s - Illustrated Glossary of Hellenic Polytheism

s - 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

Σ, σ, ς (SIGMA) - The Greek letter SIGMA (pronounced seegma) sounds like the s in sever or sure. When using small-case letters the symbol σ is used for SIGMA when found within a word (example: Ηλιοστάσιο). When using small-case letters the symbol ς is used for SIGMA when found at the end of a word (example: Σκορπιός). See Pronunciation of Ancient Greek and Transliteration of Ancient Greek.

Sabazios - (Gr. Σαβἀζιος, ΣΑΒἈΖΙΟΣ) Sabazios is a name variously attributed to both Zeus and Dionysos.

- the name of Zeus among the Sabæ, a people of Thrace. (CM*p.15)

- In the Orphic hymn, Sabazios is called the son of Kronos (Zeus): "Hear me, father Sabazios, son of Kronos, illustrious God. You sewed into your thigh Bacchic Dionysos,..." (Orphic Hymn 48. To Sabazios, translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis, The Orphic Hymns, 1977; found in the 1988 Scholars Press edition on p.65)

- name of Dionysos among the Sabæ, a people of Thrace. One of the mysterious rites of this God was to let a snake slip down the bosom of the person to be initiated, which was taken out below. (CM p.183)

- Σᾰβάζιος, ὁ, (Σαβός) a Phrygian deity, whose Mysteries resembled the τελεταί of Dionysus; hence afterwards taken as a name of Dionysus himself. II. Adj. Σᾰβάζιος, α, ον, Bacchic. (L&S p.1579, left column)

- Sabazius (collat. form Sebazius, Sebadius or Sabadius, Macr. S. 1, 18; App. M. 8, p.213), 1i, m., = Σαβἀζιος, a surname. I. Of Bacchus, --Hence, Sabazia, orum, n. a festival in honor of Sabazius or Bacchus. II. Of Jupiter: Sabazii Jovis cultus. (LD p.1609, center column)

sacrifice - Generally, any offering to a God is viewed as sacrifice. Leaves of laurel, incense, food, flowers, anything pleasant may be offered as a gift, even acts such as a promise to do something. In antiquity, a typical large-scale offering at temples would be an animal sacrifice, although Orpheus, Pythagoras, and others discouraged the practice. Burnt Offerings

Sǽvomai - (sebomai; Gr. σέβομαι, ΣΕΒΟΜΑΙ) Lexicon entry: σέβομαι, mostly used in pres.:—feel awe or fear before God, feel shame. 2. after Hom., c. acc. pers., revere, worship. b. esp. of Jewish proselytes. 3. of things. II. Act. σέβω is post-Hom., used only in pres. and impf., worship, honour, mostly of the Gods. 2. less freq. abs., to worship, to be religious, τὸν σέβοντ' εὐεργετεῖν A.Eu.725, cf. 897; οὐ γὰρ σέβεις S.Ant.745; κρίνοντες ἐν ὁμοίῳ καὶ σέβειν καὶ μή Th.2.53; but in all these places an object shd. perh. be supplied from the context. (L&S p. 1588, left column, edited for simplicity.) Cf. Ázæsthai.

Sǽvæsthai - (sebesthai; Gr. σέβεσθαι, ΣΕΒΕΣΘΑΙ. Verb, pres. inf. mp of σέβομαι.) Sǽvæsthai means to feel awe or fear before the Gods, to feel religious awe, shame. See Sǽvomai.

Sagittarius - See Toxotis.

Salganeus - surname of Apollo, from Salganea, a town of Bœotia. (CM p.23)

Saligena - (Gr) surname of Apollo, as rising from the sea; he having been born upon the floating island of Delos. (CM p.23)

salt-water - Salt represents the Mystic Fire. Salt-water represents the Divine Æthír (Aether; Gr. Αἰθήρ). This is why salt-water is appropriate for use as Khǽrnips.

"Hence the theurgist who is the leader of the Mysteries of this God begins from purifications and sprinklings:

Αυτος δ' εν πρωτοις ιερευς πυρος εργα κυβερνων,

Κυματι ραινεσθω παγερῳ βαρυηχετος αλμης.

The priest in the first place governing the works of fire,

Must sprinkle with the cold water of the loud-sounding sea,

...as the Oracle says concerning him."

(Próklos [Proclus; Gr. Πρόκλος] The Theology of Plátohn [Plato; Gr. Πλάτων] Chapter XVII, Book Seven, trans. Thomas Taylor, 1816, as found in the volume entitled Proclus: The Theology of Plato, Vol. VIII or The Thomas Taylor Series, 1999 Prometheus Trust [Somerset, UK], where this quotation may be found on p. 520.)

