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The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

 and ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 native to Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora
Greek diaspora
The Greek diaspora, also known as Hellenic Diaspora or Diaspora of Hellenism, is a term used to refer to the communities of Greek people living outside the traditional Greek homelands, but more commonly in southeast Europe and Asia Minor...

, with Greek communities established around the world.

Greek colonies and communities have been historically established in most corners of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, but Greeks have always been centered around the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

, where the Greek language
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 has been spoken since antiquity. Until the early 20th century, Greeks were uniformly distributed between the Greek peninsula, the western coast of Asia Minor
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

, Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Cyprus and Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

; many of these regions coincided to a large extent with the borders of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 of the late 11th century and the Eastern Mediterranean areas of the ancient Greek colonization.

In the aftermath of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), a large-scale population exchange between Greece and Turkey
Population exchange between Greece and Turkey
The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey was based upon religious identity, and involved the Greek Orthodox citizens of Turkey and the Muslim citizens of Greece...

 transferred and confined Christians from Turkey, except Constantinople (effectively ethnic Greeks) into the borders of the modern Greek state and Cyprus. Other ethnic Greek populations can be found from southern Italy
Greeks in Italy
Greek presence in Italy begins with the migrations of the old Greek Diaspora in the 8th century BC, continuing down to the present time. There is an ethnic Greek minority known as the Griko people, who live in the Southern Italian regions of Calabria and Puglia , that speak a distinctive dialect...

 to the Caucasus
Greeks in Georgia
The Greek diaspora in Georgia is estimated at between 15,000 and 20,000 people down from about 100,000 in 1989. The community has dwindled due to the large wave of repatriation to Greece , as well as emigration to Russia...

 and in diaspora communities in a number of other countries. Today, most Greeks are officially registered as members of the Greek Orthodox Church
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

.

History


The Greeks speak the Greek language
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, which forms its own unique branch within the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 family of languages, the Hellenic
Hellenic languages
Hellenic, as a technical term in historical linguistics, is the branch of the Indo-European language family that includes Greek . According to most traditional classifications, Hellenic contains only Greek as a single language alone in its branch, and is as such co-extensive with "Greek"...

 language. They are part of a group of pre-modern ethnicities, described by Anthony D. Smith
Anthony D. Smith
Anthony D. Smith is Professor Emeritus of Nationalism and Ethnicity at the London School of Economics, and is considered one of the founders of the interdisciplinary field of nationalism studies...

 as an "archetypal diaspora people".

The modern Greek state
History of modern Greece
The history of modern Greece covers the history of Greece from the recognition of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832 after the Greek War of Independence to the present day.- Background :In 1821, the Greeks rose up against the Ottoman Empire...

 was created in 1832, when the Greeks liberated a part of their historic homelands from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. The large Greek diaspora
Greek diaspora
The Greek diaspora, also known as Hellenic Diaspora or Diaspora of Hellenism, is a term used to refer to the communities of Greek people living outside the traditional Greek homelands, but more commonly in southeast Europe and Asia Minor...

 and merchant class were instrumental in transmitting the ideas of western romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of those it governs...

 and philhellenism
Philhellenism
Philhellenism was an intellectual fashion prominent at the turn of the 19th century, that led Europeans like Lord Byron or Charles Nicolas Fabvier to advocate for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire...

, which together with the conception of Hellenism, formulated during the last centuries of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, formed the basis of the Diafotismos
Diafotismos
The Modern Greek Enlightenment was an ideological, philological, linguistic and philosophical movement among 18th century Greeks that translate the ideas and values of European Enlightenment into the Greek world.-Origins:...

 and the current conception of Hellenism.

Origins



The Proto-Greeks probably arrived at the area now called Greece, in the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

, at the end of the 3rd millennium BC
3rd millennium BC
The 3rd millennium BC spans the Early to Middle Bronze Age.It represents a period of time in which imperialism, or the desire to conquer, grew to prominence, in the city states of the Middle East, but also throughout Eurasia, with Indo-European expansion to Anatolia, Europe and Central Asia. The...

. The sequence of migrations into the Greek mainland during the 2nd millennium BC
2nd millennium BC
The 2nd millennium BC marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.Its first half is dominated by the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and Babylonia. The alphabet develops. Indo-Iranian migration onto the Iranian plateau and onto the Indian subcontinent propagates the use of the chariot...

 has to be reconstructed on the basis of the ancient Greek dialects, as they presented themselves centuries later and is subject to some uncertainties. There were at least two migrations, the first of the Ionians
Ionians
The Ionians were one of the four major tribes into which the Classical Greeks considered the population of Hellenes to have been divided...

 and Aeolians
Aeolians
The Aeolians were one of the four major ancient Greek tribes comprising Ancient Greeks. Their name derives from Aeolus, the mythical ancestor of the Aeolic branch and son of Hellen, the mythical patriarch of the Greek nation...

 which resulted in Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 by the 16th century BC, and the second, the Dorian invasion
Dorian invasion
The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece to explain the replacement of pre-classical dialects and traditions in southern Greece by the ones that prevailed in Classical Greece...

, around the 11th century BC, displacing the Arcadocypriot dialects which descended from the Mycenaean period. Both migrations occur at incisive periods, the Mycenaean at the transition to the Late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 and the Doric at the Bronze Age collapse
Bronze Age collapse
The Bronze Age collapse is a transition in southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that some historians believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive...

.

There were some suggestions of three waves of migration indicating a Proto-Ionian one, either contemporary or even earlier than the Mycenaean. This possibility appears to have been first suggested by Ernst Curtius
Ernst Curtius
You may be looking for Ernst Robert Curtius .Ernst Curtius was a German archaeologist and historian.-Biography:...

 in the 1880s. In current scholarship, the standard assumption is to group the Ionic
Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic dialect group of Ancient Greek .-History:Ionic dialect appears to have spread originally from the Greek mainland across the Aegean at the time of the Dorian invasions, around the 11th Century B.C.By the end of the Greek Dark Ages in the 5th Century...

 together with the Arcadocypriot group as the successors of a single Middle Bronze Age migration in dual opposition to the "western" group of Doric
Doric Greek
Doric or Dorian was a dialect of ancient Greek. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese, Crete, Rhodes, some islands in the southern Aegean Sea, some cities on the coasts of Asia Minor, Southern Italy, Sicily, Epirus and Macedon. Together with Northwest Greek, it forms the...

.

Mycenaean



The Mycenaeans were ultimately the first Greek-speaking people attested through historical sources, written records in the Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

 script, and through their literary echoes in the works of Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

, a few centuries later.

The Mycenaeans quickly penetrated the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 and by the 15th century BC had reached Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

, Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, where Teucer
Teucer
In Greek mythology Teucer, also Teucrus or Teucris , was the son of King Telamon of Salamis Island and his second wife Hesione, daughter of King Laomedon of Troy. He fought alongside his half-brother, Ajax, in the Trojan War and is the legendary founder of the city Salamis on Cyprus...

 is said to have founded the first colony, and the shores of Asia Minor
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

. Around 1200 BC the Dorians, another Greek-speaking people, followed from Epirus
Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

. Traditionally, historians have believed that the Dorian invasion
Dorian invasion
The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece to explain the replacement of pre-classical dialects and traditions in southern Greece by the ones that prevailed in Classical Greece...

 caused the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization, but it is likely the main attack was made by seafaring raiders (sea peoples
Sea Peoples
The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of seafaring raiders of the second millennium BC who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty and especially during year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty...

