(ὁ Τρίτων ποταμός
, Ptol. 4.3.19
, &c.), a river of Libya, forming, according to Ptolemy, the boundary of the Regio Syrtica towards the W.
It rose in Mount Vasalaetus, and, flowing in a northerly direction, passed through three lakes, the Libya Palus, the lake Pallas, and the lake Tritonitis (ἡ Τριτωνῖτις λίμνη, Ib.
); after which it fell into the sea in the innermost part of the Syrtis Minor between Macmada and Tacape, but nearer to the latter.
The lake Tritonitis of Ptolemy is called, however, by other writers Tritonis (ἡ Τριτωνὶς λίμνη, Hdt. 4.179
). Herodotus seems to confound it with the Lesser Syrtis itself; but Scylax (p. 49), who gives it a circumference of 1000 stadia, describes it as connected with the Syrtis by a narrow opening, and as surrounding a small island,--that called by Herodotus (Ib.
178) Phla (Φλἁ
), which is also mentioned by Strabo (xvii. p.836
), as containing a temple of Aphrodite, and by Dionysius. (Perieg.
This lake Tritonis is undoubtedly the. present Schibkah-el-Lovdjah,
of which, according to Shaw (Travels,
i. p. 237), the other two lakes are merely parts; whilst the river Triton is the present El-Hammah.
This river, indeed, is no longer connected with the lake (Shaw, Ib.
); a circumstance, however, which affords no essential ground for doubting the identity of the two streams; since in those regions even larger rivers are sometimes compelled by the quicksands to alter their course. (Cf. Ritter, Erdkunde,
i. p. 1017). Scylax (l.c.
) mentions also.another island called Tritonos (Τρίτωνος
) in the Syrtis Minor, which last itself is, according to him, only part of a large Sinus Tritonites (Τριτωνίτης κόλπος
Some writers confound the lake Tritonis with the lake of the Hesperides, and seek it in other districts of Libya; sometimes in Mauretania, in the neighbourhood of Mount Atlas and the Atlantic Ocean, sometimes in Cyrenaica near Berenice and the river Lathon or Lethon.
The latter hypothesis is adopted by Lucan (9.346
, seq.), the former by Diodorus Siculus (3.53), who also attributes to it an island inhabited by the Amazons.. But Strabo (l.c.
) especially distinguishes the lake of the Hesperides from the lake Tritonis.
With this lake is connected the question of the epithet Tritogeneia,
applied to Pallas as early as the days of Homer and Hesiod.
But though the Libyan river and lake were much renowned in ancient times (cf. Aeschyl. Eum.
293; Eur. Ion 872
, seq.; Pind. Pyth.
iv.. 36, &c.), and the application of the name of Pallas to the lake connected with the Tritonis seems to point to these African waters as having given origin to the epithet, it is nevertheless most probable that the brook Triton near Alalcomenae in Boeotia has the best pretensions to that distinction. (Cf. Paus. 9.33.5
; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod.
1.109,. 4.1315; Müller, Orchomenos,
p. 355; Leake, Northern Greece
vol. ii. p. 136, seq.; Kruse, Hellas,
vol. ii. pt. 1 p. 475.