K - 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
Κ, κ, ϰ (KAPA) - The Greek letter KAPA is pronounced like the k in Kentucky or kiss. The convention on this website is to use the English letter k to represent KAPA in transliterated Greek words and not to use the English letter c.
Kabakes, Demetrius Raul - See Kavakes, Demetrios Raoul.
Kæltí - Please visit this page: Kæltí.
Kǽntavros (Centaur; Gr. Κένταυρος, ΚΕΝΤΑΥΡΟΣ) - Kǽntavros is the Greek word meaning Centaur, a horse that is also human. The Kǽntavros is depicted in iconography as having the body of a horse but the torso, arms, and head of a human. The horse, a fast running animal, is a major symbol in Hellenic religion, a symbol of the ætherial envelope, the fine vehicle of the soul. So a creature that is both human and horse symbolizes the soul that tends towards Deification.
Kæravnós - (Keraunos; Gr. Κεραυνός, ΚΕΡΑΥΝΟΣ. Plural is κεραυνοί.) The Kæravnós is the Thunderbolt, the mighty weapon of power which is the possession of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς). The Kæravnós was created for the king of Gods and men by the Kýklohpæs (Cyclopes; Gr. Κύκλωπες).
kærnos or kernos - Visit this page: KÆRNOS-ΚΈΡΝΟΣ.
kakía - (Gr. κακία, ΚΑΚΊΑ) Kakía is vice, moral badness. Kakía can be contrasted with Arætí, virtue.
kakon - (Gr. κακόν, ΚΑΚΌΝ) Kakon means evil. To define evil is a rather huge subject. This author is inclined to view evil as not so much "something" as the absence of something. Thus, kakon could be defined as mean-spirited action based on gross ignorance. This definition would follow the Socratic logic that no-one does wrong intentionally
Kallimachus (Callimachus) - (Greek: Καλλίμαχος) born and raised in Cyrene, Libya, a Greek colony, approx. 310 BCE, died 240 BCE. His mother's name was Mesatme and his father was Battus (a descendant of Battus I, the first King of Kyrene, from the noble family of the Battiadae).
Kallimachus, after having been educated at Athens, became a poet and scholar at the great Library of Alexandria under the patronage of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes, and the chief representative of the Alexandrian school. He assumed the post of curator of the library approx. 260 BCE and held the position until his death.
Kallimachus is well known for six beautiful and somewhat lengthy hymns: 1. To Zeus, 2. To Apollon, 3. to Artemis, 4. to Delos, 5. On the Bath of Pallas, and 6. to Demeter. These poems are dense with poetic imagery, requiring much knowledge of mythology and history for a complete understanding of their meaning. Also extent are sixty-four brief epigrams and fragments of other works. Kallimachus is known to have avoided epic-length poetry in favor of a learned, compressed, and shorter style of writing.
Among the pupils of Kallimachus was Apollonius of Rhodes, the author of of Argonautica, with whom he quarreled. Apollonius was in favor of the older Homeric style of epic poem which Kallimachus did not think able to be equaled or surpassed. The dispute became bitter and Apollonius withdrew from Alexandria to Rhodes.
Kalliópi - (Calliope; Gr. Καλλιόπη, ΚΑΛΛΙΟΠΗ. Etym. καλός 'beautiful' + ὄψ, ὀπός 'voice') Kalliópi is the eldest of the Mousai (Gr. Μοῦσαι); she is the daughter of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) and Mnimosýni (Mnemosyne; Gr. Mνημοσύνη). Kalliópi has many children, one of which was Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς) by Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) although other accounts give Íagros (Oeagros; Gr. Οἴαγρος) as the father. Kalliópi is the Mousa of Æpopiía (Epopoiïa; Gr. Ἐποποιία) or Ǽpæa (Epea; Gr. Ἔπεα), Epic Poetry, the stories in verse of the great Íroæs (Gr. Ἥρωες), the Heroes. Kalliópi is said to be the Mousa who inspired Ómiros (Homer; Gr. Ὅμηρος) to write Iliás (Iliad; Gr. Ἰλιάς) and Odýsseia (Odyssey; Gr. Ὀδύσσεια). Her insignia in iconography is a writing tablet or scroll.
Kallíkarpos - (Callicarpus; Gr. Καλλίκαρπος, ΚΑΛΛΙΚΑΡΠΟΣ) Kallíkarpos is the son of Aristaios (Aristaeus; Gr. Ἀρισταῖος) and Aftonóï (Autonoë; Gr. Αὐτονόη, a daughter of Kádmos [Cadmus; Gr. Κάδμος]).
Kalokagathia - (Ancient Greek: καλοκαγαθία; etymology: καλός [kalos] beautiful + και [kai] and + ἀγαθός [agathos] good ). Kalokagathia is sometimes written as two words, kalos kagathos (καλὸς κἀγαθός) or three words, kalos kai agathos (καλὸς και ἀγαθός). 1. Kalokagathia is the feminine personification of nobility and goodness. 2. Kalokagathia is an ideal, the harmonious joining of outward beauty with inward development, beauty of body and soul. 3. Kalokagathia is a word used to describe the attributes of a God, frequently Dionysos. 4. The term can also refer to a Platonic teaching regarding the synchronization of the body and mind in an ethical unity. 5. Aristotle says in Eudemian Ethics, 1249A18: "Kalokagathia is perfect arete (ed. virtue)."
Lexicon entry: κᾰλοκἀγᾰθ-ία, ἡ, the character and conduct of a καλὸς κἀγαθός (v. καλοκἀγαθός), nobleness, goodness. (L&S p. 869, right column, within the definitions of κᾰλοκἀγᾰθ-έω). (ed. a κἀγαθός is a basket carried procession in honor of Demetra [L&S p.865, left column] + καλὸς, beautiful, so a beautiful basket in honor of the great Goddess Demetra) (ed. καλοκἀγαθός is an adject. form, a perfect gentleman; but later in a moral sense, a perfect character. [:&S p.869, right column, within the definitions of κᾰλοκἀγᾰθ-έω] ).
kalos - (Greek: κάλος, ΚΆΛΟΣ) beautiful, good.
