The Myth of Aretusa and Alpheus

By: Dario Giannobile


Sicily, Italy

2018 March 12


From the photographer: "Syracuse was founded more than 2 thousands years ago by ancient Greeks around a spring that pours in the island of Ortygia. Ortygia was so dedicated to the old goddess Artemis (Diana), goddess of the woods and custodian of springs and brooks. The old citizen called that spring Arethusa in memory of the myth of Arethusa and Alpheus. In Greek mythology, Arethusa was a nymph and daughter of Nereus, who fled from her home in Arcadia beneath the sea and came up as a fresh water fountain on the island of Ortygia in Syracuse, Sicily.
The myth of her transformation begins in Arcadia when she came across a clear stream and began bathing, not knowing it was the river god Alpheus, who flowed down from Arcadia through Elis to the sea. He fell in love during their encounter, but she fled after discovering his presence and intentions, as she wished to remain a chaste attendant of Artemis. After a long chase, she prayed her goddess asking for protection. Artemis hid her in a cloud, but Alpheus was persistent. She began to perspire profusely from fear, and soon transformed into a stream. Artemis then broke the ground allowing Arethusa another attempt to flee. Her stream traveled under the sea to the island of Ortygia, but Alpheus flowed through the sea to reach her and mingle with her waters.
The Myth echoes through space and time thanks to this masterpiece created by Giulio Moschetti in the beginning of the 20th century in Syracuse (Italy). Artemis is represented with the bow and a dog. Around her are Arethusa, transforming herself in spring, and her lover Alpheus. Other marine figures adorn the fountain while the star trail remembers us of the time passing through centuries of history and myth."
Technical details: canon 6d, sigma 14 mm, f2.8, 4 sec, iso 400, stacked sequence of 2154 shots, and other exposures for the fountain.
Dario Giannobile

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