Greeks Creating Gifts

The Gift of Greece this Christmas December 08, 2014 00:00

'Tis the season to be giving gifts to good little boys and girls of all ages, even if their actual position on the Naughty-Nice scale is questionable. Some of the people you're shopping for may be of Greek heritage, and if so, they obviously deserve extra presents under the tree, but even for the non-Greeks on your list, giving Greek-themed gifts is always a great way to go!

Getting Personal
Personalized gifts are always a great way to convey to the gift recipient that you actually put a little thought into the gift, rather than just buying the same things that everyone else is buying this season. After all, personalized gifts have the person's name right on it, so you're guaranteed to be giving the most unique type of gift. A few distinctively Greek personalized gifts to consider would be a traditional Greek road sign, known as an ODOS sign. They look exactly like the street signs in Greece, complete with the Greek Letters ODOS (meaning: Street) at the top, plus the person's first or last name in both Greek and English. Kantyli has a wide range of handcrafted and laser engraved wooden signs that are personalized with names in Greek, as well as humorous signs and plaques, each one finished to artisan quality. For those Secret Santa gifts where you're forced to work with a minimal budget, there are personalized coffee mugs and gorgeous wooden picture frames, all emblazoned with their name in Greek letters.

Stuff Those Stockings!
For smaller gifts that fit into stockings, the ones hung by the chimney with care, you have to check out the personalized Greek keychains, especially the ones with the cool Greek flag on the reverse side. There are also colorful lapel pins and magnets with clever phrases in Greek that make excellent quirky conversation starters.

No matter which Greek gifts you choose, you celebrate one of the most influential cultures in mankind's history. Whether it is your heritage or just a well-deserved homage, a gift of Greece is always in excellent taste!

Kala Christougenna, Hronia Polla (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year) from all of us at Kantyli!


Greek Influence on the English Language November 23, 2014 00:00

"It's all Greek to me!"

This cliche is used throughout the English-speaking world to communicate that a person doesn't understand what was just said, which is just a bit ironic, as the English language owes its alphabet and much of its vocabulary roots to the ancient Greek language. When we say ancient, we aren't just paying lip service either. The recorded history of the Greek language stretches all the way back to 1200 BC, making Greek the oldest of all the European languages. Back in those times, Greek, like Latin in its time and English today, was considered to be almost an international language, due to the traveling of educated men and philosophers who spoke those languages

As Easy as A-B-C

Most European alphabets are derived in some manner from the archaic Greek alphabet. Technically, the Greeks took it from the ancient Phoenicians, but the Phoenicians had left out some important parts - namely the vowels - so Greece adapted it, polished it up and created the 24-letter alphabet on which our own 26-letter alphabet is founded.

Greek Roots, English Branches

When we mentioned above that many of the words we use in the English language every day have their roots in the Greek language, we weren't exaggerating. Here are just a few of the most common words in our daily conversations, and their Greek ancestry:

Democracy: The foundation of our government, comes from the Greek words "Demos," meaning "of the people" and "Cracy,"the Greek term for a government entity.

Bible: Imagine what we would have had to call the basis for Christianity if it wasn't for the Greek word "Biblios," which literally meant "Book."

Telephone and Telegraph: Two stepping stones to modern communications are anchored in the Greek word "Tele," which means something far away.

Mega: One of the bastions of the advertising and marketing world is a direct link from the Greek word "Mega," meaning big or powerful.

Kilogram & Kilowatt: Wouldn't have much meaning if it weren't for the Greek word "Kilo," meaning - you guessed it - one thousand.

While Zeus and the Gods of ancient Greek mythology may no longer be reigning on Mount Olympus, they still hold sway in the English lexicon:

Typhoon: One of the scariest of nature's storms is actually named after Typhon, the Greek father of all monsters.

Chaos: There's a little bit of it in all of our worlds, but the etymology of the word originated with Khaos, the nothingness from which all creation sprang.

Music: Every time you hear your favorite song, you can thank the Muses, those Goddesses of Inspiration and the Arts.

So, the next time you hear someone scratch their head and utter those words "It's all Greek to me," you can just nod your head and say "I'm glad to hear that you understand!


Greek Storytelling Tradition October 13, 2014 00:00

The history of humanity is best traced through the history of its fiction, and as with technology, philosophy and so much more, the Greeks were pioneers in this department. Their stories revolutionized the craft defining tropes and techniques that would be used for millennia to come. With their complex religious system, the Greeks valued stories in a way few cultures before them had, and their diverse and unique mythology opened them up to a wealth of incredible tales to inspire and instruct each new generation. The Greeks were the first culture to truly treat storytelling as an art form. Be it a poem, a play or a recitation, the act of weaving a complex narrative was paramount to creating a sculpture, or painting a picture. This is an idea that persists to this very day, writing is respected as a major art form.

