H to Helike Helikon to Hexa Hieroglyphics to Holy Twain Homados to Hystaspes 2

Helikon to Hexa


A mountain in southern central Greece in Boeotia midway between Delphi and the city of Thebes; 5,738 feet (1,749 meters) in height; regarded by the ancients as the abode of Apollon, the Muses and the site of the Hippokrene (Hippocrene) Spring.


An ancient Egyptian city in the Nile delta located on the site of the modern city of Baalbek near the city of Cairo; the name could be rendered as City of the Sun.


The Sun; the son of the Titans, Hyperion and Theia.

Helios drives his chariot across the sky each day providing light for the earth and, consequently, he sees everything; he is the brother of Eos (Dawn) and Selene (Moon); with Perseis, he was the father of Kirke (Circe) and Aietes (Aeetes).

In the Homeric Hymn to Helios, his mother is cited as Euryphaessa but Theogony is usually considered the definitive source for the genealogy of the Immortals and there his mother is listed as Theia.

In the Tenth Labor of Herakles (Heracles), Taking the Cattle of Geryon, Herakles became weary of the burning heat of Helios so he raised his bow and shot an arrow at the Sun; Helios was so amused at Herakles’ impudence that he gave Herakles a golden bowl to traverse the western sea.

For more detailed information on Helios I suggest that you consult the Immortals sectionof this site.


Anything that is twisted; derived directly from the Greek word for Spiral.


The story of Helle and her brother, Phrixus, is the basis for one of the most heroic epics in Greek history, the Quest of the Golden Fleece.

Helle and Phrixus were the children of the king of Orkhomenos (Orchomenos), Athamas, and his nymph-wife, Nephele (Cloud); Athamas rejected Nephele for the mortal woman, Ino, who then plotted to have Phrixus offered as a sacrifice.

Nephele and the god, Hermes, devised the escape of Helle and Phrixus on a magical ram with a Golden Fleece; the youths flew away from Orkhomenos on the ram but Helle fell from its back and drowned in the sea; the Hellespont (Helle’s Sea) was named after her.


The son of Deukalion (Deucalion) and the father of all the Greek races; his sons were Aiolos (Aeolus), Doris and Xuthus.


Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the ancient Greeks or their language.


A collection of books written by the noted historian Xenophon recounting the end of the Peloponnesian War.

The books are written in prose and have survived the ravages of time because Xenophon has always been acknowledged as a master of the Greek language thus making his books a favorite of teachers and students.

Hellenika covers the time period 411-632 BCE and is generally considered a history text even though Xenophon’s omissions and predilections are clearly apparent; he makes no apologies for his unbridled admiration of the Spartans and his utter disdain for the Thebans; regardless, Xenophon is an excellent writer and should not be overlooked.

I personally recommend the Loeb Classical Library version of this book which can be found a your local library or you can order this book from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to


A sanctuary in Egypt which was built by king Amasis to allow the Greeks who were visiting his country to practice their religion.


The ancient Greek name for the Dardanelles Strait which separates European Turkey from Asian Turkey; the narrow waterway connects the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea; approximately 37 miles (60 kilometers) long and up to 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) wide.

The name literally means Helle’s Sea because it was named after the maiden, Helle, when she fell from the back of the flying ram with the Golden Fleece and drowned in the sea below; Helle and her brother, Phrixus, were attempting to escape the evil plotting of their stepmother, Ino, when Helle fell from the ram and drowned.

The Hellespont also claimed the lives of the two young lovers, Leander and Hero; the city of Abydos was on the Asian side of the Hellespont and the city of Sestos was on the Greek side; each night, Leander would swim from Abydos to Sestos in order to meet the beautiful priestess of Aphrodite (goddess of Love), Hero; Leander would swim the channel with the lights of Sestos to guide him; one night Leander lost his way in a storm and drowned before he could reach the shore; Hero was so distraught that she threw herself in the sea where she also perished in the cruel water.

