a simple glossary for the most common greek words



A


Abae

Abae (in Greek: Ἄβαι) was a town in the northeast of Phocis, in Greece, famous in antiquity for its oracle of Apollo Abaeus, one of those consulted by Croesus, king of Lydia, and Mardonius, among others.

Abaris

Abaris the Hyperborean (in Greek: Ἄβαρις Ὑπερβόρειος, Avaris Hyperboreios), son of Seuthes, was a legendary sage, healer, and priest of Apollo known to the Ancient Greeks. He was supposed to have learned his skills in his homeland of Hyperborea, near the Caucasus, which he fled during a plague. He was said to be endowed with the gift of prophecy, and by this as well as by his Scythian dress and simplicity and honesty he created great sensation in Greece, and was held in high esteem.

Acropolis :

Acropolis (in Greek: Ακρόπολις) The Acropolis is a large hill in the centre of Athens. On top of it were many temples and other buildings, the remains of which can still be seen today.

Aetolia :

Aetolia (Greek: Αιτωλία) is a mountainous region of Greece on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth, forming the eastern part of the modern regional unit of Aetolia-Acarnania.

agora :

The agora (Aγορά in Greek) was a central public space in ancient Greek city-states.

Ambracia :

Ambracia (Greek: Ἀμβρακία), was a city of ancient Greece on the site of modern city of Arta. It was captured by the Corinthians in the 625 BC and was situated about 7 miles from the Ambracian Gulf, on a bend of the navigable river Arachthos (or Aratthus), in the midst of a fertile wooded plain.

Anemoi

In ancient Greek religion and myth, the Anemoi (in Greek: Ἄνεμοι, “Winds”) were wind gods who were each ascribed a cardinal direction from which their respective winds came, and were each associated with various seasons and weather conditions.

Boreas

Boreas (in Greek Βορέας) was the Greek god of the cold north wind and the bringer of winter.

Zephyrus

Zephyrus, sometimes known in English as just Zephyr (Ζέφυρος, Zéphyros), in Latin Favonius,[4] is the Greek god of the west wind. The gentlest of the winds, Zephyrus is known as the fructifying wind, the messenger of spring. It was thought that Zephyrus lived in a cave in Thrace.

Notus

Notus (Νότος, Nótos) was the Greek god of the south wind. He was associated with the desiccating hot wind of the rise of Sirius after midsummer, was thought to bring the storms of late summer and autumn, and was feared as a destroyer of crops.

Eurus

Eurus (Εὖρος, Euros) according to some was the southeast wind, but according to others the east wind. On the Tower of the Winds in Athens, Euros occupies the southeast side, while Apeliotes is in the east.

Apotheosis :

Apotheosis (in Greek: ἀποθέωσις), also called divinization and deification) is the glorification of a subject to divine level.

Arimaspi

The Arimaspi were a tribe of legendary one eyed people of northern Scythia who lived in the foothills of the Riphean Mountains, variously identified with the Ural Mountains or the Carpathians. All tales of their struggles with the gold-guarding griffins in the Hyperborean lands near the cave of Boreas, the North Wind (Geskleithron), had their origin in a lost work by Aristeas, reported in Herodotus.

Aristaeus

Aristeus a minor god in Greek mythology, he was the son of the huntress Cyrene and Apollo. He was the culture hero credited with the discovery of many useful arts, including bee-keeping.

Aristeas

Aristeas (Greek: Ἀριστέας) was a semi-legendary Greek poet and miracle-worker, a native of Proconnesus in Asia Minor, active ca. 7th century BC.

Aristophanes :

Aristophanes lived from about 450 to 385 BC. He wrote comedy plays comedies for the theatre in Athens.

Aristotle :

Aristotle lived from 384 to 322 BC. A scientist and philosopher.

Artemis :

Artemis (in Greek: Άρτεμις), one of the Olympian Gods, was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women. In Ancient Rome was name Diana.
Under the title of Euclia Artemis (Ευκλεία Άρτεμις), was the protector of the reputation of the city and the familly. Her temple was ususally at the agora.

Athena :

The patron goddess of Athens, and goddess of wisdom. A huge statue of Athena stood inside the Parthenon in Athens.

Athens :

The capital city of modern Greece. In ancient times, Athens was a powerful city-state with its own government, laws, army and navy.

Attica :

The region around Athens.





