History of Greece and the Greek civilization

history of greeceGreek history is the history of the people of Greece, their civilization and their cultures from their appearance to the present day. However, despite the fact that the independent state of Greece was only recognized in the beginning of the 19th century, Greek history extends beyond the geographical boundaries of the current state and into a long period of centuries into the past.

The first historical evidence of human life in Greece dates back to 120,000-10,000 B.C. However, it was not until the Neolithic period dated approximately 7,000 – 3,000 B.C. that Greek civilisation grew and flourished. Many remains of settlements and burial chambers of this period have been discovered in Thessaly, Macedonia and the Peloponnese. The first urban centres appeared during the Bronze Age (3,000-1100 B.C.) Evidence of these have been found all over modern day Greece, for example, in some North Eastern Aegean islands, the Cycladic islands, Crete and the Greek mainland. Due to its strategic position, straddling east and west, Greece was considered a vital link in world’s History. The first Greek-speaking peoples are thought to have migrated into the Balkan peninsula shortly before 2200 , during the Aegean Bronze Age. Their arrival is attested by signs of violent destruction in the vicinity of Argos, most notably at the town of Lerna. By 1500 their descendants in mainland Greece had established a civilisation that reached as far as Rhodes and was in contact with the Near East kingdoms.

The Stone age in Greece

The Palaeolithic Age in Greece is little known, since the researches are so far insufficient to give us a complete picture of it. However, it is very important to point out that the Greek area during the Paleolithic Age was not less populated than the rest of the European continent. The rarity of finds in no way means the absence of human activity. Proof is, that, in every area that is researched by specialist scientists, its remains are discovered of this remote prehistoric age.

Another important observation is that the characteristics of the Paleolithic Age of the Greek area and in particular the dates of of various periods agree broadly with those of the rest of Europe. Although there is no doubt that it will have the parts its particular characteristics, however, these cannot be diagnosed yet, since research is in an embryonic stage. The elements that have come to light so far, however, they do not contradict the data of the rest of Europe, and especially of southern Europe.

Before proceeding to the summary presentation of the data for the Stone Age in the Greek area, it is useful to precede two observations on the natural environment and housing. The Paleolithic Era coincides, broadly speaking, with the Pleistocene geological period, which roughly corresponds to the last two million years (approximately 1,800,000 to 10,000 years). The main feature of this era, which is also known as the Glacial era , is the alternation of glacial (cold) and interglacial (warm) periods. Each such cycle, glacial – interglacial period, lasted an average of about 100,000 years. Greece did not experience extensive glaciers, only small ones cores at the highest points of large mountain masses.

During the glacial periods, the southern Balkans and mainly the Greek area (as well as the Italian and Iberian peninsulas), due to their southern geographical position, they were in a way a refuge for people and animals, who descended towards the South pressed by the advance of the glaciers in northern and central Europe. Inside the Greek area, the northern climate regions were more affected by the deterioration of climatic conditions during the glacial periods than the southern regions
where conditions remained relatively mild.

During the ice ages, the lowering of the sea level freed up large areas, which were occupied by humans and animals. land animals. Mainland Greece then extended more at the expense of the sea, while many islands were connected to the land opposite. For for example, Chios and Mytilini were united with the opposite Asia Minor, Corfu with Epirus, the Cyclades were united with each other
and formed a large island that was much closer to mainland Greece, the western Peloponnese was united with the opposite western continent etc.

In contrast, during the interglacial periods, the sea level rose and much of the land was flooded by the
sea, forcing animals and people to retreat to the highest points. Regarding the residence during the Stone Age, it should be noted that caves were not the only places of residence. On the contrary, in all of them during the several periods of the that Age, there were also outdoor camps, in all areas and regardless of the existence or not of caves in the same area. On the other hand, the habitation of the caves was independent of the climatic conditions and in particular of whether it was glacial or interglacial period. It is enough to consider that, today, when we are in an interglacial period, the spacious mouth of a cave is “welcome” for accommodation.

13th-12th century BC

The gradual collapse of the Mycenaean civilization, which took place based on archaeological findings between the end of the 13th and the end of the 12th century BC, is an important historical milestone for Greece.

It is also important to note that in the following centuries, the 11th and 10th, an important technological change takes place in the wider Mediterranean and the Middle East: the technique of working iron spreads and this new metal replaces copper in various uses, such as the manufacture of weapons and tools.
With this development human history passes from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. At the same time, in the area of ​​the eastern Mediterranean, war raids and population movements are taking place and social and political changes are taking place.

In Greece the beginning of the end of the Mycenaean era is marked by the abandonment of the building complexes we call palaces, which were built on fortified citadels with so-called cyclopean walls; from there a ruler called anax, surrounded by officials, controlled the economy, politics and military a wider area (such as the plains of Argolis and Messinia in Peloponnese, Kopaida in Boeotia or the valley of Evrotas in Laconia).

The change in the mode of government, whatever its cause, undoubtedly created new political conditions and led to a different social organization, which, combined with other factors not sufficiently known to us, created the conditions for the birth of a new culture.

The archaeological data indeed show that, over time, a new one with different characteristics took the place of the Mycenaean civilization. Especially in Myceanean art the changes are important.

The objects that people used, from the simplest to the most luxurious, the houses where they lived, the places of worship bear little resemblance to those of the previous period.

The explanation can only be related to the political, social and cultural change we talked about. But the cause that caused the overthrow of the centralized administrative system that had developed in the Mycenaean palaces remains essentially unknown.

The absence of reliable historical evidence has led to the formulation of hypotheses that, despite their interest, do not offer a satisfactory explanation.

However, regardless of the uncertainties that remain, we must point out that the end of the Mycenaean world coincides in time (and is possibly connected) with important developments and rearrangements that take place in the wider area of ​​the eastern Mediterranean.

We do know that at about the same time Egypt was shaken by the raids of the “sea people”, while the powerful Hittite state in central Asia Minor was disintegrating.

The question “what was it that caused such a significant political and cultural change” initially led historians and archaeologists to think that the answer lies in the ancient tradition about the Descent of the Dorians, a new Greek race, which, according to all the indications, it actually appeared in Greece at the end of the 2nd millennium BC.

This thought seems in principle completely justified. The ancients themselves were convinced that the Fall of the Dorians was a historical event and associated it with a wave of riots and migrations that placed it in the years after the Trojan War.

It is difficult to say how reliable this historical review of Thucydides can be considered, because we do not know where he gets his information; we assume that his main source was epic poetry.

