I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.

"Regarding the overhaul to the setup of the blog: I only have one item that I'm concerned about, and that's the fact that all posts appear to be undated now. I liked having dates, as it makes it easier to cite entries on this blog as sources for academic purposes. Can we have the dates back, please? :)"

So, I hadn't even noticed that! Thank you for pointing it out! It's back now, in the bottom beam, next to the share buttons, above the labels. I'm still tweaking things, by the way, on the new lay-out. Nothing major but still. If you notice something amiss or missing, let me know!


"I was curious if there was a specific reason that milk wasn't drunk by the Ancient Greeks?"

Mostly, the ancient Hellenes considered anything their non-Greek speaking neigbours did 'barbaric'--and their neighboors drank milk. Peasants drank milk--because hey, precious food--but most likely they used most of the milk they got from their sheep, cows, and goats to make cheese. It's an old custom to link milk to barbarism, by the way. It's already in Hómēros' 'Odysseia' in which the cyclops that tried to eat Odysseus and his crew drank milk:

"He curdled half the milk and set it aside in wicker strainers, but the other half he poured into bowls that he might drink it for his supper." [IX]

This observation follows after it's minutely detailed how the crew ate only cheese and sacrificed only cheese as well. Speaking of sacrifice: milk was also an oft-given gift to the dead. We, generally speaking, avoid eating things we associate with the dead to avoid miasma. So cheese is fine, yoghurt is fine, but milk is not.


"Can I be a Hellenic Polytheist if I worship just a few Olympian gods, and two of them aren't Zeus and Hera? I mean... I don't want to be disrespectful to any of the Theoi, is just that I don't feel a connection with the 12 (and Poseidon kind of scares me) but if worship all the Olympians is the 'right' thing to do, I will do it the best I could. Sorry if my doubts are dumb, i'm new in this."

There are no dumb questions, I promise. Okay, so, short answer: yes, technically, you can be an Hellenic Polytheist as long as you worship more than one Hellenic God. 'Recon' is out but 'Polytheist' would still work. This is technically. Personally, I feel anyone who wishes to call themselves an Hellenic Polytheist needs to understand that the Theoi come as a package deal, a family, a world ecompassing whole that cannot function if a piece is missing.

Roughly divided, all our Gods and heroes (who were often raised up to become Gods in their own right) fit into five generational categories. These are the:
  • Protogenoi
  • Uranides
  • Titanes
  • Olympic Gods
  • Heroes/deified mortals
The Protogenoi are the Gods from which the universe is made. They are Gods like Khaos, Gaia, Ouranos, and Nyx. In general, these Theoi are more abstract and less defined than, say, the Olympians. They are cruder, more powerful Gods who, together, form the tapistry of earth and life. We simply could not live without Them as They are the air we breath, the earth we walk on, the water we drink and the death that eventually lays us to rest. and yet, neither we, nor the ancient Hellenes revered them often. They are distant and hav very little to do with the individual's lifecycle.

The Uranides formed the world created by the Protogenoi into the world we know now. They are the children of the Protogenoi and They are in charge of  more specific domains. They give us the constellations, intellect, light, memory, navigation, and many other things without which we simply would not be able to live the life we live. Like the Protogenoi, these Gods make up the tapestry of the universe and did not recieve much direct worship in state festivals.

The Titanes are Gods with whom we are more familiar. They are Helios, Hekate, Lêtô, Selênê and many others. This is the first generation of Gods we are more familiar with by name than function--and also the first generation whose names don't always directly relate to the domains they are familiar with, although we know them through mythology. Lêtô, for example, is identified as the Goddess of motherhood and protectress of the young while we mostly know her as mother of Apollon and Artemis. These Gods often times--but not always--recieved individual worship and were sometimes included in state festivals. They feature in mythology and possess well-rounded personalities that we know (unlike, say, the Protogenoi).

We all know the Olympic Gods. They are the Gods we worship most. They are also the sole 'generation' of Gods who span two generations: they are the children of the Uranides (like the Titanes), and the children of the Olympians. Zeus and His brothers and sisters for example, were born from Rhea and Kronos (both Uranides), but Their children (Hēphaistos, Artemis, Apollon, etc.) are also counted amongst the Olympians. In general, if a Gods is said to reside on Mount Olympos, They are known as an Olympic God. Alternatively--or perhaps erroneously--the Olpmpic Gods are interpreted to be solely the Dodekatheon, the Twelve Olympians who ruled over humanity and the Gods from the top of the mountain. The most canonical version of the Dodekatheon is: Aphrodite, Apollon, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Hēphaistos, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Poseidon, and Zeus. Theoi who were held in high regard in a certain city-state would have held the thrones, according to the people who lived in that city-state, and many different Gods have been counted amongst the Dodekatheon over the centuries. Needless to say, most (state) worship in ancient times focussed on the Olympians.

The heroes of Hellenismos recieve(d) quite a bit of worship. Many heroes were local ones, but we have all heard of Hēraklēs, of Perseus and Theseus, of Atalanta and Odysseus. These heroes represent the most powerful, most virtuoes of all humans and teach us the qualities the Theoi enjoy seeing in us. Many of these heroes were fathered (and sometimes mothered) by the divine and they are thus part of the divine line. In fact, the heroes can be counted amongst the Olympians.

While the main body of our worship focusses on the Olympians, the Olympians did not come to power in a vacuum. The Old Gods presided over the building blocks of the previous generation, like the Olypmians preside over the building blocks of all three. Looking over the list, it's easy to trace the domains of the Olympians back to their predecessors--or even the God or Goddess They hold sway over directly. While the Olympian generation of Gods rule our daily lives, They operate in the framework of the Titans, the Uranides and the Protogenoi. These intricate lines built a web that is of vital importance to see in order to understand not only Hellenic mythology but also the Gods themselves.
Hellenic Recons (and a portion of Hellenic Polytheists) are aware of these generations and they can trace familial lines of influence down through the generations of the Gods. They understand that all Gods play a vital role in the tapestry of the world and that they need to be revered alongside Their brothers, sisters, parents, and sometimes even Their children.

Seeing the Gods as separate from each other like we often do in modern Paganism would not even have occurred to the ancient Hellenes. They did not see themselves separate from their spouse, their children, their parents, their cousins, etc., so why would they think of the Gods that way?

That said, not every God needs to be worshipped daily. The cycle of festivals provided enough moments to honour all major Gods throughout the year, after all. every household focussed on those Gods that were inportant to their family, either through (percieved) geneology, experience, or practical matters like making a living. A soldier would pay regular homage to Ares and Athena, a blacksmith to Hephaistos, and so on. But even if they only paid homage to Asklepios during His festivals, they would go to His temple to pray in case someone fell ill. If a sea voyage was in the cards, the family would pay tribute to Poseidoneven if they never sacrificed to Him during household worship.

I don't know if the ancient Hellenes thought any Ouranic God was frightening. I doubt it. All of the Gods were revered with respect and proper etiuette so as not to upset Them. That's simply good form when drawing the attention of someone a lot more powerful than you onto yourself.

So, that's the long answer: yes, you can, but I can't think of a reason why you would want to if you truly wish to commit to the ancient Hellenic Gods.