) who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean around 1180 BC. The Dorian invasion
Dorian invasion
The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece to explain the replacement of pre-classical dialects and traditions in southern Greece by the ones that prevailed in Classical Greece...

 was followed by a poorly attested period of migrations, appropriately called the Greek Dark Ages
Greek Dark Ages
The Greek Dark Age or Ages also known as Geometric or Homeric Age are terms which have regularly been used to refer to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the Mycenaean Palatial civilization around 1200 BC, to the first signs of the Greek city-states in the 9th...

, but by 800 BC the landscape of Archaic and Classical Greece
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 was discernible.

In the Homeric epics
Homeric epics
In the field of classics, the term "Homeric epics" refers specifically to the Iliad and Odyssey, two epics attributed to the Ancient Greek poet Homer...

, the Greeks of prehistory are viewed as the ancestors of the early classical civilization of Homer's own time, while the Mycenaean pantheon included many of the divinities (e.g. Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

 and Hades
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

) attested in later Greek religion.

Classical


The classical period
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 of Greek civilization covers a time spanning from the early 5th century BC to the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC
323 BC
Year 323 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Longus and Cerretanus...

 (some authors prefer to split this period into 'Classical', from the end of the Persian wars to the end of the Peloponnesian War, and 'Fourth Century', up to the death of Alexander). It is so named because it set the standards by which Greek civilization would be judged in later eras. The ethnogenesis
Ethnogenesis
Ethnogenesis is the process by which a group of human beings comes to be understood or to understand themselves as ethnically distinct from the wider social landscape from which their grouping emerges...

 of the Greek nation is marked, according to some scholars, by the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, when the idea of a common Hellenism among the Greek-speaking tribes was first translated into a shared cultural experience and Hellenism was primarily a matter of common culture.

While the Greeks of the classical era understood themselves to belong to a common Greek genos
Genos
Genos was the ancient Greek term for kind; race; family; birth; origin which identified themselves as a unit, referred to by a single name...

 their first loyalty was to their city and they saw nothing incongruous about warring, often brutally, with other Greek city-states
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

. The Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

, the large scale Greek civil war between Athens
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 and Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 and their allies, is a case in point.

Most of the feuding Greek city-states were, in some scholars' opinions, united under the banner of Philip
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

's and Alexander the Great's pan-Hellenic ideals, though others might generally opt, rather, for an explanation of "Macedonian conquest for the sake of conquest" or at least conquest for the sake of riches, glory and power and view the "ideal" as useful propaganda directed towards the city-states.

In any case, Alexander's toppling of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

, after his victories at the battles of the Granicus
Battle of the Granicus
The Battle of the Granicus River in May 334 BC was the first of three major battles fought between Alexander the Great and the Persian Empire...

, Issus
Battle of Issus
The Battle of Issus occurred in southern Anatolia, in November 333 BC. The invading troops, led by the young Alexander of Macedonia, defeated the army personally led by Darius III of Achaemenid Persia in the second great battle for primacy in Asia...

 and Gaugamela
Battle of Gaugamela
The Battle of Gaugamela took place in 331 BC between Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia. The battle, which is also called the Battle of Arbela, resulted in a massive victory for the ancient Macedonians and led to the fall of the Achaemenid Empire.-Location:Darius chose a flat, open plain...

, and advance as far as modern-day Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, provided an important outlet for Greek culture, via the creation of colonies and trade routes along the way. While the Alexandrian empire did not survive its creator's death intact, the cultural implications of the spread of Hellenism across much of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 were to prove long lived as Greek became the lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

, a position it retained even in Roman times. Many Greeks migrated to Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, Seleucia
Seleucia
Seleucia was the first capital of the Seleucid Empire, and one of the great cities of antiquity standing in Mesopotamia, on the Tigris River.Seleucia may refer to:...

 and many other new Hellenistic
Hellenistic Greece
In the context of Ancient Greek art, architecture, and culture, Hellenistic Greece corresponds to the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the annexation of the classical Greek heartlands by Rome in 146 BC...

 cities founded in Alexander's wake. Two thousand years later, there are still communities in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, like the Kalash, who claim to be descended from Greek settlers.

Hellenistic





The Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 was the next period of Greek civilization, the beginnings of which are usually placed at Alexander's death. This Hellenistic age
Hellenistic period
The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

, so called because it saw the partial Hellenization
Hellenization
Hellenization is a term used to describe the spread of ancient Greek culture, and, to a lesser extent, language. It is mainly used to describe the spread of Hellenistic civilization during the Hellenistic period following the campaigns of Alexander the Great of Macedon...

 of many non-Greek cultures, lasted until the conquest of Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt began when Ptolemy I Soter invaded Egypt and declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt in 305 BC and ended with the death of queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and the Roman conquest in 30 BC. The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a powerful Hellenistic state, extending from southern Syria in the east, to...

 by Rome in 30 BC.

This age saw the Greeks move towards larger cities and a reduction in the importance of the city-state. These larger cities were parts of the still larger Kingdoms of the Diadochi
Diadochi
The Diadochi were the rival generals, family and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for the control of Alexander's empire after his death in 323 BC...

. Greeks, however, remained aware of their past, chiefly through the study of the works of Homer and the classical authors. An important factor in maintaining Greek identity was contact with barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

(non-Greek) peoples which was deepened in the new cosmopolitan environment of the multi-ethnic Hellenistic kingdoms. This led to a strong desire among Greeks to organize the transmission of the Hellenic paideia
Paideia
In ancient Greek, the word n. paedeia or paideia [ to educate + - -IA suffix1] means child-rearing, education. It was a system of instruction in Classical Athens in which students were given a well-rounded cultural education. Subjects included rhetoric, grammar, mathematics, music, philosophy,...

to the next generation.

In the religious sphere, this was a period of profound change. The spiritual revolution that took place saw a waning of the old Greek religion, whose decline beginning in the 3rd century BC continued with the introduction of new religious movements from the East. The cults of deities like Isis
Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

 and Mithra
Mithra
Mithra is the Zoroastrian divinity of covenant and oath. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest and of The Waters....

 were introduced into the Greek world.

In the Indo-Greek and Greco-Bactrian
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world, covering Bactria and Sogdiana in Central Asia from 250 to 125 BC...

 kingdoms, Greco-Buddhism
Greco-Buddhism
Greco-Buddhism, sometimes spelled Graeco-Buddhism, refers to the cultural syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism, which developed between the 4th century BCE and the 5th century CE in the area covered by the Indian sub-continent, and modern Afghanistan, Pakistan and north-western...

 was spreading and Greek missionaries would play an important role in propagating it to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. Further east, the Greeks of Alexandria Eschate
Alexandria Eschate
Alexandria Eschate or Alexandria Eskhata was founded by Alexander the Great in August 329 BCE as his most northerly base in Central Asia...

 became known to the Chinese people
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 as the Dayuan
Dayuan
The Dayuan or Ta-Yuan were a people of Ferghana in Central Asia, described in the Chinese historical works of Records of the Grand Historian and the Book of Han. It is mentioned in the accounts of the famous Chinese explorer Zhang Qian in 130 BCE and the numerous embassies that followed him into...

.

