Useful Information for Greek Glossary(Greece Glossari,Greek):
Information on Greek and Hellenic Culture
Achaeans: Also known as the Mycenaean’s, this civilization built independent city-states in the Peloponnesian that were characterized by palaces on fortified hilltops. They wrote in the deciphered Linear B script and many fine ex-amples of their gold jewellery are on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The height of their civilization was in 1300 B.C. but was in decline by 1100 B.C. with the arrival of the Dorian’s.
Acropolis: The highest part of an ancient city.
Agora: Often referred to as an ancient marketplace, it was the centre of commercial activity of an ancient city.
Akroterion: Decorative element at the apex and both ends of a Pediment.
Amphora: An ancient two-handled, narrow-necked jar or vase used to store oil or wine.
Antefix: The covers at the edges of a roof on all four sides of a building. The cover tiles are the second layer that cover the joints of the first layer of tiles on the roof and end in decorative relief representations.
Anticum: In a Classical temple, an open vestibule before the Cella. Also called Pronaos.
Archaic Period: Also known as the Middle Age, it dates from 800 - 480 B.C. and was marked by the increase in power of the city-states. Due to the decline of the Phoenicians, Greek colonies stretched as far as Africa, Sicily, Italy, southern France, and southern Spain. A Greek alphabet derived from the Phoenician alphabet, Homeric verses, the Olympic Games, and the defeat of the Persians all marked this period.
Architrave: The lowest part of an Entablature that rests immediately on the Capitals of the columns.
Attic: A low wall at the top of the Entablature that hides the roof.
Bouzouki: A stringed instrument similar to a guitar or lute that is used to play Rebetika music.
Bouzoukia: A nightclub that plays songs performed with a Bouzouki instrument. They are generally popular, ex-pensive, smoky, and packed with Greeks every evening.
Bronze Age: From 3000 - 1800 B.C. there were three great civilizations, the Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean civilizations, that were inspired by the introduction of bronze working in Greece.
Byzantine Period: The Roman Emperor Constantine I moved the capital of the Roman Empire to present day Is-tanbul in 324 A.D. and it formally became the Byzantine Empire at the end of the 4th century when Rome went into decline. There were invasions of Goths, Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Bulgars, Huns, and Salvs in this period, but Christianity, blended with Hellenism, had taken a strong hold. Christianity was declared the official religion in Greece in 394 A.D. and Greek and Roman gods were branded as pagan and outlawed. Even classical philosophy was forbade in 529 A.D. and replaced with Christian theology. The Byzantine Empire lasted until the fall of Con-stantinople to the Crusaders in 1205 A.D. and the Ottomans in 1453 A.D.
Caique: A small, wooden fishing boat often used to transport people to beaches on the Greek islands.
Capital: The upper part of a column that supports the Entablature.
Cella: The interior chamber of an ancient temple between the sidewalls; the sanctuary. It is the main part of the temple where the worshipped statue was erected and is separate from the open Porticoes.
Centaurs: Mythological wild creatures that were half man half horse. They lived in the Mountains of Pelion and Orsa of Thessaly.
Classical Period: From 480 - 338 B.C., the Classical Period is marked by the rise in and affluence of Athens, the Peloponnesian Wars, the falls of Athens, and the eventual decline of all of the city-states from years of fighting.
Corinthian Architecture: The most ornate of the three orders of classical Greek architecture. The columns have bell-shaped Capitals with adornments based on acanthus leaves.
Cornice: The highest projecting part of an Entablature above the Frieze.
Cycladic Period: Based in the Cyclades Islands from 3000 - 1100 B.C. were a civilization of accomplished sailors who traded all over the Mediterranean and left behind many carved Parian marble figurines. The period is divided into Early (3000 - 2000 B.C.), Middle (2000 - 1500 B.C.), and Late (1500 - 1100 B.C.) phases.
Dark Age: The period from 1200 - 800 B.C. is also called the Geometric Period. It is named for the demise in city-states due to the ruling and warring Doric civilization. They created a system of aristocratic landowners and made pottery decorated with geometric designs that is the source of the alternate name for the period.
Distyle Temple: Having two recessed columns at the front of the temple to form a porch or entrance to the tem-ple.
Domatia: A room. It refers to small hotels or houses that have inexpensive rooms to rent.
Doric Architecture: The oldest and simplest of the three orders of classical Greek architecture. It is characterized by a column with no base, a Fluted shaft, and a plain Capital.
Doric Period: The warrior-like Dorians conquered Greece's city-states and created a class of land owning aristo-crats from 1100 - 800 B.C. They brought with them iron age technology but also created pottery with geometric designs, thus giving rise to the Geometric Period, also known as the Dark Age, due to the Dorians constant warring and subjugation of the population.
Entablature: The part of a classical temple above the columns between a Capital and the roof. It consists of the Architrave, Frieze and Cornice.
EOT: Ellinikos Organismos Tourismou, or the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO). There are offices in all major tourist destinations that offer useful information and sometimes assistance in booking rooms.
Estiatorio: Literally a restaurant. They are usually more formal and more expensive than a Taverna but offer a more formal standard of eating.