The Persian army of Xerxes built a 4,077 foot pontoon bridge across the Hellespont during the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BCE; in order to span the channel, a series of boats were lashed side-to-side and planks were laid across the boats from one shore to the other; when violent winds broke the bridge to pieces, Xerxes had men with whips pronounce curses and deliver three hundred lashes on the water; he lowered a yoke into the water to symbolize his domination and finally branded the water with hot irons; the men who had been responsible for the bridge’s construction were beheaded; after he had calmed down, Xerxes repented and made offerings to the water spirits of the Hellespont so that he might be forgiven for his act of irreverence; to appease the waterway, he burned incense, poured libations, offered myrtle branches, a golden cup and bowl and also a sword; whether Xerxes did these things to appease the Hellespont or as a tribute to the sun god of Greece is not clear, regardless, the bridge was completed and the troops marched safely across.

The name of the Hellespont was changed to Dardanelles in honor of ancestor of the Trojans, Dardanos (Dardanus).

Helm of Hades

The magical hat that would make the wearer invisible; this was the cap that Perseus used in his quest to kill and behead the Gorgon, Medusa.


When the Dorians settled the Greek mainland and the Peloponnesian Peninsula in the eleventh century BCE, the pre-Dorian inhabitants were either displaced or enslaved; these slaves became known as helots and name has come to mean Serf.

The helots lived in the south-central Peloponnesian Peninsula and were quickly made into chattel by the Dorian descended Spartans; the helots were bound to the land and were owned by the state; they were not allowed to intermarry with the Spartans and were forced into military service as part of their servitude; although they were greatly outnumbered by the helots (15-1), the Spartans ruled the pastoral helots with ease.

It wasn’t until circa 716 BCE that the Spartans became intensely militaristic and so, between the eleventh and the eighth centuries, the Spartans dominated the helots through economic manipulation and political exclusion; however, after 716 BCE, the Spartans became the stereotypical militants that differentiated them from the other Greek states and the helots served the state under the sword and lash.


Day; one of the children of Erebos and Nyx (Night); conceived with Aither, the Purer Brighter Air of the upper atmosphere.


The Smith of the Immortals; he was the son of Hera but he apparently had no father.

After a violent dispute with Hera, Zeus threw Hephaistos from Mount Olympos (Olympus) and he landed on the island of Lemnos; the fall from Olympos injured Hephaistos’ legs and left him permanently lame; Hephaistos was nursed and raised by the Nereid, Thetis and the mother of the Graces, Eurynome; he worked secretly with the two goddesses for nine years in a cave perfecting his craft before emerging to his rightful place among the Olympians.

During the Trojan War, Hephaistos was clearly on the side of the Argives (Greeks) and forged the armor which protected the hero Akhilleus (Achilles).

For more detailed information on Hephaistos I suggest that you consult the Immortals section of this site.


The number Seven.


A river god; one of the many sons of Tethys and Okeanos (Ocean).

Zeus gave the Rivers, Apollon and the Okeanids the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.


One of the daughters of Kronos and Rheia (Rhea); the queen of the Immortals; the wife (and sister) of Zeus and sister of Poseidon, Histia (Hestia), Hades and Demeter.

Hera is often characterized as evil or demonic but the brief Homeric Hymn to Hera represents her as not only beautiful but reverenced by the other Immortals.

During the siege of Troy she was clearly on the side of the Greeks; she seduced Zeus and distracted him so that Poseidon could enter the battle and save the Greeks from certain defeat.

Her hatred of Herakles (Heracles) and the heifer-maiden, Io, caused many hardships for the innocent victims of Zeus’ excesses; her lame son Hephaistos (Hephaestus) suffered greatly at the hands of Zeus; Hephaistos was thrown from Mount Olympos (Olympus) because Zeus resented the fact that Hera had a son that was not his (Zeus’) offspring.

For more detailed information on Hera I suggest that you consult the Immortals section of this site.


The Heracleidae or The Children of Herakles (Heracles); a tragedy by Euripides written circa 429? BCE.

The play revolves around Herakles’ nephew and companion, Iolaos, as he attempts to safeguard the children of the deceased Herakles; the despicable Eurystheus, who is better known as the man who thrust the Twelve Labors upon Herakles, has pursued the elderly Iolaos and the children from city to city in order to return them to Mykenae (Mycenae) and put them to death; he has found them at the temple of Zeus at Marathon.