B


Boeotian League :

A league that first developed as an alliance of sovereign states in Boeotia, a district in east-central Greece, about 550 B.C., under the leadership of Thebes.

barbarian :

In ancient Greece the word was used mostly for people of different cultures, but there are examples where one Greek city or state would use the word to attack another.

boustrophedon :

A bi-directional writing style: every other line of writing is flipped or reversed, with reversed letters. Rather than going left-to-right as in modern European languages, or right-to-left as in Arabic and Hebrew, alternate lines in boustrophedon must be read in opposite directions. Also, the individual characters are reversed, or mirrored. It was a common way of writing in stone in Ancient Greece.




C


Cadmus :

In Greek mythology, Cadmus was the founder and first king of Thebes. Cadmus was the first Greek hero and, alongside Perseus and Bellerophon, the greatest hero and slayer of monsters before the days of Heracles.

Cassotis :

(in greek Κασσωτίς) was the naiad who lived in the spring at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The spring was named after her.

Castalian Spring :

The Castalian Spring, in the ravine between the Phaedriades at Delphi, is where all visitors to Delphi — the contestants in the Pythian Games, and especially pilgrims who came to consult the Delphic Oracle — stopped to wash themselves and quench their thirst; it is also here that the Pythia and the priests cleansed themselves before the oracle-giving process.

Castor and Pollux :

Castor and Pollux,or Kastor and Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioscuri or Dioskouroi.Their mother was Leda, but they had different fathers; Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, the king of Sparta, while Pollux was the divine son of Zeus, who seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. Though accounts of their birth are varied, they are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters or half-sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra.

centaur :

Mythical creature with a horse’s lower body and legs, but the chest, arms and head of a man. Centaurs were wild and unruly, but one named Chiron was wise and skilled in healing.

Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC) was a Roman politician and lawyer, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists.

citizen :

In Athens a citizen was a person with the right to take part in the assembly, serve on juries and take a turn as a member of the ruling council. Only male Athenians were allowed citizen rights.

city-state :

Ancient Greek cities had their own governments, laws and armies. The city and the land it controlled around it made up the city-state.

colony (colonies) :

An overseas settlement. The Greeks set up colonies around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Corinth :

[COH-rinth] A city-state in southern Greece, famous for its pottery and overland ship-track. Someone or something from Corinth is known as Corinthian.

Cronus :

In Greek mythology, Cronus, or Kronos (in Greek: Κρόνος, krónos), was the leader and youngest of the first generation of Titans, the divine descendants of Uranus (the sky), and Gaia (the earth). He overthrew his father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own son Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus.





D


Delphi :

[DEL-fee] (Greek: Αιτωλία) A city to the west of Athens, with the famous Oracle of Delphi. People went to consult the Oracle for advice from the gods.

democracy :

A system of government in which citizens can vote to decide things. Athens had democracy from 510 BC.

Diodorus Siculus

Diodorus Siculus (in Greek: Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης Diodoros Sikeliotes) or Diodorus of Sicily was a Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica, much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC.





E


Euphorbus :

Euphorbus (in Greek Εὔφορβος) was a Trojan hero during the Trojan War. He wounded Patroclus before Patroclus was killed by Hector. In the fight for Patroclus’ body, Euphorbus was killed by Menelaus.





F


Fronton :

Fronton (a pediment) is an architectural element found particularly in classical, neoclassical and baroque architecture.

frieze :

Decoration around the top of a wall or building.





G


Gigantomachy :

Gigantomachy (in Greek Γιγαντομαχία) was the fight between the Giants (in Greek Γίγαντες), sons of Gaea and Uranus, and the Olympian gods who were trying to overthrow the old religion and establish themselves as the new rulers of the cosmos.

gorgon :

Monsters with wings and hair made of snakes. The gorgon Medusa could turn people to stone.





H


Hecataeus

Hecataeus of Abdera (in Greek: Ἑκαταῖος ὁ Ἀβδηρίτης), was a Greek historian and sceptic philosopher who flourished in the 4th century BC.

Hellenic :

The term Hellenic refers to all things Greek, usually referring to ancient Greek deities, religion, culture, cosmology, tradition, etc. when used within the Pagan community.

The term derives from the hellenic language family which includes only Greek, ancient and modern and in common usage, refers as much to modern Greek people, religion, culture, tradition and language as ancient.

Helot :

A slave who worked for a Spartan master.

Herodotus

Herodotus (in Greek: Ἡρόδοτος) was a Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire and lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484–c. 425 BC), a contemporary of Thucydides, Socrates, and Euripides. He is often referred to as “The Father of History”, a title first conferred by Cicero. He was the first historian known to have broken from Homeric tradition to treat historical subjects as a method of investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials systematically and critically, and then arranging them into a historiographic narrative.

