Illustrated Glossary of

Hellenic Polytheism

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BEING A DICTIONARY OR BRIEF ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HELLENISMOS, THE ANCIENT PAGAN GREEK RELIGION


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Introduction

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 Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), 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 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 Thæí (Theoi or Gods; Gr. Θεοί) and terms found in the Orphic Hymns. Where possible, the specific meanings related to those hymns and to the teachings of Orphismós (Orphism; Gr. Ορφισμός) are being added. Since the Thomas Taylor translation of the hymns is recommended, you will find coordination between Latin and Greek terms as well, since he followed the convention of his time in using the Latin names for the Gods rather than the Greek. Despite the fact that this website has a decidedly Greek preference, the Latin is still important because much of the more recent literature, particularly that which was published after 1700, uses the Latin terms rather than the Greek, even though the text in question may be purely Greek. Further, there are antique Latin writers of great authority in the traditions of Ællinismόs.

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 
Ællinismόs, 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 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. Similarly, some other terms are capitalized to express veneration; examples would be Aithír (Ether or Aether; Gr. Αἰθήρ), Freedom, and Mysteries.

  

SPELLING 

Spelling-choice in transliterated words is complicated. Our approach is that spelling follows pronunciation...where practical. The pronunciation of ancient Greek words in Greece itself is different from that found in universities in other countries. Being that the author of this website has strong ties and loyalties with teachers in Greece, he is aligned 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. Having examined the various transliteration methods currently in use, it was decided that they are all inadequate to this purpose, and a new transliteration method has been developed.

Please visit the following pages to familiarize yourself with the Greek pronunciation of the ancient letters and words as well as the unique transliteration system we have developed:


A typical entry in the Glossary, if it is a Greek word, will be similar to this example:

Ælæléfs - (Eleleus; Gr. ἘλελεύςἘΛΕΛΕΎΣ)

The first word in bold print is the Greek word as transliterated with our method. After this will be found in parenthesis the exact same word but in the more commonly found transliteration, and finally the word in Greek script followed by the exact same word in Greek capital letters. In the example, we are spelling Ἐλελεύς thus: Ælæléfs, but the more common spelling is Eleleus. We are transliterating it thus because we believe that someone without any training will look at the word and pronounce it close to the way the Greeks pronounce the word. There is another entry for Eleleus which refers the reader back to Ælæléfs, so the reader can find the word with either spelling.

Eventually as the site is upgraded, the reader will find our transliterations, along with the more common spellings, and the ancient Greek as well. 

The author apologizes for confusion on the website, with several conventions coexisting together. It has been an ongoing process to understand the Greek pronunciation of words and it takes an enormous amount of time to update the site with the transliteration we have developed.


DEFINITIONS 

The primary source in the Glossary for the definition 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 Glossary usually abbreviates the definitions for simplicity; 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, genuine and venerable 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, as previously stated, this is not actually a scholastic site; it is a site presenting the views of believers of the traditions it presents. Scholars expecting methodological agnosticism will not be comfortable with much of what is presented on this site. The principle position of this site is that of the living tradition of the teachings of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς). Because 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 for Liddell & Scott.


ALHF = Apollodorus' Library and Hyginus' Fabulae trans. R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma, Hackett Publishing Co. (Indianapolis IN USA and Cambridge), 2007.

Ap.I = Apollodorus The Library, trans. by J. G. Frazer, 1921, Vol. 1; we are using the 1990 Loeb Classical Library edition, LCL 121, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge, MA & London, England).

Ap.II = Apollodorus The Library, trans. by J. G. Frazer, 1921, Vol. 2; we are using the 1989 Loeb Classical Library edition, LCL 122, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge, MA), William Heineman (London, England).

ARApollohnios Rothios Argonaftika, trans. by R. C. Seaton, 1912, in the book entitled Apollonius Rhodius: The Argonautica published by Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA and London England).  We are using the 2003 edition, Loeb Classical Library LCL 1.

Auten. = A Homeric Dictionary from the German of Dr. Georg Autenrieth, trans. with additions and corrections by Robert P. Keep, Harper (New York), 1879.

BNPBell's New Pantheon; or, Historical Dictionary of the Gods, Demi-Gods, Heroes, and Fabulous Personages of Antiquity, by John Bell, 1790.  Printed by and for J. Bell, Bookseller to his royal highness the Prince of Wales at the British Library, Strand. (London, England).

