H - An Illustrated Glossary of Hellenic Polytheism
BEING A DICTIONARY OR BRIEF ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HELLENISMOS, THE ANCIENT PAGAN GREEK RELIGION
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
Η η Íta - (Eta; Gr. ἦτα, ΗΤΑ) The capital letter Íta looks exactly like the English letter H, but they are very different in pronunciation. The English letter H is a consonant, but the Greek letter Íta is a vowel. Íta is pronounced EE-tah in Greek. Sometimes you will find a diacritical mark in Greek connected with Íta that serves as a note to the reader that in very ancient times, long before the Classical period, that before the Íta there was a consonant H-sound, but by the Classical period, this had disappeared from the spoken tongue; this consonant H sound was before the vowel Íta. In brief, Íta always sounds like the double ee in fee, knee, or see. It is never a consonant. Since this website is making an attempt to create a spelling which reflects the Greek pronunciation and, further, which is easy to pronounce, words beginning with Íta will eventually be found in the Glossary under I, not H.
The convention on this website is that the English letter i when found in a transliterated Greek word is always pronounced like the double ee in fee, knee, or see; never like the short i in bin or sin. We are using the letter i to represent the following:
Íta [Η η]
Iόhta (Iota; Gr. Ιώτα) [Ι ι]
Ómikron-Iόhta [ΟΙ οι] (If we use "oi" people will pronounce it like the oy in boy which is not the Greek pronunciation)
Ýpsilon (Upsilon; Gr. ύψιλον) is also pronounced like the double ee in fee, knee, or see; but for Ýpsilon we are (usually) transliterating with the letter y.
The diphthong Ǽpsilon-Iόhta (ει) is also pronounced like the long double ee, but we are transliterating it ei, because ei is typically pronounced in English like a long double ee in fee, knee, or see.
Hagneia - See Agneia.
Hagnos - See Agnós.
Hard-polytheism - Hard-polytheism is the belief in many Gods who are distinct and cognizant entities, and that these Gods are not simply manifestations of one God.
Harmony - See Armonía.
Hazesthai - See Ázæsthai.
Hecate - Please visit this page: Ækáti.
Hector - (Greek: Ἕκτωρ, "holding fast") - Hector was a Trojan prince and a descendant of Dardanus. He was the noble son of Hecuba and Priam, king of Troy, and the brother of Paris. Hector was the great hero of the Trojans, a supreme example of the ideal qualities that man is capable of attaining.
In the siege of Troy, Hector killed Patroclus, beloved friend of Achilles, who had worn the armor of Achilles into battle. This act drew Achilles back into the combat, causing him to avenge Patroclus' death. He slew Hector and dragged his body around the city of Troy, but the body was preserved by the Gods. At last Priam, king of Troy and father of Hector, stole into Achilles' camp, led by Hermes, and begged for his son's body. Achilles relented, weeping with Priam, and the body was given proper rites.
hedonism - (Gr. ηδονισμός, ΗΔΟΝΙΣΜΌΣ, aedomismos; from ἡδονή, aedonae, enjoyment, pleasure; in particular, sensual pleasure) Hedonism is the philosophical position that sensual pleasure is the good.
Hekaëgos - this is an epithet of Apollo meaning "he who works from afar." It refers to Apollon's use of archery.
Hekate - Please visit this page: ÆKATI - ἙΚΆΤΗ.
hekatomb - from the Greek hekatombe, meaning one-hundred. A large-scale sacrifice to the Gods of 100 cattle or oxen.
Helen (of Troy) - See Ælæni.
Heleniphori - See Ælæniphóri.
Helieia - See Ilieia.
Heliougenna - Please visit this page: ILIOUGÆNNA.
Helios - Helios is the Sun. Please visit this page: ILIOS - ἭΛΙΟΣ.
Hellas - (Gr. Ἑλλάς, ἙΛΛΆΣ) Hellas is Greece.
Hellen - (Gr. Ἕλλην) Hellen is the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha, and the father of all Greeks, and, by extension, all of Hellenismos. Source: Hesiod, Catalogue of Women or EHOIA, Book 1, The Descendants of Deucalion, 3, Scholium on Apollonius Rhodius' Argonautica:
"Hesiod says in the first book of his Catalogues that Deucalion was the son of Prometheus and Pandora, and that Hellen, from whom come the Hellenes and Hellas, was the son of Prometheus (or Deucalion) and Pyrrha."
