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Greek art and sculpture has had a profound effect throughout the ages. Many of the styles have been reproduced and copied by some of what the modern day audiences would class as some of the finest artists to have ever lived e.g. Michelangelo. Western art and sculpture derived from Roman art, while in the East, Alexander the Great's conquest gave birth to Greco-Buddhist art, which has even had an influence as far as Japan all of which stem from ancient Greek art. The Greeks used many different types of materials in their sculptures including stone, marble and limestone as these were abundant in Greece. Other materials such as clay were also used but due to their brittle nature very few have survived. Greek sculptures are very important as the vast majority of them tell us a story about Gods, Heroes, Events, Mythical Creatures and Greek culture in general. Many of the statues that have survived are actually of Roman origin. Like many people today the Romans had a deep respect for Greek sculptures and many were copied. If the Romans had not made these copies, many of the Greek Legends and stories that we know today would have been lost to antiquity. Greek sculptures are mainly divided into 7 time periods - Mycenaean Art, Sub-Mycenaean or Dark Age, Proto-Geometric, Geometric Art, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic. Mycenaean art is the first era in which we find surviving examples of Greek art. This era dates from around 1550 BC to 1200 BC on the Greek mainland. During this period there were two separate civilisations living on the mainland, the Greeks and the Mycenaeans. The Greeks at the time learnt a lot from the Mycenaeans, who where more technologically advanced. The Greeks learnt how to build gates and tombs (such as Agamemnon's tomb in the 'Bee-hive') and how to use different metals in art, using Mycenaean techniques. The famous Cyclopean Wall of Mycenae before the lion gate is a good example of their masonry skills. The Mycenaeans were also fantastic goldsmiths which can be seen from finds such as 'Agamemnon's Death Mask' found in a grave dating back to the 16th Century. Other items such as ivory figures (the head of a warrior with boars' tuck helmet) and a Rock Crystal 'sauceboat' dating between the 16th and 13th Century show they could craft out of other materials as well. Around 1200 BC, attributed to the Homeric Fall of Troy, seems to be the down fall of Mycenaean art, this time period being known as the Sub-Mycenaean or the Dark Ages. This time period lasted from around 1100 to 1025 BC and very few examples of statutes or art have been found. The few items that have been found show no new methods or innovation. This is probably due to the constant wars and invasions which crippled the growth of their civilisation during that time. The next phase (ca. 1025 - 900 BC) is known as the Proto-Geometric art era. We begin to find pottery starting to be decorated with simple shapes, wavy lines and black hands. It is thought that this time period was the Greeks' first expression of reviving their civilisation. With the invention of faster pottery wheels and other innovations it is believed that experimenting with pottery began. Notable examples of this era have a broad horizontal band about the neck and belly, concentric circles applied with a compass and multiple brushes. They are mainly of abstract elements.
Geometric Art dates from around 900 - 700 BC and was a dramatic transformation that led to the establishment of primary Greek institutions such as the Greek city state (polis) and the Greek alphabet. Sculptures and carvings began to be made representing each city states' heroes and past legends including animals and humans. The growth of new trade routes and the opportunities for colonisation permitted Greek art to flourish. Large temples and sanctuaries were built in tribute to the Gods and were furnished with precious statues and art. The armed warrior, the chariot, and the horse are the most familiar symbols of the Geometric period. The only thing that was yet to emerge from this newly burgeoning Greek passion for the arts was the solid stone statue. With the newly established trade routes in the Levant and the Nile Delta we begin to see an amalgamation of Greek and oriental art. This led to the Archaic age (ca. 700 - 450 BC) which showed a more naturalistic style reflecting significant influence from the Near East and Egypt. This is known as the Orientalising Phase (735 - 650 BC) and happened gradually. Many Greek artists began to assimilate ideas from their Eastern counterparts, starting to use palmette and lotus compositions, animal hunts and such composite beasts as griffins (part bird, part lion), sphinxes (part woman, part winged lion), and sirens (part woman, part bird). Competition between the Greek artists throughout the Greek mainland and colonies began to emerge to see who could produce the greatest and most
innovative marvels. Sculptors in the Aegean islands, notably on Naxos and Samos, carved large-scale statues in marble. Goldsmiths on Rhodes specialized in fine jewellery, while bronze workers on Crete fashioned armour and plaques decorated with superb reliefs. The prominent artistic centres of mainland Greece, notably Sparta, Corinth, and Athens, also exhibited significant regional variation. Sparta and its neighbours in Laconia produced remarkable ivory carvings and distinctive bronzes. Corinthian artisans invented a style of silhouetted forms that focused on tapestry-like patterns of small animals and plant motifs. By contrast, the vase painters of Athens were more inclined to illustrate mythological scenes. Despite the differences in dialect - even the way the alphabet was written varied from region to region at this time - the Greek language was a major unifying factor in Greece as it is today with English speaking countries. Huge sanctuaries and temples were built and decorated with the finest motifs, as competition was fierce in the Greek world to surpass previous works of art. The Archaic age was best known for the emergence of stone statues of humans, such as the limestone kouros (male) and kore (female) statues. Statue of Kouros c.590 BC These new statues showed young humans naked and always with a smile on their face. The main aim was to try and show perfection in human form, however, the majority of statues came across as rigid and unnatural. Despite these flaws it was the Greeks who first invented the free standing statues during this era. Athens, by 550 BC, had perfected the use of 'black figure pottery' which it subsequently successfully exported throughout the Greek world. Among the great painters of Attic black-figure vases, Sophilos, Kleitias, Nearchos, Lydos, Exekias, and the Amasis Painter experimented with a variety of techniques to overcome the limitations of black-figure painting with its emphasis on silhouette and incised detail. The consequent invention of the red-figure technique, which offered greater opportunities for drawing and eventually superseded black-figure, is conventionally dated about 530 B.C. and attributed to the workshop of the potter Andokides.
Classical Art (480 - 323 BC) was created during a "golden age", from the time Athens rose to prominence and Greek expansion, right up until the death of Alexander the Great. The Classical age could be seen as a turning point in art and produced some of the most exquisite sculptures known today. It was during this age that sculptors had mastered marble and began creating statues that showed joyous freedom of movement and expression, while celebrating mankind as an independent entity (atomo).
Discobolos, Ancient Greek Statue
The best example showing freedom of movement is the Discobolos (The Discus Thrower) by Myron in the Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome. This is one of the most famous classic Greek statues from this period. The Classical age also saw the first time human anatomy was deemed worthy of being portrayed in a statue and for ever immortalised in stone and bronze. Portraying people in a static and stiff position had now been replaced with the more modern 'snap-shot' threedimensional movements, so that people could admire the human body for its aesthetic values. It was the first time that humans could be seen as almost GodLike, which meant that the human body became the subject of study for the first time. In ancient Greece, a long intellectual evolution had reached its logical conclusion during the classical era when 'man as a living organism on this planet acquired the importance it deserved and gods became human through marble and bronze'. With the rise of democracy and philosophy it changed the face of art literally. From the Classical period all the Greek statues from this time period showed a lack of expression, whereas, the depiction of 'barbarians' show a dramatic facial expression. This was because the Greeks believed that suppression of the emotions was a noble characteristic of all civilised men, while the public display of human emotion was a sign of barbarism. Logic and reason
was to dominate human expression even during the most dramatic situations. Temples and sanctuaries cried out for more and more lavish and monumental statues bringing the legends and Gods to life, such as the famous motifs from the Parthenon (unfortunately only a few fragments remain). Statues at funerals also evolved from the rigid un-human like statues of the past to new modern pieces that showed more detail and more family orientated scenes, such as the Family group on a grave marker from Athens, National Archaeological Museum.
The greatest statues of this age were the Statue of Zeus at Olympia and the Statue of Athena at the Parthenon, both of which were designed by Phidias. Smaller copies of these statues still exist but the originals unfortunately were so awe-inspiring that they were stolen by the Byzantium Emperors from the Parthenon and later destroyed in what is thought to have been a fire. The sculptures of Greece more than any other art form are the pure expression of freedom, self-consciousness and self-determination. These were the values that motivated the inhabitants of Ancient Greece to defeat mighty Persia and led them to the development of a model of society that ensured the dignity of every man within it. The Hellenistic Era (323 - 31 BC) began around the death of Alexander the Great and ended with the battle of Actium in 31 BC. The Hellenistic period saw dramatic changes compared to previous logic. The artists of the Hellenistic period did not stick to classical conventions and rules but turned to a more experimental movement and a sense of freedom that allowed the artist to explore his subjects from different unique points of view.
Charioteer of Delphi
The easiest way to explain this is to look at the 'Charioteer of Delphi' and the 'Boy Jockey' statues. The first statue is from the classical period and shows greatness
and humility whereas the latter is from the Hellenistic era which shows a greater expression of power and energy. Artists were also able to take ideas from a much wider area as the Greek empire was at its peak, reaching even as far as India. This led to a number of new art styles emerging such as Greco-Bactrian, Indo-Greek and Greco-Buddhist. With the emergence of Rome it was now more acceptable to make sculptures of normal people and animals, with sculptors less obliged to make figures heroic and physically perfect. New Hellenistic cities started to spread in places like Egypt and Syria, all of which wanted statues depicting Greek Gods and Heroes to be placed in their temples. This led to more and more statues and items of pottery being mass-produced, resulting in a poorer quality of product. That said, vast improvements in techniques and materials allowed one of the largest and most magnificent creations in human endeavour, the 'Colossus of Rhodes' to be built. Unfortunately, the combined effects of looting and various earthquakes destroyed the statue, thought to have been as big as the Statue of Liberty. Some of the best known Hellenistic sculptures are Dying Gaul, the Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace, all of which depict a classical hero but have a Hellenistic twist which shows a more sensuous and emotional taste.
Greek nature - Ecotourism
Notwithstanding its limited surface area, Greece is endowed with a particularly rich and diversified natural environment as a result of a rare geomorphology, with many striking natural contrasts and areas of great ecological value. The country’s abundant natural gifts –thousands of indented coasts, imposing rocky massifs, caves, gorges, lakes, rivers, biotopes of spectacular beauty and unique natural habitats– coupled with the mild climate, place it among the ideal destinations for ecotourism and alternative forms of tourism. When travelling in Greece, nature-loving tourists are offered the opportunity to: - to wander in aesthetic forests or explore national parks not merely in the mountainous regions of the mainland, but also on certain islands or in the proximity of rivers and lakes - to enjoy the wonderful natural monuments, gorges, caves and waterfalls. - to watch and admire rare bird species nesting or seeking refuge in coastal ecosystems and wetlands (rocky coasts, sandy beaches, sand dunes, river deltas, lakes, marshes, coastal plains, etc) - to study the highly diverse floral life of the Greek countryside - to visit the unique marine parks supported near the islands of Alonissos and Zakynthos, which provide shelter to two protected species, the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus-Monachus) and the Mediterranean green loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) respectively. - to engage in extreme sports (canoe-kayak, rafting, monoraft, hydrospeed, canyoning, mountain biking, etc), activities which have seen a spectacular rise in popularity in recent years - to stay in agrotourist units which are being developed all over the country and afford visitors the opportunity to become familiar with vernacular architecture, cultural and gastronomic tradition, local products, farming activities and the daily life of local inhabitants. Visitors of ecologically sensitive areas must observe all rules for the protection of the environment against pollution, the non-disturbance of natural habitats and the preservation of the various ecosystems’ equilibrium. Information on visiting protected areas and participating in special programs can be obtained from local information centres, local authorities, and specialised agencies. (See relevant list) --
Alexander the Great
One of the greatest military geniuses in history, Alexander the Great was born in 356 B.C. in Pella, Macedonia. The son of Philip of Macedon, who was an excellent Army General and organizer. His mother was Olympias, princess of Epirus.
At the age of 20, Alexander assembled forces in Greek Cities in Corinth that recognised him as their Leader. His Army mainly consisted of Macedonian soldiers and also some Greeks. He then invaded the Persian Empire, but whilst he was at war in Thrace, some Greek cities rebelled, which brought him back South. Whereupon he captured the city of Thebes and demolished it as a warning to other Greek cities of what would become of them if they tried to resist his rule. In 333 BC Alexander advanced south from Cilicia into Syria, after defeating the Persians at the River Granicus, he defeated Darius III at Issus. He then proceeded through Phoenicia to Egypt, where they accepted him as their liberator from Persian Rule. Determined to rule the World, Alexander pursued conquering north, through Syria and Mesopotamia and defeated Darius at Gaugamela in 331 BC. After Darius fled he was then killed by his own men. Now occupying Susa and Persepolis, Alexander was the master of the Persian Empire. Still determined to conquer the World he continued through what is now Afghanistan to the Indus River Valley and reach Punjab in 326BC. Averse to his will, but convinced by his men that they had reached the end of the world, Alexander turned back. After his death his Empire soon dissolved, he conquered much of what was then the civilized world. Alexander was governed by divine ambition to conquer the world and create a universal world monarchy. He was the first great conqueror who reached Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Asia. He is famous for having created ethnic fusion between the Macedonians and the Persians. Forming many Greek cities in Syria, Iran, Bactria and in Egypt, the city called Alexandria. From many victorious battles, Alexander created empire which had marked history as the beginning of the Hellenistic Age and brought him eternal glory.
Archimedes Thoughtful by Fetti (1620) When we think of the great scientists and mathematicians of the ancient world, who have contributed greatly to today's inventions and researches, who could forget Archimedes. In the hearts and minds of scientists Archimedes occupies the same respectable position as Newton and Gauss. In his ancient Greek days he was known as the "the wise one," "the master" and "the great geometer". His works such as the "Death Ray" gained him popularity and fame that lasts till this day. He was one of the last great Greek mathematicians. Biography Archimedes was born in 287 B.C. in the port of Syracuse, Sicily in the colony of Magna Graecia. His father was Phidias, who was an astronomer about whom nothing is known. We derive this information about Archimedes from his work "The Sand Reckoner". In those times, in the absence of paper or blackboards, Archimedes used dust, ashes or any other available surface to draw his geometric figures. He used to get so engrossed in his work that sometimes he forgot to eat. It is alleged that he drew figures on his body after bathing and applying olive oil. According to the Greek historian John Tzetzes, who was famous for his research on Byzantinne Greek era, Archimedes lived for 75 years. Except for the period of his life where he attended school in Alexandria at Euclid's, Archimedes spent all his life at Syracuse. Ancient Greek biographer Plutarch, relates Archimedes to King Hiero II of Syracuse. He says Archimedes achieved so much fame because of his relation to King Hiero II and Gelon (son of King Hiero II). He was a close friend of Gelon and helped Hiero solve complex problem with extreme ease, utterly amazing his friend. Archimedes died in 212 B.C. during the Second Punic war, when Syracuse was captured by the Roman forces after a two year siege. According to Plutarch, Archimedes was researching a mathematical diagram,
when a Roman soldier ordered him to meet General Marcus (who was engaged in the siege of Syracuse). But Archimedes declined saying that he had to finish his diagram. Furious, the Roman soldier killed Archimedes. General Marcus was angered by the death of Archimedes, because he didn't wish him any harm. Another popular theory regarding Archimedes' death is that he was killed while actually surrendering to the Romans. Tomb of Archimedes The tomb of Archimedes is famous for it depicts his famous diagram, a sphere in a cylinder of the exact height and diameter. Archimedes had earlier proved that the volume and surface area of the sphere would be two thirds that of the cylinder. In 75 B.C., 137 years after the death of Archimedes, it was Cicero who was responsible for giving respect and attention to Archimedes' tomb, which had been long neglected. Cicero had heard about the tomb of Archimedes, but it took him a long time to find it, as the local populace were unable to help. Ultimately he found it at the Agrigentine gate in Syracuse, covered in bushes. He cleaned up the tomb and gave it its due respect. Discoveries and Inventions Archimedes has many discoveries and inventions to his credit, but he considered his theoretical work as his main triumph. Along with his inventions in mathematics and geometry, he is also known for the weapons he created for King Hiero II to help protect Syracuse. He is credited with many inventions in the field of mathematics and physics such as "Death ray", "Archimedes claw", hydrostatics, calculus, etc.. Some of his discoveries are stated below: Hydrostatics: Today when we get any idea, we often shout the word 'Eureka'. This famous word is originally attributed to Archimedes, for the invention of measuring the volume of an object with an irregular shape. Once when Hiero had ordered a gold crown, he suspected that the crown was not made of pure gold but also silver. However, he could not prove this. He told Archimedes of his suspicion. One day as Archimedes thoughts were revolving around the problem, he took a bath in his bathtub. He realized that the amount of water that overflowed the tub was proportional to the amount of his body that was submerged. At the realization he came shouting out of the bathtub "Eureka, Eureka" and ran out on to the streets of Syracuse completely naked. In his work 'The Floating Bodies', this principle is known as the 'Archimedes Principle'. But the example of golden crown does not appear in any known works of Archimedes. Principle of levers: Although Archimedes did not invent the lever, he discovered the reasoning behind why it worked. It is said that he remarked, "Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth." Plutarch explained how Archimedes designed the block and
tackle pulley systems, allowing sailors to use the principle of leverage to lift objects that would otherwise have been too heavy to shift. It is also said that Archimedes built the Syracusia ship, which was the largest vessel of its time and capable of transporting 600 passengers. Since a ship of this size would leak a considerable amount of water through the hull, the Archimedes' screw was purportedly developed in order to remove the bilge water. The screw was a machine with a revolving screw shaped blade inside a cylinder. It was turned by hand, and could also be used to transfer water from a low-lying body of water into irrigation canals. Archimedes' claw: Archimedes' claw was invented to defend the city of Syracuse. Known as the 'ship-shaker', it is shaped like a crane arm, from which a large metal hook was balanced. When the claw was dropped on an attacking ship, it would lift the ship by swinging the arm upwards and then sink the ship. Death Ray:
There have bee n many doubts about Archimedes weapon of the death Ray. However in 2005 the Death Ray was proved and tested by a University class (MIT). Using over one hundred mirrors,they made a dummy profile of ship with 5 inch thick wood which ignited after focusing all the mirrors to a specific point on the ship. this experiment was then carried out again on a real boat in the water with the help of the 'mythbusters'.Thus proving Archimedes death ray as no longer a theory but a definitely possibility that this 'death ray' tactic was used against the roman ships in Syracuse.
Archimedes Death Ray: Testing with MythBusters
Mathematics: Mostly known as inventor of mechanical devices, we cannot ignore Archimedes' contribution to Mathematics. Being unhappy with the existing one, Archimedes is known to have invented his own Greek number system, so that he could accommodate more of his invented numbers. According to some, the greatest invention of Archimedes is 'integral calculus'. Using this, he measured the section of areas surrounded by geometric figures. He
broke the sections into a number of rectangles and then added the areas together. This principle is known as 'integration'. Also a part of the discovery of 'integral calculus' is 'differential calculus'. He calculated ways to approximate the slope of the tangent lines of his figures. In the 'Measurement of Circle' Archimedes discovers the value of the square root of 3 as being more than 265/153 (approximately 1.732) and less than 1351/780 (approximately 1.7320512). The accurate value is rounded to 1.7320508076. He aquainted us with this principle without offering any explaination. In 'The Quadrature of the Parabola', Archimedes proved that the area enclosed by a parabola and a straight line is 4/3 multiplied by the area of a triangle with equal base and height. In 'The Sand Reckoner', he set out the impossible task of calculating the number of sand grains the universe could contain. He challenged that it was not impossible to do, even if sand grains were too large to be counted. His friend King Gelo thought this was hardly possible. To solve the problem of sand grains, Archimedes invented a system based around the myriad or uncountable in Greek. It also denoted 10,000 in the Greek number system. He fixed a number system using powers of myriads (100 million) and finally calculated the number of sand grains in the universe as 8x1063 . Sites Referred: --
Work began on the Parthenon, built on the Acropolis, in 447 BC to replace an existing temple which was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC and cost 469 silver talents to build. The work began under the orders of Pericles to show the wealth and exuberance of Athenian power. The name of the building most likely came from a cult statue of Athena Parthenos housed in the eastern room of the building. This magnificent structure was built of ivory and gold and was sculptured by the renowned sculptor Phidias. As with most buildings on the Acropolis it was dedicated to Athena to thank the Goddess for their success. The Parthenon was finally finished in 432 BC and was to show the world the dominance and power of Athens. The vast majority of the money used in the construction came from the Delian League funds. The Delian League was a treaty between the Greek states in league against the Persian Empire. However two years before work started on the Parthenon, the Athenians had struck a peace treaty with the Persians ending the war, although the League continued to exist. It is believed that because of this the league stopped being a mutual defence against Persia but part of the Athenian Empire. This theory was reinforced when Athens moved the Leagues treasury from the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary at Delos to the Parthenon (Opisthodomos room). Not only was the Parthenon a magnificent structure to look at, but it also showed Athenian dominance over the rest of the Greek peninsula and that Athens was its Greek imperial master. The five main instigators of the design and construction on the Parthenon were Pericles, Phidias, Kalamis, Ictinus and Calibrates. Pericles was the leading
Athenian statesman at the time, Phidias and Kalamis were in charge of the design of the sculptures and decorations, and Ictinus and Calibrates were the main architects. The vast majority of the 469 silver talents spent on the Parthenon went on transporting the stone from Mount Pantelakos, which was about 16 kilometres from Athens, to the Acropolis. It is thought there are around 13400 stones in the building. The Parthenon is a clear example of Doric design with Ionic architectural features. The architects used a clever visual effect in their design of the building. The curvature of the Stylobate, the taper of the Naos walls (housing the cult statue) and the Entasis of the columns allow the visual effect to make the temple appear more symmetrical than it actually is. This design was so renowned it has been copied centuries later, even the Romans incorporated it into the design of their buildings, and a good example of this can be seen at the Roman library at Ephesus. Measured at the top step, the dimensions of the base of the Parthenon are 69.5 meters by 30.9 meters (228.0 x 101.4 ft). The Cella was 29.8 meters long by 19.2 meters wide (97.8 x 63.0 ft), with internal Doric colonnades in two tiers, structurally necessary to support the roof. On the exterior, the Doric columns measure 1.9 meters (6.2 ft) in diameter and are 10.4 meters (34.1 ft) high. The corner columns are slightly larger in diameter. The Stylobate has an upward curvature towards its centre of 60 millimetres (2.36 in) on the east and west ends, and of 110 millimetres (4.33 in) on the sides. Inside the Cella it was made up of both old and new elements. There was a double pi-shaped colonnade which held the statue Athena Parthenos. The statue showed Athena dressed in full armour holding Nike (Goddess of Victory) to the Athenians in her right hand. In the west room (Opisthodomos) were 4 Ionic columns. The two sloped wooden roofs had marble tiles with false lion shaped spouts in the corners and false palmette shaped antefixes running along the edge. The room also held large marble statues placed on corner pediments, which were adorned with depictions of Athena's life. The East Pediment showed Athena's birth from Zeus' head whilst the Olympian Gods watched. The West pediment portrayed the dispute between Athena and Poseidon over control of Athens in front of Heroes, the Gods and the mythical Kings of Attica. The Outer Colonnade was made up of 92 metopes alternating with Triglyphs that were placed above the epistyle underneath the architrave, all of which held reliefs, (Trojan War on the northern side, Centauromachy on the southern side, Amazonomachy on the western side and Gigantomachy on the eastern side). The Frieze (dated 442-438 BC), which ran along the top of the Opisthodomos, Pronaos and the Cella was of the Ionic order and showed the greatest Athenian festival 'Panathinaia'. The festival held a procession from the Dipylon Gate in the Koromikos to the Acropolis. The procession was held yearly and had a special procession every fourth year. Athenians and foreigners came together at the festival, with all paying tribute and offering sacrifices to Athena. The Parthenon had been kept in relatively good condition right up until the 19th century. During this time it had seen a number of changes. For nearly a thousand years the Parthenon was still used as a temple to Athena until as late as the 4th Century AD. By this time Athens had been turned into a province of the Roman Empire and had lost most of its former glory. Unfortunately sometime in the 5th Century the Parthenon was raided by a Roman Emperor and the statue of the cult