- καλός, — beautiful, of outward form. 2. in Att. added to a name in token of love or admiration. 3. τὸ καλόν beauty. 2. of sacrifices, auspicious. III. in a moral sense, beautiful, noble, honourable. 2. τὸ κ. moral beauty, virtue, honour. (L&S p.870, left column)
- Kalos is the root of many other words and names such as Kallimachus (beautiful battle).
kántharos - (cantharos; Gr. κάνθαρος, ΚΑΝΘΑΡΟΣ) The kántharos is a drinking cup with two high handles on a footed base. It is believed that the kántharos was not used for casual drinking, but, rather, was a ritual wine-vessel connected with the worship of Diónysos.kara - (Gr. κάρα, ΚΆΡΑ) a tame goat. (Cret.), Hsch.; also, fig, Id. καραβαία· δίκρουν ξύλον, Id. (L&S p. 877, left column)
Kardía - (Gr. καρδία, ΚΑΡΔΊΑ) Kardía is a Greek word meaning the heart.
Lexicon entry: καρδί-α.—heart, esp. as the seat of feeling and passion, as rage or anger, of sorrow or joy. 2. inclination, desire, purpose. 3. mind. II. cardiac orifice of the stomach. III. heart in wood, pith. IV. metaph. depths of the sea. 4. name of the star Regulus. (L&S p.877, right column, edited for simplicity.)
Karkínos - (Gr. Καρκίνος, ΚΑΡΚΙΝΟΣ. Cf. Lat. Cancer, Skt. karkatas 'crab') Karkínos is the tenth month of the Mystery year beginning June 21. Karkínos is the Greek equivalent of the zodiacal month of Cancer. Karkínos is ruled by Mighty Ærmís (Hermes; Gr. Ἑρμῆς, ἙΡΜΗΣ). It is a month of Great Energizing (Ǽntoni Ænæryitikótis; Gr. Ἔντονη Ἐνεργητικότης).
Karkínos is defined by Liddell & Scott: --crab. II. Cancer, as a sign in the Zodiac. (L&S p. 878, right column, edited for simplicity)
Visit this page: Hellenic Zodiacal Calendar.
Kárneia - Please visit this page: Κárneia.
Karniasion - (Karneiasion, Gr. Καρνειάσιον, ΚΑΡΝΕΙΆΣΙΟΝ) grove sacred to Apollo Karnios, IG 5(1).1390.54, al. (Andania, i B. C.): written Καρνάσιον in Paus.4.33.5, al. (L&S p. 878, right column)
Kárneios Apóllohn - (Gr. Κάρνειος, ΚΆΡΝΕΙΟΣ) Kárneios is a name of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) in many Dorian states such as Spárta (Gr. Σπάρτα), Thíra (Thera; Gr. Θήρα), and Kyríni (Cyrene; Gr. Κυρήνη). Please visit this page: Κárneia.
Karnæonikis - (Gr. Καρνεονίκης, ΚΑΡΝΕΟΝΊΚΗΣ) victor in the Karnian games, IG 5(1).82, 209 (Sparta): in pl., Κ., οἱ, title of work by Hellanicus. (L&S p.879, left column)
karnos - (Gr. κάρνος, ΚΆΡΝΟΣ), ὁ, (cf. κέρας; ed. horn of an animal) expld. by Hsch. as βόσκημα, πρόβατον, i.e. ram:—hence καρνοστάσιον, τό, pen, fold, Id. II. = φθειρ, Id. (L&S p.879, left column)
Karnus - Karnus was a son of Zeus and Europa. He was raised by Leto and was an Acarnanian seer who taught Apollo the art of divination.)
katávasis - (catabasis; Gr. κατάβασις, ΚΑΤΑΒΑΣΙΣ) Katávasis is a descent downwards, for instance, the mythological journey of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς) down to the underworld to retrieve Evrydíki (Euridice; Gr. Εὐρυδίκη) is called a Katávasis. 2. Katávasis is a Neoplatonic term referring to the descent, decline, or degeneration as being extends further from the One and becomes embodied. It is contrasted with anávasis (anabasis; Gr. ἀνάβασις), the ascent back towards the One, the genuine source of being. (= káthodos)
kathairein, kathairo - purify (L&S p.849) Purification rites involve literal cleanliness, such as the use of khernips. (see khernips) "...if man is distinguished from other animals by anything, he is distinguished by this (ed. purity or cleanliness)...For since the Gods by their nature are pure and free from corruption, so far as men approach them by reason, so far do they cling to purity and to a habit of purity. But since it is impossible that man's nature can be altogether pure being composed of such materials, reason is applied, as far as it is possible, and reason endeavors to make human nature love purity." (The Discourses by Epictetus, About Purity; translated by George Long, 1877; found in a more recent edition, with no dates given, by Peter Pauper Press, pp.137-8)
The true purification is of the soul and any purification rite that leaves stain on the participant has not purified. For example, "...the Pythian God (ed. Apóllohn), who ejected from the temple him who did not assist his friend, when he was being murdered." ... in which case, any ritual bathing etc. was insufficient to purify the man. (quote from The Discourses of Epictetus, Encheiridion (Manual) XXXII, George Long - see above - p. 21)
"The first then and highest purity is that which is in the soul; and we say the same of impurity." (The Discourses by Epictetus, About Purity, George Long - see above - p.136)
Katharévousa - (Gr. Καθαρεύουσα, ΚΑΘΑΡΕΥΟΥΣΑ) Katharévousa is a form of the Greek language that was created in the early 1800s as an attempt to preserve more of the ancient Greek, a sort of compromise between the ancient tongue and the commonly used language of the people. Katharévousa was never used widely in the country, but became a literary language and also was adopted for official use, but Dimotikí (Gr. Δημοτική), Demotic Greek, the common vernacular of the people, became the official language in 1976.
