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HELIX (ἕλιξ), anything of a spiral form, whether in one plane, as the spiral curve, or in different planes, as the screw.

1. In architecture, the spiral volutes of the Ionic and Corinthian capitals. The Roman architects, while they used the word volutae for the angular spirals, retained the term helices for the smaller spirals in the middle of each face of the Corinthian capital. (Vitr. 4.1.12.)

2. In mechanics, the word designates the screw in its various applications; but its chief use was to describe a machine used for launching ships, said to have been invented by Archimedes. ( Athen. 5.207 a, where Schweighäuser notes that the exact nature of it has not been discovered.)

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    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 4.1.12
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