Today’s Greek listening practice is title “the Greek language myth” and narrates the Greek version of the Muhlenberg legend. Can you answer the questions correctly?
Καλώς ήρθατε σε ένα ακόμα βίντεο του helinika.com
Welcome to another video from helinika.com
Σήμερα θα δοκιμάσουμε κάτι καινούργιο.
Today we’ll try something new.
Θα σας διηγηθώ μια ιστορία σχετική με την ελληνική γλώσσα
I will be narrating a story relevant to the Greek language
κι εσείς θα κληθείτε να απαντήσετε σε ορισμένες ερωτήσεις,
and you will be asked to answer some questions
για να δείτε εάν κατανοήσατε σωστά όσα είπα.
so you can see whether you understood what I said correctly.
Δεν θα υπάρχουν υπότιτλοι,
There wont be any subtitles,
όμως θα υπάρχουν ορισμένες εικόνες που θα σας βοηθήσουν
but there will be some images that can help you
να κατανοήσετε καλύτερα την ιστορία.
understand the story better.
Εάν δυσκολεύεστε, μπορείτε να βρείτε το κείμενο, ολόκληρο, στο helinika.com.
If you have any difficulties, you can find the text, whole, at helinika.com.
«Ο μύθος της μιας ψήφου. Πολλοί Έλληνες πιστεύουν ότι η ελληνική γλώσσα θα ήταν η επίσημη γλώσσα του αμερικανικού κράτους και, κατά συνέπεια, η επίσημη γλώσσα ολόκληρου του κόσμου. Σύμφωνα με τον αστικό μύθο, το 1776 έγινε μια ψηφοφορία στη Βουλή των Αντιπροσώπων των ΗΠΑ για να αποφασιστεί ποια θα είναι η επίσημη γλώσσα των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών της Αμερικής. Πρόεδρος της Βουλής ήταν τότε ο Φρέντερικ Μούλενμπεργκ. Για μία μόνο ψήφο, η ελληνική γλώσσα έχασε και κέρδισαν τα αγγλικά. Η αλήθεια όμως είναι ότι τα ελληνικά δεν είχαν προταθεί ποτέ να γίνουν η επίσημη γλώσσα των ΗΠΑ. Στην πραγματικότητα, δεν έγινε ποτέ ψηφοφορία για το ποια γλώσσα θα μιλούν στην Αμερική. Επίσης, ο μύθος κυκλοφορεί και σε άλλες χώρες της Ευρώπης. Πολλοί Γερμανοί πιστεύουν το ίδιο για τα γερμανικά, πολλοί Ισπανοί για τα ισπανικά, πολλοί Γάλλοι για τα γαλλικά και ούτω καθεξής.»
Α) Ήταν τα ελληνικά η πρώτη επίσημη γλώσσα των ΗΠΑ;
Β) Πότε έγινε ψηφοφορία για το ποια θα είναι η επίσημη γλώσσα των ΗΠΑ;
Α) Ποτέ. Τα ελληνικά δεν ήταν ποτέ η επίσημη γλώσσα των ΗΠΑ.
Β) Ποτέ. Δεν έγινε ποτέ ψηφοφορία για το ποια θα είναι η γλώσσα των ΗΠΑ. Η ψηφοφορία του 1776 είναι ένας αστικός μύθος.
Εσείς γνωρίζατε τον συγκεκριμένο μύθο; Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο.
Did you know this myth? Leave a comment.
Να έχετε μια όμορφη μέρα και θα σας δω στο επόμενο βίντεο.
Have a beautiful day and I will see you in the next video.
We live at strange times. Whenever social distancing is required, it is important to find activities we can do at home and, not only feel productive while in quarantine, but also learn new skills that can improve your life.
If you are interested in learning Greek but there are no classes taking place in your area, don’t be discouraged. Helinika, a platform dedicated to the Greek language, history, and culture, offers affordable Greek language lessons online. All you need is a personal device (laptop, tablet, smartphone) and access to the Internet. Start learning Greek today!