In any case, however, the appearance in Greece of new population groups (which we can identify with the Dorians) between the 11th and 8th centuries BC. it is undeniable. What we do not know is whether this movement of populations was one of the causes that brought about the end of the Mycenaean civilization or a consequence of its decay.

It is certain that the Dorians are absent from the earliest mythological traditions as well as from the Homeric epics, while the only indisputable testimony to their presence, the Doric dialect, appears in the historical years, after the 8th century BC.

The question of whether the settlement of these populations took the form of a violent invasion or a gradual and essentially peaceful penetration also remains unanswered.

Historians and archaeologists often date the era between the end of the Mycenaean civilization and the 8th century BC. the name “Dark Ages” due to the relatively few archaeological finds and the lack of historical evidence. In recent years, however, archaeological research has brought to light evidence that sheds light on certain aspects of this dark period.

The archaeological remains testify that at the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. the population in Greece was not only smaller than in the heyday of Mycenaean civilization but, most importantly, lived scattered in small settlements, in houses made of perishable materials that are not easy to trace.

Commercial exchanges were, according to all indications, limited, as shown, among other things, by the fact that precious metals are almost entirely absent.
From a political point of view, the settlements of this era seem to have constituted, alone or together with other neighboring ones, independent and self-governing communities.

Each community must have been headed by powerful families who ruled over relatively small territories, much like medieval timaras.
It also seems that in some cases the heads of these families (which we can call aristocratic) allied themselves with each other and chose a common superior lord, who was called king and had both political and religious powers.
Later the system we have described gave way to a more collective form of government as the number of people participating in the commons expanded.

The Aegean Civilisation

Aegean civilisation is a general term used for the Bronze Age cultures in the Aegean area. In fact, the term covers three regions: the Aegean islands, Crete and mainland Greece. Crete from the Early Bronze Age is associated with the Minoan civilization, while in the Cyclades and mainland Greece there are various cultures.
The Cyclades were in close contact with mainly Greece during the Early Helladic Minoan period and with Crete during the Minoan period.
From about 1450 BC, the early Greek Mycenaean civilization spread to Crete.

The Cycladic civilisation

During the 3rd millennium BC, on the islands of the Cyclades, Syros, Paros, Antiparos, Naxos, Sifnos, Milos, Amorgos, and Thira an original culture developed. The small distances between the islands and their geographical location in the centre of the Aegean were favourable factors that facilitated communication and contacts between the two sides of the Aegean. Their economy was partly based on agriculture, livestock farming, fishing, and particularly on craft and trade.

The rich deposits of minerals such as marble in Paros and Naxos, Opianos in Milos and silver in Sifnos, gave the Cyclades the opportunity to deal with metallurgy, the construction of marble vases and obsidian tools. The first inhabitants of the Cyclades built ships that were able to travel to the open sea. The products of their craftsmanship were most likely exchanged with agricultural products which were scarce or absent on their own islands. 

With the exception of the exchange trade it looks like that their economy developed also from what appears to have been a particularly successful transportation of goods from other regions, thus creating the basis of a strong hub of transit trade. Piracy, however, was another aspect of their economy and considering the preponderance of ships laden with goods traversing the area is not really surprising. 

Remains of Cycladic facilities have been found in the wider Aegean region, such as the eastern coasts of mainland Greece and Crete, which leads to the thought that the Cyclades developed extensive commercial activity and dominated the Aegean in the 3rd millennium BC. 

Marble and ceramic utensils with their quirky shapes and original decoration. the architectural remains of the settlements and the works of metalworking are all evidence of a sophisticated social organization and quality in everyday life.

At the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC the originality of Cycladic culture is affected by the introduction of cultural elements, mainly from Crete and from mainland Greece. Thus the Cycladic civilisation of the Middle Bronze Age is the result of the creative combination of the island’s cultural background with the influences that the Cyclades received and then assimilated from Crete and mainland Greece. In this period the rise of the power of the Minoan people resulted in a decrease in the leading role of the Cyclades. In all likelihood, the peoples of the Cycladic civilisation were forced to offer their nautical knowledge in order to preserve their independence.

Around 1500 BC, at the beginning of the late Bronze Age, the eruption of the volcano of Thira (now called Santorini) devastated the island including the large Minoan settlement at Akrotiri. The inhabitants of Thera abandoned the island, probably warned by seismic vibrations before the complete destruction. For other island settlements there is no clear evidence of abandonment or total destruction. However, it is clear that from that time the situation gradually changed in the Aegean, with the subsequent, total domination of the Mycenaean in the 14th century

The Minoan period

During the Minoan civilization in Crete (approximately, 2nd millennium B.C.) a more sophisticated, organised society developed with a culture specific to that region. The first scripts were invented and communication opened up between the Minoans and people from the East Mediterranean countries. This led to an exchange of culture and ideas which became not only established as part of Minoan culture but spread to influence cultures, religion and government all over the Greek islands of the Aegean and the mainland of Greece. During this time Crete became the main exporter of jewellery, skilled craft works, oil and wine as well as importers of food and raw materials. It was during this time in Crete that the first major mercantile navy was developed.

This state of affairs continued until around 1500 B.C. when the tragic destruction of Crete occurred due to the eruption of the volcano of Santorini. The Mycenaeans, based on the Greek mainland were able to take advantage of this collapse of Cretan culture and established themselves as the leading force throughout the Aegean in the last centuries of the 2nd millennium B.C. Their cities in Mycenae, Pylos, Tiryns, Thebes, Iolkos and Athens became the bureaucratic centres of their vast kingdom.

This period of Mycenaean civilisation saw the conquest and settlement by Greeks. Their society was based essentially upon warfare and its elite class were war-chiefs. Their culture thrived for around four hundred years. The cities of the warlords were large and powerful, art and agriculture flourished and there was great prosperity. However, unlike the earlier Minoan societies the wealth was not distributed amongst the population.

As a monarchical society, it was the warring kings who accumulated the riches of the society and spent vast amounts of it upon battles and invasions. This continued until around 1200 B.C., by which time the power of the Mycenae kings was declining and by the 12th century BC their dominance had collapsed – considered by some to be due to the invasion of the Dorian tribes from the north of Greece.

Alternatively, it is postulated that as the Mycenaean superstructure weakened it was overthrown by other groups of the Mycenaean population who then settled in many of the areas formerly controlled by them.

