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Dodekatheism

By Elani Temperance

The Greek word ‘Dodekatheism’ broadly translates as ‘the worship of the twelve Gods’. It is used to indicate either the entire movement of Hellenic Reconstruction, or solely to indicate a movement within Hellenic Reconstruction that focusses on the worship of The Twelve Olympians–usually consisting of Zeus, Hera, Athena, Hēphaistos, Hestia, Aphrodite, Poseidon, Ares, Demeter, Hermes, Artemis, and Apollon–with Dionysos (usually as a replacement for Hestia), and Hades, tagged on.

When used to indicate the entire movement of Hellenic Reconstruction, it is seen as an alternative to the terms ‘Hellenismos’, ‘Hellenic Recon’, and ‘Hellenism’. ‘Hellenismos’ is a word coined by the Emperor Julian in the 4th century AD. He was the first to group the entire religion of ancient Hellas into one label, the ‘Hellenic way’, which, at the time, encapsulated pre-Christian religion and the legacy of Hellenic philosophy and culture. In modern Greek, the term translates roughly as ‘Hellenism, the Greek nation.’, which makes it a good term but not necessarily the most accurate. As it focusses on the Greek nation, it not only does not limit the practice to ancient Hellas, it also doesn’t refer to religion in a direct manner, and has a certain ethnical ring to it that might exclude those who are not born in modern day Greece or who cannot trace back their lineage to ancient Hellas.

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