From Evripídis (Euripides; Gr. Εὐριπίδης) concerning purification:

"Thóas: 'In the bubbling spring? Or is salt water best?'

Iphiyǽneia: 'The sea is the absorbent of all evil.' "

(Evripídis Iphiyǽneia in Távris [Iphigenia in Tauris; Gr. Ἰφιγένεια ἐν Ταύροις] 1191-1192, trans. Witter Bynner, 1956; The Complete Greek Tragedies Vol. III, Univ. of Chicago Press [Chicago, IL USA], where this quotation may be found on p. 395)

At Ælefsís (Eleusis; Gr. Ἐλευσίς) at initiation to the Mystíria (The Mysteries; Gr. Μυστήρια):

"On the day following the assembly came the cry, 'To the sea, O Mystae!' and the candidates for initiation ran down to the sea, there to purify themselves in its salt waves -- a lustration believed to be of greater virtue than that of fresh water."

(Pagan Regeneration by Harold R. Willoughby, 1929; as found in the 2008 BiblioBazaar edition on p. 42.)

Please visit this page: Khǽrnips.

Samothrake (Samothrace) - Samothrace is an Aegean island where was the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, a site where initiation into Mysteries took place, Mysteries on a par with the Eleusinian Mysteries. There is a myth whereby Zagreus was cut into pieces by the Titans. The Kabeiroi Gods of Samothrake, twin sons of Hephaestos,recovered the severed genitals of Zagreus and kept them in sacred cave on the island. This act was the beginning of the Samothakian Mysteries. See Kouretes. Sanctuary of the Great Gods - see Samothrace, see Kouretes.

Sangaridus Puer - a name for Ganymedes. It derives from the Phrygian river of Sangar. Puer means "boy."

Satyros (Satyr) - animal-like men with pointed ears, pug noses, and horse-like tails. They are associated with Dionysos.

Scorpio - see Skorpios.

Sdygos - See Zygos.

Sea, The - See Tithys.

Sebesthai - See Sǽvæsthai.

Sebomai - See Sǽvomai.

Seirai - (Gr. σείραι, ΣΕΙΡΑΙ. From σειρά, which means "rope") Seirai is a Neoplatonic term meaning chains of causation.

Seistron - Please visit this page: Seistron.

Selene - the Moon.

Semi-God - Please visit this page: Heroes.

Seven Centers of the Soul - The Seven Centers of the Soul are similar or identical to the Hindu Chakras and are represented in iconography by the seven strings of the kithára (cithara or lyre; Gr. κιθάρα) of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων), who, by strumming them, sets the centers of the soul spinning. The Seven Centers of the Soul are also represented by the Toys of Diónysos and they are the dominion of the seven pairs of Titánæs (Titans; Gr. Τιτᾶνες).

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - If you consider the most common list, three of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are connected with our religion:

The statue of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) at Olympia was a gigantic chryselephantine (χρυσελεφάντινος, i.e. overlaid with gold and ivory) statue created by the famous sculptor Pheidías (Gr. Φειδίας). The gigantic ágalma (religious statue; Gr. άγαλμα) was almost 43 feet tall (13 m), seated, and was constructed such that it appeared that if the God were to stand up he would crash through the roof. Pafsanías (Pausanias; Gr. Παυσανίας), the ancient geographer, gives the following description: "On his head lies a sculpted wreath of olive sprays. On his right hand he holds a figure of Victory made from ivory and gold....In his left hand the God holds his scepter inlaid with every kind of metal, and the bird perched on the scepter is an eagle. The sandals of the God are made of gold, as is his robe, and his garments are carved with animals and with lily flowers. The throne is decorated with gold and with precious stones, with ebony and with ivory." (translation as found in The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, edited by P. Clayton & M. Price, 1988, p. 66) The throne was decorated with many scenes from mythology. After emperor Theodosius I banned the practice of pagan religion, the temple of Olympia fell into disuse. The statue was one of many transported to Constantinople where it was destroyed in 462 CE by fire. The Artæmísion (Artemisium; Gr. Ἀρτεμίσιον), as the temple of Ártæmis (Artemis; Gr. Ἄρτεμις) in Ǽphæsos (Ephesus; Gr. Ἔφεσος) is called, was designed by the architect Khærsíphrohn (Chersiphron; Gr. Χερσίφρων) of Kríti (Crete; Gr. Κρήτη); this was the newer temple begun around 600 BCE, funded by Krísos (Croesus; Gr. Κροῖσος) of Lydía; Gr. Λυδία) and burnt to the ground by the insane arsonist Iróstratos (Herostratus; Gr. Ἡρόστρατος) in 356 BCE. Although this temple may not, to some, have the allure of the other ancient wonders, Antípatros (Antipater; Gr. Ἀντίπατρος) of Sidóhn (Sidon; Gr. Σιδών) the poet thought that "those other wonders lost their brilliancy" when he beheld the Artæmísion. Plinius (Pliney) says that the temple was 377 feet long (115 m) and 180 feet wide (55 m) making it approximately three times the area of the Parthænóhn (Parthenon; Gr. Παρθενών). The Kolossós of Ródios (Colossus of Rhodes; Gr. ὁ Κολοσσὸς Ῥόδιος) was an enormous statue of Ílios (Helios or the Sun; Gr. Ἥλιος) 110 foot high (33m) made by the sculptor Kháris (Chares; Gr. Χάρης) of Líndos (Gr. Λίνδος). Some scholars believe that it looked similar to the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York harbor, with the naked God holding a torch in one hand and a spear in the other. The common belief that it stood in a harbor is not supportable. It was toppled by an earthquake in 226 BCE. Ptolemy III of Egypt offered to finance the restoration of the statue but the Rhodians were prevented from accepting his offer by an oracle.

