Helicon (river)

Helicon (also transliterated Helikon) was a river of the Macedonian city Dion.[1]

There is also a river called Helikon [in Pieria]. After a course of seventy-five stades the stream hereupon disappears under the earth. After a gap of about twenty-two stades the water rises again, and under the name of Baphyras instead of Helikon flows into the sea as a navigable river. The people of Dion (Dium) say that at first this River flowed on land throughout its course. But, they go on to say, the women who killed Orpheus wished to wash off in it the blood-stains, and thereat the River sank underground, so as not to lend its waters to cleanse manslaughter.

— Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 30. 8 (trans. W.H.S. Jones and H.A. Ormerod) (Greek travelogue c. 2nd A.D.)[2]

Helicon was briefly mentioned in some stories of Orpheus. After he was killed by some of Dionysus' followers, the women tried to wash their hands clean of the blood spilt. The river sank itself so as not to become tainted with the murdered man's blood.


  1. ^ Jennifer Lynn Larson, Greek nymphs: myth, cult, lore (Oxford University Press US, 2001), 139.
  2. ^ "Baphyras," Theoi Greek Mythology accessed 2010-09-20


  • Pausanias, Description of Greece with an English Translation, trans. W.H.S. Jones, and H.A. Ormerod, (Cambridge: MA, Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1918).