Today’s video is dedicated to Greek grammar. You will learn ten (10) very common Greek verbs in all tenses. You will be provided with the first-person singular for each verb, which you can memorize. You will then be presented with some examples. Take pen and paper and let’s get started!
This Greek conversation exercise is meant to help you memorize basic Greek phrases -usually in question-and-answer format – that can be used in conversations with native Greek speakers. By listening to these Greek dialogues, you will be able to respond fast and in a natural way whenever you engage in conversations in your target language.
It is recommended to pay close attention to the tone of the voice. Why is that important? Because the Greek language is culturally a high context language. The way you say something is as important as what you say.
Keep in mind that you will be provided with captions with the Greek dialogues. Feel free to pause, take notes, and write down any unknown words that you can search later.
Helpful Greek Vocabulary
(το) μανάβικο= (the) greengrocer, (the) grocery store that sells only fruits and vegetables
(τα) πεθερικά= (the) inlaws
(το) τραπέζι= (the) table, (the) invitation for dinner (metaph.)
πλημμυρίζω= to flood
(η) διαρροή= (the) leak
θυροκολλώ= to attach a note to the front door
(η) πολυκατοικία= (the) building with multiple flats
(τα) κοινόχρηστα= (the) building fees, (the) shared costs
(το) εισιτήριο μετ’ επιστροφής= (the) ticket with a return date
(το) ΚΤΕΛ= KTEL (the Greek public intercity bus)
(το) λεωφορείο= (the) bus
(οι) αποσκευές= (the) baggage
(το) ραντεβού= (the) date, (the) appointment
(η) καθυστέρηση= (the) delay
απολογούμαι= to apologize
(η) συνέντευξη= (the) interview
(το) βιογραφικό= (the) resume
(η) εμπειρία= (the) experience
(οι) δεξιότητες= (the) qualifications
Greek Conversation Practice with Greek Dialogues (All Levels A1-C2)
Dialogue 1 | Διάλογος 1ος
«ΣτοΜανάβικοτηςΓειτονιάς» | “At the Neighborhood’s Greengrocer”
-Καλημέρα κυρία Γεωργία!
-Καλημέρα Ελένη! Πώς κι από δω;
-Έχω τραπέζι απόψε. Έρχονται τα πεθερικά μου επίσκεψη.
-Α, τι καλό θα τους φτιάξεις;
-Θα φτιάξω παστίτσιο και θα το συνοδέψω με διάφορες σαλάτες. Οπότε βάλε μου αν μπορείς μισό κιλό ρόκα.
-Βάλε και δύο κατσαρά μαρούλια και μετά πιάσε και 4-5 ντομάτες. Να είναι ζουμερές. Και δύο αγγούρια.
-Να, ορίστε. Τα καλύτερα σου έβαλα για τα πεθερικά!
-Α, να μην το ξεχάσω! Βάλε και δυο λεμόνια.
-Όλα μαζί κάνουν 4,20€.
-Πάρε την απόδειξη και πέρνα αύριο να μου πεις αν πέτυχε το παστίτσιο.
-Εντάξει κυρία Γεωργία! Αν δεν πετύχει, έχω έτοιμα λαζάνια στην κατάψυξη!
Dialogue 2 | Διάλογος 2ος
«ΣυνομιλίαμετονΓείτονα» | “A Conversation with the Neighbor”
-Γεια σου Χρήστο.
-Γεια σου Λεωνίδα, πώς και γύρισες τόσο νωρίς από την δουλειά;
-Πλημμύρισαν τα γραφεία μας και θα δουλέψω από το σπίτι σήμερα.
-Α! Έσπασε σωλήνας;
-Ναι, εξετάζουν τώρα από που έγινε η διαρροή.
-Να σε ρωτήσω πριν φύγεις, άκουγες κι εσύ δυνατή μουσική χθες το βράδυ;
-Ναι, δεν μπορούσα να κλείσω μάτι μέχρι τις 2 τα ξημερώματα. Νομίζω ότι έκαναν πάρτι στον τέταρτο όροφο.
-Α, θα είναι οι καινούργιοι ένοικοι μάλλον. Είναι φοιτητές και θα έχουμε φασαρία απ’ ό,τι φαίνεται.
-Να θυροκολλήσουμε μια ανακοίνωση εκ μέρους όλων των ενοίκων με τους κανόνες της πολυκατοικίας.
-Θα πάω τώρα αμέσως να την ετοιμάσω. Α, και όποτε μπορείς φέρε μου τα κοινόχρηστα.
-Ναι, συγγνώμη, είχα κάποια απρόοπτα έξοδα. Θα φέρω τα κοινόχρηστα αύριο το πρωί. Καλό μεσημέρι!
Dialogue 3 | Διάλογος 3ος
«Αγορά Εισιτηρίου» | “TicketPurchase”
-Γεια σας, θα ήθελα δύο εισιτήρια με επιστροφή για Βόλο.