The other traditional wonders of the ancient world are: the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Mafsohleion (Mausoleum; Gr. Μαυσωλείον) at Alikarnassós (Halicarnassus; Gr. Ἁλικαρνᾱσσός), and the Pharos (lighthouse) at Alexandria in Egypt. But there are other competing lists, and of particular interest, one includes the altar to Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) at Dílos (Delos; Gr. Δήλος), constructed entirely of (some say, goat) horns:

"The Temple of Apóllohn was, according to Ploutarkhos (Plutarch; Gr. Πλούταρχος), of great antiquity, and its altar of such extraordinary construction and magnificence, as, in his opinion, to have deserved a place among the wonders of the world. It was formed of the horns of various animals, so ingeniously adapted to one another, that they hung together without any cement. This altar is said to have been a perfect cube; the doubling it was a famous mathematical problem, problema Deliacum, among the ancients, and is affirmed to have been originally proposed by the oracle of Dælphí (Delphi; Gr. Δελφοί) for the purpose of freeing the country from a plague, which was to cease when the problem was solved." (CM p. 301)

Sickle - The ancient Greek word for sickle is δρεπάνη. Cf. Adámos Dræpáni.

Silenos (Seilenos) - Silenos was an Ipotane (half-horse, unlike the Satyrs who were half-goat) who was the foster-father and tutor of Dionysos. He is often depicted riding on the back of a donkey in a state of drunkenness. He was the oldest and wisest Sileni, those Ipotane who had the legs of a human and were followers of Dionysos. When drunk, the Sileni possessed powers and prophecy. Perhaps the most famous story about him, tells of Silenos lost in Phrygia. He was rescued by local peasants and placed in the care of King Midas. The ruler treated Silenos very well, so Dionysos, of whom Silenos was much loved, offered Midas a gift. The king asked that everything he touch turn to gold.

single-pantheon polytheism - the belief in one pantheon of deities to the exclusion of others

sistrum - See seistron.

Skæptomorphæs - (Gr. Σκεπτομορφές, ΣΚΕΠΤΟΜΟΡΦΈΣ) = Aithærikæs Kataskevæs = Aithirial Constructions. See Aithærikæs Kataskevæs.

skill - See tækhni.

Skorpios - (Gr. Σκορπιός, ΣΚΟΡΠΙΟΣ) Skorpios is the second month of the Mystery Year, beginning October 21. Skorpios is the Greek equivalent of the zodiacal month of Scorpio. It is ruled by Mighty Aris (Ares; Gr. Άρης, ΆΡΗΣ). Skorpios is a month of Stability (Stathærotita - Gr. Σταθερὀτητα).

Skorpios, the scorpion, can be found in Liddell & Scott described as the constellation Scorpio. (L&S p. 1615, left column, IV. under σκορπἰος)

skylax - (Gr. σκύλαξ, ΣΚΎΛΑΞ) A skylax is a dog, particularly a whelp, thus the title of Artæmis, Skylakitis (Gr. Σκυλακῖτις), protectress of dogs. There is another ancient Greek word for the dog: kyohn (kyon; Gr. κύων).

skýphos - (Gr. σκύφος, ΣΚΥΦΟΣ. Plural is σκυπὁι.) A skýphos is a type of pottery, a deep lower beaker, for drinking wine.