Byzantine


Of the new eastern religions introduced into the Greek world the most successful was Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. While ethnic distinctions still existed in the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, they became secondary to religious considerations and the renewed empire used Christianity as a tool to support its cohesion and promoted a robust Roman national identity. Concurrently the secular, urban civilization of late antiquity survived in the Eastern Mediterranean
Eastern Mediterranean
The Eastern Mediterranean is a term that denotes the countries geographically to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. This region is also known as Greater Syria or the Levant....

 along with Greco-Roman educational system, although it was from Christianity that the culture's essential values were drawn.
"Much of what we know of antiquity – especially of Hellenic and Roman literature and of Roman law — would have been lost for ever but for the scholars and scribes and copyists of Constantinople."
J.J. Norwich

The Eastern Roman Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 – today conventionally named the Byzantine Empire, a name not in use during its own time – became increasingly influenced by Greek culture after the 7th century, when Emperor Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

 (AD 575 - 641) decided to make Greek the empire's official language. Certainly from then on, but likely earlier, the Roman and Greek cultures were virtually fused into a single Greco-Roman world
Greco-Roman world
The Greco-Roman world, Greco-Roman culture, or the term Greco-Roman , when used as an adjective, as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to those geographical regions and countries that culturally were directly, protractedly and intimately influenced by the language, culture,...

. Although the Latin
Latins
"Latins" refers to different groups of people and the meaning of the word changes for where and when it is used.The original Latins were an Italian tribe inhabiting central and south-central Italy. Through conquest by their most populous city-state, Rome, the original Latins culturally "Romanized"...

 West recognized the Eastern Empire's claim to the Roman legacy for several centuries, after Pope Leo III
Pope Leo III
Pope Saint Leo III was Pope from 795 to his death in 816. Protected by Charlemagne from his enemies in Rome, he subsequently strengthened Charlemagne's position by crowning him as Roman Emperor....

 crowned Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, king of the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

, as the "Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

" on December 25, 800, an act which eventually led to the formation of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, the Latin West started to favour the Franks and began to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire largely as the Empire of the Greeks (Imperium Graecorum). Greek-speakers at the time, however, referred to themselves as Romaioi ("Romans").

These Byzantine Greeks
Byzantine Greeks
Byzantine Greeks or Byzantines is a conventional term used by modern historians to refer to the medieval Greek or Hellenised citizens of the Byzantine Empire, centered mainly in Constantinople, the southern Balkans, the Greek islands, Asia Minor , Cyprus and the large urban centres of the Near East...

 were largely responsible for the preservation of the literature of the classical era. Byzantine grammarians
Greek scholars in the Renaissance
The migration of Byzantine scholars and other émigrés from southern Italy and Byzantium during the decline of the Byzantine Empire and mainly after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the 16th century, is considered by some scholars as key to the revival of Greek and Roman studies and...

 were those principally responsible for carrying, in person and in writing, ancient Greek grammatical and literary studies to the West during the 15th century, giving the Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

 a major boost. The Aristotelian
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 philosophical tradition was nearly unbroken in the Greek world for almost two thousand years, until the Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 in 1453.

To the Slavic world, Roman era Greeks contributed by the dissemination of literacy and Christianity. The most notable example of the later was the work of the two Greek brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius were two Byzantine Greek brothers born in Thessaloniki in the 9th century. They became missionaries of Christianity among the Slavic peoples of Bulgaria, Great Moravia and Pannonia. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they...

 from Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki , historically also known as Thessalonica, Salonika or Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia as well as the capital of the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace...

, who are credited today with formalizing the first Slavic alphabet
Glagolitic alphabet
The Glagolitic alphabet , also known as Glagolitsa, is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. The name was not coined until many centuries after its creation, and comes from the Old Slavic glagolъ "utterance" . The verb glagoliti means "to speak"...

.

A distinct Greek political identity re-emerged in the 11th century in educated circles and became more forceful after the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 in 1204, so that when the empire was revived in 1261, it became in many ways a Greek national state. That new notion of nationhood engendered a deep interest in the classical past culminating in the ideas of the Neoplatonist
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

 philosopher Gemistus Pletho
Gemistus Pletho
Georgius Gemistus — later called Plethon or Pletho — was a Greek scholar of Neoplatonic philosophy. He was one of the chief pioneers of the revival of Greek learning in Western Europe...

, who abandoned Christianity. However, it was the combination of Orthodox Christianity
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

 with a specifically Greek identity that shaped the Greeks' notion of themselves in the empire's twilight years.

Ottoman


Following the Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 on May 29, 1453, many Greeks sought better employment and education opportunities by leaving for the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

, particularly Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

For those that remained under the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

's millet system
Millet (Ottoman Empire)
Millet is a term for the confessional communities in the Ottoman Empire. It refers to the separate legal courts pertaining to "personal law" under which communities were allowed to rule themselves under their own system...

, religion was the defining characteristic of national groups (milletler), so the exonym "Greeks" (Rumlar from the name Rhomaioi) was applied by the Ottomans to all members of the Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, regardless of their language or ethnic origin. The Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 speakers were the only ethnic group to actually call themselves Romioi, (as opposed to being so named by others) and, at least those educated, considered their ethnicity (genos) to be Hellenic.

The roots of Greek success in the Ottoman Empire can be traced to the Greek tradition of education and commerce. It was the wealth of the extensive merchant class that provided the material basis for the intellectual revival that was the prominent feature of Greek life in the half century and more leading to the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

 in 1821. Not coincidentally, on the eve of 1821, the three most important centres of Greek learning were situated in Chios
Chios
Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages...

, Smyrna
Smyrna
Smyrna was an ancient city located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Thanks to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. The ancient city is located at two sites within modern İzmir, Turkey...

 and Aivali
Ayvalik
Ayvalık is a seaside town on the northwestern Aegean coast of Turkey. It is a district of the Balıkesir Province.It was alternatively called by the town's formerly indigenous Greek population, although the use of the name Ayvalık was widespread for centuries among both the Turks and the Greeks...

, all three major centres of Greek commerce.

Modern



The relationship between ethnic Greek identity and Greek Orthodox
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

 religion continued after the creation of the Modern Greek state in 1830. According to the second article of the first Greek constitution
Constitution of Greece
The Constitution of Greece , was created by the Fifth Revisional Parliament of the Hellenes and entered into force in 1975. It has been revised three times since, most significantly in 1986, and also in 2001 and in 2008. The Constitutional history of Greece goes back to the Greek War of...

 of 1822, a Greek was defined as any Christian resident of the Kingdom of Greece
Kingdom of Greece
The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 in the Convention of London by the Great Powers...

, a clause removed by 1840. A century later, when the Treaty of Lausanne
Treaty of Lausanne
The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 July 1923, that settled the Anatolian and East Thracian parts of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty of Lausanne was ratified by the Greek government on 11 February 1924, by the Turkish government on 31...

 was signed between Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 in 1923, the two countries agreed to use religion as the determinant for ethnic identity for the purposes of population exchange, although most of the Greeks displaced (over a million of the total 1.5 million) had already been driven out by the time the agreement was signed.While Greek authorities signed the agreement legalizing the population exchange this was done on the insistence of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

 and after a million Greeks had already been expelled from Asia Minor
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

.
The Greek genocide, contemporaneous with the failed Greek Asia Minor Campaign, was part of this process of turkification
Turkification
Turkification is a term used to describe a process of cultural or political change in which something or someone who is not a Turk becomes one, voluntarily or involuntarily...

 of the Ottoman Empire and the placement of its economy and trade, then largely in Greek hands under ethnic Turkish control.

While most Greeks today are descended from Greek-speaking Romioi (Roman) there are sizeable groups of ethnic Greeks who trace their descent to Aromanian-speaking
Aromanian language
Aromanian , also known as Macedo-Romanian, Arumanian or Vlach is an Eastern Romance language spoken in Southeastern Europe...