Katharmós - (Gr. καθαρμός, ΚΑΘΑΡΜΟΣ) Katharmós is purification.
- Lexicon entry: κᾰθαρμός, ὁ, (καθαίρω) cleansing, purification, from guilt, νίψαι καθαρμῷ τήνδε τὴν στέγην S.OT1228: hence, purificatory offering, atonement, expiation. 2. purificatory rite of initiation into Mysteries. (L&S p. 850, right column.)
kathikon, or kathekon - (Gr. καθῆκον; plural: καθήκοντα, kathikonta) This term is associated with the ethics of Stoicism. From this view, man should live in accordance with ones nature. Kathikonta are the appropriate or fitting actions and duties of our lives, in accordance with our nature, such as being kind to one's parents, etc. When appropriate action is combined with genuine virtue and logic, such actions are viewed as perfect actions (singular: katorthoma, κατόρθωμα; plural: katorthomata, κατορθώματα), the action of a wise man. Thus, katorthomata, perfect actions, are the kathikonta, appropriate actions, in accordance with his nature, of the wise man. Rote performance of duty is the kathikon, appropriate action, of the ordinary human being, appropriate for his nature.
káthodos - (Gr. κάθοδος, ΚΑΘΟΔΟΣ) Káthodos is a Neoplatonic term for descent. The more usual term with the same meaning is katávasis. See katávasis.
katorthomata - (singular: katorthoma, κατόρθωμα; plural: katorthomata, κατορθώματα) Katorthomata are the perfections, or perfect actions, actions which include virtues such as justice and wisdom. This term is associated with the ethics of Stoicism. See kathikon.
Kavákis, Dimítrios Rállis - (Demetrios Raoul Kabakes; Gr. Δημήτριος Ράλλης Καβάκης.1397-1487? CE) Dimítrios Rállis Kavákis was an aristocrat from the Peloponnese. He was of Norman descent, his family residing at Monæmvasía (Monemvasia; Gr. Μονεμβασία) and later at Mistrás (Gr. Μυστράς). Kavákis greatly admired the works of Yæóhryios Yæmistós Plíthohn (Georgius Gemistus Plethon; Gr. Γεώργιος Γεμιστός Πλήθων), of whom he possibly was a pupil, remnants of which he salvaged in the last years of his life after escaping from the Turks to Italy. It is known that Kavákis was pagan and familiar with the writings of Flavius Claudius Julianus (Julian the "Apostate"), the Neoplatonist emperor of the Roman Empire from 361-363 CE. (Source: George Gemistos Plethon: The Last of the Hellenes by C.M. Woodhouse, 1986, Clarendon Press - Oxford, published in the USA by Oxford Univ. Press [NY, NY, USA], p. 34.)
Keltini - a daughter of a king of Great Britain, a nymph who bore a son to Herakles named Keltos. Keltos went on to be the father of the Celts. Please visit this page: KELTS - ΚΕΛΤΟΊ
Keltos - (Latin: Celtus) - (Greek: Κέλτος) Keltos was the son of Herakles and the nymph Keltini. He is known as the father of the Celts. Please visit this page: KELTS - ΚΕΛΤΟΊ
Kelts - Please visit this page: Kæltí.
kentauros - Greek word for centaur
Keraunos - See Kæravnós.
Kernos - Visit this page: KÆRNOS-ΚΈΡΝΟΣ.
Kerykeion - See Kirykeion
Kerykes - one of two families of priests who resided over the Eleusinian Mysteries. The other family was the Eumolpidae.
Khristöítheia - (chrestoëtheia; Gr. χρηστοήθεια, ΧΡΗΣΤΟΗΘΕΙΑ) Lexicon entry: χρηστοήθεια, ἡ, goodness of heart. (L&S p. 2007, left column, within the entries beginning with χρηστογραφία, edited for simplicity.)
Kir - (Ker; Gr. Κήρ, ΚΗΡ) Lexicon entry: Κήρ, ἡ, Aeol. Κᾶρ Alc. (v. infr.), gen. Κηρός, acc. Κῆρα; Dor. pl. Κᾶρες (v.l. Κῆρες), but sg. κήρ Trag. in lyr. (v. infr.):— the Goddess of death or doom. II. as Appellat., doom, death, esp. when violent. 2. plague, disease. 3. pl. sts. in Prose, blemishes, defects. (L&S p. 948, left column, edited for simplicity.) Cf. entry directly below this.
Kir - (ker; Gr. κῆρ, ΚΗΡ) Kir means heart. Lexicon entry: κῆρ, τό, perh. contr. from κέαρ; Hom. always κῆρ, dat. κῆρι, Adv. κηρόθι; Trag. always κέαρ (no other case):— heart, κῆρ γηθεῖ ἐνὶ στήθεσσι Il.14.139; κῆρι as Adv., with all the heart, heartily. (L&S p. 948, left column, edited for simplicity.) Cf. entry directly above this.
Kíræs - (Keres; Gr. Κήρες, ΚΉΡΕΣ) According to Hesiod (Theogonia 211ff), the Kíræs are the daughters of Nyx. They are usually seen as daimons seeking violent death, such as in accidents or battle or even disease. More to the point, Kíræs are the souls who seek Justice for great wrongs that have been committed; they are agents of a rightful vengeance.
kh - Χ, χ (Khi) - The Greek letter Khi is pronounced like a guttural k, as in Christus, or as the Scottish pronounce the ch in Loch Lomond, guttural from the back of the throat. There is no exact equivalent for Khi in the English language. We are representing Khi as kh in the transliteration of Greek words. See Pronunciation of Ancient Greek and Transliteration of Ancient Greek.
Khǽrnips - Please visit this page: Khǽrnips.
Khærniveion - (Chernibeion; Gr. Χερνιβεῖον, ΧΕΡΝΙΒΕΙΟΝ) A Kærniveion is a vessel of water to wash hands before ritual. (L&S p.1988, column 2, edited for simplicity.)