Storytelling was so important in Greece that even their religion is a narrative, with a plot, character developments and status quo changes. This was utterly unique among cultures that generally had a religion that was still, unchanging and ever present. The Greeks were inspired to weave tales of great and powerful gods and heroes unmatched in their bravery and peril. These tales were the jumping off point for the poets that would come to define the entirety of storytelling with their techniques. The poet Homer revolutionized the war epic with his poem The Iliad and then redefined the heroes’ journey with his Odyssey. Sophocles penned the play Oedipus Rex, the epic tragedy that introduced and forever defined the term dramatic irony as it is used in literature.

In a culture so dedicated to learning and understanding the ways of the world, it is no wonder that storytelling became such a popular form of expression in Ancient Greece. It is an inseparable part of the culture that remains to this day in writers like Dimitris Lyacos and Jenny Mastoraki, Alexis Stamatis and Nina Rapi. These new writers come from a culture that defined what story telling would be and how it would be used to better humanity, and they carry on that legacy to this very day.


Three Architectural Orders October 03, 2014 00:00

Ancient Greece was a culture associated with high-concept thinking. Be it through storytelling such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, philosophy such as the teachings of Plato or through sculpture and other forms of art. Chances are though when you think of Greece you think of its architecture. From very early on in their history the Greek people set the bar when it came to architectural innovation developing new and previously unimagined tools and techniques for creating larger and more beautiful structures. The Ancient Greeks understood that a people must be reflected in their architecture and thus allowed their architects to do things with structure and design that were once thought undoable. Such a diverse and amazing palate of architectural innovation was later divided into sub categories focusing on the construction of the world famous Greek columns. Most people assume all Greek columns were the same, when in fact there was a rhyme and reason to have how each was created and they all fell into certain categories, these were called the three orders and they are still present in architecture today, not only in Greece but all around the world.

  1. Doric Order

    Based around standing columns flat on the pavement, and carving them with concave grooves, this style was known for the alternating vertical tablets surrounding their columns. These were both stylistic and practical, allowing the run-off of rain water. The Doric Order is focused around the rules of harmony.

  2. Ionic Order

    This order tends to be defined by the spirals or volutes based at the top of columns, designed to emulate clouds or perhaps crashing waves, this spirals were present in a great deal of Greek art. It required few tools and it is possible the baskets and satchels could have been hung from the notches in the marble.

  3. Corinthian Order

    The last of the three orders to be developed, the Corinthian style is centered upon the idea of elaborate decorations adorning the tops of columns, sweeping leaves and scrolls constructed from the marble to create a wondrous picture for people to observe as they walked below and marveled at the construction.


Signs Point to Greece September 27, 2014 00:00

If you are planning to visit Greece, you are not alone. Greece is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. 2013 alone brought some 20 million visitors to absorb the rich Greek culture. Among the draws of Greece are the country’s beaches and perfect sunny weather, its many historical sites, nightlife and its natural beauty.

Driving in Greece
Anyone planning to visit this beautiful country will need to find a way that adequately transports them around the cities and from attraction to attraction. If you decide that you would like to drive while in Greece, be forewarned. Commandeering an auto on Greek roads is not for the faint hearted. It’s not for the timid soul who knows nothing of assertiveness, as these poor souls would be better off in selecting a calmer method of public transportation. And this brings us to a very special and unique fixture found everywhere in Greece: Greek road signs.

Greek Road Signs
Greek road signage is everywhere, and it carries such a significant heritage that the signs have even migrated all the way from Greece to other countries like the U.S.! The thing is, anyone observing Greek drivers and Grecian driving patterns will likely describe the Greek road signs as ambiguous, as evidenced by the many varied responses they produce in the drivers who encounter them. A more conservative opinion might be that it appears that the signs are relegated to an art form, rather than their purpose as being directional/instructional. What does this ultimately mean? Let’s just say that for those used to driving in North America, driving in Greece can be a challenge. To them Greek (and other European) drivers might appear aggressive.

Bring Greece Home With You
Travelers to Greece often wax nostalgically upon their experience of the true Greek ambiance. While it may not be financially possible to visit Greece every time you have a yearning for Spanakopita, you can enjoy a bit of Greece in your own home by posting your own, uniquely-Greek signs. Not just for the road, but for many other creative home uses, these signs will take you back to Greece, every time you see them.


Making Authentic Greek Gyros at Home September 04, 2014 00:00

If you are here, then you are certainly Greek or at least a Greek enthusiast. There is much to like about Greece and the Greek culture, and that can even include the food.

Perhaps the most well-known Greek culinary creation is gyros, which is a type of sandwich. Many Greek restaurants make or break with their gyros - if they make good gyros, they will probably be able to stay in business. and if you are a huge fan of gyros, you know the best places in town to get one.

But who's to say you have to go somewhere for a good gyro? Why not try your hand at making one at home? Here is what you need for quality gyros - you can find recipes for this just about anywhere:

The meat - beef loin, lamb loin or chicken breast will work.