Helinika’s Greek Language Lessons:
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Ancient Greek mythology features many outstanding and admirable female characters, such as goddess Athena and heroine Atalante. At the same time, there are countless other women that got a negative reputation due to a lack of knowledge or shallow knowledge regarding their background. Let’s see the ten (10) most misunderstood mythical women.
Before we look at every character, it is important to remember that characters in ancient Greek myths are not necessarily “evil” nor “saints”. These terms were introduced centuries later. In the Greek pagan religion, gods and goddesses were similar to humans, meaning that they possessed negative and positive characteristics. With this in mind, we should understand that ancient Greeks were not necessarily judging these heroines the way they are judged today.
Circe was a mythical sorceress featured in Homer’s Odyssey and other legends. She is known as the “evil witch” of ancient Greek mythology and she has inspired a fictional supervillain that appears in DC Comics with the same name. Was she really that bad? Circe would use her potions and magic powers to transform her enemies into animals and to hold the men she desired as captives. Odysseus was one of these men. She was definitely not a saint but, if you count and evaluate the crimes she committed in the Odyssey with those committed by Odysseus, she is quite innocent.
If you are not new to this channel, you are already familiar with Hecate. Hecate was the goddess of darkness, witchcraft, and necromancy. She was also a chthonic deity, meaning that she resided under the surface of the Earth and not on Mount Olympus with Zeus and the rest of the gods and goddesses. In Christianity and other monotheistic religions, the underworld is a place of punishment and a place were evil resides, contrary to the heavens in the sky. Therefore, Hecate is often considered a fallen angel, a demon in the Judeo-Christian sense. However, Hecate is one of the least evil deities in pagan mythology. Yes, she would help people who wanted to put a curse on someone, however, she did not commit a series of crimes like other gods and goddesses with a good reputation.
Hera, the goddess of marriage, is one of the most vengeful mythological characters, punishing the women Zeus would cheat on her with. If you have watched all videos made by Helinika, then you might know that she tormented Leto by keeping her from giving birth anywhere on planet Earth. At the same time, it is worth understanding her background. Hera was eaten alive by her father, Chronos, and she was finally rescued by her brother, Zeus. In the end, she was forced to marry him and witness his infidelities, without complaining. As a protector of the sanction of marriage, she wanted to protect her own marriage from any external forces but she picked the wrong targets. But is she up to her terrible reputation? Absolutely not.
The myth of Pandora’s jar has been featured on Helinika’s channel in the past. Pandora was a robot-like woman; a creation of Zeus and Hephaestus that was offered to humanity as a “gift” and “curse” at the same time. Just like Eve in the creation myth, Pandora is often blamed as the woman who damned humanity by opening a jar that contained all evils. But if we look closely to the myth’s details, if someone is to blame here, that would be Zeus. The king of the Olympian gods and goddesses wanted to give some disadvantages to humans, since they had acquired the element of fire, enabling them to create advanced technological innovations. Pandora had free will but, at the same time, she was created in a way that predetermined the opening of the jar. The gods gave her the trait of curiosity and then offered her an unlocked jar and told her to never open it. Pandora was indeed curious, she was made that way, but she did not have any bad intentions when she opened the jar. She was simply a pawn in Zeus’ plan.
You might know Clytemnestra as the woman who murdered her husband Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, with the help of her lover. Fewer people though understand why she committed such a crime. Clytemnestra, sister of Helen of Troy, had a daughter, Iphigenia. When Helen was abducted by Paris and taken to Troy, Agamemnon gathered his forces to help Menelaus, Helen’s husband, bring her home. However, the winds were weak, and they were unable to sail away. According to an omen, goddess Artemis had to be appeased by sacrificing Iphigenia, Agamemnon’s daughter. The man sacrificed his daughter and then sailed to Troy and came back with a concubine named Cassandra. Clytemnestra was enraged with the fact that her husband had killed their daughter and then had the audacity to come home with his lover. She killed him and Agamemnon was remembered as a hero of the Trojan war and she was remembered as the jealous wife who killed her husband.