-Ναι, με το επόμενο ΚΤΕΛ αν γίνεται.
-Δυστυχώς, το επόμενο ΚΤΕΛ φεύγει σε πέντε (5) λεπτά και είναι πλήρες. Αν θέλετε, μπορώ να σας κλείσω μια θέση με το μεθεπόμενο.
-Τι ώρα φεύγει το μεθεπόμενο λεωφορείο;
-Φεύγει στις δύο (2) το μεσημέρι.
-Σε μία ώρα δηλαδή. Εντάξει, κλείστε μου μια θέση.
-Μάλιστα. Πότε θέλετε να επιστρέψετε;
-Με το πρωινό λεωφορείο της Κυριακής.
-Το πρώτο πρωινό λεωφορείο φεύγει στις 8 π.μ. και το δεύτερο στις 11 π.μ. – ποιο προτιμάτε;
-Το πρώτο, αυτό που αναχωρεί στις 8 το πρωί.
-Μάλιστα. Τα εισιτήρια κοστίζουν μαζί σαράντα (40) ευρώ. Εάν είστε κάτοχος φοιτητικής κάρτας, έχετε 50% έκπτωση.
-Δυστυχώς, έχω αποφοιτήσει εδώ και αρκετά χρόνια. Ορίστε!
-Εδώ είναι το εισιτήριό σας. Το ΚΤΕΛ αναχωρεί από την πλατφόρμα εννιά (9). Αν έχετε αποσκευές, θα πρέπει να είστε εκεί ένα τέταρτο νωρίτερα. Καλό σας ταξίδι!
-Ευχαριστώ πολύ! Καλή συνέχεια!
Dialogue 4 | Διάλογος 4ος
«Πρώτο Ραντεβού» | “FirstDate”
-Άννα, καλησπέρα! Είμαι ο Δημήτρης.
-Γεια σου Δημήτρη. Κάθισε.
-Συγγνώμη για την μικρή καθυστέρηση. Δεν μπορούσα να βρω χώρο στάθμευσης.
-Ναι, έχει πολύ κίνηση στο κέντρο αυτές τις ώρες. Γι’ αυτό προτίμησα να έρθω με το μετρό. Δεν υπάρχει λόγος να απολογείσαι.
-Έχεις ήδη παραγγείλει;
-Όχι, πριν λίγο έφτασα. Τι θα ήθελες να πιούμε;
-Μπορούμε να μοιραστούμε ένα μπουκάλι κρασί. Τι θα έλεγες;
-Καλή ιδέα. Εγώ προτιμώ το λευκό.
-Κι εγώ το ίδιο. Για πες μου τώρα, πώς ήταν η μέρα σου.
-Η μέρα μου είχε λίγη πίεση, λόγω δουλειάς. Όμως είναι Παρασκευή… εσένα πώς ήταν η μέρα σου;
-Ήμουν ενθουσιασμένος που θα σε έβλεπα. Θα ήθελα να σε γνωρίσω καλύτερα. Ποια είναι τα ενδιαφέροντά σου Άννα;
-Μου αρέσει να γυμνάζομαι και να ταξιδεύω… (χτυπάει το τηλέφωνο) μισό λεπτό Δημήτρη. (σηκώνει το τηλέφωνο) Ναι, έλα Σοφία μου. Τι; Είναι σοβαρό; Έρχομαι αμέσως!
-Η φίλη μου η Σοφία είχε ένα μικρό ατύχημα… συγγνώμη θα πρέπει να φύγω…
Dialogue 5 | Διάλογος 5ος
«Συνέντευξη για Δουλειά» | “JobInterview”
-Κύριε Παπαδάκη καθίστε. Σας καλέσαμε γιατί βρήκαμε το βιογραφικό σας αρκετά ενδιαφέρον. Έχετε τις βασικές γνώσεις και τα προσόντα. Θα θέλαμε όμως να μάθουμε περισσότερα πράγματα για εσάς.
-Κυρία Ανδρεάδη, βεβαίως, ευχαριστώ πολύ για την πρόσκληση.
-Θα αρχίσω με την εξής ερώτηση: τι σας έκανε να υποβάλετε αίτηση για την συγκεκριμένη θέση;
-Η εταιρεία σας είναι κορυφαία στον χώρο της Επικοινωνίας. Επομένως, μόλις είδα ότι αναζητείτε κάποιο άτομο με τις δεξιότητες τις οποίες έχω, υπέβαλα αμέσως την αίτησή μου.
-Ωστόσο εργάζεστε ήδη εδώ και έναν χρόνο σε μια άλλη εταιρεία Επικοινωνίας. Τι σας έκανε να θέλετε να αλλάξετε εργασιακό περιβάλλον;
-Έχω μάθει αρκετά όλο αυτόν τον χρόνο και είμαι ευγνώμων για την ευκαιρία που μου δόθηκε. Όμως, η θέση μου δεν μου επιτρέπει να εξελιχθώ επαγγελματικά και να ανελιχθώ στον χώρο της Επικοινωνίας.
