Core Vocab

Key Greek Terms Tracked in HeroesX and Kosmos Society

These are the key words for each Hour together with other Core Vocabulary terms, as listed in Gregory Nagy’s The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours[1] and the associated Sourcebook[2]. For Kosmos Society we have also prepared a version with the Greek included and three further words that are tracked.

Additional Greek terms from H24H

Additional Words – v1 – 2016-11-16 (PDF)

In addition, this community-generated PDF file includes a list of many other Greek terms from the focus passages or which are mentioned in the discussion in H24H. It is not a comprehensive index to these terms but indicates the first or main occurrence of the term, and where applicable different ways the terms are translated.

List of Core Vocabulary Greek terms tracked in HeroesX and Kosmos Society, with links

You can find selected examples for some of these terms: links are provided in the list below where there are guest posts (viewable by everyone) and/or to Forum threads (available to community members) in which there are continued discussions about passages that provide examples of these terms.

Depending on context, adjectives in -os (masculine), may be given with other endings: (feminine), -on (neuter), -oi (masculine plural), -ai (feminine plural), -a (neuter plural).


agathos [ἀγαθός] ‘good, noble’—discussion thread

agōn [ἀγών], plural agōnes [ἀγῶνες] ‘coming together; competition (antagonism); ordeal (agony); bringing together, assembly’—discussion thread

agorā [ἀγορά], plural agorai [ἀγοραί] ‘public assembly, place of public assembly’—discussion thread

aidōs [αἰδώς] ‘shame, sense of shame; sense of respect for others; honorableness; modesty’—discussion thread

ainos [αἶνος] ‘authoritative utterance for and by a social group; praise; fable’; ainigma [αἴνιγμα] ‘riddle’—guest postdiscussion thread

aitios [αἴτιος] ‘responsible, guilty’; aitiā ‘responsibility, guilt; cause, case’—guest post | discussion thread

akhos [ἄχος] ‘grief, public expression of grief by way of lamentation or keening; sorrow (synonym of penthos)’—discussion thread

alēthēs [ἀληθής] (adjective) ‘true, true things’; alētheia [ἀλήθεια] (noun) ‘truth’—guest post | discussion thread

aphthitos [ἄφθιτος] ‘imperishable, unfailing, unwilting’—discussion thread

aretē [ἀρετή] ‘striving for a noble goal, for high ideals; noble goal, high ideals, merit’—guest post | discussion thread

aristos [ἄριστος] ‘best’, superlative of agathos [ἀγαθός]; aristeiā [ἀριστεία]: designates the hero’s great epic moments that demonstrate his being aristos

atē [ἄτη], plural atai [ἆται] ‘aberration, derangement, veering off-course; disaster; punishment for disaster’—discussion thread

āthlos / (aethlos) [ἆθλος/ἄεθλος] ‘contest, ordeal; competition; prize’; āthlētēs [ἀθλητής] ‘athlete’—guest post | discussion thread

biā [βία] (biē [βίη] in the language of Homeric poetry) ‘force, violence’—guest post | discussion thread

daimōn [δαίμων], plural daimones [δαίμονες] ‘superhuman force (= unspecified god or hero) intervening in human life’—discussion threadeudaimoniā ‘state of being blessed with a good daimōn

daimonion [δαιμόνιον] ‘a superhuman thing’—discussion thread

dēmos [δῆμος], plural dēmoi [δῆμοι] ‘district, population of a district; community, locale’

dikē [δίκη], plural dikai [δίκαι] ‘judgment (short-range); justice (long-range)’; dikaios ‘just’—discussion thread

ekhthros [ἐχθρός] ‘enemy [within the community], non-philos’—guest post | discussion thread

epos [ἔπος], plural epea [ἔπεα] ‘word(s) said, utterance, poetic utterance’

eris [ἔρις] ‘strife, conflict, competition’—guest post | discussion thread

esthlos [ἐσθλός] ‘genuine, good, noble’; synonym of agathosguest post

eudaimoniā See daimōn

genos [γένος] ‘stock (“breeding”); generating [of something or someone]; generation’

hērōs [ἥρως], plural hērōes [ἥρωες] ‘hero’—discussion thread (Homeric usage)