The Mycenean Civilisation

Mycenaean civilization is best known from the remains of Mycenae, although many other sites exist in the Peloponnesus as well as in south central Greece, on the islands of the Aegean, and on the coast of Anatolia. The graves at Mycenae have yielded many precious objects of great beauty. Golden crowns, diadems, and cups, some in raised relief, were found with vessels of silver and alabaster and numerous bronze weapons. Some tombs, called beehive tombs because of their shape, show developed architectural skill. The most monumental tomb is the so-called Treasury of Atreus. Like Mycenae’s Lion Gate and the palace remains, this tomb reflects the Mycenaeans’ ability to organize their resources on a large scale. The great palaces of the mainland were built in the 14th century .

mycenaeThey were enclosed in fortified citadels defended by strong walls. Major palaces have been excavated at Tiryns and Pylos as well as at Mycenae. The Linear B tablets found at Knossos and Pylos attest the existence of an elaborate palace bureaucracy headed by a king. Matters of cult were overseen by a priest or priestess, and the workforce was highly specialized and regimented. The workers lived beyond the walls of the palaces, the king and nobles within. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Mycenaeans enjoyed their greatest prosperity during the 14th and early 13th centuries . They pursued trade with east and west, establishing footholds in both areas of the Aegean.

As their fortifications suggest, the Mycenaeans were a warlike people. Battle scenes are prominent in their art, and they took their weapons with them to their graves. Homer made one of their military expeditions famous when he sang about the Trojan War. Troy, in northwest Anatolia, was in fact violently destroyed shortly after 1300, apparently after a siege, and there is no reason to doubt that this destruction was brought by the Mycenaeans. It is unknown, however, whether the town of Mycenae ever acquired the leadership of Greece, as Homer supposed, or whether each palace was autonomous. The homogeneity of the civilisation is not conclusive evidence that there was a dominant imperial city.

Hellenic Greece

Following the Mycenaeans, there was a long history period of cultural and economic stagnation in Greece which lasted from around 1150-900 BC.

The researchers called the civilization that took shape on the mainland during the Bronze Age, Hellenic. In mainland Greece the transition from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age (Greek dark ages) seems to have occurred without spectacular changes and at a slow pace.

Scientific research has established that at the beginning of the Bronze Age demographic changes, population movements occurred. The new settlements were established near the sea or on low hills. The most characteristic case was the settlement of Lerna in Argolis.

The formation of most of the settlements and the excavation evidence lead us to the conclusion that the settlements and the societies that formed them were in a stage of suburban* organization.

At this stage, some innovations were found, such as specialization in work, development of technology, expansion of exchanges, central organization, etc. The resources for economic development did not come only from agriculture and animal husbandry.

Communication between the settlements of mainland Greece and the Aegean area has been established. From the inhabitants of the Greek area of the early bronze age, linguistic remains were preserved which we later find in the Greek language.

The archaeological data present a different picture. Cultural continuity is abruptly interrupted and no substantial development in the way of organization is observed. This situation, according to the traditional explanation, is attributed to the entry of new inhabitants, i.e. the first Greek races.

According to another version, it is interpreted by internal disturbances and conflicts between the indigenous populations. The settlements in this period show a lack of planning in their spatial organization. Pottery is the main material residue that indicates the new cultural elements. Society, it seems, was formed on the basis of a closed agricultural economy. In other words, the inhabitants of a settlement produced agricultural products as much as they covered their survival needs.

There was no surplus in production and therefore no barter. However, in the late phase of this period we find contacts with Crete. We must not forget that in the same period in Crete, a palace system was operating which was mainly based on the commercial expansion of the Cretans.

The efforts of archaeologists to determine the nature, extent and consequences of the changes taking place at the end of the Early Bronze Age start from the unacknowledged desire to trace the problem of the “arrival” of the first Indo-European races in the Aegean basin.

With the decipherment of Linear B’, the now certain fact that in the Peloponnese, during the Mynaean era, they spoke a kind of primitive Greek language, as well as the absence of an essential intersection in the cultural continuity, lead to the conclusion that the races that settled in mainland Greece in the day after the disasters, they were the first groups of “Proto-Greeks”

On the other hand, by what criteria can we attribute an innovation to the arrival of new population elements? Recent history makes it abundantly clear, moreover, that radical cultural changes, often accompanied by violent catastrophes, are not necessarily the result of invasions or migrations: revolutions are an illustrative example of such a case. We could therefore attribute the events of the end of the Protochalk II period in the Aegean to a series of internal disturbances.

Establishment of Greek City States

In Ionia, where kingship was also the early rule, the refugees remained on the seacoast and quickly organized themselves into cities, probably in order to defend themselves better from the adjacent Near Eastern population, although there must have been considerable cultural interchange between the two peoples. The walled cities, which served as the focus of the surrounding population, began to evolve into city-states (the polis).

The defensible city, with its citadel, central shrine, hearth and sacred fire, and marketplace (agora), became the center of government for town and country. One’s city, not one’s village or race, determined one’s political identity. A similar process occurred in Greece itself, though in some areas, such as Arcadia in the center of the Peloponnesus, village life continued; in other areas exceptional or fortunate cities assimilated a relatively large surrounding area. Thus Athens and Sparta absorbed Attica and Laconia, respectively.

The Greeks on both sides of the Aegean early on frequented common shrines. Apollo was worshipped at Delphi, Zeus at Olympia, Apollo and Artemis at Delos. The Greeks celebrated festivals at these shrines with dance, song, and athletics. These meetings reinforced their common identity and prompted them to formulate some basic rules of interstate behavior concerning warfare, religious truces, and the sanctity of heralds or messengers. Delphi became the center of a league that initially comprised only the surrounding peoples but eventually came to include both Athens and Sparta. The oracle at Delphi was much consulted throughout ancient times. In the archaic period it was very influential, fixing the site of prospective colonies and helping to formulate major policies for cities as well as individuals.

Descent of the Dorians

At the end of the 12th century BC, researchers find a thinning of the population and an absence of social and political organization. It is a fact that before the rumored descent of the Dorians there is a general disturbance.

The main cause of the decline of the Mycenaean centers has been recorded in the previous chapter. The theory of the descent of the Dorians as the sole cause of the collapse of the Mycenaeans has no scientific basis today.

The absence of resistance facilitated the dominance of the Dorians and contributed to the rearrangements of the Greek populations within the Greek area and also to the creation of a migration stream towards the coasts of Asia Minor.

