L - Illustrated Glossary of Hellenic Polytheism

    BEING A DICTIONARY OR BRIEF ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HELLENISMOS, THE ANCIENT PAGAN GREEK RELIGION
                                                                         
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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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ABBREVIATIONS:  A list of abbreviations used in the glossary can be found on this page: GLOSSARY HOME PAGE  


Λ, λ (LAMBDA) - The Greek letter LAMBDA sounds like the l in luscious or look.  See Pronunciation of Ancient Greek and Transliteration of Ancient Greek.

labdanum - Visit this page: LABDANUM - ΑΛΆΔΑΝΟΣ.

Lachesis - See Lákhæsis.

ladano or lathano - Visit this page: LABDANUM - ΑΛΆΔΑΝΟΣ.

laïkó tragouthi - (laïkó tragoudi; Gr. λαϊκό τραγούδιLaïkó tragouthi, translated as "the people's music," was a popular style of music in Greece from the 1950s through the '80s.  Laïkó was highly influenced by ræmbætiko (rembetiko; Gr. ρεμπέτικο), the urban folk music of the immediately previous decades, especially the 1920s and 30s.  There were many who wrote and performed in this style, composers such as Mikis Thæodohrakis (Mikis Theodorakis; Gr. Μίκης Θεοδωράκης) and the singers Grigoris Bithikohtsis (Grigoris Bithikotsis; Gr. Γρηγόρης Μπιθικώτσης) and Stælios Kazantzithis (Stelios Kazantzidis; Gr. Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης).

Lákhæsis - (Lachesis; Gr. Λάχεσις, ΛΑΧΕΣΙΣ [Latin: Decuma]) Lákhæsis is one of the Fates. Please visit this page: Destiny.

Laomedon - Son of Ilus, king of Troy, father of Priam.  Poseidon had angered Zeus and was ordered to serve Laomedon.  Apollon had been banished from Olympus for a year for killing the Cyclops.  He  served some of that time with King Admetus and then went to Laomedon.   King Laomedon persuaded Poseidon and Apollo to build the walls of Troy promising them a reward.  But having completed the task, they were treated badly by Laomedon and refused their prize.  Apollo sent a plague to the land of Troy and Poseidon aroused Ketos Troias, the sea monster.   In response to an oracle, Laomedon decided to sacrifice his daughter Hesione to end his afflictions.  She was saved by Herakles who slew the sea-monster and then went on to kill Laomedon for not giving him his reward of a team of magnificent horses.  Herakles also killed all of his sons except Podarces whose life was saved in exchange for the golden veil of Hesione.  Podarces was thereafter known as Priam, "he who was ransomed."

Larissæus - surname of Apollon, his name in the suburb Larissa, at Ephesus.  (CM p.22)

Lataus - surname of Apollon, from his mother Latona.  (CM p.22)

lathano or ladano - Visit this page: LABDANUM - ΑΛΆΔΑΝΟΣ.

Latona - See Lito

Laughter of the Gods, the - "Proclus, in Plat. Repub. p. 384. observes, that we ought to interpret the laughter of the Gods as an exuberant operation in the universe; and the gladness of mundane concerns, under the providence of a divine cause. But since such a providence, says he, is incomprehensible, and is a never failing communication of all divine goods; we must allow that Homer justly calls the laughter of the Gods ἄσβεστος or inextinguishable. He adds, that fables do not represent the Gods as always weeping, but affirm that they laugh without ceasing; because tears are symbols of their providence in mortal concerns, which are continually subject to existence and decay: but laughter is a sign of their effects in the universe, and of its principals parts, which are ever moved in one and the same orderly manner. Hence, since we divide demiurgical powers between Gods and men, we assign laughter to the generation of the Gods, but tears to the formation of men or animals. Hence, the poet sings in his Hymn to the Sun, O Apollo, the mortal race of men is the subject of thy tears ; but the celestial race of Gods springs from laughter. But since we divide the works of divinity into things celestial, and those subject to the moon; after the same manner, we attribute laughter to the first, and grief to the second. Lastly, when we reason concerning the generations and corruptions of things below the moon, we refer the one to the weeping, and the other to the laughter of the Gods. And hence in our Mysteries, the ministers of sacred rites, at a certain time order each of these to be celebrated. He then concludes with an excellent observation, that men of simple understanding are unable to comprehend intellectually mystical ceremonies and fables of this kin ; since such men destitute of science, produce nothing but absurd confusion about the religion of the Gods." (The Hymns of Orpheus translated by Thomas Taylor, excerpt from the commentary to the Hymn to Vesta, 1792; found in the 1981 Philosophical Research Society edition on p. 221)
 
Laurel - Please visit this page: BAY LAUREL - DAPHNE - ΔΆΦΝΗ.

