In Greek mythology, Hellen (//; Ancient Greek: Ἕλλην Hellēn means "bright") was the progenitor of the Hellenes (Ἕλληνες). His name is also another name for Greek, meaning a person of Greek descent or pertaining to Greek culture, and the source of the adjective "Hellenic".
Hellen was the son of Deucalion (or sometimes Zeus) and Pyrrha, and was the brother of Amphictyon. By the nymph Orseis he became the father of three sons: Aeolus, Xuthus, and Dorus and a daughter Xenopatra.
According to the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, his sons were themselves progenitors of primary tribes of Greece: Aeolus the Aeolians, Dorus the Dorians, and Xuthus the Achaeans and Ionians through his sons Achaeus and Ion.
According to Thucydides, Hellen's descendants conquered the Greek area of Phthia and subsequently spread their rule to other Greek cities. The people of those areas came to be called Hellenes, after the name of their ancestor. The ethnonym Hellenes dates back to the time of Homer. In the Iliad, "Hellas" (Ἑλλάς) and "Hellenes" were names of the tribe (also called "Myrmidones") settled in Phthia, led by Achilles.
Genealogy of Hellenes
- Hesiod, Catalogue of Women from Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica translated by Evelyn-White, H G. Loeb Classical Library Volume 57. London: William Heinemann, 1914. Online version at theio.com
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
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