image of Athena was stolen and taken to Constantinople where it was later destroyed during the crusades (around 1204 AD). After the looting by the Roman Emperors the building itself was still intact and was turned into a church in the 5th Century AD by the Christians. The Byzantine Christians converted the Parthenon in honour of Parthena Maria (Virgin Mary), or the Church of the Theotokos (Mother of God), which it remained for around 250 years. Turning the temple into a church meant that the building was still kept in good condition apart from a bit a restructuring internally; for example a few of the columns were removed as well as some of the marble statues. It also meant that statues and other motifs depicting more than one god were either removed or destroyed. The Ottomans converted the Parthenon from a church to a mosque (ca. 1460s). Again the Parthenon was well maintained and looked after until the late 17th Century. In 1687 the Venetians, under Francesco Morosini, attacked the Ottomans in Athens. The Acropolis had been fortified by the Ottomans (as well as the Athenians over a century before). The building was also used as a gunpowder store and when the Parthenon took a direct hit from a mortar fired by the Venetians from the Hill of Philopappus, the gunpowder exploded and destroyed a large part of the building. Morosini and his men soon plundered the building, looting what they could find and destroying the rest, leaving the partial ruins that can be seen today. As most of the sculptures and depictions were either looted or destroyed we only know what they looked like from drawings by Jacques Carrey, a Flemish artist in 1674. What was left was further damaged in 1801 when many of the depictions and remaining antiques were forcibly removed by the British Ambassador at Constantinople, the Earl of Elgin, under orders to make casts and drawings by the Sultan. It was only in 1975 that a concertive effort was made by the Greek government, with help from Europe, to try and restore the damage caused by the explosion as well as the modern day damage caused by pollution. Unfortunately the Parthenon will never be restored to its former glory; however, in time we will hopefully be able to have a better idea of what it once looked like.
Acropolis in Greek means "The Sacred Rock, the high city". All around the world the Acropolis of Athens is known as 'The Acropolis'. There are many Acropolises in Greece but the Acropolis of Athens is the best known. The Acropolis is primarily dedicated to the Goddess Athena. But humans from the prehistoric era have populated the Acropolis and the caves around it. Situated in the middle of Athens, many myths, festivals and important events are connected to the sacred Acropolis. The Acropolis echoes the grandeur and the power of the Athenian empire.
Acropolis rock has been a part of Earth since the Late Cretaceous period. Built of limestone it is based on the Attica plateau and includes the Likavitos hill, the
Philopappos hill, the hill of the Nymphs, and the Pnyx. The Acropolis is also known as the Cecropia, after a mythological half serpent-man Cecrops who is considered the first Athenian King. With a height of about 70 meters and 300 meters long, it is 150 meters wide. Many human inhabitants have made constructions here since the Mycenaean era resulting in the flat top table of the Acropolis. As there was spring water and caves in abundance, the place was perfect for human habitation.
History of Acropolis Neolithic Era
Human occupancy of Acropolis and Attica has been dated back to 6 BC i.e. during the Neolithic Era. Many unique works of arts and architecture prove that inhabitation around Attica started in the Upper Paleolithic period while the caves in Acropolis and Klepsythra springs were occupied from the Neolithic Period.
In the Mycenaean Era, during the 13th century a well-built wall was constructed around the hill of Acropolis where the king resided and he controlled the small settlements around the fortress. These walls that were created by the Mycenaean kings were around eight meters high and constructed their palaces inside these walls. These walls consisted of two barricades. The walls are built in a typical Mycenaean style consisting of a wall, barricade and a tower on right hand side for defense. Today very little remains of these walls and palaces.
The Dark Ages
The Acropolis has seen no major destruction during the Mycenaean Era. The Acropolis successfully resisted the attack by the Dorians, a fact, which is supported by Athenian folklore. Therefore the palaces and walls show no signs of fire or attack. But the Kylons and the Pisistratus had overtaken the Acropolis, suggesting power transfer. It is during this period that the 9-gate wall 'Enneapylon' was built around the water spring 'Clepsydra'.
The 'Sacred Acropolis' Era
The Acropolis became a sacred place in the 6th century BC when a temple dedicated 'Athenia Polias' was built in the northeastern side of the hill. The 'Athenia Polias' temple is made up of limestone and many artifacts and documents were found from this area. The temple is also known as 'Bluebeard temple' after the 3-headed serpent whose beard was blue. In the late 6th century BC another temple was built known as the 'Archaios Naos' or the Old Temple, which was built by the Peisistratos. The Acropolis flourished during the Peisistratos rule when many religious festivals and memorials were recognized. Many artifacts and works of art bear inscription describing the splendor of Athens during the archaic period. The 'Bluebeard temple' was destroyed when the Athenians defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. A much larger and grander building was built which is known to be the "Older Parthenon". The
Mycenaean gate was also destroyed and replaced by the 'Old Propylon' monument, which was used for religious purposes. The "Older Parthenon" construction remained unfinished because the Persians once again attacked Attica in 480 BC and destroyed Attica and its monuments. Whatever artifacts were remaining, were buried by the Athenians (to save them) in the small, natural caves and 2 new walls were built around Acropolis. These walls were known as the 'The wall of Themistokles' and 'The wall of Kimon'. Whatever artifacts were buried by the Athenians during the war, and survived, are known today as the 'Persian Debris'.
The Golden Age of Athens
Whatever chief and sacred temples were built in and around Acropolis and Attica was during the Golden Age of Athens i.e. from 460 BC to 430 BC. Pericles was responsible for most of these structures. Pericles was an ambitious man. The constructions lasted for about half a century. Phidias, a sculptor and Ictinus and Callicrates, who were architechts, were in charge of these constructions. Workers who were laborers on these constructions were paid 1 drachma a day. Temples and monuments such as the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike were built during this time. The temples on the north of Acropolis housed earlier sects and Olympian Gods and those at the south were dedicated to the Goddess Athena and her forms such as Polias, Parthenos, Pallas, Promachos, Ergane and Nike. No major structures were constructed from 404 BC to the 1st century BC during the Peloponnesian Era. In the 7th century BC a small temple dedicated to Augustus and Rome was built east of the Acropolis. In spite of many Roman invasions of Greece, the Acropolis has retained its charm and has been saved from destruction and looting.
Advent of Christianity
As time passed, natural degradation and human interference both affected the Acropolis. As Christianity was introduced, the monuments were converted into churches. All the structures were renamed and served as churches and cathedrals. During the medieval period, some of the structures became residences or headquarters for kings such as the Frankish or Turkish rulers. Due to reasons such as wars, invasions and attacks important structures such as the Parthenon, etc were destroyed leading to a tragic loss of history. It was only during the late 20th century that the Acropolis was excavated properly and paid attention to. The excavation and restoration process is ongoing. The artifacts and works of arts can be seen at the Acropolis Museum. Reference: -Athens is the symbol of freedom, art, and democracy in the conscience of the civilized world. The capital of Greece took its name from the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. In Athens memory never fades. Wherever you stand, wherever you turn, the city's long and rich history will be alive in front of you. This is where that marvel of
architecture, the Parthenon, was created. This is where art became inseparable from life, and this is where Pericles gave the funerary speech, that monument of the spoken word. In the centre of town are two hills, the Acropolis with the monuments from the Age of Pericles, and Lycabettus with the picturesque chapel of Ai Giorgis. Ancient ruins provide a vivid testimony to the glory of Athens, hailed by many people as the cradle of western civilization.
Sparta a beautiful town near the river Evrotas, located in the centre of the Peloponnese in southern Greece, is the capital of the prefecture of Lakonia. SPARTA ( known in Greek as Sparti) has a history which dates back to the Neolithic period, at least 3,000 years before Christ. Even in its most prosperous days, it was merely a group of five villages with simple houses and a few public buildings. The passes leading into the valley of the Evrotas were easily defended, and Sparta had no walls until the end of the 4th century BC. The city itself was destroyed by the Goths under their king, Alaric I, in 396 AD. Modern Sparta, founded by the government in 1834, occupies part of the site of ancient Sparta and is the capital of the department of Laconia. Excavations of the ancient city have uncovered ruins of temples and public buildings as well as a theatre dating from the Roman period, but the sparse remains are insignificant for a city of such renown in antiquity.
Ancient Greece: Sparta Sparta
from Laconian Professionals
Materials for the Study of Ancient Sparta Ancient Sites - Athens
It's hard for textbooks to say anything nice about the Spartans. Take up any world history textbook and read; you'll find that the Spartans were "an armed camp," "brutal," "culturally stagnant," "economically stagnant," "politically stagnant," and other fun things. The reality, of course, lies somewhere behind the value judgements. Greek history does, after all, come down to us through the eyes of the other major city-state in Greece, Athens, a bitter enemy and rival of Sparta. The two represent diametrically opposed concepts of the Greek polis and its relations with other citystates; they also represent diametrically opposed concepts of the individual's relationship to the state. Despite all the rhetoric in Athens and in the European historical tradition, we should keep in mind that the Spartans believed they lived in the best of all Greek worlds, and many of their Greek neighbors agreed with them. The rivalry, then, between Sparta and Athens, which would erupt into a disastrous war for Athens, was also an ideological and cultural rivalry. The single, overwhelming fact of Spartan history is the Messenean War. In the eighth century BC, Sparta, like all her neighbors, was a monarchy with a limited oligarchy. In 725, however, needing land to feed a dramatically growing population, the Spartans marched over the Taygetus mountains and annexed all the territory of their neighbor, Messenia. The Messenians occupied a fertile plain and the Spartans found themselves with more than enough land to support themselves and their newly conquered people. However, like all conquered people, the Messenians did not appreciate the loss of their independence. With the help of the citystate of Argos, the Messenians revolted in 640 BC. This was no ordinary revolt, for not only did the Messenians almost win, they almost destroyed Sparta itself. Here's how the situation stood for Sparta at the end of the Messenian revolt. Almost defeated, controlling the territory of a subject population that outnumbered their population ten to one , it was only a matter of time before this subject population would overrun their conquerors. So the Spartans invented a new political system as dramatically revolutionary as Athenian democracy in the north: they turned their state into what amounts to a military state. The Messenians were turned into agricultural slaves called helots . We describe their lives as the life of a "serf," for they worked small plots of land on estates owned by Spartans; part of their produce went to the master of the estate, and the remainder went to the helot farmer and his family. There's no question that the life of the helots was a miserable life. Labor was long and hard and the helots always lived right on the border of subsistence. But Spartan society itself changed. The military and the city-state became the center of Spartan existence. The state determined whether
children, both male and female, were strong when they were born; weakling infants were left in the hills to die of exposure. Exposing weak or sickly children was a common practice in the Greek world, but Sparta institutionalized it as a state activity rather than a domestic activity. At the age of seven, every male Spartan was sent to military and athletic school. These schools taught toughness, discipline, endurance of pain (often severe pain), and survival skills. At twenty, after thirteen years of training, the Spartan became a soldier. The Spartan soldier spent his life with his fellow soldiers; he lived in barracks and ate all his meals with his fellow soldiers. He also married, but he didn't live with his wife; one Athenian once joked that Spartans had children before they even saw the face of their wives. The marriage ceremony had an unusual ritual involved: at the end of the ceremony, the man carried his wife off as if he were taking her by force (this did not mean, however, that the status of women was bad in Sparta, as we shall see later). Only at the age of thirty, did the Spartan become an "equal," and was allowed to live in his own house with his own family—although he continued to serve in the military. Military service ended at the age of sixty. How did the soldier survive? How did Sparta afford to feed young men who did nothing but soldier in their twenties? Each soldier was granted a piece of land, which he probably never saw; this land was farmed, of course, by the helots. The life of a Spartan male was a life of discipline, self-denial, and simplicity. The Spartans viewed themselves as the true inheritors of the Greek tradition. They did not surround themselves with luxuries, expensive foods, or opportunities for leisure. And this, I think, is the key to understanding the Spartans. While the Athenians and many others thought the Spartans were insane, the life of the Spartans seemed to hark back to a more basic way of life. Discipline, simplicity, and self-denial always remained ideals in the Greek and Roman worlds; civilization was often seen as bringing disorder, ennervation, weakness, and a decline in moral values. The Spartan, however, could point to Spartan society and argue that moral values and human courage and strength was as great as it was before civilization. Spartan society, then, exercised a profound pull on the surrounding city-states who admired the simplicity, discipline, and order of Spartan life. The ideology of Sparta was oriented around the state. The individual lived (and died) for the state. Their lives were designed to serve the state from their beginning to the age of sixty. The combination of this ideology, the education of Spartan males, and the disciplined maintenance of a standing army gave the Spartans the stability that had been threatened so dramatically in the Messenean revolt. Paradoxically, this soldier-centered state was the most liberal state in regards to the status of women. While women did not go through military training, they were required to be educated along similar lines. The
Spartans were the only Greeks not only to take seriously the education of women, they instituted it as state policy. This was not, however, an academic education (just as the education of males was not an academic education); it was a physical education which could be grueling. Infant girls were also exposed to die if they were judged to be weak; they were later subject to physical and gymnastics training. This education also involved teaching women that their lives should be dedicated to the state. In most Greek states, women were required to stay indoors at all times (though only the upper classes could afford to observe this custom); Spartan women, however, were free to move about, and had an unusual amount of domestic freedom for their husbands, after all, didn't live at home. Spartan society was divided into three main classes. At the top was the Spartiate, or native Spartan, who could trace his or her ancestry back to the original inhabitants of the city. The Spartiate served in the army and was the only person who enjoyed the full political and legal rights of the state. Below the Spartiates wer the perioeci , or "dwellers around or about." These were foreign people who served as a kind of buffer population between the Spartans and the helots. Because of this vital function, they were accorded a great deal of freedom. Most of the trade and commerce carried out in Sparta were performed by the perioeci . At the bottom, of course, were the helots. Spartan government was an odd affair, but its overwhelming characteristic was stability . The Spartans, in fact, had the most stable government in the history of ancient Greece (some historians call this stability, "political stagnation"). At the top of government was the monarchy; the monarchy, however, was a dual monarchy. Below the monarchy was a council which was composed of the two kings plus twenty-eight nobles, all of whom were over sixty, that is, retired from the military. The council debated and set legislative and foreign policy, and was the supreme criminal court. Below the council (or above it), was an assembly of all the Spartiate males (a democracy, in other words) that selected the council and approved or vetoed council proposals. Above them all, however, was a small group of five men known as the ephorate . For all practical purposes, Spartan government was the ephorate, for these five men led the council, ran the military, ran the educational system, ran the infant selection system, and had veto power over everything coming out of the council or the assembly. They even had power to depose the king; however, they needed powerful divine proof (in the form of omens or oracles) to exercise this power. So what kind of government was Spartan government? It was a democratic timocratic monarchical oligarchy. Chew on that a few times. The anxiety-ridden situation with the helots led the Spartans to fear even their neighbors, who were often sticking their spoons in that pot to
brew up trouble. So in the sixth century BC, the Spartans began to set their military sights on neighboring states. However, when they conquered their neighbor, Tegea, they set up a truce with them rather than annex their land and people. They demanded instead an alliance. Tegea would follow Sparta in all its foreign relationships, including wars, and would supply Sparta with a fixed amount of soldiers and equipment. In exchange, the Tegeans could remain an independent state. This was a brilliant move on the part of the Spartans. In a short time, Sparta had formed alliances with a huge number of states in the southern part of Greece (called the Peloponnesus), and had become the major power in Greece when the Persians invaded in 490 BC. Their power eclipsed that of even their powerful neighbor in the north, Athens.
Alexandria - City Founded by Alexander The Great
This Ancient Greek city was designed in a Hellenistic model, with orthogonal road network that formed a regular grid. This sophisticated grid system managed to maximize the cool North wind during the summer and with especially wide roads to enable chariots to turn around with ease. Much of what we know about the City is due to the Historian Strabo, geography who lived in 25BC. He mentioned the city's main buildings and temples; including the Temple of Poseidon, the Theatre and naval dockyards. These lay in front of the Heptastadion, the cause way linking the island of Pharos to the mainland. In the heart of the city were the main office and judicial, gardens of the gymnasium. The Canopic Way was the great road that led from the East of the Canopic Gate to the West, called Necropolis. This was the suburban area, which included a large number of gardens, tombs and a number of areas suitable for preparation of the dead.
Troy was at first unknown to be factual city, known through Homer , until an Archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann in 1870 followed the geographical clues in the 'Iliad' and began excavating North West Turkey. He was convinced he had found the legendary city of Troy and excavated a hill called Hisarlick, in Anatolia, on Turkey's coast. He discovered huge city walls and evidence of a city destroyed by fire. The archaeology site called Troia, where the city is now called now Truva by the Turkish Government. In 1988, Manfred Kauffman along with a Team from the University of Tubingen and Cincinnati excavated this site further. Findings included arrowheads that dated to the 12 Century BC. He is also reported to have found a deep ditch around the city, as Kauffman explains this ditch would be means of defense of a much larger city than originally thought. However, it was still unclear which level of the city was Homer's Troy of 1200 BC, which was destroyed by the Greeks, as there are nine consecutive levels of occupation at Hisarlick. There are two levels that fit this period which are named Troy VI and Troy VII, archaeologists are agreeable to VII, which was destroyed by Fire in 1250 BC-1200BC. At this time, as told by Homer's Iliad the King of Troy, was Priam, which was waged war upon the Trojans by the Achaeans (Greeks) over Helen, the wife of Agamemnon, who was kidnapped by Paris, the Prince of Troy. As Paris refused to return Helen, the War is thought to have lasted about ten years or more and eventually the Greeks won by using the deception of offering the Trojans a statue of a Horse as a gift that they would take inside the Walls of Troy, once inside the statue was filled with the Greek warriors that were able to open the Gates of Troy allowing and the Greeks to overcome, burn and pillage the city. Other references to the City of Troy include Homer's Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid. The language spoken in the ancient city of Troy is not certain, but though that the inhabitants, Trojans could understand Greek
-Principal Gods click for main characteristics Mythical Characters
Antigone Electra Heracles Jason Oedipus Orpheus Titans
the name traditionally assigned to the reputed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, the two major epics of Greek antiquity. Nothing is known about Homer as an individual. In fact, the question of whether a single person can be said to be responsible for the creation of the two epics is still controversial. However, linguistic and historical evidence allows the assumption that the poems were composed in the Greek settlements on the west coast of Asia Minor sometime in the 9th century BC.
was the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the king and queen of Mycenae. When Electra's father returned from the Trojan war, her mother, Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus killed him. They also killed Cassandra, a concubine of Agamemnon from the Trojan war... more »
In ancient Greece, Antigone is mostly related to the myth that was told by the Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, although there is reference to a different Antigone in the ancient Greek World. Antigone was the daughter of King Oedipus of Thebes and Jocasta. The story says,
Oedipus, the son of Laius and Jocasta killed his father Laius and became the king of Thebes. Oedipus unknowingly married his own mother Jocasta and had children by her. Thus, Antigone was the daughter and the sister of Oedipus... more »
JASON's story is an ancient Greek myth, folk tale that is passed from generations to generations. About a hero who traveled on a voyage in search of the Golden Fleece, so that he could help his father get his kingdom back from King Pelias.
Jason's father was Aeson, the King of Lolcus and mother Alcimede. Aeson stepbrother Pelias was eager for the throne of Lolcus, so in a battle, he removed Aeson from power and made himself the King. Aeson and Pelias shared a common mother, Tyro. She was the daughter of Salmoneus and sea god Poseidon. Pelias, to make sure that no one from Aeson's family could challenge him, killed his family. But Alcimede saved their baby, Jason. To save him Alcimede gave away her baby son to Chiron, who became his guardian. But Pelias was obsessed with his throne and he consulted an oracle that told him that a man wearing one sandal would be the reason for his end... more »
Chaos - in one ancient Greek myth of creation, the dark, silent abyss from which all things came into existence. According to the Theogony of Hesiod, Chaos generated the solid mass of Earth, from which arose the starry, cloud-filled Heaven. Mother Earth and Father Heaven, personified respectively as Gaea and her offspring Uranus, were the parents of the Titans. In a later theory, Chaos is the formless matter from which the cosmos, or harmonious order, was created. Gaea - She was the mother and wife of Father Heaven, Uranus. They were the parents of the first creatures, the Titans, the Cyclopes, and the Giants - the Hecatoncheires (Hundred - Headed Ones). Uranus hated the monsters, and, even though they were his children, locked them in a secret place in the earth. Gaea was enraged at this favoritism and persuaded their son Cronos to overthrow his father. He emasculated Uranus, and from his blood Gaea brought forth the Giants, and the three avenging goddesses the Erinyes. Her last and most terrifying offspring was Typhon, a 100-headed monster, who, although conquered by the god Zeus, was believed to spew forth the molten lava flows of Mount Etna. Tartarus - The lowest region of the underworld. Hesiod claimed that a brazen anvil would take none days and nights to fall from heaven to earth, and nine days and nights to fall from earth to Tartarus. Tartarus rose out of Chaos and was the destination of wicked souls. Uranus banished his children the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires to Tartarus, as Zeus also did to the Titans. Other famous inhabitants of Tartarus include Sisyphus, Ixion, Tantalus, Salmoneus, Tityus, Ophion, and the daughters of Danaus.
