The history of Greece encompasses the history
of the territory of the modern nation state of Greece as well as that of the Greek people
and the areas they inhabited and ruled historically. The scope of Greek habitation and rule has
varied throughout the ages and as a result the history of Greece is similarly elastic
in what it includes. Generally, the history of Greece is divided
into the following periods: Neolithic Greece covering a period beginning
with the establishment of agricultural societies in 7000 BC and ending in 3200/3100 BC,
Helladic (Minoan or Bronze Age) chronology covering a period beginning with the transition
to a metal-based economy in 3200/3100 BC to the rise and fall of the Mycenaean Greek palaces
spanning roughly five centuries (1600–1100 BC),
Ancient Greece covering a period from the fall of the Mycenaean civilization in 1100
BC to 146 BC spanning multiple sub-periods including the Greek Dark Ages (or Iron Age,
Homeric Age), Archaic period, the Classical period and the Hellenistic period,
Roman Greece covering a period from the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC to 324 AD,
Byzantine Greece covering a period from the establishment of the capital city of Byzantium,
Constantinople, in 324 AD until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD,
Frankish/Latin Greece (including the Venetian possesions) covering a period from the Fourth
Crusade (1204) to 1797, year of disestablishment of the Venetian Republic,
Ottoman Greece covering a period from 1453 up until the Greek Revolution of 1821,
Modern Greece covering a period from 1821 to the present.At its cultural and geographical
peak, Greek civilization spread from Egypt all the way to the Hindu Kush mountains in
Afghanistan. Since then, Greek minorities have remained
in former Greek territories (e.g. Turkey, Albania, Italy, Libya, Levant, Armenia, Georgia)
and Greek emigrants have assimilated into differing societies across the globe (e.g.
North America, Australia, Northern Europe, South Africa). Nowadays most Greeks live in the modern states
of Greece (independent since 1821) and Cyprus.==Prehistoric Greece=====
Neolithic to Bronze Age (7000–1100 BC)===The Neolithic Revolution reached Europe beginning
in 7000–6500 BC when agriculturalists from the Near East entered the Greek peninsula
from Anatolia by island-hopping through the Aegean Sea. The earliest Neolithic sites with developed
agricultural economies in Europe dated 8500–9000 BPE are found in Greece. The first Greek-speaking tribes, speaking
the predecessor of the Mycenaean language, arrived in the Greek mainland sometime in
the Neolithic period or the Early Bronze Age (ca. 3200 BC). The transition from the Greek Neolithic to
the Early Bronze Age (or Early Helladic I–II) occurred gradually when Greece’s agricultural
population began to import bronze and copper and used basic bronze-working techniques. During the end of the 3rd millennium BC (circa
2200 BC; Early Helladic III), the indigenous inhabitants of mainland Greece underwent a
cultural transformation attributed to climate change, local events and developments (e.g.,
destruction of the “House of the Tiles”), as well as to continuous contacts with various
areas such as western Asia Minor, the Cyclades, Albania and Dalmatia.====Cycladic and Minoan civilization====The Cycladic culture is a significant Late
Neolithic and Early Bronze Age culture, is best known for its schematic flat female idols
carved out of the islands’ pure white marble centuries before the great Middle Bronze Age
(“Minoan”) culture arose in Crete, to the south. The Minoan civilization in Crete lasted from
about c. 3000 BC (Early Minoan) to c. 1400 BC, and the Helladic culture on the Greek
mainland from circa 3200/3100 BC to 2000/1900 BC. Little specific information is known about
the Minoans (even the name Minoans is a modern appellation, derived from Minos, the legendary
king of Crete), including their written system, which was recorded on the undeciphered Linear
A script and Cretan hieroglyphs. They were primarily a mercantile people engaged
in extensive overseas trade throughout the Mediterranean region.Minoan civilization was
affected by a number of natural cataclysms such as the volcanic eruption at Thera (c.