Sminthian, Sminthæus- an epithet of Apollo. 1) Sminthian or Smintheus refers to the mouse, a symbol of prophetic power as the mouse was thought to be inspired by vapors arising from the earth. 2) from Sminthæ, a colony of the Cretans in Troas, on the Hellespont: he received the name from having freed the colony from the mice with which their country was infested. The word Sminthus, in the Cretan langurage, denotes mouse. (CM p.24)

smyrna (smyrna) [Gr. σμύρνα] -Smyrna is the Greek word for myrrh.

Socrates - (469 - 399 BCE) The Delphic Oracle declared that Socrates was the wisest man alive. This statement seemed to bother the great philosopher, so he questioned everyone he met, only to discover that he could not find anyone wiser than he. But Socrates claimed that he was wise only in so far that he, unlike most other men, was fully aware that he knew very little. He wrote nothing. We know of Socrates primarily from his pupil, Plato. When the 20th Century philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead made his famous statement about Plato, a sentiment shared by many, "The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato," by extension, we could say he was actually referring to Socrates. In the Dialogues, Plato positions Socrates as the chief character. We can infer that Socrates' basic method was to logically question statements, thereby revealing that such statements can rarely be supported, proving to the individual making the argument that he did not actually know what he was talking about. Socrates rarely referred to texts but relied on the intelligence of the person he was speaking to, deriving conclusions or often a lack of conclusion purely from spontaneous interaction with people.

The paranoia following the Peloponnesian War found Socrates a target. He was accused and found guilty of corrupting the minds of Athenian youths. Rather than escape, Socrates proceeded to engage in the most profound exchanges, defending himself at trial, and in dialogue during the days leading up to his death by poison. Socrates was much more than "simply" a philosopher; he is a principle limb of the lineage stemming from of the flower of Orpheus.

soft-polytheism - the belief that there are many Gods, but that these Gods are actually manifestations of one deity

Solstice - The Solstice is a name given to two events which occur every year: the shortest day (The Winter Solstice, roughly December 21) and the longest day (The Summer Solstice, roughly June 21). The Greek word for the Solstice is Tropæs (Greek: Τροπἐς, ΤΡΟΠἘΣ) or Æliostasio (Greek: Ηλιοστάσιο, ΗΛΙΟΣΤΆΣΙΟ). Every year there are four times when it is said that the Gates to Divinity are particularly open: the summer and winter solstice and the spring and summer Equinox.

Sophocles - (496 - 406 BCE) Sophocles is one of the three great Greek tragedians, along with Aeschylus and Euripides. His most famous plays are likely the Theban, or Oedipus, Cycle: Oedipus Tyrannus, Antigone, and Oedipus at Colonus. Ajax and Elektra, also well known. Sohphrosýni - (Sophrosyne; Gr. Σωφροσύνη) Sohphrosýni is moderation, prudence, self-control, self-discipline, or temperance based upon thorough self-examination. Sohphrosýni is one of the Four Cardinal Virtues of classical antiquity. Sohphrosýni is a great virtue not adequately described in a few words. The word and its meanings are discussed in Kharmídis (Charmides; Gr. Χαρμίδης), a dialogue of Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων), but in the text, Sokrátis (Socrates; Gr. Σωκράτης) rejects four definitions: quietness, humility, doing one's own business, and knowing one's self. Although there is no final resolution to the dialogue, it seems that each of these proposed definitions has some application to the topic, in particular the final one. Aristotǽlis (Aristotle; Ἀριστοτέλης) describes Sohphrosýni as being related to one's relationship with pleasure, particularly in regard to the sense of touch. It's opposite or vice would be licentiousness; it's extreme (and therefore also a vice) would be what he calls insensitivity. Please visit this page: Virtue in Hellenismos.

Soter - See Sohtír.

Soteria - See Sohtiría.

Soteriology - (Etym. σωτηρία "salvation" + λόγος "word") Soteriology is the study of religious ideas concerning the release from suffering, salvation.