 Vlachs
Vlachs
Vlach is a blanket term covering several modern Latin peoples descending from the Latinised population in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. English variations on the name include: Walla, Wlachs, Wallachs, Vlahs, Olahs or Ulahs...

 and Albanian-speaking
Arvanitika
Arvanitika also known Arvanitic is the variety of Albanian traditionally spoken by the Arvanites, a population group in Greece...

 Arvanites
Arvanites
Arvanites are a population group in Greece who traditionally speak Arvanitika, a dialect of the Albanian language. They settled in Greece during the late Middle Ages and were the dominant population element of some regions of the Peloponnese and Attica until the 19th century...

 as well as Slavophones and Turkish-speaking
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 Karamanlides
Karamanlides
The Karamanlides , or simply Karamanlis, are a Greek Orthodox, Turkish-speaking people native to the Karaman and Cappadocia regions of Anatolia...

. Today, Greeks are to be found all around the world.

Identity



The terms used to define Greekness have varied throughout history but were never limited or completely identified with membership to a Greek state. By Western standards, the term Greeks has traditionally referred to any native speakers of the Greek language
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, whether Mycenaean, Byzantine
Medieval Greek
Medieval Greek, also known as Byzantine Greek, is the stage of the Greek language between the beginning of the Middle Ages around 600 and the Ottoman conquest of the city of Constantinople in 1453. The latter date marked the end of the Middle Ages in Southeast Europe...

 or modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

. Byzantine Greeks
Byzantine Greeks
Byzantine Greeks or Byzantines is a conventional term used by modern historians to refer to the medieval Greek or Hellenised citizens of the Byzantine Empire, centered mainly in Constantinople, the southern Balkans, the Greek islands, Asia Minor , Cyprus and the large urban centres of the Near East...

 called themselves Romioi and considered themselves the political heirs of Rome
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, but at least by the 12th century a growing number of those educated, deemed themselves the heirs of ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 as well, although for most of the Greek speakers, "Hellene" still meant pagan. On the eve of the Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 the Last Emperor
Constantine XI
Constantine XI Palaiologos, latinized as Palaeologus , Kōnstantinos XI Dragasēs Palaiologos; February 8, 1404 – May 29, 1453) was the last reigning Byzantine Emperor from 1449 to his death as member of the Palaiologos dynasty...

 urged his soldiers to remember that they were the descendants of Greeks and Romans.

Before the establishment of the Modern Greek state, the link between ancient and modern Greeks was emphasized by the scholars of Greek Enlightenment especially by Rigas Feraios. In his "Political Constitution", he addresses to the nation as "the people descendant of the Greeks".

The Greeks today are a nation in the meaning of an ethnos
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

, defined by possessing Greek culture
Culture of Greece
The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its Greek Eastern successor the Byzantine Empire...

 and having a Greek mother tongue
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

, not by citizenship, race, and religion or by being subjects of any particular state. In ancient and medieval times and to a lesser extent today the Greek term was genos
Genos
Genos was the ancient Greek term for kind; race; family; birth; origin which identified themselves as a unit, referred to by a single name...

, which also indicates a common ancestry.

Names


Throughout the centuries, Greeks and Greek speakers have been known by a number of names, including:
  • Hellenes – Homer
    Homer
    In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

     is referring originally to Hellenes as a relatively small tribe settled in Thessalic Phthia
    Phthia
    Phthia , Phthíē ) in ancient Greece was the southernmost region of ancient Thessaly, on both sides of Othrys Mountain. It was the homeland of the Myrmidones tribe, who took part in the Trojan War under Achilles....

    , with its warriors under the command of Achilleus. In the Parian Chronicle
    Parian Chronicle
    The Parian Marble or Parian Chronicle is a Greek chronological table, covering the years from 1581 BC to 264 BC, inscribed on a stele...

     is mentioned that Phthia was the homeland of Hellenes and that this name was given to those previously called Greeks . In Greek mythology
    Greek mythology
    Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

    , Hellen
    Hellen
    Hellen , the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha, brother of Amphictyon and father of Aeolus, Xuthus, and Dorus. His name is also another name for Greek, meaning a person of Greek descent or pertaining to Greek culture, and the source of the adjective "Hellenic".Each of his sons founded a primary tribe of...

    , the patriarch of Hellenes, was son of Deucalion
    Deucalion
    In Greek mythology Deucalion was a son of Prometheus and Pronoia. The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, and he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering...

    , who ruled around Phthia and Pyrrha
    Pyrrha
    In Greek mythology, Pyrrha was the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora and wife of Deucalion.When Zeus decided to end the Bronze Age with the great deluge, Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, were the only survivors...

    , the only survivors after the great deluge. It seems that the myth was invented when the Greek tribes started to separate from each other in certain areas of Greece and it indicates their common origin.Aristotle
    Aristotle
    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

     names Ancient Hellas an area in Epirus
    Epirus
    The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

     between Dodona
    Dodona
    Dodona in Epirus in northwestern Greece, was an oracle devoted to a Mother Goddess identified at other sites with Rhea or Gaia, but here called Dione, who was joined and partly supplanted in historical times by the Greek god Zeus.The shrine of Dodona was regarded as the oldest Hellenic oracle,...

     and the Achelous
    Achelous
    In Greek mythology, Achelous was the patron deity of the "silver-swirling" Achelous River, which is the largest river of Greece, and thus the chief of all river deities, every river having its own river spirit. His name is pre-Greek, its meaning unknown...

     river, the location of the great deluge of Deucalion
    Deucalion
    In Greek mythology Deucalion was a son of Prometheus and Pronoia. The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, and he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering...

    , a land occupied by the Selloi
    Selloi
    Selloi were inhabitants of Epirus of ancient Greece, in a region between Dodona - where existed the oldest reported oracle - and Achelous river. Aristotle names this area ancient Hellas. There the Selloi dwelt and those who were formerly called Graeci and later Hellenes. According to Homer, they...

     and the "Greeks" who later came to be known as "Hellenes". Selloi were the priests of Dodonian Zeus and the word probably means "sacrificers" (to Goth. saljan: present,sacrifice ).There is currently no satisfactory etymology of the name Hellenes. Some scholars assert that the name Selloi changed to Sellanes (as Akarnanes) and then to Hellanes-Hellenes. However this etymology connects the name Hellenes with the Dorians who occupied Epirus and the relation with the name Greeks given by the Romans
    Ancient Rome
    Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

     becomes uncertain.The name Hellenes seems to be older and it was probably used by the Greeks with the establishment of the Great Amphictyonic League
    Amphictyonic League
    In the Archaic period of ancient Greece, an amphictyony , a "league of neighbors", or Amphictyonic League was an ancient association of Greek tribes formed in the dim past, before the rise of the Greek polis...

    .This was an ancient asocciation of Greek tribes with twelve founders which was organized to protect the great temples of Apollo
    Apollo
    Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

     in Delphi
    Delphi
    Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

     (Phocis
    Phocis
    Phocis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Central Greece. It stretches from the western mountainsides of Parnassus on the east to the mountain range of Vardousia on the west, upon the Gulf of Corinth...

    ) and of Demeter
    Demeter
    In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

     near Thermopylae
    Thermopylae
    Thermopylae is a location in Greece where a narrow coastal passage existed in antiquity. It derives its name from its hot sulphur springs. "Hot gates" is also "the place of hot springs and cavernous entrances to Hades"....

    (Locris
    Locris
    Locris was a region of ancient Greece, the homeland of the Locrians, made up of three distinct districts.-Locrian tribe:...