According to the information given to us by the historians of the 5th c. BC, Herodotus and Thucydides, the first movement was made by the Thessalians, who came from Thesprotia to the area that has since borne their name.
Thus the oldest inhabitants of the area, the Boeotians, moved south to the area around Thebes. The second migration stream due to the descent of the Dorians had a greater impact and wider population rearrangements.

Their penetration into the Greek body, according to the prevailing version, took place from northwestern Greece at the beginning of the 11th century. e.g. gradually and in waves. Their first facilities were in the area of Pindos, Fthiotida and the area south of Olympus and Ossa.

From Pindos groups of Dorians moved to Dorida – an area that owes its name to them – and then moved to areas of the Peloponnese. One of the strongest groups settled in Laconia.

The entry of the Dorians into the Peloponnese had the character of a military operation aimed at the subjugation of the Achaean-Mycenaean populations. The occupation of the greater part of the Peloponnese and their dominance over the Achaean populations, the Dorians later interpreted with the myth of the return of the Heraklides, i.e. the descendants of Hercules who returned to their ancient cradle.

A newer, scientifically documented view does not accept the theory of the descent of the Dorians, i.e. their entry into the Greek body from northwestern Greece. On the contrary, he argues that the Dorians were a Greek shepherd race that lived in mountainous regions of Greece and that after the dissolution of the Mycenaean world found the opportunity to descend into lowland areas and occupy them.

The dominance of the Dorians had as a direct consequence the creation of a demographic problem, which was unleashed through chain movements of Greek populations.

Economic, social and political organization

The economy.

At this time, the main source of economic development was land, production was based on a form of closed agricultural economy. That is, the members of each family. together with other people who were financially dependent on the family, they formed a Household and performed all the productive tasks. There was no scope for labor specialization on a large scale and by extension there was no industrial development.

All produced goods, mainly agricultural and livestock, were consumed withinin the context of the House (Oikos). Many times there was a shortage of goods, which were replenished in other ways such as limited barter trade between houses, gift exchange, war and piracy.

A reference measure for the evaluation of exchanged goods was the ox or animal skins, metals and even slaves. At this time foreign trade, mainly for the supply of metals and slaves, was conducted by the Phoenicians.

The society

In these early societies the House (Oikos) seems to have functioned as a unit of social structure. With the end of the migrations of the Greek sexes and the acquisition of permanent establishments, the members of the House, who were connected by kinship ties, became owners of the land and acquired economic power. They were the nobles, whom we know from the stories of Homer.

Within the context of the palace, however, lived many people who did not have direct kinship ties with the nobles. They formed a large social group known as the multitude.

Independent of the palace but financially dependent of a wider area, were those whose work required some specialization, such as the carpenter, the potter, the coppersmith, etc.

They were called creators and they worked to meet the needs of a community that included the palaces of a region.
Finally, slaves were an asset of the House. Most had been acquired from wars or piracy.

The political organization

The first Greek societies were organized according to racial criteria, i.e. they formed tribal states. Each tribe, which was structured into clans, clans and genera based on kinship ties, could form a state. A tribal state could also arise from the split of a gender or even from the union of several tribes of the same gender.

However, the need to deal with the problems within the tribal states will gradually lead to their political organization. Thus the nomadic tribal chieftains evolved into hereditary kings after the clans acquired permanent settlements.

The king of the Homeric societies, i.e. those that arose after the migration of the Greek sexes, was the leader of the army in times of war and the ruler with religious and judicial authority in times of peace.

Next to the king there was a council consisting of the leaders of the powerful families, who were also called kings. This council of the nobles (council of the elders) gradually limited the royal power. When the king made some important decision, he called the crowd, especially the warriors, to a meeting to ask their opinion (Ecclesia of demos)

It is characteristic that in the context of the Homeric societies, all those institutions that led from the middle of the 8th c. e.g. in the political constitution of Greek societies. Here we encounter the first stage of political organization, which will later develop within the context of the Greek city-states.


After the fall of the Mycenaean palaces, the difficult Linear B script, which few scribes knew how to use, was forgotten. For about three centuries the Greeks did not use writing. However, at the end of the 9th c. e.g. or at the beginning of the 8th c.BC e.g. writing reappears in the Greek area.

The writing symbols no longer render syllables but vowels. The Greek alphabetic writing arose by way of assimilation from the Phoenician alphabet. The Greeks adapted the symbols to the phonetic values of the Greek language and they added the vowels missing from the Phoenician alphabet. Thus they became the creators of the first real alphabet.
In the Homeric era, the first sanctuaries were created, which gradually acquired a pan-Hellenic character. Along with the local cults, the religious concepts that made up the twelve Olympian gods were consolidated.

The cultural achievements of the period include the oral formation of the first Greek poetry, epic poetry, and the works of art, mainly ceramics and small artifacts. From the Mycenaean era, songs with heroic content must have been created in the Greek area. These songs seem to have formed the background, which later the Greeks of the colonies of Asia Minor used to compose the Homeric epics around two different themes.

The content of the songs was known to the poets of Homeric times, the rhapsodists, who sang it, often adding new elements to entertain the people at festivals or the nobles in their palaces.
Tradition wants the author of the two epics to be Homer, who in all probability composed the Iliad in its primary form around the middle of the 8th century BC. The composition of the Odyssey is placed at the end of the 8th century. e.g. or at the beginning of the 7th century

The art of Homeric times was conventionally called geometric by researchers. The same name is used many times to characterize the era itself, because of the geometric designs that dominated the decoration of the vases.

The Greek world from 1100 to 800 BC.

Transitional times

From 1100 BC until about 950 BC Greece is in crisis. The population is declining drastically. The economy reverts to primitive forms, is limited to agriculture and animal husbandry and acquires a purely domestic form. Central authority is weakening, almost disappearing. The organization is based more on the family, the village, the group.

This truly difficult period, during which the Greek world, weakened, lived folded in on itself, was very short. From the middle of the 10th century a technological, demographic and spiritual renaissance is observed.

With the movements of the Greek sexes noted during the 12th century BC. and their establishment in the various regions of Greece, their distribution in the territorial area is stabilized and their permanent characteristics are formed. The geographical factor played a primary role in these movements.

In general, a movement from north to south is observed. The Dorians, the last Greek race to move en masse, from Pindos where they lived, moved to the South and settled in the Peloponnese and a part of Sterea. They were then promoted to some of the Cyclades, Milos, Thira and later Crete.

