HELLENISMÓS - ΕΛΛΗΝΙΣΜΟΣ
The Ancient Greek Path of Aræti
Hellenic Gods. org
Definitions of Ællinismόs
Ællinismόs or Hellenismos - (Gr. Ἑλληνισμός, ΕΛΛΗΝΙΣΜΟΣ) Ællinismόs is defined as the ancient Greek religion.
We use this term, but in reality, there was no word in antiquity for the Greek religion until well into the Christian era, and then this word...Ællinismόs
... became a vehicle to distinguish the older, Hellenic, i.e. Greek polytheistic traditions, from the new monotheistic religion.
The Greek-English Lexicon by H.G. Liddell and R. Scott defines Ællinismόs as: "imitation of the Greeks, Hellenism, use of a pure Greek style and idiom."  Therefore, in the broadest meaning of the term, and also its strictest meaning, Hellenismos is defined as anything Greek, even such things as the Greek Orthodox church, Greek cuisine, or Greek music could be called Ællinismόs.
Nonetheless, in the framework of philosophy and religion, particularly outside of Greece, Ællinismόs is the word that has come to refer to the worship of the traditional Gods of ancient Greece, most notably, the Twelve Olympian Gods. Ællinismόs includes the vast stream of philosophical inquiry and practice, the thread of understanding running from
Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς), the natural philosophers, through Pythagóras (Gr. Πυθαγόρας), Sohkrátis (Socrates; Gr. Σωκράτης), and all the schools of thought that blossomed from these.
Ǽllin, son of Defkalíohn
So where does this term actually come from? The etymological root of Ællinismόs is the name Hellen, or a better spelling reflecting pronunciation would be Ǽllin (Gr. Ἕλλην). Ǽllin is a man's name not to be confused with the woman's name Ælǽni (Helen, as in Helen of Troy; Gr. Ἑλένη). Ǽllin was the son of Defkalíohn (Deucalion; Gr. Δευκαλίων) and Pýrra (Gr. Πύρρα). 
Defkalíohn was a son of Promithéfs (Prometheus; Gr. Προμηθεύς) and Proníis (Pronoea; Gr. Προνοίης), different texts propose various women as being his mother.
According to the mythology, Defkalíohn and his wife Pýrra were the only human beings to survive a great deluge which occurred on earth, as Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) had made the decision to destroy the bronze race.  When this was accomplished, Defkalíohn and his wife grew despondent and could no longer endure their loneliness and they asked Zefs to either make them perish or to give them the company of other people. The God told them to toss stones behind them. These stones (Gr. λᾶος) became people, the Greek people.  This is the mythology.
The Flood by Paul Merwart, Public Domain
And the Greek people are also said to be the descendants of the aforementioned son of Defkalíohn, Ǽllin, because each one of Ǽllin's sons founded one of the major peoples of Greece, peoples such as the Ionians, the Dorians, etc.  It is also from his name that we get the word Hellene or Ǽllinæs (Gr. Ἕλληνες), the people of Greek, or Hellenic, heritage. So this is why, when we speak of Ællinismόs, we speak of the Greek tradition, the Greek religion, the Greek philosophies and science.
Julian the Philosopher
is also associated with the last pagan Roman emperor , Julian (approx. 331 CE to 363), who endeavored to rule as a philosopher-king and attempted to revive the worship of the Gods after Christianity had been established in the empire by his immediate predecessors.
Julian used the word and it is often identified with him because of his noble effort. Many people believe that Julian actually coined the term
, but the word can be found in literature at least as early as the second century BCE, therefore long pre-dating the emperor. 
But the term is connected with Julian, an association that is made not only by scholars, but also by those who admire him in the contemporary community of those who worship the Gods.
It could be said that the use of the term
as specifically designating the Greek religion and philosophies (rather than meaning everything Greek) may be a direct result of the way in which Julian used it.