Olive oil, yogurt, juice from a lemon.

The veggies - cucumbers, red onion, lettuce and tomato.

Pita bread - with or without pockets.

Season the meat with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and grill the meat for about 2 minutes per side.

Brush the bread with olive oil and grill that for 2 minutes per side.

Combine lemon juice, yogurt and cucumbers in a separate bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then spread the mixture into each of the breads.

Divide the meat evenly among the breads you have and stuff them in the breads, then add the lettuce, onions and tomatoes as you prefer. Voila!


Signs are All There August 21, 2014 00:00

Some of us, we can all admit, do not have a great sense of direction. And this is especially true when we are in a completely new place in our own country or if we travel overseas for the first time. We tend to rely heavily on maps, the GPS on our smartphones or we try to find a local who understands our language and is willing to help us find our way around.

And most of the time it's because many of the signs we might use to lead us are in a language we may not understand. Being able to read signs in our native language can be very important - even if we learned the language of the home country, our default is where we're comfortable, and that is the language we've spoken all our lives.

What is handy are signs in both the home language and in our own native tongue, explaining the same destination or direction in the two languages so we can learn to translate and read in the home language while also understanding where to go.

And a fun souvenir for many people is a street sign from this foreign spot, that shows a sign in both a native and local language. Greece has many of these signs in English and in the native Greek, but the souvenir street signs are very difficult to find.

Unless, of course, you go to the online authority for all things Greek, kantyli.com. At kantyli.com, you can buy Greek road signs that have been popular items at Greek festivals in the Midwest, created by the folks behind kantyli.com - making them truly unique.

These are authentic Greek road signs just like what a tourist might find in Athens - Greek lettering on top and English underneath, with an arrow pointing the direction. And these signs by kantyli.com can fit well in your own house - directional signs leading to the kitchen, the bedroom or living room!

For a fun souvenir in your home that screams Greece while guiding guests around your home, visit kantyli.com and check out the online inventory of Greek road signs that can add some authentic Greek charm to your life!

Greek Road Signs August 15, 2014 00:00

If you have been to Greece, you must have noticed the road signs. The historic nation is somewhat famous for its road signs and for the way its drivers pay them no head.

Made up primarily blue and white, Greek road signs also have Greek lettering in gold. Meanwhile, the white English lettering, a translation of the Greek, sits directly below the Greek words. All of the arrows, lines, lettering are crisp and clear.

However, the greatest thing about Greek road signs is not about what they look like back in Greece, but rather how they will look on the door to your man cave, above the archway at the entrance to your kitchen, or on entryway to your restaurant’s outdoor dining area. Simply put, they will look distinctly unique and give your home or business a real Mediterranean flavor.

Though unique, Greek road signs are popular gifts. This is especially true in areas with robust Greek populations such as Illinois and its surrounding states. One place where you can see, touch, and experience custom Greek road signs in person are the numerous Greek festivals in the aforementioned Prairie State.

At these fun gatherings, you will find Greek road signs for sale that have been created whole cloth from scratch to look exactly like the road signs you would see in the home country with the exception of being customized to serve the needs of homes and businesses in North America.

Some of the more common custom Greek road signs have room names such as kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom, princess’ bedroom; things or activities that are found in homes like sleep, food, and eat; or, as mentioned above, names of locations in restaurants. One of the more fun custom signs says “horta,” which translates to “dandelions” in English and is a delicacy in Greece, but a pest in America. Below “horta” is “weeds.”

If you do not find the Greek road sign to fit your needs you can also look online or at Greek festivals for someone who will create a custom sign just for you. Then you will have the most unique Greek road sign around.


Great Inventions of the Greeks August 14, 2014 00:00

Greek culture and history is, in a way, a history of the human world, as the Greeks have been around for thousands of years - even if Greece was itself conquered by others (like the Roman and Ottoman empires). Just as the people of Greece have lived on and survived for hundreds of generations, many inventions and innovations have lived on through various cultural changes as well.

We would like to take this time to acknowledge and appreciate some of the great Greek innovations that are vital to even today's cultural and societal fabric. What we will mention here are some creations that have an impact in modern society and education - what do you recognize?

Democracy

The concept of government in which all eligible people in a society has direct or indirect control of the governing body. Was instituted in Greek city-states like Athens as early as the sixth century B.C. The most common form of this governance today is the representative democracy, like the United States.

Euclidean Geometry

Euclid, a mathematician during the age of Alexander the Great, developed "Elements" about geometry, and included several postulates and "common notions" that have withstood the test of time. Do you remember the Transitive Property of Equality? How about the Reflexive Property? These are from Euclid.