-Τι σας ξεχωρίζει πιστεύετε από άλλους υποψήφιους;
-Το γεγονός ότι έχω εργασιακή εμπειρία από μικρή ηλικία και πριν καν ολοκληρώσω τις σπουδές μου. Επίσης, πέρα από τις πανεπιστημιακές μου σπουδές στην Επικοινωνία, έχω κάνει και μαθήματα γραφιστικής.
-Ευχαριστούμε πολύ για τις απαντήσεις σας. Τώρα μπορείτε να μας πείτε…
Ok, now stick around for some extra practice. Let’s see whether you were able to comprehend the Greek dialogues. You can rewatch the video as many times as you need and search for unknown words. Let’s try to answer the following questions.
It was a crisp spring morning and a group of Greek sailors had already started their daily works on their ship. One of them was a 19-year-old seaman apprentice named Alexis. It was Alexis’s first ever trip as part of the crew. The deck’s chief mate, Yorgos, had ordered him to be on the lookout on the bridge; a key-position to ensure the safe navigation of the ship.
Alexis stood in an exposed part of the forecastle. He used his binoculars to keep a watch for any possible obstacle on the Thermaic Gulf. It wasn’t long since they had exited the port of Thessaloniki, the second most populated city in Greece. The weather conditions were ideal; the sky was clear and the winds were soft. But it didn’t take long till the young seaman noticed something peculiar on the surface of the sea, just few kilometers away from them.
A thick mist covered the area and the waters started bubbling as if they were boiling. It was a spectacular moment that left Alexis standing there, speechless. He removed the binoculars and focused his attention at a dark shadow on the surface near him that got bigger and bigger.
“Could this be a whale?”, he thought.
To his surprise, what appeared in front of him was the pale face of a woman; a gigantic woman whose wet long black hair covered parts of her face. She wore a diadem made of corals and a heavy set of necklaces that covered her chest.
The woman moved her waist and showed a giant fish tail covered in glowing green scales. She was a mermaid. The creature then proceeded to lightly hit the vessel with that tail, causing it to shake.
Alexis fell on the floor and saw the gigantic mermaid reaching towards him and asking him in a language that resembled koine Greek:
“Is King Alexander alive?”
Alexis was petrified and confused. He stared back at the woman, watching her face turn from desperate to furious. Her eyes were now yellowish-green and resembled the ones of a serpent. And that was when Yorgos, the experienced chief mate, offered him his hand and pulled him up. With a steady voice, Yorgos said the following:
“King Alexander is alive and ruling the world”.
The mermaid’s eyes turned back into normal. Big, brown, and warm. She left a sigh of relief and slowly sunk into the water. The mist disappeared and the seamen turned back to work, as if nothing had happened.
Thessaloniki, the Mermaid | Modern Greek Folklore
The above story is fictitious, but it resembles the spoken testimonies of many Greek sailors over the past centuries. According to Greek folklore, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea are haunted by a giant mermaid that searches for her brother. That is no other than princess Thessaloniki, sister of Alexander the Great.
Thessaloniki is a historical, rather than a mythological person. She was the daughter of King Philip II of Macedon. Her names translates to “Thessalian victory” and it was given to her to commemorate the battle of the Crocus Field in Thessaly. It goes without saying that the city of Thessaloniki is named after her.
The princess had a tragic fate, since she was killed by her own son, Antipater, who felt that his mother favored his brother. But, according to a Greek folktale, Thessaloniki never died; killing her would be an impossible task.
From Maiden to Mermaid | Modern Greek Folktales
It is rumored that the well-known Alexander the Great, brother of Thessaloniki, had been searching for a spring that could restore someone’s youthful appearance or even make them immortal. That was the so-called “Fountain of Youth” that is first described in the writings of the historian Herodotus in the 5th Century BC.
According to the legend, Alexander bathed in its magic waters in an unspecified location in the East. He felt rejuvenated and filled up his flask, which he later offered to his sister. Thessaloniki washed her hair with the magic water and ended up becoming immortal.
Years later, when she heard that her dear brother had died, Thessaloniki tried to end her life by drowning herself in the Thermaic Gulf. But, since she had become immortal, she turned instead into a sea creature – half human, half fish.
Mermaids, Sirens, and Gorgons: Are They Different?
If you translate the term “mermaid” into Greek, the result will be “γοργόνα”; the same result will appear if you translate the term “gorgon”. Moreover, it is very likely that the term “mermaid” and “siren” are used synonymously.
In ancient Greek mythology, the term “mermaid” did not exist. On one hand we had the sirens, giant birds with the face of women that lured sailors with their beautiful voices. On the other hand, we had gorgons; serpentine monsters that were able to turn humans into stone.