If you have watched Helinika’s video on ancient Greek vampires, then you might remember Lamia. A monster that would take the form of a woman to seduce men and feed off of them. She was also known for abducting babies from their cribs. But why did she target men and why was she abducting babies in the first place? Lamia was another victim of Zeus and Hera. Zeus had forced himself on her, getting her pregnant. Hera got enraged and decided to punish the victim by killing her babies and cursing her with the inability to sleep. Lamia was deeply traumatized and turned into the monster we know today.
You might know Electra from Carl Jung’s neo-Freudian Electra complex, which describes the hostility of a daughter towards her mother. Electra is a character in ancient Greek mythology and numerous Greek tragedies. She was the daughter of Clytemnestra and the younger sister of Iphigenia. When Agamemnon returned home, she was out of Mycenae and she was unaware of his heinous acts. As soon as she came home and learned that her mother had killed her father and was now living with her lover, Electra plotted the murder of Clytemnestra with the help of her brother, Orestes. We do not know whether Electra had inappropriate feelings for her father or if she was always hostile towards her mother, despite the popular belief.
Medea is a character known by most people, whether they are interested in ancient Greek mythology and drama or not. She was Circe’s niece, priestess of Hecate, and, as you can imagine, these two facts would be enough to put her in the “evil” category. The woman, however, is known for murdering her children. This act can’t be excused. What we can do, is try to understand how she ended up there. If you have watched the Argonautica on Helinika’s channel, then you might remember that Medea was the princess of Colchis and was used by the goddesses of Mount Olympus as a pawn in their plan to help Jason flee with the Golden Fleece. Medea was blinded with Eros arrows and got madly in love -literally madly- with Jason. That meant that she would do anything to stop something or someone who stood between her and Jason. The hero did not have any feelings for her but married Medea anyways to receive the Golden Fleece and gain power. After having two children with her, he decided to get married to a younger woman, which enraged Medea. The latter went on a killing spree and fled the city of Iolcos. Her story will be narrated in this channel in the future, so make sure to subscribe and stay connected.
2: Helen of Troy
Helen of Troy was one of the first “trophy wives” to have ever existed. Known as “the most beautiful woman in the world” she was married to king Menelaus of Sparta and either abducted by Paris of Troy or tricked into following him to Troy. She is often blamed for starting the Trojan war and being the source of so many evils. Her reputation was tainted, although she never took any actions herself. She was simply the apple of discord between two men: Menelaus and Paris. Her reputation was restored with a play called “Helen” by the ancient Greek dramatist Euripides. I wont reveal too much about the plot, since it will be discussed in a future video, however, Euripides condemns war and hostility, as the roots of all evils, and portrays Helen as a frank, reliable, and misunderstood character.
1: Gorgon Medusa
The most misunderstood female character in ancient Greek mythology is Gorgon Medusa, a terrifying monster with venomous snakes on her head. Those who gazed into her face would turn to stone but she was finally destroyed by the Greek hero Perseus who used her head as a weapon. Medusa has been interpreted by Freud as a representation of the fear of castration in little boys. However, Medusa is now considered a symbol of female rage against gender-based violence. The monster was once a woman who was assaulted by Poseidon in goddess Athena’s temple. The goddess then decided to blame the victim for the attack and turned her into a serpent-headed monster that no one would be able to look in the eyes without turning to stone. As a result, Medusa hid in a cave in the island she resided in and, although she did not commit any heinous acts herself, she was killed by Perseus and her head was used as a weapon against his enemies.
Why are there so many buildings that resemble ancient Greek temples in Europe? And why do so many artists from the Romantic era depict ancient Greek mythological characters in their sculptures and paintings?
If you have ever visited some of the major cities of Europe, such as Paris, Vienna, Munich, and Brussels, you might have noticed some 18th and 19th century buildings that are clearly inspired by the simplicity and symmetry of Classical Athens’ architecture. You might have visited the Orsay Museum in Paris and noticed a collection of artworks from that same period that depict characters from ancient Greek mythology. Maybe you have heard of cities named Athens in the United States of America and Canada and of secret societies communicating in ancient Greek in American Universities.