Ællinismόs is religion, yet more than religion
Ællinismόs is both a religion and more than a religion. Ællinismόs is a way of life which utilizes genuine philosophy and which has as its outward expression, thriskeia (Gr. θρησκεία). Thriskeia is the organized worship and ritual of the ancient Hellenic polytheistic tradition, especially the outward expression of belief in the Thæí (Theoi = the Gods; Gr. Θεοί). Thriskeia is translated as "religion" in the English language. When the belief system of Ællinismόs is put into practice and organized into temples and ritual, the outward expression of this is called thriskeia. To say that Ællinismόs is merely thriskeia would be misleading being that Ællinismόs is not merely concerned with outward forms (which should be viewed as superficial), and Ællinismόs is not creedal but philosophical, in the highest sense of the term. In other words, Ællinismόs is based more on the manner in which we live our lives rather than organized outward forms and beliefs. Thriskeia or religion is an aspect of Ællinismόs but is not inclusive of its entire meaning. Religion, with its forms and rituals, is only an outward form; if one's way of life does not reflect into the religion, such thriskeia is an empty shell. You can say this of any religion but it is particularly important to the creator of this website and his teachers in Greece. Ællinismόs is more than thriskeia because it can exist independent of the outward forms; Ællinismόs beats in our heart, our soul. And the Gods exist independent of thriskeia, independent of religion, independent of our worship of them. So we say that Ællinismόs is both a religion and more than a religion because beyond the forms of thriskeia, we put our philosophy into action.
Ællinismόs is the foundation of our society
Although the term refers to the Greek tradition, it must be understood that Ællinismόs is the core of the European tradition, having exerted great influence from ancient times to this very day. Consequently, those who wish to foster Ællinismόs in one's own life are encouraged to become cultured and engaged people. In particular, the study of history, from ancient times to the present, is a profitable tool in one's understanding of the action of the Gods in human history. If those who saw to your education left this area lacking, one must make an effort to educate one's self. The Muses are present in the great works of art, music, dance, theatre, and writing. The bountiful richness of these traditions is permeated with the presence of Gods, regardless of the personal beliefs of those who created them, for the Gods are not one's beliefs or practices; they transcend religion and philosophy.
Controversy Concerning the Term:
The exact meaning of Hellenismos in its contemporary context has become somewhat controversial.
A major concern is the tendency amongst some groups to develop a type of exclusivistic orthodoxy and pigeon-holing, concepts which are alien to the true spirit of
This orthodoxy is usually associated with groups which identify themselves as "reconstructionists," i.e., those who are attempting to recreate the ancient traditions as closely as possible. On this website, Ællinismόs is used as a more inclusive term, inclusive of Dodækatheists, those who worship the Twelve Olympian Gods, as well as those who only worship parts o
f the Hellenic pantheon. It is exclusive of groups such as Wicca, who may claim cultus to some of our pantheon. This author sees it as a matter of allegiance. In other words, those who claim allegiance to the Hellenic Gods rather than another pantheon areÆllinismόs,
even though they may not worship the entire pantheon, or though they practice syncretism, or those who incorporate parts of other philosophies with the Greek tradition, or whether they follow ancient practices or have created modern practices. But this definition is not so broad as to be meaningless. Although an individual may have a relationship with a Hellenic deity such asÆkáti (
Hekate; Gr.Ἑκάτη), if their allegiance is to Wicca and its practices or some other tradition, that would not be viewed as Ællinismόs, nor would such a practitioner want to be identified as such. The principle point is to avoid been mean-spirited and divisive while retaining meaning to the word, and to acknowledge the many philosophical viewpoints and practices that have blossomed under the umbrella of Ællinismόs.
Ideally, the entire pantheon of deities should be honored, particularly the Twelve Olympian Gods (Dodækathæism) and ultimately, such worship is the expression of Ællinismόs in its fullness. There are many individuals who have a relationship with one or more deities and ignore the rest. Such an approach has limits and should eventually lead to a relationship with the entire pantheon. Nevertheless, when a person worships in typical Hellenic style, such as offering libation and reading of hymns, and claims allegiance to the Hellenic tradition, this author takes the position that such an individual belongs under the umbrella of Ællinismόs and should not be somehow excluded and be made to feel somehow inadequate.
Then there are those who claim that if one's various practices are not executed in the precise manner that is found in ancient literature, that such people are not truly
It would be a terrible mistake, in this author's opinion, if we develop the type of orthodoxy that, for instance, the early Christian church developed, far before Luther, whereby different beliefs were eventually condemned as heretical, causing immense havoc, even to the extent of being an excuse for religious genocide. This type of argument can go on and on, even to ancient times, dividing various time-periods by which ones are "more Hellenic" or "less Hellenic." Such pigeon-holing and divisiveness is contrary to the spirit of Ællinismόs.