    ). According to the legend it was founded after the Troyan
    Troyan
    Troyan is a town in Lovech Province in central Bulgaria with population of 21,997 inhabitants, as of December 2009,. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Troyan Municipality. The town is about 160 km away from the country capital Sofia. The nearest civilian airport is Gorna...

     war,by the eponymous Amphictyon
    Amphictyon
    Amphictyon , in Greek mythology, was the second son of Deucalion and Pyrrha, although there was also a tradition that he was autochthonous ; he is also said to be a son of Hellen son of Deucalion and Pyrrha. Amphictyon was king of Thermopylae and married a daughter of Cranaus of Athens...

    ,brother of Hellen
    Hellen
    Hellen , the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha, brother of Amphictyon and father of Aeolus, Xuthus, and Dorus. His name is also another name for Greek, meaning a person of Greek descent or pertaining to Greek culture, and the source of the adjective "Hellenic".Each of his sons founded a primary tribe of...

    .

  • Greeks (Γραικοί) –Hesiod
    Hesiod
    Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

     is referring to Graecus
    Graecus
    Graecus or Græcus was, according to Hesiod's "Eoiae" or Catalogue of Women on the origin of the Greeks, the son of Pandora II and Zeus...

     the son of Pandora
    Pandora
    In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts...

    ,sister of Hellen
    Hellen
    Hellen , the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha, brother of Amphictyon and father of Aeolus, Xuthus, and Dorus. His name is also another name for Greek, meaning a person of Greek descent or pertaining to Greek culture, and the source of the adjective "Hellenic".Each of his sons founded a primary tribe of...

      the patriarch of Hellenes. Hellen was the son of Deucalion
    Deucalion
    In Greek mythology Deucalion was a son of Prometheus and Pronoia. The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, and he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering...

     who ruled around Phthia
    Phthia
    Phthia , Phthíē ) in ancient Greece was the southernmost region of ancient Thessaly, on both sides of Othrys Mountain. It was the homeland of the Myrmidones tribe, who took part in the Trojan War under Achilles....

     in central Greece.The Parian Chronicle
    Parian Chronicle
    The Parian Marble or Parian Chronicle is a Greek chronological table, covering the years from 1581 BC to 264 BC, inscribed on a stele...

     mentions that when Deucalion
    Deucalion
    In Greek mythology Deucalion was a son of Prometheus and Pronoia. The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, and he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering...

     became king of Phthia,the previously called Graekhes were named Hellenes. Aristotle
    Aristotle
    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

     notes that the Hellenes were related with Grai/Greeks (Meteorologica I.xiv) a native name of a Dorian
    Dorian
    The Dorians were one of the four major ethnē into which the Ancient Greeks, or Hellenes, of the Classical period considered themselves divided. Ethnos has the sense of ethnic group. Herodotus uses the word with regard to them...

     tribe in Epirus
    Epirus
    The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

     which was used by the Illyrians
    Illyrians
    The Illyrians were a group of tribes who inhabited part of the western Balkans in antiquity and the south-eastern coasts of the Italian peninsula...

    .He also claims that the great deluge must have occurred in the region around Dodona
    Dodona
    Dodona in Epirus in northwestern Greece, was an oracle devoted to a Mother Goddess identified at other sites with Rhea or Gaia, but here called Dione, who was joined and partly supplanted in historical times by the Greek god Zeus.The shrine of Dodona was regarded as the oldest Hellenic oracle,...

    ,where the Selloi
    Selloi
    Selloi were inhabitants of Epirus of ancient Greece, in a region between Dodona - where existed the oldest reported oracle - and Achelous river. Aristotle names this area ancient Hellas. There the Selloi dwelt and those who were formerly called Graeci and later Hellenes. According to Homer, they...

     dwelt.However according to the Greek tradition it is more possible that the homeland of the Greeks was originally in central Greece. A modern theory derives the name Greek (Lt. Graeci) from Graecos inhabitant of Graia -or Graea
    Graea
    Graea or Graia is a region,or a city of ancient Greece that is placed under Boeotia in Homer's Catalogue of Ships; it seems to have included the city of Oropos, though by the fifth century BC it was probably a kome of that city...

    -(Γραία), a town on the coast of Boeotia. Greek colonists from Graia helped to found Cumae
    Cumae
    Cumae is an ancient Greek settlement lying to the northwest of Naples in the Italian region of Campania. Cumae was the first Greek colony on the mainland of Italy , and the seat of the Cumaean Sibyl...

     (900 BC) in Italy,where they were called Graeces.When the Romans encountered them they used this name for the colonists and then for all Greeks.(Graeci) In Greek, graia (γραία) means "old woman" and is derived from the PIE
    Pie
    A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients....

     root *gere: "to grow old" in Proto-Greek guraj, "old age" and later "gift of honour" (Mycenean:"kera, geras"), and grau-j, "old lady". The Germanic languages borrowed the word Greeks with an initial "k" sound which probably was their initial sound closest to the Latin "g" at the time (Goth. Kreks). The area out of ancient Attica including Boeotia
    Boeotia
    Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

     was called Graiki
    Graiki
    Graiki was the name given by some ancient sources to the area out of ancient Attica including ancient Boeotia. The word seems to be derived from the Greek word "graia" meaning "old lady" , and the region is related with the Ogygian deluge, the first mentioned worldwide deluge in Greek...

     and is connected with the older deluge of Ogyges
    Ogyges
    Ogyges, Ogygus or Ogygos is a primeval mythological ruler in ancient Greece, generally of Boeotia, but an alternative tradition makes him the first king of Attica.-Etymology:...

     the mythological ruler of Boeotia. The region was originally occupied by the Minyans
    Minyans
    According to Greek mythology and legendary prehistory of the Aegean region, the Minyans were an autochthonous group inhabiting the Aegean region...

     who were autochthonous or Proto-Greek speaking people. In ancient Greek the name Ogygios came to mean "from earliest days".

  • Achaeans (Αχαιοί) – Homer uses the terms Achaeans and Danaans as a generic term for Greeks in Iliad
    Iliad
    The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

    , and they were probably a part of the Mycenean
    Mycenaean Greece
    Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

     civilization. The names Achaioi and Danaoi seem to be pre-Dorian belonging to the people who were overthrown. They were forced to the region that later bore the name Achaea
    Achaea
    Achaea is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of West Greece. It is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. The capital is Patras. The population exceeds 300,000 since 2001.-Geography:...

     after the Dorian invasion. In the 5th century BC they were redefined as contemporary speakers of Aeolic Greek which was spoken mainly in Thessaly
    Thessaly
    Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

    , Boetia and Lesbos. There are many controversial theories on the origin of the Achaeans. According to one view, the Achaeans were one of the fair-headed tribes of upper Europe, who pressed down over the Alps during the early Iron age
    Iron Age
    The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

     (1300 BC) to southern Europe. Another theory suggests that the Peloponnesian Dorians were the Achaeans. These theories are rejected by other scholars who, based on linguistic criteria, suggest that the Achaeans were mainland pre-Dorian Greeks. There is also the theory that there was an Achaean ethnos that migrated from Asia minor
    Asia Minor
    Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

     to lower Thessaly prior to 2000 BC. Some Hittite
    Hittites
    The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

     texts mention a nation lying to the west called Ahhiyava or Ahhiya. Egyptian documents are referring to Ekwesh, one of the groups of sea peoples
    Sea Peoples
    The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of seafaring raiders of the second millennium BC who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty and especially during year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty...

     who attached Egypt during the reign of Merneptah
    Merneptah
    Merneptah was the fourth ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He ruled Egypt for almost ten years between late July or early August 1213 and May 2, 1203 BC, according to contemporary historical records...

