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HALYCUS (Ἅλυκος: Platani), a considerable river of Sicily, which rises nearly in the centre of the island, and flows towards the SW. till it enters the sea close to the site of Heracleia Minoa. Its name was evidently derived from the salt or brackish quality of its waters, a circumstance common to those of the Platani and of the Fiume Salso (the ancient Himera), and arising from the salt springs which abound in this part of Sicily. It obtained considerable historical importance from the circumstance that it long formed the eastern boundary of the Carthaginian dominions in Sicily. This was first established by the treaty concluded, in B.C. 383, between that people and Dionysius of Syracuse (Diod. 15.17): and the same limit was again fixed by the treaty between them and Timoleon (Id. 16.82). It would appear, however, chat the city of Heracleia, situated at its mouth, but on the left bank, was in both instances retained by the Carthaginians. The Halycus is again mentioned by Diodorus in the First Punic War (B.C. 249), as the station to which the Carthaginian fleet under Carthalo retired after its unsuccessful attack on that of the Romans near Phintias, and where they awaited the approach of a second Roman fleet under the consul L. Junius. (Diod. 24.1.; Exc. Hoesch. p. 508.) Polybius, who relates the same events, does not mention the name of the river (Plb. 1.53): but there is certainly no reason to suppose (as Mannert and Forbiger have done) that the river here meant was any other than the well-known Halycus, and that there must therefore have been two rivers of the name. Heracleides Ponticus, who mentions the landing of Minos in this part of Sicily, and his alleged foundation of Minoa, writes the name Lycus, which is probably a mere false reading for Halycus. (Heracl. Pont. § 29, ed. Schneidewin.) Though a stream of considerable magnitude and importance, it is singular that its name is not mentioned by any of the geographers.


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.17
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.53
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