Eros - The god of love. He was thought of as a handsome and intense young man, attended by Pothos ("longing") or Himeros ("desire"). Later mythology made him the constant attendant of his mother, Aphrodite, goddess of love. Erebus - Personification of the darkness of the Underworld and the offspring of Chaos. . In later myth, Erebus was the dark region beneath the earth through which the shades must pass to the realm of Hades below. He is often used metaphorically for Hades itself. Uranus - Gaea - The personification of the sky; the god of the heavens and husband of Gaea, the goddess of the earth. . Their children are the Hecatonchires, the Cyclopes and the Titans. Pontus - The sea god. Cyclopes - Three sons: Arges, Brontes, and Steropes of Uranus and Gaea. The Cyclops were giant beings with a single, round eye in the middle of their foreheads.They helped Zeus defeat their brother, Cronus, by forging lightning bolts. They also made Poseidon's trident and Hades invisibility cap. Hecatonchires - Three sons of Uranus and Gaia. There were three of them: Briareus also called Aegaeon, Cottus, and Gyges also called Gyes. They were gigantic and had fifty heads and one hundred arms each of great strength. They had 100 hands and helped Zeus in his war against the Titans. Cronus - Rhea - Cronus was a ruler of the universe during the Golden Age. He was one of the 12 Titans and the youngest son of Uranus and Gaea, Cronus and his sister-queen, Rhea, became the parents of 6 of the 12 gods and goddesses known as the Olympians. Cronus had been warned that he would be overthrown by one of his own children. To prevent this, he swallowed his first five children as soon as they were born. Rhea did not like this. She substituted a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes for their sixth child, Zeus. He was hidden in Crete, and when he was older, he returned and forced Cronos to disgorge all the other children, who had grown inside of him. Zeus and his siblings fought a war against Cronos and the Titans. Zeus won, and the Titans were confined in Tartarus, a cave in the deepest part of the underworld. Coeus - Phoebe - Coeus was a titan of Intelligence, the father of Leto, husband of Phoebe. Oceanus - Tethys - The personification of the vast ocean. Together with his wife Tethys, they produced the rivers and six thousand offsprings called the Oceanids. He ruled over Ocean, a great river encircling the earth, which was believed to be a
flat circle. The nymphs of this great river, the Oceanids, were their daughters, and the gods of all the streams on earth were their sons. Hestia - Virgin goddess of the hearth. She was the symbol of the house, around which a new born child was carried before it was received into the family. Although she appears in very few myths, most cities had a common hearth where her sacred fire burned. I Hades - He was made lord of the underworld, ruling over the dead. He is a greedy god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects. Those whose calling increase the number of dead were seen favorably by him. He was also the god of wealth, due to the precious metals mined from the earth. His wife was Persephone whom Hades abducted. The underworld itself was often called Hades. It was divided into two regions: Erebus, where the dead pass as soon as they die, and Tartarus, the deeper region, where the Titans had been imprisoned. It was a dim and unhappy place, inhabited by vague forms and shadows and guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed, dragon-tailed dog. Sinister rivers separated the underworld from the world above, and the aged boatman Charon ferried the souls of the dead across these waters. Poseidon - God of the sea. His weapon was a trident, which could shake the earth, and shatter any object. He was second only to Zeus in power amongst the gods. Under the ocean, he had a marvelous golden palace. Poseidon was the husband of Amphitrite, one of the Nereids, by whom he had a son, Triton. Poseidon had numerous other love affairs. At one point he desired Demeter. To put him off Demeter asked him to make the most beautiful animal that the world had ever seen. To impress her Poseidon created the first horse. In some accounts his first attempts were unsucessful and created a varity of other animals in his quest. By the time the horse was created his passion for Demeter had cooled. Zeus - Hera - The god of the sky and ruler of the gods of Mount Olympus. He displaced his father and assumed the leadership of the gods of Olympus. Zeus was considered the father of the gods and of mortals. He did not create either gods or mortals; he was their father in the sense of being the protector and ruler both of the Olympian family and of the human race. His weapon was a thunderbolt. His breastplate was the aegis, his bird the eagle, his tree the oak. He was married to Hera but, is famous for his many affairs, which resulted in many known children and probably many more that were not known to be his. Athena was his favorite child. He bore her alone from his head. One of the greatest feasts for Zeus was the Olympic games. They were taking place every four years in Olympia. Even if there was a war between the city-states of Greece they were stopping the war to take part on that games. Hera's marriage was founded in strife with Zeus and continued in strife. Writers represented Hera as constantly being jealous of Zeus's various amorous affairs. She punished her rivals and their children, among both goddesses and mortals, with implacable fury. The peacock (the symbol of pride; her wagon was pulled by
peacocks) and the cow (she was also known as Bopis, meaning "cow-eyed", which was later translated as "with big eyes") were her sacred animals. Her favorite city was Argos. Demeter - Zeus - Goddess of corn and the harvest. She taught mankind the art of sowing and ploughing so they could end their nomadic existence. She was of a severe, a beauty scarcely relieved by her hair. which was as fair as ripened grain. Poseidon coveted her, but Demeter refused herself to him. To escape him she fled to Arkadia where, assuming the shape of a mare, she mingled with the herds of King Oncus. Poseidon, however, succeeded in finding her, changed himself into a stallion and made her the mother of the horse Arion. When her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades, god of the underworld, Demeter's grief was so great that she neglected the land; no plants grew, and famine devastated the earth. Dismayed at this situation, Zeus, demanded that his brother Hades return Persephone to her mother. Hades agreed, but before he released the girl, he made her eat some pomegranate seeds that would force her to return to him for four months each year. In her joy at being reunited with her daughter, Demeter caused the earth to bring forth bright spring flowers and abundant fruit and grain for the harvest. However, her sorrow returned each autumn when Persephone had to return to the underworld. The desolation of the winter season and the death of vegetation were regarded as the yearly manifestation of Demeter's grief when her daughter was taken from her. Demeter and Persephone were worshipped in the rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Persephone - Persephone was the Queen of the Underworld and the daughter of Demeter. Persephone is the goddess of the underworld in Greek mythology. She is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Persephone was such a beautiful girl that everyone loved her, even Hades wanted her for himself. Although Zeus gave his consent, Demeter was unwilling. Hades, therefore, seized the maiden as she was gathering flowers and carried her off to his realm. Persephone was a personification of the revival of nature in spring. Her attributes in iconography can include a torch, a crown, a sceptre, and stalks of grain. Leto - Zeus - The mother of Artemis, goddess of the bow and of hunting. She was loved by the god Zeus, who, fearing the jealousy of his wife, Hera, banished Leto when she was about to bear his child. All countries and islands were also afraid of Hera's wrath and refused the desperate Leto a home where her child could be born. Finally, in her wanderings, she set foot on a small island floating in the Aegean Sea, which was called Delos. Iapetus - The son Uranus and Gaea. Iapetus' wife was Clymene. Athena - or Pallas-Athene, is one of the most important goddesses in Greek mythology. Goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice and skill. Athena sprang full-grown and armoured from the forehead of the god Zeus and was his favourite child. She was fierce and brave in battle but, only fights to protect the
state and home from outside enemies. She was the goddess of the city, handicrafts, and agriculture. She invented the bridle, which permitted man to tame horses, the trumpet, the flute, the pot, the rake, the plow, the yoke, the ship, and the chariot. Her attributes in iconography include the aegis (a fringed cloak, sometimes decorated with a Gorgon's head), the helmet, and the spear. Ares - God of war. He was very aggressive. He was unpopular with both gods and humans. Ares was not invincible, even against mortals. He personified the brutal nature of war. He was immortal but whenever he would get hurt he would run back to his father, Zeus and was healed. Ares was mainly worshipped in Thracia. Hebe - The goddess of youth. She, along with Ganymede were the cupbearers to the gods, serving them their nectar and ambrosia. She also prepared Ares' bath, and helped Hera to her chariot. Hebe was Hercules' wife. Hephaestus - God of fire and metalwork. He was born lame and weak, and shortly after his birth, he was cast out of Olympus. In most legends, however, he was soon honoured again on Olympus and was married to Aphrodite, goddess of love, or to Aglaia, one of the three Graces. His workshop was believed to lie under Mount Etna, a volcano in Sicily. He made many wonderful artifacts for the gods, including the twelve golden thrones of the Olympians, their weapons and treasures. Apollo - Apollo was primarily a god of prophecy. He sometimes gave the gift of prophecy to mortals whom he loved, such as the Trojan princess Cassandra. As a prophet and magician, he is the patron of medicine and healing. He was a gifted musician, who delighted the gods with his performance on the lyre. He was also a master archer and a fleet-footed athlete, credited with having been the first victor in the Olympic games. His twin sister was Artemis. He was famous for his oracle at Delphi. People traveled to it from all over the Greek world to divine the future. He was also the god of agriculture and cattle, and of light and truth. Artemis - Artemis was the goddess of the hunt and animals, as well as of childbirth. Her twin brother was Apollo. As the moon goddess, she was sometimes identified with the goddesses Selene and Hecate.Her attributes are the bow and arrow, while dogs, deer and goose are her sacred animals. Her most elaborate temple was in Ephesis. Atlas - Son of the Titan Iapetus and the nymph Clymene, and brother of Prometheus. Atlas fought with the Titans in the war against the deities of Mount Olympus. Atlas stormed the heavens and Zeus punished him for this deed by condemning him to forever bear the earth and the heavens upon his shoulders. He was the father of the Hesperides, the nymphs who guarded the tree of golden apples, and Heracles (Hercules).
Prometheus - Prometheus was the wisest Titan, known as the friend and benefactor of humanity.He stole the sacred fire from Zeus and the gods. He also tricked the gods so that they should get the worst parts of any animal sacrificed to them, and human beings the best. Zeus commanded that Prometheus be chained for eternity in the Caucasus. There, an eagle would eat at his liver and each day, the liver would be renewed. So the punishment was endless, until Heracles finally killed the bird. Epimetheus - Epimetheus was a Titan, whose name meant "afterthought". In some accounts, he was delegated, along with his brother Prometheus by Zeus to create mankind. He foolishly ignored his brother Prometheus' warnings to beware of any gifts from Zeus. He accepted Pandora as his wife, thereby bringing ills and sorrows to the world. Maia - Zeus - Maia was a daughter of Atlas. She was one of Zeus' lovers. She, along with Zeus was the mother of Hermes. Dione - Zeus - The goddess or Titaness Dione became by Zeus the mother of Aphrodite. Hermes - Hermes' main role was as a messenger. As the special servant and courier of Zeus, Hermes had winged sandals and a winged hat and bore a golden caduceus, or magic wand, entwined with snakes and surmounted by wings. He conducted the souls of the dead to the underworld and was believed to possess magical powers over sleep and dreams. Five minutes after he was born, he stole a herd of cows from Apollo. He invented the lyre from a cow's internal fibers. After Apollo learned what happened, he knew that his half-brother should he one of the pantheon. Hermes was the patron of trickster and thieves because of his actions early in life. His attributes in iconography include the kerykeion (messenger's staff), winged boots, and petassos (cap). Aphrodite - The goddess of love and beauty. Aphrodite loved and was loved by many gods and mortals. Among her mortal lovers, the most famous was perhaps Adonis. Some of her sons are Eros, Anteros, Hymenaios and Aeneas (with her Trojan lover Anchises). Perhaps the most famous legend about Aphrodite concerns the cause of the Trojan War. She was the wife of Hephaestus. The myrtle was her tree. The dove, the swan, and the sparrow were her birds. - Before the pantheon of Greek gods we are familiar with ruled atop Olympus, an earlier generation of deities, known as Titans, held power. The ruler of these divine beings was Cronus, son of Gaia (Mother Earth). Cronus' mother had informed him that he would be usurped by one of his offspring who would be tremendously powerful. Therefore, whenever Cronus' wife Rhea bore a child he would swallow the newborn god to prevent them from overturning his power...more
Greek Mythology Links:
-The Sicilian war
Sicily was attacked by Syracuse in 416 BC. Under the able guidance of Alcibiades, they dreamt of conquering the whole of Sicily. Athens could loot Sicily, as it was a flourishing region. But then Alcibiades was held for crimes against religious statues (hermai). Alcibiades was allowed for the Sicilian expedition but on arriving called back to Athens for trial. He fled to Sparta and Nicias was the new leader. Alcibiades became a Spartan messenger. Nicias delayed the attack and Syracuse was left with no harm. The delay helped Syracuse who raised forces with the help of Sparta and other Sicilian cities. They defeated the Athenian's and prevented them from entering Syracuse. Demosthenes from Athens joined Nicias for help to attack Sicily. But the Athenian's were defeated once again. A late withdraws due to lunar eclipse and the battle ensued in the Great Harbor of Syracuse. Nicias and Demosthenes fleet was faced a major and embarrassing defeat.
The Ionian or Decelean War
Sparta recommenced war in 414 BC. Now Sparta had a strong army and navy. Athens had lost all its best sailors and finances were wearing. The Spartan on King Agis orders occupied Decelea so that Athens could not access their silver mines. The Athenian empire started to fall apart due to attack after attack. Persia entered the war to support Sparta. The Athenian navy called back Alcibiades, who had fled to Sparta, to help them. The food sources of Sicily and Egypt were under the control of Sparta and Egypt. Athens only support was in form of Crimea. The Athenians under Thrasybulus and Thrasylus defeated the Spartans at Cynossema. Athens also enjoyed a naval victory over Persia at Cyzicus at the Sea of Marmora. Sparta saw a new leadership in the form of Lysander who along with Persian leader Cyrus started to builds a new armada. Alcibiades divided his forces and left one at Notium. But Lysander attacked Notium and Alcibiades could not do anything upon returning as the damage had been done. He was called back to Athens, probably for his trial, and he therefore fled to Hellespont.
Callicratidas was the next leader after Lysander left. He attacked the Athenian harbor of Mitylene. Athens sailed their fleet in the battle of Arginusae where Sparta lost. Callicratidas lost his life due to drowning. Sparta offered peace but Athens refused. Athens sailed to Aegospotami in Hellespont. Lysander was called back and he was based at the harbor of Abydos, opposite Aegospotami. Lysander captured the entire Athenian fleet and smashed and bringing the war to an end in just one attack. Lysander blocked Athens through its naval power, while the army attacked on land. With food supply closed, Athens surrendered on Spartan terms. Repercussions: After the war ended, the 'Thirty Tyrants' ruled Athens for a short period of time. Democracy was reinitiated in 403 BC. Spartan victory in the Peloponnesian War was somewhat diluted because of their defeat in Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. Later on when Philip II of Macedon conquered all of Greece, Sparta's empire and power was diminished and ultimately destroyed. Sources: -Social Structure and Government Social Structure Greece in the Archaic Period was made up from independent states, called Polis, or city state. The polis of Athens included about 2,500 sq kilometres of territory, but other Polis with smaller areas of 250 sq kilometres. Greek Society was mainly broken up between Free people and Slaves, who were owned by the free people. Slaves were used as servants and labourers, without any legal rights. Sometimes the slaves were prisoners of war or bought from foreign slave traders. Although many slaves lived closely with their owners, few were skilled craftsmen and even fewer were paid. As Athenian society evolved, free men were divided between Citizens and Metics. A citizen was born with Athenian parents and were the most powerful group, that could take part in the government of the Polis. After compulsory service in the army they were expected to be government officials and take part in Jury Service.
A metic was of foreign birth that had migrated to Athens, to either trade or practice a craft. A metic had to pay taxes and sometimes required to serve in the army. However, they could never achieve full right s of a Citizen, neither could they own houses or land and were not allowed to speak in law courts. The social classes applied to men only, as women all took their social and legal status from their husband or their male partner. Women in ancient Greece were not permitted to take part in public life. Government c.800 BC The majority of Greek states were governed by groups of rich landowners, called aristocrats; this word is derived from 'aristoi', meaning best people. This was a system known as 'oligarchy' the rule by the few. c.750 BC Athenian power in the Archaic Period was controlled by Aeropagus, or council. Their policies were delivered through three magistrates called Archons. c.500 BC Democracy was introduced by an aristocrat, Cleisthenes. Who was from family of the Alcmaeonids in 508 BC, after 2 years of civil war, they used the help of Spartans to secure power.
Ancient Greek clothing was typically homemade and the same piece of homespun fabric that was used as a type of garment, or blanket. From Greek vase paintings and sculptures, we can tell that the fabrics were intensely colored and usually decorated with intricate designs. Clothing for women and men consisted of two main garments-a tunic (either a peplos or chiton) and a cloak (himation). The peplos was a large rectangle of heavy fabric, usually wool, folded over along the upper edge so that the over fold (apoptygma) would reach to the waist. It was placed around the body and fastened at the shoulders with a pin or brooch. There were armholes were on each side, and the open side of the garment was either left that way, or pinned or sewn to form a seam. The chiton was made of a much lighter material, normally linen. It was a very long and very wide rectangle of fabric sewn up at the sides, pinned or sewn at the shoulders, and usually girded around the waist. Often the chiton was wide enough to allow for sleeves that were fastened along the upper arms with pins or buttons. Both the peplos and chiton were floor-length garments that were usually long enough to be pulled over the belt, creating a pouch known as a kolpos. Under
either garment, a woman might have worn a soft band, known as a strophion, around the mid-section of the body. Men in ancient Greece customarily wore a chiton similar to the one worn by women, but knee-length or shorter. An exomis (a short chiton fastened on the left shoulder) was worn for exercise, horse riding, or hard labor. The himation (cloak) worn by both women and men was essentially a rectangular piece of heavy fabric, either woolen or linen. It was draped diagonally over one shoulder or symmetrically over both shoulders, like a stole. Women sometimes wore an epiblema (shawl) over the peplos or chiton. Young men often wore a chlamys (short cloak) for riding. Greek men occasionally wore a broad-brimmed hat (petasos), and on rare occasions, Greek women donned a flatbrimmed one with a high peaked crown.
Women and men wore sandals, slippers, soft shoes, or boots, although at home they usually went barefoot. --
Ancient Greek Language
The Ancient Greeks were the first Europeans to read and write with an Alphabet, which eventually led to all modern European languages. The Ancient Greek Language has different theories of origin; firstly some believe it migrated with the Proto-Greek speakers into the Greek Peninsula, dating from 2500BC to 1700 BC. Second Theory considers the migration into Greece happened before Proto-Greek, so the characteristics of Greek sounds were later. Ancient Greek Dialects Different variants of the early Greek alphabet suited to local dialects. There were three major dialects in ancient Greece, Aeolic, Doric and Ionic. Each of these were from different tribes, the Aeolians lived in the islands of the Aegean, the Dorians, from the Greek coast of Peloponnesus, including Crete, Sparta and other parts of West Coast Asia Minor. The Ionians settled in the West coast of Asia Minor including the Smyma. The first surviving script for writing Greek was the Linear B discovered in 1953. It was used for the archaic Mycenaean dialect. When Mycenaean civilization was destroyed, there was a period of roughly five hundred years, when writing was either not used, or either that there was nothing that survived. Homer's poetry of the Iliad and Odyssey were written in a sort of literary Ionic with some borrowed words from the other dialects. Ionic, became the first literary language of ancient Greece until the ascendancy of Athens in the late fifth century. Greek lyrical poetry and Ancient Greek Tragedy was written in Doric.
Attic Greek was a sub dialect of Ionic that belonged to the language of the Athenians for centuries. Classical Literature that survived is written in Attic Greek, this includes extant text of Plato and Aristotle . Hellenistic Greek 'Koine' (meaning Common, also known as Biblical Greek) came from the colonization of Asian Minoans to Egypt and to the Middle East; this is where the language evolved into multiple dialects. Alexander the Great was instrumental in combining these dialects to make the 'Koine' dialect. As this allowed Alexander's combined Army to communicate with itself and the language also taught the inhabitants of the land he conquered, making Greek a world language. This then allowed the Greek language to flourish during the Hellenistic period. From the beginning of the classical period, Greek has been written in the Greek alphabet, which was derived from the Phoenicians. This is clear from the shape of the letters, even Herodotus in his book of Histories, claimed the Greek alphabet included Phoenician styled letters in the alphabet, However, the Phoenician language only had letters for constants, which the Greeks adopted and evolved to included letters of sounds that were not included. Early Ancient Greek was also written from right to left, the same as the Phoenician.
Different types of jewelry were produced in the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece-Necklaces, earrings, pendants, pins, bracelets, armbands, thigh bands, finger rings, wreaths, diadems, and other elaborate hair ornaments. Bracelets were often worn in pairs or in matched sets. Pieces were usually inlaid with pearls and dazzling gems or semiprecious stones-emeralds, garnets, carnelians, banded agates, sardonyx, chalcedony, and rock crystal. Artists also incorporated colorful enamel inlays that dramatically contrasted with their intricate gold settings.
Elaborate subsidiary ornamentation drew plant and animal motifs, or the relation between adornment and the goddess, Aphrodite, and her son, Eros. Popular designs for earrings included; Airborne winged figures, such as Eros, Nike, and the eagle of Zeus carrying Ganymede up to Mount Olympus.
In Hellenistic times, jewelry was often passed down through generation. Occasionally, it was dedicated at sanctuaries as offerings to the gods. There are records of headdresses, necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches, and pins in temple and treasury inventories, as, for example, at Delos. Hoards of Hellenistic jewelry that were buried for safekeeping in antiquity have also come to light. Some of the best-preserved samples come from tombs where jewelry was usually placed on the body of the deceased. Some of these pieces were made specifically for interment; however, most were worn during life.
Ancient Greek Theatre
Aeschylus Aristophanes Euripides Sophocles
The Greek theatre history began with festivals honoring their gods. A god, Dionysus, was honored with a festival called by "City Dionysia". In Athens, during this festival, men used to perform songs to welcome Dionysus. Plays were only presented at City Dionysia festival. Athens was the main center for these theatrical traditions. Athenians spread these festivals to its numerous allies in order to promote a common identity. At the early Greek festivals, the actors, directors, and dramatists were all the same person. After some time, only three actors were allowed to perform in each play. Later few non-speaking roles were allowed to perform on-stage. Due to limited number of actors allowed on-stage, the chorus evolved into a very active part of Greek theatre. Music was often played during the chorus' delivery of its lines.
Panoramic view of the Greek theatre at Epidaurus. Tragedy, comedy, and satyr plays were the theatrical forms. Tragedy and comedy were viewed as completely separate genres. Satyr plays dealt with the mythological subject in comic manner. Aristotle's Poetics sets out a thesis about the perfect structure for tragedy. Tragedy plays Thespis is considered to be the first Greek "actor" and originator of tragedy (which means "goat song", perhaps referring to goats sacrificed to Dionysus before performances, or to goat-skins worn by the performers.) However, his importance is disputed, and Thespis is sometimes listed as late as sixteenth in the chronological order of Greek tragedians. Aristotle's Poetics contain the earliest known theory about the origins of Greek theatre. He says that tragedy evolved from dithyrambs, songs sung in praise of Dionysus at the Dionysia each year. The dithyrambs may have begun as frenzied improvisations but in the 600s BC, the poet Arion is credited with developing the dithyramb into a formalized narrative sung by a chorus. Three well-known Greek tragedy playwrights of the fifth century are Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus.