Sohtír - (Soter; Gr. Σωτήρ, ΣΩΤΗΡ) Lexicon entry: σωτήρ, ῆρος, , voc. σῶτερ (v. infr. 1.2): poet. σᾰωτήρ:— saviour, deliverer. 2. epith. of Ζεύς; to whom persons after a safe voyage offered sacrifice; there was often a temple of Ζεὺς Σ. at harbours; to Ζεὺς Σωτήρ the third cup of wine was dedicated; to drink this cup became a symbol of good luck, and the third time came to mean the lucky time; whence the proverb τὸ τρίτον τῷ σωτῆρι the third (i.e. the lucky) time; and Zeus was himself called τρίτος σ.. b. epith. of other Gods, as of Apollo; of Hermes; of Asclepios; of the Dioscuri; even with fem. deities: generally, of guardian or tutelary Gods. 3. applied to rulers. 4. in LXX and NT, applied to God; to Christ. II. in Poets, as Adj.; with a fem. noun, γονῆς σωτῆρος (as Herm. for γυνή); τιμαὶ σωτῆρες the office or prerogative of saving, of the Dioscuri. III. name of a month created by Caligula. (L&S)

Sohtiría - (soteria; Gr. σωτηρία, ΣΩΤΗΡΙΑ) Lexicon entry: σωτηρία, Ion. -ιη, , deliverance, preservation. 2. a way or means of safety. 3. safe return. 4. salvation. II. of things, keeping safe, preservation; maintenance. 2.security, guarantee for safety. 3. security, safety. 4. c. gen. obj., security against. 5. bodily health, well-being. (L&S)

Soul - Please visit this page: The Soul and the Orphic Egg.

Sparagmos - (Gr. σπαραγμός) Sparagmos is the Vakkhic ritual whereby an animal was sacrificed alive by being torn apart, usually by Maenads. This reenacts the dismemberment of Dionysos Zagrefs by the Titans. After tearing apart Zagrefs (Zagreus; Gr. Ζαγρεύς), the Titans ate all his body except his heart. Thus, the Maenads ate the raw flesh of the animal sacrificed by Sparagmos in an act called Omophagia.

Spelaites - (Gr) surname of Apollo from his being worshipped in grottos. (CM p.24)

Spefsippos - (Speusippus; Gr. Σπεύσιππος) [407–339 BCE] Spefsippos, the philosopher, was selected by his uncle, Plato, to succeed him as leader of the Academy, a post which he held for eight years. (this entry is under construction)

Sphaira - (Gr. Σφαῖρᾰ, ΣΦΑΙΡΑ) The Sphaira, the Sphere or Ball, is one of the Toys of Diónysos and also one of the great symbols of the Ælefsínia Mystíria (Eleusinian Mysteries; Gr. Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια).

Sphere - See Sphaira.

Spica - 1) Spica is the Latin word for Wheat-Ear, designating the Twelfth Zodiacal House, that of Stachys or Virgo. 2) Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, Spica Virginis. See also Stachys, Parthenos, Virgo.

sponde, spondi, spondæ - Please visit this page: Libation in Ællinismós.

Stakhys - (Gr. Στάχυς, ΣΤΆΧΥΣ) Stakhys is the twelfth month of the Mystery year, beginning August 21. Stakhys is the Greek equivalent of the zodiacal sign of Wheat-Ear, Parthenos (also Greek), or Virgo. Stakhys is ruled by the Goddess Dimitir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ, ΔΗΜΉΤΗΡ). It is a month of Changing (Mætaboli - Gr. Μεταϐολἠ). The word stakhys refers to wheat-ear, but it can also mean the ear of corn.

The Latin word for Stakhys is Spica, meaning Wheat-Ear. Spica is the Twelfth Zodiacal House or the word can also signify the brightest star of the constellation Virgo, Spica Virginis. Lewis and Short define Spica: a point; hence, in particular, of grain, an ear, spike; and then later under def. II.B: The brightest star in the constellation Virgo. (LD p. 1741, right column)

Liddell & Scott define Stakhys: ear of corn. 3. name of the chief star in the the constellation Virgo, Spica Virginis. (L&S p.1635, right column)

Staphylodromoi - grape-runners at the Karneian festival

stamnos - squat, two-handled jar used for storing wine or food

Stathærótis - (Statherotes; Gr. Σταθερότης, ΣΤΑΘΕΡΟΤΗΣ) Stathærótis is one of the three astrological sign quadruplicities (Fixed), known as Stability, manifesting influence particularly in the following zodiacal signs in the cycle of Mystery months:

Skorpiós (Scorpio)

Ydrokhóös (Aquarius)

Távros (Taurus)

Lǽohn (Leo)

Statheroteta - See Stathærotita.

Statue - Please visit this page: AGALMA - ΑΓΑΛΜΑ.

