Orontes (mod. Nahr el Ἁ̄sī), chief river of *Syria. It rises near *Heliopolis (Baalbek), flows north-east past *Emesa (Homs) and Arethusa, bends west past Epiphania (Hama) and then, below *Apamea, flows due north, and finally south-west through *Antioch (1), to enter the Mediterranean below *Seleuceia (2) in Pieria, after a journey of 272 km. (170 miles). Strabo's statement (16. 2. 5 ff.) that it flows partly underground and his aetiological story of Orontes, who is said to have bridged it and given it its name, are without foundation. Its valley was renowned for its fertility (Strabo, loc. cit.) and has always been the main route followed by traffic and armies from the north making for Egypt. The Macedonian colonists of Syria (see
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