Trigger 1

Hellenic vs. Hellenist

While you may first dismiss the difference as minutiae, the words reflect a difference as dramatic as night and day.  We’ve already discussed how the country informally known as Greece, is populated with people sometimes called Hellenes.  It is of course due to the fact that Greece began as a country called “Hellas,”  and to this day in the Greek language, is still called called ‘Elada’ (Ελλάδα). Adding to the confusion was the fact that in the 1820s when Greece had won its independence from the Ottoman Empire, it was renamed the First Hellenic Republic (1822-1832)— only to be followed by the Second Hellenic Republic (1924-1935) and finally Third Hellenic Republic (1974- the present). Grammatically, the country’s official name clearly suggests the use of Hellene as one of its citizens, but this creates the dilemma. Since we cannot change the state of affairs, we can just declare a convention and stick to it for our purposes. The Republic of Plato refers to the word Hellenic as someone or something connected with or to the Hellenic Republic, or what is commonly known as Greece.  The word Hellenist (or Hellenistic) is what we refer to someone or something related to the concept of Hellenism first conceived more than 2,500 years ago. These are very different terms in that there are many Greeks who are not Hellenes, as there are many non-Greeks who are. If you don’t have the ability to conceive of or accept the difference, you’re probably not a candidate for citizenship.

Hellenes: Who Are They?                                             What is Hellenism?

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