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GLOSSARY OF MIASMA AND PURIFICATION
IN ANCIENT GREEK RELIGION

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Ænayís - (enages; Gr. ἐναγής, ΕΝΑΓΗΣ. Adjective.) to be under a cursepolluted, in a sacrilegious sense or as related to murder. The word is an adjectival form of ἄγος. Cf. Ágos.

Agneftírion - (hagneuterion; Gr. ἁγνευτήριον, ΑΓΝΕΥΤΗΡΙΟΝ. Noun.) place of purification.

Ágnisma - (hagnisma; Gr. ἅγνισμα, ΑΓΝΙΣΜΑ. Noun.) a purification.

Agnismós - (hagnismus; Gr. ἁγνισμός, ΑΓΝΙΣΜΟΣ. Noun.) purificationexpiation.

Agnistǽos - (hagnisteos; Gr. ἁγνιστέος, ΑΓΝΙΣΤΕΟΣ. Verb.) to be purified.

Agnistís - (hagnistes; Gr. ἁγνιστής, ΑΓΝΙΣΤΗΣ. Noun) he who performs the purificationthe purifier.

Agnízoh - (hagnizo; Gr. ἁγνίζω, ΑΓΝΙΖΩ. Verb.) purify, wash, cleanse by water, consecrate

Ágos - (agus; Gr. ἄγος, ΑΓΟΣ. Noun.) Ágos is a particular type of míasmaguiltcurse, and danger, connected with sacrilege, violating the sacred. Ágos is a type of pollution which is beyond the human realm and places one under divine curse, therefore, it is connected with sacredness, but in a negative sense; one is under the "protection" of the deity to whom you have offended.

Agus – See Ágos.

Aspergillum - See Pærirrantírion.

Aspersorium - The aspersorium is a situla, a bowl for dipping a pærirrantírion into in order to replenish the internal sponge with khǽrnips.

Catharmus – See Katharmós.

Catharsis – See Kátharsis.

Catharus – See Katharós.

Cheironiptron – See Kheiróniptron.

Chernibeion – See Khærniveion.

Chernibon – See Khǽrnivon.

Chernips – See Khǽrnips.

Cherniptomae – See Khærníptomai.

Diacrisis – See Diákrisis.

Diákrisis - (diacrisis; Gr. διάκρισις, ΔΙΑΚΡΙΣΙΣ. Noun.) Plátohn (Πλάτων) in Σοφιστής (The Sophist) at 226d calls purification (καθαρμός) a type of division (διάκρισις).

 

Stranger: There is no name for the first kind of separation; of the second, which throws away the worse and preserves the better, I do know a name.

 

Thæaititos (Θεαίτητος): What is it?

 

Stranger: Every discernment or discrimination of that kind, as I have observed, is called a purification.


And again at 227d:

Stranger: Do we admit that virtue is distinct from vice in the soul?

 

Thæaititos: Certainly.

 

Stranger: And purification was to leave the good and to cast out where is bad?

 

Thæaititos: True

 

(both trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892.)

We can say that there are two basic divisions of purification, that of physical cleansing, on the one hand, and on the other we have the purification of the soul, that which casts out or separates vice and leaves virtue (ἀρετή).

Enagis - See Ænayís.

Hagneuterion – See Agneftírion.

Hagnisma - See Ágnisma.

Hagnismus - See Agnismós.

Hagnisteos - See Agnistǽos.

Hagnistes - See Agnistís.

Hagnizo - See Agnízoh.

Hydor – See Ýdohr.

Hydrana – See Ydrána.

Hydria – See Ydría.

Katharmós - (catharmus; Gr. καθαρμός, ΚΑΘΑΡΜΟΣ. Noun.) purification, purifying ritual of the Mystiria. 

Katharós – (catharus; Gr. καθαρός, ΚΑΘΑΡΟΣ. Adjective.) clean, unsoiled, pure, unpolluted.

Kátharsis - (catharsis; Gr. κάθαρσις, ΚΑΘΑΡΣΙΣ. Noun.) cleansing from pollution, purification; Stoic cleansing or conflagration of the universe by fire.