However, in modern Greek folklore and in the folklore of other cultures, these gorgons and sirens describe the same creature: a mermaid; a woman with long hair and a fish tail who can breathe under and over the surface of the sea.
Although Hans Christian Andersen’s book “The Little Mermaid” made us feel sympathy for these creatures, in most folktales, mermaids are mischievous sea demons that attack rather than save sailors. And the most popular mermaid is of course Thessaloniki, who asks seafarers whether her brother is still alive. If someone makes the mistake to answer negatively, the mermaid becomes angry and attacks the vessel in an attempt to sink it.
Some Greek sailors narrate such stories over the years. Are their stories true or real? I leave it up to you. Before you leave, don’t forget to like, comment, subscribe, and, perhaps, share this story with a friend who loves myths and legends. Till next time!
“Yes” (Ναι) and “No” (Όχι) are standard answers in all languages. But, as you progress in your language journey, it is time to move forward and start using synonyms to express negation and affirmation. Usually, conversations between beginners in Greek are as follows:
-«Πεινάς;» (are you hungry?)
-«Κατάλαβες;» (was it clear to you?)
Here are some words and phrases that will upgrade your Greek vocabulary in minutes. These will help you express affirmation and negation in Greek.
Greek Synonyms of “Yes” and “No” | No More “Ναι”/”Όχι”
Βεβαίως – Sure
Φυσικά – Of course
Αποκλείεται – No way
Αμέ – Yep
Τς/ τσου – (disapproval sound, informal no)
Άπαπα – Oh no/ Νο way
Μάλιστα – Sure/ Indeed
Οκέι (οκ) – Okay (ok)
Σίγουρα – For sure
Σαφώς – Definitely/ Clearly
Προφανώς – Obviously
Εννοείται – Of course/ It goes without saying
Οπωσδήποτε – Definitely
Ούτε καν – No way/ Never/ Not at all
Ούτε να το σκέφτεσαι – Don’t even think about it
Δεν παίζει – No way (slang)
Με την καμία – No way (slang)
Σε καμία περίπτωση – No way
Let’s see some examples:
«Διάβασες;» (Have you studied?)
«Φυσικά και διάβασα.» (Of course I’ve studied)
«Πάμε για ποτό;» (Shall we go out for a drink?)
«Αποκλείεται!» (No way!)
«Έχεις αναπτήρα;» (Do you have a lighter?)
«Θέλεις γλυκό;» (Would you like some dessert?)
«Άπαπα, έχω σκάσει.» (No way, I’m full.)
«Γνωρίζεστε;» (Do you know each other?)
«Ούτε καν…» (Not at all…)
«Έχεις να μου δανείσεις πέντε ευρώ;» (Can you lend me five euros?)
«Με την καμία.» (No, no way.)
Well, these were some examples of words and phrases that express affirmation or negation in Greek that are not “yes” or “no”. If you found this video helpful, don’t forget to click subscribe; it’s free and you’ll discover many more free videos like this. You can always visit helinika.com and don’t forget to check the description for some helpful links. Till next time!
Known as the ancient Greek god of the sea and waters, Poseidon (Ποσειδώνας in Greek) is one of the most popular Olympians. His Roman equivalent is Neptune and you might have seen statues of him in squares in Greece and Italy. He is usually depicted as muscular, sporting a beard and holding a trident. There are many temples dedicated to him that are still standing; a great example of that would be the temple in Cape Sounio, near Athens. Here is a list of interesting facts about the ancient Greek god, Poseidon.
7 Facts About Poseidon | Ancient Greek Mythology
Poseidon is the god of the seas and the protector of seafarers.
He is also the god of horses.
Poseidon was eaten alive by his father and saved by his brother, Zeus.
Poseidon and Athena fought over the city of Athens.
Triton and Poseidon are not the same person.
God Poseidon is responsible for Odysseus’ dangerous homecoming journey.
Poseidon is the god of the seas and the protector of seafarers
As the god of the seas, Poseidon was also considered the protector of sailors. He was worshipped by sailors as their patron who would pray to him to feel protected during their trips. Today, the protector of Greek sailors is Saint Nicholas.
He is also the god of horses
It may be hard to see a connection there, but Poseidon was also the god of horses. It is believed that he was the one responsible for introducing the species in Greece.
Poseidon was eaten alive by his father and saved by his brother, Zeus
Poseidon was one of the unlucky children of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. He was eaten alive by his cannibalistic and power-hungry father, only to be saved later by his younger brother, Zeus. Zeus then assigned an element to each of his siblings. Poseidon’s specialty was no other than water!
Poseidon and Athena fought over the city of Athens
Greek city-states usually had a patron who protected the land and the citizens. According to an ancient Greek legend, goddess Athena and god Poseidon competed against each other for the city of Athens, with the citizens voting for their preferred patron. The Athenians chose Athena for introducing the olive tree on their land. Now you may be wondering what Poseidon offered them. You can learn more about this myth in our dedicated video and article.
