Trigger 1

Hellenes

The first Hellenes began to appear more than 2,500 years ago. Today, most people mistakenly presume that Hellenes are people of Hellenic or “Greek” heritage. This incorrect notion, however, has continued for that same 2,500 years. The confusion may be the result of what is known in English language grammar as the adjectival form of a place (sometimes referred to as a demonym). So a native of America is an American, a native of Mexico is a Mexican or a native of the Egyptian city of Cairo is a Cairene. In modern times, what is known to most of the world as the country of Greece, actually began as the country of ‘Hellas,’ thereby creating the ambiguous label, Hellene. The words ‘Greece’ and ‘Greek’ are actually Latin constructs that only date back to the Middle Ages. The classical Hellenic philosophers discovered a way of life that produces happiness in the world they live. These ancient masters of thought determined those who they called Hellenes, were not a consequence of one’s blood, ancestry or birthplace. A Hellene was described as a person who had acquired Hellenist knowledge (the ancient Greek word for knowledge was gnosis), an acquired knowledge that was rooted in notions of honor, integrity, character, pride, moderation, family, friendship and especially the golden rule. As people all over the Mediterranean world began to notice that Hellenes actually lived far happier and contented existences, the humanist behavior of the Hellenes spread like a virus.  Soon, living as a Hellene became the enlightened behavior of the educated segment of the ancient world. It was this phenomenon that catapulted the principles of Hellenism to be the foundation of all of western civilization.

Hellenes: Who Are They?                                             What is Hellenism?

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