This movement in art and architecture is called “Hellenism”, “Neoclassicism”, or “Neoclassical Hellenism”. These terms were introduced during the Romantic era (18th and 19th Century Europe) by the German art historian and archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann. It was a time when noble Europeans would study the political and philosophical ideas of Classical Athens, often romanticizing the era.
With Hellenism, “Philhellenism” was born: a love and admiration for the living descendants of ancient Greeks, who lived under the Ottoman rule. Philhellenes played a crucial role in reviving the Hellenic (Greek) spirit and encouraging the enslaved Greeks of the Ottoman Empire to create a national identity and fight for their independence.
Helinika has gathered a collection of artworks and buildingsthat were inspired by the Neoclassical movement.
Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Love, Antonio Canova
Italian artist Antonio Canova is behind the masterpiece of Neoclassical sculpture named “Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss”. The sculpture respresents the god Eros (Cupid) kissing and reviving Psyche (Soul). The sculpture was inspired by Greek mythological characters, however the depicted scene comes from the Metamorphoses of Apuleius.
Perseus with the Head of Medusa, Antonio Canova
Canova is also behind the marble sculpture of Perseus holding the head of Gorgon Medusa in the Vatican. Perseus was the ancient Greek legendary hero who slayed a monster named Medusa who would turn people into stone with her gaze.
When The Heart is Young, John William Godward
John William Godward was an English Neoclassicism painter who draw inspiration from both ancient Greece and Rome. “When The Heart is Young” was painted in 1902 and depicts a young woman laying wearing on a marble bench.
In The Days od Sappho, John William Godward
Here is another painting from Godward, created in 1904. The painting depicts another young woman in a scenery that reminds us of ancient Greece. The title of the painting includes the name Sappho. Sappho was an archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos, often called the “Tenth Muse”.
Neoclassicism in Arcitecture
Neoclassical architecture is prevalent in Greece and other European countries but also in the United States of America and South America. The epicenter of Neoclassical architecture was, without a doubut, Munich, Germany.
The Hellenic Parliament
The Hellenic Parliament, an austere and fuctional building, which initially served as the palace of King Otto, was designed by the German architect Friedrich von Gaertner.
Altes Museum Berlin, Karl Friedrich Schinkel
Designed by the Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the Altes Museum in the historic center of Berlin is a major work of German Neoclassical architecture. The Museum is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
The White House, James Hoban
The official residence of the president of the United States, known as the “White House”, is an example of both Neoclassical and Palladian arcitecture. The White House was designed by the Irish architect James Hoban in Washington DC.
Here are a few English phrases and idioms that you should avoid translating into Greek (+ what you can say instead). The bilingual vlog also includes English idioms that do make sense when translated into Greek.
Learn Greek food-related words with comprehensible input. The language input learning method enables listeners to comprehend audio in a foreign language, without necessarily possessing a rich vocabulary in this language. This is achieved by repetition and adding relevant images on the screen. This is the way toddlers start memorizing words. Input videos should be watched in combination with other Greek language learning videos.
Speak Greek like a native speaker by replacing basic adjectives with their more impressive synonyms. No more «καλό» (good) and «τέλειο» (perfect). Watch Helinika’s video and upgrade your Greek language skills.
Welcome to Helinika’s Greek language input series for understanding Greek in a natural way. The input method will improve your comprehension and expand your vocabulary. It is the way babies start learning how to speak. For this reason, we will be using slow Greek audio with images only.
You might be wondering why Greece is officially called “Hellenic Republic” or “Hellas” and why Greeks are often called “Hellenes”. The same goes with adjectives such as “Hellenic” and “Hellenistic” instead of Greek. Another common term is “Philhellenism”, meaning friend/lover of Hellenism. What do these terms mean and how are they connected to Greece?