     (1213-1203 BCE), who may have been Achaeans.

  • Danaans or Danaoi (Δαναοί) and Argives
    Argos
    Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

     (Αργείοι). In Homer
    Homer
    In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

    's Iliad
    Iliad
    The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

    , the names Danaans and Argives are used to designate the Greek forces opposed to the Trojans
    Troy
    Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

    . The myth of Danaus
    Danaus
    In Greek mythology Danaus, or Danaos , was the twin brother of Aegyptus and son of Achiroe and Belus, a mythical king of Egypt. The myth of Danaus is a foundation legend of Argos, one of the foremost Mycenaean cities of the Peloponnesus...

    , whose origin is Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

    , is a foundation legend of Argos
    Argos
    Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

    . His daughters Danaides
    Daughters of Danaus
    In Greek mythology, the Daughters of Danaus or Danaids were the fifty daughters of Danaus. They were to marry the fifty sons of Danaus's twin brother Aegyptus, a mythical king of Egypt...

    , were forced in Tartarus
    Tartarus
    In classic mythology, below Uranus , Gaia , and Pontus is Tartarus, or Tartaros . It is a deep, gloomy place, a pit, or an abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering that resides beneath the underworld. In the Gorgias, Plato In classic mythology, below Uranus (sky), Gaia (earth), and Pontus...

     to carry a jug to fill a bathtub without a bottom. This myth is connected with a task that can never be never be fullfilled (Sisyphos) and the name can be derived from the PIE
    Pie
    A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients....

     root *danu: "river". There is not any satisfactory theory on their origin. Some scholars connect Danaans with the Denyen
    Denyen
    The Denyen are one of the groups constituting the Sea Peoples, who were of Indo-European origin.-Origin:Archeologists have described them as being of Indo-European origin....

    , one of the groups of the sea peoples
    Sea Peoples
    The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of seafaring raiders of the second millennium BC who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty and especially during year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty...

     who attacked Egypt during the reign of Ramesses III (1187-1156 BCE). The same inscription mentions the Weshesh who might have been the Achaeans. The Denyen seem to have been inhabitants of the city Adana
    Adana
    Adana is a city in southern Turkey and a major agricultural and commercial center. The city is situated on the Seyhan River, 30 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean, in south-central Anatolia...

     in Cilicia
    Cilicia
    In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

    . Pottery similar to that of Mycenae itself has been found in Tarsus of Cilicia and it seems that some refugees from the Aegean went there after the collapse of the Mycenean civilization. These Cilicians seem to have been called Dananiyim,the same word as Danaoi who attacked Egypt in 1191 BC along with the Quaouash (or Weshesh) who may be Achaeans. They were also called Danuna according to a Hittite
    Hittites
    The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

     inscription and the same name is mentioned in the Amarna
    Amarna
    Amarna is an extensive Egyptian archaeological site that represents the remains of the capital city newly–established and built by the Pharaoh Akhenaten of the late Eighteenth Dynasty , and abandoned shortly afterwards...

     letters.Julius Pokorny
    Julius Pokorny
    Julius Pokorny was an Austrian linguist and scholar of the Celtic languages, particularly Irish, and a supporter of Irish nationalism. He held academic posts in Austrian and German universities.-Life:...

     reconstructs the name from the PIE
    Pie
    A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients....

     root da:-: "flow, river", da:-nu: "any moving liquid, drops", da: navo "people living by the river, Skyth. nomadic people (in Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

     water-demons, fem.Da:nu primordial goddess), in Greek Danaoi, Egypt. Danuna". It is also possible that the name Danaans is pre-Greek. A country Danaja with a city Mukana (propaply: Mycenea) is mentioned in inscriptions from Egypt from Amenophis III (1390-1352 BC), Thutmosis III (1437 BC).

  • Romioi, Rûm
    Rûm
    Rûm, also Roum or Rhum , an indefinite term used at different times in the Muslim world to refer to the Balkans and Anatolia generally, and for the Byzantine Empire in particular, for the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm in Asia Minor, and referring to Greeks living outside of Greece or non-muslims...

    (traditionally for the Byzantine Greeks
    Byzantine Greeks
    Byzantine Greeks or Byzantines is a conventional term used by modern historians to refer to the medieval Greek or Hellenised citizens of the Byzantine Empire, centered mainly in Constantinople, the southern Balkans, the Greek islands, Asia Minor , Cyprus and the large urban centres of the Near East...

    )
  • Yona
    Yona
    "Yona" is a Pali word used in ancient India to designate Greek speakers. Its equivalent in Sanskrit, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil is the word "Yavana" and "Jobonan/Jubonan" in Bengali...

    or Yavana (transliterations of the Greek word for "Ionians
    Ionians
    The Ionians were one of the four major tribes into which the Classical Greeks considered the population of Hellenes to have been divided...

    ")
  • Javan
    Javan
    Javan was the fourth son of Noah's son Japheth according to the "Table of Nations" in the Hebrew Bible...

    or Yavan (in Hebrew
    Hebrew language
    Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

    )

Modern and Ancient


The most obvious link between modern and ancient Greeks is their language, which has a documented tradition from at least the 14th century BC to the present day, albeit with a break during the Greek Dark Ages
Greek Dark Ages
The Greek Dark Age or Ages also known as Geometric or Homeric Age are terms which have regularly been used to refer to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the Mycenaean Palatial civilization around 1200 BC, to the first signs of the Greek city-states in the 9th...

. Scholars compare its continuity of tradition to Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 alone. Since its inception, Hellenism was primarily a matter of common culture and the national continuity of the Greek world is a lot more certain than its demographic. Yet, Hellenism also embodied an ancestral dimension through aspects of Athenian literature that developed and influenced ideas of descent based on autochthony. During the later years of the Eastern Roman Empire, areas such as Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

 and Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 experienced a Hellenic revival in language, philosophy, and literature and on classical models of thought and scholarship. This revival provided a powerful impetus to the sense of cultural affinity with ancient Greece and its classical heritage. The cultural changes undergone by the Greeks are, despite a surviving common sense of ethnicity, undeniable. At the same time, the Greeks have retained their language and alphabet
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

, certain values, customs, a sense of religious and cultural difference and exclusion, (the word barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

was used by 12th century historian Anna Komnene
Anna Komnene
Anna Komnene, Latinized as Comnena was a Greek princess and scholar and the daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium and Irene Doukaina...

 to describe non-Greek speakers), a sense of Greek identity and common sense of ethnicity despite the global political and social changes of the past two millennia.

Demographics



Today, Greeks are the majority ethnic group in the Hellenic Republic, where they constitute 93% of the country's population, and the Republic of Cyprus where they make up 78% of the island's population (excluding Turkish settlers in the occupied part of the country). Greek populations have not traditionally exhibited high rates of growth; nonetheless, the population of Greece has shown regular increase since the country's first census in 1828. A large percentage of the population growth since the state's foundation has resulted from annexation of new territories and the influx of 1.5 million Greek refugees after the 1923 population exchange
Population exchange between Greece and Turkey
The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey was based upon religious identity, and involved the Greek Orthodox citizens of Turkey and the Muslim citizens of Greece...

 between Greece and Turkey. About 80% of the population of Greece is urban, with 28% concentrated in the city of Athens

Greeks from Cyprus have a similar history of emigration, usually to the English-speaking world because of the island's colonization by the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. Waves of emigration
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 followed the Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Turkish invasion of Cyprus
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, launched on 20 July 1974, was a Turkish military invasion in response to a Greek military junta backed coup in Cyprus...

 in 1974, while the population decreased between mid-1974 and 1977 as a result of emigration, war losses, and a temporary decline in fertility. After the ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

 of a third of the Greek population of the island in 1974, there was also an increase in the number of Greek Cypriots leaving, especially for the Middle East, which contributed to a decrease in population that tapered off in the 1990s. Today more than two-thirds of the Greek population in Cyprus is urban.

