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Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in
Hellenismos
HellenicGods.org
"By Jupiter (ed. Zefs; Gr. Ζεύς), Hermogenes (ed. ÆrmoyǽnisGr. Ἑρμογένης), if we are endued with intellect, we shall confess that the most beautiful mode of conduct, on this occasion, is to acknowledge that we know nothing either concerning the Gods, or the names by which they denominate themselves: for it is evident that they call themselves by true appellations.  But the second mode of rectitude consists, I think, in calling the Gods by those names which the law ordains us to invoke them by in prayer, whatever the names may be which they rejoice to hear; and that we should act thus, as knowing nothing more than this: for the method of invocation which the law appoints appears to me to be beautifully established.  If you are willing, therefore, let us enter on this speculation, previously, as it were, declaring to the Gods that we speculate nothing concerning their divinities, as we do not think ourselves equal to such an undertaking; but that we direct our attention to the opinion entertained by those men who first fabricated their names: for this will be the means of avoiding their indignation."  (Pláthohn Kratýlos 400d-401a, trans. by Thomas Taylor, 1804, as found in the 1996 edition of The Works of Plato, Vol. V, Thomas Taylor Series Vol. XIII, published by The Prometheus Trust [Somerset UK], p. 481)


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INTRODUCTION:

While the author of this website was in Greece in the fall of 2008, there was discussion of American students learning some ancient Greek.  In particular, it was thought that at least some of the Orphic Hymns could be learned.  In the midst of our conversation, I became quite interested in a God whom a teacher kept calling "Airamees."  It took me some time to realize that he was actually correctly pronouncing "Hermes."  In any case, the Greeks do not use the pronunciation which the universities in England, Germany, and America use (where they use some form of the Erasmian method).  The Greeks pronounce the ancient words using what scholars call the Reuchlinian method, which is modern Greek.  The below list reflects the Reuchlinian pronunciation of some of the more prominent deities of our religion. 

For a more detailed discussion of the Reuchlinian method of pronunciation, with a listing of the alphabet and diphthongs: Pronunciation of Ancient Greek.

HellenicGods.org spells Greek words in a way which reflects the Greek pronunciation, utilizing a transliteration method unique to this website.  Although our system has limits, the student can approximate correct pronunciation by simply looking at the word, with a few exceptions.  This system is discussed at greater length on this page: Transliteration of Ancient Greek into English


PRONOUNCING THE NAMES OF THE GODS AND HEROES

Here follows a list of some of the most important deities in Hellenismos.  From time to time, more names will be added.  You can also check the Glossary for more names of Gods.


Ærmís (Hermes; Gr. Ἑρμῆς, ἙΡΜΗΣ)   [Roman: Mercury]  Pronounced: ayr-MEES, the 'H' is silent; the 'R' is rolled slightly such that it almost sounds like the name has three syllables.


Æstía (Hestia; Gr. Ἑστία, ἙΣΤΊΆ) [Roman: Vesta] Pronounced: æs-TEE'-ah



Aphrodíti (Aphrodite; Gr. Ἀφροδίτη, ἈΦΡΟΔΊΤΗ) [Latin: Venus] Pronunciation: ah-froh-THEE-tee, roll the 'r' slightly; the d (delta) is pronounced like the soft th in this, not like the hard th in theory


Apóllohn - (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων, ἈΠΌΛΛΩΝ)   [Roman:  Apollo]  Pronounced ah-POH'-lohn.

 

Áris (Ares; Gr. Άρης, ΆΡΗΣ) -  [Roman: Mars]  Pronunciation: AH'-rees 


Aristaios - (Aristaeus; Gr. Ἀρισταῖος, ἈΡΙΣΤΑΙΟΣ)  Pronunciation: ah-rees-TAY'-ohs


Ártæmis (Artemis; Gr. Ἄρτεμις, ἌΡΤΕΜΙΣ)  [Roman: DianaPronunciation: AHR'-tay-mees

 

Asklipiós (Asclepius; Gr. Ἀσκληπιός, ἈΣΚΛΗΠΙΌΣ) [Latin: Esculapius, Æsculapius, or Asclepius]

Pronounced: ahs-klee-pee-OHS', with the accent on the final syllable.


Athiná (Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ, ἈΘΗΝΑ) [Roman: Minerva] Pronunciation: ah-thee-NAH', the accent falling on the first and also the final syllable, or not accenting any syllable.


Cronus - See Krónos.