Khairæ - (khaire; Gr. χαῖρε, ΧΑΙΡΕ, singular. When addressing more than one person use χαίρετε. Etym. χαίρω "rejoice, be glad.") Khairæ is the traditional Greek salutation meaning Hail! Welcome! or even Goodbye! Cf. Yassou.
Khaire - See Khairæ.
Khalkéfs - (Chalceus; Gr. Χαλκεύς, ΧΑΛΚΕΥΣ) Khalkéfs is a smith who works in copper (or iron). The Mystical Khalkéfs is Íphaistos (Hephaestus; Gr. Ἥφαιστος), the God of Forms.
Kháos - (Chaos; Gr. Χάος, ΧΑΟΣ) Kháos is the first state which emerged in the Kósmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος), this according to the Thæogonía (Theogony; Gr. Θεογονία), line 116, of Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος). This word has a different meaning from the modern word chaos; Kháos is not "disorder." Rather, Kháos is space or a kosmic gap or gulf.
- Lexicon entry: χάος chaos, the first state of the universe. 2. space, the expanse of air. b. τὸ χ. τοῦ ἐφ' ἑκάτερα ἀπείρου αἰῶνος, of infinite time. 3. the nether abyss, infinite darkness, joined with Ἔρεβος; represented as in the interior of the globe. b. generally, darkness. 4. any vast gulf or chasm. 5. Pythag. name for one. (L&S p. 1976, right column)
Kháris - (Charis, Gr. Χάρις, ΧΑΡΙΣ) The Goddess Kháris is one of the three Graces, also known as Aglaia (Algaea or Splendor; Gr. Ἀγλαΐα). The word kháris has been defined as "reciprocity" in the modern reconstructionist community; what they mean by this is the idea of making offerings in order to attain gifts from the Gods. But the idea of reciprocity in ancient Greek would more accurately be represented τὸ ἀντιπεπονθός (from ἀντιπάσχω). Kháris is more loveliness and charm; it can also refer to favor and thanks, from which the idea of reciprocity arises.
- Lexicon entry: —grace: in objective sense, outward grace or favour, beauty, prop. of persons or their portraits. 2. glory. II. in subjective sense, grace or favour felt, whether on the part of the doer or the receiver: 1. on the part of the doer, grace, kindness, goodwill, τινος for or towards one. 2. more freq. on the part of the receiver, sense of favour received, thankfulness, gratitude. 3. favour, influence, opp. force. 4. love-charm. III. in concrete sense, a favour done or returned, boon. b. grant made in legal form. 2. esp. in erotic sense, of favours granted. IV. gratification, delight, τινος in or from a thing. V. δαιμόνων χάρις homage due to them, their worship, majesty. 2. thank-offering, εὐκταία χ. τινός, opp. a common gift. (L&S p. 1978, right column, edited for simplicity.)
Kháritæs - (Charites or Graces; Gr. Χάριτες) The Kháritæs are three Goddesses of grace, beauty, festivity, dance, and song. According to Orphic Hymn 60 in their name, they are the daughters of Evrynomía (Eurynomia; Gr. Εὐνομία) and Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς). The hymn gives their names as Tháleia (Thalia; Gr. Θάλεια "blooming"), Aglaḯa (Aglaea; Gr. Ἀγλαΐα "splendor"), and Efphrosýni ( Euphrosyne; Gr. Εὐφροσύνη "joy"). The Kháritæs are described as bringing mirth and pleasant things to our lives.
Kharon (Charon) - the ferryman who receives the souls of the dead from Hermes Psychopompos.
Kheiron - (Chiron; Gr. Χείρων, ΧΕΊΡΩΝ) - Kheiron is the son of Kronos (therefore half-brother of Zefs [Zeus]), who had taken the form of a horse and consorted with the nymph Philyra (Gr. Φιλύρα). He was the eldest of the half-man, half-horse Centaurs, and unlike his kinsmen, he was immortal, having come from a different lineage than they. Also unlike his Centaur relatives, who were not known for good manners, Kheiron was sophisticated and wise. He lived on Mount Pelion where he was famous as a superlative teacher. Many of the greatest heroes of antiquity were placed in his care. Kheiron was the mentor of Achilles, Aristaios, Asklipios, Iason (Jason; Gr. Ἰάσων), Iraklis (Herakles; Gr. Ἡρακλῆς), Pilefs (Peleus; Gr. Πηλεύς), and others. Kheiron relinquished his immortality when he was accidentally struck by an arrow of Herakles. This arrow had been dipped into the blood of the Ydra (Hydra; Gr. Ὕδρα) and produced an incurable and painful wound. Kheiron lives on as the constellation of Sagittarius.
khernibeion - See khærnivion.
khernips - Please visit this page: Khǽrnips.
Khímaira - (Chimera; Gr. Χίμαιρα, ΧΙΜΑΙΡΑ) The Khímaira is the fire-breathing monstrous beast who was killed by the hero Vællærophóhn (Bellerophon; Gr. Βελλεροφῶν) while riding on the back of the winged horse Pígasos (Pegasus; Gr. Πήγασος). The Khímaira has the appearance of a lion which has a second head, that of a goat, facing backwards on its back. She also bore the udders of a goat and a serpentine tail.
Khitóhn - (Chiton; Gr. Χιτών, ΧΙΤΩΝ) There are two meanings to the word khitóhn, one mundane and the other mystical. In ordinary usage, a khitohn is a type of garment worn next to the skin, a tunic. In the Mystiria (Mysteries; Gr. Μυστήρια), the khitóhns are the Seven Tunics of the Soul, the adornments or decorations of the Soul. Such a tunic is called an Aithærios Khitóhn, Etherial Tunic. Please visit this page: The Soul and the Orphic Egg.
khoí - (choe; Gr. χοή, χοἁς, χοαί) The khoí is pouring out of liquid, usually drink-offerings to the dead.