Hellas and Hellenes
The reality is that Greeks/Hellenes today use the terms «Ελλάδα» (Hellada), «Έλληνες» (Hellenes), and «ελληνικός» (Hellenic) when talking about Greece, Greeks, and Greek (adjective) respectively. At the same time, many western countries are more familiar with the Latin “Graecia”, hence the common use of the words “Greece” and “Greek”. In this sense, “Greece” and “Hellas” can be used interchangeably, but the second option is more accurate than the first.
There are various theories surrounding the etymology of “Hellas”. We know from the ancient Greek poet Homer that Hellas was a place in central Greece, where the women were described as “very beautiful” (καλλιγύναικος). You might have also heard of the mythical Helen of Troy, considered the “most beautiful woman in the world”, whose abduction started the Trojan War. Her name, which is still a very popular given name for girls, means “bright”/ “of light”, leading us to the conclusion that Hellas was “the land of light”. Greece is still referred to as “the land of light”, not only because of its clear skies and many consecutive days of sunlight, but also because its history inspired the Age of Enlightenment.
The term started describing all Greeks thanks to the conquests of Alexander the Great (356 BC – 323 BC). Up to that point, the Greeks were organized in city-states, such as Athens and Sparta. Greeks were aware of their common characteristics in religion, language, and appearance, and would distinguish themselves from people of different cultural backgrounds.
With the creation of the vast empire of Alexander, these differences became more prominent and Greeks started recognizing themselves as one group: the Hellenes. Ancient Greek historian Thucydides was also using the term “to Hellenize” (ελληνίζει) when referring to the spread of the Greek language and culture.
The Hellenistic Period is the historical period that starts with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and ends with the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire. This was the time when the Attic dialect of the Greek language, that you may know as Koine Greek, became the lingua franca in the Mediterranean and other regions that were reached and influenced by Alexander. Some scholars often refer to it as an age of decadence, since it marks the decline of the Greek Classical Era. However, the Hellenistic Period was a time of prosperity and was characterized by a great progress in arts, mathematics, philosophy, architecture, and science. Stoicism and Epicureanism saw a rise during this period.
“Hellenism” has three different meanings. Today, the term describes the culture(s) of Hellas and Hellenes (Greece and Greeks) from ancient to modern times. Sometimes, scholars might use the term Hellenism to describe only the culture of the Hellenistic Period, as described in the previous paragraph. In the European Romantic era, “Hellenism” was a synonym of the neoclassical movement in art and architecture, which was inspired by the Greek Classical era.
Philhellenism and Philhellenes
Philhellenism derives from the Greek «φιλώ» (to befriend, to love, to adore, to kiss) and the term Hellenism, which is a synonym for the Greek culture and aesthetic. Philhellenes are the admirers of Hellenism and Hellenes (Greek culture and Greeks). Philhellenism became a movement in Western Europe and other regions in the 17th, 18th and 19th Century thanks to the neoclassical movement that focused on the study of Classical philosophers and thanks to the tradition of the Grand Tour; a coming of age trip for upper-class European men in the archaeological sites of Italy and Greece. Philhellenism played a crucial role in the start and completion of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire.
Are you a Philhellene? Follow Helinika on Social Media and Join an International Community of People who love Hellas and the Hellenic Culture:
You may know Aristotle (Aristotélēs, 384–322 BC) as the ancient Greek philosopher who was taught by another well-known philosopher, Plato, during the Classical era. Here are five facts about philosopher and polymath Aristotle that you may or may not know.
Facts About the Philosopher Aristotle:
Aristotle did not originate from Athens
Aristotle was the student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great
Aristotle was the founder of the Peripatetic School of Philosophy
Aristotle did not hate Democracy
Aristotle was married to a respected female scientist
Although associated with Classical Athens, Aristotle was born in 384 BC in Stagira, an ancient Greek city in the peninsula of Chalkidice. His father was a physician and was closely associated with the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. At the age of eighteen, young Aristotle moved to Athens to study at Plato’s Academy, the first higher education institution in the West. The philosopher is said to have participated in the Eleusinian Mysteries, the secret cult of Demeter and Persephone that we have discussed in the past.
