G - An Illustrated Glossary of Hellenic Polytheism




A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U and V W, X, and Y Z

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

Γ γ Gámma (Gr. γάμμα, ΓΑΜΜΑ) - The letter Gámma when found before the letters α, ο, and ω, before consonants, and before the diphthong ου, is transliterated into English as G, g and pronounced as the hard g in go or get. When gamma is found before ε and the diphthong αι, and all letters and diphthongs which have the ee sound as in see (η, ι, υ, ει, οι, υι), it is pronounced as the y in yes and transliterated into English with the letters Y and y.

- When Gámma is found in the following combinations, apply these rules:

γγ as the ng in sing + a hard gámma

γκ as the ng in sing + káppa, when found within a word. When at the beginning of a word, like the g in go.

γξ as the ng in sing + ξ, as the ks in thanks

γχ as the ng in sing + χ (kh), examples being the Greek word εγχειρίδιον, which is pronounced æng-khee-REE-thee-on, or πλάγχθη pronounced PLANKH-thee.

See Pronunciation of Ancient Greek and Transliteration of Ancient Greek.

Gaia - See Yaia.

Ganymede - See Ganymídis.

Ganymídis - (Ganymede; Gr. Γανυμήδης) Ganymídis is the son of Trohs (Tros; Gr. Τρώς) and Kallirróï (Callirrhoe; Gr. Καλλιῤῥόη); his brothers are Ílos (Ilus; Gr. Ἴλος) and Assárakos (Assaracus; Gr. Ἀσσάρακος), all this according to Ómiros (Homer; Gr. Ὅμηρος) [Ἰλιάς book 20.230-234].

Ganymídis was a handsome Trojan prince, the most beautiful of all mortals. Although there are conflicting stories, the most common says that Ganymídis was abducted to Ólympos (Olympus; Gr. Ὄλυμπος) while tending sheep on Mt. Ída (Ida; Gr. Ίδα) in Phryyía (Phrygia; Gr. Φρυγία) by Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) in the form of an eagle. He became the cup-bearer of Zefs and was made immortal.

In iconography, Ganymídis is depicted wearing the Phrygian cap and bearing the lover's gift of a rooster, the children's toy of the hoop, and pouring nectar from a jug. In his divine attribute, he rules over the fertility of the Nile and is the constellation Aquarius.

Gates, The Four - The Four Gates are the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. At these times of the year it is said that the "gates are open" and the divine is particularly accessible to mortals. Therefore, the equinoxes and solstices are sacred and are celebrated as festivals with ritual. In particular, the Autumn (spring in the southern hemisphere) Equinox, ruled by the Goddess Æstía (Hesia; Gr. Ἑστία), is the beginning of the Hellenic religious year in our tradition; it is the commencement of the Mystery Year.

Ge - See Yaia.

Gemini - see Dídymi.

Generation - See Yǽnæsis.

Genesiourgicon, to - See Yænæsiouryikón, to.

Genesis - See Yǽnæsis.

Genesis of the Gods - Please visit these pages: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony and Orphic Cosmogony and Theogony.

Genethlia - See Yænǽthlia.

Genoito - See Yǽnito.

Geras - See Yíras.

Gi - See Yi.

Giant - See Yígas.

Giants - See Yígantæs.

Gigas - See Yígas.

Gigantes - See Yígantæs.

Girdle - When the word girdle is found in older translations of ancient literature; the translator does not mean a corset. The word means, simply, a belt. An example would be the girdle, or belt, of Aphrodíti.

Glǽzos, Manólis - (Gr. Μανώλης Γλέζος) Born 1922, Manólis Glǽzos was a participant in the Greek resistance to the Nazis in World War II; he is a writer and has been a politician of the left. His life is one of extensive service to the people of Greece. During the German occupation in WWII, the Germans raised the nazi flag over the Parthenon. On May 30, 1941, the young Glǽzos along with another patriot, Apóstolos Sántas (Gr. Απόστολος Σάντας, known as Lákis.), stole up the mountain and tore down the swastika, making themselves wanted men. This is believed to be the first public act of resistance to the Germans in WWII, not only in Greece but in all of Europe. He was eventually captured and tortured first by the Germans, then the Italians, and even by Greek collaborators. After the war, Glǽzos was persecuted by the right-wing Greek government. In 1974 a democracy was installed and Glǽzos became a member of parliament. Apart from political work, he also made innovative contributions to civil engineering in Greece. Mr. Glǽzos has written extensively on great issues of freedom and continues to the present time in his ceaseless work for the people of Greece. For a more extensive article: Manólis Glǽzos.

Gnóhthi Sæaftón - (Gnōthi seauton; Gr. γνῶθι σεαυτόν) Gnóhthi sæaftón is the famous maxim that was inscribed in the fore-temple of the sanctuary of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) at Dælphí (Delphi; Gr. Δελφοί) meaning "Know yourself." In current years there has circulated a notion that the correct phrase was not "know yourself" but "be yourself." This idea has weak support, a single instance of the phrase saftón ísthi (Gr. σαυτόν ίσθι) occurring in a list of maxims collected by Stovaios (Stobaeus; Gr. Στοβαῖος) (line 8 on this page: 3.1.173) which he attributed to Sohsiádis (Sosiades; Gr. Σωσιάδης). This is in contrast to ubiquitous instances of gnóhthi sæaftón in an impressive group of writings from antiquity, most notably in the works of Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων), as demonstrated below.

