Home » Corfu Greece Travel Blog: An Insider’s View » Travelling in Greece » Who are The Hellenes? Origin of the Greeks

Who are The Hellenes? Origin of the Greeks

Posted in: Travelling in Greece 0

Last updated on April 29th, 2021 at 06:15 pm

Hellas is the land of Hellenes, i.s the land of the Greeks.

But why we call Greece Hellas and who are the Hellenes?

Well, the question is wrong and should be reversed!

It should be as:

Why we call Hellas Greece and Who are the Hellenes?

Hellenes and Hellas

Note here that the name Hellen has nothing to do with Helen of Troy, but Hellen (written with two ll), who was the first son of Defkalion.

And the Flood of Defkalion was the start of the Hellenic civilization according to Hesiod’s cosmogony.

A common factor in almost all mythologies is the fact that they meddle myths with historic reality, you don’t know what is true and what’s fictional.

There were people living and thriving in the Aegean islands of Cyclades and Crete for many centuries before the Achaeans, the first Greek civilization in Mycenae.

In the Cyclades, the Pelasgians created the first European civilization dated back to 3000 years BCE.

There are not many things known about them except that they had a written language using linear A script, a not decrypted script yet.  Later they used Linear B, obviously an evolution of Linear A.

Linear B is decrypted and can be understood, it is a syllabic writing system revealing Greek words and Greek names when read.

We still don’t know the exact relation between Pelasgians and Greeks.

The same civilization on the island of Crete is known as the Minoans, from the name of their most famous king Minos. Minoans also used the Linear B writing system as the Mycaeneans also did.

Greek Mythology - The flood
Greek Mythology – The flood

The Flood of Defkalion

Here is the part of Cosmogony that describes the origin of the Greeks(Hellenes), hence the origin of the name of the Hellenes and Hellas.

Flood of Defkalion
Flood of Defkalion

Greek Cosmogony although a fairy tale is the part of Greek mythology that is more entertaining than the bible’s boring cosmogony.

The tales passed from generation to generation with a degree of skew or beautification each time.

Here we go!

After a terrible flood (not that of Noah), Hellenic civilization disappeared and only two survivors remained.

Defkalion and Pyrah.

Defkalion was the son of Titan Prometheus who created the human species and gave them the fire.

Pyrah was his wife, the daughter of Pandora, the first woman created by the gods.

How many of you know the name Pandora? many I’m sure.

Before the flood, Prometheus advised his son Defkalion, when he reigned in Thessaly, to build a large ark, to fill it with supplies, and to pray for the best.

Soon the heavens opened and the earth flooded. The ark with Defkalion and Pyrah rained for 9 days and nights until it ran aground on the top of Mount Parnassus. From here they had a good view of Delphi, where later the famous Oracle was.

Delphi considered the navel, the center of the earth, as the ancient Hellenes believed.

Does all this remind you of the biblical version of Noah’s ark? Sure it does, it’s the same myth.

The first Hellenes after the Flood

After rescued, the couple received an order from the God of Gods Dias(Jupiter). They should collect as many stones as they could and throw them behind their back.

The stones that Defkalion threw became men and stones threw by Pyrah became women.

They were the first Hellenes to repopulate Hellas.

The first stone of Defkalion became a man named Hellen or Hellenas, who in turn had many children. Among his children were Aeolus, Dorus, Xuthus, and Ion.

They became the ancestors of the Greek tribes of Aeolians, Dorians, Achaeans, and Ionians respectively.

They were all called Hellenes, and their land was Hellas.

Nice story, isn’t it?

Roman Imposition of Christianity

Hellenes were always a danger for the early Roman Empire because they were free minds. They didn’t believe in the lies of the new religion.

The emperors, used persecutions, massacres, and destruction of ancient monuments. They burned libraries where the ancient knowledge was and stopped Human progress. Oppression and many other atrocities used against the Hellenes.

The first historical destruction of the Parthenon took place in 4th-century CE by Christian fanatics. This is a historical fact that is shamelessly hidden by our educational system.