The Thessalians, who also lived in the area of Pindos, settled in present-day Thessaly, forcing its old inhabitants, Boeotians and Aeolians, the former to move to present-day Boeotia, and the latter to migrate to Lesvos, Tenedos and the north of Asia Minor.

Finally, the Ionians of the northern coasts of the Peloponnese flee to Attica, Evia and the Cyclades. The new communities are tribal. And the state created by the amalgamation of many communities is tribal. Its leader is the king, who is elected by the assembly of warriors.

Later the office was changed to hereditary. The main responsibility of the king is the chief strategy, that is why the most capable warrior is elected to the office of the king.

The anomalous situation that prevailed in Greece after the migrations of the Greek sexes in the 12th century BC, the general narrowness of space and the economic withering and insecurity forced compact groups of Greeks to migrate to the Aegean islands and the western coasts of Asia Minor.

The movement was carried out by tribal groups and in the 10th century this migration took the form of a widespread colonization. This movement became known as the First Greek Colonization.

The Aeolians, pressed by the Thessalians, first settled on Lesvos and Tenedos and then established colonies on the northern part of the Asia Minor coast, in an area stretching from Troas in the north to the Gulf of Smyrna. It is the region of Aeolis. External Link

The Ionians, starting from Attica, Evia and the north-eastern Peloponnese, settled in Chios, Samos and the central part of the coasts of Asia Minor. It is the region that was called Ionia. External Link

The Dorians settle in Rhodes, Kos and the southern part of the coast of Asia Minor, where they establish the Dorian hexapolis. External Link

The first Greek settlers were engaged in agriculture at first. However, they quickly engaged in trade and quickly the Greek cities of Asia Minor developed into strong commercial centers. Economic development is followed by cultural flourishing.

The Greeks of the 10th, 9th and 8th centuries BC, the so-called “geometric era”, were very interested in their past and engaged in the search for their roots. The Homeric epics are a typical example.

Formed at the turn of the 9th to the 8th century and based on an oral tradition, these poems aim to relive the past, the time of the Trojan War, the time of kings and heroes.

On the contrary, the rift in the political field is obvious. Homeric kingship has nothing to do with the bureaucratic system of the Mycenaean palace. But the terminology has also changed because the ruler in Homer is called “king” and not anax, as on the Pylos tablets.

In the Homeric epics political instability is constant. The kings are numerous and absolutely independent. Everyone is trying to maintain their position within a highly competitive system and constantly have to prove their abilities with exploits, predatory raids that yield great booty, with feasts and games that are particularly grand.

Society, whose hierarchy rests on the distribution of spoils, is dominated by inequality, and the ruler’s retention of power is never assured. All these elements correspond more to the constant upheavals that followed the fall of the Mycenaean power and suit an agro-woven society that lives on its products and on predatory raids. Therefore the Iliad and the Odyssey describe an era later than the Mycenaean, roughly from the 11th to the 8th century BC

The Greek Colonization

Increasing stability and prosperity caused a growth of population; a great wave of colonization ensued between 750 and 500 . Greek culture spread throughout the Mediterranean and even into the southern Ukraine. Markets were opened for Greek oil, wine, and other wares in return for precious metals, timber, grain, and other goods. One major center of colonization was Sicily and southern Italy. Corinth founded Syracuse, the greatest Greek city in the west; Chalcis (modern Khalkis), in Euboea, settled many other cities in the area. The region of the Black Sea was settled from Ionia, Miletus being the chief coloniser. The small island of Thera ( Santorini today ) founded the great kingdom of Cyrene in northeast Libya. Further expansion in Africa was blocked by Carthage; Phoenicia proved impermeable; in Egypt the Greeks were able to establish a commercial emporium, Naucratis, on the Nile delta. Neither Sparta nor Athens were colonial powers.

Aristocracy and Tyranny in Ancient Greece

This was also a time of great social upheaval. The landholding aristocracy, which had already wrested power from the kings, found their own supremacy challenged by those beneath them. People of less-distinguished birth became increasingly dissatisfied with the prevailing aristocratic order and were acquiring power in their own right. The rise of literacy, the increased concentration of economic power in the hands of traders and artisans, and the introduction of the phalanx mass of men fighting in unison in heavy armour, which made discipline and manpower the key element of success in warÑshifted the balance of power to the general citizenry.

By the 7th century , ambitious or sympathetic individuals from the circle of the aristocracy were capitalising on the general discontent, especially in prosperous cities, and establishing tyrannies. Cypselus (d. 625) seized control of Corinth and built a colonial empire, founding cities on the west coast of Greece and modern Albania. Tyrants also arose in Megara, Epidaurus, and Sicyon, just northwest of Corinth. In the Aegean, Polycrates, (d. c.522), tyrant of Samos, made his island a major naval power.


Classical period of Greece

Ca 650 BC there were many turnovers in the leadership of the city-states, since many noble families were overthrown and replaced by tyrants, or one man rulers as the title suggests. The tyrant system, which often was popular, lasted until about 500 BC.

During 550 BC connections with the other countries improved even more. But there was also the new threat of Persia, which was expanding westwards, forcing the Greeks of Asia Minor emigrate. Many moved to the colonies in south Italy, and to the Greek mainland. Athens was beginning to be a powerful city. During Pisistratos, who was considered a tyrant, Athens became an important political and financial center. Until now cities like Corinth, Megara and Aegina had been significant commercial centers, but Athens was now rising in power.

In the 5th-4th century BC. Athens dominated both politically and culturally most of Greece. In this period was created what is called the “golden age of Pericles”. The sciences, theater, sculpture and architecture, and especially Philosophy, are making tremendous progress. During the golden age, the Parthenon and other masterpieces of sculpture and architecture were built. Greek philosophy reached its zenith with philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Anaxagoras, Zeno, etc. Great playwrights such as Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes create Immortal works, while great sculptors and architects such as Pheidias, Iktinos, Praxitelis create monuments and statues that will forever remain as the masterpieces of classical Greek civilization.

On the Peloponnese, Sparta was completing its organization, making pacts with other city-states on the peninsula. Argos remained independent, but suffered interior setbacks under its king Kleomenes, who had tried to stretch the Doric reign to Middle Greece. In the west, other important centers were Syracuse, Akragas (Agrigentum), Selinous and Taras (Tarent). From the South of Sicily they had the threat from the Carthages and from the North the Etruscans.

