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Who are The Hellenes? The Real Name of the Greeks

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Last updated on September 15th, 2023 at 08:58 pm

Ever heard of Greece? Of course, you have! But did you know that in Greek, it’s called Hellas? Now, here’s the twist – when we switch to English, it’s like we’re giving it a nickname.

But who are these Hellenes, you might wonder? Well, they’re the heartbeat of this place. From the ancient legends who shaped philosophy and art to the modern souls who carry on the spirit, Hellenes are the Greeks – a rich tapestry woven with threads from both the past and present.

So, whether you’re saying Greece or Hellas, you’re tapping into a world of stories, culture, and people who’ve left their mark throughout history. It’s a linguistic journey that connects us to the heart of this captivating land. 🇬🇷✨

Hellenes and Hellas

Alright, let’s unravel some intriguing threads of history that are as fascinating as a good mystery novel!

Now, hold onto your mythological hats, because we’re diving into a name game. First off, meet Hellen – not to be confused with Helen of Troy, mind you. Hellen, with two “ll”s, was the pioneer, the OG son of Defkalion. And speaking of Defkalion, that’s where the Flood story comes in. According to Hesiod’s cosmogony, that flood was like the starter pistol for the Hellenic civilization.

But here’s the twist – myths, and history love to do the tango together. They mix and mingle until you can’t really tell where the truth ends and the fiction begins. It’s like a puzzle with pieces that might fit but could also be from a different box entirely.

Picture this: the Aegean islands, Cyclades, and Crete – they weren’t just vacation spots. Long before the Achaeans kicked off the Mycenaean, the first Greek civilization in Mycenae, these places were buzzing with life. The Cyclades were like the early birds of European civilization, dating back a whopping 3000 years BCE. Talk about ancient vibes!

And those folks, the Pelasgians, were the true pioneers, creating their own written language using the mysterious Linear A script. Fast forward, and they evolved into Linear B – a script that’s finally been decoded, revealing Greek words and names when you read it. But here’s the kicker – the Pelasgians and the Greeks? It’s like a “will they, won’t they” relationship. We’re still figuring out the details.

Meanwhile, over in Crete, the Minoans were rocking the scene. Think King Minos and a whole civilization with the name to match. They played the Linear B game too, just like the Mycenaeans. It’s like a connection that spans time and space.

So, here’s the scoop: history is like a puzzle, and each new discovery is a piece that reveals a bit more of the picture. From Hellen to the Pelasgians and the Minoans, it’s like the layers of a grand tale unfolding. And as we piece it all together, the plot thickens! 🧩📜🏛️

Greek Mythology - The flood
Greek Mythology – The flood

The Flood of Defkalion

Flood of Defkalion
Flood of Defkalion

Alright, get ready for a tale that’s like a rollercoaster ride through Greek mythology – and trust me, it’s way more entertaining than flipping through a dusty old textbook!

Imagine this: Greek Cosmogony is like a fairy tale, but one that’s juicier than the most gripping episode of your favorite show. Forget about those yawnsome cosmogonies from other cultures; Greek mythology is here to steal the spotlight with its electrifying twists and turns.

So, here’s the scoop – the stories have been bouncing around from generation to generation like a game of telephone with a dash of sparkle added every time.

Hold onto your seats because here’s where the magic begins! After a massive flood (let’s just say, not Noah’s style), the Hellenic civilization took a backseat, and only two survivors stayed in the game: Defkalion and Pyrrha.

Now, Defkalion? He’s got some serious street cred – he’s the son of the titan Prometheus, the one who gave humanity the gift of fire. You know, the guy who probably kickstarted the first-ever barbecue.

And Pyrrha? Well, she’s got some famous roots too. Daughter of Pandora, the OG lady who opened a box of chaos – talk about family drama!

Picture this: before the flood hit, Prometheus gave Defkalion a little tip-off. Like, “Hey, dude, build a massive ark, stock up on snacks, and keep those prayers coming.” You know, the usual pre-flood checklist.

Then, BAM! The heavens opened, waterworks ensued, and the ark became the VIP party boat that Defkalion and Pyrrha needed. For nine days and nights, they surfed the waves until their trusty ark caught a break on top of Mount Parnassus. From there, they had a front-row seat to Delphi, where the famous Oracle later set up shop.

And guess what? Delphi was kind of like the navel of the earth, the epicenter of it all – at least, that’s what the ancient Hellenes believed. Ring any bells? Yep, you’re right on track – it’s got a similar ring to the biblical Noah’s Ark tale. It’s like myths from different cultures playing a game of “who wore it best.”

So, there you have it – Greek mythology, making history feel like a blockbuster movie with plot twists that’ll keep you hooked. The name’s Cosmogony, Greek Cosmogony, and it’s a tale that never gets old. 📚🌊🚢🏔️🔮

The first Hellenes after the Flood

Picture this: after a crazy flood ride, our survivors, Defkalion and Pyrrha (btw, Pyrrha translates to Fire), get a message straight from the top – yup, the God of Gods himself, Dias (aka Jupiter), had a little assignment for them. Their mission? Collect as many stones as their pockets can handle and toss ’em over their shoulders. Sounds easy, right?