hēsukhos [ἥσυχος] ‘serene’; hēsukhiā [ἡσυχία] ‘state of being hēsukhos’—guest post | discussion thread

hieros [ἱερός] ‘sacred, holy’

hōrā [ὥρα], plural hōrai [ὧραι] ‘season, seasonality, the right time, the perfect time; beauty’—discussion thread

hubris [ὕβρις] ‘outrage’; the opposite of dikē [δίκη] —guest post | discussion thread

kakos [κακός] ‘bad, evil, base, worthless, ignoble’; kakotēs [κακότης] ‘state of being kakos; debasement’

kamatos [κάματος] ‘ordeal, labor, pain’

kerdos [κέρδος], plural kerdea [κέρδεα] ‘gain, profit; desire for gain; craft employed for gain; craftiness; craft’—guest post | discussion thread

kharis [χάρις], plural kharites [χάριτες] ‘reciprocity, give-and-take, reciprocal relationship; initiation of reciprocal relationship; the pleasure or beauty derived from reciprocity, from a reciprocal relationship; gratification; grace, gracefulness; favor, favorableness; gratitude; for the sake of’—guest post 1 | discussion thread 1 | guest post 2 | discussion thread 2

khoros [χορός] ‘chorus’ = ‘group of singers/dancers’—guest post | discussion thread

kleos [κλέος], plural klea [κλέα] ‘glory, fame (especially as conferred by poetry or song); that which is heard’—discussion thread

kolōnos [κολωνός] ‘tumulus, elevation in a local landscape’—discussion thread

koros [κόρος] ‘being satiated; being insatiable’—guest post | discussion thread

kosmos [κόσμος] ‘arrangement, order, law and order, the social order, the universal order; cosmic order, orderliness of costume, hairdo; orderliness of group or society, of cosmos, of song; ritual adornments’—guest post | discussion thread

krinein [κρίνειν] ‘sort out, separate, decide, judge, make distinctions, interpret’—discussion thread     krisis

lyssa (or, more accurately, lussa) [λύσσα] ‘rage, fury, frenzy’. This word is related to lykos ‘wolf’ (or, more accurately, lukos) [λύκος]; so the image is one of wolf-like rage.—discussion thread

mantis [μάντις] ‘seer, prophet’—guest post

memnēmai [μέμνημαι] ‘I remember, I have total recall’—discussion thread

mēnis [μῆνις] ‘superhuman anger, cosmic sanction’—guest post | discussion thread

menos [μένος] ‘power, life-force, activation’ (divinely infused into cosmic forces, like fire and wind, or into heroes); a partial synonym of thūmos; a partial synonym of mēnis—guest post | discussion thread

mētis [μῆτις] ‘artifice, stratagem, cunning intelligence’—guest post | discussion thread

miasma [μίασμα], ‘pollution’; verb miainein [μιαίνειν], ‘to pollute’—discussion thread

moira [μοῖρα], plural moirai [μοῖραι] ‘portion; portion of meat divided at a sacrifice; lot in life, fate, destiny’—guest post | discussion thread

mūthos [μῦθος] ‘special speech; special utterance; myth; words, wording, something said for the record’

nemesis [νέμεσις] indicates the process whereby everyone gets what he or she deserves—guest post | discussion thread

nēpios [νήπιος], plural nēpioi [νήπιοι] ‘disconnected’ (the disconnection can be mental, moral, or emotional); on this meaning, see Edmunds 1990—guest post | discussion thread

nomos [νόμος], plural nomoi [νόμοι] ‘local custom; customary law; law’—see also Open House

noos [νόος] ‘mind, thinking; perception; intuition; consciousness’; also, this word stands for the principle that reintegrates thūmos [θυμός] (or menos [μένος]) and psūkhē [ψυχή] after death—discussion thread

nostos [νόστος] ‘return, homecoming; song about homecoming; return to light and life’—discussion thread

oikos [οἶκος] ‘house, dwelling, abode; resting place of cult hero; family line’; verb oikeîn [οἰκεῖν] ‘have a dwelling’—guest post | discussion thread