Flexible Glass

No, Apple did not come up with this just recently for its iPhone design. However, this story has been called a legend for years. Word is that flexible glass came about from a craftsman in Greece during the time of Emperor Tiberius, who reigned from 14-37 A.D. The craftsman, whose name was not known, came to the emperor with a curved glass drinking bowl to show his skill. Supposedly, Tiberias threw it to the ground and it dented instead of broke, and the craftsman fixed the dent with a hammer. Instead of being impressed, Tiberias felt threatened by the man's knowledge and thus had him beheaded.

Frappe Coffee

Starbucks cannot lay claim to this foam-covered iced beverage. It apparently was invented "by accident" in 1957 in the Greek town of Thessaloniki, at the International Trade Fair by an employee of the Nestle Company. After gaining high popularity in Greece and Cyprus, it found its way around the world in the decades since.

Golden Ratio

This wasn't so much invented as it was discovered by Greeks when they found that this ratio was appearing often in certain calculations, and even in nature. It is believed to be a "natural" or "divine" ratio that was discovered and put to form some 2,500 years ago. It's simplest math definition is that the square of the golden ratio minus the golden ratio equals 1. Its approximate value is 1.618033.


Greek Gifts for Him August 11, 2014 00:00

When you are looking for that special, unique gift for your man, son, nephew or friend you can do no better than going Greek. After all, Greek culture is celebrated around the world and nearly at every university in North America, so when you give a unique Greek gift to a man in your life you are giving a gift loaded with meaning, thought, and sentiment.

Perhaps the most obvious recipient of Greek gifts is a young man in a fraternity. If you are looking for a gift for a fraternity brother, you really have to consider Greek lapel buttons, coffee mugs and beer steins, wood plaques, Greek signs, and, of course, Greek clothing. In fact, these Greek gifts are so specialized and so unique that they would be the perfect gift for any Greek man or pretty much anyone who is interested in Greek culture.

Meanwhile, older men, those already out of uni, have their own needs, with many of them longing for a man cave just as Odysseus longed for home as his ship plied the red wine seas of the Mediterranean. If you have one of these men in your life, you know what you ought to do: give him a Greek gift for his man cave. The good news is that thanks to the reach of the internet, you will not have to search for 10 years to find the perfect Greek man cave gift.

Every man cave needs a sign, a handsome, proud sign that is noticed by those who would like to enter. There are so many Greek signs available to fit the needs of any man with a cave include Greek wooden plaques, Greek village horio signs, Greek home signs, Greek name signs, and Greek wall words.

Unless the guy you are shopping for is an actual caveman, he will likewise need some decor for his inner cave. Thankfully, there are some very fine marble Greek paperweights and other smaller Greek signs that look great within a cave.


That's English? It's All Greek to Me! August 07, 2014 00:00

There is a reason why English is perhaps the mostly widely understood language in the world and is often the official language of much international business and government interactions - it contains words, phrases and grammatical tricks that have been borrowed, lifted, modified or flat-out stolen from other world languages, including the "Romantics" like Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian, etc.

But with hundreds of thousands of words in the English language, and English being used for dozens of generations now, it's next to impossible to know where some words originate  without looking in a dictionary. There are even some words that have been borrowed so much that there's debate as to the actual origin of the original word.

But just so you know, in case you think Greek is a unique language all its own, we'd like to help connect you to the Greek culture, even if you have no Greek in your family! If you speak or otherwise use any of these words, then you are in effect speaking with a Greek dialect!

Check out this partial list of English words that have known Greek origins. Some of these will make sense, but do some of these surprise you?

  • anarchy
  • amphitheater
  • ambidextrous
  • antique
  • ancient
  • anatomy
  • philanthropy
  • antagonist
  • architect
  • automatic
  • autograph
  • authentic
  • chronic
  • cosmopolitan
  • democracy
  • demographic
  • dynamite
  • dynasty
  • euphemism
  • eulogy
  • encyclopedia
  • Bible
  • paraphrase
  • symphony
  • epithet
  • hypothesis
  • dialogue
  • gentle
  • petroleum

Popular English Names with Greek Origins and their Meanings June 16, 2014 00:00

Toula Portokalos burst into the scene with My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Her relatable character and zany family made for a very entertaining insight into the Greek culture which surprisingly resonates with others who are, according to her father Gus, non-Greeks. After all, most of the English words are borrowed from Greek, and most modern names you may come across likely have Greek roots. Gus even managed to connect the very Japanese 'kimono' to Greek.

True to his character, he toasted his daughter's wedding with, "The root of the word Miller is a Greek word. Miller come from the Greek word Milo, which is mean apple...our name Portokalos is come from the Greek word Portokali, which means orange."

Beyond apples and oranges, here is a short list of popular names in English usage with Greek origins and their meanings.

  • Alexander. Comes from the word 'alexandros' meaning 'defending men.' The root word of the name is 'alexo' meaning 'to defend, help.' Not surprisingly, the name has been adopted by various leaders throughout the ages to signify power.

  • Cynthia. Latinized form of the Greek 'woman from Kynthos' which referred to the Greek moon goddess Artemis who, along with twin Apollo, was born in the mountain of Kynthos.