Hellene - See
Hellene - (Hellene; Gr. Έλληνες, ΕΛΛΗΝΕΣ) A Hellene is a person of Greek heritage, for the Greeks are the descendants of Hellen (Gr. Ἕλλην), the son of Deucalion (Gr. Δευκαλίων). During the early Christian era, the word Hellene was used by the Emperor Julian to identify those like himself, who followed the ancient polytheistic religion regardless of ethnicity, to differentiate themselves from the new Christian religion. After he was assassinated and his attempt to restore the ancient religion failed, ethnic Greeks avoided identification with the name Hellene to escape persecution by the church and the Empire. Later, during the period of the Crusades, this practice was reversed because the Byzantines suffered much at the hands of western countries. On account of this abuse, ethnic Greeks began again to adopt the name Hellene, but with no connotation of belief in the ancient Gods, but, rather, as a matter of pride. This tradition continues to this day in that Hellene simply means "Greek," as it originally did. The word Hellene is used in modern times by some people who worship the ancient Greek Gods to refer to themselves; as can be seen above, there is historical precedent for this use of the word, but it is very distressing to ethnic Greeks who feel that their identity is being stolen from them.
Hellenismos - Please visit this page: Ællinismόs.
Hellenistic - adjective referring to the period "beginning with the death of Alexander in 323 and ending with the suicide of the last major Hellenistic ruler, Cleopatra of Egypt, in 30 B.C." (A History of the Ancient World by Chester G. Starr, 1991, p. 394). The ending date is debatable.
The term Hellenistic is often confused with the word Hellenic. Hellenistic refers to a period in history; Hellenic is an adjective referring to things Greek. Therefore, everything Hellenistic is Hellenic, but everything Hellenic is not necessarily Hellenistic. To give example, if you refer to Hellenic religion, this is a comprehensive term that could even include Christianity, but if you refer to Hellenistic religion, you are talking about religion from a certain time period.
Hen - See Æn.
henopolytheism - the belief and worship of one pantheon while not denying the existence of other pantheons
Henosis - See Ǽnohsis.
henotheism – the belief in one God while not denying the existence of others
Heosphoros - (Gr. Ἠωσφόρος, ΗΩΣΦΟΡΟΣ) See Æöhsphóros.
Hephaestos (Roman: Vulcan) - [Greek Ἥφαιστος] Visit this page: Hephaestos
Hera (Roman Juno) - [Greek: Ήρα] Visit this page: Hera
Heraklidai or Herakleidae - (Ancient Greek: Ἡρακλεῖδαι) Also known as the Heraklids, the Herakleidae are the many descendants of Herakles. The term is usually associated particularly with Dorian kings who conquered the Peloponnesian kingdoms of Argos, Mycenae, and Sparta.
Heracles - See Iraklis.
Hercules - See Iraklis (Herakles).
herm - (also herme and pl. hermai) a square pillar, usually made of stone . At the top, a bearded bust of Hermes is usually found. The only decorations on the pillar will be a phallus and two stubs for arms, but no other physiological features. Herms are placed at boundaries and crossroads.
Hermapollo - (Gr) the name of a statue combining the symbols of Apollon and Hermes. (CM p.22)
Hermaphroditos - See Ærmaphrothitos.
Hermes (Roman: Mercury) - [Greek, Ἑρμῆς] Visit this page: Hermes
Heroes - Please visit this page: Heroes.
Herodotus of Halicarnassus - (484-425 BCE) Herodotus is called the "Father of History" because he was the first historian in the Western world. The Histories are most famous particularly for the description of the (Graeco-) Persian Wars from the year 490 BCE and the years 480-479 BCE. His writings also include fascinating narrative of his journeys, the religions of the countries that he visited, and the customs of the people. Within his histories is a considerable amount of information regarding Hellenic religion, the Delphic Oracle, and so much more.
Hesperides - Evenings
Hestia (Roman: Vesta) - [ancient Greek: Ἑστία') Visit this page: Hestia
Hië Paieon - Hië means "shoot" and Paieon, a word which has come to refer to a song or hymn, originally was an epithet of Apollon meaning "Healer," therefore the phrase means "Shoot, Healer!"
Hiereus - See Iærefs.
Hieromantis - See Iæromantis.
Hieromēnia - See Iærominia.
Hierophant - See Iærophantes.
Hieros Logos - See Iæros Logos.
hierourgetheis - See iærourgitheis.
hierourgethenta - See iærourgithænta.
hiketēs (female: hiketis, plural: hiketai) - The literal meaning of hiketēs is "one who arrives or approaches."