"The choe involves the complete tipping and emptying of a larger vessel which may be held or may stand on the ground." (Walter Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 70).
This can be compared to the sponde where the libation is made in a controlled fashion, slowly pouring to the ground from a bowl or jug.
"Choai were usually poured at the grave, either on to the steps supporting the stêlê or possibly over the shaft. The liquid could be in either mixed or unmixed form, but whichever the case the ingredients were always the same: honey, milk, water, wine and oil. ...Before pouring out the choai, the celebrant commended both himself and his gift to the dead, thereby issuing the latter with an invitation to attend the rite being enacted in his honour. Assistance was sought in contacting the ghost of the deceased through the mediation of Hermes, Gaia and the other Gods and Daimones. There followed a prayer to the dead which took the form of a general request that they be kindly disposed (preumeneis) towards their family and dispatch bounty (esthla or agatha) to the world above in requital for the offering being made." (The Greek Way of Death by Robert Garland, 1985, p. 115)
khoiphoros - (Gr. χοηφόρος, ΧΟΗΦΌΡΟΣ) Khoiphoros is offering khoe to the dead.
Lexicon entry: χοηφόρος, ον, offering χοαί to the dead; Χοηφόροι, a Tragedy by A(eschylus, ed.), in which the Chorus pours χοαί to the shade (ed. ghost) of Agamemnon (ed. the second play of the trilogy Oresteia). (L&S p.1996, left column)
See khoe, libation.
Khrysopteron - epithet of Iris meaning 'golden-winged'. Etymology: khrysos - 'golden', and pteron - 'winged'.
khrysælæphántinos - (Gr. χρυσελεφάντινος, ΧΡΥΣΕΛΕΦΑΝΤΙΝΟΣ. Etym. χρυσός, "gold" + ελεφάντινος, "ivory.") Khrysælæphántinos is an adjective meaning overlaid with gold and ivory. The word refers to statues constructed of a wooden frame over which sheets of beautifully carved ivory was attached, imitating the flesh; gilding of gold was used to represent hair, clothing, and any appropriate accoutrements. In addition, jewels and various ornamentation would be added to great effect. This type of sculpture is called in English chryselephantine, after the ancient Greek word. It was greatly esteemed in antiquity and generally reserved for statues of Gods. Such artwork, being fragile, has but rarely survived, and of the examples we possess, the ivory has necessarily cracked and turned black from age.
khthónios - (chthonios or chthonic; Gr. χθόνιος, ΧΘΌΝΙΟΣ. Etym. from χθών, "earth.") Khthónios is refers to the surface of the earth, not below the soil but the superficial layer of soil. Khthónios is often confused with ypokhthónios (Gr. ὑποχθόνιος), which refers to that which is under the earth. A better translation of khthónios would be terrestrial or earthy. In some contexts the word can mean beneath the earth, but in the context of Gods, khthonic deities are deities of the earth, earthy, not below it. There is yet another word (to confuse things yet more!), ypærkhthónios which means "above the earth." So, we have three words: ypokhthónios (under), khthónios (the surface of) and ypærkhthónios (above) the earth.
- Lexicon entry: χθόνιος, α, ον, also ος, ον in, under, or beneath the earth; χθόνιος θεοί Gods of the nether world. II. sprung from the earth; χθονίως in an earthly manner. 2. in or of the country; native. III. of things, of the earth. (L&S p. 1991, left column, edited for simplicity)
- Lexicon entry: χθών, ἡ, gen. χθονός, earth, esp. the surface of it (rarely soil). 2. earth, i.e. the world. 3. Earth, as a Goddess. II. land, country. (L&S p.1991, left column extending into the right)
- Cf. Ypærkhthónios and Ypokhthónios.
Khýtri - (Gr. Χύτροι, ΧΥΤΡΟΙ, which is the plural of χύτρος or χύτρα, an earthen pot) The Khýtri is the Festival of the Pots, the third day of Anthæstíria (Anthesteria, Gr. Ἀνθεστήρια). It is named after the khýtros (Gr. χύτρος), the clay pot in which panspærmía (panspermia; Gr. πανσπερμία), a dish of many different seeds, was boiled. The seeds are cooked but not eaten; they are offered to Ærmís (Hermes; Gr. Ἑρμῆς) Khthónios (chthonios or chthonic; Gr. χθόνιος), to Diónysos, and to the souls of the dead. Please visit this page: Anthæstíria.
Kifissos (Cephisos - English) - a special river in Athens connected with the Eleusinian Mysteries, of particular importance being the bridge of Kifissos.
killing in Hellenic mythology - Hellenic mythology is rich with hidden meaning, sometimes deliberately hidden. Because of this, these stories can be easily misunderstood. This is one of the reasons why Plato comes out against the poets in Republic, and his point was driven home when the myths and plays were used as easy targets by the early Christian fathers to humiliate the beliefs of Hellenismos. A perfect example of this can be found in the myths whereby a God will kill a mortal. Killing in mythology conceals something deeper. When a God kills, this is deification and transformation. Always. The individual being killed usually has a relationship with the deity who kills him, such as in the slaying of Marsyas by Apollo, Marsyas being a musician; Apollo is known to love music. This is because the individual who is being deified has a relationship to the Olympian pair who are involved with the deification. Similarly, when a God 'rapes' or has intercourse with a mortal, this is transformation.
Kínisis - (Gr. Κίνησις, ΚΙΝΗΣΙΣ; motion, as opposed to στάσις, rest) Kínisis is Movement, the first of the Natural Laws, ruled by the Goddess Æstía. Kínisis in the divine realm (Gr. Ἥ ἐν τῷ θείῳ κόσμῳ κίνησις) is ruled by Ærmís.
Kings (Vasilis), The Six - The Six Kings represent the evolution of Zeus from Æther. They are a progression: Phanes, Nyx (Night), Ouranos, Kronos, Zeus, and Dionysos. In a similar manner, there is an evolution from Earth, but just three: Gaia, Rhea, and Hera.
