Its democratic constitution, which seems to have been entirely congenial to the population of small freeholders, and its ambition to gain control over the Alpheus watershed and both the Arcadian high roads to the isthmus, frequently estranged Mantineia from Sparta and threw it into the arms of Argos.
His waters were said to pass beneath the sea and rise again in the fountain Arethusa at Syracuse; such is the earlier version from which later mythologists and poets evolved the familiar myth of the loves of Alpheus and Arethusa.
The Alpheus proper rises near Asea; but its passage thither by subterranean channels from the Tegean plain and its union with the Eurotas are probably mythical (see W.
The lake (Llyn Tegid) is crossed by the Dee, local tradition having it that the waters of the two never mix, like those of Alpheus and the sea.
OLYMPIA, the scene of the famous Olympic games, is on the right or north bank of the Alpheus (mod.
P. 270), during the sacrifice of oxen at Olympia the waters of Arethusa were disturbed, and a cup thrown into the Alpheus would reappear in Ortygia.
The subterranean passage of the Alpheus in the upper part of its course (confirmed by modern explorers), and the freshness of the water of Arethusa in spite of its proximity to the sea, led to the belief that it was the outlet of the river.