1628–1627 BC) and earthquakes (c. 1600 BC). In 1425 BC, the Minoan palaces (except Knossos)
were devastated by fire, which allowed the Mycenaean Greeks, influenced by the Minoans’
culture, to expand into Crete. The Minoan civilization which preceded the
Mycenaean civilization on Crete was revealed to the modern world by Sir Arthur Evans in
1900, when he purchased and then began excavating a site at Knossos.====Mycenaean civilization====Mycenaean civilization originated and evolved
from the society and culture of the Early and Middle Helladic periods in mainland Greece. It emerged in circa 1600 BC, when Helladic
culture in mainland Greece was transformed under influences from Minoan Crete and lasted
until the collapse of the Mycenaean palaces in c. 1100 BC. Mycenaean Greece is the Late Helladic Bronze
Age civilization of Ancient Greece and it is the historical setting of the epics of
Homer and most of Greek mythology and religion. The Mycenaean period takes its name from the
archaeological site Mycenae in the northeastern Argolid, in the Peloponnesos of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also
important Mycenaean sites. Mycenaean civilization was dominated by a
warrior aristocracy. Around 1400 BC, the Mycenaeans extended their
control to Crete, center of the Minoan civilization, and adopted a form of the Minoan script called
Linear A to write their early form of Greek. The Mycenaean-era script is called Linear
B, which was deciphered in 1952 by Michael Ventris. The Mycenaeans buried their nobles in beehive
tombs (tholoi), large circular burial chambers with a high-vaulted roof and straight entry
passage lined with stone. They often buried daggers or some other form
of military equipment with the deceased. The nobility were often buried with gold masks,
tiaras, armor and jeweled weapons. Mycenaeans were buried in a sitting position,
and some of the nobility underwent mummification. Around 1100–1050 BC, the Mycenaean civilization
collapsed. Numerous cities were sacked and the region
entered what historians see as a “dark age”. During this period, Greece experienced a decline
in population and literacy. The Greeks themselves have traditionally blamed
this decline on an invasion by another wave of Greek people, the Dorians, although there
is scant archaeological evidence for this view.==Ancient Greece (1100–146 BC)==Ancient Greece refers to a period of Greek
history that lasted from the Dark Ages to the end of antiquity (circa 600 AD). In common usage it refers to all Greek history
before the Roman Empire, but historians use the term more precisely. Some writers include the periods of the Minoan
and Mycenaean civilizations, while others argue that these civilizations were so different
from later Greek cultures that they should be classed separately. Traditionally, the Ancient Greek period was
taken to begin with the date of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, but most historians
now extend the term back to about 1000 BC. The traditional date for the end of the Classical
Greek period is the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. The period that follows is classed as Hellenistic. Not everyone treats the Classical Greek and
Hellenic periods as distinct; however, and some writers treat the Ancient Greek civilization
as a continuum running until the advent of Christianity in the 3rd century AD. Ancient Greece is considered by most historians
to be the foundational culture of Western civilization. Greek culture was a powerful influence in
the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of Europe. Ancient Greek civilization has been immensely
influential on the language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, art and architecture
of the modern world, particularly during the Renaissance in Western Europe and again during
various neo-classical revivals in 18th and 19th-century Europe and the Americas.===Iron Age (1100–800 BC)===The Greek Dark Ages (ca. 1100 BC–800 BC)
refers to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the
Mycenaean civilization in the 11th century BC to the rise of the first Greek city-states
in the 9th century BC and the epics of Homer and earliest writings in alphabetic Greek
in the 8th century BC. The collapse of the Mycenaean coincided with
the fall of several other large empires in the near east, most notably the Hittite and
the Egyptian. The cause may be attributed to an invasion
of the Sea People wielding iron weapons. When the Dorians came down into Greece they
also were equipped with superior iron weapons, easily dispersing the already weakened Mycenaeans. The period that follows these events is collectively
known as the Greek Dark Ages. Kings ruled throughout this period until eventually
they were replaced with an aristocracy, then still later, in some areas, an aristocracy
within an aristocracy—an elite of the elite. Warfare shifted from a focus on cavalry to
a great emphasis on infantry. Due to its cheapness of production and local
availability, iron replaced bronze as the metal of choice in the manufacturing of tools
and weapons. Slowly equality grew among the different sects
of people, leading to the dethronement of the various Kings and the rise of the family. At the end of this period of stagnation, the
Greek civilization was engulfed in a renaissance that spread the Greek world as far as the
Black Sea and Spain. Writing was relearned from the Phoenicians,
eventually spreading north into Italy and the Gauls.===Archaic Greece===In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge
from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. Literacy had been lost and Mycenaean script
forgotten, but the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, modifying it to create the Greek
alphabet. From about the 9th century BC, written records
begin to appear. Greece was divided into many small self-governing
communities, a pattern largely dictated by Greek geography, where every island, valley
and plain is cut off from its neighbours by the sea or mountain ranges.The Archaic period
can be understood as the Orientalizing period, when Greece was at the fringe, but not under
the sway, of the budding Neo-Assyrian Empire. Greece adopted significant amounts of cultural
elements from the Orient, in art as well as in religion and mythology. Archaeologically, Archaic Greece is marked
by Geometric pottery.===Classical Greece===The basic unit of politics in Ancient Greece
was the polis, sometimes translated as city-state. “Politics” literally means “the things of
the polis” where each city-state was independent, at least in theory. Some city-states might be subordinate to others