Evzones: Named for the small village of Evzoni in northern Greece, these guards stand watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in front of the Parliament Building in downtown Athens.
Exedra: An often semicircular Portico with seats that was used in ancient Greece and Rome as a place for discus-sions.
Fluted: A style of architecture where a column has vertical indentations.
Frappe: Considered by some as the national drink of modern Greece, most Greeks drink at least one a day. It is a cold, frothy mixture of instant coffee, water, and optionally, milk and sugar.
Frieze: A horizontal sculptured part of an Entablature that is above the Architrave and below the Cornice.
Geometric Period: The period from 1200 - 800 B.C. is also called the Dark Age. The period is named for pottery decorated with geometric designs that was made by the ruling and warring Doric civilization.
Griffins: Mythical animals with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle. They were mainly known in Anatolia from where they passed into the Minoan, and from there to ancient Greek mythology and art.
Hellenistic Period: From 338 - 146 B.C. Greece expanded its influence over a large area. Phillip II of Macedonia began by taking over Greece and the city-states that were rundown from the many wars during the Classical Pe-riod. After his assassination, his son Alexander the Great conquered Syria, Palestine, Egypt (where he founded Al-exandria), Persia, northern Afghanistan, and northern India thus spreading "Hellenism" throughout a great area. After Alexander's death his conquered territories were divided and weakened, thus ushering in the period of Roman control.
Hexastyle Temple: Having a portico of six columns at either end.
Hippodamian System: A form of ancient city building with a grid of parallel streets and residential blocks of the same size, called insulae.
Hora: The generic name for the main town on a Greek island, regardless of the town's actual name. Therefore, nearly every island in Greece has a town called Hora.
Hyperoon: The area above the side Nave of a temple. In the Hellenistic basilica the Hyperoon was above the side Nave and the Narthex, from where the women watched the service, giving this area the name gynaikonite or women's nave.
Hypocausts: As in ancient bathhouses, installations under the floors for heating the rooms.
Icon: A religious picture painted in oil on a small wooden panel. They are venerated in the Greek Orthodox relig-ion.
Iconostasis: An altar screen or partition embellished with icons running across an entire end of a church. At first, an iconostasis was just a small wall that served as a symbolic marker of the division between the Sanctuary and the Nave, or between the heaven and the earth. Icons were placed on the small wall and eventually several rows were permanently installed, thus creating the wall seen today.
Ionic Architecture: One of the three orders of classical Greek architecture that was neither simple nor ornate.
Kafeneio: A smoky, dimly lit, male-only coffee house where men spend the day playing cards, backgammon, smoking, and drinking coffee.
Kafeteria: Today the best translation would be cafe or coffee shop. Rarely do they serve food, but Greeks manage to spend several hours at them drinking coffee, chatting with friends, and people watching.
Kastro: A castle or walled-in town.
Katholikon: The main church of a monastery.
Kore: Female statues of the Archaic period, the male versions were called Kouros.
Kouros: Statues of the Archaic period that were symmetrical stiff standing males, the female representations were called Kore.
Linear A: A script from the ancient Minoans that is similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics but that has not been deci-phered.
Linear B: A script from the ancient Mycenaean civilization that has been translated.
Meltemi: A strong wind that blows throughout the Aegean Sea in July and August. It regularly disrupts ferry schedules and sends beach equipment flying.
Metope: A slab of stone sculpted with reliefs that on a Doric frieze alternate with Triglyphs.
Meze or Mezedes: Appetizers.
Minoan Period: This period (3000 - 1100 B.C.) is named after the great Minoan civilization on Crete. Influenced by the Mesopotamians and Egyptians, the Minoans were a maritime power that had their own script similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics and later a script called Linear A that has not been translated. Their pottery, metalwork, and cities are well preserved but it is theorized the civilization declined after an enormous volcanic eruption on Santorini. The period is divided into Early (3000 - 2100 B.C.), Middle (2100 - 1500 B.C.), and Late (1500 - 1100 B.C.) phases.
Mycenaean Period: The decline of the Minoans led to the rise of the Mycenaean’s from 1900 - 1100 B.C. Their independent city-states in the Peloponnesian were characterized by palaces on fortified hilltops, they wrote in the deciphered Linear B script, and many fine examples of their gold jewellery are on display at the National Archaeo-logical Museum in Athens. Also called Achaeans, the height of their civilization was in 1300 B.C. but was in decline by 1100 B.C. with the arrival of the Dorians.
Narthex: A vestibule leading to the Nave. Also, the Portico at the west end of an early Christian basilica or church.
Nave: The areas into which the interior of a building is separated by the columns.
Necropolis: An ancient cemetery.
Neolithic Period: The period from 7000 - 3000 B.C. affected mainly the central landmass of Greece in the region known as Thessaly. The people grew crops and raised animals and by 3000 B.C. they were living in settlements with streets and houses. The most complete Neolithic settlements in Greece are found near the modern day city of Volos.
Odeion or Odeon: Ancient Greek theatre.
