Talk:Names of the Greeks

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Graikes and Hellenes[edit]

In this article the sources (references) are so false that after discovering how false are the references 21, 22 and 28 (even Aristotle and the Republic??????? Who are you, people?) I gave up reading. Then: an absolute salad and nonsense which concerns fiddling with the word Hellenes and Greeks… How can somebody produce something like this? Who wrote all that rubbish, please? Why do you do this?Draganparis (talk) 13:20, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

And your constructive contribution to improving this article is...? Constantine 13:46, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
Sincerely, I do not know. Long time ago I said what I thought at Wikipedia talk:No original research/Archive 36
Look this: “The Greek tribes quickly noticed that they did not speak the same tongue as their neighbors, and used the term "βάρβαρος" ("barbarian") for them, with the meanings "uncultured", "uncivilized" or "speaker of a foreign language".
Quickly noticed??? How quickly? When they arrived, and then, the day after?
If you, as probably Greek, can watch how “Aristotle wrote the Republic” and watch me calling “vandalism” - while calmly enjoying your drink - I will not do much here. Or, who knows. When Wikipedia change its policy of not respecting expert knowledge, and when such a system will be introduced, may be, I will do something to help. For the time being I wrote my last contribution on Cyril and Methodius and in Alexander the Great and I am waiting that some “Googwik” calls me now all the names that he/she can think about while YOU the EDITORS (not you personally) watch. I will then make again one year brake and come back to see whether vandalism is still in full swing.Draganparis (talk) 20:42, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
Well, you do presumably know that Wikipedia is written mostly by voluntary amateurs (me included)? So the way this project works is, if you find something that is not right, you fix it. Merely making dismissive comments and lamenting the poor quality of content, sourcing etc does not make any difference to the quality of this article (which indeed leaves a lot to be desired). Alas, there are many people both inside and outside WP who go around constantly complaining about it, but do not dedicate even 1 minute of their time to improve it (I do not mean you here, but I have come across this attitude way too often, so please forgive the bitterness). At the risk of sounding offensive, "put your money where your mouth is". You are free to rewrite this article in its entirety, if you see fit, so go ahead, remove "quickly", correct the reference to the Republic, and improve/correct the article in any way you see fit. Regards, Constantine 21:54, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks and excuse me...I get quite bitter sometime, although with good reason. I will se what could be done. First only minimal improvements,may be mor later.Draganparis (talk) 08:50, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

The best source (better even than Aristoteles) on the matter of the renaming of the Graecoi to Hellenes is the Parian marble. A hellenistic relic found on Paros with an engraved chronological list of Graecian events and reads :

"From when Hellen the [son of] Deuc[alion] became king of [Phthi]otis, and those previously called Greeks were named Hellenes, and [the Panath__ games____], 1257 [years], when Amphictyon was king of Athens. " (, entry nr 6.)

Another source consist Alcman and Sophocles who wrote before Aristoteles about the "Graikes mothers of the Hellenes". These references are usually regarded as a sign of this namechange (see also Margalit Finkelberg, Greeks and Pre-Greeks,Aegean Prehistory and Greek Heroic Tradition, p.104)

I hope I have helped you. GK1973 (talk) 17:02, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

The Parian Marble is a 3rd-century chronicle of legendary events. It is a primary source and cannot be taken literally as 'historical truth'. For that matter, neither can Aristotle and Plato. If you read Finkelberg carefully, you will see that she does not say that the Greeks' name 'changed' from Graikoi to Hellenes. She says (in a footnote) that the Graikoi were a "northern Hellenic tribe that gave the Hellenes their Roman designation 'Greeks'"; she also reports that Aristotle (and other ancient sources) "held the two peoples to be identical", but she does not interpret this as literal history. --macrakis (talk) 20:41, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

...First, the Parian marble is not about "legendary events" but about history as perceived in the 3rd century BC. You can see for yourself that it is meant by its author to precisely date events, of which "mythological" (for us) can only be characterized those of prehistory, events which for these people were history, not mythology. It surely consists the most tangible evidence that the Greeks of the Hellenistic times believed that their name was "Graikoi" in the far past before they changed it to Hellenes. The fact that it is a primary source makes it all the better.

Now about Finkelberg :

" This compares well with the case of the Graikoi, a northern Hellenic tribe that gave the Hellenes their Roman designation as "Greeks". Aristotle actually held the two peoples to be identical, saying that the Graikoi changed their name to Hellenes and this is repeated in other sources. Alcman, the seventh and Sophocles in the fifth century BC styled the Graikes as "the mothers of the Hellenes". According to the interpretation proposed by Martin West this "suggests a myth that men of the Hellenes married women of the Graikoi. Arist. Meteor 352b1-2, Alcman fr. 155 Page, Soph. fr. 518, Apollod. 1.7-3, West 1985 54, Helmes 1998:6 and passim."