(a colony traditionally deferred to its mother city), some might have had governments wholly
dependent upon others (the Thirty Tyrants in Athens was imposed by Sparta following
the Peloponnesian War), but the titularly supreme power in each city was located within
that city. This meant that when Greece went to war (e.g.,
against the Persian Empire), it took the form of an alliance going to war. It also gave ample opportunity for wars within
Greece between different cities.====Persian Wars====
Two major wars shaped the Classical Greek world. The Persian Wars (500–448 BC) are recounted
in Herodotus’s Histories. By the late 6th century BC, the Achaemenid
Persian Empire ruled over all Greek city states and had made territorial gains in the Balkans
and Eastern Europe proper as well. The Ionian Greek cities revolted from the
Persian Empire, through a chain of events, and were supported by some of the mainland
cities, eventually led by Athens. To punish mainland Greece for its support
of the Ionian cities (which uprising by that time had already been quelled) Darius I launched
the First Persian invasion of Greece, which lasted from 492 BC till 490 BC. The Persian general Megabyzus re-subjugated
Thrace and conquered Macedon in the early stages of the war, but the war eventually
ended with a Greek victory. Darius’s successor, Xerxes I, launched the
Second Persian invasion of Greece. Even though at a crucial point in the war
the Persians briefly overran northern and central Greece, the Greek city-states once
again managed to turn this war into a victory. The notable battles of the Greco-Persian Wars
include Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea.) To prosecute the war and then to defend Greece
from further Persian attack, Athens founded the Delian League in 477 BC. Initially, each city in the League would contribute
ships and soldiers to a common army, but in time Athens allowed (and then compelled) the
smaller cities to contribute funds so that it could supply their quota of ships. Secession from the League could be punished. Following military reversals against the Persians,
the treasury was moved from Delos to Athens, further strengthening the latter’s control
over the League. The Delian League was eventually referred
to pejoratively as the Athenian Empire. In 458 BC, while the Persian Wars were still
ongoing, war broke out between the Delian League and the Peloponnesian League, comprising
Sparta and its allies. After some inconclusive fighting, the two
sides signed a peace in 447 BC. That peace was stipulated to last thirty years:
instead it held only until 431 BC, with the onset of the Peloponnesian War. Our main sources concerning this war are Thucydides’s
History of the Peloponnesian War and Xenophon’s Hellenica.====Peloponnesian War====
The war began over a dispute between Corcyra and Epidamnus. Corinth intervened on the Epidamnian side. Fearful lest Corinth capture the Corcyran
navy (second only to the Athenian in size), Athens intervened. It prevented Corinth from landing on Corcyra
at the Battle of Sybota, laid siege to Potidaea, and forbade all commerce with Corinth’s closely
situated ally, Megara (the Megarian decree). There was disagreement among the Greeks as
to which party violated the treaty between the Delian and Peloponnesian Leagues, as Athens
was technically defending a new ally. The Corinthians turned to Sparta for aid. Fearing the growing might of Athens, and witnessing
Athens’ willingness to use it against the Megarians (the embargo would have ruined them),
Sparta declared the treaty to have been violated and the Peloponnesian War began in earnest. The first stage of the war (known as the Archidamian
War for the Spartan king, Archidamus II) lasted until 421 BC with the signing of the Peace
of Nicias. The Athenian general Pericles recommended
that his city fight a defensive war, avoiding battle against the superior land forces led
by Sparta, and importing everything needful by maintaining its powerful navy. Athens would simply outlast Sparta, whose
citizens feared to be out of their city for long lest the helots revolt. This strategy required that Athens endure
regular sieges, and in 430 BC it was visited with an awful plague that killed about a quarter
of its people, including Pericles. With Pericles gone, less conservative elements
gained power in the city and Athens went on the offensive. It captured 300–400 Spartan hoplites at
the Battle of Pylos. This represented a significant fraction of
the Spartan fighting force which the latter decided it could not afford to lose. Meanwhile, Athens had suffered humiliating
defeats at Delium and Amphipolis. The Peace of Nicias concluded with Sparta
recovering its hostages and Athens recovering the city of Amphipolis. Those who signed the Peace of Nicias in 421
BC swore to uphold it for fifty years. The second stage of the Peloponnesian War
began in 415 BC when Athens embarked on the Sicilian Expedition to support an ally (Segesta)
attacked by Syracuse and to conquer Sicily. Initially, Sparta was reluctant, but Alcibiades,
the Athenian general who had argued for the Sicilian Expedition, defected to the Spartan
cause upon being accused of grossly impious acts and convinced them that they could not
allow Athens to subjugate Syracuse. The campaign ended in disaster for the Athenians. Athens’ Ionian possessions rebelled with the
support of Sparta, as advised by Alcibiades. In 411 BC, an oligarchical revolt in Athens
held out the chance for peace, but the Athenian navy, which remained committed to the democracy,
refused to accept the change and continued fighting in Athens’ name. The navy recalled Alcibiades (who had been
forced to abandon the Spartan cause after reputedly seducing the wife of Agis II, a
Spartan king) and made him its head. The oligarchy in Athens collapsed and Alcibiades
reconquered what had been lost. In 407 BC, Alcibiades was replaced following
a minor naval defeat at the Battle of Notium. The Spartan general Lysander, having fortified
his city’s naval power, won victory after victory. Following the Battle of Arginusae, which Athens
won but was prevented by bad weather from rescuing some of its sailors, Athens executed
or exiled eight of its top naval commanders. Lysander followed with a crushing blow at
the Battle of Aegospotami in 405 BC which almost destroyed the Athenian fleet. Athens surrendered one year later, ending
the Peloponnesian War. The war had left devastation in its wake. Discontent with the Spartan hegemony that
followed (including the fact that it ceded Ionia and Cyprus to the Persian Empire at
