GLOSSARY HOME PAGE
BEING A DICTIONARY OR BRIEF ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HELLENISMOS, THE ANCIENT PAGAN GREEK RELIGION
Introduction to the Illustrated Glossary of Hellenic Polytheism: This illustrated glossary, being a dictionary or brief encyclopedia, is intended to be a reference for those who worship the Hellenic Gods, an encyclopedia of Hellenismos, the ancient Greek religion. You will find some terms in the glossary that are not found elsewhere and you will discover that the slant is more devotional. This is in contrast to the strictly scholarly tone of some other encyclopedias. Despite the fact that much of this material can be found elsewhere, you will find the glossary unique, both in its choice of subjects and in the way these subjects are presented, and, being a work in progress, increasingly unique as time goes on. The Glossary is intended to supply immediate information to help you understand a passage from a text, words found in ritual, or terms and names relating to our path that you may have heard in a study group.
Unique attention is given to the various Thæi (Theoi; Gr. Θεοί, ΘΕΟΊ) and terms found in the Orphic Hymns and Orphism. Where possible, the specific meanings related to those hymns are being added. Due to the fact that many people use the Thomas Taylor translation of the Hymns, you will find coordination between Latin and Greek terms as well. Despite the fact that Hellenic Gods.org has a decidedly Greek preference, the Latin is critically important because much of the contemporary literature, particularly that which was published before 1900, uses the Latin terms rather than the Greek, even though the text in question may be purely Greek. Further, there are Latin writers of great authority in the traditions of Hellenismos.
Some archaeological and cultural terms and images are also given. As an example, the various types of pottery are displayed. Pictures of Gods and heroes can be found as well as select historical figures that touch on the Hellenic path.
Because the pursuit of wisdom is paramount in Hellenismos, philosophical terms, both ancient and contemporary are slowly being added to the Glossary
CAPITALIZATION: We assume the convention of capitalizing the words God and Gods, unlike the convention of the scholars. Even when quoting text, the Glossary will usually capitalize these words, despite the fact that they may not appear so in the original document. This is for the obvious reason of piety and as an expression of our sincerity regarding the validity of our tradition. In circumstances where there are words that refer to the Gods, words such as he, she, him , her, me, mine, they, etc., we do not capitalize, as such a practice can quickly become excessive. In a similar manner to the words God and Gods, some other terms are capitalized to express veneration. Examples would be Aither (Ether or Aether; Gr. Αἰθήρ, ΑἸΘΉΡ), Freedom, and Mysteries.
SPELLING: Spelling-choice in transliterated words is complicated and, on this website, there is a logic to it. Our general approach is that spelling follows pronunciation...where practical. The pronunciation of ancient Greek words in Greece itself is different from that found in the universities in other countries. Being that the author of this website has ties with teachers in Greece, his loyalties are to the Greek pronunciation, and the convention developed by this website regarding transliteration reflects that loyalty. We use what is known as the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing the ancient words, which is, simply, modern Greek pronunciation.
A typical entry in the Glossary, if it is a Greek word, will be similar to this example:
Ælælefs - (Eleleus; Gr. Ἐλελεύς, ἘΛΕΛΕΎΣ)
THE PRINCIPLE SOURCE FOR DEFINITIONS of Greek words is the Greek-English Lexicon by H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, originally published in 1843. We are using the gigantic, unabridged 1996 Clarendon Press/Oxford edition. Liddell & Scott is authoritative in that every usage is demonstrated by citations (and in some cases full quotations for demonstration) of classical texts. The HellenicGods.org Glossary usually abbreviates the definitions for clarity; if the reader has any doubt, please verify for yourself and go to the text, available online here: http://perseus.uchicago.edu/. And for yet more definitions: Perseus under PhiloLogic Home. For Latin words we are using A Latin Dictionary by Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, 1879; 1955 Clarendon Press edition, also an immense volume with numerous citations, commonly viewed as authoritative.
A NOTE CONCERNING CITATIONS: While this Glossary does not pretend to be a text for scholars, citations are provided for as much material as is practicable. When work on the project was begun, no citations were given at all, so it will be a matter of considerable time before the entire site is thoroughly supported, although new entries in general will.
The citations are present to illuminate and expound; at times they are there to show evidence of continuance of tradition with antiquity, but at no time are citations used in this glossary to insist on one viewpoint or another: the truth of our tradition is experiential and not in the words; this website does not promote a bible or creed.
Much information found in the Glossary was obtained from oral sources, reliable teachers in Greece, which may never be able to be cited. There is a massive body of knowledge that is quite commonly known in Greece, is difficult to find in texts, and virtually unknown outside of the country. For instance, when this author was in Greece in 2008, I ate dinner with my teacher in a restaurant where there was a rather huge blow-up of an old photograph on the wall. It was the stadium of the 1896 Olympics, the first of the modern games. Above the stadium two eagles circled the arena. This event was considered highly auspicious by the Greeks and the photo is indeed striking, but I cannot find knowledge of it anywhere outside of Greece. There are many ideas and concepts that seem to be common knowledge there, but are not known and certainly not accepted elsewhere.
SCHOLARSHIP VS PRACTICE
The author of this website has the utmost respect for the scholars of the ancient world. You will discover much scholarship on the pages of this website. However, HellenicGods.org is not actually a scholastic site; it is a site presenting the views of believers of the traditions it presents. In particular, the principle position of this site is that of the living tradition of the teachings of Orphefs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς, ὈΡΦΕΎΣ). On account of the fact that the author is presenting a tradition that has, primarily, been taught to him, you will not necessarily see every view presented on any particular subject. Further, it may appear in some instances that the views presented are not objective. This is the way it must be when presenting a tradition from the position of a practitioner, not an "outsider," so to speak. In some cases, views are presented that the author does not himself agree with; the site is not in every case presenting the author's views, but those views taught to the author, at least that is the effort, to the best of my ability. If any mistakes have been made in this regard, it is the fault of the author, and not those who taught him.
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE GLOSSARY:
Liddell & Scott abbreviations can be found here: Abbreviations etc. for Liddell & Scott.
PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this Glossary, you will find fascinating stories. These narratives are known as mythology, 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 often 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.
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DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) with the views of HellenicGods.org by the external sources from which they were obtained.
Further, the inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) by HellenicGods.org of the contents or views of any external sources from which they were obtained.
For more information, please write: Inquire.firstname.lastname@example.org
For answers to many questions: FAQ of Hellenismos.