Stæphaniphóros - (stephanephoros; Gr. στεφανηφόρος, ΣΤΕΦΑΝΗΦΟΡΟΣ. Plural is στεφανηφόροι. Adjective.) Stæphaniphóros is an adjective meaning garlanded or crowned, to wear a chaplet (stǽphanos). See Stǽphanos.

Stǽphanos - (stephanos; Gr. στέφανος, ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΣ) A stǽphanos is a crown, a wreath for the head, a chaplet. Such wreathes were reserved for winners of games, kings, and Gods. In our tradition, we generally do not wear chaplets during most rituals, the Anthæstíria (Anthesteria, Gr. Ἀνθεστήρια) being an exception where even (and especially) the children wear garlands of flowers on their heads. Chaplets of oak and laurel are reserved for the Gods, so it is an uncomfortable thought to wear them.

- Lexicon entry: στέφᾰνος, , (στέφω) that which surrounds or encompasses. II. crown, wreath, chaplet. b. in pl., οἱ σ. the garland-market. 2. crown of victory at the public games. b. honorary wreath or crown, freq. worked in gold, awarded for public services in war or peace: such crowns were freq. dedicated in temples. c. σ. πυργωτὸς καὶ οὐαλλάριος,= Lat. corona muralis et vallaris, a Roman military decoration. 3. crown of glory, honour. 4. crown as a badge of office. 5. in Egypt, money gift to the sovereign, levied by the state. 6. τὰς εἰς τὸν σ. ἐπαγγελίας οὐκ ἔλαβον,= aurum coronarium non accepi. 7. donation, euphemism for a bribe. 8. the constellation Corona. 9. name of a πηγή in the Chaldaean system. 10. = δάφνη Ἀλεξανδρεία. (L&S p. 1642, left column, edited for simplicity.)

Stephanus pagination - Stephanus pagination is a system of identification of passages from Platohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) and Ploutarkhos (Plutarch; Gr. Πλούταρχος). It is used in most contemporary editions of Platohn including that of Thomas Taylor, published by the Prometheus Trust. This system is derived from translations of these authors published by Henri Estienne (1531? – 1598 CE), the French printer and classical scholar. Estienne is also known as Henricus Stephanus, the Latinized form of his name, Latin being the language of scholars from this period. The system is derived from the page numbers taken from the original volumes of his publications. Each dialogue of Platohn, for instance, was but one volume. Therefore, the student can find any section using the name of the dialogue followed by the page number. Monsieur Estienne also added letter designations to further break down sections of the text on each page. A typical citation would be Theætetus 170a. For the very large dialogues (Republic and Laws), the book number must also be added. To identify the beginning of a particular sentence in the text, the first words of the section are added, but since there are many translations of Platohn, this is usually not practical. Observing any edition of a translation of Platohn, the pagination is usually found outside the body of the text, to the left (sometimes to the right on right pages).

storax - Storax, or in the ancient Greek language, sturaka (Gr. στύρακα, στόρακας, or στόρακα), refers to the resin of Styrax officinalis, for use as an incense-offering to Gods. Storax is requested many times (13) in the Orphic Hymns, but the ancient storax is currently unavailable. Storax is actually one of the benzoins, and they would be the resin to use in contemporary worship when storax is called for. The bark of Liquidamber styraciflua is currently being called "storax," but this bark is not the storax of ancient times; the tree is not related to Styrax; it not even of this same genus.

See this article for more information: Storax.

Stróvilos - (Gr. Στρόβιλος, ΣΤΡΌΒΙΛΟΣ. Also Κῶνος.) The Stróvilos 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).

sturaka - See storax.

suicide: Suicide is not permitted in Hellenismos. The following are quotations regarding this:

"As regards the attitude of the philosophic schools, the teaching of the Pythagoreans condemned suicide. According to Orphic or Pythagorean doctrine, the soul is undergoing in the body a penitential discipline for ante-natal sin. Hence, suicide is an unwarranted rebellion against the will of God on the part of the individual, whom it behoves to wait until it please God to set him free." (James Hastings' Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, 1908-1927, Vol.11, from the entry Suicide (Greek and Roman), 6. Philosophy on p.30) According to the same source, the Academic, Peripatetic, and Epicurean schools were all opposed to suicide.

In the Nicomachean Ethics (V. xi. 1-5), Aristotle discusses suicide and condemns it as an injustice.