"...from Proclus, in Tim. p. 191. as follows. 'Orpheus delivers the kings of the Gods, who preside over the universe according to a perfect number; Phanes, Night (ed. Nyx), Heaven (ed. Ouranos), Saturn (ed. Kronos), Jupiter (ed. Zeus), Bacchus (ed. Dionysos). For Phanes is first adorned with a scepter, is the first king, and the celebrated Ericapæus. But the second king is Night, who receives the sceptre from the father Phanes. The third is Heaven, invested with government from Night. The fourth Saturn, the oppressor as they say of his father. The fifth is Jupiter, the ruler of his father. And the sixth of these is Bacchus." (The Hymns of Orpheus trans. by Thomas Taylor, 1792; found in a footnote to hymn V. To Protogonus, on p. 119.)
kirykas - (Gr. κήρυκας, ΚΉΡΥΚΑΣ) A kirykas is a herald.
Kirýkeion - (Kerykeion or Caduceus [Latin]; Gr. Κηρύκειον, ΚΗΡΥΚΕΙΟΝ. Etym. from κήρυκας and κῆρυξ, both meaning "herald.") The Kirýkeion consists of a staff with two intertwined snakes which represent the two suns, the solar powers over which Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) has dominion. At the apex of the Kirýkeion are sometimes two wings which represent immortality, although the wings are absent on most ancient Greek depictions of the staff.
The mundane meaning of the Kirýkeion is that it is the herald's staff used in times of war. Ærmís (Hermes; Gr. Ἑρμῆς) is said to be the great messenger, the great herald of the Gods who holds the Kirýkeion.
The Kirýkeion has a Mystic meaning; it is the scepter of Phánis which unites the three worlds, Earth, the Middle Sky, and Ólympos (Olympus; Gr. Όλυμπος), the realm beyond the Moon. Phánis means "I reveal;" he is a mighty power controlled by Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς); Zefs therefore holds the scepter of Phánis. Zefs gives the Kirýkeion to Apóllohn, who in turn gave it to Ærmís. The Kirýkeion is a symbol of Zefs, representative of his power to unite and divide, the creative power, so, therefore, any God who wields this power could be said to hold the Kirýkeion.
Kíryx - (keryx; Gr. κῆρυξ, ΚΗΡΥΞ) Lexicon entry: κῆρυξ, ῡκος, ὁ, Aeol. κᾶρυξ [ᾱ] :—but κήρῡκος, ου, ὁ, EM775.26: (κηρύσσω):— herald, pursuivant: generally, public messenger, envoy, of Hermes, as being messengers between nations at war: used interchangeably with ἀπόστολος; functioning as μάγειροι at festivals. b. as fem. 2. crier, who made proclamation and kept order in assemblies, etc.; at Eleusis. 3. auctioneer. 4. generally, messenger, herald; of the cock; of writing; of Homer. II. trumpet-shell, e.g. Triton nodiferum, and smaller species. (L&S p. 949, left column, edited for simplicity.)
Kithára - Please visit this page: The Lyre of Apóllohn.
Kitharohdós (Citharede; Gr. Κιθαρῳδός, ΚΙΘΑΡΩΔΟΣ) A Kitharohdós is an ancient name for a professional singer who also played the kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), an ancient type of lyre. Kitharohdós is also an epithet of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων), who is frequently depicted in iconography playing the kithára.
Klǽos - (Gr. κλέος, ΚΛΕΟΣ) Lexicon entry: κλέος, τό, Dor. Κλέϝος. rumour, report. II. Good report, fame. 2. rarely in bad sense. (L&S p. 958 left column.) Cf. Dóxa and Timí.
Kleio (Clio) - One of the nine Mousai (Muses), Kleio is the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, Hyakinthos is one of her children. Kleio is the Muse of History.
Kleisthenes (Cleisthenes) - sometimes called the "Father of Democracy." In the years 508-507 BC, Kleisthenes reformed the Athenian constitution, and in so doing, along with the achievements of the lawgiver Solon in 594 BC, became a major figure in the formation of early democracy.
Kleops and Bitias - Please visit this page: KLÆOVIS AND VITON - ΚΛΈΟΒΙΣ ΚΑΙ ΒΊΤΟΝ
See also the article on Kouros.
kleos - glory through heroic deed and action.
Kliromonos - (Gr. Κληρονόμος, ΚΛΗΡΟΝΌΜΟΣ) Kliromonos is the heir apparent, the Successor, Dionysos.
Klohthóh - (Clotho; Gr. Κλωθώ, ΚΛΩΘΩ [Latin: Nona]) Klohthóh is one of the Mírai (Moirai or Moerae; Gr. Μοῖραι), the Fates, she who spins the thread of life. Please visit this page: Destiny.
Klymǽni - (Clymene; Gr. Κλυμένη, ΚΛΥΜΕΝΗ) Klymǽni is an Okeanid nymph, being the daughter of Okæanós (Oceanus; Gr. Ὠκεανός) and Tithýs (Tethys; Gr. Τηθύς). Klymǽni is the wife of Iapætós and the mother of Átlas (Gr. Ἄτλας) and Promithéfs (Prometheus; Gr. Προμηθεύς) and others, this as told by Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος) in Thæogonía 507, although Aiskhýlos (Aeschylus; Gr. Αἰσχύλος) says that Thǽmis (Themis; Gr. Θέμις) is Promithéfs' mother. Please visit this page: Titánæs.
Klytie - 1) Klytie is an Okeanid nymph, the daughter of Okeanos and Tethys. Klytie should not be confused with her sister Klymene. She is mentioned in Hesiod. 2) There is another personage with the name Klytie who is the sister of Leucothoë as recounted in Ovid's Metamorphoses. (see Leucothoë) In this story, Klytie is turned into a heliotrope (or a sunflower, flowers which follow the movement of the sun) by Apollo (or Sol: Ælios).