Finkelberg does not take any position (I should have been more precise with the reason I quoted her, it was regarding the existence and not the acceptance of the myth in question), she just gives sources regarding the specific "myth" and states M. West's interpretation that it may imply an intermarriage. Should we interpret it as literal history? Maybe it was so, maybe it was not. What is there about what we call mythology that we consider "literal history"? Even the names "Danaans", "Achaeans" and "Argives" are given in quasi-mythical texts... Yet, all suppositions we make on the prehistory of ancient Greeks are characterized by this uncertainty. What is sure, the myth existed among the Greeks and it seems to have been pretty much accepted. That is all that is needed in this article. Not some impossible historical certainty. If I understand well, it is not the existence of the legend you are disputing but the possibility of it being true? I guess that talking about prehistory, a legend is as sound as this might get.

I will also quote Apollodorus here :

[1.7.3] Hellen had Dorus, Xuthus, and Aeolus by a nymph Orseis. Those who were called Greeks he named Hellenes after himself and divided the country among his sons.

The reason I gave these sources was because I thought that the editor mainly responsible for this article might make use of them. I won't be editing here soon.

GK1973 (talk) 09:32, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Re: "the Parian marble is not about 'legendary events' but about history as perceived in the 3rd century BC." Well, I agree that it is about "history as perceived in the 3rd century BC"; and I think it's fair to call most of that 'legendary' (most modern sources do), but whatever, the terminology isn't critical. Of course we can't have historical certainty about many things. And it is evidence that "the Greeks of the Hellenistic times [or at least some of them] believed that their name was 'Graikoi' in the far past before they changed it to Hellenes". But it is not clear or direct evidence that their name was Graikoi. As for primary vs. secondary sources, obviously primary sources are the foundation of all scholarship. However, Wikipedia is explicitly designed as a tertiary reference, not making its own inferences from primary sources, but relying on reliable secondary sources for interpretation. --macrakis (talk) 15:42, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

I think you are generalizing... Without disagreeing as to the need to back primary sources with modern ones, I have to disagree with your opinion about the history as perceived back then. The ancient Greeks were especially meticulous in their historical pursuits, so their history is not considered legend, unless we are talking about prehistory (as is the case here regarding the "Graikoi"). Most modern sources do not call most of written Greek history legendary... We base our history based on those very writings. Archaeology comes second, to prove what is written, when and where possible. Anyways, I think that you may believe that the Parian Marble is about the age of Deucalion or the Troyan War, but it is not. Most is about information from the 5th, 4th and 3rd century and is distinctly historic in nature. This serves as an example of how the Greeks considered parts of what we nowadays call mythology to have been real tangible events... Again this serves not to claim that modern sources should not be provided, I just found your argument that "it is about "history as perceived in the 3rd century BC"; and I think it's fair to call most of that 'legendary' (most modern sources do)" strange. If taken verbatim, it means that Arrian and Polybius are just story tellers... GK1973 (talk) 17:21, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Sure, the recent parts of the Parian marble are doubtless more reliable than the older parts; the "legendary" parts are the older parts. Then again, even the recent parts need (like all historical sources) to be treated critically; apparently the Parian marble doesn't even agree with Diodorus on some points of then-recent chronology. --macrakis (talk) 18:53, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

If we so much desire scepticism on a name that probably emerged in the bronze age, then we have much more to criticize in modern scholarship than people in the 3rd century BC. The reason I checked this article today, is because yesterday I was reading Bonfante (1941:7) who completely missed key points on the name of the Greeks. He made instead absurd and baseless assumptions that were misleading, making the reader to believe that the Romans were confused (calling the Hellenes, Greeks) and that Greeks were not Hellenic people at all. In that sense, I prefer to stick with the Parian marble and the beliefs of people living closer to the events of this naming. Besides, nobody ever claimed a proven fact of the transition of Graecoi -> Hellenes, so including this ancient belief in the article is better than making people wonder. Fkitselis (talk)

In the introduction it is still being said that Greeks was a name used for the Hellenes in Latin by the Romans. Surely it was also used by Homer, Aristotle and the Parian Marble as already noted. Perhaps the introduction should be updated. I have not read Bonfante, nonetheless I think we must not assume that whoever first bore the name of Greeks was a people speaking an IE language. There is, surprisingly, nothing on etymology. [User:Skamnelis|Skamnelis]] (talk) 13:20, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Linguistic approach of the term Hellas -> Hellenes[edit]

I am surprised nobody mentioned the myth of Deucalion and Pyrrha who were throwing the stones after the deludge:

Apollodorus, 1.7.2

And at the bidding of Zeus he took up stones and threw them over his head, and the stones which Deucalion threw became men, and the stones which Pyrrha threw became women. Hence people were called metaphorically people (laos) from laas, “a stone.”