Aristotle as a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great
Aristotle was the student of Plato and, like his teacher, he tried to tackle ontological topics and understand the concepts of existence, being, and reality. However, Aristotle did expand on these topics and his philosophical ideas are perceived as empirical and practical when compared to Plato’s abstract thinking. For example, both Plato and Aristotle expressed the importance of “virtue” in achieving happiness. “Virtue”, according to Plato, was the harmony of the three parts of the soul: reason, spirit, and appetite. Aristotle, on the other hand, viewed happiness as the exercise of intellectual and moral “virtues”. Happiness, in this sense, is not a state of being, but an activity.
After Plato’s death, Aristotle left Athens and started tutoring Alexander the Great in the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. Aristotle’s broad knowledge on zoology and botany and his deep understanding of Persian customs and traditions sparked the curiosity of young Alexander who ended up creating one of the largest empires of the ancient world.
The Peripatetic School of Philosophy
Before moving to northern Greece, Aristotle founded the Peripatetic School of Athens in 335 BC. Along with a number of students, including Aristoxenus and Theophrastus, he would conduct philosophical and scientific inquiries. The name of the School derives from the Greek word «περίπατος» (peripatos), which means “walk”. One theory is that the philosopher would walk a lot while talking or thinking, hence the name. Another, more credible theory is that Aristotle and his students would walk around the Lyceum, a temple in ancient Athens, since the philosopher did not own any private property in Athens at that time. The temple of Lyceum is often associated with Aristotle for that reason and many educational institutions around the globe, including Greece, bear that name.
In previous videos we have seen that Athenian philosophers such as Plato and Socrates were skeptical about Democracy. They did not necessarily hate it, but they saw a lot of its flaws. Aristotle was the least skeptical towards Democracy than the three. The philosopher suggested that the best form of governance includes a mixed constitution that would have characteristics from Democracy, Aristocracy, and Monarchy. Today, most western countries possess mixed constitutions.
Aristotle’s personal life
Although we often view ancient philosophers as celibate, this is far from the truth. Aristotle in particular was married to Pythias, an ancient Greek biologist who had a well-know collection of specimens of living things and had contributed immensely in the study of embryology. She also co-authored an encyclopedia with her husband. Pythias and Aristotle had a daughter, Pythias the Younger, and both women ended up dying at a young age.
After his wife’s death, Aristotle had a love affair with a young woman from his hometown. Herpyllis, as she was called, ended up living with the philosopher till his death. They also had a son together named Nicomachus and, although they were never married, Herpyllis was included in his will.
The lost city of Atlantis is a legend that survives for thousands of years. According to the myth, it was a utopian civilization with a great naval power. Founded by semi-gods, Atlantis was one of the most affluent and successful city-states in the Mediterranean region. But its people soon started getting greedy and believing they are the greatest in the world. Until the great city sank and disappeared from the face of the Earth.
Plato’s Cave is without a doubt one of the allegories that have shaped the western world. In a previous video we discussed Plato’s life and philosophical ideas. Today, Helinika will provide you with the summary of “the Cave”, which will be followed by an analysis. Let’s dive in together.
Can you measure the Greek culture? What does it mean to be Greek?What are Greeks like?
Although we live in the era of convergence and globalization, there is a call to protect local cultures and maintain a certain level of cultural diversity. If we want to protect our cultural identities, it is crucial to understand what our cultures actually are. Understanding cultures is also essential for anyone who wants to introduce products and concepts in a foreign market or working in a multicultural environment.
Understanding the Modern Greek/ Hellenic Culture
Today, we will try to understand the Greek culture based on different metrics and examples. Before we get started, it is important to clarify that we perceive the modern Greek culture as a continuation of the ancient Greek culture, with the difference that it has been influenced throughout the years from the cultures of the Frankish states, the Ottoman Empire, the Bavarian and Danish monarchies etc.
The Greek Culture as a High-Context Culture: Communicating Without Words
In a past video it was mentioned that Greeks place non-verbal communication at a higher level than others. We could safely say that Greek people are masters at decoding indirect speech and body language. Anthropological and cross-cultural studies agree with that statement.
