The Büyük Menderes River (historically the Maeander also spelled Meander); Turkish: Büyük Menderes Nehri, Ancient Greek: Μαίανδρος; Maíandros) is a river in southwestern Turkey. It rises in west central Turkey near Dinar before flowing west through the Büyük Menderes graben until reaching the Aegean Sea in the proximity of the ancient Ionian city Miletus. The word "meander" is also used metaphorically after the Greek to describe a winding pattern.
The Maeander was a celebrated river of Caria
in Asia Minor
. It appears earliest in the Catalog of Trojans
along with Miletus
The river has its sources not far from Celaenae
), where it gushed forth in a park of Cyrus
. According to some (Strabo
xii. p. 578; Maxim. Tyr. viii. 38) its sources were the same as those of the river Marsyas
; but this is irreconcilable with Xenophon, according to whom the sources of the two rivers were only near each other, the Marsyas rising in a royal palace. Others, again, as Pliny
(v. 31), Solinus
(40. § 7), and Martianus Capella
(6. p. 221), state that the Maeander flowed out of a lake on Mount Aulocrene
. Col. Leake (Asia Minor
, p. 158, &c.) reconciles all these apparently different statements by the remark that both the Maeander and the Marsyas have their origin in the lake on Mount Aulocrene, above Celaenae, but that they issue at different parts of the mountain below the lake.
The Maeander was so celebrated in antiquity for its numerous windings, that its classical name "Maeander" became, and still is, proverbial. Its whole course has a southwesterly direction on the south of the range of Mount Messogis
. South of Tripolis
it receives the waters of the Lycus
, whereby it becomes a river of some importance. Near Carura
it passes from Phrygia into Caria
, where it flows in its tortuous course through the Maeandrian plain, and finally discharges itself in the Gulf of Icaros
(an arm of the Aegean Sea
), between Priene
, opposite to the Ionian
city of Miletus
, from which its mouth is only 10 stadia distant.
The tributaries of the Maeander include the Orgyas
, Marsyas, Cludrus
, and Gaeson
, in the north; and the Obrimas
, Lycus, Harpasus
, and a second Marsyas
in the south.
The Maeander is everywhere a very deep river (Nic. Chonat. p. 125; Liv. l. c.), but not very broad, so that in many parts its depth equals its breadth. As moreover it carried in its waters a great quantity of mud, it was navigable only for small craft. (Strab. xii. p. 579, xiv. p. 636.) It frequently overflowed its banks; and, in consequence of the quantity of its deposits at its mouth, the coast has been pushed about 20 or 30 stadia further into the sea, so that several small islands off the coast have become united with the mainland. (Paus. viii. 24. § 5; Thucyd.
There was a story about a subterraneous connection between the Maeander and the Alfeios River
. (Paus. il. 5. § 2; comp. Hamilton, Researches
, vol. i. p. 525, foll., ii. p. 161, foll.)
- Strabo; H.C. Hamilton, W.Falconer, Editors Geography. Tufts University: The Perseus Digital Library. .
- Xenophon, Anabasis, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA; William Heinemann, Ltd., London. 1980. OCLC 10290977. ISBN 0674991001.