You may know Triton from various movies and books, including the Disney adaption of the “Little Mermaid”. Many people confuse Poseidon with Triton, thinking they are the same person. In fact, Triton was one of Poseidon’s sons and was a mermaid.
God Poseidon is responsible for Odysseus’ dangerous homecoming journey
If you have watched Helinika’s playlist narrating the Odyssey, then you already know this fact. The king of Ithaca, Odysseus, was on his way back to his island from the city of Troy. But he ended up spending years in the sea, since he lost the favor of Poseidon. The god of the seas was furious at Odysseus for injuring and mocking one of his sons, Cyclops Polyphemus. Injuring Polyphemus wasn’t the worst part; Odysseus was trying to save his life in this case. But it was the fact that the king felt invincible after this that made him commit a hybris.
Poseidon’s domain was rumored to be Atlantis
In the past, we saw Plato’s allegory of the lost city of Atlantis. Atlantis, according to Plato, was a rich and powerful city-state that flooded and disappeared from the face of the Earth. The reason? The gods and goddesses were furious at how greedy and unethical its citizens had become. According to the legend and allegory, the city was Poseidon’s domain. The first ruler of the city was no other than king Atlas, one of Poseidon’s sons.
If you enjoyed watching this video, don’t forget to like, share, comment, and subscribe. In the description, you will find some helpful links, including your Udemy discount for learning Greek. Till next time!
As you probably already know, the names of countries may be pronounced differently from language to language. In some cases, a country or nation may have multiple different names when translated into different languages. A great example of that is Greece. In Greek, Greece or Hellas is named “Ελλάδα” (η). The name “Greece” actually derives from the Latin “Graeci” – a term the Romans used to describe Greeks. Now, let’s see how the names of some countries sound in Greek.
The Names of 80+ Countries in Greek | Greek Geography Vocabulary
Αίγυπτος – Egypt
Αιθιοπία – Ethiopia
Αλβανία – Albania
Αλγερία – Algeria
Αργεντινή – Argentina
Αρμενία – Armenia
Αυστραλία – Australia
Αυστρία – Austria
Αφγανιστάν – Afghanistan
Βενεζουέλα – Venezuela
Βιετνάμ – Vietnam
Βόρεια Κορέα – North Korea
Βουλγαρία – Bulgaria
Βραζιλία – Brazil
Γαλλία – France
Γερμανία – Germany
Γουατεμάλα – Guatemala
Γροιλανδία – Greenland
Δανία – Denmark
Δομινικανή Δημοκρατία – Dominical Republic
Ελβετία – Switzerland
Εσθονία – Estonia
Ζάμπια – Zambia
Ζιμπάμπουε – Zimbabwe
Ηνωμένα Αραβικά Εμιράτα – United Arab Emirates
Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες (της Αμερικής)/ ΗΠΑ – United States (of America)/ USA
Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο/ Αγγλία – United Kingdom/ England
Ιαπωνία – Japan
Ινδία – India
Ινδονησία – Indonesia
Ιορδανία – Jordan
Ιράκ – Iraq
Ιράν – Iran
Ιρλανδία – Ireland
Ισημερινός – Ecuador
Ισλανδία – Iceland
Ισπανία – Spain
Ισραήλ – Israel
Ιταλία – Italy
Καναδάς – Canada
Κένυα – Kenya
Κίνα – China
Κολομβία – Colombia
Κούβα – Cuba
Κροατία – Croatia
Κύπρος – Cyprus
Λάος – Laos
Λετονία – Latvia
Λευκορωσία – Belarus
Λίβανος – Lebanon
Λιθουανία – Lithuania
Λουξεμβούργο – Luxemburg
Μαδαγασκάρη – Madagascar
Μάλτα – Malta
Μαρόκο – Morocco
Μεξικό – Mexico
Μολδαβία – Moldova
Μονακό – Monaco
Νέα Ζηλανδία – New Zealand
Νιγηρία – Nigeria
Νορβηγία – Norway
Νότια Αφρική – South Africa
Νότια Κορέα – South Korea
Ολλανδία/ Κάτω Χώρες – Holland/ Netherlands
Ουγγαρία – Hungary
Ουκρανία – Ukraine
Ουρουγουάη – Uruguay
Περού – Peru
Πολωνία – Poland
Πορτογαλία – Portugal
Ρουμανία – Romania
Ρωσία – Russia
Σερβία – Serbia
Σκωτία – Scotland
Σλοβακία – Slovakia
Σλοβενία – Slovenia
Σουηδία – Sweden
Συρία – Syria
Τζαμάικα – Jamaica
Τσεχία – Czech Republic
Φινλανδία – Finland
Now, where are you from? You can leave a comment down below. For more free content like this, like and subscribe. Don’t forget to binge-watch all of Helinika’s videos and visit helinika.com for free Greek resources. In the description, you’ll find some helpful links, including your Udemy discount and Helinika’s other social media accounts. Till next time.