Law - Divine Law is Osía. See Osía. Also, visit this page: Nómos.

Laws, Twelve Natural - Visit this page:  Natural Laws of the Olympian Gods

lebes
 - bowl, often placed on a stand or tripod, for boiling water.

Libethra,  Leibethra - (Greek: τὰ Λίβηθρα or Λείβηθρα) According to Pausanias (Boiotia 9.30.1), Orpheus was buried in this town which was located near Olympos.  He relates the story of a Dionysian oracle of Thrace that the sun would see the bones of Orpheus and the town would be ravished by a boar.  The local populace paid no attention to this oracle until the area was destroyed by flood.  Their city now in ruins, the Macedonians in Dium carried off the bones to their own city.

Laws of Thought, Aristotle's - The Laws of Thought, as conceived by the philosopher Aristotǽlis (Aristotle; Gr. Ἀριστοτέλης), are axioms upon which rational thought must be based. It is said that if these laws concerning proposition are not observed, it is impossible to rationally speak to anyone. The laws are:

1. The law of identity, represented thus: a = a. In other words, everything is identical to itself. This is also a means of limiting the meaning of propositions, for, although an object of discussion may have several definitions, it is only reasonable to make logical statements concerning one quality at a time.
2. The law of non-contradiction. No proposition can be both true and false simultaneously.
3. The law of excluded middle. Every proposition is either true or false.

lekythos
 (pl. lekythi) - slim-necked jug for pouring liquids slowly

Leo - See Læohn.

Læohn - (Leon; Gr. Λέων, ΛΈΩΝ) Læohn is the eleventh month of the Mystery year, beginning July 21. Læohn is the Greek equivalent of the zodiacal sign of Leo.  Læohn is ruled by Mighty Father Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς, ΖΕΎΣ).  It is a month of Stability (Stathærotita - Greek: Σταθερὀτητα).

Liddell & Scott define Læohn as lion, 2) Leo, the sign in the Zodiac.  (L&S p.1043, right column)

Leschenorus - (Gr) the name under which Apollon was invoked by philosophical students; as presiding over places of conversation orconference.  (CM p.22)

Lethe - (Greek:  λἠθη)  Lethe is forgetfulness, contrasted with Mnemosyne, Memory.

1)  LEXICON:  λἠθη, Dorian λἀθα, ἡ, I. forgettingforgetfulness, personified in Hesiod;  II. after Homer, of a place of oblivion in the lower world (L&S p.1044)

2)  Lethe is the daimon of forgetfulness, daughter of Eris:  "And hateful Eris bore painful Ponos, Lethe...." (Hesiod's Theogonia, 226-227, translated by Richard S. Caldwell, 1987, p.42)

3)  Lethe is a pool or river of forgetfulness, avoided by the initiates of Orpheus,  in the dominion of Plouton after death:  "Thou shalt find to the left of the House of Hades a Well-spring (Lethe, forgetfulness),  And by the side thereof standing a white cypress.  To this Well-spring approach not near.  But thou shalt find another by the Lake of Memory (Mnemosyne)."  (excerpt, Petelia Golden Tablet, this translation found in Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion by Jane Ellen Harrison, 1903;  found in the 1991 edition on pp.659-660.)

Leto - See Lito.

Leucadius - surname of Apollon in the temple dedicated to him on the promontory Leucadia.  (CM p.22) 

Leucothoë - daughter of Eurynome and Orchamos, king of Persia (king of Babylon, according to William Smith).  She was the sister of Klytie.