There is a sizeable Greek minority of about 105,000 people, in Albania
Greek minority in Albania
About a general view on history, geography, demographics and political issues concerning the region, see Northern Epirus.The Greeks of Albania are ethnic Greeks who live in or originate from areas within modern Albania...

. The Greek minority of Turkey
Greeks in Turkey
The Greeks in Turkey constitute a population of Greek and Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox Christians who mostly live in Istanbul, including its district Princes' Islands, as well as on the two islands of the western entrance to the Dardanelles: Imbros and Tenedos .They are the remnants of the...

, which numbered upwards of 200,000 people after the 1923 exchange, has now dwindled to a few thousand, after the 1955 Constantinople Pogrom
Istanbul Pogrom
The Istanbul riots , were mob attacks directed primarily at Istanbul's Greek minority on 6–7 September 1955. The riots were orchestrated by the Turkish government under Adnan Menderes. The events were triggered by the false news that the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki, north Greece—the...

 and other state sponsored violence and discrimination. This effectively ended, though not entirely, the three thousand year old presence of Hellenism in Asia Minor. There are smaller Greek minorities in the rest of the Balkan countries, the Levant
Greeks in Lebanon
The Greek presence in Lebanon is dated to ancient times and the Phoenicians and Greeks, both maritime peoples shared close ties. The Greek alphabet for example is derived from the Phoenician...

 and the Black Sea
Greeks in Georgia
The Greek diaspora in Georgia is estimated at between 15,000 and 20,000 people down from about 100,000 in 1989. The community has dwindled due to the large wave of repatriation to Greece , as well as emigration to Russia...

 states, remnants of the Old Greek Diaspora
Greek diaspora
The Greek diaspora, also known as Hellenic Diaspora or Diaspora of Hellenism, is a term used to refer to the communities of Greek people living outside the traditional Greek homelands, but more commonly in southeast Europe and Asia Minor...

 (pre-19th century).

Diaspora


The total number of Greeks living outside Greece and Cyprus today is a contentious issue. Where Census figures are available, they show around 3 million Greeks outside Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. Estimates provided by the SAE - World Council of Hellenes Abroad
SAE - World Council of Hellenes Abroad
The World Council of Greeks Abroad is the main body representing people of Greek ethnic descent, the Greek Diaspora living outside the boundaries of the Greek state.-History:...

 put the figure at around 7 million worldwide. According to George Prevelakis of Sorbonne University, the number is closer to just below 5 million. Integration, intermarriage, and loss of the Greek language influence the self-identification of the Omogeneia
Greek diaspora
The Greek diaspora, also known as Hellenic Diaspora or Diaspora of Hellenism, is a term used to refer to the communities of Greek people living outside the traditional Greek homelands, but more commonly in southeast Europe and Asia Minor...

. Important centres of the New Greek Diaspora today are London, New York, Melbourne and Toronto
Greek Canadians
Greek Canadians are Canadian citizens of Greek origin, also known as Hellenic origin. According to the 2006 Canadian census, there were 242,685 Canadians who claimed Greek ethnicity.- Authors :...

. Recently, the Hellenic Parliament passed a law that enables Diaspora Greeks to vote in the elections of the Greek state.

Ancient


In ancient times, the trading and colonizing activities of the Greek tribes and city states spread the Greek culture, religion and language around the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins, especially in Sicily and southern Italy
Magna Graecia
Magna Græcia is the name of the coastal areas of Southern Italy on the Tarentine Gulf that were extensively colonized by Greek settlers; particularly the Achaean colonies of Tarentum, Crotone, and Sybaris, but also, more loosely, the cities of Cumae and Neapolis to the north...

 (also known as Magna Grecia, Spain, the south of France and the Black sea coasts. Under Alexander the Great's empire and successor states, Greek and Hellenizing ruling classes were established in the Middle East, India
Indo-Greek Kingdom
The Indo-Greek Kingdom or Graeco-Indian Kingdom covered various parts of the northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent during the last two centuries BC, and was ruled by more than 30 Hellenistic kings, often in conflict with each other...

 and in Egypt
Ptolemaic dynasty
The Ptolemaic dynasty, was a Macedonian Greek royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC...

. The Hellenistic period
Hellenistic period
The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

 is characterized by a new wave of Greek colonization that established Greek cities and kingdoms in Asia
Dayuan
The Dayuan or Ta-Yuan were a people of Ferghana in Central Asia, described in the Chinese historical works of Records of the Grand Historian and the Book of Han. It is mentioned in the accounts of the famous Chinese explorer Zhang Qian in 130 BCE and the numerous embassies that followed him into...

 and Africa
Cyrene, Libya
Cyrene was an ancient Greek colony and then a Roman city in present-day Shahhat, Libya, the oldest and most important of the five Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times.Cyrene lies in a lush valley in the Jebel Akhdar...

. Under the Roman Empire, easier movement of people spread Greeks across the Empire and in the eastern territories, Greek became the lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 rather than Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

. The modern-day Griko community
Griko people
The Griko people sometimes spelled Grico, Greco and Grecanici in Calabria are an ethnic Greek community of Southern Italy, they are found principally in regions of Calabria and Puglia ,...

 of southern Italy, numbering about 60,000, may represent a living remnant of the ancient Greek populations of Italy.

Modern


During and after the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

, Greeks of the diaspora were important in establishing the fledgling state, raising funds and awareness abroad. Greek merchant families already had contacts in other countries and during the disturbances many set up home around the Mediterranean (notably Marseilles in France
Greeks in France
The Greek community in France numbers around 35,000 people. They are located all around the country but the main communities are located in Paris, Marseille and Grenoble.- The Greeks of Marseille :...

, Livorno in Italy
Greeks in Italy
Greek presence in Italy begins with the migrations of the old Greek Diaspora in the 8th century BC, continuing down to the present time. There is an ethnic Greek minority known as the Griko people, who live in the Southern Italian regions of Calabria and Puglia , that speak a distinctive dialect...

, Alexandria in Egypt
Greeks in Egypt
-Antiquity:Greeks have been living in Egypt since the ancient times. Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the 5th century BC, claimed that the Greeks were one of the first foreigners that ever lived in Egypt. Diodorus Siculus attested that Rhodian Actis, one of the Heliadae built the city of Heliopolis...

), Russia
Greeks in Russia
The Greek presence in southern Russia is dated to the 6th century BC. Today there are about 188,000 people of Greek extraction living in the Russian Federation. Most live in the south and the Black Sea region with large concentrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg...

 (Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

 and Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

), and Britain (London and Liverpool) from where they traded, typically in textiles and grain. Businesses frequently comprised the extended family, and with them they brought schools teaching Greek and the Greek Orthodox Church
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

.

As markets changed and they became more established, some families grew their operations to become shippers
Greek shipping
The Hellenic Merchant Marine refers to the Merchant Marine of Greece, engaged in commerce and transportation of goods and services universally. It consists of the merchant vessels owned by Greek civilians, flying either the Greek flag or a flag of convenience...