Ancient Greek mythology is all about mighty gods and goddesses and brave heroes, such as Hercules and Odysseus. But the heroes’ adventures would be a walk in the park without the presence of the mythical beasts that challenged them on their journey. Here is Helinika’s list of the most vicious ancient Greek monsters.
Top 10 Monsters in Ancient Greek Myths | Greek Beasts
Typhon & Echidna
Scylla and Charybdis
Lamia & Empusa
If you have read the book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” or watched the movie with the same name, then you might remember “Fluffy”, the three-headed dog that guarded a secret trapdoor. This character was inspired by a mythical creature that guarded another entrance: the gate of Hades.
Cerberus was the multi-headed dog that prevented the dead and the living from exiting and entering the ancient Greek underworld. He was much more fearful than Fluffy; he had a serpent’s tail and multiple snake heads all over his body. The ancient Greek monster was the offspring of two other beasts we will see on this list. Cerberus was once captured by the legendary hero Heracles who needed to complete 12 labors.
You may remember Lamia and Empusa from Helinika’s video on ancient Greek vampires. They are both women who turned into monsters and started attacking humans for their flesh and blood. Lamia wanted vengeance for the killing of her children by goddess Hera.
Empusa, on the other hand, was sent by the chthonic goddess Hecate to scare or warn the living. She could shape-shift into different animals and, in her original form, she had multiple legs.
Half-bull, half-human, the Minotaur was the mythical beast that resided in the… real labyrinth of Knossos in Crete. You may have heard of him from Helinika’s video on the story of the Athenian hero Theseus.
Every year, a group of young Athenian men and women were sacrificed in Crete to feed and appease the son of the queen of Knossos who had slept with a magical bull. Only Theseus was able to destroy this creature and end this awful custom.
Another myth we have seen on this channel is the Argonautica. Jason, prince of Iolcos, sails with a group of skilled seamen and his mythical boat, Argo, towards the kingdom of Colchis. His goal? To obtain the golden fleece and return to Iolcos as the rightful king. But the fleece of the winged ram Chrysomallos was guarded by a dragon, a giant serpent that resided in the sacred grove of Ares in the city of Colchis.
The Colchian dragon was terrifying, and, for some reason, it had three separate tongues. Even a hero such as Jason couldn’t fight such a beast. That’s why he asked a local witch, Medea, to use her potions to make the dragon unconscious. According to some variations of the myth, with the additional help of Orpheus music, the dragon was put to sleep and Jason escaped with the golden fleece and Medea. You can watch the entire story later in Helinika’s channel.
In the Odyssey, the cunning king of Ithaca comes across various obstacles. During his homecoming trip, Odysseus and his crew make a stop at a beautiful island. But they soon realize that it is the home of gigantic one-eyed monsters – the Cyclops.
According to various myths, these creatures helped build the Cyclopean walls of Mycenae – which are still standing in the archaeological site with the same name. In Hesiod’s Theogony, they were the ones who created Zeus’ powerful weapon, the thunderbolt. Some of the Cyclops were the sons of Gaia and Uranus, others were the sons of Poseidon – including Polyphemus, the not-so-bright Cyclops that captured Odysseus and his crew members. You can learn more about them in Helinika’s playlist narrating the Odyssey.
Odysseus, however, also witnessed another kind of deadly ancient Greek monster: the Sirens. The Sirens were encountered by several other Greek heroes, such as Jason. In ancient Greek myths, they were described as terrifying and definitely unattractive.
Half-birds, half-humans, they sang beautifully to attract seamen onto their rocky island. As soon as the humans approached them to listen to their hypnotic song, they attacked. In the Middle Ages, the legend of the Sirens survived but they were now portrayed as beautiful but evil mermaids.
#4 Scylla & Charybdis
Scylla and Charybdis are two terrifying sea monsters that sat on opposite sides of the Strait of Messina, between Sicily and Calabria. Charybdis was a monster that resembled a giant whirlpool that consumed whole vessels in no time. Scylla was a six-headed serpentine sea creature that attacked the paddlers that passed near it.
Being stuck between Scylla and Charybdis is a disaster. No matter which direction the seamen choose, they will be at a loss. But, according to the Odyssey, choosing to sail a bit closer to Scylla is the wise thing to do. Charybdis will sink the ship and the whole crew. Scylla, on the other hand, can only attack six members of the crew with her six heads. A sacrifice that needs to be made.
#3 Lernaean Hydra
The Lernaean Hydra is a mythical water monster that terrified the people of Argolid. Its lair was the nearby lake of Lerna, one of the entrances to Hades. Once again, the monster was described as a giant serpent with several heads. The worst part? It could regenerate itself. A local hero would cut off one of its heads and several more would grow.
The Hydra, which was the offspring of the monsters in the first position, was finally killed by Heracles; it was required to do so to complete his 12 labors. The Greek hero asked for the help of his nephew, Iolaus, to destroy the beast. They cut off its heads and used fire to burn down its neck.
