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The conflict between Achelous and Hercules

In Greek mythology, Achelous was a very powerful river god. He was worshiped in Akarnania where many events took place to honour him. Hercules, on the other hand, was the greatest hero of ancient times. He had superhuman strength and was astonishingly clever.
The two came into conflict over the king of Kalydona's daughter, Dianira. King Inea of Kalydona, announced that the strongest of the two would win her hand in marriage. The contest, a wrestling match, was very long and very intense. In the beginning, Achelous took the form of a man. When he realized that he could not beat Hercules in the wrestling match, he took the form of a snake. When Hercules attempted to strangle the snake, Achelous took the form of a very angry bull and attacked him. Hercules then grabbed the bull by its horns and broke off the right one. Achelous lost the contest and Hercules won Dianera's hand in marriage.
Having accepted his defeat and in order to get his horn back, Achelous gave Hercules another horn, the "Horn of Amalthea" also known as the "Horn of Plenty". This horn had the power to produce a never ending supply of food and drink. Hercules gave this to the King of Kalydona as a wedding gift. Now, the people of Akarnania would always have an abundance of food.
But what lies behind this myth? The conflict between Hercules and Achelous symbolizes the struggles of the people of Akarnania to control the very forceful waters of the Achelous River and stop the flooding. Hercules worked hard for this and succeeded in making the land fertile, ensuring harvest abundance symbolized in our myth by the "Horn of Amalthea".