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WHAT IS HELLENISM?

by Dona Papadimitriou (AHEPA Family D22).

The word "Hellenism" is a derivation from the greek word "Ellinismos".

In the Greek Language

1) For the last 3,500 years, the word "Ellinismos" has been used to describe the people of Greek lineage.

2) Starting about 2,500 years ago, "Ellinismos" has also been used to describe a set of values for living.  Even though these values were invented by the Greeks of that time, anyone could have them, whether Greek or not.  These values became the basis of our today's Western civilization.

In the English Language

In the last few centuries, the Greek word "Ellinismos" was adopted by the English language as "Hellenism".  Its meanings in English derive from the greek meanings:

* Hellenism (noun)  (First appeared in 1609)
1:  Grecism 1
2:  devotion to, or imitation of ancient Greek thought, customs or styles
3:  Greek civilization, esp. as modified in the Hellenistic period by oriental influences
4:  a body of humanistic and classical ideals associated with ancient Greece, and includes reason, the pursuit of knowledge and the arts, moderation, civic responsibility, and bodily development.

* Hellenic  (adjective)  (First appeared in 1644)
:  of or relating to Greece, its people, or its language, specifically:  of or relating to ancient Greek history, culture, or art, before the Hellenistic period.

* Hellenic (noun)  (First appeared in 1847)
See Greek 2

* Greek 2 (adjective)  (First appeared 14th Century)
1:  of, relating to, or characteristic of Greece, the Greeks, or Greek architecture.

* Hellenism (verb) -nized; -nising.  Often capitalized.  (First appeared in 1613)
Verb intransitive:  to become Greek or Hellenistic.
Verb transitive: to make Greek or Hellenistic in form or culture.

[Source: Adapted from Merriam-Websters Dictionary, Edition 2000, AOL reference pages.]

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