Plato repeatedly denounces suicide:

Socrates: "...any man who has the spirit of philosophy, will be willing to die; but he will not take his own life, for that is held to be unlawful." (Plato's Phaedo 61; translated by Benjamin Jowett 1892; found in the 1937 Random House edition of The Dialogues of Plato, Vol. I; on p.444)

Socrates: "I suppose that you wonder why, when other things which are evil may be good at certain times and to certain persons, death is to be the only exception, and why, when a man in better dead, he is not permitted to be his own benefactor, bu must wait for the hand of another....

There is a doctrine uttered in secret that man is a prisoner who has no right to open the door of his prison and run away; this is a great mystery which I do not quite understand. Yet I, too, believe that the Gods are our guardians, and that we are a possession of theirs. Do you not agree?"

"Yes, I agree to that," said Cebes.

Socrates: "And if one of your own possessions, an ox or an ass, for example, took the liberty of putting himself out of the way when you had given no intimation of your wish that he should die, would you not be angry with him, and would you not punish him if you could?"

"Certainly," replied Cebes.

Socrates: "Then there may be reason in saying that a man should wait, and not take his own life until God summons him, as he is now summoning me." (Ibid., Phaedo 62; p.445)

Socrates states that the result of suicide will increase one's suffering:

Socrates: "And what shall he suffer who slays him who of all men, as they say, is his own best friend? I mean the suicide, who deprives himself by violence of his appointed share of life, not because the law of the state requires him, nor yet under the compulsion of some painful and inevitable misfortune which has come upon him, nor because he has had to suffer from irremediable and intolerable shame, but who from sloth or want of manliness imposes upon himself an unjust penalty. For him, what ceremonies there are to be of purification and burial God knows, and about these the next of kin should enquire of the interpreters and of the laws thereto relating, and do according to their injunctions. They who meet their death in this way shall be buried alone, and none shall be laid by their side; they shall be buried in-gloriously in the borders of the twelve portions of the land, in such places as are uncultivated and nameless, and no column or inscription shall mark the place of their interment." (Ibid., Laws IX, 873; Vol.II; p.618)

Successionism - Hellenic polytheistic successionism is the observance of Hellenic religion as taught in an unbroken lineage from ancient times, usually through family clans and teachers. From the point of view of successionists, the idea of reconstructing the religion is irrelevant. Nonetheless, successionists share much in common with reconstructionists because they both respect ancient religious practice. Hellenic polytheistic successionism does not imply any kind of superiority, it is simply a claim of unbroken lineage.

sunset or dusk - Sunset (not midnight) is the beginning of the Hellenic day.

suppliant - You will find this term more frequently in Hellenic literature than its synonym, supplicant. The suppliant is under the protection of Zeus himself. The word "stranger" is often associated with the suppliant because the suppliant is in a vulnerable position and asks for protection, as King Priam, alone in the camp of his enemy, held the legs of Achilles and begged for the body of his slain son. Therefore, the suppliant is humble and beseeches one who has the power to do him harm.

swan song - "...swans (ed. a bird sacred to Apollo) with respect to divination, who, when they perceive that it is necessary for them to die, sing not only as usual, but then more than ever; rejoicing that they are about to depart to that Deity in whose service they are engaged." Plato's Phaedo 84e-85a (TTS XII, Works of Plato Vol. IV, p. 264)

swastika - (Gr. σβάστικα) The swastika is an ancient Greek symbol representing progress, the soul as it turns to the light. It is also called the grammathion (grammadion; Gr. γαμμάδιον) because it consists of four representations of the letter gamma (Gr. γάμμα), each at 90 degrees from the previous gamma. Because there are four gammas, it can also be called a tætragammathion (tetragammadion; Gr. τετραγαμμάδιον) or the tæssæra gammathion (tessera gammadion; Gr. τέσσερα γαμμάδιον), tetra and tæssæra both meaning "four." The swastika is used in many of the ancient religions of the world including Hinduism and Buddhism.

The swastika was used by the German Nazis to represent their party during and before WWII in the twentieth century (1920-1945), but the Nazis changed the direction of the swastika, making it go clockwise. The ancient Hellenic symbol, when properly represented, should go counter-clockwise. Because of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, the swastika is viewed as a polluted symbol, whether clockwise or not, and should never be used in connection with Hellenismos, which condemns the concept of a master race of any kind and many other ideas of the Nazis.