But hold up – here’s where the magic kicks in. Those stones that Defkalion tossed? Boom, they transformed into dudes. And the ones Pyrrha chucked? They turned into ladies. Talk about a divine gender reveal party!

Guess what? These stone-born peeps were the pioneers of repopulating Hellas – they basically hit the reset button on the whole civilization scene. The first stone that Defkalion hurled? It turned into a dude named Hellen or Hellenas. And let me tell you, Hellen had quite the family tree. His kids? A bunch of legends: Aeolus, Dorus, Xuthus, and Ion.

But here’s where it gets even cooler – these kids weren’t just any run-of-the-mill folks. Nope, they became the ancestors of some major Greek tribes. You’ve got Aeolians, Dorians, Achaeans, and Ionians, each with their own unique vibe. And guess what they were all called? Hellenes. Yep, the same gang that gave their name to the land itself – Hellas.

And there you have it, my friend – a tale that’s like a blockbuster movie, complete with divine orders, stone transformations, and the ultimate comeback story. Its history is sprinkled with a dash of mythical charm, a rollercoaster ride that’s bound to make your imagination do a happy dance. What do you say? Nice story, right? 🏛️🪨🧙‍♂️🚀

Roman Imposition of Christianity

Alright, let’s dive into a tale of resistance, oppression, and a name game that shaped history – a story they might not have taught you in school!

Imagine this: the Hellenes, those free-spirited souls, were like a thorn in the side of the early Roman Empire. Why? Because they marched to the beat of their own drums and didn’t buy into the new religion’s lies.

Now, here’s where things get dark. The emperors, sensing the threat, went all out. Persecutions, massacres, and even wiping out ancient monuments became their twisted tactics. Libraries, those treasure troves of ancient wisdom? Up in flames. Human progress? Halted in its tracks. It was a time of oppression, atrocities, and the suffocating grip of power.

But let’s shine a light on a secret many don’t know. The Parthenon, that iconic symbol of Greece, faced its first destruction in the 4th century CE, all thanks to Christian fanatics. Yeah, history doesn’t always come with a clean slate.

Here’s the twist in the tale: Hellenism was a force to be reckoned with. The emperors realized they had to up their game. So, they did the unthinkable – they changed the name. They went from Hellenes to… drumroll, please… Graecus. The name echoed in the air, transforming Hellas into Graecia (yep, that’s Greece) and its people into Graecus. Sneaky, right?

Why the switch? Because Hellenes identified as Pagans, and that wasn’t exactly the vibe the new religion wanted. The emperors knew that a name change could mean shifting loyalties.

But wait, there’s more! For centuries, the word “Hellenes” was like forbidden fruit in the Roman and Byzantine Empires. It’s like they wanted to erase it from memory.

So what happened? The Latin names, Graecia and Graecus, worked their way into the languages we know today. They slipped into Romance languages, taking the place of “Hellas” and its people.

And there you have it – a tale of survival, a name that held power, and a struggle that shaped the very fabric of history. It’s the story they might’ve missed in your history class, but now it’s woven into your understanding of the past. So, what do you think? History’s full of twists and turns, isn’t it? 🏛️📚🔥🗡️

The correct name for Greece is Hellas

Alright, let’s unravel a little naming puzzle that takes us through history and national identity. Get ready for a tale that’s like a mix of politics, legacy, and a dash of human complexity.

So, here’s the scoop – “Hellenes” is the real deal when it comes to the name for the Greeks. Their land? Hellas, plain and simple. But hold onto your curiosity, because this story takes us to the 19th century.

Picture this: in 1827, Greece was like, “Hey Ottomans, we’re breaking up!” They gained their freedom, and Europe was cheering them on like the ultimate hype squad. Philhellenes, those European folks who totally had Greece’s back, were all for naming the new country Hellas. You know, like how Persia turned into Iran – easy peasy, right?

But wait, here’s the twist – the Greek church wasn’t having it. To them, “Hellas” brought up memories of the ancient Hellenic days, and well, the old pagan religion. It’s like they had a bone to pick with the past.

So, why didn’t they just go for it, especially when “Hellas” is the name they use within the country anyway? Buckle up, because changing a country’s international name is no small feat. It’s like deciding to rearrange your entire room – pros and cons galore.

At that time, folks believed it would be a monumental task with results that might not be all rainbows and butterflies. They figured the gain wouldn’t match the effort. So, despite “Hellas” being the beloved name at home, the international stage didn’t get the memo.

And there you have it – a tale of tradition, identity, and a decision that might’ve seemed simple but came with a whirlwind of complexities. The name “Hellenes” might be the heart of the country, but sometimes, change is like an intricate puzzle that takes time and consideration to piece together. 🌍🏛️🧩

2 Responses

  1. Sleezy
    | Reply

    The current Greek name for Greece is still based on Hellas (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία – Elleniki Dimokratia – The Democratic Republic of Greece) 🙂

    • Teo
      | Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Yes the only names used in the country are Hellenes and Hellenic, in fact, The words Greek and Greece are unknown.