the conclusion of the Corinthian War (395–387 BC); see Treaty of Antalcidas) induced the
Thebans to attack. Their general, Epaminondas, crushed Sparta
at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC, inaugurating a period of Theban dominance in Greece. In 346 BC, unable to prevail in its ten-year
war with Phocis, Thebes called upon Philip II of Macedon for aid. Macedon quickly forced the city states into
being united by the League of Corinth which led to the conquering of the Persian Empire
and the Hellenistic Age had begun.===Hellenistic Greece===The Hellenistic period of Greek history begins
with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and ends with the annexation of the Greek
peninsula and islands by Rome in 146 BC. Although the establishment of Roman rule did
not break the continuity of Hellenistic society and culture, which remained essentially unchanged
until the advent of Christianity, it did mark the end of Greek political independence. During the Hellenistic period, the importance
of “Greece proper” (that is, the territory of modern Greece) within the Greek-speaking
world declined sharply. The great centres of Hellenistic culture were
Alexandria and Antioch, capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria. (See Hellenistic civilization for the history
of Greek culture outside Greece in this period.) Athens and her allies revolted against Macedon
upon hearing that Alexander had died, but were defeated within a year in the Lamian
War. Meanwhile, a struggle for power broke out
among Alexander’s generals, which resulted in the break-up of his empire and the establishment
of a number of new kingdoms (see the Wars of the Diadochi). Ptolemy was left with Egypt, Seleucus with
the Levant, Mesopotamia, and points east. Control of Greece, Thrace, and Anatolia was
contested, but by 298 BC the Antigonid dynasty had supplanted the Antipatrid. Macedonian control of the city-states was
intermittent, with a number of revolts. Athens, Rhodes, Pergamum and other Greek states
retained substantial independence, and joined the Aetolian League as a means of defending
it and restoring democracy in their states, whereas they saw Macedon as a tyrannical kingdom
because of the fact they had not adopted democracy. The Achaean League, while nominally subject
to the Ptolemies was in effect independent, and controlled most of southern Greece. Sparta also remained independent, but generally
refused to join any league. In 267 BC, Ptolemy II persuaded the Greek
cities to revolt against Macedon, in what became the Chremonidean War, after the Athenian
leader Chremonides. The cities were defeated and Athens lost her
independence and her democratic institutions. This marked the end of Athens as a political
actor, although it remained the largest, wealthiest and most cultivated city in Greece. In 225 BC, Macedon defeated the Egyptian fleet
at Cos and brought the Aegean islands, except Rhodes, under its rule as well. Sparta remained hostile to the Achaeans, and
in 227 BC invaded Achaea and seized control of the League. The remaining Achaeans preferred distant Macedon
to nearby Sparta, and allied with the former. In 222 BC, the Macedonian army defeated the
Spartans and annexed their city—the first time Sparta had ever been occupied by a different
state. Philip V of Macedon was the last Greek ruler
with both the talent and the opportunity to unite Greece and preserve its independence
against the ever-increasing power of Rome. Under his auspices, the Peace of Naupactus
(217 BC) brought conflict between Macedon and the Greek leagues to an end, and at this
time he controlled all of Greece except Athens, Rhodes and Pergamum. In 215 BC, however, Philip formed an alliance
with Rome’s enemy Carthage. Rome promptly lured the Achaean cities away
from their nominal loyalty to Philip, and formed alliances with Rhodes and Pergamum,
now the strongest power in Asia Minor. The First Macedonian War broke out in 212
BC, and ended inconclusively in 205 BC, but Macedon was now marked as an enemy of Rome. In 202 BC, Rome defeated Carthage, and was
free to turn her attention eastwards. In 198 BC, the Second Macedonian War broke
out because Rome saw Macedon as a potential ally of the Seleucid Empire, the greatest
power in the east. Philip’s allies in Greece deserted him and
in 197 BC he was decisively defeated at the Battle of Cynoscephalae by the Roman proconsul
Titus Quinctius Flaminius. Luckily for the Greeks, Flaminius was a moderate
man and an admirer of Greek culture. Philip had to surrender his fleet and become
a Roman ally, but was otherwise spared. At the Isthmian Games in 196 BC, Flaminius
declared all the Greek cities free, although Roman garrisons were placed at Corinth and
Chalcis. But the freedom promised by Rome was an illusion. All the cities except Rhodes were enrolled
in a new League which Rome ultimately controlled, and aristocratic constitutions were favoured
and actively promoted.==Roman Greece (146 BC–324 AD)==Militarily, Greece itself declined to the
point that the Romans conquered the land (168 BC onwards), though Greek culture would in
turn conquer Roman life. Although the period of Roman rule in Greece
is conventionally dated as starting from the sacking of Corinth by the Roman Lucius Mummius
in 146 BC, Macedonia had already come under Roman control with the defeat of its king,
Perseus, by the Roman Aemilius Paullus at Pydna in 168 BC. The Romans divided the region into four smaller
republics, and in 146 BC Macedonia officially became a province, with its capital at Thessalonica. The rest of the Greek city-states gradually
and eventually paid homage to Rome ending their de jure autonomy as well. The Romans left local administration to the
Greeks without making any attempt to abolish traditional political patterns. The agora in Athens continued to be the centre
of civic and political life. Caracalla’s decree in 212 AD, the Constitutio
Antoniniana, extended citizenship outside Italy to all free adult men in the entire
Roman Empire, effectively raising provincial populations to equal status with the city
of Rome itself. The importance of this decree is historical,
not political. It set the basis for integration where the
economic and judicial mechanisms of the state could be applied throughout the Mediterranean
as was once done from Latium into all Italy. In practice of course, integration did not
take place uniformly. Societies already integrated with Rome, such
as Greece, were favored by this decree, in comparison with those far away, too poor or
just too alien such as Britain, Palestine or Egypt. Caracalla’s decree did not set in motion the