  • Evangeline. Stems from 'ev' meaning 'good' and 'angelma' meaning 'news, message.' So Evangeline means 'good news.'

  • Gregory. One of the most widely used names for the Catholic pontiff,  Gregory comes from the Latinized from of Late Greek word 'gregoros' meaning 'watchful,' a quality that is perhaps required to ensure the faithful does not go astray.

  • Helen. From 'Helene' meaning 'torch.' Possibly derived from 'Selene,' the goddess of the moon. In Greek mythology, Helen was the daughter of Zeus who, in swan form, fathered her with the beautiful Leda. She was the same Helen of Troy (previously Helen of Sparta) whose "face launched a thousand ships" in the Trojan War.

  • Irene. Derived from the goddess Eirene who personified peace.

  • Jason. Derived from 'iasthai' meaning 'to heal.' The name also appears in New Testament, suggesting that 'Jason' maybe a Hellenized form of a Hebrew name.

  • Margaret. Comes from 'margarites' meaning 'pearl' which could have been borrowed from the Sanskrit 'manyari.'

  • Nicholas. Derived from 'Nikolaos' meaning 'people's victory.' Popularized in the Western world by a 4th century bishop, the name St. Nicholas was the basis of the beloved Christmas character Santa Claus.

  • Peter. Coming from the Greek 'petros' meaning 'stone,' the name Peter has come to be widely used by heads of church and monarchs, perhaps to impart the message that their leadership is built upon an unshakeable foundation.

  • Rhea. Latinized form of Greek 'Rheia' with an unknown meaning but perhaps related to 'rheo' meaning 'to flow' and 'era' meaning 'ground.' In Greek mythology, Rhea was the wife of Cronus, king of heaven and god of time, and the mother of gods and goddesses such as Zeus, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon and Hestia.

  • Sophia. Greek for 'wisdom,' the name Sophia lends itself to various uses: Hagia Sophia (Istanbul's basilica dedicated to 'Holy Wisdom,' philosophy (love of wisdowm), sophistication (quality of refinement displaying good taste and wisdom).

  • Stephen. Stems from 'stephanos' meaning 'crown.' Perhaps because of its origins, the name Stephen has long been used by the kings of Europe and the popes of the Catholic church.

  • Theodore. Derived from the word 'theo' meaning 'god' and 'doron' signifying 'gift,' Theodore has come to be widely used as names of saints in the Middle Ages who are indeed 'gifts of god.'

Personalized Gift Items from Kantyli June 06, 2014 00:00

Are you proud of your Greek heritage and want to wear it on your sleeve? We at Kantyli are here to help you do just that! You can order a wide range of custom made household items that showcase Greek history in all its glory. You can also get your names and popular quotes printed in Greek literature and have them presented to loved ones. Here is a list of products that epitomize Greek Culture.

Greek Coffee Mugs

You can order custom made coffee cups that feature names in authentic Greek. You can order cups of different colors for the whole family. Kids will especially love this type of personalized attention. It will also encourage them to know more about their Greek history and will also help to keep traditions alive. The cups can be embossed with attractive fonts and designs that will further enhance the visual appeal. The coffee mugs can also be used as pencil holders in your work space. The ceramic mugs are available in shades of red, blue, green, pink, black and white and can hold up to 10 oz. of liquid.

Marble Paper Weights

You can purchase a beautifully engraved marble paperweight from Kantyli, which features a famous quote from Winston Churchill where he commends the Greeks by saying, “Hence, we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks”. You could also go in for an alternate option which features a celebrated hymn of Jesus Christ.

Board Signs

You can use custom made Greek sign boards made from high quality Alder wood. Greek lettering are tastefully engraved on these oval shaped boards. You can use these boards as display signs at your home, business and even in restaurants where you can engrave popular quotes from Greek folklore. The boards are available in many different sizes with 12 “by 4-3/8” being the widest. It should be noted that these boards are meant for indoor use only.

Gift Items

You can order these items online and present them as gifts to your favorite Greek friends. Personalized gifts like these have their own way of warming the heart and here at Kantyli, we provide you with a wide range of options. You can custom order lapel buttons, Drachma rocks, Greek wear, picture frames, name key chains, DVD gifts, stamp coasters, agate icons, wood plaques, Horio signs, pencils, magnets, medallions and YiaYia Koutalas.


Ecclesia Project, Part II June 04, 2014 00:00

St. John the Baptist located in Des Plaines, IL was the first church photographed but, it was the second one that changed my life. St. Haralambos and Taxiarchai was relatively easy to find if I paid attention to the road.

I found the church parked across the street and took a few pictures from that distance. I can still remember the newness in terms of architecture and setting of what was before me. This was the fifth Greek Orthodox Church that I saw in the Midwest.