Acropolis Parthenon - Destruction by Christians
Acropolis Parthenon – Destruction by Christians

But the Greek culture prooven too strong to suppress and the Emperors had to do more to get rid of the danger of Hellenism. And they did. They changed our name.

A name used by the Romans for the Hellenes of Southern Italy was Graecus.

Hellas and the inhabitants named Graecia(Greece) and Graecus respectively after this name. In order to eliminate the word Hellas and minimize any danger to the new religion as the Hellenes identified as Pagans.

It is well known that the word Hellenes was strictly forbidden for several centuries in the Roman and later the Byzantine Empire.

Thus the Latin names Graecia and Graecus prevailed later on in Romance languages, ​​for both the land and its inhabitants.

The correct name for Greece is Hellas

Therefore this is the correct name for the Greeks, they should be called Hellenes, and their land Hellas.

In 1827 the Greeks gained their freedom from the Ottomans. The European public opinion of the Philhellenes wished to name the new country Hellas. It would be easy, as Iran did with Persia, to have Greece changed to Hellas internationally.

But the Greek church totally opposed the international name Hellas for the new nation. It was a name reminiscent of the old Hellenic legacy and in the minds of the priests, the pagan religion.

So, Why it doesn’t happen now although the name Hellas is the only name in use inside the country among Hellenes?

Such a decision, the change of the international name of a country, is a very serious matter and has its pros and cons. By the time most people believe that it will be a very difficult task with contradictory results, and they agree that the gain will not be that big and therefore it is not worth the effort.

I just have a thought

If all of us who maintain websites change the word Greece, where it exists, with the word Hellas, what is going to happen?

It’s just a thought though, don’t take it seriously.

Discover more about Greece

2021 Visitor’s Guide to the Acropolis of Athens


No visit to Greece is complete without a trip to the Acropolis of Athens. Read our guide for insider tips and handy information to get the most out of your trip and see ancient history come alive.… Read More

The Best Free Things to Do in Athens


Athens is a vibrant and dynamic city where you can find and enjoy free tourist spots in this Greek capital.… Read More

10 Things to Know Before Traveling To Greece


Greece is amongst the best places to visit if you seek life-changing experiences. With unique culture, traditions, and customs.… Read More

5 Books to Read During Quarantine to Feel Like Traveling in Greek Islands


A trip to Greece will remain in the heart forever, and today dreamers have a lot of books to read to feel like they are on the Greek islands.… Read More

Beautiful Greek Mythology Names for Babies


One of the richest sources of unusual and one-of-a-kind names is Greek mythology. Here are a few unique names to choose from for your baby. … Read More

Who are The Hellenes? Origin of the Greeks


Hellas is the land of Hellenes, i.s the land of the Greeks. But why we call Greece Hellas and who are the Hellenes?… Read More

Helpful Tips for Traveling the Greek Islands


Whether it is for a honeymoon or a summer vacation, Greece makes a fantastic tourist spot with tons of islands and scenic beauty. The country is full of historical sights, iconic culture, and amazing food.… Read More

7 Condiments That Bring Greece Taste Even In Your Home


Delicious food with amazing ingredients. Here, we’re going to share with you seven condiments Mediterraneans use to spruce up their meals.… Read More

What’s The Best Greek Islands to Visit for Family holidays?


No other thing can bring a family closer together along with creating blessed memories than spending some good time with them in Greece.… Read More

How to Learn 100 Greek Words You Can Use Instantly


If you intend to travel to Greece, You’ll be most welcomed if you try to communicate with the locals using some basic Greek words.… Read More

Typical Examples of Greek, English, and French Malaka


Here are some very typical examples of behaviors that represent what we call Malaka. Greek, English, and French Malakas in action!.… Read More

8 Famous Movies Filmed in Greece & the islands


A lot of movies are connected to Greece. Here is a list of the most popular and exciting films made in Greece and the Greek Islands.… Read More

7 Best Honeymoon Destinations in Greece & The Islands


A trip to the best honeymoon destinations in Greece can be very enjoyable. Many couples get excited exploring this country while on their honeymoon.… Read More

Is Mythology The Distorted History Of The Greek Dark Ages?