Dimítir (Demeter or Demetra; Gr. Δημήτηρ, ΔΗΜΉΤΗΡ) [Roman: Ceres]  When enunciating the name Dimítir, the D (delta) is pronounced like the soft th in this, not like the hard th in theorythee-MEE'-teer, with the accent on the second syllable.  Her name in the Classical period was spelled Dimitra (Demetra) (Gr. Δήμητρα, ΔΉΜΗΤΡΑ), pronounced THEE'-mee-trah, with the accent on the first syllable.


Diónysos - (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος, ΔΙΌΝΥΣΟΣ) [Roman: Bacchus] (Gr. Διόνυσος, ΔΙΌΝΥΣΟΣ) [Roman: Bacchus. The D in Diónysos is pronounced like the th in thee (not like the th in thesis). Pronouncedthee-OH'-nee-sohs.


Dimiourgós - (Demiurgus or Demiurge; Gr. Δημιουργός, ΔΗΜΙΟΥΡΓΌΣ). Pronunciation: thee-mee-oor-GOHS.


Esculapius - See Asklipiós.


Hephaestus - See Íphaistos.


Hera - See Íra.


Hermes - :  See Ærmís. 


Hestia - See Æstía.


Iásohn (Jason; Gr. Ἰάσων, ἸΆΣΩΝ)  Pronunciation: ee-AH'-sohn


Íphaistos (HephaestusGr. Ἥφαιστος, ἭΦΑΙΣΤΟΣ[Roman: Vulcan] Pronounced: EE'-fays-tohs, with the accent on the first syllable; there is no 'H.'


Íra (Hera; Gr. Ήρα, ΉΡΑ) [Roman: Juno] Pronounced: EE'-rah.  The 'H' (ETA) at the beginning of the name of the Goddess is a vowel.


Jason - See Iásohn.


JOVIS (Jove) - See Zefs.


Jupiter (Juppiter) - See Zefs.


Krónos - (Cronus; Gr. Κρόνος, ΚΡΌΝΟΣ)  [Roman: Cronus, Saturnus or Saturn {Anglicized}Pronunciation: KROH'-nohs


Mercury - See Ærmís.


Mnimosýni - (Mnemosyne; Gr. Mνημοσύνη, ΜΝΗΜΟΣΎΝΗ)  Pronunciation: mnee-moh-SEE'-nee 


Nature (Natura) - See Phýsis.


Neptune - See Poseithohn.


Nómos - (Gr. Νόμος, ΝΌΜΟΣ; not to be confused with νομός, spelled the same but the accent on the second syllable) Pronounced: NOH-mohs.


Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς, ὈΡΦΕΎΣ) Pronounced: ohr-FEFS


Orpheus - See Orphéfs.


Ouranós - (Uranus; Gr. Οὐρανός, ΟΥΡΑΝΌΣ) Pronounced: oo-rah-NOHS', with the accent on the last syllable.


Pærsæphóni (Persephone; Gr. Περσεφόνη, ΠΕΡΣΕΦΌΝΗ) [Roman: Proserpina {Lat.}; Proserpine {Anglicized}] Pronouncedpayr-say-FOH-nee.


Phánis (Phanes) - (Phanes; Gr. Φάνης, ΦΑΝΗΣ)  Pronounced: FAH-nees.


Phýsis - (Gr. φύσις, ΦΎΣΙΣ) [Latin: Natura]  Phýsis is Nature.  Pronounced: FEE-sees.


 - (Gr. Πλούτων, ΠΛΟΎΤΩΝ)  
Pronounced: PLOO'-tohn.


Prohtogónos - (Protogonus; Gr. Πρωτογόνος, ΠΡΩΤΟΓΌΠΟΣ ) Pronounced: proh-toh-GOH-nohs.


Poseidóhn  - (Poseidon; Gr. Ποσειδῶν, ΠΟΣΕΙΔΩΝ)  [Roman: Neptune]  Pronounced: poh-see-THOHN', accent on the last syllable; the d (delta) at the beginning of the last syllable is pronounced like a soft th as in this, not like the th in theory


Uranus - See Ouranós.


Vasiléfs (Basileus; Gr. Βασιλεύς, ΒΑΣΙΛΕΎΣ) Pronounced: vah-see-LEFS'Vasiléfs means king and can be applied to a number of different deities, such as Diónysos or Zefs.


Yheia (Hygeia; Gr. ΎΓΕΊΑ,  Ὑγεία) Pronounced: ee-HEE-ah, the h at the beginning of the second syllable is guttural, somewhat like a combination of g and h.


Zefs (Zeus; Gr.  Ζεύς, ΖΕΎΣ)  [Roman: Jovis, Jupiter, Juppiter]  Pronounced: zĕfs; the diphthong εύ is pronounced like the ef in left.



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 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 website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods.  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 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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