24 May 2011


Published,written,edited & formatted by Kenneth S. Doig
(Anything written in red was written by me)
Greece, the land of many names. We get our words, Greece, Greek and Grecian come from the Latin, Graeci, just one tribe or ethne, with whom the early Romans had most of their contact with.The Graeci were located on the northeastern Gulf of Corinth and the Island Euboea and many of these Graeci moved to the early Roman Republic. The Romans used the name of this one tribe for all Greeks. Graikhos (Γραικός) was the ethnonym, more specifically, the endonym for this one tribe alone, but it was definitely and exonym for the rest of the Greeks.
"..a town on the coast of Boeotia, which was the name given by the Romans to all Greeks, originally to the Greek colonists from Graia who helped found Cumae (9c. B.C.E.), the important city in southern Italy where the Latins first encountered Greeks..."
So this is why we call the Greeks, "Greeks" and their land, "Greece"
The name-history of the Greeks is complicated and confusings.They have called themselves by different names through out their history, at times, they called themselves by more than one national name. Very often, over centuries, the name applied to the entire Greek world was that of the dominant ethne. The Greeks from classical ancient times and the modern Greeks call themselves and their land Hellenes and Hellas, respectively.
"Thucydides notes that Homer recognizes the origin of the Hellenic identity to Achilles and his men, wherefrom all the other Greek-speaking races were named Hellenes. The etymology of the name 'Hellen' is not very certain, but it seems that it has a priestly and ascetic meaning. It is beyond doubt that the Hellenic race is connected with Selloi, the priests of Dodona at Hepeirus (cf. Homer's, Iliad, Π 233)."
From the website  ellopos.net
The name Hellas (Ἕλλην) has been the most enduring autonym for Greece for well over 2,500 years. Whence cometh the name "Hellas"? From a mythological figure of course!
(Not to be confused with Helen of Troy or Helenus, son of King Priam of Troy)
"Hellen (Greek: Ἕλλην; Katharevousa: was the mythological patriarch of the Hellenes (Greek: Ἕλληνες), the son of Deucalion (or sometimes Zeus)...."
"Each of his (Hellen's) sons founded a primary tribe of Greece: Aeolus the Aeolians, Dorus the Dorians and Xuthus the Achaeans (from Xuthus's son Achaeus) and the Ionians (from Xuthus's probably illegitimate son Ionas)....."
"The ethnonym Hellenes dates back to the time of Homer. In the Iliad, "Hellas" (Greek: Ἑλλάς) and "Hellenes" were names of the tribe (also called "Myrmidones") settled in Phthia, led by Achilles." From Wikipedia

"The Greeks (Greek: Έλληνες) have been called by several names, both by themselves and by other people. The most common native ethnonym is Hellenes(Έλληνες)."
In Homer, "Hellas" (Greek: Eλλάς) and "Hellenes" were names of a tribe in Thessaly, which followed Achilles to the Trojan War. By Late Antiquity, the Greeks referred to themselves as Rhomaioi (Greek: Ῥωμαῖοι) or Romioi (Greek: Ρωμιοί), i.e. "Romans", since after AD 212 virtually all Greeks were Roman citizens. After the establishment of Christianity by Theodosius I, "Hellene" was applied to the followers of the polytheistic ("pagan") religion. Western Europeans used the term Greeks, the Jews used the term Yavanim (Hebrew: יוונים‎) and the Persians and the Turks used the term Yunans (the latter two mean Ionians). A unique form is used in Georgian, where the Greeks are called berdzeni (Georgianბერძენი), probably deriving from the Georgian word for "wise." Wikipedia
 My Israeli friend, Avishai Zarfati told me that in Hebrew, the word for Greece was "Yavan" which is a Hebrew rendering of Ion, which was NOT pronounced [eye-on] but either like the word "eon" or like yohn, compare the Swedish name for the Ionian Sea, Joniska Havet "Joniska" is pronounced [yohniska]. Very often, when any given word has a y-sound, like "period" [peer-yid], "onion" [un-yin], etc. The y-sound is represented by the letter 'J' in all Germanic languages save English and all Slavic languages written in the Latin alphabet. By the way, "J" was pronounce like "Y" in Latin (v was lie "w", often written "u" and the "c" was always hard like "k", so the word "civis" in Latin sounded like [kee-wiss] and often written with the letter "i". Examples, juven or iuuen (young). One of the forms for the Old-English word "you", the 2ndPPl accusative or dative case, was iuw or iu (besides éow)and was pronounced exactly the  same as "you". This explains the Hebrew pronunciation of Ion, "Yavan".
In Homers epic books the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Greeks are neither referred to as "Hellenes" or "Greeks". Homer calls the people who fought the Trojans, the Greeks, as "Achaeans", "Argives" and "Danaans".

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