processes that led to the transfer of power from Italy and the West to Greece and the
East, but rather accelerated them, setting the foundations for the millennium-long rise
of Greece, in the form of the Eastern Roman Empire, as a major power in Europe and the
Mediterranean in the Middle Ages.==Byzantine Empire (324–1453 AD)==The history of
the East Roman or Byzantine Empire is described by Byzantinist August Heisenberg as the history
of “the Christianized Roman empire of the Greek nation”. The division of the empire into East and West
and the subsequent collapse of the Western Roman Empire were developments that constantly
accentuated the position of the Greeks in the empire and eventually allowed them to
become identified with it altogether. The leading role of Constantinople began when
Constantine the Great turned Byzantium into the new capital of the Roman Empire, from
then on to be known as Constantinople, placing the city at the center of Hellenism, a beacon
for the Greeks that lasted to the modern era. The figures of Constantine the Great and Justinian
dominated during 324–610. Assimilating the Roman tradition, the emperors
sought to offer the basis for later developments and for the formation of the Byzantine Empire. Efforts to secure the borders of the Empire
and to restore the Roman territories marked the early centuries. At the same time, the definitive formation
and establishment of the Orthodox doctrine, but also a series of conflicts resulting from
heresies that developed within the boundaries of the empire, marked the early period of
Byzantine history. In the first period of the middle Byzantine
era (610–867), the empire was attacked both by old enemies (Persians, Lombards, Avars
and Slavs) as well as by new ones, appearing for the first time in history (Arabs, Bulgars). The main characteristic of this period was
that the enemy attacks were not localized to the border areas of the state but they
were extended deep beyond, even threatening the capital itself. The attacks of the Slavs lost their periodical
and temporary character and became permanent settlements that transformed into new states,
initially hostile to Constantinople until their christianization. Those states were referred by the Byzantines
as Sclavinias. Changes were also observed in the internal
structure of the empire which was dictated by both external and internal conditions. The predominance of the small free farmers,
the expansion of the military estates and the development of the system of themes, brought
to completion developments that had started in the previous period. Changes were noted also in the sector of administration:
the administration and society had become immiscibly Greek, while the restoration of
Orthodoxy after the iconoclast movement, allowed the successful resumption of missionary action
among neighboring peoples and their placement within the sphere of Byzantine cultural influence. During this period the state was geographically
reduced and economically damaged, since it lost wealth-producing regions; however, it
obtained greater lingual, dogmatic and cultural homogeneity. From the late 8th century, the Empire began
to recover from the devastating impact of successive invasions, and the reconquest of
Greek peninsula began. Greeks from Sicily and Asia Minor were brought
in as settlers. The Slavs were either driven out to Asia Minor
or assimilated and the Sclavinias were eliminated. By the middle of the 9th century, Greece was
Byzantine again, and the cities began to recover due to improved security and the restoration
of effective central control.===Economic prosperity===When the Byzantine Empire was rescued from
a period of crisis by the resolute leadership of the three Komnenoi emperors Alexios, John
and Manuel in the 12th century, Greece prospered. Recent research has revealed that this period
was a time of significant growth in the rural economy, with rising population levels and
extensive tracts of new agricultural land being brought into production. The widespread construction of new rural churches
is a strong indication that prosperity was being generated even in remote areas. A steady increase in population led to a higher
population density, and there is good evidence that the demographic increase was accompanied
by the revival of towns. According to Alan Harvey’s Economic Expansion
in the Byzantine Empire 900–1200, towns expanded significantly in the twelfth century. Archaeological evidence shows an increase
in the size of urban settlements, together with a ‘notable upsurge’ in new towns. Archaeological evidence tells us that many
of the medieval towns, including Athens, Thessaloniki, Thebes and Corinth, experienced a period of
rapid and sustained growth, starting in the 11th century and continuing until the end
of the 12th century. The growth of the towns attracted the Venetians,
and this interest in trade appears to have further increased economic prosperity in Greece. Certainly, the Venetians and others were active
traders in the ports of the Holy Land, and they made a living out of shipping goods between
the Crusader Kingdoms of Outremer and the West while also trading extensively with Byzantium
and Egypt.===Artistic revival===A kind of “Renaissance” of the Byzantine art,
as described by scholars, began since the 10th century. Many of the most important Byzantine churches
in and around Athens, for example, were built during these two centuries, and this reflects
the growth of urbanisation in Greece during this period. There was also a revival in the mosaic art
with artists showing great interest in depicting natural landscapes with wild animals and scenes
from the hunt. Mosaics became more realistic and vivid, with
an increased emphasis on depicting three-dimensional forms. With its love of luxury and passion for color,
the art of this age delighted in the production of masterpieces that spread the fame of Byzantium
throughout the Christian world. Beautiful silks from the workshops of Constantinople
also portrayed in dazzling color animals—lions, elephants, eagles, and griffins—confronting
each other, or representing Emperors gorgeously arrayed on horseback or engaged in the chase. The eyes of many patrons were attracted and
the economy of Greece grew. In the provinces, regional schools of Architecture
began producing many distinctive styles that drew on a range of cultural influences. All this suggests that there was an increased
demand for art, with more people having access to the necessary wealth to commission and
pay for such work. Yet the marvelous expansion of Byzantine art
during this period, one of the most remarkable facts in the history of the empire, did not