The religion was flourishing everywhere, with the oracle of Delphi and its many visitors and the Eleusinian mysteries in Athens.The first philosophers started gathering knowledge. From Miletus Thales and Anaximander worked, and this influenced amongst others Heraclitus in Efessus and Pythagoras and Xenofanes in South Italy. Pisistratos and his sons gathered scientists and artist at their court and the first dramas were played in Athens.

This was a time when the Greeks came closer together, and what one would call a nationa-listic feeling. Although the city-states were still very much autonomous, people came to realize that they shared the same culture, history, language, religion and also games.

In the beginning of the 5th Century BC the cities in the Ionian part had been destroyed by the Persians, and Greece had to struggle against the Eastern enemy. Athens united the Greeks against the Persians, and managed to free the cities of the coast of Asia Minor, thus controlling the Aegean sea. The feelings towards the orient were hostile, and the different cultures were set against each other: democracy against despotism, freedom against slavery, simplicity against overwhelming luxury. Pindarus with his religious poetry and Aeschylus with his serious strictness were the literary giants.

The classic period 450-300 BC was the most important time in the history of Greece, when Athens became the most powerful city-state. Thanks to its fleet, the Greeks had defeated the Persians, and Athens now had a vast empire. It became the cultural and financial center of Greece, attracting merchants, scientists, philosophers and people of the Arts. Sophocles wrote dramas about the power of the Gods and the religious feelings were depicted in the arts. The Parthenon on the Acropolis was built by Ictinus and Callicrates, the crown of the Greek temples.

The Athenians (8th-5th century BC) 

atheniansAthens of the archaic times was not insignificant as a city, but it did not stand out from other cities like the Athens of the classical era. In the second half of the 7th century, it emerged as a strong commercial power (coinage, exports), but internally, at the same time, it must have faced major problems. This emerges, for example, from episodes such as the attempt of the Olympian Cylon to establish a tyrannical government (c. 630 BC) or from the fact that in a period of less than thirty years two major legislative interventions were needed (c. 624 BC legislation of Dracon, 594 BC legislation of Solon), which did not ultimately prevent the establishment.

A little later, of a tyrant by Peisistratos (561 BC). The overthrow of the Peisistratids (511 BC) paved the way for the reform of Cleisthenes and the foundation of the Athenian democracy (508 BC), which, after around 460 BC strengthened, after the struggles of Ephialtes and Pericles, it endured, with short diversions (coup of the Four Hundred, Thirty Tyrants), for almost two centuries, until the submission of the city to the Macedonians.

At the beginning of the 5th century, the Athenians actively supported the revolt of the Ionian cities of Asia Minor against the Persians (500-493 BC) and took the lead in repelling the Persians at Marathon (490 BC), at Salamis (480 BC) .H.) and in Plataea (479 BC). Immediately after, taking advantage of the reluctance of the Spartans, they headed the First Athenian Naval Alliance, which they formed, based in Delos, together with many Asia Minor and island cities to continue the fight against the Persians (478 BC).

Gradually, within the context of the Alliance, Athens developed into a hegemonic power, while the other allied cities, which supposedly participated equally, became vassals of the Athenians. This was formalized in a way by the transfer of the seat of the Alliance from Delos to Athens (454 BC) and the obligation of the allies to go to Athens for the adjudication of cases in which they were involved. These developments strengthened Athens economically, militarily and politically.

Unique, in many ways, was the Athens of the classical era, and especially of the second half of the 5th century, which smugly and proudly spoke of its democracy. The city must have impressed the citizens and – much more – the numerous foreigners who visited it to settle matters small or large first by the feeling it created that it was something like the center of the world or developments, then by the brilliant public buildings and the great works of art, with the unrepeatable theatrical performances, which you could only see in Athens, and more generally with the certainty that, on a pan-Hellenic level, it was the undisputed spiritual center, the education of Greece and the rector of wisdom.

At this time in Athens, theater and drama mingled, oratory made its dynamic beginning, the brilliant Ionic tradition found excellent continuations in historiography and philosophy, the most prominent sophists who questioned all traditional truths taught, the leading architects left their mark , sculptors and painters and pioneering musicians were looking for new ways.

What exactly all this means is easier to understand if one tries to think about who one would meet living in Athens, for example, during the difficult five years 430-425 BC. (Peloponnesian War, pestilence). He would thus meet, among others, Pericles, Anaxagoras, Socrates, the leading sophists Protagoras, Prodicus and Gorgias, the orator Antiphon, the veteran comic poet Cratinus and the two rising stars of the comic art, Eupolis and Aristophanes, the Sophocles and Euripides and several other dramatic poets.

The Spartans ( 8th-4th century BC)

spartansSparta was a relatively small city, but it played a role that no other city with a similar population played. Already in the 8th century, after its victory over the Messenians, whom it made Helots, and the annexation of most of Messinia, it emerged as a leading power, at least at the local level. In the following century, it successfully faced a new, large rebellion of the Messenians, while during the sixth century, after victorious wars with powerful cities of the Peloponnese, the Peloponnesian Alliance was established, which formalized Sparta’s leadership position, since the Spartans were leaders with increased jurisdiction.

The Alliance helped to establish Sparta more widely as a powerful force and an important factor in general developments, although the Spartans themselves do not appear to have sought active involvement in “international developments” with particular zeal, nor, when involved, to have been effective. At the time of the Persian Wars, the contribution of the Spartans in repelling the Persian threat was great (480 BC Thermopylae, 479 BC Plataeus, where the Spartans were the leader of the Greeks).

However, their reluctance, after the victory at Plataea, to lead the Greeks in what was declared to be the continuation of the fight against the Persians, allowed the (more flexible) Athenians to assume this role. The confrontation between the (oligarchic) Spartans and the (democratic) Athenians lasted, with fluctuations and breaks, until the end of the 5th century and ended – temporarily – with the defeat of Athens (404 BC).

At the beginning of the 4th century Sparta, once supported by the Persians, tried and for a time succeeded in taking the lead from the other Greek cities, but was repeatedly confronted with occasional but powerful coalitions of other Greek cities, even of its traditional allies, such as Corinth or Thebes, and sometimes, as, for example, in the battle at Leuctra in Boeotia (371 BC), he was defeated and suffered heavy losses.

The rise of the Macedonians somehow marginalized Sparta, which, however, thanks to the glory of the past, did not cease to occupy a special position in the centuries that followed.

Sparta achieved what it achieved militarily and, by extension, politically, largely thanks to a network of regulations, which had as a common denominator that they placed the interest of the city above the interest of the individual and that drastically limited, if not abolished, what we call the private sphere. The specific legislative framework was attributed in ancient times to the wise legislator Lycurgus, but today the opinion tends to prevail that it is a system that crystallized gradually between the 7th and 5th centuries.

