: Eth. Ἑλικώνιος
, Steph. B. sub voce Ἑλικεύς
, Strab.viii. p.385), a town in Achaia, and one of the 12 Achaean cities, was situated on the coast between the rivers Selinus and Cerynites, and 40 stadia E. of Aegium.
It seems to have been the most ancient of all the cities in Achaia. Its foundation is ascribed to Ion, who is said to have made it his residence, and--to have called it after his wife Helice, the daughter of Selinus.
It possessed a celebrated temple of Poseidon, who was hence called Heliconins; and here the Ionians were accustomed to hold those periodical meetings which were continued in Asia Minor under the name of Panionia.
After the conquest of the country by the Achaeans, the latter likewise made Helice the place of meeting of their League, and it continued to be their capital till the destruction of the city by an earthquake in B.C. 373, two years before the battle of Leuctra.
This earthquake happened in the night.
The city and a space of 12 stadia below it sank into the earth, and were covered over by the sea. All the inhabitants perished, and not a vestige of Helice remained, except a few fragments projecting from the sea. Its territory was taken possession of by Aegium.
The neighbouring city of Bura was destroyed by the same earthquake.
The catastrophe was attributed to the vengeance of Poseidon, whose wrath was excited because the inhabitants of Helice had refused to give their statue of Poseidon to the Ionian colonists in Asia, or even to supply them with a model.
According to some authorities, the inhabitants of Helice and Bura had even murdered the Ionian deputies. (Hom. Il. 2.575
; Hdt. 1.145
; Paus. 7.1.3
; Strab. viii. pp. 384, seq., 387; Diod. 15.48
; Ov. Met. 15.293
; Plin. Nat. 2.94
; Steph. B. sub voce
“On the 23rd of August, 1817, the same spot was again the scene of a similar disaster.
The earthquake was preceded by a sudden explosion, which was compared to that of a battery of cannon.
The shock which immediately succeeded was said to have lasted a minute and a:.half, during which the sea rose at the mouth of the Selinus, and extended so far as to inundate all the level immediately below Vostitza
(the ancient Aegium).
After its retreat not a trace was left of some magazines which had stood on the shore, and the sand which had covered [p. 1.1035]
the beach was all carried away. In Vostitza
65 persons lost their lives, and two thirds of the buildings were entirely ruined. Five villages in the plain were destroyed.” (Leake, Morea,
vol. iii. p. 402.)