Where Does the Name “Greece” Come From?

Did you know that “Greece” is not the real name for Greece? The real name, used by Greeks is very different. Greeks call their country Hellas or Hellada (in Greek “ΕΛΛΑΣ”). Actually, in Europe, only Norwegians use the original term Hellas. So where does the word “Greece” come from?

The word “Greek”, comes from the latin Graecus which in turn comes from Grekos (in Greek ΓΡΑΙΚΟΣ). The Greki (in Greek ΓΡΑΙΚΟΙ) where a Hellenic tribe from Viotia, a region in central Greece north of Athens. The Greki colonised south Italy in the 8th century BC. The word seems to have been picked up by those interacting with the Greki. After centuries the name was popularised by the Romans to refer to anyone that was of Hellenic origin.

In the Iliad, Homer, when describing the naval forces of Viotia refers to the city of Grea (in Greek ΓΡΑΙΑ). Historian and Geograph Pausanias, mentions that that Grea was the shortened name of the ancient city of Tanagra. On the Parian Chronicle a famous ancient marble stele covering events from ancient Greek history and tradition we find information confirming that in the past Hellenes were know as Greki.

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