olbios [ὄλβιος] ‘blessed, blissful; fortunate’; olbos [ὄλβος] ‘bliss’ (ordinarily pictured as material security)—discussion thread

paskhein [πάσχειν] ‘suffer, experience, be treated [badly or well]’; pathos [πάθος] ‘suffering, experience’—guest post | discussion thread

penthos [πένθος] ‘grief, public expression of grief by way of lamentation or keening’—discussion thread

philos [φίλος] ‘friend’ (noun); ‘dear, near-and-dear, belonging to self’ (adjective); philotēs [φιλότης] or philiā [φιλία] ‘the state of being philos’—guest post | discussion thread

phrēn [φρήν], plural phrenes [φρένες]: physical localization of the thūmos [θυμός]—guest post | discussion thread

polis [πόλις] ‘city, city-state’

ponos [πόνος] ‘ordeal, labor, pain’—guest post | discussion thread

pontos [πόντος] ‘sea’ (‘crossing’)

pothos [πόθος] ‘longing, yearning, desire’; a variant form is pothē [ποθή], with the same meaning; the verb derived from this noun is potheîn [ποθεῖν] ‘long for, yearn for, desire’—discussion thread

psūkhē [ψυχή], plural psūkhai [ψυχαί]: synonym of thūmos [θυμός] (or menos [μένος]) at the moment of death; essence of life while one is alive; conveyor of identity while one is dead—discussion thread

sēma [σῆμα], plural sēmata [σήματα] ‘sign, signal, symbol; tomb’—discussion thread;

sēmainein [σημαίνειν] (verb) ‘mean something, indicate something by way of a sēma’—discussion thread

sophos [σοφός] ‘skilled, skilled in understanding special language’; sophiā [σοφία] ‘being sophos’guest post | discussion thread

sōphrōn [σώφρων] ‘moderate, balanced, with equilibrium’; sōphrosunē [σωφροσύνη] ‘being sōphrōn’—guest post | discussion thread

sōtēr [σωτήρ] ‘savior’ (either ‘bringing to safety’ or, mystically, ‘bringing back to life’); sōtēriā [σωτηρία] ‘safety, salvation’; sōzein [σώζειν] (verb) ‘save; be a sōtēr (for someone)’—discussion thread

stasis [στάσις] ‘division in a group; strife; division [= part of an organization, like a chorus]; dancing pose’

telos [τέλος] ‘end, ending, final moment; goal, completion, fulfillment; coming full circle, rounding out; successfully passing through an ordeal; initiation; ritual, rite’—discussion thread

themis [θέμις], plural themistes [θέμιστες] ‘something divinely ordained or cosmically ordained; cosmic law’—see also Open House

theōriā [θεωρία], ‘sacred journey; ritualized journey undertaken for the purpose of achieving a sacralized vision’—discussion thread

therapōn [θεράπων], plural therapontes [θεράποντες] ‘attendant; ritual substitute’—discussion thread

thūmos [θυμός] ‘heart, spirit’ (designates realm of consciousness, of rational and emotional functions); depending on context can be translated as either ‘mind’ (thinking) or ‘heart’ (feeling)’—guest post | discussion thread

tīmē [τιμή], plural tīmai [τιμαί] ‘honor; honor paid to a superhuman force by way of cult’—discussion thread

turannos [τύραννος], plural turannoi [τύραννοι] (Lydian word for ‘king’): ‘king’ (from the viewpoint of most Greek dynasties); ‘unconstitutional ruler’ (from the viewpoint of Greek democracy)—guest post | discussion thread

xenos [ξένος], plural xenoi [ξένοι] ‘stranger who should be treated like a guest by a host, or like a host by a guest; foreigner; xeniā [ξενία] ‘reciprocal relationship between xenoi’; when the rules of xeniā do not work, a xenos risks defaulting to the status of simply stranger—guest post | discussion thread

Additional key words tracked

deinos [δεινός]’awful, terrible, awesome’—guest post

makar [μάκαρ] ‘blessed’—guest post

pēma [πῆμα], plural pēmata [πήματα] ‘pain’


[1] Nagy, Gregory. 2013. The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013

[2] Sourcebook: The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours Sourcebook of Original Greek Texts Translated into English, Gregory Nagy, General Editor.