1) Hiketēs refers to a type of suppliant or pilgrim who, typically, would be going to a healing shrine, such as Epidauros. The hiketēs is different from another type of pilgrim, the theorōs. While the theorōs makes pilgrimage to a sacred place for the sake of simply experiencing the place, the hiketēs is looking to obtain assistance from a God. If the request is accepted, the God and the hiketēs enter into a type of bond, whereby the God will honor the suppliant's request. The act of making such a request of a God is enacted in a rite called the hiketeia. (source: Pilgrimage in Graeco-Roman & Early Christian Antiquity: seeing the Gods by Jaś Elsner, Ian Rutherford, 2006, beginning on p.73)
2) The term hiketēs can refer to a suppliant requesting protective sanctuary from a temple, generally with the assistance of a go-between priest. (source: Oxford Readings in Greek Religion edited by Richard Buxton from an article by Ulrich Sinn entitled Greek Sanctuaries as Places of Refuge, 2000, p.159)
Hippocrates of Cos - See Ippokratis of Kos.
Hippolytus - "He who frees the horses." Hippolytus was the son of Theseus. He was an Orphic priest at Troesen (Trizina). It should be understood that the story of Hippolytus is symbolic of the journey of the soul.Hippolytus disliked the worship of Aphrodite. He was dedicated to Artemis. Therefore, Aphrodite caused his stepmother Phaedra to desire Hippolytus, but he refused her advances. Phaedra accused Hippolytus of raping her. This caused his father Theseus to curse him, a curse that the God Poseidon was bound to honor. While riding in his chariot, Hippolytus was killed by his own horses who had become frightened by a sea monster sent by Poseidon. While swiftly passing from life, Hippolytus forgave his father. He was deified and is the constellation Heniochus (Iniohos).
There is a Roman story that, after his death, Artemis, who loved Hippolytus due to his vow of chastity to her, entreated Asklepios to resurrect Hippolytus. Asclepios honored her request and Hippolytus was worshiped as the forest God Virbius, "twice a man," because he had died and was reborn.
There are several variant stories of Hippolytus. In one, Phaedra commits suicide and leaves a note accusing Hippolytus of rape. In another, the horses were frightened not by a sea-monster, but by a bull sent by Dionysos, not Poseidon. The constellation Heniochus is more commonly called Auriga and its mythology is often attributed to Erichthonius the son of Athena and Hephaestos (and other characters from mythos as well).
The famous bronze statue at Delphi called "The Charioteer" is thought by some to be a depiction of Hippolytus, the Divine Soul.
Hipta (Ippa or Ipta) - Please visit this page: IPTA - ἽΠΤΑ.
holiness - See Efsǽvia, Osiótis, and Pietas.
Holocaust - See Olókafston.
Homer - See Omiros.
Horion - (Gr) name of Apollon at Hermione, in Argolis. Pausanias supposes it was derived from a word signifying limits, boundaries, and that it was assigned to him upon some happy termination of a dispute respecting the division of land. (CM p.22)
Horned Altar - an altar at Delos made entirely of horns, said by Plutarch to be a wonder of the world. The altar was built by Apollo when a child of four.
Horns in Hellenic iconography - Zefs-Ámmon (Zeus-Ammon; Gr. Ζεὺς Ἄμμων), Apóllohn Kárneios (Apollo Karneios; Gr. Απόλλων Κάρνειος), Pan (Gr. Πᾶν), and other deities are depicted in iconography as having horns and can be addressed as Kærovátis (Cerobates; Gr. Κεροβάτης), "horned God." The horns are symbolic; they are a representation of divinity. The horns express the powers of the soul, primarily Nous (Gr. Νους), extending into the Aithír (Aether or Ether; Gr. Αἰθήρ). In reality, all the Gods possess these "horns." Also, animals with horns, such as deer, rams, and bulls, are used in the iconography as symbols of divinity. It is a great crime and an atrocity that this holy symbol has been twisted by the Christians into a representation of evil.
Horus - Horus is an Egyptian God, the son of Osiris and Isis, who is sometimes equated with Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. ). (CM, Herodotus Histories)
Hosiotes - See Efsǽvia, Osiótis, and Pietas.
hubris - See ývris.
Hyacinth - See Ÿákinthos.
Hydor - See Ýdohr.
Hydra - See Ýdra.
hydria - a three-handled pitcher for carrying water from a well
Hygeia - See Yyeia.
Hyparxis - See Yparxis.
Hyperion - (Gr. Ὑπερίων, ὙΠΕΡΊΩΝ)
1) the Titan God of light, son of Ouranos and Gaia (source: Hesiod Theogonia 132)
2) the name Hyperion is sometimes used as a surname for Apollon (CM p.22)
Hypomnema - See Ypómnima.
Hypomnemata - See Ypómnima.
hypostasis - See ypostasis.
Hypnos - See Ypnos.
Hypochthonios or hypochthonic - See Ypochthonios.
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).
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