Comedy plays Comedy was also an important part of ancient Greek theatre. Comedy plays were derived from imitation; there are no traces of its origin. Aristophanes wrote most of the comedy plays. Out of these 11 plays survived - Lysistrata, a humorous tale about a strong woman who leads a female coalition to end war in Greece. Greek Theatre Theatre buildings were called a theatron. The theaters were large, open-air structures constructed on the slopes of hills. They consisted of three main elements: the orchestra, the skene, and the audience. Orchestra: A large circular or rectangular area at the center part of the theatre, where the play, dance, religious rites, acting used to take place. Skene: A large rectangular building situated behind the orchestra, used as a backstage. Actors could change their costumes and masks. Earlier the skene was a tent or hut, later it became a permanent stone structure. These structures were sometimes painted to serve as backdrops. Rising from the circle of the orchestra was the audience. The theatres were originally built on a very large scale to accommodate the large number of people on stage, as well as the large number of people in the audience, up to fourteen thousand. Acting The cast of a Greek play in the Dionysia was comprised of amateurs, not professionals (all male). Ancient Greek actors had to gesture grandly so that the entire audience could see and hear the story. However most Greek theatres were cleverly constructed to transmit even the smallest sound to any seat. Costumes and Masks The actors were so far away from the audience that without the aid of exaggerated costumes and masks. The masks were made of linen or cork, so none have survived. Tragic masks carried mournful or pained expressions, while comic masks were smiling or leering. The shape of the mask amplified the actor's voice, making his words easier for the audience to hear.
Ancient Greek Everyday Life
Men if they were not training in military, or discussing politics went to the Theatre for entertainment. To watch dramas that they could relate to, including tragedies and comedies. These often involved current politics and gods in some form. It is thought that women were not allowed to watch theatre or perform at the theatre, although male actors did play women roles. Lives of Women in Ancient Greece were closely tied to domestic work, spinning, weaving and other domestic duties. They were not involved in public life or in politics. The live were normally quite confined to the house although one public duty was acting as a priestess at a temple. Children in ancient Greece usually occupied their time playing with toys and games.
Farming and Food
The majority of Ancient Greek people made their living from farming. Citizens often had land outside the city which provided their income. The Greek landscape and climate was difficult to farm. Grapes were usually picked around September and either kept for eating or made into wine. Making wine was done by treading and kept in jars to ferment.
Olives were either picked by hand or knocked out of the tress with wooden sticks. Some were crushed in a press to produce olive oil and some eaten. This was an important product to the Greeks that had many uses including; cooking, lighting, beauty products and for athletic purposes. It is also believed that uprooting an olive tree was a criminal offence. The grain was usually harvest around October to ensure it would grow during the wettest season. A man drove the ox driven plough, as second man sowed the seeds behind. In Spring the Crops were harvested using curved knives (sickles). After harvesting the grain, it was then thrashed, using mules and the help of the wind to separate the chaff from the grain, the husks were then removed by pounding the grain with a pestle and mortar.
Ancient Greeks usually ate bread (barley or wheat) and porridge, accompanied with food such as cheese, vegetables, fish, eggs and fruit. Animal such as deer, hare and boars were hunted only as addition to the food supply. Seasoning usually involved coriander and sesame seeds. Honey was probably the only sweetening that existed at the time, importance this is shown as the beehives were kept in terracotta
Ancient Greek Games
Greek boys played games like hockey, which were not part of the Olympic Games. The Ancient Greek boys usually played games naked, so girls were forbidden to watch. Ancient Greek women and girls were not expected to do much physical activity for recreation purposes. From this pot we can see a young girl, juggling three balls, but there is nothing to presume she was a performer, as she is dressed like an ordinary girl. The Ancient Greeks also played games that did not involve much physical activity also, such as marbles, dice, checkers and knucklebones. Below is a famous vase from the Vatican museum depicting Achilles and Ajax playing 'Petteia' checkers. The Ancient Greek version of checkers was similar to what the current game of backgammon is where the Game backgammon is derived from. The Ancient Greek version of Checkers involved a board, stones and dice. The Greeks invented athletic contests and held them in honour of their gods. The Isthmos game were staged every two years at the Isthmos of Corinth. The Pythian games took place every four years near Delphi. The most famous games held at Olympia, South- West of Greece, which took place every four years. The ancient Olympics seem to have begun in the early 700 BC, in honour of Zeus. No women were allowed to watch the games and only Greek nationals could participate. One of the ancient wonders was a statue of Zeus at Olympia, made of gold and ivory
by a Greek sculptor Pheidias. This was placed inside a Temple, although it was a towering 42 feet high. The games at Olympia were greatly expanded from a one-day festival of athletics and wrestling to, in 472 BC, five days with many events. The order of the events is not precisely known, but the first day of the festival was devoted to sacrifices. On the Middle Day of the festival 100 oxen were sacrificed in honor of a God. Athletes also often prayed and made small sacrifices themselves.. On the second day, the foot-race, the main event of the games, took place in the stadium, an oblong area enclosed by sloping banks of earth. At Olympia there were 4 different types of races; The first was stadion, the oldest event of the Games, where runners sprinted for 1 stade, the length of the stadium(192m). The other races were a 2-stade race (384 m.), and a longdistance run which ranged from 7 to 24 stades (1,344 m. to 4,608 m.).The fourth type of race involved runners wearing full amor, which was 2-4 stade race (384 m. to 768 m.), used to build up speed and stamina for military purposes. On other days, wrestling, boxing, and the pancratium, a combination of the two, were held. In wrestling, the aim was to throw the opponent to the ground three times, on either his hip, back or shoulder. In ancient Greek wrestling biting and genital holds were illegal. Boxing became more and more brutal; at first the pugilists wound straps of soft leather over their fingers as a means of deadening the blows, but in later times hard leather, sometimes weighted with metal, was used. In the pancratium, the most rigorous of the sports, the contest continued until one or the other of the participants acknowledged defeat. Horse-racing, in which each entrant owned his horse, was confined to the wealthy but was nevertheless a popular attraction. The course was 6 laps of the track, with separate races for whereupon the rider would have no stirrups. It was only wealthy people that could pay for such training, equipment, and feed of both the rider and the horses. So whichever horse won it was not the rider who was awarded the Olive wreath but the owner. There were also Chariot races, that consisted of both 2-horse and 4-horse chariot races, with separate races for chariots drawn by foals. There was also a race was between carts drawn by a team of 2 mules, which was 12 laps of the stadium track. After the horse-racing came the pentathlon, a series of five events: sprinting, long-jumping, javelin-hurling, discus-throwing, and wrestling. The ancient Greeks considered the rhythm and precision of an athlete throwing the discus as important as his strength. The discus was a circle shaped stone, iron, bronze, or lead. There were different sizes according to age groups. The javelin was a long wooden stick shape with spear head, similar height to that of a person. In the middle was bound a thong for a hurler's fingers to grip and guide to the correct angle it was thrown.
To Jump long distances athletes used lead or stone weights to increase the length of the jump. These weights were known as 'halteres' were held in front of the athlete during his ascent, and then swung behind his back and dropped during his descent to help propel him. The history of Greece can be traced back to Stone Age hunters. Later came early farmers and thecivilizations of the Minoan and Mycenaean kings. This was followed by a period of wars and invasions, known as the Dark Ages. In about 1100 BC, a people called the Dorians invaded from the north and spread down the west coast. In the period from 500-336 BC Greece was divided into small city states, each of which consisted of a city and its surrounding countryside. There were only a few historians in the time of Ancient Greece. Three major ancient historians, were able to record their time of Ancient Greek history, that include Herodotus, known as the 'Father of History' who travelled to many ancient historic sites at the time, Thucydides and Xenophon. Most other forms of History knowledge and accountability of the ancient Greeks we know is because of temples, sculpture, pottery, artefacts and other archaeological findings.
NEOLITHIC PERIOD (6000 - 2900 BC)
According to historians and archeological findings, the Neolithic Age in Greece lasted from 6800 to 3200 BC. The most domesticated settlements were in Near East of Greece. They traveled mainly due to overpopulation. These people introduced pottery and animal husbandry in Greece. They may as well have traveled via the route of Black sea into Thrace, which then further leads to Macedonia, Thessaly, Boeotia etc. The second way of traveling into Greece is from one island to another and such type of colonies has been found in Knossos and Kythnos... more »
EARLY BRONZE AGE (2900 - 2000BC)
The Greek Bronze Age or the Early Helladic Era started around 2800 BC and lasted till 1050 BC in Crete while in the Aegean islands it started in 3000 BC. The Bronze Age in Greece is divided into periods such as Helladic I, II. The information that is available today on the Bronze Age in Greece is from the architecture, burial styles and lifestyle. The colonies were made of 300 to 1000 people... more »
Minoan Age(2000 - 1400 BC ) Bronze Age civilization, centring on the island of Crete. It was named after the legendary king Minos. It is divided into three periods: the early Minoan period (c.3000-2200 B.C.), the Middle Minoan period (c.2200-1500 B.C.) and the Late Minoan period (c.1500-1000 B.C.).
Middle Minoan Crete The Minoans The History of The Minoans
Mycenaean Age (600 - 1100 BC)
Period of high cultural achievement, forming the backdrop and basis for subsequent myths of the heroes. It was named for the kingdom of Mycenae and the archaeological site where fabulous works in gold were unearthed. The Mycenaean Age was cut short by widespread destruction ushering in the Greek Dark Age.... more »
The Dark Ages (1100 - 750 BC) - The period between the fall of the Mycenean civilizations and the readoption of writing in the eigth or seventh century BC. After the Trojan Wars the Mycenaeans went through a period of civil war, the country was weak and a tribe called the Dorians took over. Some speculate that Dorian invaders from the north with iron weapons laid waste the Mycenaean culture. Others look to internal dissent, uprising and rebellion, or perhaps some combination.
The Greek Dark Ages
A chapter on the history and culture of the Greek Dark Ages.
one of the three main groups of people of ancient Greece, the others being the Aeolians and the Ionians, who invaded from the north in the 12th and 11th centuries BC.
Archaic Period (750 - 500 BC)
The Archaic Period in Greece refers to the years between 750 and 480 B.C., more particularly from 620 to 480 B.C. The age is defined through the development of art at this time, specifically through the style of pottery and sculpture, showing the specific characteristics that would later be developed into the more naturalistic style of the Classical period. The Archaic is one of five periods that Ancient Greek history can be divided into; it was preceded by the Dark Ages and followed by the Classical period. The Archaic period saw advancements in political theory, especially the beginnings of democracy, as well as in culture and art. The knowledge and use of written language which was lost in the Dark Ages was reestablished.
Classical Period (500-336 BC) - Classical period of ancient Greek history, is fixed between about 500 B. C., when the Greeks began to come into conflict with the kingdom of Persia to the east, and the death of the Macedonian king and conqueror Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. In this period Athens reached its greatest political and cultural heights: the full development of the democratic system of government under the Athenian statesman Pericles; the building of the Parthenon on the Acropolis; the creation of the tragedies of Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides; and the founding of the philosophical schools of Socrates and Plato.
Archaic and Classical Greek History
Hellenistic Period (336-146 BC) - period between the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great and the establishment of Roman supremacy, in which Greek culture and learning were pre-eminent in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. It is called Hellenistic (Greek, Hellas, "Greece") to distinguish it from the Hellenic culture of classical Greece.
Hellenistic Greece Hellenic and Hellenistic Societies
Greece - The earliest known prehistoric civilizations occupy the Aegean world. This period marks the rise and fall of the MINOAN and MYCENAEAN civilization.
Greece - Indo-European invaders, speaking the earliest forms of Greek, enter the mainland of Greece, and the MYCENAEAN CIVILIZATION (named after the leading Greek city on the peninsula from 1600-1200 BCE) emerges.
Greece - MINOAN CIVILIZATION (named after the Cretan ruler Minos) reaches its height with its central power in Knossos on the island of Crete. This culture is apparently more female-oriented and peaceful than others at the time.
Greece - MYCENAEAN CIVILIZATION replaces MINOAN CIVILIZATION after the destruction of Knossos. Bronze weapons, war-scenes on art, Cyclopean defence walls, and the fact that male warriors were buried with their weapons provide evidence for the claim that the Mycenaeans were militaristic. The horse-drawn chariot emerges around this time. The Mycenaeans dominate the Aegean world for about 200 years.
Greece - Though this is disputed, some scholars believe that the war with the Trojans of western Asia Minor and are successful. By 1100 BCE they are overtaken by barbaric Dorian invaders who are using iron weapons. From this point, Greek culture enters the so-called Dark Ages, characterized by the disappearance of writing and a decline in architecture and other aspects of material culture. The period lasts until about 800 BCE. The two Homeric epics, The Iliad
and The Odyssey, are often used by scholars as evidence of the traditions and institutions in place during this time. However, such use is strongly contested.
Greece - Increase in trade and the establishment of governmental defense fortifications allows for the emergence of Greek city-states from tribal communities. These grow up around marketplaces and include ATHENS, Thebes and Megara on the Greek mainland. The Greek city-states are considered the most famous units of Greek political life to develop in this society.
Greece - This period, often referred to as the Archaic period, marks the developments of literature and the arts, politics, philosophy and science. The Peloponnesian city of Corinth, SPARTA and cities along the coast of the Aegean Sea flourish. For the most part, the Greek city-states are similar in their political evolution, with the exception of Sparta's elite dictatorship. Most begin their political histories as monarchies, evolve to oligarchies, are overthrown during the age of the tyrants (650500 BCE) and eventually establish democracies in the sixth and fifth centuries. Of the Greek city-states, ATHENS and Sparta were the two most important.
Greece - HESIOD, Greece's second poet (after HOMER) and the first poet to name himself, is composing his poetry. His most important works are The Theogony and Works and Days.
Greece - Sparta's form of government, which is adapted from the Dorians, is heavily influenced by militarianism. The Messenian wars initiate Sparta's fear of change. They remain an isolated people, primarily by banning trade and discouraging travel outside of Spartan territory. Alcaeus, Greek lyric poet, is born in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. His lyrics expound on contemporary politics, love, hymns to Apollo and Hermes, and include some drinking songs.
Greece - Sappho, Greek lyric poet of Lesbos, is born. The most famous female poet of the ancient world, Sappho is inscribed in the Palatine Anthology among the Muses, rather than among the great lyric poets, in the second century BCE. Her lyric poetry includes the exploration of female sexuality, female values in a male dominated society, and love.
Greece - Solon, the great elegiac poet, is appointed chief magistrate of ATHENS. His reforms include both political and economical adjustments which lead to dissatisfaction in the upper and lower classes.
Greece - In Miletus, the founding city of philosophy, Thales predicts a total eclipse of the sun. The founder of the Melesian school, Thales, teaches that all things are composed of moisture; he is the first to put forth a rational explanation of the cosmos. By the end of the sixth century, philosophers begin to question the metaphysical nature of the cosmos with inquiries into the nature of being, the meaning of truth, and the relationship between the divine and the physical world.
Greece - The first of the Athenian tyrants, Peisistratus, replaces Solon as
Greece - Pythagoras and his followers found the city of Croton and combine philosophy and literature with political activity as the foundation of their community. Pythagoras, mathematician and philosopher, is credited with the Pythagorean theorem and the Pythagorean table of opposites (the "dualism" that underlies Greek thought).
Greece - Greek drama grows out of the Dionysian festivals. The plays of are considered to be the beginning of this long history of tragic drama. His stories are drawn from conflicts between the individual and the cosmos.
Greece - Pindar, considered by some to be the greatest Greek lyric poet, is born in Cynoscephalae, Boeotia. Pindar's odes celebrate games held at the religious festivals of Greece. Athletic victory serves as the ground for his poetic fancy and his religious, moral, and aesthetic insights. He dies in 438 BCE.
Greece - Parmenides of Elea is born. He is the founder of the Eleatic school in the Phocaean colony in southern Italy. He is the first to focus attention on the central problem of Greek metaphysics: the nature of being. For Parmenides, the laws governing the universe are stable. Change is merely an illusion.
Greece - Hippias, the son of Peisistratus, succeeds his father and is overthrown by a group of nobles with the help of SPARTA.
Greece - Cleisthenes, the father of Athenian democracy, rules ATHENS. His reforms grant full rights to all free men of Athens.
Greece - The height of Greek sculpture begins with the work of Phidias. His masterpieces include the statue of Athena in the PARTHENON, the Parthenon reliefs and the statue of Zeus in the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The second most important sculptor, Myron, is renowned for his statue of the discus thrower.
Greece - Lasting until 479 BCE, the Greeks initiate war with Persia when Persia, at this time the strongest power in western Asia, establishes rule over Greekspeaking cities in Asia Minor. The PERSIAN WARS are commonly regarded as among the most significant in all of history. Darius the Great is defeated at the battle of Marathon in 490 BCE. The Greeks emerge victorious and put an end to the possibility of Persian despotism.
Greece - A contempoary of Darius the Persian, Heraclitus of Ephesus lives somewhere around this time. For Heraclitus, reality is flux which originated out of fire (as opposed to Parmenides' "stable" reality -- see 515 BCE). PLATO credits Heraclitus for saying, "One cannot step into the same river twice." Heraclitus was also known as "the obscure."
Greece - Accompanying the high point of democracy in ATHENS is a Greek intellectual revolution, with its beginnings in Sophism. The Sophists situate ethics and politics within philosophical discourse which, before, was limited to physics and metaphysics alone. The leading Sophist, Protagoras, states his famous doctrine: "Man is the measure of all things." For him, all truth, goodness, beauty, etc. are relative to man's necessities and inquiries. Emerging in opposition to the Sophists are Socrates, PLATO and ARISTOTLE, each of whom offers alternatives to the Sophists' relativism.
Greece - The father of history, Herodotus, is born. He is author of a ninebook History of the Persian War and a book dedicated to his travels through Egypt. He dies in 420.
Greece - ATHENS joins with other Greek city-states in the formation of the DELIAN LEAGUE. The League continues even after the end of the PERSIAN WARS and transforms into a naval empire with Athens as its leader.
Greece - SOPHOCLES is born. He is the second Greek dramatist, following and is considered by some to be the greatest of the Greek dramatists. His works include Oedipus Rex and Antigone. He dies in 406 BCE. This year also marks the birth of Socrates, a philosopher of ethics who leaves no written philosophy. He is the major critic of popular belief in ATHENS and is the protagonist of Plato's dialogues. He is condemned to death in 399 BCE on the charges of corrupting the youth and introducing new gods into Greek thought.
Greece - During this "Age of Pericles," Athenian democracy reaches perfection, and the court systems are completed. A jury system is put in place with the jury serving as absolute authority in judicial matters.
Greece - ARISTOPHANES, considered by some to be the greatest Greek comedy writer, is born. He dies in 380 BCE. Greek comedy, like Greek tragedy, originates out of the Dionysian festivals.
Greece - During the PELOPONNESIAN WAR between ATHENS and SPARTA, the political supremacy of Athens is ended. Athenian trade is destroyed. Athenian democracy is overthrown, and Athens is forced to surrender to Sparta as a subject state. Sparta assumes dominance over the Greek world and replaces many Greek democracies with oligarchies. The two major causes of the war are Athens' growth in imperialism and the economic and cultural differences between Athens and Sparta. Between 404 and 338, Sparta is not able to persist in the rule of Greece. Power over Greece shifts from Sparta to Thebes and then to numerous other city-states, none able to maintain rule over such a large empire.
Greece - PLATO, Socrates' most distinguished student, is born. He is a prolific writer and is considered by some to be the most important of all philosophers. Among his most noted works are The Apology, The Symposium, The Phaedo, The Phaedrus, and The Republic. His written works are in dialogue form. He dies in 347 BCE.
Greece - EURIPIDES dies. Born in 480 BCE, he is the last of the tragic dramatists. His contribution to the history of Greek tragedy is his creation of a drama that deals with situations analogous to human life.
Greece - Plato's most distinguished student, ARISTOTLE, is born. He enters Plato's Academy at the age of seventeen. After spending several years as tutor to Alexander the Great, Aristotle returns to ATHENS and founds the Lyceum. Among his writings are treatises on logic, metaphysics, ethics, politics, rhetoric and several on natural sciences. He dies in 322 BCE.
Greece - HELLENISTIC GREECE witnesses the new philosophy of the Cynics. Their leader, Diogenes, puts forth the first argument against conventional life. The Cynics believe that people should live naturally and strive for self-sufficiency.
Greece - The greatest dramatist of HELLENISTIC GREECE, Menander, follows the comedic genre put forth by ARISTOPHANES (the subject of which is romantic love).
Greece - Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great's father, conquers Greece and is succeeded by his son two years later. At age twenty-two, Alexander begins his campaign to acquire new territory in Asia. Within four years, Alexander conquers the entire Persian Empire (including Asia Minor, Egypt, Persia, Syria and Mesopotamia). Alexander continues his campaign farther east and eventually returns to Persia in 323 BCE, where he dies of fever in Babylon. Before his death, Alexander was the ruler of the largest empire the world had seen. HELLENISTIC GREECE, a combination of Greek and western Asian cultures, lasts from Alexander's time until the beginning of the Christian era.
Greece - Alexander leaves no successors, and the highest generals engage in many wars which result in the decisive battle of Ipsus in 301 BCE. The empire is divided into four major states under the separate rules of Seleucus, Lysimachus, Cassander and Ptolemy. Greek cities revolt against Macedonian rule but to no avail. The next four hundred years witness the growth of large cities and Hellenistic international trade.
Greece - Epicureanism and Stoicism both originate in ATHENS. Both Epicurus (342-270 BCE) and Zeno, the Stoic (not to be confused with Zeno of Elea), believe in an individualistic and materialistic philosophy. Neither believe in spiritual substances. The soul is thought to be material. The Epicureans believe that pleasure is the highest good, and only by abandoning the fear of the supernatural can one achieve tranquillity of mind. The Stoics believe that tranquillity of mind is only achieved by surrendering the self to the order of the cosmos.
Greece - Hellenistic astronomy is founded by Aristarchus of Samos. His major contribution to Hellenistic thought is his theory that the earth and all other planets revolve around the sun, contrary to ARISTOTLE.
Greece - Under the influence of Carneades, Skepticism arises with doctrines closely tied to Sophism. They teach that because all knowledge is achieved through sense perception, nothing can be known for sure.
Greece - Between these years, nearly all Hellenistic territory becomes subject to Roman rule.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search For other uses, see
"Hellas" redirects here. For other uses, see
Hellenic Republic Ελληνική Δημοκρατία Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía
Flag Coat of arms
Ελευθερία ή θάνατος
Eleftheria i thanatos
(transliteration) "Freedom or Death"
Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν Ýmnos eis tīn Eleutherían
Hymn to Liberty1
Location of Greece (dark green) – on the European continent (light green & dark grey) – in the European Union (light green) — [Legend]
Capital (and largest city) Official languages Demonym Government Athens
38°00′N 23°43′E38, 23.717
Greek Greek Parliamentary republic Karolos Papoulias Kostas Karamanlis
- President - Prime Minister
Modern statehood Independence - from the Ottoman Empire - Recognized Current constitution
25 March 1821 3 February 1830, in the
1 January 1981
Area 131,990 km² (96th)
- Total - Water (%)
- 2008 estimate - 2001 census - Density
11,216,708 (74th) 10,964,020 84/km² (88th) 218/sq mi 2007
- Total - Per capita
$324.891 billion (33rd) $29,146 (28th) 2007 IMF estimate $313.806 billion (27th) $28,152 (27th) 34.32 (low) (35th)
- Total - Per capita
▲ 0.926 (high) (24 )
EET (UTC+2) EEST (UTC+3) .gr
- Summer (DST)
Internet TLD Calling code
Also the national anthem of Cyprus. UNDP Human Development Report 2007/08. Before 2001, the Greek drachma. The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.
Greece [ɡɹiːs] (help·info) (Greek: Ελλάδα, transliterated: Elláda [e̞ˈlaða] (info), historically Ἑλλάς, Ellás, IPA: [e̞ˈlas]), officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία, Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía, [e̞liniˈkʲi ðimo̞kɾaˈtia]), is a country in southeastern Europe, situated on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. It has borders with Albania, Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east and south of mainland Greece, while the Ionian Sea lies to the west. Both parts of the Eastern Mediterranean basin feature a vast number of islands.
Greece lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is heir to the heritages of ancient Greece, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and nearly four centuries of Ottoman rule. Greece is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy.
    