Chimera was a terrifying hybrid that terrorized a part of Asia Minor. It was a beast that was half-goat, half-lion, and half snake. It was also able to breathe fire. It goes as no surprise that it was the sibling of Hydra and other monsters we mentioned in this list.
The legendary Chimera was destroyed by a hero named Bellerophon who rode the flying horse Pegasus and attacked the beast from the sky. Today, its name is given to things that consist of parts that do not match.
#1 Typhon & Echidna
The father and mother of all monsters are no other than Typhon and Echidna – the most powerful and terrifying beasts in ancient Greek mythology. Typhon was the offspring of either Gaia and Tartarus or of Hera. The beast was a giant serpent-human hybrid that tried to overthrew Zeus but ended up buried underneath Mount Etna. The difference to all the other monsters is that it was not only easily provoked and deadly but also cunning. According to Hesiod, he could breathe fire and produce terrifying sounds. Typhon was lawless and outrageous and was able to destroy entire areas, just like a typhoon.
Echidna was the female partner of Typhon. The half-woman, half-snake creature lived alone in a cave and ate the flesh of humans. She despised both the gods and the humans. She preferred living alone in the darkness.
Which is the most terrifying ancient Greek monster, according to your opinion? Feel free to share it in the comment section. And don’t forget to check Helinika’s channel, website, and social media for more free content like this. You will find some helpful links in the description, including your Udemy discount for learning Greek. Till next time!
Zeus, Aphrodite, Poseidon. The names of the members of the ancient Greek pantheon are known to the English-speaking world. But, it goes without saying, that these names are pronounced differently in (modern) Greek. Here is how Greeks call the Greek gods and goddesses we know from our favorite myths.
It was a hot and humid summer morning in Crete. A group of hikers had already started walking by the sea towards the castle of Frangokastello, near the town of Sfakia. Everything was quiet and all they could hear was the song of the cicadas and the relaxing sound of waves.
As soon as they reached the Venetian fort, they spent some time staring at the ripples forming on the sea surface. But it didn’t take long till they all instinctively turned their heads towards the nearby monastery of Agios Charalambos. What they saw left them frozen in fear. Tall shadowy figures holding medieval weapons started sprinting towards them. Some of these warriors looked as if they rode phantom horses.
The hikers couldn’t speak nor move; they stood there mesmerized by the group of phantom warriors that ran towards them. The closer the shadows appeared to be, the smaller they become. And just like that, few meters away from them, they disappeared. Later that day, they learned from the locals that they were lucky enough to experience seeing the Drosoulites, the phantom warriors of Crete.
The Greek Folktale of Drosoulites | Greek Folklore
According to a local legend, a group of Greek fighters who lost their lives during the battle of Frangkokastello, still haunt the area. They appear as ghost fighters on some spring or summer mornings, surprising those who visit the castle and the nearby area. There are countless reports of locals and visitors who have witnessed this phenomenon. Some of them, had never heard of the legend but still saw the shadowy figures approaching the castle. Their appearance usually lasts for ten minutes, according to reports.
The battle of Frangkocastello occurred during the years of the Greek war for freedom and specifically on May 17, 1828. The army consisted of 350 men and was led by Hatzimichalis Dalianis from Epirus. The army protected the fort for more than seven days and continued fighting even when victory seemed unrealistic. They all died in the battlefield.
Although this phenomenon is linked to the battle of 1828, the castle’s history is much longer than that. Just few kilometers away from Sfakia, Frangkokastello was built in 1374 to protect Venetian nobles from pirates during the Frankokratia, the era during which French and Italian states were established on the territory of the Byzantine Empire.
Since the appearance of Drosoulites has been reported multiple times over the past two centuries, it is more than a local folktale. Scientists have tried to debunk the myth, with the most common explanation being that it is simply a meteorological phenomenon.
To be more precise, it is believed that it is a mirage from the coast of North Africa. However, there is no definite or clear answer. What we do know is that it occurs on late May or early June, usually in the morning, when the weather is humid and warm.
What do you think of this folk legend? Is there a similar folktale where you come from? Leave a comment in the comment section.
Greeks are generally considered open, friendly, and approachable. They may reveal intimate things about themselves and invite you over for dinner right after your initial meeting. But, don’t be fooled, building a strong friendship or business partnership with a Greek man or woman requires work, patience, and a clear understanding of the Greek cultural dimensions.
How Easy Is It to Make Friends in Greece?
As a foreigner, making friends in Greece is neither too hard, nor too easy. According to an InterNations survey from 2021, the country is the 32nd friendliest country for expats in a list of 65 countries. That places Greece somewhere in the middle. Helinika will help you navigate through the cultural dos and don’ts and win the heart of the Greek(s) you seek friendship or business partnership with.