The king of the city of Athens, Demophon, refuses to surrender the supplicants to Eurystheus’ herald and knows that by doing so he has guaranteed that Eurystheus will attack Athens and try to take the children by force; Demophon assembles the army, prepares the altars with sacrificial animals and consults the oracles, past and present, as to how to best defend the city; the oracles give Demophon the sad news that if the city is to be victorious against the army of Eurystheus, the daughter of a noble family must be sacrificed to the goddess, Demeter; Demophon will not order one of his subjects to sacrifice one of their daughters and is at a loss as to what to do; if he turns Iolaos and the children away he will offend Zeus and if he fights Eurystheus without a sacrifice to Demeter he will lose the fight and the citizens of Athens will become slaves.

Iolaos bravely volunteers to surrender himself to Eurystheus but it’s obvious that Eurystheus does not want an old man, he wants the children of Herakles; Makaria (Macaria), Herakles daughter offers herself as the victim of the sacrifice; her speech is bold and noble and, while she’s speaking, you secretly hope that another solution can be found so that such a selfless and gallant young woman can escape death and simply live and be happy; in order to think that you have to ignore the fact that this play is a tragedy.

I won’t reveal the conclusion of the story in hopes that you will take the time to read this wonderful tale from a time and moral pinnacle long past.

I personally recommend the translations compiled by Richmond Lattimore and David Grene; you can find this and other plays by Euripides in the 882 section of your local library or you can order them from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to

Heraion of Samos

Heraion literally means Of Hera but the name usually refers to the Temple of Hera on the island of Samos.

The temple was constructed by Greek colonists in the seventh century BCE on the ruins of an older structure; the temple was destroyed by the Persians in the time of Kyrus the Great and then rebuilt by the master-builder, Rhoikos (between 570 and 560 BCE); the temple was immediately destroyed again by the Persians and rebuilt under the direction of Rhoikos’ son, Theodoros.

With each incarnation of the temple, improvements and enlargements were added to the original design; the historian, Herodotus (484?-425? BCE), said the temple was the largest structure in the Greek world.


An ancient Greek city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea about 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) northeast of Alexandria, Egypt.

The historian, Herodotus, stated that he had visited the city about 450 BCE but, until very recently the existence of the city was thought to be mere legend; in the year 2000 CE, divers found the ruins of the once famous city in the shallow waters near the coast of Egypt; Herakleion pre-dates Alexandria and was sunk below the waters about 800 CE during an earthquake.

Herakles (1)
Heracles or Hercules

The ultimate hero; the son of Zeus and the mortal, Alkmene (Alcmene).

The life of Herakles was one of fearless adventure and countless sorrows; the ancient Greeks had no doubts as to his reality; historians like Herodotus (Histories, book 4, chapter 82) and Xenophon (Anabasis, book 6, chapter 2) mentioned him with no hesitation and recounted his exploits as actual historical events; the descendants of Herakles ruled numerous cities and districts for perhaps five or six hundred years after his death.

His half-brother, Iphikles (Iphicles), was also born to Alkmene but was the son of Amphitryon and conceived on the same night as Herakles; Zeus had promised that the next son born in the line of Perseus would rule Argos; Hera delayed the birth of Herakles so that his cousin, Eurystheus, could become the ruler of Argos and Herakles would be doomed to a life of wandering and hardship.

While Herakles was still a child, Hera sent serpents to kill him but Herakles managed to kill the beasts in his crib; as a young man, Herakles was bound to his cousin, Eurystheus, and was required to perform twelve Labors commonly known as the Labors of Herakles; after the completion of the Labors, Herakles was free to do as he wished but the Immortals had devised a hard life for Herakles and his life was punctuated with toil and misery; the accomplishments of his adult life have been divided into three classifications: Labors (athloi), Incidentals (parerga) and Deeds (praxeis).

The death of Herakles was particularly sad because he was accidentally poisoned by his last earthly wife, Deianeira; Herakles built his own funeral pyre and offered his bow and quiver to a man named Philoktetes in exchange for lighting the fire that would consume him; before Herakles could die an agonizing death, Athene (Athena) or Nike raised his immortal body to Mount Olympos (Olympus) where he still resides, wedded to the goddess of Youth, Hebe.

For more detailed information on Herakles I suggest that you consult the Immortals section of this site.

Herakles (2)
Heracles or Hercules

A tragedy by Euripides produced 420? BCE.

