, sometimes Ἄλυς
: Kisil Irmak
, i. e. the “red river” ), the principal river of Asia Minor, has its sources in the Armenian mountains which form the boundary between Pontus and Armenia Minor, that is, at the point where the heights of Scoedises and Antitaurus meet. (Hdt. 1.72
; Strab. xii. p.546
; Dionys. Perieg. 786
; Ov. ex Pont.
At first its course has a southwestern direction, traversing Pontus and Cappadocia; but in the latter country it turns to the north, and, continuing in a north-eastern direction, discharges itself by several mouths into the Euxine, the latter part of its course forming the boundary between Paphlagonia in the west, and Galatia and Pontus in the east. (Strab. xii. p.544
; Ptol. 5.4.3
; Arrian, Peripl.
According to Strabo, the river Halys received its name from the salt-works in its vicinity (pp. 546, 561); but this is probably incorrect, as the name is often written, without the aspiration, Alys (Eustath. ad Dionys. Per. 784
). Pliny (6.2
), making this river come down from Mount Taurus and flow at once from south to north, appears to confound the Halys with one of its tributaries (Iechel Irmak
According to Xenophon (Xen. Anab. 5.6.9
), the breadth of the Halys is at least 2 stadia.
At the time of the greatness of the Lydian empire the Halys formed the boundary between it and Persia, and on its banks Cyrus gained the decisive victory over Croesus. (Hdt. 1.53
. 84; Justin, 1.7
; Cic. de Div. 2.5. 6
; Lucan 3.272
The importance of the river is attested by the fact that Asia is frequently divided by it into two parts, Asia cis
and Asia trans Halyn.
(Strab. xii. p.534
, xvii. p. 840.) Respecting the present condition of the river, see Hamilton's Researches,
vol. i. pp. 297, 324, 411, vol. ii. p. 240