Helice (mythology)

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In Greek mythology, Helice (/ˈhɛlɪs/ (modern Greek pronunciation: [eˈlici]; Ancient Greek: Ἑλίκη [heˈlikɛː] Helike) means "willow"[1]) was a name shared by several women:

  • Helice, nurse of the god Zeus during his infancy on Crete.[2] Her name suggests that she was a "willow-nymph", just as there were oak-tree nymphs and ash-nymphs (Dryads and Meliae). It is likely that she is the same as Ide. When Cronus once came to Crete in search of Zeus, the young god himself and his companions by turning them into bears, as he became a serpent. Later, when he became king, he made them both constellations, Helice becoming Ursa Major, while Cynosura became Ursa Minor.[3][4] Helice, in antiquity, was a common proper name for the constellation Ursa Major.[5] In one version, Demeter asks the stars whether they know anything about her daughter Persephone's abduction, and Helice tells her to ask Helios, who knows the deeds of the day, because the night is blameless and knows nothing.[6]
  • Helike, a nymph who became the wife of King Oenopion of Chios and mother by him of Melas, Talus, Maron, Euanthes, Salagus, Athamas[7] and Merope (Aero).[8]
  • Helike, an Aegialian princess as the only daughter of King Selinus who wed her with Ion.[9] By the latter, she became the mother of Bura. Later on, Ion built a city which he named after Helice.[10][11]


  1. ^ Graves, Robert (2017). The Greek Myths - The Complete and Definitive Edition. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 115, 163 & 197. ISBN 9780241983386.
  2. ^ Aratus, Phaenomena 27 "Greek Mythology: KRONOS the Titan King ( aka Cronus Saturnus Saturn ) w/ Pictures". Archived from the original on 2005-04-03. Retrieved 2005-04-04.
  3. ^ Scholia on the Odyssey 5.272 Archived 2023-01-03 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Sider, David (2017). Hellenistic Poetry: A Selection. University of Michigan Press. p. 118. ISBN 9780472053131.
  5. ^ Aratus, Phaenomena, translation by A. W. Mair, G. R. Loeb
  6. ^ Ovid, Fasti 4.575
  7. ^ Pausanias, 7.4.8
  8. ^ Parthenius, 20
  9. ^ Pausanias, 7.1.3
  10. ^ Pausanias, 7.1.4
  11. ^ Graves, Robert (2017). The Greek Myths - The Complete and Definitive Edition. Penguin Books Limited. p. 163. ISBN 9780241983386.