Ovid tells her story thus:  The Goddess Venus (Aphrodite) was furious with Sol (Helios the Sun) for exposing her love affair with Mars (Ares) to her husband Vulcan (Hephaestos).  To avenge herself, she made Sol fall in love with Leucothoë.  Sol disguised himself as Eurynome, Leucothoë's mother, to gain entrance to Leucothoë's chamber.  He then united with her.  But her sister, Klytie, had fallen deeply in love with Sol.   The jealous girl revealed the affair to her father, who then buried Leucothoë alive.   By the time Sol discovered the punishment of her father, Leucothoë had died.  Unable to awaken his beloved with light, Sol swore to revive the girl and make her rise to the sky.  He covered her in the nectar of the Gods.  The body of Leucothoë melted away and filled the soil with its fragrance, and out of the earth arose the frankincense tree, for this land of Persia burns with the sun, and therefore frankincense is associated with the Sun.  When Sol refused to forgive Klytie, she died of sorrow and the God changed her into the heliotrope, a flower which follows the sun.

It is also said that it was Apollon who had fallen in love with  Leucothoë.   We find this in both Ovid and Pausanias.  Ovid seems to equate Sol (Helios) with Apollo, especially evident when he turns to the story of Klytie. 

In myth we also find the story of Leukothea, a mortal who was transformed into a sea-Goddess.   We also find the story of Klytie the Oceanid nymph, daughter of Okeanos and Tethys.  There is also Klymene, the mother of Phaeton by Helios.  These personages do not seem to be the same but are often confused.  (see Klytie) 

libaninos - See livaninos.

Libanitis - See Livanitis.

libanizdo - See livanizdo.

libanochrus - See livanokhrous.

libanodis - See livanothis.

libanokaia - See livanokaia.

libanomantis - See livanomantis.

libanophoros - See livanophoros.

libanos - See livanos.

libanothiki -See livanothiki.

libanotidion - See livanotithion.

libanotizdo - See livanotizdo.

libanoton - See livanos.

libanotophoros - See livanotophoros.

libanotos - See livanotos.

libanotris -  See livanotris.

libation - Please visit this page: Libation in Ællinismós.

Liber, Father - Father Liber (Latin:  Liber Pater) is a Roman name for Dionysos.  The Romans had a feast on March 17 called the Liberalia in honor of Liber Pater, a God of fertility who is thought to be Dionysos.  Liber means 'free'.

Libra - see Zygos.

Life = Zoï (Gr. Ζωή) Life is the second of the Natural Laws, under the dominion of mighty Aris (Ares; Gr. Ἄρης).  Life in the divine realm is ruled by Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς).  See also Zoï.

Liknites - (Gr.) (Latin: Liknitus
- name of Dionysos, from the mystical van, which was carried in his festival Dionysia. (CM*p.182)
- name of Dionysos, from liknon, the winnowing-basket by which Kradiaios Dionysos was carried on her head by the Goddess Hipta to Mount Ida after he had been given birth from Zeus' thigh (genitals). (source: Dionysos by Carl Kerényi, 1976, Princeton Univ. Press, p.260)

liknon - (Gr. λίκνον, liknon) A liknon is a winnowing-basket such as the one which Hipta used to carry, on her head, Kradiaios Dionysos after he was born from Zeus' thigh (genitals).  It is from this word that we have the epithet Liknites Dionysos.

Limnae - (Gr. Λίμναε, ΛΊΜΝΑΕ) The Lakes. Limnae was the area in ancient Athens where the festival of the Anthesteria took place.  2) Limnae is an ancient city of Thrace.

Linos or Linus - (Gr. Λῖνος, ΛΙΝΟΣ) Linos is a hero associated with music.  The father of Linos is thought to be Apollo, his mother a Muse, Kalliopi (Kalliope; Gr. Καλλιόπη, ΚΑΛΛΙΌΠΗ), or Psamathi (Gr. Ψάμαθη) or Khalkiopi (Gr. Χαλκιόπη). Linos was born in what is called the Golden Age of the Heroes. He was the brother of Orphefs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς, ὈΡΦΕΎΣ).  Linos is said to have invented melody and song, all of which he taught to his brother.  

While this story is neat and convenient, ithere are other mythologies about the parentage of Linos which contradict the above.   In some of these stories, Linos comes to a tragic death, killed by a pack of dogs in one story, or killed by Apollo on account of a musical contest with the God.  Festivities were set up on a regular basis to remember Linos where dirges called Lini (Linoi; Gr. Λίνοι, ΛΊΝΟΙ) were sung in his honor.