These regulations concerned both women and-much more- men and referred to all areas of life in peacetime and wartime (childbearing, upbringing and education, appearance and public behavior, work and distribution of wealth, conscription, authorities, etc.).

Women, with proper nutrition and physical exercise, prepared early for what was their main mission: to give birth to strong children. The men, from childhood, were brought up under the responsibility of the city under strict control and subjected to arduous and sometimes inhuman training, with the aim of hardening them and becoming, as they became  brave fighters, determined either to conquer or, if necessary , to sacrifice themselves for their city. Iron discipline, boldness, self-sacrifice, thrift, and frugal diet were held up as supreme virtues.

With some exaggeration we would say that Sparta must have been more like a camp than a city, and that the Spartans, who were not obliged to work, since the helots worked for them, were something like “marauders for life” who were in constant stand-by. Only in this way could the oligarchic Sparta keep the Helots, who were a permanent threat, in subjection, and maintain the leadership position it held at the local and pan-Hellenic level.

Unlike Athens and Corinth, Sparta was a closed city. In order for the Spartans not to be “corrupted” by their contact with foreigners, they were not allowed to travel outside of Sparta, while vagrancy, the expulsion of foreigners who were in the city, was not unknown. It seems, however, that the monolithic character that characterizes Sparta in classical times did not exist in archaic times. Archaeological findings, important poetic passages and evidence of feasts and dances show that Sparta of that time was a city very different from the monolithic Sparta of classical times.

Persian Wars

A threat to Greek liberty arose in the last half of the 6th century when Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, defeated Croesus in 546 BC and conquered his kingdom of Lydia, in Anatolia. The subjugation of Ionia, already begun by Croesus, entered its final phase. The Ionians, who became tributary to Cyrus and his successors, Cambyses II and Darius I, rebelled in 499 BC. They were granted token aid, which was swiftly withdrawn, by Athens and Eretria, but nevertheless struggled for six years until the Persians sacked Miletus and gained command of the sea.

Darius, alleging Athenian participation in the revolt, dispatched an army across the Aegean to conquer Athens. After Athens won a splendid victory in the Battle of Marathon in 490, a new expedition, on a grander scale, was readied by Darius’s son, Xerxes I. It too was defeated, in the Great Persian War of 480-479 BC. Though a small band of Spartans led by King Leonidas was destroyed at the narrow pass of Thermopylae, a sea battle fought simultaneously off Artemesium, the northern tip of Euboea, resulted in the destruction of a considerable portion of Xerxes’ fleet. The Greeks withdrew to the isthmus of Corinth while the Persians sacked Athens. Later in the same year the Greeks annihilated Xerxes’ fleet at Salamis; in 479 BC, they destroyed his land army at Plataea, in Boeotia. The battle of Mycale, on the southern coast of Anatolia, opened up Ionia to the Greeks. Athens continued the Ionian war, liberated the Greeks, and, in 478 BC organized the Delian League. The Greeks always remembered the defeat of Xerxes as their finest achievement.

Athenian-Spartan Rivalry

The 5th century also was marked by a great conflict between Athens and Sparta, the strongest powers in Greece and the proponents of two different systems of government and society progressively radical democracy and oligarchy, respectively. By the middle of the century Athens had used its mighty naval force to transform the Delian League into an empire. Athens’s new prosperity and pride in its achievements, particularly under the leadership of Pericles (460-429 BC) led to an outpouring of creativity, especially in drama, and allowed the city to adorn itself with public buildings of unsurpassed beauty, such as the Parthenon, begun in 447.

In the 450s, while Athens was attempting to deprive Persia of Egypt, it entered into a sporadically fought and inconclusive war with the Peloponnesians for the possession of Megara and Aegina. Sparta was largely inactive in this war, though it fought and defeated the Athenians in the Battle of Tanagra (c.457). Sparta was probably distracted (or left weakened) by the great helot revolt that had erupted in 464 and lasted for ten (or possibly only four) years.

The war ended in the winter of 446 BC with the so-called Thirty Years’ Peace. The peace was broken in 431, however, when the Peloponnesian War began; it was to last until 404. This destructive conflict, which is chronicled by Thucydides, brought revolution to many cities and resulted in increasingly brutal acts perpetrated by both sides. After the Spartans invaded Attica and sought to incite Athens’s subjects to rebellion, Athens retaliated by raiding the Peloponnesian coast. The Athenians sought to retain control of the sea and attacked Corinthian settlements in northwestern Greece. After Athens’s disastrous defeat in Sicily in 413, Sparta itself became a naval power and gradually drove Athens from the sea. Under siege, Athens capitulated in 404. It consented to the destruction of its fortifications and gave up its navy and empire. Meanwhile, Persia had succeeded in reasserting its presence in Ionia by financing the Spartan fleet.

Macedonian period and Great Alexander

The decline and loss of sovereignty of Athens takes place at the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC. The 4th BC century saw the development of the Macedonians as a new force in the Greek world. Philip II, King of Macedonia and his son Alexander played a leading role.

Macedonia expanded into Greek territory and in Athens the Macedonians had a great enemy, the orator Demosthenes. Eventually the Greek city states recognized Philip II as commander. He started preparing for war against Persia, but was assassinated before he started.

In 388 BC. Eighteen-year-old Alexander led his Macedonian cavalry to victory at the battle of Chaeronia. The 4th century was to be the time of the Macedonians, since the state in the north grew stronger under its king Philip II, who became ruler in 359 BC. Philip had the vision to unite Greece since he saw the country’s potential if united. It was his son, Alexander, that made the Greek culture and civilization ruler of the then known world.

During the campaign for the liberation of the Greek states of Asia Minor from the Persians, there was unrest between Greeks and Macedonians in Thebes.
Alexander conquered Thebes and, as a warning to other Greeks, destroyed the city, leaving only the temples standing. Eventually the Greeks and Macedonians joined forces and, led by Alexander, conquered Persia, Egypt and areas up to the Indus River. This vast empire radically changed the political and cultural situation in the then known world.

The Hellenistic times

After the early death of Alexander at the age of thirty-three his vast empire was divided among his generals and although the political entity that was created did not continue, his legacy was a single economic and cultural world extending from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Indus River in the Indies.