Actions That Will Make a Greek Like You
Ask about them and their family. The Greek culture is more on the collectivistic, rather than on the individualistic side. If you know a Greek person’s family, partner, or very close friends, you may ask them how these people are doing. Greek people usually see themselves as part of a group and showing disinterest about the other members of their close group, may be interpreted as disinterest about them as well. A small talk between Greeks usually goes as follows: “Τι κάνεις; Τα παιδιά; Ο/Η σύζυγος, όλοι καλά;” (translation: “How are you? The children? (What about) the spouse, is everyone alright?”. It goes without saying that if the Greek person of interest hasn’t revealed details about their family life, you don’t have to ask how his or her family is doing. Lastly, not asking about the person’s family members is not considered rude. However, considering his/her family in your conversations, will help you win the Greek’s heart!
Cook for them or ask them out for dinner. The best business deals, romantic relationships, and friendships are usually paired with food. Greeks, like most Mediterranean cultures, revolve around food and cooking. If you are a good cook, invite the Greek of interest over for dinner. If not, invite him/her out at a good restaurant. It doesn’t have to be fancy nor expensive; but the food quality must be top-notch. Food is taken seriously in Greece and people can discuss for hours at the dinner table, even after having finished their meals. Normally, Greeks order or cook different dishes, place them at the center of the table, and share them all together, instead of ordering individual dishes for each person. This is another detail to keep in mind.
Offer to pay/return the favor, even when reassured you don’t have to. Philotimo is an admired characteristic in Greece. Everyone wants friends who have this attribute. A person with philotimo is an honorable person who doesn’t accept gifts, help, and other offerings easily. Having a small argument with the person who wants to pay for your dinner or offer you something for free is usually expected. If the other person insists, you can then accept their offer. And no matter what the other person says, you should always try to return the favor at some point. Even if they have reassured you that you don’t have to. Not doing so is not the end of the world – but you won’t be seen as a person with philotimo in their eyes. This may seem complex and unnecessary to someone who comes from a low context culture, where communication is usually direct. However, when meeting with Greeks, you should be able to “read the room” and understand people’s expectations, without being told what these expectations are.
Allow them to pamper you. Have you ever heard of the Benjamin Franklin effect? You know, the one that suggests that a person who does a favor for you will like you more than the person you do a favor for? Well, it definitely works with the Greeks. When visiting a Greek person’s home, let them pamper you as they like. Greek philoxenia requires them to offer you something to drink and something to eat. If you stay the night, they will probably offer you fresh towels and bedding and they will prepare breakfast for you. Of course, you don’t have to eat at their place, but try not to reject every single thing they offer to you. Otherwise, you will be considered an “ακατάδεκτος” – an adjective that could be translated as “someone who doesn’t accept offerings”. Trust me, it will be hard to make friends with Greeks if they think they can’t pamper you at all.
Things to Avoid – a.k.a “How to Make a Greek Dislike You”
Avoid criticizing someone close to them. In individualistic cultures, a person’s actions reflect their own personality, mood, and thinking, unless they are minors. In collectivistic cultures, a person’s actions reflect their entire environment – friends, family, community. Greece is somewhere in the middle but does lean towards collectivism. Although an adult’s actions are judged individually at the courthouse, when it comes to ethical criticism, someone’s wrongdoings will bring shame to everyone close to them. If someone commits a crime, their family members might self-isolate for a while, regardless of whether they were involved in the crime or not. The actions of the individual have consequences for the entire group. For this exact reason, when meeting a Greek person, avoid being overly critical towards people who are somehow related to them. They will take it personally. Yes, they may recognize, for example, that their cousin is a dishonest business owner who lies about his or her products’ real value. However, calling them out in front of your potential friend, client, or business partner, will seem like an attack to the entire family. The same goes with friend groups. Unless you are already integrated into the group, avoid criticizing a member at the presence of another member.
Don’t visit them empty handed. Unless you are already good friends and visit each other regularly, avoid visiting a Greek person’s house empty handed. Especially when you visit their house for the very first time. You can bring a dessert, a meal you prepared at home, a bottle of wine, some flowers, or a home accessory. That is especially expected when visiting someone who is of older age, since young people tend to overlook these details.
Don’t disrespect them at their home/office. Greeks will often tell you to feel at home at their place. Philoxenia, hospitality, is taken very seriously in Greece but not only from the hosts’ side. A visitor is also expected to respect the space of the host by trying not to make a mess, accepting some pampering, and asking for permission before visiting other rooms in the house – even if it’s the bathroom. Of course, this doesn’t apply when visiting someone who is already a very close friend. If the Greek host lives with others, acknowledging them and/or making small talk with them, is expected.
Avoid being inflexible. Flexibility is key when meeting the Greeks. An appointment may change last minute, someone might arrive later or earlier and sticking to the schedule is not always a priority. Losing your temper and accusing them for this, will not help at all. If the other person is constantly changing their mind, try persuading them to stick to the plan without making any accusations. Patience is key.