Because the God Ælios is involved in the stories of both the mortal Klytie and the Okeanid nymph Klymene, and because of the similarity between their names, the two are sometimes equated. There is also a similar situation equating the two Klyties because they have identical names. Sometimes all these three are equated or confused with each other. Both names (Klytie and Klymene) have the same meaning: "the famous one."
Knuckle-bones - The Knuckle-bones is one of the Toys of Diónysos. See Astrágalos.
Koios (Coeus) [Polos] - (Greek: Κοῖος, "questioning") Koios is the Titan son of Ouranos (Sky) and Ge (Earth), brother of Hyperion, Iapetos, and Krios. The God of the axis of heaven with the constellations revolving around him, he presides over heavenly oracles, being the prophetic voice of his father the Sky. Koios and Phoibe are the parents of Asteria and Leto.
Koios was one of the conspirators against his father when Kronos castrated Ouranos.
Kóhnos (Gr. Κῶνος, ΚΩΝΟΣ. Sometimes or also Στρόβιλος) The Kóhnos, or Cone, is one of the Toys of Diónysos and also one of the great symbols of the Ælefsínia Mystíria (Eleusinian Mysteries; Gr. Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια).
Korais, Adamantios - (Gr. Αδαμάντιος Κοραής) (born: April 27, 1748 in Smyrna; died: April 6, 1833 in Paris) Adamantios Korais was a major figure in the Greek Enlightenment of the 18th century. He was a scholar with great interest in classicism, literacy, and the Greek language. He was a humanist who witnessed the French Revolution. Korais knew Thomas Jefferson and they shared both inspiration and friendship. His work provided impetus to the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman empire. Korais translated ancient texts and contributed literary works including a 17 volume Library of Greek Literature. He created the Katharevousa form of the Greek language, purging foreign elements and conforming to ancient Greek, finding a midpoint between contemporary and ancient usage.
Kore (Core or Cora) - (Gr. Κόρη, ΚΌΡΗ) Persephone, the maiden or daughter.
Lexicon entry for Kore: κόρη, ἡ, orig. κόρϝα ; κόρα :—fem.of κόρος, κοῦρος (ed. Kouros). 1. girl ; with reference to virginity, maiden ; of Nymphs ; of maiden-Goddesses, however old, as the Eumenides ; the Sphinx ; the Fates. 2. of a bride ; or concubine, as Briseis. 3. with gen. of a pr. n. added, daughter. 4 metaph., of a colony ; of newly-launched ships. II. puppet, doll, as a child's plaything ; small votive image. III. pupil of the eye, because a little image appears therein. IV. long sleeve reaching over the hand, V. the Attic drachma, because it bore a head of Athena. VI. = ὑπέρεικον. VII. Archit., female figures as supports. B. Κόρη, Dor. Κόρα (Cret. Κώρα GDI5047), Ion. Κούρη, Arc.(?) Κόρϝα, ἡ:—the Daughter (of Demeter), Persephone. (L&S pp.980-981)
Korykion Cave (Corycian Cave)- a cave on Mount Parnassus, the dwelling of Python, sacred to nymphs, Pan, and the Muses. Alternately, the Orphic Hymn to Hermes refers to Korykos (Corycus or Corycos). If you are using the Taylor translation he says at line 14 "Corucian, blessed, profitable God." Korykos was an ancient city in Anatolia, the Southern promontory of the Erythraean peninsula opposite Chios, with a rich history. It is now in modern Turkey, occupied by the town Kizkalesi. There is a cave near this place, the Corycian or Cilician Cave, the dwelling-place of Typhon and Echidna. Pan and Hermes were worshiped in this cave, and there is also a temple to Zeus Korykios.
Please note: This entry is incomplete and under construction.
kotýli - (Cotyle; Gr. κοτύλη, ΚΟΤΥΛΗ) The kotýli was a unit of measure in ancient Greece. This word is also was used for a certain type of vase which looked something like a skýphos. Cf. skýphos.
Kourayía - Ritual of Courage - (Gr. Κουραγία, ΚΟΥΡΑΓΙΑ. Etym. Κόρη, "Kore" + ἄγω, "I bring.") The Kourayía, the Ritual of Courage, is a great rite that is used to invoke the Kóri (Kore; Gr. Κόρη) in times of great need.
Kouritæs - Please visit this page: Kouritæs.
Kouros - Please visit this page: KOUROS - ΚΟΎΡΟΣ.
kratír - (crater or krater; Gr. κρατήρ, ΚΡΑΤΗΡ) A kratír is a type of ancient pottery, a wide-mouthed vessel used to mix wine and water.krineus (crineus) - word meaning "judge." It is the etymological root of the English word "crises." In the Orphic Hymn to Apollon, there is a line which reads krineus viothremonna fylla. It means "you judge the races of the mortal men."
Kriós - (Gr. Κριός, ΚΡΙΟΣ) Kriós is the seventh month of the Mystery year, beginning March 21. Kriós is the Greek equivalent of the zodiacal sign of Aries. Kriós is ruled by the Goddess Athiná (Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ). It is a month of Ǽntoni Ænæryitikótita (Entoni Energitikotita; Gr. Έντονη Ενεργητικότητα), great energizing.
Liddell & Scott define Krios: ram, 3) the constellation Aries. (L&S p.996, right column)
Visit this page: Hellenic Zodiacal Calendar.
Krios Khrysomallos (Crius Chrysomallus) - the golden, flying ram sent by the Nemphale the cloud nymph to rescue her children Phrixos and Helle when they were about to be offered up as a sacrifice to the Gods. While they were fleeing through the air, Helle fell into the sea (called from then on the Hellespont). The ram, a gift of Hermes, took Phrixos to Kholkhis where he told the boy to sacrifice him (Krios) to Zeus Phyxios. The boy then gave his fleece to King Aeetes, who nailed it to an oak tree in the holy grove of Ares. This fleece is the Golden Fleece of the Argonautica and is a great mystic symbol.
krókos - (crocus; Gr. κρόκος, ΚΡΟΚΟΣ) The stigma of the flower of Crocus sativus is requested for use as incense in Orphic Hymn number 5, to Aithír (Ether or Aether; Gr. Αἰθήρ). This herb or spice is saffron, or, in ancient Greek, krókos (saffron; Gr. κρόκος), which may be burnt as incense. The first hymn, to Ækáti (Hecate; Gr. Ἑκάτη), describes the Goddess as robed in saffron (κροκόπεπλον), which could also mean robed in yellow cloth, since saffron was used to dye clothing yellow. In any case, krókos is a lovely offering for her as well.