Gnóhthi sæaftón is sometimes interpreted as knowing one's place in relationship to the Gods, that is, to know that you are not a God, but it is more usually thought to be an exhortation to self-examination, as can be seen in several references in the writings of Plátohn. Here are three examples:

(ed. concerning mythological tales) "Now I have no leisure for such inquiries; shall I tell you why? I must first know myself, as the Delphian inscription says; to be curious about that which is not my concern, while I am still in ignorance of my own self, would be ridiculous." (Plátohn Phaidros [Phaedrus; Gr. Φαῖδρος] 229e-230; trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892. We are using the 1937 Random House edition (New York, NY USA) entitled The Dialogues of Plato Vol. 1, where this quotation may be found on pp. 230-231.)

"For self-knowledge would certainly be maintained by me to be the very essence of knowledge, and in this I agree with him who dedicated the inscription, 'Know thyself!' at Delphi." (Ibid. Jowett, Kharmídis [Charmides; Gr. Χαρμίδης] 164d, pp. 14-15.)

"And they (ed. the seven great sages) met together and dedicated in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, as the first-fruits of their wisdom, the far-famed inscriptions, which are in all men's mouths, --'Know thyself,' and 'Nothing too much.' " (Ibid. Jowett, Prohtagóras [Protagoras; Gr. Πρωταγόρας] 343b, p. 112.)

Gnóhthi sæaftón was inscribed, along with another phrase, midǽn ágan (meden agan; μηδέν άγαν) "nothing to excess," at Dælphí, according to Pafsanías (Pausanias; Gr. Παυσανίας):

"In the fore-temple at Delphi are written maxims useful for the life of men, inscribed by those whom the Greeks say were sages. These were: from Ionia, Thales of Miletus and Bias of Pirene.... These sages, then, came to Delphi and dedicated to Apollo the celebrated maxims, 'Know thyself,' and 'Nothing to excess.' "(Pafsanías Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις, X. (Φωκίς) XXIV.1; trans. W. H. S. Jones, 1935; found here in Vol. IV of Pausanias: Description of Greece, Loeb-Heinemann (London, England)-Harvard (Cambridge, MA USA), 1961, where this quotation may be found on p. 507)

Gnosis, Noera - See Noærá gnóhsis.

Gods of Ancient Greece - For a listing of links for all the pages on this website giving information on the ancient Gods, please visit: Gods of Ancient Greece.

Gods, Glossary of terms - For an extensive dictionary of terms related to deity, please visit this page: Glossary of Hellenic Theistic Terminology.

Gods, Qualities of the - Please visit this page: The Nature of the Gods.

Gold - Gold has great symbolism in Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion; it represents deity and immortality. Gold represents deity because its gleams and shines like Ílios (Helios; Gr. Ἥλιος), the mighty sun which illuminates our solar system; similarly, the brilliance of the Gods illuminates the Kózmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος) with wisdom, understanding, and dominion. Gold represents immortality because unlike most metals, gold does not tarnish but it retains its radiance without care.

Golden Tablets, the - The golden tablets are (generally) Orphic texts found in graves, the words impressed on thin sheets of gold.

Goodness of the Gods, the - Please visit this page: Goodness of the Gods

Gorgóhn - (Gorgon; Gr. Γοργών. Plural is Γοργόνες.) According to Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος), the Gorgónæs were the daughters of Phórkys (Phorcys; Gr. Φόρκυς) and Kitóh (Ceto; Gr. Κητώ). They were three powerful winged female Daimonæs (Daemons; Gr. Δαίμονες): Mǽdousa (Medusa; Gr. Μέδουσα, the youngest.), Sthænnóh (Sthenno; Gr. Σθεννώ, the eldest.), and Evryáli (Euryale; Gr. Εὐρυάλη). The Gorgónæs are depicted in iconography as having roundish faces, large eyes, serpentine hair, and the teeth of swine.

The most familiar mythology connected to the Gorgónæs is the labor of Pærséfs (Perseus; Gr. Περσεύς), who was commanded by King Polydǽktis (Polydectes; Gr. Πολυδέκτης) to obtain the head of Mǽdousa (the only mortal Gorgónæs).

Gorgóneion - (Gr. Γοργόνειον) The Gorgóneion is the head of the Gorgóhn (Gorgon; Gr. Γοργών) Mǽdousa (Medusa; Gr. Μέδουσα), cut off by Pærséfs (Perseus; Gr. Περσεύς). It was given by him to Athiná (Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ) and she wore it on her shield where it can be found in representations of the Goddess.

Graces - See Kháritæs.

Gratiae - Gratiae is the Roman name for the Graces.

Greece - The word Greece is not generally used by Greeks themselves. An Athenian would say that he lives in Ællás (Hellas; Gr. Ελλάς) or Ælláda (Gr. Ελλάδα). The word Greece is used by foreigners; Ælláda is the native term. The names Ælláda and Ællás are, of course, derived from Ǽllin (Gr. Ἕλλην), the son of Defkalíohn (Deucalion; Gr. Δευκαλίων) from whom all the peoples of Greece emerged, peoples such as the Dorians and the Ionians.

Nonetheless, the word Greece also has its origin in ancient Ællás with another story connected with Defkalíohn. The name is said to come from a mythological character named Graikós (Graecus; Gr. Γραικός) from which the Romans derive the word Graecia, hence the English word Greece. In fragment 2 from Γυναικῶν Κατάλογος (Catalogue of Women) of Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος), it states that there were two brothers, grandsons of Defkalíohn, with the names Latínos (Latinus; Gr. Λατῖνος) and Graikós, and that those who followed after Latínos came to be called Latins, while those who followed after Graikós came to be called Greeks. Another idea is suggested by Aristotǽlis (Aristotle; Gr. Ἀριστοτέλης) in his work Μετεωρολογικά who said that much of the western coast of Ællás was known as Graikí (Graecoi; Gr. Γραικοί); this area would be that which was closest to Italy and the Romans must have thought that Graikí was the name of all Ællás.

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

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).

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:

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

Transliteration of Ancient Greek

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

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