I personally recommend the translations compiled by Richmond Lattimore and David Grene; you can find this and other plays by Euripides in the 882 section of your local library or you can order them from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to

Heraclidae or Heracleidae

The descendants of Herakles (Heracles).

Herakles had hundreds of children and they ruled cities and districts from Asia Minor to Sparta for hundreds of years after the his death; since Herakles was the son of Zeus, his descendants were semi-divine and thus protected and guided by the Immortals.


A Greek poet and philosopher from Ephesus circa 540-480 BCE; known as Heraklitus the Obscure, his work comes down to us in fragments, mostly from short quotes cited by other authors such as Plato.

Heraklitus believed in the concept of perpetual change in all things; he believed that the only abiding permanent feature of reality was the Logos, or orderly principle, according to which all change takes place.

For the complete collection of his extant poems I suggest the book “7 Greeks” by Guy Davenport (ISBN 0811212882); this book can be found at your library in section 881 or you can order this book through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to


A column erected in honor to Hermes and placed at crossroads and in public places to show respect for the guardian of roads; a bust of Hermes usually sat atop the column but the primary intent of the Hermae was as a symbol of virility and manliness.


The son of Hermes and Aphrodite (goddess of Love).

Hermaphroditus had the physical attributes of both sexes; in modern medicine, the term Hermaphrodite (taken from the combination of the names Hermes and Aphrodite) refers to someone born with the same physical affliction as Hermaphroditus.


The Herald and Messenger of the Immortals; the guardian of roads, commerce, invention, cunning and theft; he is the son of Zeus and the nymph, Maia.

Hermes was born on Mount Kyllene (Cyllene) in Arkadia (Arcadia); on the day of his birth he managed to invent the lyre and steal the cattle of Apollon; he was brought before Zeus and was so clever and delightfully cunning that the Immortals forgave him for his audacity and accepted him as one of their favorites; he gave the lyre to Apollon and Apollon returned the favor by allowing Hermes to have limited prophetic powers.

Hermes also created the ram with the Golden Fleece which caused the death of the maiden, Helle, and set the stage for the epic adventures of Iason (Jason) and the Argonauts.

For more detailed information on Hermes I suggest that you consult the Immortals section of this site.

The complete saga of Hermes can be found in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes which can be found at most libraries or can be ordered through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to; I personally recommend the translation of the Homeric Hymns by Apostolos N. Athanassakis, ISBN 0801817927.


The daughter of Menelaos (Menelaus) and Helen; she married her cousin, Orestes; she was the sister of Nikostratus (Nicostratus) and the half sister of Megapenthes.


A river god; one of the many sons of Tethys and Okeanos (Ocean).

Zeus gave the Rivers, Apollon and the Okeanids the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.


A priestess at the temple of Aphrodite (goddess of Love) in the city of Sestos and the lover of Leander.

Hero killed herself after her lover was drowned in the Hellespont, i.e. the narrow strait of water that separates Asia Minor from Greece; each night her beloved, Leander, would swim the Hellespont from the city of Abydos to Sestos guided by the light on the western shore; one cloudy night he lost his way and drowned before he could reach the safety of the beach; Hero was so distraught that she threw herself into the sea and joined Leander in his watery tomb.


A mime playwright from the third (?) century BCE; we have seven “playlets” intact that give a flavor, but not graphic substance, of his work; his work is comedic and meant to be performed as street-theater or mime.

For the complete collection of works I suggest the book “7 Greeks” by Guy Davenport (ISBN 0811212882); this book can be found at your library in section 881 or you can order this book through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to


(101-177 CE) Herodes Attikus was a Greek writer and philanderer.

Herodes contributed to the restoration and construction of several classical style buildings and temples including a music hall, so called, the Theater of Herodes, a temple to Tykhe (Tyche), i.e. Fortune, and a stadium at Athens.


Herodotus of Halikarnassus (Halicarnassus); (484?-425? BCE) The first historian.

His book, Histories, was the first attempt at documenting historical events in the context of eye-witnesses and second-hand accounts; he is often called the Father of History.

Histories is an important work because it gives us a glimpse into the world-view of an educated and well traveled man in the fifth century BCE; Histories consists of nine books and recounts the Persian invasion of Greece and countless other historical and genealogical facts; some of his observations are priceless glimpses into the daily lives of the ancient Greeks but some of his accounts are laughably inaccurate.

