The River Iardanus or Iardanes (Template:Lang-grc) denoted two small rivers in Antiquity, and previously a third, it would seem.

A Iardanus in Elis is referred to in passing in Iliad (Book VII.135), where Nestor remembers Pylians and Arcadians gathered in fight by the rapid river Celadon under the walls of Pheia, and round about the waters of the river Iardanus. Strabo (VII.3.12) notes, in describing the coast of Elis "After Chelonatas comes the long sea-shore of the Pisatans; and then Cape Pheia. And there was also a small town called Pheia: 'beside the walls of Pheia, about the streams of Iardanus,'[1] for there is also a small river near by. According to some, Pheia is the beginning of Pisatis."

In the Odyssey (Book III.293), on the other hand, a River Iardanus lies in northwestern Crete— Nestor again recalls— where the Cydonians dwell round about the waters of the river Iardanus.

Yet in the second century CE, Pausanias reports (v.5.9), of a sulfurous-smelling river that descends from the mountain Lapithus in Arcadia, called the Acidas, "I heard from an Ephesian that the Acidas was called Iardanus in ancient times. I repeat his statement, though I have nowhere found evidence in support of it." Cyrus H. Gordon was the first to point out[2] that Jordan in the Hebrew Bible is not a proper name, but, with two exceptions, always appears with a qualifier, and suggested that on an early linguistic level it may relate to the rivers in Crete and in the Greek mainland as the word "river". In the Mandaean cosmological accounts Jordan plays an important part, the "river of living water"; Mandaeans resist the connection with the geological River Jordan.[3]

Iardanus is specified as the father of Omphale, "the queen of the people who were called at that time Maeonians, but now Lydians;"[4] she bought Heracles as a slave. Whether the detail embodies a suggestion of cultural connections between Lydia in Asia Minor and Crete is moot.


  1. Quoting Homer.
  2. Gordon, Before the Bible (London) 1962:284-85.
  3. Edwin M. Yamauchi, "The Present Status of Mandaean Studies" Journal of Near Eastern Studies 25.2 (April 1966, pp. 88-96) p. 95f.
  4. Diodorus Siculus iv.31.5 (On-line text)


  • Georg Autenrieth. A Homeric Dictionary for Schoolsit:Iardano

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