In mythology and because of the absence of other more reliable sources, we have to look for historical truths and facts that are entangled in the myth… Read More

What Are The Best Beaches in Crete island Greece?


Being the largest of the Greek islands, Crete has plenty to offer. Many small islands around and especially some of the best beaches in Greece.… Read More

What Beaches In The Islands Of North & East Aegean?


Medium to small size islands close to the coast of Thessaly at the North Aegean, Alonissos, Skiathos, Skopelos, and Skyros is the most known islands offering beautiful beaches and holiday destinations.… Read More

Best Beaches in the Dodecanese Greece


The beautiful beaches of Dodecanese islands in Southeast Aegean in Greece are here. This island cluster has 12 big and hundreds of smaller islets… Read More

How nice are the Beaches in Cyclades Greece?


Cyclades islands have some of the most famous beaches worldwide and extremely popular among tourists and Greeks. In these islands there are some of the most famous beaches worldwide… Read More

Best Beaches in the Ionian Islands Greece


The beaches in the Ionian islands are among the best in Greece. Laying on the west coast of Greece on some of the most beautiful Greek islands.… Read More

Greek Mythology: Cosmogony and the Greek Gods


Greek mythology, without a doubt, is the richest of all with the most tales and myths by far. There is no natural thing in this world without a deity behind it.… Read More

70+ Best Beaches on Greek Islands: Stunning Gems of Greece


Beaches in Greece are rated among the top beaches in Europe and the world. But let’s start to discover details and tips about them.… Read More

5 Best Places To Visit On Your Trip To Greece


Are you gearing up to visit Greece for your vacation? Would you like to know more details about the best places to visit in Greece? You have landed right.… Read More

Yummy Greek Food: 11 Epic Traditional Greek Recipes


Known for fresh crisp greens, strong natural cheese, and lamb dishes cooked to perfection, Greece has a wonderfully colorful palette that is steeped in history.… Read More

The Ideal Time To Visit Greece And The Greek Islands


Greece and the Greek Islands are a popular holiday destination. Here’s a guide to the best times to visit Greece to help you plan your perfect vacation!… Read More

8 Greek Desserts & Dishes You Have To Taste


One of the things that draw me back to Greece time and again, aside from the sunshine, culture, and friendly people, is the food. The Greeks know how to eat… Read More

Greece Travel on a Student Budget Made True: 6 Tips


There’s no reason you should give up on the idea of traveling Greece as a student. All you need is some guidance and better organization… Read More

Hidden Greece: 12 Beautiful Places You Never Knew Existed


We’ve prepared a list of twelve beautiful places in Greece you probably never knew existed, but surprise! They do exist, and it’s worthy of a visit.… Read More

9 Things To Avoid When Travel to Greece


Greece is a country so rich in so many aspects that you might find it hard to squeeze in all the sights to see and all the souvlakis to try during a short stay in this glorious place… Read More

Is Greece Dog Friendly? Flying There With a Dog


If you’re a dog owner, one of the responsibilities is deciding if your pup will also make the trek or stay home while you globetrot.
One bucket list destination is Greece and its islands… Read More

How Many English Words Derived From Greek? List of 150.000


In a typical 80,000-word English dictionary, about 5% of the words are directly borrowed and another 25% are borrowed indirectly from Greek. So, 30% of English words are…Greek!… Read More

Malaka Meaning: When a Greek Slang is the Worst Insult


Malaka(s) is the most used slang Greek word and the first that every tourist or visitor to Greece learn… Read More

Greece of 1900 – 1930 with More Old Photos


More old photos from Greece of 1903-1930, photos by Fred Boissonnas that show a quiet and different world… Read More

150 Old Photos From Greece [1900] by Fred Boissonnas


The Philhellene Swiss photographer Fred Boissonnas(1858-1946) was the first foreign photographer who traveled so much in the Greek land from 1903 and for nearly three decades following… Read More

Panorama with Photos and Landscapes from Greece of 1900 – 1930


Here are some elder Greek pictures from 1900 to 1930, photos from the period before the first world war… Read More

Leave a Comment