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n. Greek Mythology
A river of fire, one of the five rivers of Hades.

[Middle English Flegeton, from Latin Phlegethōn, from Greek, from present participle of phlegethein, to blaze, variant of phlegein; see bhel- in Indo-European roots.]


(Classical Myth & Legend) Greek myth a river of fire in Hades
[C14: from Greek, literally: blazing, from phlegethein to flame, blaze]


(ˈflɛg əˌθɒn, ˈflɛdʒ-)

1. a river of fire in the ancient Greek underworld.
2. (often l.c.) a stream of fire or fiery light.
[< Latin < Greek, n. use of phlegéthōn blazing, present participle of phlegéthein to blaze. compare phlegm]
Phleg`e•thon′tal, Phleg`e•thon′tic, adj.
References in classic literature ?
"Foundling!" he said, after examining the object; "found, apparently, on the banks of the river Phlegethon."
Now, by the kingdoms of infernal rule, Of Styx, of Acheron, and the fiery lake Of ever-burning Phlegethon, I swear That I do long to see the monuments And situation of bright-splendent Rome: Come, therefore, let's away.
Dante relegates traitors and presumably the Jews (as can be inferred by the name Giudecca he gives the very bottom of Hell) to the very bottom of Hell, in the Ninth Circle, where they are immersed in a frozen lake (the fourth, and worst, section is the Giudecca, reserved to traitors of one's benefactors): the river Phlegethon changes name "in becoming the Cocytus when it reaches the bottom of Hell" (Cachey 2010: 333).
"How many now above who think themselves great kings will lie here in the mud, like swine, leaving behind nothing but ill repute!" The most iniquitous lords of men, the heartless tyrants "who took to blood and plunder," are sunk to their eyebrows in the boiling blood of the river Phlegethon: Alexander the Great is there and Dionysius of Syracuse.
The other four rivers of the Greek Underworld were the Styx (the river of hatred), Acheron (the river of sorrow), Cocytos (the river of lamentation), and Phlegethon (the river of fire).
The royal carriage was provided by the Great Western Railway and was pulled by an engine called Phlegethon. Prince Albert and engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel accompanied the 23-year-old monarch on her first rail trip.
On 2008 Feb 22 Parker drew attention to a similar, dark reddish patch located at +40[degrees], 118[degrees] near Phlegethon, just off the a.m.
they will have no such local known place, more than Styx or Phlegethon,
[I followed him, and we had not gone far/before the roar of water was so close/we hardly could have heard each other speak./ As the river that is the first to hold/its course from Monte Viso eastward/on the left slope of the Apennines,/ and up there is called Acquacheta,/ before it pours into its lower bed / and, having lost that name at Forli/ reverberates above San Benedetto/ dell'Alpe, falling in one cataract/where there might well have been a thousand,/ so, down from a precipitous bank, the flood/ of that dark water coming down resounded/in our ears and almost stunned us.] This simile signals the transition from the circle of violence, which ends with a steep cliff over which the Phlegethon cascades down to the circles of fraud.
Now by the kingdoms of infernal rule, Of Styx, Acheron, and the fiery lake Of ever-burning Phlegethon, I swear That I do long to see the monuments And situation of bright splendent Rome.