The first was Dormition of the Theotokos in Racine, the second was the Frank Lloyd Wright's Annunciation in Milwaukee, both in Wisconsin. The third was the Annunciation Cathedral located in Chicago, Illinois all related to a past life experience and reason why I moved to Midwest in the first place.

I walked closer to the church doors and realized a function inside. I didn't want to disturb the baptism and just stayed in front observing. Just then a man stepped outside to light a cigarette and noticed me. He saw the camera in hand and went about his business. I felt comfortable and walked closer the doors where the man was standing and asks me "You Greek?". In my most polite and heart felt manner I answered him in Greek. He told me his name but, after all these years I have forgotten.

This simple exchange touched me deep to where the point I wanted to speak more Greek AND be closer to God. Both G's were basically ignored, eliminated and missing from my life. I realized I wanted them both back!  In hindsight, this project saved me. I’ll explain more in the next blog post.


Christ Pantocrator May 28, 2014 00:00

The most common translation of Pantocrator is "Almighty" or "All-powerful". Another, more literal translation is "Ruler of All" or, less literally, "Sustainer of the World". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek for "all" and the verb meaning "To accomplish something" or "to sustain something." This translation speaks more to God's actual power; i.e., God does everything (as opposed to God can do everything.).

Meaning

The Pantokrator, largely an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception is less common by that name in Western (Roman) Catholicism and largely unknown to most Protestants. In the West the equivalent image in art is known as Christ in Majesty, which developed a rather different iconography. The primary transference of the title "Pantokrator" to refer to Christ rather than the Creator was a result of the Christological shift that occurred during the fourth century, reflected through iconography; Christ Pantocrator has come to suggest Christ as a mild but stern, all-powerful judge of humanity.

Adapted Imagery?

The icon of Christ Pantokrator is one of the most widely used religious images of Orthodox Christianity. Generally speaking, in Byzantine church art and architecture, an iconic mosaic or fresco of Christ Pantokrator occupies the space in the central dome of the church, in the half-dome of the apse or on the nave vault. Some scholars consider the Pantocrator a Christian adaptation of images of Zeus, such as the great statue of Zeus enthroned at Olympia. The development of the earliest stages of the icon from Roman Imperial imagery is easier to trace.

As an Icon

The icon, traditionally half-length when in a semi-dome, which became adopted for panel icons also, depicts Christ fully frontal with a somewhat melancholy and stern aspect, with the right hand raised in blessing or, in the early encaustic panel at Saint Catherine's Monastery, the conventional rhetorical gesture that represents teaching. The left hand holds a closed book with a richly decorated cover featuring the Cross, representing the Gospels. An icon where Christ has an open book is called "Christ the Teacher", a variant of the Pantocrator. Christ is bearded, his brown hair centrally parted, and his head is surrounded by a halo. The icon is usually shown against a gold background comparable to the gilded grounds of mosaic depictions of the Christian emperors.


Greek Independence Day March 16, 2014 00:00

Greek Independence Day is celebrated every year in Greece on March 25th commemorating the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821. Prior to 1821, the Ottoman Turks governed Greece for close to 400 years, subjecting the country to crushing and arbitrary tax burdens and its peasants to serfdom. Under Turkish rule, Greece was very poor and poorly run.

The year of 1821 began years of violence and bloody massacres until finally in 1833, Greeks vigorously rose up against the Ottoman Empire embarking on the ultimately successful war of independence. Bishop Germanos of Patras proudly raised the Greek flag at the monastery of Agia Lavra, inciting the Peloponnese to rise against the oppressors. While the exact date was most likely not March 25th, it did occur in late March and it was eventually associated with the Greek Orthodox Church’s Feast of the Annunciation. Feast of the Annunciation is in honor of when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would bear the son of God.

All of these celebrations keep the streets of Greece packed with people and roads will be blocked off in many of the towns and villages. Some of them will celebrate by holding a school flag parade where children march in traditional Greek costumes and carry Greek flags. Athens holds their annual Armed Forces Parade on the same day. Tanks, military vehicles and men and women of the armed forces, march in the streets and celebrate freedom.

The Greek National Anthem can be heard playing throughout Greece on Independence Day. The anthem began as a poem written by Zakynthian Island poet Dionysios Solomos and speaks of the power and virtues of freedom. It was reportedly completed in one month. The poem was written in 1823, and set to music in 1828. The music was written by Nikolaos Mantzaros from the neighboring island of Corfu or better knows as Kerkyra. In 1864 this poem was adapted into the National Anthem. As in the U.S., the anthem is played during the raising and lowering of the national flag, on official occasions, and at the end of every closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. Hear the Greek National Anthem and read the lyrics in both Greek and English.


Items to Include for Your Greek Event February 14, 2014 00:00

No matter what the occasion of your event is, there is always room to include Greek items for everyone to take home! So what types of things could you have at your event

There are many different items that you can choose from when it comes to getting gifts that your guests can take home. You may give them away, or they may even be for purchase, but the one thing that you can bet they will be is Greek!