Greece is a developed country, a member of the European Union since 1981, a member of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union since 2001, NATO since 1952, the OECD since 1961, the WEU since 1995 and ESA since 2005. Athens is the capital; Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Larissa, Volos, Ioannina, Kavala, Rhodes and Serres are some of the country's other major cities.
   
• • • •
1 History 2 Government and politics
o o o o o
2.1 Peripheries and prefectures 3.1 Climate 4.1 Maritime industry 4.2 Science and technology 4.3 International relations
3 Geography 4 Economy
o o o • •
5.1 Immigration 5.2 Religion 5.3 Languages
6 Education 7 Culture
o o • • • • • • •
7.1 Cuisine 7.2 Sports
8 Armed forces 9 International rankings 10 See also 11 Notes 12 References 13 Further reading 14 External links
History of Greece
25 March 1821: Vryzakis, 1865.
Germanos of Patras,
24 July 1974: Konstantinos Karamanlis arrives in Athens on the jet courtesy of French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
The shores of the Aegean sea saw the emergence of the first advanced civilizations in Europe, the Minoan civilization in Crete and the Mycenean civilization on the mainland. Later, city-states emerged across the Greek peninsula and spread to the shores of Black Sea, South Italy and Asia Minor reaching great levels of prosperity that resulted in an unprecedented cultural boom, expressed in architecture, drama, science and philosophy, and nurtured in Athens under a democratic environment. Athens and Sparta led the way in repelling the Persian Empire in a series of battles. Both were later overshadowed by Thebes and eventually Macedon, with the latter under the guidance of Alexander the Great uniting and leading the Greek world to victory over the Persians, to presage the Hellenistic era, itself brought only partially to a close two centuries later with the establishment of Roman rule over Greek lands in 146 BC. The subsequent mixture of Roman and Hellenic cultures took form in the establishment of the Byzantine Empire in 330 AD around Constantinople, which remained a major cultural and military power for the next 1,123 years, until its fall at the hands of Ottomans in 1453. On the eve of the Ottoman era the Greek intelligentsia migrated to Western Europe, playing a significant role in the Western European Renaissance through the transferring of works of Ancient Greeks to Western Europe. Nevertheless, the Ottoman millet system contributed to the cohesion of the Orthodox Greeks by segregating the various peoples within the Ottoman Empire based on religion, as the latter played an integral role in the formation of modern Greek identity.
After the Greek War of Independence, successfully fought against the Ottoman Empire from 1821 to 1829, the nascent Greek state was finally recognized under the London Protocol. In 1827, Ioannis Kapodistrias, a noble Greek from the Ionian Islands, was chosen as the first governor of the new Republic. However, following his assassination, the Great Powers soon installed a monarchy under Otto, of the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach. In 1843, an uprising forced the King to grant a constitution and a representative assembly. Due to his unimpaired authoritarian rule, he was eventually dethroned in 1863 and replaced by Prince Vilhelm (William) of Denmark, who took the name George I and brought with him the Ionian Islands as a coronation gift from Britain. In 1877, Charilaos Trikoupis, a dominant figure of the Greek political scene who is attributed with the significant improvement of the country's infrastructure, curbed the power of the monarchy to interfere in the assembly by issuing the rule of vote of confidence to any potential prime minister.
As a result of the Balkan Wars, Greece successfully increased the extent of her territory and population, a challenging context both socially and economically. In the following years, the struggle between King Constantine I and charismatic prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos over the country's foreign policy on the eve of World War I dominated the country's political scene, and divided the country into two bitterly hostile factions. In the aftermath of WW I, Greece fought against Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal, a war which resulted in a massive population exchange between the two countries under the Treaty of Lausanne. Instability and successive coups d'etat marked the following era, which was overshadowed by the massive task of incorporating 1.5 million Greek refugees from Asia Minor into Greek society. On 28 October 1940 Fascist Italy demanded the surrender of Greece, but Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas refused and in the following Greco-Italian War, Greece repelled Italian forces into Albania, giving the Allies their first victory over Axis forces on land. The country would eventually fall to urgently dispatched German forces during the Battle of Greece. The German occupiers nevertheless met serious challenges from the Greek Resistance. After liberation, Greece experienced a bitter civil war between Royalist and Communist forces, which led to economic devastation and severe social tensions between its Rightists and largely Communist Leftists for the next 30 years. The next 20 years were characterized by marginalisation of the left in the political and social spheres but also by a significant economic growth, propelled in part by the Marshall Plan.
Greece launched the single European currency, the other EU member states it forms the Eurozone.
in 2002. With 14
In 1965, a period of political turbulence led to a coup d’etat on 21 April 1967 by the US-backed Regime of the Colonels. On November 1973 the Athens Polytechnic Uprising sent shock waves across the regime, and a counter-coup established Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannides as dictator. On 20 July 1974, as Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus, the regime collapsed. Former premier Constantine Karamanlis was invited back from Paris where he had lived in self-exile since 1963, marking the beginning of the Metapolitefsi era. On the 14 August 1974 Greek forces withdrew from the integrated military structure of NATO in protest at the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus. In 1975 a democratic republican constitution was activated and the monarchy abolished by a referendum held that same year. Meanwhile, Andreas Papandreou founded the Panhellenic Socialist Party, or PASOK, in response to Constantine Karamanlis' New Democracy party, with the two political formations dominating Greek political affairs in the ensuing decades. Greece rejoined NATO in 1980. Relations with neighbouring Turkey have improved substantially over the last decade, since successive earthquakes hit both nations in the summer of 1999 (see Greece-Turkey earthquake diplomacy), and today Athens is an active supporter of Turkey's bid for EU membership.
Greece became the tenth member of the European Union on 1 January 1981 and ever since the nation has experienced a remarkable and sustained economic growth. Widespread investments in industrial enterprises and heavy infrastructure, as well as funds from the European Union and growing revenues from tourism, shipping and a fast growing service sector have raised the country's standard of living to
unprecedented levels. The country adopted the Euro in 2001 and successfully organised the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Government and politics
Great State Seal of the Presidency of the Republic (1864–1936), one of the greatest political figures of modern Greece.
Prime Minister of Greece.
Politics of Greece
List of political parties in Greece
Greece is a parliamentary republic. The head of state is the President of the Republic, who is elected by the Parliament for a five-year term. The current Constitution was drawn up and adopted by the Fifth Revisionary Parliament of the Hellenes and entered into force in 1975 after the fall of the military junta of 1967–1974. It has been revised twice since, in 1986 and in 2001. The Constitution, which consists of 120 articles, provides for a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and grants extensive specific guarantees (further reinforced in 2001) of civil liberties and social rights.
  