Brill DAG = The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek by Franco Montanari, under the auspices of the Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard Univ., 2015 edition, Brill (Leiden/Boston)

CGT1 = The Complete Greek Tragedies Vol. 1: Aeschylus,  translated by various authors.  Published by the University of Chicago Press (Chicago IL USA) 1959, the individual plays have various original copyright dates.

CGT2The Complete Greek Tragedies Vol. 2: Sophocles,  translated by various authors.  Published by the University of Chicago Press (Chicago IL USA) 1959, the individual plays have various original copyright dates.

CGT3 The Complete Greek Tragedies Vol. 3: Euripides,  translated by various authors.  Published by the University of Chicago Press (Chicago IL USA) 1959, the individual plays have various original copyright dates.

CGT4 The Complete Greek Tragedies Vol. 4: Euripides,  translated by various authors.  Published by the University of Chicago Press (Chicago IL USA) 1959, the individual plays have various original copyright dates.

CM = A Classical Manual, Being a Mythological, Historical, and Geographical Commentary on Pope's Homer, and Dryden's Æneid of Virgil, 1833.  John Murray, Albemarle St. (London, England). This very old and amazing book does not list an author or editor. There is vast knowledge in this text but it has a rather major flaw, no citations, yet it has proven remarkably reliable as a reference.

DGRBMA Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology in three volumes, edited by William Smith, 1880; original 1880 edition by John Murray.  We are using the 2007 I.B Tauris edition (London, England & New York, USA).

DGRG = A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography in two volumes, edited by William Smith, 1872; original 1872 edition by John Murray.  We are using the 2006 I.B. Tauris edition (London England and New York USA).

DLLOP = Diogenes Laertius' The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, trans. by C. D. Yonge, 1828; Henry G. Bohn Publ. (London, England).

DPI 
Plato; translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1892, Vol. 1 of the 1937 Random House (New York, USA) edition of The Dialogues of Plato.

DPII 
Plato; translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1892, Vol. 2 of the 1937 Random House (New York, USA) edition of The Dialogues of Plato.

ed. = editor: the author of this website

EDGI = Etymological dictionary of Greek Vol. 1 by Robert Beekes with the assistance of Lucien van Beek, 2009; from the Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series, Brill (Leiden, Boston). 

EDGII = Etymological dictionary of Greek Vol. 2 by Robert Beekes with the assistance of Lucien van Beek, 2009; from the Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series, Brill (Leiden, Boston). 

EGD = English-Greek Dictionary, compiled by S. C. Woodhouse, 1910; we are using the 1987 Routledge & Kegan Paul edition (London, England).

GDM1 = The Great Dionysiak Myth Vol.1 by Robert Brown, 1877; Longmans, Green, and Co. (London, England).

GDM2 = The Great Dionysiak Myth Vol.2 by Robert Brown, 1878; Longmans, Green, and Co. (London, England).

gen. = genitive or general.

Gradus = A New and Complete Greek Gradus, or Poetical Lexicon of the Greek Language: With a Latin and English Translation; an English-Greek Vocabulary; and a Treatise by Edward Maltby, Bishop of Durham, Third Edition (London), 1850.

Her.Herodotus' The Histories, translated by George Rawlinson in 1910; we are using the 1997 Everyman Library, Alfred A. Knopf edition (New York, USA & Toronto, Canada).

HG = The view with the designation HG is expressive of the position of this website, HellenicGods.org.

HHH = Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA) and William Heinemann LTD (London England), Loeb Classical Library, 1914.  We are using the 1936 edition.

HIM1 = Homer Iliad I: Books 1-12 trans. A. T. Murray, Revised by William F. Wyatt, 1924.  We are using the 1999 edition published by Harvard University Press (Cambridge MA USA and London England), Loeb Classical Library LCL 170.

HIM2Homer Iliad II: Books 13-24 trans. A. T. Murray, Revised by William F. Wyatt, 1925.  We are using the 1999 edition published by Harvard University Press (Cambridge MA USA and London England), Loeb Classical Library LCL 171.

HO = The Hymns of Orpheus, trans. by Thomas Taylor, 1792; we are using a facsimile of the original edition, London, England (printed for the author). See OH.

L&SGreek-English Lexicon by H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, 1843; we are using the 1996 Clarendon Press edition (Oxford, England).  
Abbreviations used in Liddell & Scott can be found here: Abbreviations etc. for Liddell & Scott.