This would be like saying that all the congregations that developed after Martin Luther are not Christian.
, Hospitality, which is sacred and is protected by ZefsXǽnios
(Zeus Protector of Hospitality; Gr.Ζεύς Ξένιος). The epithet of Zefs, Xǽnios
, comes from the wordxǽnos (Gr. ξένος), which means "stranger," so Zefs is the God who protects strangers. Therefore, even though the practices of others may make them seem as strangers to us, this does not exclude them from Ællinismόs, especially when an individual has loyalty to Ællinismόs. And we should treat them with great hospitality, even though we do not agree with their beliefs.
Those individuals who are connected with this website belong to a tradition that is purely Hellenic, taught to us by Greeks. In general, we do not mix different practices and beliefs. Yet we do not sit and point fingers and say who is or who is notÆllinismόs
We simply practice our tradition and attempt to mind our own business....and we try to be welcoming and friendly, to the best of our ability.
It seems to this author that this approach would be the most fruitful to all parties, cultivating growth between people and warmth of heart. We can each have our traditions and philosophies and hold strong to them, while respecting the perceptions and traditions of others.
A great foundation stone ofÆllinismόs
isÆlefthæría (Eleutheria; Gr. Ἐλευθερία): Freedom. All the blessed Gods are completely free; they desire freedom for all beings and they never violate our freedom. It is best that we try to imitate this quality of the Gods, as Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) suggests:
"Now God ought to be to us the measure of all things, and not man, as men commonly say: the words are far more true of Him. And he who would be dear to God must, as far as is possible, be like Him and such as He is." 
Coupled with Ælefthæría is the mighty Tolerance (Kartæría; Gr. Καρτερία) which is a great hallmark of the genuine Ællinismόs, a quality which enthrones our religion in a haloed grove of which few others dwell. The Hellenic tolerance is a majestic beacon of sanity which has illuminated the world since time immemorial; may no man violate the precious jewel of our ancient traditions with petty and discriminating divisiveness.
Three Categories of Ællinismόs: the Outward form, the Inner Meaning, and the Vast Hellenismos.
The Outward Form consists of the rituals and superficial interpretation of myth, which is, simply, the adoption of common Hellenic beliefs concerning the Gods and doing rituals and making offerings in traditional ways. This is what is called thriskeia (Gr. θρησκεία) as outlined above, the religion, the external expression of Ællinismόs. It entails a type of knowledge: knowledge concerning Gods and their worship, whether that knowledge be rudimentary or extensive.
The inferiority of mere external expression can be demonstrated in the story told by Aelian  of three friends who went to Dælphí (Delphi; Gr. Δελφοί) to consult the Oracle. While journeying to the sanctuary, they were overtaken by thieves. One of the friends fled; the other, while attempting to defend his companion, accidentally killed him. The one who fled, although ritually pure, was turned away from the sanctuary, while the friend who accidentally killed his companion was praised as being blessed for his noble effort to save his friend. Therefore, it can be seen that thriskeia is only valuable to the depth of wisdom and sincerity of the participants, and their purity of soul, a rather obvious statement that was true in ancient times as it is today. By pure logic, one can deduce that outward forms, while certainly not bad, are superficial. This outward form may also be practiced in the other two forms of Ællinismόs.
ἀρετή), as well as the development of wisdom, and communication with deity. Although there are other definitions for the word, by Arætí we mean genuine virtue. This Arætí is not "merit;" it is the achievement of progress that surpasses the narrow confines of egoistic maneuvering. It is a way of life, the genuine philosophy, working with the natural world by means of Natural Laws, and through the worship of the pantheon of Gods of ancient Greece, in particular, the Twelve Olympians. Those who are involved with this inner, deeper Ællinismόs foster what is called Efsǽveia (eusebia; Gr. εὐσέβεια), a type of piety, a reverence towards Gods, parents, and the world. Therefore, the Inner Hellenismos is Efsǽveia by which one develops transcendent Arætí through committed noble action and the worship of the Gods. This definition of Ællinismόs, the Inner Hellenismos based on Arætí, is the deeper meaning of the word; it is the pure Ællinismόs. It is the pure Ællinismόs because it has a heart that beats and lives. The religion or thriskeia of Ællinismόs (the Outward Form) can exist without Arætí; consequently it is inferior because without Arætí and Efsǽveia it is an empty shell. The Inner Ællinismόs, the heart, involves putting philosophy into action; it has meat; it has meaning; it is significant.
