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Greek Terms


Rembrandt's Aristotle With the Bust of Homer

Rembrandt's Aristotle With the Bust of Homer


Ancient Greece > Greek Terms

Greek Terms from Philosophy:

Ataraxia: the experience of optimal, enduring pleasure
Apathea: perfect indifference to everything external part of Stoicism

Greek Terms from Drama:

Photos of Ancient Greek Theaters

Aulos: A flute player
Cothurnoi: soft shoes
Eccyclema: a large wheeled platform eccyclema for interior scenes
Mechane: crane In the 4th century
Parados/Paradoi: On either side of the skene were ramps paradoi leading to the orchestra.
Orchestra: the chorus danced and sang on a level terrace called an orchestra in front of the sloping seating and viewing area theatron
Skene: At the back of the terrace was the wooden skene from which we get the word scene
Theatron: viewing area
See more in Tragedy Terminology

Greek Terms from the Olympics:

Stade: a 200-yard foot race
Diaulos: 400-yard foot race
Dolichos: variable length foot race, averaging 20 stades
Himantes: Originally the boxing gloves were thongs wrapped around the hands and arms, but evolved into less time consuming oxen prewrapped thongs known as himantes, held in place by leather straps wrapped around the forearm.
Pentathlon: began with the 18th Olympiad and consisted of discus, javelin, long jump, running, and wrestling.

Details of the Olympics

Divine Personification:

Gaia: Earth
Uranus: Sky
Metis: wisdom or cunning

Humoral Theory:

Isonomia: the preponderance of one of the four bodily humors:
Four Bodily Humors:
  • Yellow Bile
  • Black Bile
  • Phlegm
  • Blood
Melancholic: too much earth
Sanguine: too much air
Choleric: too much fire
Phlegmatic: too much water.

See Humoral Theory and Hippocratic Medicine

Social Organization:

Agora: Meeting and market place.
Oikos: a family plus, among the powerful, free and slave dependents.
Genos: group of families claiming descent from a common ancestor clan.
Phylai: Three phratries formed a tribe headed by a tribe king.
Thesmothetai: "layers down of law,"
Eupatrids: noblemen
Ecclesia: assembly was comprised of all citizens
Orgeones: lower class peasants, laborers, artisans, and tradesmen.

Miscellaneous Greek Terms:

Athenian Constitution: An historical document attributed to Aristotle. Cosmogony: The creation of the world or universe; a theory or account of such creation; as, the poetical cosmogony of Hesiod; the cosmogonies of Thales, Anaxagoras, and Plato. See Greek Cosmogony.
Hamartia: the fall of a noble man caused by hamartia, some excess or mistake in behavior, not because of a willful violation of the gods' laws.
Hecatonchires: the fifty-headed offspring of Gaia Earth and Uranus Sky
Hegemon: Leader
Hellenes: Greeks, Achaeans and Danaans
Heraclides: descendants of Hercules
Inductio: described by Cicero as "getting one's interlocutor to assent to a doubtful proposition that resembles the earlier one"
Metic: resident alien
Nothos / pl. Nothoi: illegitimate
Phasi: they say

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