Hesiod

Hesiod (in Greek: Ἡσίοδος Hēsíodos) was a Greek poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. He is generally regarded as the first written poet in the Western tradition to regard himself as an individual persona with an active role to play in his subject. Ancient authors credited Hesiod and Homer with establishing Greek religious customs. Modern scholars refer to him as a major source on Greek mythology, farming techniques, early economic thought (he is sometimes considered history’s first economist), archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time-keeping.

hoplite :

Hoplite (in Greek οπλίτης) A Greek foot soldier. Hoplites carried round shields and long spears and had bronze helmets and leg guards.

Homer :

Said to be the author of the two long poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey, but nothing is really known about him.





I


isthmus :

Narrow strip of land with sea either side.





J






K


kiln :

Oven heated by wood, charcoal or some other burning fuel for ‘firing’ (heating and hardening) clay pots.





L


Laius :

Ιn Greek mythology, King Laius of Thebes was a divine hero and key personage in the Theban founding myth.

Lethe :

Lethe was one of the five rivers of the underworld of Hades. Lethe was also the name of the Greek spirit of forgetfulness and oblivion, with whom the river was often identified.

Leto

In Greek mythology, Leto (in Greek: Λητώ Lētṓ) is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, the sister of Asteria, and the mother, by Zeus, of Apollo and Artemis.

Lysippos :

Lysippos (in Greek: Λύσιππος) was a Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC. Together with Scopas and Praxiteles, he is considered one of the three greatest sculptors of the Classical Greek era, bringing transition into the Hellenistic period.





M


Macedonia :

Greek state in the north of Greece, birthplace of Alexander the Great.

Marathon :

A city in the north-east coast of Attica region. Famous for the battle between the Greeks and Persians.

Medes :

The Medes, Old Persian Māda-, Ancient Greek: Μῆδοι) were an ancient Iranian people who lived in an area known as Media (northwestern Iran) and who spoke the Median language.

Mnemosyne :

was the personification of memory in Greek mythology. A Titanide, or Titaness, she was the daughter of Uranus and Gaia, and the mother of the nine Muses by her nephew Zeus.

Molossians :

Molossians (Greek: Μολοσσοί) were an ancient Greek tribe and kingdom that inhabited the region of Epirus since the Mycenaean era.





N


Naiads :

Τhe Naiads were beautiful nymphs of human form who presided over springs, fountains, and wells. They resided in the meadows by the sides of rivers. Virgil mentions Aegle as being the fairest of the Naiades.





O


Olympic Games :

A religious festival held in honour of Zeus, attended by people from all over Greece.

oracle :

A religious custom where people asked the Oracle questions or sought advice. The Oracle was supposed to give the answers of the gods.





P


pankration :

[pan-KRAT-ion] (Greek: παγκράτιον) A type of wrestling with almost no rules; one of the Olympic events.

Parthenon :

[PARTH-en-on] (Greek: Παρθενών) the temple of Athena on top of the Acropolis hill in Athens.

Peloponnesian War :

The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its allies, against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta.

Pericles :

[PER-i-kleez] (Greek: Περικλής) A popular leader of Athens from 458 – 429 BC. Pericles was famous for his stirring public speeches.

Persia :

An empire in actual Iran – Irak. Persia invaded Greece in the 5th. century B.C.. Ancient Persia is modern Iran.

phalanx :

Greek fighting formation, made up of ranks of foot soldiers.

Pindar

Pindar (in Greek: Πίνδαρος Pindaros) (c. 522 – c. 443 BC) was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved.

Plato :

Was a philosopher and teacher in ancient Athens where he founded of the Academy. He lived from about 428 to 348

pottery :

Useful containers such as bowls, dishes, plates and mugs made from soft clay that is baked hard in an oven called a kiln.

Promanteia

In the course of the classical period the priests of Delphi established a series of honors bestowed upon those who offered benefactions to the sanctuary, whether they were cities or individuals. The institution of promanteia was one of the privileges offered initially to cities which had offered aided the sanctuary financially. It was the right to acquire an oracle before the others (yet still after the priests and the citizens of Delphi). Given the fact that oracle-giving was taking place on specific -and limited- periods of time, this right could actually be very important.





R


ram :

In warfare, a pointed weapon for battering holes in walls or ships. Greek warships had rams fixed to their front ends or prows.

Rhea :

Rhea (Greek: Ῥέα) is the Titaness daughter of the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Uranus, in Greek mythology and sister and wife to Cronus. In early traditions, she is known as “the mother of gods”.