Sympanællinæs - (Gr. Συμπᾰνἐλληνες, ΣΥΜΠᾸΝἘΛΛΗΝΕΣ) Sympanællinæs means all the Greeks together. (L&S p.1680, right column)

Sympárædros - (symparedros; Gr. συμπάρεδρος, ΣΥΜΠΑΡΕΔΡΟΣ. Etym. συμ "together" + πάρεδρος "sitting beside," a form of συμπαρεδρεύω, "sit beside.") The sympárædros is the assessor, one who makes judgements jointly with another. In particular, the great Olympian God Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) is sympárædros, the joint-throne-holder, with Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς), his father, and he executes his will.

Symposion or Symposium - (Gr. Συμπόσιον, ΣΥΜΠΌΣΙΟΝ) The Symposion is one of the great dialogues of Plato. The dialogue takes place at a symposium, a type of drinking party where men discussed a topic. The topic here is the God Ærohs (Eros, Gr. Ἔρως, ἜΡΩΣ). Each guest gives his opinion, climaxing in a long dissertation by Socrates. The work differs from many of the other dialogues in that Socrates speaks on an almost ethereal level at great length, recalling a teaching he received from Diotima of Mantinea, and not the elenctic logic so typical of other dialogues. See Approach the Gods Through Ærohs.

Syneidisis - (Syneidesis; Gr. Συνείδησις = Σύνεσις [L&S p. 1712, def. III.]) Syneidisis is the Human Conscience. (L&S p. 1704, def. 5)

Synækhís Ousía - (Synehis Ousia; Gr. Συνεχής Οὐσία) The Synækhís Ousía is the continuous kosmogonic substance: Water-Fire-Aithír.

Lexicon entry for Synækhís: συνεχής, holding together : I. of Space, continuous. II. of Time, continuous, unintermitting. III. of persons, constant, persevering.

See Mystic Materialism.

syncretism - The dictionary defines syncretism as a reconciliation between differing systems of belief. In Hellenismos, syncretism refers to the identification of aspects of Hellenistic religion or cult with those of a different region, system or religion. For instance, the Hellenic deity Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς, ΖΕΎΣ) is syncretized to the Roman Jupiter and the Egyptian Amun.

Syndætikós Lógos - (Gr. Συνδετικός Λόγος) The Syndætikós Lógos is the Conjunctive Word, the Conjunctive Bond, the Aithirial Envelope of the soul by which it communicates with nature and the body. The Syndætikós Lógos consists of the first three khitóhns (Chiton; Gr. χιτών), tunics or garments, which envelope the body. They are the first to be destroyed at death.

The Syndætikos Logos refers to the soul; the Synthætikos Logos refers to the body.

- Lexicon entry for Syndætikos: συνδετ-ικός, ή, όν, binding together, conjunctive, connective, Placit.5.18.6, etc.; τὸ σ. a bond of union, Plu. Comp.Lyc.Num.4; τὸ ἴσον -κὸν εἰς ὠφέλειαν Ph.Fr.101 H.;νεῦρα σ. Gal.13.161. Adv. -κῶς Procl. in Alc.p.52 C. 2. Gramm., conjunctive, A.D.Synt.18.13. (L&S p. 1701, right column, within the entries beginning with συνδετ-έος)

- Lexicon entry for logos : λόγος, the numerous definitions of this word requires more space than is reasonable for the glossary. Refer to L&S pp.1057-1059, or visit this page: Liddell & Scott

See Synthætikos Logos.

Synehis Ousia - See Synækhis Ousia.

Synthætikós Lógos - (Gr. Συνθετικός Λόγος, ΣΥΝΘΕΤΙΚΟΣ ΛΌΓΟΣ) The Synthætikós Lógos is the Compositive Bond, the Aithír which composes our body. While related, the Synthætikós Lógos is not the same as the Syndætikós Lógos. The Synthætikós Lógos is related to our body, while the Syndætikós Lógos is related to the soul.

- Lexicon entry for synthætikos : συν-θετικός, 1) skilled in putting together, constructive sciences or arts. 2) component. (L&S p.1716, right column as a sub-entry of συν-θεσἰα from the left column)

- Lexicon entry for logos : λόγος, the numerous definitions of this word requires more space than is reasonable for the glossary. Refer to L&S pp.1057-1059, or visit this page : Liddell & Scott

Cf. Syndætikos Logos.

Sýnthæton, to - (Gr. τó Σύνθετον, ΤΟ ΣΥΝΘΕΤΟΝ) To Sýnthæton is "The Composite. I (i.e. Thomas Taylor) have used the word composite instead of compounded, because the latter rather denotes the mingling, than the contiguous union of one thing with another, which the former through its derivation from the Latin word compositus, solely denotes." (TTS XV p. 10)

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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