Omphalos: A stone at Delfi that Greeks believed marked the center of the world.
Opisthodomos: Also, the Portico at the west end of an early Christian basilica or church.
Ottoman Period: For nearly 400 years (1453 - 1829 A.D.) the Ottoman Empire controlled Greece although they continually struggled with Venice for control. In the beginning, the Greeks preferred the rule of the Ottomans to the Venetians who were ruthless subjugators but eventually they resented the rule of the Ottomans as well. It was in 1627 during a battle with the Venetians that a shell struck a gunpowder store on the Acropolis in Athens and blew it up. In the late 1700's the Russians came to Greece in an effort to expand their power base. On March 25, 1821 the Greeks began their War of Independence and the Ottoman Empire finally fell in 1829.
Ouzeri: A restaurant that serves Ouzo and light snacks. In recent times they serve a wider variety of food and are more similar to a Taverna.
Ouzo: A hard liquor unique to Greece that tastes like anise seed or black licorice. When diluted with water it changes from clear to cloudy.
Palladium: According to the myth, when the goddess Athena was still a young girl, she was brought up in the house of the god Triton whose daughter, Pallas, was as equally talented as Athena in the art of war. During a fight between the two girls, Athena killed Pallas by accident in front of Zeus. The goddess, suffering the loss of her friend, used her considerable technical ability to build the famous Palladium (a wooden statue) in the likeness of her friend. She put it under her aegis (armor plate) and described its divine honors. In art it is normally noted as a statuette depicting the goddess Athena.
Pantheon: A temple to all the gods.
Pediment: A triangular gable between a horizontal Entablature and a sloping roof.
Peribolos: Enclosed court surrounding a temple.
Periptero: A street kiosk. They are found in every city in Greece and sell everything from candy bars to stamps.
Peristyle: Columns surrounding a building or enclosing a courtyard.
Pithos: Minoan jars or vases, sometimes taller than a person, that were used for storage.
Portico: A covered, often columned area serving as a porch or entrance to a building.
Posticum: Also called Opisthodomos, a small room in the Cella of a Classical temple used as a treasury.
Pronaos: In a Classical temple, an open vestibule before the Cella. Also called Anticum.
Propylon: An enormous entrance built to protect the main artery in and out of an ancient city or sanctuary.
Psarotaverna: A Taverna specializing in fish and seafood. Usually found on or near the beach.
Psistaria: A Taverna specializing in meats grilled on a spit. Make sure you find out the price per kilo before you order as it is not always displayed and can sometimes be quite expensive.
Rebetika: Rebetika music is a type of music that is distinctly Greek yet no one knows quite where it came from. Its earliest forms could not have been sung before about 1850, but it was the refugees from Asia Minor in the 1920's who popularized it. To this day, you will see young and old people alike singing or mouthing the words to these songs when they are played in restaurants, clubs, and cafes. The word also refers to restaurants that serve traditional Greek food and have live rebetika bands.
Retsina: A cheap Greek wine made with tree resin.
Roman Period: The Romans ruled Greece from 146 B.C. - 324 A.D. when they sacked Corinth and defeated the Achaean League, a remnant of Alexander the Great's conquered territories. Mark Anthony was the first ruler and Greece flourished under Rome's influence.
Sima: This was usually only on the sides of the temple and had two main functions: it was there to hold the rain-water and it served as a decorative crowning to the building. In many temples it was also there to catch the run-off from the roof. For this purpose, it had equally spaced pipes or lion-head water spouts. On temples of the 4th cen-tury B.C., the sima had relief decorations of plants.
Stele: Vertically standing gravestones.
Stoa: A long, columned building used as a meeting place and shelter in ancient Greece that was usually in an Ag-ora.
Taverna: A small restaurant serving traditional Greek food that is generally less expensive and more authentic than a restaurant.
Telchines: According to mythology, Telchines were born of the sea and were the first ones to inhabit Rhodes. They are particularly known as metallurgists and inventive craftsmen. It is said that they were the first ones to finely work iron and bronze and made many wonderful works such as Cronus' sickle and Poseidon's trident.
Tetrastyle Temple: Having a Portico of four columns at either end.
Tholos: A tomb from Mycenaean times that is shaped like a beehive.
Trireme: An ancient Greek ship with three rows of oars on each side.
Triglyph: A decorative element of the Doric Frieze that alternates with the Metopes and is formed by three grooves, or glyphs.
War of Independence: On March 25, 1821 the Greeks began their War of Independence from the Venetians, Russians, and primarily from the Ottomans. They proclaimed independence in 1822 but spent several years in a civil war among themselves and eventually reached peace in 1827. Greece's first elected president was assassi-nated and in the ensuing power vacuum Britain, France, and Russia stepped in and declared the new country a monarchy and placed 17 year old Price Otto of Bavaria on the throne. In modern Greece, the War of Independence is still fresh in the collective mind and serves as the base for several national holidays.
Zaharoplasteio: A shop that sells sweets, desserts, chocolate, and cakes. A bakery is not an accurate description as they do not sell things like croissants or bread. Some have seating areas where you can buy drinks and eat your desserts.
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