Roman :

Roman means “of Rome” or a person from Rome. The Ancient Romans conquered Greece around 146 BC, but admired and copied Greek civilization.





S


Sacred Band of Thebes :

The Sacred Band of Thebes (Greek: Ἱερὸς Λόχος) was a troop of picked soldiers, consisting of 150 pairs of male-loving companions, which formed the elite force of the Theban army in the 4th century BC. Its predominance began with its crucial role in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. It was annihilated by Philip II of Macedon in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC.

sacrifice :

A gift made to the gods. For example, pieces of meat could be burned on an altar as a sacrifice.

Scythia :

Ancient kingdom, north of the Black Sea in a region now inside Ukraine and Russia.

Seven Sages

The Seven Sages of Greece (in Greek: οἱ ἑπτὰ σοφοί) was the title given by ancient Greek tradition to seven early-6th-century BC philosophers, statesmen, and law-givers who were renowned in the following centuries for their wisdom. They were: Cleobulus of Lindos, Solon of Athens, Chilon of Sparta, Bias of Priene, Thales of Miletus, Pittacus of Mytilene and Periander of Corinth.

Socrates :

Socrates (in Greek Σωκράτης) was a philosopher from Athens who lived from about 470 to 399 B.C.. He was the teacher and friend of Plato. Famous for asking questions, he was forced to self-inflict death upon himself, because Athens’ rulers feared his teachings.

Solon :

Solon (in Greek: Σόλων) was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet who loved from c. 638 to c. 558 BC. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic, and moral decline in archaic Athens.

Sophocles :

Sophocles (in Greek Σοφοκλής) A writer of plays who died in 406 BC. He was also a general in the army of Pericles. Sophocles wrote tragedies.

Sparta :

Sparta (in Greek: Σπάρτη) A city-state in southern Greece. The Spartans were famous for their strict military training and powerful army.





T


Temenos :

Temenos (in Greek: τέμενος) is a piece of land cut off and assigned as an official domain, especially to kings and chiefs, or a piece of land marked off from common uses and dedicated to a god, a sanctuary, holy grove or holy precinct

Thrace

Thrace (in Greek: Θράκη) is a geographical and historical area in southeast Europe, now split between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises southeastern Bulgaria (Northern Thrace), northeastern Greece (Western Thrace) and the European part of Turkey (Eastern Thrace). In antiquity, it was also referred to as “Europe”, prior to the extension of the term to describe the whole continent. The name Thrace comes from the Thracians, an ancient Indo-European people inhabiting Southeastern Europe.

Thule

Thule (in Greek: Θούλη,) was a far-northern location in classical European literature and cartography. Though often considered to be an island in antiquity, modern interpretations of what was meant by Thule often identify it as Norway, an identification supported by modern calculations. In the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, Thule was often identified as Iceland or Greenland.

tragedy :

In theatre, a play with a sad or serious ending, and a moral lesson or teaching.

trireme :

Trireme A Greek warship with three banks or rows of oars.

Trophonius :

Trophonius (in Greek Τροφώνιος) was a Greek hero or daimon or god —it was never certain which one— with a rich mythological tradition and an oracular cult at Levadeia in Boeotia.

Troy :

Troy was a city in what is now Turkey.People from Troy called Trojans. They fought a 10-year war with the Greeks.

tunic :

Typical clothing of Greek men and boys, a loose-fitting garment like a long shirt with short sleeves.





X


Xerxes :

[Zerksees] King of Persia. Son of Darius. Led the Persian army at the Battle of Salamis.





V


Virgil

Publius Vergilius Maro (70 BC – 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He wrote three of the most famous poems in Latin literature, the Eclogues (or Bucolics), the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him.





Z


Zeus :

[zz YOOS] (Greek: Ζεύς) The king of the gods. Zeus was the most powerful of the ancient Greek gods.

https://thedelphiguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/glossary-800x189.jpghttps://thedelphiguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/glossary-150x35.jpgThe EditorCulture of Greececulture,glossary,greek glossary,travel,travel tips,travel to Greecea simple glossary for the most common greek words A Abae Abae (in Greek: Ἄβαι) was a town in the northeast of Phocis, in Greece, famous in antiquity for its oracle of Apollo Abaeus, one of those consulted by Croesus, king of Lydia, and Mardonius, among others. Abaris Abaris the Hyperborean (in Greek: Ἄβαρις...your guide for Delphi, the "Navel of the Earth"