stop there. From the 10th to the 12th century, Byzantium
was the main source of inspiration for the West. By their style, arrangement, and iconography
the mosaics of St. Mark’s at Venice and of the cathedral at Torcello clearly show their
Byzantine origin. Similarly those of the Palatine Chapel, the
Martorana at Palermo, and the cathedral of Cefalu, together with the vast decoration
of the cathedral at Monreale, prove the influence of Byzantium οn the Norman Court of Sicily
in the 12th century. Hispano-Moorish art was unquestionably derived
from the Byzantine. Romanesque art owes much to the East, from
which it borrowed not only its decorative forms but the plan of some of its buildings,
as is proved, for instance, by the domed churches of south-western France. Princes of Kiev, Venetian doges, abbots of
Monte Cassino, merchants of Amalfi, and the Norman kings of Sicily all looked to Byzantium
for artists or works of art. Such was the influence of Byzantine art in
the 12th century, that Russia, Venice, southern Italy and Sicily all virtually became provincial
centers dedicated to its production.===The Fourth Crusade===The year 1204 marks the beginning of the Late
Byzantine period when Constantinople and a number of Byzantine territories were conquered
by the Latins during the Fourth Crusade. During this period, a number of Byzantine
Greek successor states emerged such as the Empire of Nicaea, the Despotate of Epirus
and the Empire of Trebizond. In Latin-occupied territories, elements of
feudality entered medieval Greek life. The Latin Empire, however, lasted only 57
years when in 1261, Constantinople was reclaimed by the Byzantine Greeks and the Byzantine
Empire was restored. From 1261 onwards, Byzantium underwent a gradual
weakening of its internal structures and the reduction of its territories from Ottoman
invasions culminating in the fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople resulted
in the official end of both the Eastern Roman empire and the Byzantine period of Greek history.==Venetian and Ottoman rule (15th century–1821
AD)==When the Ottomans arrived, two Greek migrations
occurred. The first migration entailed the Greek intelligentsia
migrating to Western Europe and influencing the advent of the Renaissance. The second migration entailed Greeks leaving
the plains of the Greek peninsula and resettling in the mountains. The millet system contributed to the ethnic
cohesion of Orthodox Greeks by segregating the various peoples within the Ottoman Empire
based on religion. The Greeks living in the plains during Ottoman
rule were either Christians who dealt with the burdens of foreign rule or crypto-Christians
(Greek Muslims who were secret practitioners of the Greek Orthodox faith). Some Greeks became crypto-Christians to avoid
heavy taxes and at the same time express their identity by maintaining their ties to the
Greek Orthodox Church. However, Greeks who converted to Islam and
were not crypto-Christians were deemed “Turks” (Muslims) in the eyes of Orthodox Greeks,
even if they didn’t adopt the Turkish language. The Ottomans ruled most of Greece until the
early 19th century. The first semi-independent, self-governed
after centuries, Greek state was established 21 years before the outbreak of the Greek
revolution. The Septinsular Republic, with Corfu as capital,
was established in 1800.==Modern Greek nation state (1821–present)
==In the early months of 1821, the Greeks declared
their independence, but did not achieve it until 1829. The Great Powers first shared the same view
concerning the necessity of preserving the status quo of the Ottoman Empire, but soon
changed their stance. Scores of non-Greeks philhellenes volunteered
to fight for the cause, including Lord Byron. On October 20, 1827, a combined British, French
and Russian naval force destroyed the Ottoman and Egyptian armada. The Russian minister of foreign affairs, Ioannis
Kapodistrias, himself a Greek, returned home as President of the new Republic. The first capital of the independent Greece
was temporarly Aigina (1828–1829) and later officially Nafplion (1828–1834). After his assassination, the European powers
turned Greece into a monarchy; the first King, Otto, came from Bavaria and the second, George
I, from Denmark. In 1834, King Otto transferred the capital
to Athens. During the 19th and early 20th centuries,
Greece sought to enlarge its boundaries to include the ethnic Greek population of the
Ottoman Empire. Greece played a peripheral role in the Crimean
War. When Russia attacked the Ottoman Empire in
1853, Greek leaders saw an opportunity to expand North and South into Ottoman areas
that had a Christian majority. However, Greece did not coordinate its plans
with Russia, did not declare war, and received no outside military or financial support. The French and British seized its major port
and effectively neutralized the Greek army. Greek efforts to cause insurrections failed
as they were easily crushed by Ottoman forces. Greece was not invited to the peace conference
and made no gains out of the war. The frustrated Greek leadership blamed the
King for failing to take advantage of the situation; his popularity plunged and he was
later forced to abdicate. The Ionian Islands were given by Britain upon
the arrival of the new King George I in 1863 and Thessaly was ceded by the Ottomans in
1880.===Modernization===In the late 19th century, modernization transformed
the social structure of Greece. The population grew rapidly, putting heavy
pressure on the system of small farms with low productivity. Overall, population density more than doubled
from 41 persons per square mile in 1829 to 114 in 1912 (16 to 44 per km2). One response was emigration to the United
States, with a quarter million people leaving between 1906 and 1914. Entrepreneurs found numerous business opportunities
in the retail and restaurant sectors of American cities; some sent money back to their families,
others returned with hundreds of dollars, enough to purchase a farm or a small business
in the old village. The urban population tripled from 8% in 1853
to 24% in 1907. Athens grew from a village of 6000 people
in 1834, when it became the capital, to 63,000 in 1879, 111,000 in 1896, and 167,000 in 1907.In
Athens and other cities, men arriving from rural areas set up workshops and stores, creating
a middle class. They joined with bankers, professional men,
university students, and military officers, to demand reform and modernization of the
political and economic system. Athens became the center of the merchant marine,
