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PACTO´LUS (Πακτωλός), a small river of Lydia, which flows down from Mount Tmolus in a northern direction, and, after passing on the west of Sardis, empties itself into the Hermus. (Hdt. 5.101; Xenoph. Cyrop. 6.2.1, 7.3.4, Ages. i. 30; Strab. xii. pp. 554, 521, xiii. p. 625, foll.; Ptol. 5.2.6; Plin. Nat. 5.30.) In ancient times the Pactolus had carried in its mud, it is said, a great quantity of small particles of gold-dust, which were carefully collected, and were believed to have been the source of the immense wealth possessed by Croesus and his ancestors; but in Strabo's time gold-dust was no longer found in it. The gold of this river, which was hence called Chrysorrhoas, is often spoken of by the poets. (Soph. Phil. 392; Dionys. Perieg. 831; Hom. Hymn. in Del. 249; Verg. A. 10.142 ; Horat. Epod. 15.20; Ov. Met. 11.85, &c.; Senec. Phoen. 604; Juv. 14.298; Silius It. 1.158.) The little stream, which is only 10 feet in breadth and scarcely 1 foot deep, still carries along with it a quantity of a reddish mud, and is now called Sarabat.


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