Getting shirts are always a popular option when it comes to any event. They can have Greek figures on them such as Hercules, or even the Byzantine Eagle. These shirts can be royal blue or white, and with the freedom to pick your variety of sizes, you can be sure that the shirt will look good on anyone in the family.

Maybe you want to give people something that they can wear everyday. The Lapel buttons are great for those who want to wear something Greek with any outfit. These attractive buttons can be worn with anything and they have some of your favorite Greek phrases. They are very inexpensive, so feel free to have as many as you want!

Do you know anyone who does not need a key chain? Think of all the keys that people have including car, home, and sometimes even work. Greek key chains are great to hand out at a large event and they come in a variety of bold, vibrant colors! You can even have them personalized with people’s names in Greek.

Coffee mugs are always great for events because they can serve a dual purpose. They can not only do the obvious, which is hold a drink, but at the event they can also be used to house smaller gift items! The mugs can have things on them such as the Greek flag or even your very own name written in Greek.

Finding items for your Greek event is not as hard as you may think. There are many things available that people will love!


Sip a Cup of Delicious Greek Coffee and Read Your Fortune! February 03, 2014 00:00

There are plenty of beverages that are fun to share with friends, but few of them beat Greek coffee. This bold, energizing drink in its classic little cup gives warmth and charm to every occasion. Plus, the fun doesn’t stop when you’ve finished drinking! The little lumps of solid coffee grounds spread around the bottom and sides of the cup hold clues to your future.

Putting More Greek in Your Home January 30, 2014 00:00

Does your home have enough Greek in it? Many people will say that they could add more, and certain items can help you add the perfect touch to your home.

When shopping for home décor, you may notice that every store does not have something Greek for you to take back home. These items will be unique while exhibiting your roots and heritage in the house.

Coasters that look like Grecian coins and stamps are a great home addition. You can always find use for them, and people will notice the authentic appearance and unique artwork when they place their beverage on the detailed coaster.

Who can resist the look of wall letters? You can get the tiles or peel and stick letters. They can say whatever you want them to say and they will always be a conversation starter when people come into your home and see the clean, attractive look of the Greek words that are on your walls.

It may seem simple, but magnets are an inexpensive way to get a Greek touch into your home. Historic figures and phrases can find a home on your refrigerator, and you will always see them because the refrigerator is usually a popular place in the house.

When it comes to making your grocery list, or writing other notes, pencils are a necessity in your home. Why not get Greek pencils? They come in many colors, and there are several Greek names and phrases that can be engraved into the wooden pencils. Keeping a cup of these in your home is very unique and most of all, Greek!

Putting the Greek back into your home does not always have to be difficult. You can start slow if you want and attain bigger additions as time goes on!


Perfect Wedding Gifts January 18, 2014 00:00

Wedding gifts can be very difficult to shop for. It can be hard to determine what will truly touch the hearts of the bride and groom on their special day. There are some spectacular items that you can get to end all your wedding gift anxiety. These items are festive and will remind the couple of authentic Greek heritage.

Share Your Greek Heritage with Others December 24, 2013 00:00

You don't need to wait for Greece’s national holidays to show off the pride you have for your Greek heritage. Setting the stage for March 25 or August 15 is important. Expressing your beliefs on Easter and for Christmas often goes without saying. However, there are plenty of public holidays in between that are just begging for your attention. Also, the rest of the days of the year provide plenty of opportunities for you to share some of the rich history and culture of the Greek establishment.

Teach Your Children

One of the easiest ways to share your Greek heritage is to open up about it with your own children. You might have their Greek name inscribed on a selection of colorful pencils, or provide them with a Greek name sign for their bedroom door. 

When Oxi Day rolls around, share the inspirational story of Ioannis Metaxas and his defiance toward Mussolini. Memorialize this day with a special plaque or other gift.

Decorate Your Home

With wooden spoons engraved with popular Greek cooking phrases, door plates on the bedrooms, Greek rocks, wall letters for spelling out a heartfelt phrase, or picture frames personalized with your name in Greek, you can spread physical reminders of your Greek heritage throughout your home. These small touches can spark conversations with your children or with your friends and neighbors when they stop by for a visit. 

Display Your Greek Roots at School or Work

There are plenty of easy ways to show off your pride in your Greek roots with others, even at work or at school. You can do this without sacrificing professionalism or becoming over-bearing. Some ideas include:

  • Engraved key chains
  • Magnets with a Greek phrase or your Greek name
  • Engraved pencils
  • Coasters
  • Lapel pins
  • Decorative coffee mugs
  • Drachma medallions for the wall
Remember Your Past

Ties to your cultural roots can help you to feel a greater sense of who you are. Reflect on your heritage when you surround yourself with items that have personal significance to you. Choose items engraved with Greek letters and symbols to bring the past home.