According to A. Nikolaev the term has an Indo-European Etymology:

If you're OK with this view I can edit the article appropriately.Fkitselis (talk) 13:50, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Lawagos and Lawagetas seem non-IE. What then connects lawos with laas and, finally and more importantly, with Hellene? Etymological attempts by ancient authors are hardly scientific. The etymology of Hellene is uncertain but if related to Seloi (as claimed by Aristotle), then it may have a similar relation to them as that which Helena has to Selana and Selas, which would make it IE. With reference to previous authors, Strabo writes, chapter VII:
Whether we should read Helli, with Pindar, or Selli, as it is conjectured the word existed in Homer, the ambiguity of the writing does not permit us to affirm confidently. Philochorus says, that the country about Dodona was called, like Eubœa, Hellopia; for these are the words of Hesiod, “‘There is a country Hellopia, rich in corn-fields and pastures; at its extremity is built Dodona.’”.
The passage is suggestive of a situation similar to Helena vs Selana/Selas. Skamnelis (talk) 13:31, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

dubious-discuss tag may be removed?[edit]

The phrase 'Argives is an annotation drawn from the capital the Achaeans,[dubious – discuss] Argos' was indeed dubious, if not outright wrong, since Argos was not a capital in the modern sense of of the word, but the most important/hegemonic city among a number of independant cities. I changed it into 'Argives is ... from the most prominent city of the Achaeans...'. If all are pleased with this rendering, please remove the dubious tag (I will not remove it myself, because I think that it's the tagger's role to judge if the phrase is no longer dubious). (talk)xzar —Preceding undated comment added 10:49, 10 January 2012 (UTC).

Repetitive Wiki links[edit]

The issue of repeat Wiki links and over-Wikifying is significant here. I will be able to tackle some of it.--Soulparadox 13:23, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Sourced text deleted in the Romans (Ρωμαίοι) section[edit]

The user has deleted the following lines I wrote:

[1] "Byzanz ist das christlich gewordene Römerreich griechischer Nation." "in Staat und Gesellschaft des Byzantinischen Reiches", p. 364
 [2] "History of the Langobards" by Paul the Deacon, University of Pennsylvania (1906), pp.59, 78, 113, 200, 223, 225, 226
  • Norsemen clearly perceived the Byzantine Greek Empire as Grikkland (Greece) and its inhabitants as Grikk(j)ar (Greeks), and so it can be seen engraved in the Greece runestones.

His excuse: "Welcome to Wikipedia. We welcome and appreciate your contributions, including your edits to Names of the Greeks, but we cannot accept original research. Original research also encompasses combining published sources in a way to imply something that none of them explicitly say. Please be prepared to cite a reliable source for all of your contributions. Thank you. Fut.Perf. ☼ 13:30, 7 July 2012 (UTC)" (By the way, he's been following me and deleting everything of similar nature I write. What should I do about that?)

I do not think I did anything wrong. So, please, help me. Are there any unreliable sources cited? Is there any original research used contrary to the rules? UniversalPelasgian (talk) 21:23, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Hellenes Etymology[edit]

"There is currently no satisfactory etymology for the name Hellenes." -From the article. Reading the talk page, above, I read that Graikoi became Hellene. My hypothesis is: Did Graikoi become Hellene after adding El the Hellenic Pantheon? Zeus, Deucalion, and Pyrrha gave birth to the original Hellenes. In Aramaic, what does Hellene/El-en/El-in/El-ene/El-ine mean? "El, the/of X."? (talk) 03:03, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

removing POV tag with no active discussion per Template:POV[edit]

I've removed an old neutrality tag from this page that appears to have no active discussion per the instructions at Template:POV:

This template is not meant to be a permanent resident on any article. Remove this template whenever:
  1. There is consensus on the talkpage or the NPOV Noticeboard that the issue has been resolved
  2. It is not clear what the neutrality issue is, and no satisfactory explanation has been given
  3. In the absence of any discussion, or if the discussion has become dormant.

Since there's no evidence of ongoing discussion, I'm removing the tag for now. If discussion is continuing and I've failed to see it, however, please feel free to restore the template and continue to address the issues. Thanks to everybody working on this one! -- Khazar2 (talk) 04:34, 27 June 2013 (UTC)


"The Greeks (Greek: Έλληνες) have been identified by many ethnonyms." Speling12345 (talk) 7:56, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Winnifrith & Murray 1983, p. 113; Heisenberg, Kromayer & von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1923, "Staat und Gesellschaft des Byzantinischen Reiches", p. 364: "Byzanz ist das christlich gewordene Römerreich griechischer Nation."
  2. ^ Paul the Deacon (1906). History of the Langobards. Philadelphia: University Of Pennsylvania. pp. 59, 78, 113, 200, 223, 225, 226.