Ællinismόs is defined as the noble path that promotes the development of personal excellence known as Arætí (arete; Gr.
Finally we come to the third category: the Vast Ællinismόs, an idea which is easily misunderstood. In this meaning of the term, the manner in which someone conducts his or her life is the only critical factor, ritual observances and precise beliefs being superfluous. This is the path of genuine philosophy. This third category is the Inner Ællinismόs, as described above, but with no bounds whatsoever. We talk of the Hellenic soul, the soul of someone who is on a committed journey leading to great Arætí, great excellence, great virtue, and who works great good in the world. From this perspective, any person, regardless of what their personal religion or philosophy is, may be a true Hellenic soul, and the greatest of all these souls may not even be practicing the outward forms of Ællinismόs or any religion at all. This is the vast Ællinismόs that destroys the artificial boundaries of categorization. The Gods do not actually care what you believe, only insomuch as these beliefs either further or hinder the progress of your soul and the souls of others whom you affect. Beliefs (pístis; Gr. πίστις; English: belief, faith), in general, are human constructs on the path to knowledge. You see, if Ællinismόs is only concerned with truth (and Arætí), and if the understanding of truth is evolutionary, then Ællinismόs is free of doctrine, and is, ultimately, only concerned with Progress. As Plátohn implores in the Myth of Er, giving instruction to the wise on how to choose a life:
So does this mean that Ællinismόs is eclectic? That it can be almost anything? No, Ællinismόs is the worship of the ancient Greek Gods, the Olympians, and all the rest. Period. But when we talk of the Vast Ællinismόs, we are acknowledging that ultimately only truth, only reality matters, and that there are great souls beyond our tradition, who live in truth and reality so broadly as to be the embodiment of the heart of Ællinismόs. To say this another way:Ællinismόs is not exclusivistic.
We, as practitioners of our religion, believe that our practices are the most efficacious method for ourselves to bring progress to fruition. Nonetheless, it is important to understand that the deepest, genuine path of Ællinismόs is concerned only withArætí
of the progress of the soul and stands in contrast to the superficial path of outward ritual as a goal and the divisive and petty pursuit of exclusivistic categorization.
is concerned with the development ofArætí, as outlined above
.This Arætí is not merely a personal development, but such progress has a pragmatic purpose for the world. Ællinismόs is the way of life that makes a difference, the way of life that effects change for the better of society. The development of Arætí is what is required for society to produce people with strength of character, people who have the ability to prioritize their endeavors to further good government and create beneficial social institutions, and, in times of great need, to make enormous heroic sacrifice to effect progress in the world.
How do we practice Ællinismόs? Please visit this page: Living the Hellenic Tradition.
FAQ concerning the path of Hellenismos:
 Greek-English Lexicon by H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, 1843; 1996 Clarendon Press edition, p. 536, right column: -ισμός , within the entries beginning with Ἕλλην)
 "That Deucalion was the son of Prometheus and Pronoea, Hesiod states in the first Catalogue, as also that Hellen was the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha."
(Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius Arg. iii. 1086, Hesiod: Catalogues of Women and Eoiae 1.; trans. by Hugh G. Evelyn-White in Hesiod: The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, 1914; found here in the 1936 edition, Harvard (Cambridge, MA)-Heinemann (London, England), pp. 154-155.)
 Apollóhnios Rhódios (Apollonius Rhodius; Gr. Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος) Argonaftiká (Argonautica; Gr. Ἀργοναυτικά) Book III, 1085-1089, trans. R. C. Seaton, 1912; found here in the 2003 edition, published by Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA and London England), Loeb LCL 1, p. 269.
 Apollodóhros o Athinaios (Apollodorus of Athens; Gr. Ἀπολλόδωρος ὁ Ἀθηναῖος) Library Book I.VII.2:
 Hyginus Fabulae 153:
 Apollodóhros o Athinaios Library Book I.VII.2-3:
Also, Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος): Catalogues of Women and Eoiae 3-5, Evelyn-White p. 157.