Great Gifts for Fraternity and Sorority Members December 14, 2013 00:00

The heart of sorority and fraternity membership is sisterhood and brotherhood, and any gift for a member needs to reflect this sentiment. Great gifts for fraternity or sorority members can be serious or playful as long as they ultimately carry some meaning based on the member's Greek association and experiences.

Most fraternity and sorority members are quite proud of their organizations, and gladly accept any gift that boldly displays their logo to honor this Greek pride. Logo items range from casual wear to household items that come in a wide variety of styles and color options. Find fraternity and sorority items that work well for themes and life transitions, such as weddings, graduation ceremonies and birthdays. Most Greek themed gifts are so versatile you can give them for any occasion.

To create an even more memorable and unique present, add a line of personalized script to your gift. Include anything from a special fraternity motto or sorority quote, or simply ask that the recipient's name or initials be added. This special touch provides the recipient with a simple yet elegant path to a wealth of memories at a glance for a lifetime of smiles. Keep the memories of brotherhood and sisterhood alive forever with a personalized gift Greeks love.

You know your loved one best. Use your close relationship and intimate knowledge to select the most personal gift that best fits your Greek member's personality and tastes. Include favorite colors, a surprise private joke and especially his or her Greek logo to provide the gift with the perfect finishing touch.


Accessories to Inspire Greek Pride in Children December 12, 2013 00:00

Help your children appreciate your family's Greek heritage by giving them items related to Greek culture. Whether you choose T-shirts with Greek symbols, Greek wall art for your children's rooms or pencils with your children's Greek names, there are a number of fun, useful gifts that help to inspire Greek pride in your children.

Start your children's Greek appreciation at the most basic level: your children's Greek names. Translate your children's names into their Greek equivalents, such as Yianni for John, and then buy gifts featuring your children's Greek names printed in the Greek alphabet. The possibilities here are limitless. Use wall art to display your children's Greek names in their bedrooms, or buy small gifts, such as pencils or mugs, featuring your children's names.

Then start teaching your children about Greek symbols and artwork. The drachma, for example, is an important part of Greek culture and history and is featured on many decorative items, including Greek-themed T-shirts. Use old drachma medallions to decorate your walls.

Lastly, begin exposing your children to Greek culture in the outside world. Enroll your kids in Greek school to learn the language, or take them to an art museum to view ancient Greek art. Show them Greek icons in business, sports and entertainment, and begin planning a family trip to Greece.

Your Greek heritage is an important part of your life, so make sure it is also an important part of your children's lives. By making Greek artwork and gifts a part of life in your home, and by taking your children to see Greek-related art or exhibits in your city, you are setting the foundation for a lifetime of Greek pride.


Benefits of Buying Drachma Engravings Online November 28, 2013 00:00

Are you looking to invest in drachma engravings? Without a doubt, this piece of Greek history has continued to captivate buyers for the last 2000 years. However, if you do not know much about drachma engravings, you may not be aware of the benefits of buying them online.

What are Greek drachma engravings?

One of the primary reasons that people want to buy Greek drachma engravings pertains to their historic value. Anyone that is of Greek heritage may want to display these coins in order to decorate a home or office. As a decorative item, they have a lot of range in price considering that drachma coins are still made in Greece today. On the other hand, investors looking for a new way to grow their money have been drawn to the older Greek drachma coins.

Collecting drachma coins as an investment

When you have a significant amount of money in the bank, you can cultivate it by placing it in an investment opportunity. For example, you can put some of your money in a stock or new business with the expectation of higher returns in the future. Sadly, these types of investments do not always develop. This means that you could lose money instead of gaining. Alternatively, investing in art and valuable coins is often seen as a superior long-term way to grow a nest egg. When the time is right, you can sell drachma engraving coins to the highest bidder, and keep the profits -- on top of the reimbursement for your original investment.

Numismatics benefits higher online

You can buy coins for investing almost anywhere, but there are certain advantages to doing this online. Namely, one of your main assets online is the quality and quantity of the numismatic information. When you are buying art or coins for an investment, the way that it is valued in price is considered a profession that few master fully. To understand this concept, consider the amount of knowledge that an esteemed art appraiser must have in order to ascertain the true dollar amount. While an offline numismatist may be the best in the country, online quotes on drachma engravings are open to public criticism. Therefore, they tend to be more honest.

Commemorative drachmas versus investment coins

Coin minting countries around the world love to make collectible money that have minimal re-sale value. Called commemorative coins, they are often low-cost and are limited edition. In general, they are intended to be used as decorative items and are used as a way to honor a key event such as the Olympics. Despite this, some Greek drachma coins and engravings will have an appraisal value that is much higher than most people suspect. This is especially true if the coin is an antique. In the end, the main point to remember is that you do not always need precious metal coins in order to make an investment. With all of the various ways that drachma engravings hold value, it is a venture you will not regret.