Sicilian daemons, twin sons of Zeus and the nymph Thaleia, the daughter of Hephaestus. Sometimes they are called sons of Hephaestus by Aetna, the daughter of Oceanus. Thaleia, from fear of Hera, desired to be swallowed up by the earth; this was done, but in due time she sent forth from the earth twin boys, who were called Palici (Παλικοὶ), from τοῦ πάλιν ἱκέσθαι (tou palin hikesthai).
They were worshiped in the neighborhood of Mount Etna, near Palice; and in the earliest times human sacrifices were offered to them. Their sanctuary was an asylum for runaway slaves, and near it there gushed forth from the earth two sulphureous springs, called Deilloi, or brothers of the Palici; at which solemn oaths were taken, the oaths being written on tablets and thrown into one of the wells. If the tablet swam on the water, the oath was considered to be true, but if it sank down, the oath was regarded as perjury, which was believed to be punished instantaneously by blindness or death.
Singular Palicus (Παλικός).
- Cicero. On the Nature of the Gods iii, 22.
- Diodorus Siculus. Historical Library xii, 89.
- Macrobius. Saturnalia v, 19.
- Ovid. Metamorphoses v, 406.
- Pseudo-Aristotle. On Marvellous Things Heard, 58.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
- Stephanus of Byzantium, s.v. Παλική.
- Strabo. Geography vi, p. 275.
- Virgil. Aeneid ix, 585, with the note of Servius.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.