According to the Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government. The Constitutional amendment of 1986 the President's duties were curtailed to a significant extent, and they are now largely ceremonial. The position of Prime Minister, Greece's head of government, belongs to the current leader of the political party that can obtain a vote of confidence by the Parliament. The President of the Republic formally appoints the Prime Minister and, on his recommendation, appoints and dismisses the other members of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister exercises vast political power, and the amendment of 1986 further strengthened his position to the detriment of the President of the Republic.
   
Legislative power is exercised by a 300-member elective unicameral Parliament. Statutes passed by the Parliament are promulgated by the President of the Republic. Parliamentary elections are held every four years, but the President of the Republic is obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier on the proposal of the Cabinet, in view of dealing with a national issue of exceptional importance. The President is also
obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier, if the opposition manages to pass a motion of no confidence.
The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature and comprises three Supreme Courts: the Court of Cassation (Άρειος Πάγος), the Council of State (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας) and the Court of Auditors (Ελεγκτικό Συνέδριο). The Judiciary system is also composed of civil courts, which judge civil and penal cases and administrative courts, which judge disputes between the citizens and the Greek administrative authorities. Since the restoration of democracy, the Greek two-party system is dominated by the liberal-conservative New Democracy and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). Other significant parties include the Communist Party of Greece, the Coalition of the Radical Left and the Popular Orthodox Rally. The current prime minister is Kostas Karamanlis, president of the New Democracy party and nephew of the late Constantine Karamanlis, who won a second term on 16 September 2007, acquiring a slimmer majority in the Parliament with only 152 out of 300 seats.
Peripheries and prefectures Main articles: Peripheries of Greece,
Municipalities of Greece
Prefectures of Greece,
Administratively, Greece consists of thirteen peripheries subdivided into a total of fifty-one prefectures (nomoi, singular Greek: nomos). There is also one autonomous area, Mount Athos (Greek: Agio Oros, "Holy Mountain"), which borders the periphery of Central Macedonia.
3,808 3,761,810 km² 15,549 km²
18,811 1,871,952 km² 8,259 km² 14,157 km² 9,203 km² 2,307 km² 3,836 km² 15,490 km² 5,286 km² 14.037 km² 11,350 km² 9,451 km²
East Macedonia and Thrace
Albania FYROM Bulgaria
Geography of Greece
Thessaloniki Kavala Thasos
View of the
in central Greece.
Alexandroupoli Samothrace Corfu Igoumenitsa Larissa Volos
from the town of
Ioannina Chalcis Patras Corinth Nafplion Sparta
Greece enjoys a typical sunny Mediterranean Climate (view of the Areopoli Myconos windmills during summer).
Greece consists of a mountainous peninsula mainland jutting out into the sea at the southern end of the Balkans, the Peloponnesus peninsula Eleusina (separated from the mainland by the canal of the Isthmus of Corinth), Laurium and numerous islands (1400, 227 of which are inhabited), including Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, Chios, the Dodecanese and the Cycladic groups of the Heraklion Aegean Sea as well as the Ionian Sea islands. Greece has the tenth longest coastline in the world with 14,880 km (9,246 mi); its land boundary is Macedonia 1,160 km (721 mi). Thrace Four fifths of Greece consist of mountains or hills, making the country one of the most mountainous in Europe. Western Greece contains a number of lakes and wetlands and it is dominated by the Pindus mountain range. Pindus has a maximum elevation of 2,636 m (8,648 ft) and it is essentially a prolongation of the Dinaric Alps. The range continues through the western Peloponnese, crosses the islands of Kythera and Antikythera and find its way into southwestern
Epirus Thessaly Euboea Central Greece Peloponnese
Mt. Olympus Lefkada Kefalonia
Aegean, in the island of Crete where it eventually ends. The islands of the Aegean are peaks of underwater mountains that once constituted an extension of the mainland. Pindus is characterized by its high, steep peaks, often dissected by numerous canyons and a variety of other karstic landscapes. Most notably, the impressive Meteora formation consisting of high, steep boulders provides a breathtaking experience for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit the area each year. The Vikos-Aoos Gorge is yet another spectacular formation and a popular hotspot for those fond of extreme sports. Mount Olympus, a focal point of Greek culture throughout history is host to the Mytikas peak 2,917 m (9,570 ft), the highest in the country. Once considered the throne of the Gods, it is today extremely popular among hikers and climbers. Moreover, northeastern Greece features yet another high-altitude mountain range, the Rhodope range, spreading across the periphery of East Macedonia and Thrace; this area is covered with vast, thick, ancient forests. The famous Dadia forest is in the prefecture of Evros, in the far northeast of the country. Expansive plains are primarily located in the prefectures of Thessaly, Central Macedonia and Thrace. They constitute key economic regions as they are among the few arable places in the country.Rare marine species such as the Pinniped Seals and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle live in the seas surrounding mainland Greece, while its dense forests are home to the endangered brown bear, the lynx, the Roe Deer and the Wild Goat.
Greece belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the East Mediterranean province of the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature and the European Environment Agency, the territory of Greece can be subdivided into six ecoregions: the Illyrian deciduous forests, Pindus Mountains mixed forests, Balkan mixed forests, Rodope montane mixed forests, Aegean and Western Turkey sclerophyllous and mixed forests and Crete Mediterranean forests.
Climate Main article:
Climate of Greece
The climate of Greece can be categorised into three types (the Mediterranean, the Alpine and the Temperate) that influence well-defined regions of its territory. The Pindus mountain range strongly affects the climate of the country by making the western side of it (areas prone to the south-westerlies) wetter on average than the areas lying to the east of it (lee side of the mountains). The Mediterranean type of climate features mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The Cyclades, the Dodecanese, Crete, Eastern Peloponessus and parts of the Sterea Ellada region are mostly affected by this particular type of climate. Temperatures rarely reach extreme values along the coasts, although, with Greece being a highly mountainous country, snowfalls occur frequently in winter. It sometimes snows even in the Cyclades or the Dodecanese. The Alpine type is dominant mainly in the mountainous areas of Northwestern Greece (Epirus, Central Greece, Thessaly, Western Macedonia) as well as in the central parts of Peloponnese, including the prefectures of Achaia, Arcadia and parts of Laconia, where extensions of the Pindus mountain range pass by). Finally, the Temperate type affects Central Macedonia and East Macedonia and Thrace; it features cold, damp winters and hot,
dry summers. Athens is located in a transitional area featuring both the Mediterranean and the Temperate types. The city's northern suburbs are dominated by the temperate type while the downtown area and the southern suburbs enjoy a typical Mediterranean type.
View of the city of Fira in Greece.
one of the top touristic destinations in
View of section of the harbour of the Main articles:
Economy of Greece
City of Rhodes. Tourism in Greece
After World War II, Greece experienced the "Greek economic miracle"; GDP growth averaged 7% between 1950 and 1973. Since then Greece has implemented of a number of structural and fiscal reforms while receiving considerable European Union funding. In 2001, Greece joined the Economic and Monetary Union. Annual growth of Greek GDP has surpassed the respective levels of most of its EU partners. Today, the service industry makes up the largest, most vital and fastest-growing sector of the Greek economy, followed by industry and agriculture. The tourism industry is a major source of foreign exchange earnings and revenue accounting for 15% of Greece’s total GDP and employing ,directly or indirectly, 16.5% of the total workforce.
  