High-context cultures use a lot of hand gestures. People like maintaining eye contact and pay close attention to other peoples’ posture and facial expressions. It is not about what is being said, it is about what is not said.
On the other hand, people in low-context cultures prefer speaking in a direct and clear way. They are not making a lot of gestures and rarely pay close attention to others’ facial expressions.
It comes as no surprise that Hall places the Greek culture in the first category. If you have ever visited Greece, you should have already noticed that people speak with their hands and always try to maintain eye contact when they speak to you. It is also important to note that, if you annoy a Greek person, they will most likely give you many cues. If you don’t notice them, don’t be surprised if you see them getting mad at you all of a sudden!
The Greek Culture as a Collectivistic Culture: It Is About “Us”
The American anthropologist also distinguishes cultures based on whether they are individualistic or collectivistic. Most western countries, such as the United States of America, are considered to be highly individualistic. People in these cultures strive to be independent from an early age. At the same time, they might find it hard to take decisions with others, maintain strong relationships over the years, and they are more susceptible to loneliness.
Greece is on the other side of the spectrum, since it is recognized as a collectivistic culture. Greek people love sharing experiences with others and maintain close relationships with their families throughout their lives. They like sharing food and they are less likely to travel alone. There is no shame in asking for help and independence is perceived differently than in the US or other individualistic countries.
If you ever visit Greece and want to immerse yourself in the culture, try ordering food with the group you are dining with. You can order a bunch of different dishes and try a bit of everything. If you are visiting alone, don’t be surprised if the locals approach you and invite you to join them. Philoxenia (φιλοξενία) is the Greek tradition of hospitality. Its roots go back to ancient times and it requires people to be welcoming towards strangers.
The Greek Culture as a Balanced Masculine Society with Feminine Characteristics
The Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede has also contributed immensely to the study of national cultures. He came up with many different cultural dimensions, including masculinity vs. femininity.
Masculine cultures, such as Japan and the United States, value success and do not view competition as something negative. People raised in these cultures learn the importance of standing out of the crowd and becoming winners.
On the other hand, feminine countries, such as most Scandinavian countries, strive at improving the quality of life of every person, instead of being considered “the best country in the world”. Characteristics that are considered feminine, such as being nurturing and caring, are valued more than being competitive and ambitious.
Greek culture ranks somewhere in the middle, maintaining a balance between masculine and feminine characteristics, but it is considered a bit more masculine than feminine. Greeks are very proud of their heritage. Successful people, such as Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping magnate who was one of richest men to have ever lived, are admired.
Hofstede has come up with many more dimensions for defining a culture, such as power distance, uncertainty avoidance, indulgence, and long-term orientation.
Greece has intermediate scores in indulgence, meaning that it has a healthy relationship between restrain and enjoying life, and in long-term orientation, meaning that it maintains some links with its past but looks towards the future.
Indeed, you will see Greeks enjoying nice meals most days of the week. Drinking red wine is often recommended by doctors to protect the heart and, according to statistics, the Greeks are the most sexually active people in the world. At the same time, there are some clear limits between indulgence and over-indulgence.
For example, drinking alcohol in Greece is enjoyed by most adults, however, our drinking culture is very different than of other nations. Drinking a little bit on a regular base and enjoying it with friends is preferred over “boozing” and getting black-out drunk every Saturday night.
This balance can be explained by the ancient Greek quote «(παν) μέτρον άριστον», which is often translated as “all in good measure”. This might be the quote that acts as a compass in each Greek person’s life. Enjoying life but not loosing control is the most common piece of advice we get from our caregivers and teachers in our childhood and teenage years.
The cultural dimension that is the most unbalanced is that of uncertainty avoidance. The Greek culture ranks as the most avoidant in the world when it comes to uncertainty. This dimension explains how different nations manage anxiety and react to threatening or unknown situations.
It is worth mentioning that during the years of the Ottoman Occupation but also after the Greek War of Independence, Greeks had and have faced a great number of wars, political instabilities, violent regime changes, national divisions, civil wars, and financial crises. Greeks have recently faced a great uncertainty: the Greek government-debt crisis in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, which created a social, cultural, and humanitarian crisis.