Kronídai - (Cronidae; Gr. Κρονίδαι, ΚΡΟΝΙΔΑΙ) The Kronídai are the progeny of Krónos (Cronus; Gr. Κρόνος): Æstía (Hestia; Gr. Ἑστία), Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ), Íra (Hera; Gr. Ήρα), Ploutohn (Pluto; Gr. Πλούτων ), Poseidóhn (Poseidon; Gr. Ποσειδῶν), and Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς).
Krónos or Cronus - Visit this page: Krónos.
kyathos - ladle for pouring mixed wine
Kydóhni - See Milokydóhnion.
Kydohnía - (Cydonia; Gr. Κῠδωνία, ΚΥΔΩΝΙΑ) - Kydohnía was a city-state in ancient Kríti (Crete' Gr. Κρήτη), on the northwest coast of the island. This city is the location of modern-day Khaniá (Chania; Gr. Χανιά). It was founded by Kýdohn (Cydon; Gr. Κύδων), its first king. Kydohnía is referenced in the Orphic hymn to Ártæmis (Artemis; Gr. Ἄρτεμις) because it was center of the cult of Ártæmis Díktynna (Gr. Δίκτυννα), possibly the same deity as Vritómartis (Britomartis; Gr. Βριτόμαρτις).
Kykæown - (Kykeon; Gr. Κυκεών, ΚΥΚΕΏΝ) Kykæown is a beverage made water, barley, and herbs, a common refreshment of the ancient Greek peasants. But Kykæown has another connection: it is the sacred drink of the Ælefsinian Mysteries, for in the Homeric hymn To Dimitir (206-211), Mætaneira (Metaneira; Gr. Μετάνειρα) offers the Goddess wine which she refuses, but she accepts this grain-beverage flavored with mint. The initiates of the Ælefsinia partake of Kykæown in honor of this.
Kykeon - See Kykæown.
kýklos - (Gr. κύκλος) Kýklos is a ring or a circle.
Kýklou Líxai - (Κύκλου Λήξαι, ΚΥΚΛΟΥ ΛΗΞΑΙ) Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς) taught Palingænæsía, the transmigration of the soul or reincarnation. Palingænæsía is the cycle whereby the soul wanders from life to life. If the soul progresses sufficiently, she (the soul is thought of in the feminine) is assisted by one of the pairs of Olympian Gods and is deified; the mortal body dies one last time, but this soul is now immortal and the circle of mortal lives has ended. Kýklou Líxai is the end of the circle, deification by the Gods. It is called the final death because the soul is now Athánatos (Gr. Ἀθάνατος), i.e., deathless or immortal.
kýlix - (Gr. κύλιξ, ΚΎΛΙΞ) A kýlix is a two-handled drinking cup or goblet
Kypris - a name for Aphrodite, the Lady of Cyprus. Aphrodite is said to have risen from the sea onto the island of Cyprus.
οἳ δ᾽ οὔπω πηγῆισι Κύρης ἐδύναντο πελάσσαι
Δωριέες, πυκινῆν δὲ νάπαις Ἄζιλιν ἔναιον.
"But not yet could the Dorians approach the fountains of Cyre, but dwelt in Azilis thick with wooded dells."
(Kallímakhos (Callimachus; Gr. Καλλίμαχος) Hymn II: Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων), lines 88-89, trans. by A.W. Mair and G.R. Mair, 1921. This found in the volume entitled Callimachus and Lycophron - Aratus, published in London by William Heinemann and in New York by G. P. Putnam's Sons, pp. 56-57.)
Kýri is a stream at Kyríni (Cyrene; Gr. Κυρήνη) which, after running some distance underground, reappears at the Temple of Apóllohn as the Fountain of Apóllohn. (Ibid. Mair, p. 56, Note a.)
Kyrene (Cyrene) - (Greek: Κυρήνη) 1) Kyrene was the huntress daughter of King Hypseus of the Lapiths, by some accounts a nymph. While she was wrestling a lion that had been killing the cattle of Eurypylos, Apollon became enamored of her and abducted her to Myrtoessa, the Hill of Myrtles in Libyan North Africa. A son was born to Apollon and Kyrene, Aristaios, who was the rustic Demi-God who invented bee-keeping.
2) The city of Kyrene (named after the nymph of the same name, see above) was located in Libya on the coast of the African continent. It was a colony of Thera (Santorini); Thera was a colony of Sparta. Kyrene became the most important of five Greek cities in that region.
Kyrene was the birthplace of Kallimachus, the great poet and scholar of Alexandria, and the city is spoken of prominently in his Hymn to Apollo. The poem outlines the establishment of the colony from the island of Thera, led by Battus I (Aristoteles).
Aristippus, a student of Socrates, founded a school of philosophy named the Kyrenaics (Cyrenaics), in the 3rd century BCE, a school which may be viewed as a forerunner of Epicureanism. It was named after Kyrene because Aristippus was born in the city. Kyrene was also the birthplace of the great mathematician, poet, astronomer, and the third chief librarian of the Library of Alexandria, Eratosthenes.
Kyrene was also quite famous as the exporter of the important and very expensive spice and medicinal herb of the ancient world, silphium, used in Mediterranean cooking. Unfortunately, the gourmet plant was harvested to extinction, forcing cooks to substitute the similar but by all accounts inferior asofoetida. The very last pieces of silphium are said to have been given as a gift to the emperor Nero.
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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