Lito - (Leto; Gr. Λητώ, ΛΗΤΏ) [Roman: Latona.  Etruscan: Letun] Lito is the Titan daughter of Kios (Coeus; Gr. Κοῖος, ΚΟΊΟΣ) and Phivi (Phoebe; Gr. Φοίβη, ΦΟΊΒΗ). Lito is the mother and pre-form of both Apollohn (Apollo) and Artæmiswith Zefs (Zeus) as the father.  She is popularly known as the Goddess of motherhood and modesty, protector of the young.

livaninos or libaninos - (Gr. λιβάνινος η, ον) made of frankincenseGloss.  II. frankincense-colouredPOxy.114.5 (ii A.D.).  (L&S p.1047)

Livanitis or Libanitis - (Gr. Λῐβᾰνῖτις,  ιδος, ἡ) title of Aphrodite, Luc. Ind. 3 codd.  (L&S  p.1047)

livanizdo or libanizdo - (Gr. λῐβᾰνίζω)  smell like frankincense,  Dsc.1.71, Gal.13.475.  (L&S p.1047)

livanokhrous or libanokhrous - (Gr. λῐβᾰνόχροος,  ουν)  frankincense-colored.  (L&S p.1047)

livanothis or libanodis - (Gr. λῐβᾰνώδης,  - ες)  frankincense-like.  (L&S p.1047)

livanokaia or libanokaia - (Gr. λῐβᾰνοκᾰια  ἡ)  burning of incense.  (L&S p.1047)

livanomantis or libanomantis - (Gr. λῐβᾰνόμαντις,  εως, ὁ, also ἡ)  one that divines from the smoke of frankincense.  (L&S p.1047)

livanophoros or libanophoros - (Gr. λῐβᾰνοφόρος,  ον)  bearing frankincense.  (L&S p.1047)

livanos, libanos, libanus, or libanoton (Latin: libanus or tus  Livanos is the principle Greek word for frankincense.  Lexicon Entry:  λίβᾰνος [ῐ], ὁ, frankincense-treeBoswellia Carterii, Hdt.4.75, Thphr.HP9.4.2, Dsc.1.68, etc.;ἱερὀδακρυς λ. Melanipp.I.5.    II. = λιβανωτὀς, frankincense in which sense it is feminine in Pi.Fr.I 22.3, E.Ba.I 44 (lyr.); but masculine in PCair.Zen.69.13 iii B.C., AP6.23I (Phil.), 9.93 (Antip. Thess.), Edict. Diocl.('Αθηνα 18.6, Tegea); indeterminate in Sapph. Supp.20C.2, S.Fr.1064, Anaxandr.41.37, SIG 247ii 19 (Delph., iv B.C.).  (L&S p.1047)  

livanothiki or libanothiki - (Gr. λιβανοθήκη,  ἡ) incense-box.  (L&S p.1047)

livanotithion or libanotidion - (Gr. λῐβᾰνὡτίδιον, τὀ, Dim. of λιβανωτἰς)  small censer.  (L&S p.1047)

livanotizdo or libanotizdo - (Gr. λῐβᾰνὡτίζω)  fumigate with frankincense, II. to be like frankincense.  (L&S p.1047)

livanotophoros or libanotophoros - (Gr. λῐβᾰνωτοφόρος,  ον)  bearing frankincense.  (L&S p.1047)

livanotos or libanotos - (Gr. λῐβᾰνωτός,  ὁ,  also ἡ Men.Sam.Fr.I )  frankincense, the gum of the tree λἰβανος, used to burn at sacrifices.  (L&S p.1047)

livanotris or libanotris -  (Gr. λῐβᾰνωτρίς ἰδος, ἡ) censer.  (L&S p.1047)

logi or logoi - (Gr. λογοι, ΛΟΓΟΙ)  Logi is defined as "Reasons: Productive principles or powers; and they also signify forms."  (TTS XV p. 10)

logoi - See logi. 

Loimius - surname of Apollon at Lindus, a city of Rhodes, when invoked as the God of medicine.  It is a Greek apotropaic title averting pestilence.  (CM p.22)

loutir or louter - See loutirion.

Loutírion - (Louterion; Gr. Λουτήριον, ΛΟΥΤΗΡΙΟΝ = λουτήρ; Latin: luter)  A Loutírion is a washing-basin which may be used for Khǽrnips (Chernips; Gr. χέρνιψ), i.e., lustral water for washing hands before doing ritual or entering a temple. Please visit this page: Khǽrnips.

luck - See tykhi.

lupercal - adjective used by Thomas Taylor in his translation of the Hymns of Orpheus. The word usually refers to the Roman festival called the Lupercalia, held at the Lupercal on the Palatine hill in honor of Lycean Pan.  