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Today’s Greek listening exercise is about Greek diminutives (υποκοριστικά). In other words, you will learn how to make Greek sound cuter. Diminutives are words that imply that the person or the noun that we are referring to is small/cute/unimportant.
Helinika created a new video series on YouTube called “Greek Listening Comprehension”. Listening comprehension exercises are essential for improving your listening and speaking skills in a foreign language.
The day is dedicated to freedom and Democracy and it is a reminder to never take these two for granted. It is also a call to stand against police brutality, militarism, and authoritarianism. The 17th of November is often described as a result of the prolonged political crisis that was rooted back to the Greek Civil War. From this perspective, the holiday is a reminder of the great dangers of extreme political and ideological division within a society.
On April 21 1967, colonels George Papadopoulos and Nikolaos Makarezos seized power in a coup d’état. There were several other military officers that had conspired to this plan, including general officer Stylianos Pattakos. The coup leaders started arresting politicians and authority figures, as well as citizens who they suspected were sympathizers of the left. It is estimated that over 10.000 people were arrested in one day.
Once Greece was at the hands of the colonels, articles of the Greek Constitution were suspended, civil liberties were restricted, politicians were exiled, and citizens were tortured and imprisoned. During the seven years of the Junta, four different dictatorships governed the country.
The first years were characterized by strong propaganda to gain the trust of the citizens who maintained a neutral position. The ideology was spread through schools and churches. Public works that were promised in the past were completed. Farmers’ debts were written off and forgotten. At the same time, economic scandals rose and the public dept almost doubled by 1973.
The Regime of the Colonels ended with the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974, leading to the establishment of the Third Hellenic Republic and the complete democratic transformation of the country. The regime was blamed for mismanaging the situation in Cyprus, while a great percentage of the public was outraged with the actions the colonels took to stop the polytechnic uprising.
It is worth mentioning that the Greek Junta was closely associated with the “Truman Doctrine”, an American foreign policy that aimed at halting the Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War. Greece had experienced a civil war some years beforehand between those who supported left and those who supported right ideologies. Various external organizations have been blamed over the years for supporting the Greek Junta, including “Ordine Nuovo”, a far right paramilitary organization in Italy.
The Polytechnic Uprising:
University and high-school students in Athens were some of the first to reject the military regime. In 1973, massive student demonstrations were organized in the Greek capital, which stands as a global symbol of Democracy to this day.
Law students barricaded themselves in the Law School of the University of Athens in February 1973, an act that was followed by police brutality, inspiring more students to take an active stance against the Junta. On November 14 of that year, students at the Athens Polytechnic went on strike and occupied the University demanding “Bread-Education-Liberty”. Some of the students aimed at abolishing capitalism, while the great majority reportedly demanded the restoration of Democracy and Greece’s exit from the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO).
Non-students who wanted to protest against the regime started gathering at the Polytechnic University and a radio transmitter was set up to inspire the people to join them. In November 16, protesters showed their presence on the streets of Athens and the police responded with bullets. At least 24 people were reportedly shot dead during the protests. Other reports mention that the deaths were at least 40.
In the early hours of November 17, the anti-junta movement escalated when a military tank crashed the Polytechnic’s gates. People were reportedly clinging on the gates shouting slogans against the regime. It is also reported that the city of Athens was in complete darkness, since all the streetlights had been shut down. The area was lit only by the generators of the University. What happened after the crash remains a mystery and a highly controversial subject in Greece.
The official investigation that followed the fall of the Junta declared that there were no deaths during the Polytechnic incident. However, 24 deaths have been officially recorded in the protests that occurred outside the University. Moreover, it is estimated that the injured civilians between November 15 and November 17 were thousands. Several conspiracy theories have emerged throughout the years from both sides.
The 17th of November is a rememberance day in Greece, schools are closed, and commemorative services are held in the campus of the Polytechnic University. The commemoration day ends with a demonstration from the campus to the embassy of the United States. The demonstrations often get violent.