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ACIS (Ἄκις), a river of Sicily, on the eastern coast of the island, and immediately at the foot of Aetna. It is celebrated on account of the mythological fable connected with its origin, which was ascribed to the blood of the youthful Acis, crushed under an enormous rock by his rival Polyphemus. (Ovid. Met. 13.750, &c.; Sil. Ital. 14.221-226; Anth. Lat. 1.148; Serv. ad Virg. Eel. ix. 39, who erroneously writes the name Acinius.) It is evidently in allusion to the same story that Theocritus speaks of the “sacred waters of Acis.” (Ἄκιδος ἱερὸν ὕδωρ, Idyll. 1.69.) From this fable itself we may infer that it was a small stream gushing forth from under a rock; the extreme coldness of its waters noticed by Solinus (Solin. 5.17) also points to the same conclusion. The last circumstance might lead us to identify it with the stream now called Fiume Freddo, but there is every appearance that the town of Acium derived its name from the river, and this was certainly further south. There can be no doubt that Cluverius is right in identifying it with the little river still called Fiume di Jaci, known also by the name of the Acque Grandi, which rises under a rock of lava, and has a very short course to the sea, passing by the modern town of Aci Reale (Acium). The Acis was certainly quite distinct from the Acesines or Asines, with which it has been confounded by several writers. (Cluver. Sicil. p. 115; Smyth's Sicily, p. 132; Ortolani, Diz. Geogr. p. 9; Ferrara, Descriz. dell' Etna, p. 32.)


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