Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lexicon for A Tested Love: E-H

Elysium or the Elysian Fields—a form of the afterlife distinct from Hades, the Underworld. The fields are a pleasant realm where the righteous and heroic continued their “lives.”

Eos—the goddess of the dawn.

Ephors—five men elected every year to rule Sparta with the two kings. They could only serve for one year, never to be elected again. They served as a check on the two kings; although, later the kings became merely generals and religious figureheads.

Erastês—the older man in a pederastic relationship, the mentor. The word means “lover.”

Erinyes—three Underworld goddesses who punished evildoers, particularly those guilty of homicide, unfilial conduct, crimes against the gods, and perjury.

Erômenos (plural: erômenoi)—the younger man in a pederastic relationship, the mentee. The word means “beloved.”

Eros—one of the Erotes, winged gods of love. Eros represented love and Himeros desire.

Erotes—winged youths, the gods of love. Eros and Himeros were present at Aphrodite's birth.

Eurotas River—a river that ran through the fertile valley between the Taygetos Mountains to the west and Parnon Mountain range to the east. The villages comprising Sparta clustered around the river on this plain between the mountain ranges.

Fibula (plural: fibulae)—an ancient brooch. It replaced the straight pin for fastening clothing and is the forerunner of the modern safety pin.

Firepot—a small clay pot for carrying a live coal. It was packed tightly with dried grasses. The Greeks didn’t have flint and steel or even the fire drill. Therefore, it was imperative they not let their hearth fire go out. Fire had to be carried with them. When founding a new colony, fire was taken from the founding city’s ritual hearth and carried to the colony’s hearth. If the ritual hearth fire went out, it could be relit from the flame at Delphi.

Funerary practices—these practices varied, but tended to become more elaborate with time. The deceased was bathed, anointed with oil, and wrapped in a shroud before being laid out on a bier (funeral bed). The house was adorned with marjoram, celery, myrtle, and laurel. Often a coin was placed in the deceased’s mouth as payment to Charon, the ferryman. Then followed a prothesis, a period of ritual morning, initially family members and friends, but later it involved professional mourners who tore out their hair in grief and threw handfuls of dirt on themselves.
· The third night after the death, the corpse was taken to the cemetery in a procession called an ekphora. It was very important for the mourners to make a loud noise and be prominently seen so the shade of the deceased could see the honor it was being paid. In fact, failure to provide a suitable funeral was a cause of outrage in the community.
· Once at the cemetery, the body was placed on a pyre and cremated. The ashes were collected and placed in an amphora. The urn was then buried with appropriate grave goods and frequently a stele as a grave marker.

Gerousia—the Spartan council of elders. They were the legislative and judicial portion of the Spartan government. Twenty-eight of the members were elected for life and had to be over the age of sixty when they retired from the military. The other two seats belonged to the kings.

Hekate—the Underworld goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts and necromancy. The black she dog is one of her sacred animals and she sometimes takes its shape. She is also the three-faced goddess of crossroads.

Helots—a type of slave particular to Sparta. They were the original inhabitants of Lacedaemonia. When the Spartans invaded the Peloponnesian peninsula, they enslaved the native dwellers, leaving their steadings primarily intact.
· The helots were never chattel the way all other Greek slaves were. They were more like medieval serfs. They belonged to the land, the klēros. Spartiates were allotted a klēros and the helots assigned to work it.
· Helots could also work as servants in a Spartiates’ home, as mothônes accompanying the youths in the agōgē, or as craftsmen, it being beneath a Spartan to do any form of manual labor.
· The helots vastly outnumbered their masters. Thus requiring some rather extreme measures to keep them from revolt.

Hephaestus—the god of fire, volcanism, and all things crafted. He was lame and weak at his birth, so his mother Hera cast him from Olympus in disgust.

Heraclid—means descended from Herakles. The two kings of Sparta were Heraclids from the ruling houses of the Eurypontid and Agiad. The kings "reigned" jointly as checks on each other. Through most of Sparta's history, the influence of the kings waned until they were little more than generals and religious figureheads.

Herakles—also known as Hercules by the Romans, had a male lover, Iolaus. When Iolaus died, he was entombed outside of Thebes. Men would travel to the tomb to make oaths to the hero and each other.

Hesperides—three goddesses of evening and the sunset, they were the daughters of Nyx. They guarded the golden apples given to Hera as a wedding present. Apples are a Greek symbol of love.

Hestia—the virgin goddess of the hearth, family, and home. Every city and every home had a shrine to her. She received the first offering at every household sacrifice. Every family hearth was her alter. No city could be founded without her sacred flame, taken from the parent polis.

Hetairai – Aphrodite's temple prostitutes in Corinth. Although the term also refers to highly educated and much sought after courtesans who could take part in symposia, handle their own money, and paid taxes. They could choose whether to have sexual relations with their clients.

Hētairēkós—a kept boy, carries negative connotations of a young man incapable of providing for himself. In Athens, if it were proven that a man had been a kept boy, he lost his citizenship and all rights, especially the right to vote.

Hiereus (plural: hierei)—Greek for priest. I use “Hiereus” to mean high priest and hiereus/hierei to mean priest/priests.

Himeros—one of the Erotes, winged gods of love. Himeros represented desire and Eros love.

Hoplites—the standard warrior of the age. Heavily armored and armed with long spears, the men formed tight ranks, each man shielding the one next to him. They were a very effective fighting force.

Horos—meaning limit or boundary, were boundary marker stones. The stones were placed around the periphery of a property. The stones were large and often had advisements of their function declaring them to be marks written on their surface. Usually in the form of "I am…."

Hubris—means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Most commonly used to describe the actions of those who challenged the gods or their laws. Overweening pride, especially in Greek tragedy, resulted in the protagonist’s fall. Hubris was considered the greatest crime of ancient Greek society. The person performs some act of folly due to their excessive pride, usually resulting in their downfall or some fatal retribution (Nemesis).

Hyacinthus—a Spartan prince and one of Apollo’s male lovers. Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, also loved Hyacinthus. If a fit of jealousy, Zephyrus blew a discus off course. The discus struck the prince, killing him. Apollo used the young man’s blood to create the flower bearing his name, the hyacinth.

Hyades—the nymphs of the rain, were the daughters of Atlas. When their brother Hyas was slain by a wild beast, they mourned him and became known as “the rainy ones.” Zeus placed them in the heavens as the constellation Hyades. Their helical setting in November signaled the start of the rainy season.

Hypnos—the daemon, or minor god, of sleep.

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