Helorum, Helorus, or Elorus (Eloros or Heloros, Ptol., Steph. B.; Heloron, Scyl.: Eth. Helorinos, Helorinus), a city of Sicily, situated near the E. coast, about 25 miles S. of Syracuse, and on the banks of the river of the same name. (Steph. B. s. v.; Vib. Seq. p. 11.) We have no account of its origin, but it was probably a colony of Syracuse, p. of which it appears to have continued always a dependency. The name is first found in Scylax (§ 13. p. 168); for, though Thucydides repeatedly mentions the road leading to Helorus from Syracuse (ten Helorinen hodon, vi. 66, 70, vii. 80), which was that followed by the Athenians in their disastrous retreat, he never speaks of the town itself. It was one of the cities which remained the under the government of Hieron II. by the treaty concluded with him by the Romans, in B.C. 263. (Diod. xxiii. Exc. H. p. 50, where the name is corruptly written AiloroW): and, having during the Second Punic War declared in favour of the Carthaginians, was recovered by Marcellus in B.C. 214 (Liv. xxiv. 35). Under the Romans it appears to have been dependent on Syracuse, and had perhaps no separate municipal existence, though in a passage of Cicero (Verr. iii. 48) it appears. to be noticed as a civitas. Its name is again mentioned by the orator (lb. v. 34) as a maritime town where the squadron fitted out by Verres was attacked by pirates: but it does not occur in Pliny's list of the towns of Sicily; though he elsewhere (xxxii. 2), mentions it as a castellumn on the river of the same name: and Ptolemy (iii. 4. § 15) speaks of a city of Helorus. Its ruins were still visible in the days of Fazello; a little to the N. of the river - Helorus, and about a mile from the sea-coast. The most conspicuous of them were the remains of a theatre, called by the country people Colisseo: but great part of the walls and other buildings could be traced. The extent of them was, however, inconsiderable. These are now said to have disappeared, but there still remains between this site and the sea a curious column or monument, built of large stones, rising on a square pedestal. This is commonly regarded as a kind of trophy, erected by the Syracusans to commemorate their victory over the Athenians. But there is no foundation for this belief: had it been so designed, it would certainly have been erected on the banks of the river Asinarus, which the Athenians never succeeded in crossing. (Fazell. iv. 2. p. 215; Cluver. Sicil. p. 186; Smyth, Sicily, p. 179; Hoare, Classical Tour, vol ii. p. 136.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
(Heloros) and Helorum. A town on the eastern coast of Sicily, south of Syracuse, at the mouth of the river Helorus.
Ancient remains at a small city on a low hill near the coast SE of
Noto on the left bank of the river Tellaro. The literary sources give scanty information
on the ancient site, which was connected to Syracuse by the Helorian Road. In
493 B.C. Hippokrates defeated the Syracusans on Helorian territory, and in 263
B.C., by virtue of the peace treaty between Hieron II and Rome, the city passed
under Syracusan control; it surrendered to Marcellus in 214 B.C.
Two excavation campaigns have brought to light long sections of the ancient walls, a small temple, and some Hellenistic houses on the S slope of the modern city, where part of the theater cavea was also identified.
A Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore has been explored on the shore immediately to the N of the city, at a short distance from the fortification walls. The sanctuary flourished from the archaic to the Hellenistic period and proved very rich in votive offerings; a complex of rooms in front contained several bothroi.
In the S section of the urban area, a Sanctuary to Demeter has been found, dating from the second half of the 4th c. B.C. In this district, previously residential, a temple was built. Its stereobate is almost entirely preserved (20 x 10.5 m). Besides the temple, the sanctuary contained a few rectangular structures for the storage of votive offerings, a practice attested also in the extramural Koreion mentioned above. In the early 2d c. B.C. the sacred complex was delimited by a monumental stoa which has now been completely excavated. It is a long pi-shaped portico (stoa with paraskenia) with two naves, Doric columns on facade, and square pillars in the interior. The greatest length of the building is ca. 68 m, the greatest width, at the center, 7.4 m. It is one of the most important Hellenistic examples of this type of structure in Sicily. During the Byzantine period the E side of the sanctuary was occupied by a basilica with three naves, apse, and narthex, built with blocks taken from earlier buildings. The most recent excavations in the area of the sanctuary have also yielded the earliest documentation for Greek occupation at Heloros. Stratigraphic tests have produced (from the archaic levels) Protocorinthian Geometric sherds and remains of house walls of the early archaic period.
These finds suggest that Heloros was not a relatively late foundation connected with the Syracusan expansion within the SE triangle of Sicily, but was instead one of the first outposts on the coastal zone S of Syracuse, in an area agriculturally very rich and strategically very important (the mouth of the Tellaro) especially with regard to the sites defended by the native populations.
Among the important finds of the recent campaigns are the discovery of the S city gate and the identification of the major traffic artery within the city, which ran N-S and connected the N gate, already excavated, with the newly discovered gate.
In Helorian territory, approximately 2.5 km to the W of the city, some polychrome mosaic floors have recently been discovered. They probably belong to a Roman Imperial villa, and are in good state of preservation; they seem of high artistic quality. A section of a vast portico is paved with a motif of medallions with geometric patterns surrounded by large and elegant laurel wreaths. The other mosaics belong to rooms opening onto the portico; the most important shows a banquet scene with people around a table set under a tent, a well-known motif which occurs also in the Little Hunt Mosaic of the Villa near Piazza Armerina. The varied and vivid polychromy, the elegance and richness of the compositons, the particular efficacy of the figured scenes make these mosaics, dating from the 4th c. A.D., a major discovery for our knowledge of the late Roman period.
G. Voza, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
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