Greece is a leading investor in all of her Balkan neighbors with the National Bank of Greece in 2006 acquiring the 46% of Turkish Finansbank and 99.44% of Serbia's Vojvođanska Bank.The manufacturing sector accounts for about 13% of GDP with the food industry leading in growth, profit and export potential. The public sector accounts for about 40% of GDP, with the government however taking measures to decrease it further. High-technology equipment production, especially for telecommunications, is also a fast-growing sector. Other important areas include textiles, building materials, machinery, transport equipment, and electrical appliances. At 10% of GDP, construction is one of the main pillars of the economy, with the sector experiencing a boom due to the Athens Olympics of 2004. Agriculture, at 7%, is the final important sector of Greek economic activity.
The Greek labor force totals 4.9 million, and it is the second most industrious in the world, after South Korea. The Groningen Growth & Development Centre has published a poll revealing that between 1995 - 2005, Greece was the country with the largest work/hour ratio among European nations; Greeks worked an average of 1,900 hours per year, followed by the Spanish (average of 1,800 hours/year). In 2007, the average worker made around 20 dollars, similar to Spain and slightly more than half of average U.S. hourly income. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, occupied mainly in agricultural and construction work.
is the world's 28th highest. According to the International Monetary Fund it has an estimated average per capita income of $35,166 for the year 2007, comparable to that of Germany, France or Italy and approximately equal to the EU average. Greece ranks 24th in the 2006 HDI, 22nd on The Economist's 2005 world-wide quality-of-life index. According to a survey by the Economist, the cost of living in Athens is close to 90% of the costs in New York; in rural regions it is lower.
Greece's purchasing power-adjusted GDP per capita
  