Khǽrnips - (chernips; Gr. χέρνιψ, ΧΕΡΝΙΨ. Noun.)  water for washing the hands, esp. for use before doing religious ritual.

Khærníptomai - (cherniptomae; Gr. χερνίπτομαι, ΧΕΡΝΙΠΤΟΜΑΙ. Verb.) washing hands with khǽrnips, sprinkling with khǽrnips to purify or dedicate. This word can also be used as an exclamation while washing one's hands or sprinkling khǽrnips on a person or a thing: “Khærníptomai!” i.e., "Be purified!"

Khærniveion - (chernibeion; Gr. χερνιβεῖον, ΧΕΡΝΙΒΕΙΟΝ. Noun.) vessel to wash hands. Cf. Khǽrnivon.

Khǽrnivon - (chernibon; Gr. χέρνιβον, ΧΕΡΝΙΒΟΝ. Noun.) Homeric form of the word χερνιβεῖον. Cf. Khærniveion.

Kheiróniptron - (cheironiptron; Gr. χειρόνιπτρον, ΧΕΙΡΟΝΙΠΤΡΟΝ. Noun.) a bowl for washing hands.

Lustral Water = Khǽrnips. The English word lustral is an adjective meaning “ceremonially purifying.”

Miarós - (miarus; Gr. μιαρός, ΜΙΑΡΟΣ. Adjective.) defiledritually impure, morally repugnant. It is interesting to note that μιαρός can be used as an adjective simply meaning “ugly,” and that the opposite of ugly is beautiful.

Miarus – See Miarós.

Míasma - (Gr. μίασμα, ΜΙΑΣΜΑ. Noun.) pollution, esp. ritual pollution.

Pærirrantírion - (perirranterion; Gr. περιρραντήριον, ΠΕΡΙΡΡΑΝΤΉΡΙΟΝ. Noun.) A pærirrantírion is an aspergillum, a whisk with which to sprinkle khǽrnips. The word can also be used to refer to the aspersorium, the basin of khǽrnips itself.

Perirranterion – See Pærirrantírion.

Prostropaeus – See Prostrópaios.

Prostrópaios - (prostropaeus; Gr. προστρόπαιος, ΠΡΟΣΤΡΟΠΑΙΟΣ. Adjective.) literally “turning towards,” suppliant for purification who “turns to” a God (in antiquity sometimes to a king) to free him/her from pollution.

Salt-water - (almyrus hydor; Gr. ἁλμυρός ὕδωρ, ΑΛΜΥΡΟΣ ΥΔΩΡ) Salt represents the mystic fire. Salt-water represents the fire-aithír (aether; Gr. αἰθήρ). This is why (clean) salt-water is appropriate for use as khǽrnips.

Situla - See Aspersorium.

Water-Fire-Aithír - In Orphic literature, the three elements, Water-Fire-Aithír, have the characteristic of being συνεχής, i.e. continuous and all three are often implied when saying Water (Ὕδωρ). (This in contrast to Earth [Ὕδωρ], the mæristí ousía, the divisible substance), Therefore, when Orphéfs says that all things consist of Earth and Water, he is also saying that all things consist of Earth and Water-Fire-Aithír. Cf. Ýdohr.

Ýdohr - (Hydor; Gr. Ὕδωρ, ΥΔΩΡ. Noun.) Ýdohr is Water, one of the two basic material kosmogonic substances. Ýdohr has the characteristic of being μεριστή, i.e. divisible. Cf. Water-Fire-Aithír.

Ydrána - (hydrana; Gr. ὑδράνᾱ, ΥΔΡΑΝΑ. Noun.) basin for khǽrnips.

Ydría - (hydria; Gr. ὑδρία, ΥΔΡΙΑ. Noun.) a pitcher. If there is more than one person taking part in ritual, one individual may pour the khǽrnips over the hands of each participant with an ydría so that the water is clean for each person. A large receptacle may be used to catch any spillage.



The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The 
Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς). 



PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

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