All in all, this book is very important because it is the first attempt at a chronological history of world events; this book can be found at most libraries or can be purchased through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to; I recommend The Histories as translated by David Grene, ISBN 0226327728 (paperback) or the Penguin Classics version revised by A. R. Burn, ISBN 0140440348.


The man who was responsible for the destruction of the one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus which was built in 350 BCE and finally destroyed in 356 BCE when Herostratus declared that the builder of the temple would be forgotten but that he would be remembered for having destroyed it.


Hesiod is the Greek poet who shares the distinction of one of the two oldest sources of Greek literature.

Hesiod is thought to have lived in the eighth century BCE and to have composed classic poems such as Theogony and Works and Days; he is also, rightly or wrongly, credited with a variety of other poems such as the Shield of Herakles, the Astronomy and Eoiae.

The poem, Works and Days, reveals the only “facts” by which we have to judge Hesiod; he apparently lived the life of a farmer until his brother unfairly claimed his dead father’s inheritance; in the poem, Works and Days, Hesiod said that his family originated in the city of Kyme (Cyme) in Aeolis and that his father later moved to a wretched village named Askra (Ascra) near Mount Helikon (Helicon).

The Muse of Mount Helikon inspired Hesiod and he made his only sea journey to the city of Khalkis (Chalcis) to win honors with one of his songs; after that success, and the blessings of the Muse, Hesiod presumably earned his living through his artistic talents but, other than his own autobiographical statements, we really don’t know any significant details about his life or death.

Like Homer, Hesiod was given many honors and attributes long after his death by people and cities attempting to “cash in” on his reputation; even though The Iliad and The Odyssey, by Homer, are far more ambitious than Hesiod’s works, Hesiod’s contribution to ancient Greek literature is profound; his poem, Theogony, is considered to be the last word on the genealogy of the Greek gods and goddesses; there are several excellent books that include Hesiod’s poems and I personally recommend Hesiod, translated by Richmond Lattimore (ISBN 0472439030 clothbound and 0472081616 paper bound) or the Loeb Classical Library volume 57 (ISBN 0674990633).


The daughter of king Laomedon of Troy; she was the consort of Telamon and the mother of the Greek archer, Teukros (Teucer).

Herakles (Heracles) stopped at Troy after the completion of his Ninth Labor (Retrieve the Belt of the Amazon Queen, Hippolyte) and saved Hesione from one of Poseidon’s ketos, i.e. sea monsters; Hesione is the sister of Priam and Tithonos and the half-sister of Boukolion.


According to Apollonius of Rhodes, Hespere was one of the daughters of Nyx (Night), known collectively as the Hesperides; her sisters are: Eretheis and Aegle.

The Hesperides lived in the mythical West and guarded the Golden Apples which were a wedding gift to Hera from Gaia (Earth) upon her wedding to Zeus; the Eleventh Labor of Herakles (Heracles) was to retrieve the Golden Apples of the Hesperides.

When the Argonauts were stranded in the Libyan desert, they encountered the Hesperides; Aegle appeared as the trunk of a willow tree, Eretheis as an elm tree and Hespere as a poplar tree; Aegle told the story of how Herakles (Heracles) had killed the dragon that guarded the Golden Apples and had created a spring of fresh water by kicking a rock; she showed the Argonauts the spring that Herakles had created and the Argonauts drank their fill before they continued through the inhospitable desert.


In Greek, Hesperia literally means West but was a term commonly used to denote Italy.


The daughters of Nyx (Night).

The Hesperides were set to guard the Golden Apples which were a wedding gift to Hera from Gaia (Earth) upon her wedding to Zeus; the Golden Apples were the object of Herakles’ (Heracles) Eleventh Labor.

In the Argonautika, they were named as: Hespere, Eretheis and Aegle; when the Argonauts encountered the Hesperides they were mere phantoms of their previous selves as if hidden by mist or clouds; if the sisters had not showed the Argonauts where to find water they would have surely perished in the deserts of Libya.


The evening star; the planet we call Venus.

Sometimes thought to have symbolized the Star of Death and thus represented Hades (lord of the Underworld); also rendered as Hesper.


The number Six (hex).

Helikon to Hexa

H to Helike Helikon to Hexa Hieroglyphics to Holy Twain Homados to Hystaspes 2


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