which quadrupled from 250,000 tons in 1875 to more than 1,000,000 tons in 1915. As the cities modernized, businessmen adopted
the latest styles of Western European architecture.===Balkan Wars===The participation of Greece in the Balkan
Wars of 1912–1913 is one of the most important episodes in modern Greek history, as it allowed
the Greek state to almost double its size and achieve most of its present territorial
size. As a result of the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913,
most of Epirus, southern Macedonia, Crete and the northern Aegean islands were incorporated
into the Kingdom of Greece.===World War I and Greco-Turkish War===The outbreak of World War I in 1914 produced
a split in Greek politics, with King Constantine I, an admirer of Germany, calling for neutrality
while Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos pushed for Greece to join the Allies. The conflict between the monarchists and the
Venizelists sometimes resulted in open warfare and became known as the National Schism. In 1916, the Allies forced Constantine to
abdicate in favor of his son Alexander and Venizelos returned as premier. At the end of the war, the Great Powers agreed
that the Ottoman city of Smyrna (Izmir) and its hinterland, both of which had large Greek
populations, be handed over to Greece.Greek troops occupied Smyrna in 1919, and in 1920
the Treaty of Sèvres was signed by the Ottoman government; the treaty stipulated that in
five years time a plebiscite would be held in Smyrna on whether the region would join
Greece. However, Turkish nationalists, led by Mustafa
Kemal Atatürk, overthrew the Ottoman government and organised a military campaign against
the Greek troops, resulting in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922). A major Greek offensive ground to a halt in
1921, and by 1922 Greek troops were in retreat. The Turkish forces recaptured Smyrna on 9
September 1922, and setting the city ablaze and killing many Greeks and Armenians.The
war was concluded by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), according to which there was to be
a population exchange between Greece and Turkey on the basis of religion. Over one million Orthodox Christians left
Turkey in exchange for 400,000 Muslims from Greece. The events of 1919–1922 are regarded in
Greece as a particularly calamitous period of history. Between 1914 and 1923, an estimated 750,000
to 900,000 Greeks died at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, in what many scholars have
termed a genocide.===World War II===The Second Hellenic Republic was proclamed
in 1924 only to be disestablished in 1935 with the return of King George II of Greece. In August 1936, Prime Minister Metaxas, with
the agreement of the king, suspended the parliament and established the quasi-fascist Metaxas
regime. Despite the country’s numerically small and
ill-equipped armed forces, Greece made a decisive contribution to the Allied efforts in World
War II. At the start of the war, Greece sided with
the Allies and refused to give in to Italian demands. Italy invaded Greece by way of Albania on
28 October 1940, but Greek troops repelled the invaders after a bitter struggle (see
Greco-Italian War). This marked the first Allied victory in the
war. Primarily to secure his strategic southern
flank, German dictator Adolf Hitler reluctantly stepped in and launched the Battle of Greece
in April 1941. Axis units from Germany, Bulgaria, and Italy
successfully invaded Greece, through Yugoslavia, forcing out the Greek defenders. The Greek government eventually decided to
stop the fighting and thus stopped sending ammunition and supplies to the northern front
and the defenders were easily overrun. The Greek government then proceeded, as the
Nazi forces came towards the capital of Athens, to leave for Crete and then Cairo, Egypt. On 20 May 1941, the Germans attempted to seize
Crete with a large attack by paratroopers, with the aim of reducing the threat of a counter-offensive
by Allied forces in Egypt, but faced heavy resistance. The Greek campaign might have delayed German
military plans against Soviet Union, and it is argued that had the German invasion of
the Soviet Union started on 20 May 1941 instead of 22 June 1941, the Nazi assault against
the Soviet Union might have succeeded. The heavy losses of German paratroopers led
the Germans to launch no further large-scale air-invasions. During the Axis occupation of Greece, thousands
of Greeks died in direct combat, in concentration camps, or of starvation. The occupiers murdered the greater part of
the Jewish community despite efforts by Christian Greeks to shelter the Jews. The economy of Greece was devastated. When the Soviet Army began its drive across
Romania in August 1944, the German Army in Greece began withdrawing north and northwestward
from Greece into Yugoslavia and Albania to avoid being cut off in Greece. Hence, the German occupation of Greece ended
in October 1944. The Resistance group ELAS seized control of
Athens on 12 October 1944. British troops had already landed on 4 October
in Patras, and entered Athens on 14 October 1944.Christina Goulter summarizes the devastation
done to Greece during the war: “Between 1941 in 1945, over 8% of the Greek
population had died; some 2000 villages and small towns had been razed to the ground;
starvation was widespread due to the destruction of crops and worsened in many parts of Greece
after liberation when agricultural labourers migrated to urban centres to escape politically
inspired violence in the countryside; trade either internally or externally had all but
ceased; most of Greece’s merchant marine lay at the bottom of the sea; and motorized
transport had been confiscated by the axis occupiers.”===
Greek Civil War (1944–1949)===The Greek Civil War (Greek: Eμφύλιος
πόλεμος, romanized: Emfílios pólemos) was the first major confrontation of the Cold
War. It was fought between 1944 and 1949 in Greece
between the nationalist/non-Marxist forces of Greece (financially supported by Great
Britain at first, and later by the United States) and the Democratic Army of Greece
(ELAS), which was the military branch of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). The conflict resulted in a victory for the
British — and later U.S.-supported government forces, which led to Greece receiving American
funds through the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, as well as becoming a member
of NATO, which helped to define the ideological balance of power in the Aegean for the entire
Cold War. The first phase of the civil war occurred
in 1943–1944. Marxist and non-Marxist resistance groups
