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What Is Hellenic?

At the National Hellenic Museum, you can explore Greek heritage and ideals represented within our exhibits, programs, and collections.




The word “Hellenism” is derived from the Greek word “Ellinismos” (ελληνισμός). In Greek, Ellinismos is used to describe the people of Greek lineage and also to describe a set of values for living that was invented by the ancient Greeks. These values became the basis of Western civilization, as we know it today. First appearing in English as Hellenism in 1609, the word came to represent all things related to Greece, including a body of humanistic and classical ideals associated with ancient Greece that includes reason, the pursuit of knowledge and the arts, moderation, and civic responsibility.


Hellenic is a synonym for the word Greek.
It means: of or pertaining to Greece, its people, language and culture. Dating back to Homer’s time, it is derived from Hellen, grandson of Prometheus, and mythical founder and progenitor of the Greeks, who were named Hellenes in his honor.


Hellas is the Greek name for Greece.


The Hellenic World is a cultural rather than geographical concept, it refers to the period of ancient Greek history between the first democracy in Athens (507 BC) and the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC), an era when the foundations of modern science, arts, and politics were laid. The term is often used today to describe a global community of people of Greek heritage, who live throughout the world, but are connected by history, heritage, and traditions.


Hellenistic World means: of or relating to Greek history, language, and culture from the death of Alexander the Great to the defeat of Cleopatra and Mark Antony in 31 BC. During this period Greek culture spread throughout the Mediterranean and into the Near East and Asia, centering in Alexandria, Egypt, and Pergamum, Turkey.