comp. Wheler, vol. i. p. 253; P. Lucas, Troisieme Voyage, vol. i. p. 139, who, however, confounds the Lycus with the Hermus.)


The Lycus of Phrygia, now called Tchoruk-Su, is a tributary of the Maeander, which it joins a few miles south of Tripolis. It had its sources in the eastern parts of Mount Cadmus (Strab. xii. p.578), not far from those of the Maeander itself, and flowed in a western direction towards Colossae, near which place it disappeared in a chasm of the earth; after a distance of five stadia, however, its waters reappeared, and, after flowing close by Laodiceia, it discharged itself into the Maeander. (Hdt. 7.30; Plin. Nat. 5.29; Ptol. 5.2.8; Hamilton, Researches, vol. i. p. 508, &c., and Journal of the Royal Geogr. Soc. vii. p. 60, who re-discovered the chasm in which the Lycus disappears, amid the ruins near CHONAS.)


Pontus contained two rivers of this name:--(a.) A tributary of the Iris in the west, is now called Kulei Hissar. It has its sources in the hills of Lesser Armenia, and, after flowing for some time in a western direction, it turns towards the north, passing through Nicopolis, and emptying itself into the Iris at Magnopolis. The Lycus is almost as important a river as the Iris itself (Strab. xi. p.529, xii. pp. 547, 556; Plut. Lucul. 15; Plin. Nat. 6.3, 4; Ov. Epist. ex Pont. 4.10, 47 ; Hierocl. p. 703; Act. Martyr. vol. iii. Jul. p. 46). (b.) A tributary of the Acampsis or Apsorrhos, in the eastern part of Pontus, and is believed to answer to the modern Gorgoro. (Ptol. 5.6.7.)


According to Curtius (3.1), the river Marsyas, which flowed through the town of Celaneae, changed its name into Lycus at the point where it rushed out of the fortifications of the place. [L.S]

hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.30
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.29
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.3
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.4
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.22
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.31
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.1
    • Ovid, Ex Ponto, 4.10
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 3.1
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