LCD = Lemprière's Classical Dictionary of Proper Names mentioned in Ancient Authors, 1788; Third Edition, 1984; reprinted 1987 Routledge & Kegan Paul edition (London, England & New York, USA).

LCL = Loeb Classical Library, usually followed by the volume number.

LD = A Latin Dictionary founded on Andrews' Edition of Freund's Latin Dictionary by Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, 1879; we are using the 1955 Oxford/Clarendon Press edition (Oxford, England).

LHD = A Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect by Richard John Cunliffe, 1924 by Blackie and son Limited, London, Glasgow, and Bombay.  We are using the edition from 1963, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Publishing Division of the University.

Middle Liddell = An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon Founded Upon the Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, 1889. Oxford at the Clarendon Press (Oxford and New York).

ND I through ND III = Nónnos (Gr. Νόννος) Dionysiaká (Gr. Διονυσιακά) trans. W. H. D. Rouse 1940. We are using the Loeb Classical Library edition entitled Nonnos Dionysiaca, the 1962 reprint with the exception of volume three in which we are using the 1963 edition. Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA) and William Heinemann LTD (London).

OGR = Orpheus and Greek Religion by W. K. C. Guthrie, 1935. We are using the 1993 reprint by Princeton Univ. Press (Princeton, NJ USA).

OHThe Orphic Hymns, as translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis, 1977; published by Scholars Press for The Society of Biblical Literature (Atlanta, GA USA); we are using the 1988 reprint.  See HO.

OMOvid Metamorphoses translated by A. D. Melville, Oxford Univ. Press (Oxford England and New York NY USA) 1986 World's Classic paperback 1987.

OP = The Orphic Poems by M. L. West, 1983.  Clarendon Press/Oxford Univ. Press (Oxford England and New York NY USA and elsewhere).

Oral = Story, teaching, or view taught personally to the author by teachers in Greece. 

Paus. I through Paus. IV = Pausanias' Description of Greece, trans. W. H. S. Jones, 1918-1935, in four volumes. We are using the 1961 Loeb-Heinemann (London, England)-Harvard edition (Cambridge, MA USA). 

PGG1 = Pausanias Guide to Greece Vol. 1: Central Greece, trans. by Peter Levi 1971.  We are using the 1979 reprint.  Penguin Books (London England and elsewhere).

PGG2 = Pausanias Guide to Greece Vol. 2: Southern Greece, trans by Peter Levi 1971.  We are using the 1979 reprint.  Penguin Books (London England and elsewhere). 

PI = The Odes of Pindar Including the Principal Fragments translated by Sir John Sandys, 1915.  We are using the 1968 edition published by William Heinemann LTD (London England) and Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA), Loeb Classical Library Series Vol. 56.

Slater = Lexicon to Pindar edited by William J. Slater and published by Walter de Gruyter (Berlin). We are using the 1969 edition.

TTS = Thomas Taylor Series

TTS V = Hymns and Initiations, trans. Thomas Taylor. A group of translations originally published variously from 1787-1824; including Neoplatonic Hymns (Philological Quarterly) originally published 1929. All of the translations gathered together in this 2003 edition by The Prometheus Trust (Somerset UK).  Thomas Taylor Series V.

TTS VIII = The Theology of Plato: Proclus, trans. Thomas Taylor, 1816.  We are using the 1999 edition published by The Prometheus Trust (Somerset UK). Thomas Taylor Series VIII.

TTS IX through XIII = The Works of Plato in Five Volumes; trans. Thomas Taylor 1804; Prometheus Trust edition 
(Somerset UK)

TTS XVProklos' Commentary on the Timæus of Plato, Vol. I; trans. Thomas Taylor 1820; 2006 Prometheus Trust edition (Somerset UK), Thomas Taylor Series Vol. XV.

TTS XVIProklos' Commentary on the Timæus of Plato, Vol. II; trans. Thomas Taylor 1820; 2006 Prometheus Trust edition (Somerset UK), Thomas Taylor Series Vol. XVI.


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.



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: 


PHOTO COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: The many pages of this website incorporate images, some created by the author, but many obtained from outside sources. To find out more information about these images and why this website can use them, visit this link: Photo Copyright Information


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: Inquire.hellenicgods@gmail.com

For answers to many questions: Hellenismos FAQ

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