Liddell & Scott Lexicon entry for Ἕλλην:
Ἕλλην, ηνος, ὁ, Hellen, son of Deucalion, Hes.Fr.7.1. II. Ἕλληνες, οἱ, the Thessalian tribe of which Hellen was the reputed chief, Il.2.684. 2. of all Greeks, Epigr. ap. Paus.10.7.6, Hdt.1.56, Th.1.3, etc.; cf.Πανέλληνες. 3. Gentiles, whether heathens or Christians, opp. Jews, LXXIs.9.12, Ev.Jo.7.35, etc. 4. non-Egyptian (incl. Persians, etc.), PTeb.5.169 (ii B.C.). 5. pagan, Jul.Ep.114, Eun. VS p.524B., Dam.Isid.204, Cod.Just.1.11.10. III. as Adj.,= Ἑλληνικός, στρατός Pi.N.10.25, etc.: with fem. Subst., Ἕλλην' ἐπίσταμαι φάτιν A.Ag.1254; στολήν γ' Ἕλληνα E.Heracl.130; Ἕ. γυνή Philem.55; Ἕ. ἀληθῶς οὖσα, of fortune, Apollod.Car.5.10; Πυλῶν Ἑλλήνων D.18.304: with neut.Subst., ἐν χωρίῳ Ἕλληνι Them.Or.27.332d. IV. those who spoke or wrote Hellenistic Greek, opp. Ἀττικοί, ἄρτι· οἱ μὲν Ἀ. τὸ πρὸ ὀλίγου, οἱ δὲ Ἕ. καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ νῦν λέγουσι Moer. 68, al., cf.POxy.1012Fr.16; opp. οἱ παλαιοί, Moer.145.
 Julian may not have been the last pagan emperor of the (Western) Roman empire; it is quite possible that Anthemius (Procopius Anthemius Augustus), emperor from 467-472 CE, holds this honor. Anthemius studied at the Neoplatonic school of Proklos and was in the company, thereby, of many prominent pagans:
Nonetheless, Anthemius does not appear to have played a public role in promoting the older religion, where Julian obviously did.
 The word can be found: Diog.Bab.Stoic 3:214. (Diogenes of Babylon) This is a Liddell & Scott abbreviation for: Stoicus [Diog.Bab.Stoic.] ii B.C. Ed. H. von Arnim, SVF iii p. 210.
 Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων)
IV, 716, translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1892; found in The Dialogues of Plato Vol.II, Random House edition, 1937, on p. 488.
 Claudius Aelianus Varia Historia (also known as Historical Miscellany) Book 3, Chapter 44.
 Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) Politeia (The Republic; Gr. Πολιτεία), 617, translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1892, volume 1 of the 1937 Random House edition of The Dialogues of Plato, p. 875)
"...it is an age since I had a look at Attica. I have hardly been there since philosophy and argument came into fashion; indeed, with their shouting-matches going on, prayers are quite inaudible. One must sit with one's ears plugged, if one does not want the drums of them cracked; such long vociferous rigmaroles about Incorporeal Things, or something they call Virtue!" Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) to Ærmís (Hermes; Gr. Ἑρμῆς) in Timon the Misanthrope by Loukianós o Samosatéfs (Lucian of Samosata; Gr. Λουκιανὸς ὁ Σαμοσατεύς), translated by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler, 1905.
"...Virtue is manifested, of course, in action, in doing what is just and wise and manly; but you--and when I say you, I mean the most advanced philosophers--you do not seek these things and ensue them, but spend the greater part of your life conning over miserable sentences and demonstrations and problems" Loukianós to Ærmótimos (Hermotimos; Gr. Ερμότιμος, a philosopher 6th century BCE) in Ærmótimos or The Rival Philosophies by Loukianós o Samosatéfs (Lucian of Samosata; Gr. Λουκιανὸς ὁ Σαμοσατεύς), translated by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler, 1905
There is a common-place book argument,
Therefore I would solicit free discussion
The Sacraments have been reduced to two,
Great Galileo was debarred the Sun,
Pythagoras, Locke, Socrates --- but pages
If such doom waits each intellectual Giant,
(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 kosmogonic 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 HellenicGods.org, 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.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
For answers to many questions: Hellenismos FAQ
© 2010 by HellenicGods.org. All Rights Reserved.