In the hymn to Venus, Taylor seems to mean 'wolf-like'. Lupercal comes from lupus meaning "wolf".

"Source of persuasion, secret, fav'ring queen,
Illustrious born, apparent and unseen:
Spousal, lupercal, and to men inclin'd,
Prolific, most-desir'd, life-giving., kind"

Lycaeum, Mount -  Lycaeum is a mountain in Arcadia, one of the places said to be the birthplace of Zeus.  Divinities, such as Zeus, who were worshiped on Mount Lycaeum had the surname Lycaeus or Lyceus.

Lyctos (hence Lyctian) - a town in Crete

Lycurgus the Lawgiver
 of Sparta (Lukourgos
-  [Greek:  Λυκοῦργος]  born 390 BCE, died 324 BCE.  Lycurgus was descended from Herakles, according to Plutarch.  Sparta had a tradition of simultaneous rule by two kings.  Lycurgus was the son of one of these kings, making him a prince.  When his father and elder brother died, the brother left a pregnant widow.  This woman agreed to abort the child should Lycurgus marry her, but Lycurgus did not wish to follow this advice.   When the child, Charilous, was born, there were rumors that he plotted to kill the child, so, to dispel these rumors, he left Sparta and journeyed to Crete.  While in this place, Lycurgus met the poet Thales, whose songs inspired men to fairness and good will.  Lycurgus was very intrigued by the power of his poetry and he persuaded Thales to come back with him to Sparta.  He  studied the laws of Crete.  He also went to Ionia and compared their laws to those of Crete.  Meanwhile, the Spartans begged Lycurgus to return.  He then consulted the Delphic Oracle for guidance.  Apollo told him that if he instituted new laws for his country, these laws would achieve great fame.

The first reform Lycurgus instituted was the formation of a senate equal in power to the dual monarchy.  This senate was called the Great Rhetra;  it was one of the two great bodies  (the other being the Athenian Assembly) of direct democracy in Classical Greece, introduced into Sparta by request of the Delphic Oracle.  The people were allowed to vote, but the senate decided when a vote would be taken.  This senate resisted the opposing forces of tyranny on one hand and democracy on the other.  The laws that Lycurgus instituted were also called rhetra.  These laws were deliberately never written down, forcing education on the populace.  This education was extensive and began at childhood.

Lycurgus changed land ownership in Sparta by dividing up all the property equally.  He outlawed the use of gold and silver coins, instituting a worthless coin that only represented value but had no intrinsic value of its own.  This caused imports of luxuries, bribery,  and robbery to instantly stop.  Useless jobs were banned.  All meals were to be taken communally.

Plutarch  says that after he became content with his reforms, Lycurgus required the Spartans to take an oath to observe them until he returned to Sparta after inquiring of the Delphic Oracle whether Apollo was also satisfied.  The Oracle gave a favorable response.  Lycurgus then disappeared or took his own life, forcing the Spartans to follow his laws indefinitely.   For 500 years they did so, until the lure of gold and silver subverted the people from following the good laws of Lycurgus.

Plutarch ends his dissertation on Lycurgus thus:  "Lycurgus did not intend for Sparta to conquer and rule other cities.  His opinion was that the happiness of a nation, like the happiness of a man, consists in the exercise of virtue, and not in power or wealth.   His laws were for the purpose of making the Spartans free-minded, self-reliant, and sober.  Many philosophers have left behind plans for perfect governments, but Lycurgus was the author -- not merely in writing but in reality -- of a complete philosophical state, which others could not even copy."

Lykomidai or Lycomidae -  the hereditary priestly family of Phlye at Athens who held the office of Dadouchos, torch-bearer, at the Eleusinian Mysteries.  (source:  Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries by George E. Mylonas, 1961, pp.234-235)

Lykos - wolf, a symbol of Apollon's power.  Wolves are seen at the break of dawn or at twilight.

Lyre - Please visit this page: The Lyre of Apóllohn.

 

ABBREVIATIONS:  A list of abbreviations used in the glossary can be found on this page: GLOSSARY HOME PAGE


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