This period was called the Hellenistic Age (3rd 1st century BC) the Greek city-states had lost their position in power and prestige, although they remain self-governing and independent of each other. During the Hellenistic Age the sciences and arts flourished .

In 146 BC, Greece was conquered by the Romans and the country was absorbed by their expanding empire. The occupation of Greek territory by Rome was not entirely negative, the admiration of Greek culture by the Roman emperors was great and there was respect and admiration for the Greek cities, especially Athens.

Rome was generally culturally influenced by the Greeks to the point that today we can talk worldwide about the Greco-Roman civilization that was created during this period.

The Apostle Paul in the first century BC. played a decisive role in the spread of Christianity throughout Greece. In the 4th century AD. Constantine the Great decided to move the capital of the Roman Empire away from Rome to Constantinople. This shift of the center of gravity to the eastern part of the empire heralded the beginning of the Byzantine period in Greece.

Roman Period

After the defeat of the last Hellenistic kingdom, that of Ptolemy, Greece was overthrown by the Romans. The Greeks, during the three great civil wars of Rome (48, 42 and 31 BC), sided with the defeated faction (Pompey, Brutus, M. Antonios respectively), partly out of necessity, but in some degree and because the losers preached (in words at least) that they were fighting for the freedom of the world. However, the victors (Caesar, Octavian) did not punish the Greek cities, which had fallen into a miserable state due to the wars, but instead treated them.

Athens especially maintained for centuries until Constantine and his first successors, the ancient regime and the successors of Augustus, called Athens “city free and ally” enjoying all the relevant rights. Tiberius even united the provinces of Achaia and Macedonia with the imperial province of Moisia, so that they too could have the comfort of the Caesarean provinces. This provision was maintained until the years of Claudius, when it was abolished in 44 AD. Documentation Roman Period

Byzantine Period 300 AD -1453 AD

A university is established in Constantinople and the third ecumenical council of Ephesus and the fourth ecumenical council of Chalcedon take place. It becomes the first schism of eastern and western church. During the reign of Justinian, the “Attitude of Nika” is manifested and the Hagia Sophia is inaugurated. The ecumenical council is taking place in Istanbul. The Persians occupy Jerusalem and take the Holy Cross. Heraklios defeats them and takes it back. The Ecumenical Council takes place in Constantinople. The spread of Islam The first phase of the iconoclasm begins and Leo III issues a decree against the icons. With the seventh ecumenical council, this phase ends with a decree in favor of the images. The second phase begins after the Istanbul meeting of 815. A new meeting in 843 ends the iconoclasm and restores the images. The Byzantine Empire clashed for a number of years with the Bulgarians, who were defeated by Basil II .

1000-1250 AD
There is a schism between the east and the west church. Byzantium loses Italy. The first crusade begins and Jerusalem is conquered. The Normans attack and plunder Greece. It is the second crusade that failed. During the Third Crusade, Richard I of England occupied Cyprus. Alexios III incites the Second Crusade. The Latins occupy Constantinople and the Latin Empire is founded.

1250-1400 AD
The Mongols conquer Asia The Palaeologan dynasty dominates and takes care of the revival of Hellenism. During this period we have uprisings in Central Asia and the gradual domination of new conquerors in parts of Greece. Byzantium is shaken by the “Hesychastic disputes” and the revolution of the “Zealots” takes place. The Turks began to occupy parts of the Byzantine Empire.

1400-1500 AD
Typography and geographical discoveries. Byzantium recaptured Thessaloniki, while at the same time in the Ottoman state there was a decline. Then the Turks unsuccessfully besieged Istanbul. However, they occupy Thessaloniki and Ioannina. On May 29, 1453, they occupied the city and overthrew the Byzantine Empire. Then they occupy the Peloponnese, Lesvos and Samos. Peace is signed between Venetians and Turks. Cyprus is occupied by the Venetians and Nafpaktos is conquered by the Turks.

Documentation Byzantine History

The Greek war of indipendence 1821

history the greek war of indipendenceThe Greeks awoke spiritually and began to organize, while at the same time the revolutionary movements multiplied. Russo-Turkish war breaks out and the Greeks revolt. The Küçük-Kainartz συν Treaty is signed between Russia and Turkey. The Ionian state is founded.

Revolutionary leaflets and the “Charter” of Rigas Feraios are circulating.The birth of industrial power Local uprisings abound in Greece, as revolutionary leaflets circulate everywhere. Hellenism is preparing for the great moment of the revolution.

The Friendly Society is founded in Odessa, while the English occupy the Ionian islands. On March 25, 1821, the Greek Revolution broke out in the Peloponnese. Almost a year later, the Constitution of Epidaurus is voted.

1825-1850 AD

The revolution spread throughout Greece, while the Turks were supported by the Egyptians. The Turkish fleet is defeated in the naval battle of Navarino. The Third National Assembly elects I. Kapodistrias as Governor. The Treaty of London designates Otto as king, while the Treaty of Constantinople defines the country’s new borders. The first university is founded, while a revolution breaks out in Crete. Political life is intense and a new conservative constitution is being passed.

Ottoman rule and the Greek war of Independence  

Economic Development 1850-1875 AD

Greece is entering a phase of economic development. Otto is dethroned and a new king is appointed, the Danish prince George A. A new constitution is adopted which establishes the reigning democracy as a state. This period can be characterized as a period of political instability.

1875-1900 AD
The age of imperialism The “principle of the declared” is established. Great Britain acquires the administration of Cyprus. Turkey cedes to Greece Thessaly and the region of Arta. During this period the opening of the isthmus of Corinth begins. Many public works are carried out and the armed forces are being reorganized. In 1896 the Olympic Games are revived. Crete, finally, acquires an autonomous status.

Greece in the first World War and the Balkan wars 1900-1925 AD

Europe at war.  During this period we have changes of governments, with the final predominance of the policy of El. Venizelou. The two Balkan Wars and the First World War take place. Greater Greece of the two continents and the five seas is created. But the Greeks are defeated and we have the Asia Minor Catastrophe. In 1924 we have the First Hellenic Republic.

Greece in World War 2 and the cold war 1940 -1950 

The crisis and the economic recovery. This period is characterized by political instability. Dominant events are the Second World War, the civil war and at the end of the period the integration of the Dodecanese in Greece.The Cold War,  At this time the Zurich Agreement was signed, with which Cyprus became an independent democracy within the framework of the British Commonwealth. Political unrest erupts in Greece with the coup d’etat of the colonels in 1967-1974. Read more about the modern Greek state