fought each other in a fratricidal conflict to establish the leadership of the Greek resistance
movement. In the second phase (December 1944), the ascendant
communists, in military control of most of Greece, confronted the returning Greek government
in exile, which had been formed under the auspices of the Western Allies in Cairo and
originally included six KKE-affiliated ministers. In the third phase (called by some the “Third
Round”), guerrilla forces controlled by the KKE fought against the internationally recognized
Greek government which was formed after elections were boycotted by the KKE. Although the involvement of the KKE in the
uprisings was universally known, the party remained legal until 1948, continuing to coordinate
attacks from its Athens offices until proscription. The war, which lasted from 1946 to 1949, was
characterised by guerilla warfare between the KKE forces and Greek governmental forces
mainly in the mountain ranges of northern Greece. The war ended with the NATO bombing of Mount
Grammos and the final defeat of the KKE forces. The civil war left Greece with a legacy of
political polarization. As a result, Greece also entered into an alliance
with the United States and joined NATO, while relationships with its communist northern
neighbours, both pro-Soviet and neutral, became strained.===Postwar development and integration in
Western Bloc (1949–1967)===In the 1950s and 1960s, Greece developed rapidly,
initially with the help of the Marshall Plan’s grants and loans, also to decrease the communist
influence. In 1952, by joining NATO, Greece clearly became
part of the Western Bloc of the Cold War. But in Greek society, the deep divide between
the leftist and rightist sections continued. Greece economy advanced further through growth
in the tourism sector. New attention was given to women’s rights,
and in 1952 suffrage for women was guaranteed in the Constitution, full Constitutional equality
following, and Lina Tsaldari becoming the first female minister that decade. The Greek economic miracle is the period of
sustained economic growth, generally from 1950 to 1973. During this period, the Greek economy grew
by an average of 7.7%, second in the world only to Japan.===Military dictatorship (1967–1974)===In 1967, the Greek military seized power in
a coup d’état, overthrowing the centre right government of Panagiotis Kanellopoulos. It established the Greek military junta of
1967-1974 which became known as the Régime of the Colonels. The junta government’s accession to power
lead to an isolation to Greece from European affairs and froze Greece’s entry to the European
Union. In 1973, the régime abolished the Greek monarchy
and in 1974, dictator Papadopoulos denied help to the United States. After a second coup that year, Colonel Ioannides
was appointed as the new head-of-state. Ioannides was responsible for the 1974 coup
against President Makarios of Cyprus. The coup became the pretext for the first
wave of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 (see Greco-Turkish relations). The Cyprus events and the outcry following
a bloody suppression of Athens Polytechnic uprising in Athens led to the implosion of
the military régime.===Third Hellenic Republic (1974–present)
===After the end of the military régime, democracy
was restored. The fall of the junta was followed by the
metapolitefsi. Metapolitefsi was initiated when Konstantinos
Karamanlis returned from self-exile in Paris at the invitation of the junta, to become
interim prime minister on July 23, 1974. and later gained re-election for two further terms
at the head of the conservative New Democracy Party. In August 1974, Greek forces withdrew from
the integrated military structure of NATO in protest at the Turkish occupation of northern
Cyprus.In 1974, a referendum voted 69%–31% to confirm the deposition of King Constantine
II. A democratic republican constitution came
into force. Another previously exiled politician, Andreas
Papandreou also returned and founded the socialist PASOK Party (Panhellenic Socialist Movement),
which won the 1981 election and dominated Greek politics for almost two decades.After
the restoration of democracy, Greece’s stability and economic prosperity improved significantly. Greece rejoined NATO in 1980, joined the European
Union (EU) in 1981 and adopted the euro as its currency in 2001. New infrastructure funds from the EU and growing
revenues from tourism, shipping, services, light industry and the telecommunications
industry have brought Greeks an unprecedented standard of living. Tensions continue to exist between Greece
and Turkey over Cyprus and the delimitation of borders in the Aegean Sea but relations
have considerably thawed following successive earthquakes, first in Turkey and then in Greece,
and an outpouring of sympathy and generous assistance by ordinary Greeks and Turks (see
Earthquake Diplomacy).===Greece in the Eurozone===The 2008 global economic recession impacted
Greece, as well as the rest of the countries in the eurozone. From late 2009, fears developed in investment
markets of a sovereign debt crisis concerning Greece’s ability to pay its debts, in view
of the large increase in the country’s government debt. This crisis of confidence was indicated by
a widening of bond yield spreads and risk insurance on credit default swaps compared
to other countries, most importantly Germany. Downgrading of Greek government debt to junk
bond status created alarm in financial markets. On 2 May 2010, the Eurozone countries and
the International Monetary Fund agreed on a €110 billion loan for Greece, conditional
on the implementation of harsh austerity measures. In October 2011, Eurozone leaders also agreed
on a proposal to write off 50% of Greek debt owed to private creditors, increasing the
European Financial Stability Facility amount to about €1 trillion, and requiring European
banks to achieve 9% capitalization to reduce the risk of contagion to other countries. These austerity measures were extremely unpopular
with the Greek public, precipitating demonstrations and civil unrest.==See also==
History of Crete History of Cyprus
History of the Cyclades History of Thessaly
History of Athens History of Macedonia
History of Thrace History of the Greek language
Timeline of Ancient Greece Timeline of modern Greek historyLists: List of ancient Greeks
List of ancient Greek cities List of Kings of Greece
List of Presidents of Greece List of Prime Ministers of GreeceGeneral: History of the Balkans
History of Asia Minor Intermediate Region
History of Europe

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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