Greek Language Blog

Greek National Anthem (Εθνικός Ύμνος), Greek flag Posted by on Mar 21, 2012 in Culture

The National Anthem was established by the Greeks in1865. The Anthem is a poem called Hymn to freedom  (Ύμνος εις την ελευθερία) which has been written from Dionysios Solomos (Διονύσιο Σολωμό) in 1823 and composed by Nιkolaos Mantzaros (Nικόλαο Μάντζαρο) in 1828. It consists of 158 stanzas (verses) and it is the longest Anthem in the world. Because οf its length only the first three and later the first two stanzas officially became the national Anthem of Greece.

Solomos reviews the whole history of the Greek revolution of the Greeks against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. Through the verses of the poem he makes a critic on the negative aspects of the Great power of that time. He also criticizes the dissension of the rebels and describes their pain and their contributions.  He is calling all Greeks to stick together and conciliate in order to gain their freedom (Ελευθεριά), the greatest of all the human values.


Σε γνωρίζω από την κόψητου σπαθιού την τρομερή,σε γνωρίζω από την όψη

που με βιά μετράει τη γη.


Απ’ τα κόκκαλα βγαλμένη

των Ελλήνων τα ιερά,

και σαν πρώτα ανδρειωμένη,

χαίρε, ω χαίρε, Ελευθεριά!



Se gnoreezo apo teen kopseetou spathiou teen tromeree,se gnorízo apo teen opsee,

pou me via metrai tee gee.

Ap’ ta kokkala vgalmenee

ton Elleenon ta iera,

ke san prota andriomeni,

here, o here, eleftheria!


I recognize you by the sharpness,of your fearsome sword,I recognize you by the gleam (in your eyes)

with which you rapidly survey the earth.

From the sacred bones,

of the Hellenes arisen,

and strengthened by your antique bravery,

hail, o hail, Liberty!

The modern Greek flag has a cross at the top left side and 9 stripes in blue (μπλέ, γαλάζιο) and white (άσπρο) colors. These colors are considered to be the colors of Greece. The blue is for the color of the sea and the clear sky. The white is for the color of the foam of the waves. The cross symbolizes the Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and the lines represent the wavy sea that surrounds the Greek coasts. This flag was established also during the Greek revolution in 1821. There are three theories for the stripes of the flag. The most highly believed states that the 9 stripes is for the motto of the revolution : Freedom or death. 5 blue stripes for the number of syllables of the word Freedom and 4 white stripes for the syllables of the word Death (Ελευθερία ή θάνατος). “E-lef-the-ri-a ee Tha-na-tos”. Another theory states that each stripe is one letter from the word Ελευθερία (freedom). The last theory states that the 9 stripes represent the nine Muses, the goddesses of art and civilization.

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  1. dimitri hatzisavas:

    the translation is hail, hail FREEDOM! not hail,hail liberty!

    • Transparent Language:

      @dimitri hatzisavas “freedom” and “liberty” can be pretty interchangeable. Thank you for the comment, we’ll double-check on whether it’s more appropriate to use freedom in this case.

      – Lorien
      Social Media Manager, Transparent Language

  2. Vukasin:

    “Fearsome blade(but I guess sharpness is also ok) of your sword”, instead of “sharpness of your fearsome sword”, I think.

    And maybe, “which rapidly surveys the earth” (the eyes, the sight).

    Also if, as I guess, the purpose of this blog is to make people learn Greek, a more literal translation would be a bit better, so I would say “made brave like before”, even though your translation is much more poetic. All in all, excellent idea, it is a beautiful song. I especially like the part that goes–

    Ἐκεῖ μέσα ἐκατοικοῦσες,
    πικραμένη, ἐντροπαλἠ,
    καὶ ἕνα στόμα ἐκαρτεροῦσες,
    “ἔλα πάλι” νὰ σοῦ πεῖ.

    –which is particularly beautiful now considering the situation of the Parthenon Marbles.

    Keep up the good work, I really enjoy your blog!