An important percentage of Greece's income comes from tourism. In 2007, Greece welcomed more than 19 million tourists, and climbed to the top ten tourist destinations worldwide. The island of Rhodes was announced the best European tourist destination. Other known tourist sites are the capital Athens, and the island resort of Myconos.
Aerial view of Thessaloniki's central districts, Greece's second largest city and a major economic and industrial center. Main articles:
List of ports in Greece
The shipping industry is a key element of Greek economic activity dating back to ancient times. Today, shipping is one of the country's most important industries. It accounts for 4.5% of GDP, employs about 160,000 people (4% of the workforce), and represents 1/3 of the country's trade deficit.
During the 1960s, the size of the Greek fleet nearly doubled, primarily through the investment undertaken by the shipping magnates Onassis and Niarchos. The basis of the modern Greek maritime industry was formed after World War II when Greek shipping businessmen were able to amass surplus ships sold to them by the United States Government through the Ship Sales Act of the 1940s. According to the BTS, the Greek-owned maritime fleet is today the largest in the world, with 3,079 vessels accounting for 18% of the world's fleet capacity (making it the largest of any other country) with a total dwt of 141,931 thousand (142 million dwt). In terms of ship
  
categories, Greece ranks first in both tankers and dry bulk carriers, fourth in the number of containers, and fourth in other ships. However, today's fleet roster is smaller than an all-time high of 5,000 ships in the late 70's.
Science and technology
Because of its strategic location, qualified workforce and political and economic stability, many multinational companies such as Ericsson, Siemens, SAP, Motorola and CocaCola have their regional R&D Headquarters in Greece. The General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Hellenic Ministry of Development is responsible for designing, implementing and supervising national research and technological policy.
The Rio-Antirio bridge near the city of Patras is the longest cable-stayed bridge in Europe and second in the world. It connects the Peloponnese with mainland Greece.
In 2003, public spending on R&D was 456,37 million Euros (12,6% increase from 2002). Total research and development (R&D) spending (both public and private) as a percentage of GDP has increased considerably since the beginning of the past decade, from 0,38% in 1989, to 0,65% in 2001. R&D spending in Greece remains lower than the EU average of 1,93%, but, according to Research DC, based on OECD and Eurostat data, between 1990 and 1998, total R&D expenditure in Greece enjoyed the third highest increase in Europe, after Finland and Ireland. Greece's technology parks with incubator facilities include the Science and Technology Park of Crete (Heraklion), the Thessaloniki Technology Park,the Lavrio Technology Park and the Patras Science Park.Greece has been a member of the European Space Agency (ESA) since 2005. Cooperation between ESA and the Hellenic National Space Committee began in the early 1990s. In 1994, Greece and ESA signed their first cooperation agreement. Having formally applied for full membership in 2003, Greece became ESA's sixteenth member on 16 March 2005. As member of the ESA, Greece participates in the agency's telecommunication and technology activities, and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Initiative.
Greece is a major participant in most large scale international bodies, with the geographic significance of the region proving advantageous for diplomatic, trade and political crossroads.
BIS, BSEC, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECA
(associate), ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, International Maritime Organization, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, NATO, OECD, OSCE, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, WEU,WHO, WIPO, WMO. Most recently, Greece was elected by the United Nations General Assembly to the United Nations Security Council, on 15 October 2004, as a non-permanent member for 2005 and 2006.
Demographics of Greece
port in the island of
is the capital of the
The official Statistical body of Greece is the National Statistical Service of Greece (NSSG). According to the NSSG, Greece's total population in 2001 was 10,964,020. That figure is divided into 5,427,682 males and 5,536,338 females. As statistics from 1971, 1981, and 2001 show, the Greek population has been aging the past several decades. The birth rate in 2003 stood 9.5 per 1,000 inhabitants (14.5 per 1,000 in 1981). At the same time the mortality rate increased slightly from 8.9 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1981 to 9.6 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2003. In 2001, 16.71% of the population were 65 years old and older, 68.12% between the ages of 15 and 64 years old, and 15.18% were 14 years old and younger. Greek society has also rapidly changed with the passage of time. Marriage rates kept falling from almost 71 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1981 until 2002, only to increase slightly in 2003 to 61 per 1,000 and then fall again to 51 in 2004. Divorce rates on the other hand, have seen an increase – from 191.2 per 1,000 marriages in 1991 to 239.5 per 1,000 marriages in 2004. Almost two-thirds of the Greek people live in urban areas. Greece's largest municipalities in 2001 were: Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patras, Iraklio, Larissa, and Volos.
     
Throughout the 20th century, millions of Greeks had migrated to the US, UK, Australia and Germany, creating a thriving diaspora that accounts today almost 6 million people. The migration trend however was reversed after the important improvements of Greek economy since the 80's.
Due to the complexity of Greek immigration policy, practices and data collection, truly reliable data on immigrant populations in Greece is difficult to gather and therefore subject to much speculation. A study from the Mediterranean Migration Observatory maintains that the 2001 Census from the NSSG recorded 762,191 persons residing in Greece without Greek citizenship, constituting around 7% of total population and that, of these, 48,560 were EU or EFTA nationals and 17,426 Cypriots
with privileged status. People from the Balkan countries of Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania make up almost two-thirds of the total foreign population. Migrants from the former Soviet Union (Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldava, etc.) comprise 10% of the total.
The greatest cluster of non-EU immigrant population is in the Municipality of Athens –some 132,000 immigrants, at 17% of local population. Thessaloniki is the second largest cluster, with 27,000, reaching 7% of local population. After this, the predominant areas of location are the big cities environs and the agricultural areas. At the same time, Albanians constituted some 56% of total immigrants, followed by Bulgarians (5%), Georgians (3%) and Romanians (3%). Americans, Cypriots, British and Germans appeared as sizeable foreign communities at around 2% each of total foreign population. The rest were around 690,000 persons of non-EU or nonhomogeneis (of non-Greek heritage) status. According to the same study, the foreign population (documented and undocumented) residing in Greece may in reality figure upwards to 8.5% or 10.3%, that is approximately meaning 1.15 million - if immigrants with homogeneis cards are accounted for.
Religion Main article:
Religion in Greece
Greek Orthodox monastery
The constitution of Greece recognizes the Greek Orthodox faith as the "prevailing" religion of the country, while guaranteeing freedom of religious belief for all. The Greek Government does not keep statistics on religious groups and censuses do not ask for religious affiliation. According to the State Department, an estimated 97% of Greek citizens identify themselves as Greek Orthodox. In the Eurostat - Eurobarometer poll of 2005, 81% of Greek citizens responded that they believe there is a God, the third highest percentage among EU members behind only Malta and Cyprus.
   
Estimates of the recognized Muslim minority, which is mostly located in Thrace, range from 98,000 to 140,000, (between 0.9% and 1.2%) while the immigrant Muslim community numbers between 200,000 and 300,000. Albanian immigrants to Greece are usually associated with the Muslim faith, although most are secular in orientation. Judaism has existed in Greece for more than 2,000 years. Sephardi Jews used to have a large presence in the city of Thessaloniki, but nowadays the Greek-Jewish community who survived the Holocaust is estimated to number around 5,500 people.
  
Greek members of Roman Catholic faith are estimated at 50,000 with the Roman Catholic immigrant community approximating 200,000. Old Calendarists account for 500,000 followers. Protestants, including Greek Evangelical Church and Free Evangelical Churches, stand at about 30,000. Assemblies of God, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and other Pentecostal churches of the Greek Synod of Apostolic Church has 12,000 members. Independent Free Apostolic Church of Pentecost is the biggest protestant denomination in Greece with 120 churches. There are not official statistics about Free Apostolic Church of Pentecost, but the Orthodox Church estimates the followers in 20,000. The Jehovah's Witnesses report having 28,243 active members. There are also 653 Mormons, 501 Seventh-Day Adventists, and 30 Free Methodists.
          
The ancient Greek religion has also reappeared as Hellenic Neopaganism, with estimates of approximately 2,000 adherents (comprising 0.02% of the general population).
Languages Main articles:
Languages of Greece
Minorities in Greece
Greece is today relatively homogeneous in linguistic terms, with a large majority of the native population using Greek as their first or only language. The Muslim minority in Thrace, which amounts to approximately 0.95% of the total population, consists of speakers of Turkish, Bulgarian (Pomak) and Romani. Romani is also spoken by Christian Roma in other parts of the country. Further minority languages have traditionally been spoken by regional population groups in various parts of the country. Their use has decreased radically in the course of the 20th century through assimilation with the Greek-speaking majority. This goes for the Arvanites, an Albanian-speaking group mostly located in the rural areas around the capital Athens, and for the Aromanians and Moglenites, also known as Vlachs, whose language is closely related to Romanian and who used to live scattered across several areas of mountaneous central Greece. Members of these groups ethnically identfiy as Greeks and are today all at least bilingual in Greek. In many areas their traditional languages are today only maintained by the older generations and are on the verge of extinction.
In northern Greece there are also Slavic-speaking groups, whose members identify ethnically as Greeks in their majority. Their dialects can be linguistically classified as forms of either Macedonian (locally called Slavomacedonian or simply Slavic), or Bulgarian (distinguished as Pomak in the case of the Bulgarophone Muslims of Thrace.
The Jewish community in Greece traditionally spoke Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), today maintained only by a small group of a few thousand speakers. Among the Greek-speaking population, speakers of the distinctive Pontic dialect, brought to Greece by immigrants from Asia Minor, constitute a sizable group.
Education in Greece
The building of the Faculty of Education at the
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Compulsory education in Greece comprises primary schools (Δημοτικό Σχολείο, Dimotikó Scholeio) and gymnasium (Γυμνάσιο). Nursery schools (Παιδικός σταθμός, Paidikós Stathmós) are popular but not compulsory. Kindergartens (Νηπιαγωγείο, Nipiagogeío) are now compulsory for any child above 4 years of age. Children start primary school aged 6 and remain there for six years.Attendance at gymnasia starts at age 12 and last for three years. Greece's post-compulsory secondary education consists of two school types: unified upper secondary schools (Ενιαίο Λύκειο, Eniaia Lykeia) and technical-vocational educational schools (Τεχνικά και Επαγγελματικά Εκπαιδευτήρια, "TEE"). Post-compulsory secondary education also includes vocational training institutes (Ινστιτούτα Επαγγελματικής Κατάρτισης, "IEK") which provide a formal but unclassified level of education. As they can accept both Gymnasio (lower secondary school) and Lykeio (upper secondary school) graduates, these institutes are not classified as offering a particular level of education. Public higher education is divided into universities, "Highest Educational Institutions" (Ανώτατα Εκπαιδευτικά Ιδρύματα, Anótata Ekpaideytiká Idrýmata, "ΑΕΙ") and "Highest Technological Educational Institutions" (Ανώτατα Τεχνολογικά Εκπαιδευτικά Ιδρύματα, Anótata Technologiká Ekpaideytiká Idrýmata, "ATEI"). Students are admitted to these Institutes according to their performance at national level examinations taking place after completion of the third grade of Lykeio. Additionally, students over twenty-two years old may be admitted to the Hellenic Open University through a form of lottery. The Capodistrian university of Athens is the oldest university in the eastern Mediterranean. The Greek education system also provides special kindergartens, primary and secondary schools for people with special needs or difficulties in learning. Specialist gymnasia and high schools offering musical, theological and physical education also exist. Some of the main universities in Greece include: • National Technical University of Athens • University of Piraeus • Agricultural University of Athens • University of Macedonia (in Thessaloniki) • University of Crete • Technical University of Crete • Athens University of Economics and Business • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki • University of the Aegean (across the Aegean Islands) • Democritus University of Thrace • University of Ioannina • University of Thessaly • University of
National and Capodistrian University of Athens
• Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences • University of Patras • Charokopeio University of Athens • Ionian University (across the Ionian Islands)
Culture of Greece
List of Greeks
bearing the infant
Praxiteles, Olympia Archaeological Museum.
The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, with its beginnings in the Mycenaean and Minoan Civilizations, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, the Hellenistic Period, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its Greek Eastern successor the Byzantine Empire. The Ottoman Empire too had a significant influence on Greek culture, but the Greek war of independence is credited with revitalizing Greece and giving birth to a single entity of its multi-faceted culture throughout the ages.
Cuisine Main article:
is often cited as an example of the healthy Mediterranean diet. Greek cuisine incorporates fresh ingredients into a variety of local dishes such as moussaka, stifado, Greek Salad, spanakopita and the world famous Souvlaki. Throughout Greece people often enjoy eating from small dishes such as meze with various dips such as tzatziki, grilled octopus and small fish, feta cheese, dolmades (rice, currants and pine kernels wrapped in vine leaves), various pulses, olives and cheese. Olive oil is added to almost every dish. Sweet desserts such as galaktoboureko, and drinks such as ouzo, metaxa and a variety of wines including retsina. Greek cuisine differs widely from different parts of the mainland and from island to island.
Sports Main article:
Sport in Greece
Athens Olympic Stadium
Greece home to the first modern Olympics, holds a long tradition in sports. The Greek national football team, currently ranked 18th in the world, won the UEFA Euro 2004 in one of the biggest surprises in the history of the sport. The Greek Super League is the highest professional football league in the country comprising of 16 teams. The most successful of them are Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, AEK Athens, PAOK and Aris. The Greek national basketball team has a decades-long tradition of excellence in the sport. As of August 2008 it is ranked 4th in the world. They have won the European Championship twice in 1987 and 2005, and have reached the final four in three of the last four FIBA World Championships, taking the second place in 2006. The domestic top basketball league, A1 Ethniki, is composed of fourteen teams. The most successful Greek teams are Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, Aris, AEK Athens and PAOK. Water polo and volleyball are also practiced widely in Greece while cricket, handball are relatively popular in Corfu and Veroia respectively.As the birth place of the Olympic Games, Greece was most recently host of 2004 Summer Olympics and the first modern Olympics in 1896.
   
Frigates HS Spetsai (Meko class) and HS Bouboulina (S class).
Military of Greece
The Hellenic Armed Forces are overseen by the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (Γενικό Επιτελείο Εθνικής Άμυνας - ΓΕΕΘΑ) and consists of three branches:
• • •
Hellenic Army Hellenic Navy Hellenic Air Force
The civilian authority for the Greek military is the Ministry of National Defence. Furthermore, Greece maintains the Hellenic Coast Guard for law enforcement in the sea and search and rescue. Greece currently has universal compulsory military service for males while females (who may serve in the military) are exempted from conscription. As a member of NATO, the Greek military participates in exercises and deployments under the auspices of the alliance.
United Nations Development Programme
2006 Human Development Index 2004 Human Development Index 2000
Human Development Index
  
24 out of 177 24 out of 177 24 out of 177
International Monetary Fund
GDP per capita (PPP)
18 out of 180
Worldwide Quality-of-life Index, 2005
22 out of 111
Index of Economic Freedom
57 out of 157
Worldwide Press Freedom Index
Reporters Without Borders
2006 Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2004
  
32 out of 168 18(tied) out of 168 33 out of 167
2006 Corruption Perceptions Index 54 out of 163 2005 47 out of 158 Corruption Perceptions Index 49 out of 145 2004
Corruption Perceptions Index
  
World Economic Forum
Global Competitiveness Report
47 out of 125
Yale University/Columbia University
Environmental Sustainability Index
67 out of 146
13 out of 27
A.T. Kearney /
Globalization Index 2006 Globalization Index 2005 Globalization Index 2004
  
32 out of 62 29 out of 62 28 out of 62
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