In Greek mythology, Hellen (//; Ancient Greek: Ἕλλην Hellēn) was the progenitor of the Hellenes (Ἕλληνες). His name is also another name for Greek, meaning a person of Greek descent or pertaining to Greek culture or to the state of Greece and the source of the adjective "Hellenic".
Hellen was the son of Deucalion (or sometimes Zeus) and Pyrrha, and was the brother of Amphictyon. By the nymph Orseis he became the father of three sons: Aeolus, Xuthus, and Dorus and a daughter Xenopatra. Otherwise, Hellen was called the son of Pronoos, another son of Deucalion and Pyrrha.
According to the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, his sons were themselves progenitors of primary tribes of Greece: Aeolus the Aeolians, Dorus the Dorians, and Xuthus the Achaeans and Ionians through his sons Achaeus and Ion.
According to Thucydides, Hellen's descendants conquered the Greek area of Phthia and subsequently spread their rule to other Greek cities. The people of those areas came to be called Hellenes, after the name of their ancestor. The ethnonym Hellenes dates back to the time of Homer. In the Iliad, "Hellas" (Ἑλλάς) and "Hellenes" were names of the tribe (also called "Myrmidones") settled in Phthia, led by Achilles.
Genealogy of Hellenes
- Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1.7.3
- Scholia on Hellanicus fr. 124
- Hecateus fr. 1F13
- Gantz, Timothy (1993). Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Ancient Sources. The John Hopkins Press Ltd., London: The John Hopkins University Press. p. 167. ISBN 0-8018-4410-X.
- Hesiod, Ehoiai fr. 9 and 10(a)
- Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica s.v. Dōtion
- Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War 1.3.2
- Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. ISBN 0-674-99135-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
- Hesiod, Catalogue of Women from Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica translated by Evelyn-White, H G. Loeb Classical Library Volume 57. London: William Heinemann, 1914. Online version at theio.com
- Stephanus of Byzantium, Stephani Byzantii Ethnicorum quae supersunt, edited by August Meineike (1790-1870), published 1849. A few entries from this important ancient handbook of place names have been translated by Brady Kiesling. Online version at the Topos Text Project.