, financed through the local Greek community, notably with the aid of the Ralli
Ralli Brothers
The five Ralli brothers, Zannis a.k.a. John , Augustus ,Pandia a.k.a. Zeus ,Toumazis , and...

 or Vagliano Brothers
Panayis Athanase Vagliano
Panayis Athanase Vagliano a.k.a. Panaghis Athanassiou Vallianos, was a merchant and shipowner, acclaimed as the 'father of modern Greek shipping'....

. With economic success, the Diaspora expanded further across the Levant
Greeks in Syria
The Greek presence in Syria is dated to the 7th century BCE and became more prominent during the Hellenistic era and when the Seleucid Empire was centered there...

, North Africa, India and the USA.

In the 20th century, many Greeks left their traditional homelands for economic reasons resulting in large migrations from Greece and Cyprus to the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany
Greeks in Germany
The Greeks in Germany form a significant community with a population of 294,891 people according to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, on December 31, 2007.-History:The first Greeks came during the time of the Roman Empire to Central Europe....

, and South Africa
Greeks in South Africa
The Greek community in South Africa numbers 130,000 people.-Notable people:*George Bizos - human rights advocate*Stanley Christodoulou - international boxing judge and referee*Ivan Gazidis - sports business executive...

, especially after the Second World War (1939–45), the Greek Civil War
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

 (1946–49), and the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus
Turkish invasion of Cyprus
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, launched on 20 July 1974, was a Turkish military invasion in response to a Greek military junta backed coup in Cyprus...

 in 1974.

Culture


Greek culture
Culture of Greece
The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its Greek Eastern successor the Byzantine Empire...

 has evolved over thousands of years, with its beginning in the Mycenaean civilization, continuing through the Classical period, the Roman and Eastern Roman periods and was profoundly affected by Christianity, which it in turn influenced and shaped. Ottoman Greeks
Ottoman Greeks
Ottoman Greeks were ethnic Greeks who lived in the Ottoman Empire , the Republic of Turkey's predecessor...

 had to endure through several centuries of adversity that culminated in genocide in the 20th century but nevertheless included cultural exchanges and enriched both cultures. The Diafotismos
Diafotismos
The Modern Greek Enlightenment was an ideological, philological, linguistic and philosophical movement among 18th century Greeks that translate the ideas and values of European Enlightenment into the Greek world.-Origins:...

 is credited with revitalizing Greek culture and giving birth to the synthesis of ancient and medieval elements that characterize it today.

Language



Most Greeks speak the Greek language
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, an Indo-European language
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 that forms a branch itself, with its closest relations being Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 (see Graeco-Armenian
Graeco-Armenian
Graeco-Armenian is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Greek and Armenian languages which postdates the Proto-Indo-European...

) and the Indo-Iranian languages
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

 (see Graeco-Aryan). It has one of the longest documented histories of any language and Greek literature
Greek literature
Greek literature refers to writings composed in areas of Greek influence, typically though not necessarily in one of the Greek dialects, throughout the whole period in which the Greek-speaking people have existed.-Ancient Greek literature :...

 has a continuous history of over 2,500 years. Several notable literary works, including the Homeric epics
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

, Euclid's Elements
Euclid's Elements
Euclid's Elements is a mathematical and geometric treatise consisting of 13 books written by the Greek mathematician Euclid in Alexandria c. 300 BC. It is a collection of definitions, postulates , propositions , and mathematical proofs of the propositions...

 and the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, were originally written in Greek.

Greek demonstrates several linguistic features that are shared with other Balkan languages, such as Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

, Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and Eastern Romance languages
Eastern Romance languages
The Eastern Romance languages in their narrow conception, sometimes known as the Vlach languages, are a group of Romance languages that developed in Southeastern Europe from the local eastern variant of Vulgar Latin. Some classifications include the Italo-Dalmatian languages; when Italian is...

 (see Balkan sprachbund), and has absorbed many foreign words, primarily of Western European and Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 origin. Because of the movements of Philhellenism
Philhellenism
Philhellenism was an intellectual fashion prominent at the turn of the 19th century, that led Europeans like Lord Byron or Charles Nicolas Fabvier to advocate for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire...

 and the Diafotismos
Diafotismos
The Modern Greek Enlightenment was an ideological, philological, linguistic and philosophical movement among 18th century Greeks that translate the ideas and values of European Enlightenment into the Greek world.-Origins:...

 in the 19th century, which emphasized the modern Greeks' ancient heritage, these foreign influences were excluded from official use via the creation of Katharevousa
Katharevousa
Katharevousa , is a form of the Greek language conceived in the early 19th century as a compromise between Ancient Greek and the Modern Greek of the time, with a vocabulary largely based on ancient forms, but a much-simplified grammar. Originally, it was widely used both for literary and official...

, a somewhat artificial form of Greek purged of all foreign influence and words, as the official language of the Greek state. In 1976, however, the Hellenic Parliament
Hellenic Parliament
The Hellenic Parliament , also the Parliament of the Hellenes, is the Parliament of Greece, located in the Parliament House , overlooking Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece....

 voted to make the spoken Dimotiki
Dimotiki
Demotic Greek or dimotiki is the modern vernacular form of the Greek language. The term has been in use since 1818. Demotic refers particularly to the form of the language that evolved naturally from ancient Greek, in opposition to the artificially archaic Katharevousa, which was the official...

 the official language, making Katharevousa obsolete.

Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

 has, in addition to Standard Modern Greek or Dimotiki, a wide variety of dialects
Varieties of Modern Greek
The linguistic varieties of Modern Greek can be classified along two principal dimensions. First, there is a long tradition of sociolectal variation between the natural, popular spoken language on the one hand and archaizing, learned written forms on the other. Second, there is regional variation...

 of varying levels of mutual intelligibility, including Cypriot
Cypriot Greek
The Cypriot dialect of Modern Greek, known as Kypriaka , Cypriot Greek is spoken by 750,000 people in Cyprus and diaspora Greek Cypriots.Cypriot Greek is distinct enough that it can be classified as a distinct dialect of the Standard Greek....

, Pontic
Pontic language
Pontic Greek is a form of the Greek language originally spoken in the Pontus area on the southern shores of the Black Sea, northeastern Anatolia, Eastern Turkish/Caucasus province of Kars, southern Georgia, and today mainly in northern Greece...

, Cappadocian
Cappadocian Greek language
Cappadocian , also known as Cappadocian Greek or Asia Minor Greek, is a mixed language formerly spoken in Cappadocia . In the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s, Cappadocian speakers were forced to emigrate to Greece, where they were resettled in various locations,...

, Griko
Griko language
Griko, sometimes spelled Grico, is a form of the Greek language which is spoken by the Griko people in southern Italy. The Greeks consider it as a Modern Greek dialect and often call it Katoitaliotika or Grekanika...

 and Tsakonian
Tsakonian language
Tsakonian, Tsaconian, Tzakonian or Tsakonic is a Hellenic language, spoken in the Tsakonian region of the Peloponnese, Greece....

 (the only surviving representative of ancient Doric Greek
Doric Greek
Doric or Dorian was a dialect of ancient Greek. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese, Crete, Rhodes, some islands in the southern Aegean Sea, some cities on the coasts of Asia Minor, Southern Italy, Sicily, Epirus and Macedon. Together with Northwest Greek, it forms the...

). Yevanic
Yevanic language
Yevanic, otherwise known as Judeo-Greek, was the dialect of the Romaniotes, the group of Greek Jews whose existence in Greece is documented since the Hellenistic period. Its linguistic lineage stems from the Hellenistic Koine and includes Hebrew elements as well. It was mutually intelligible with...

 is the language of the Romaniotes
Romaniotes
The Romaniotes or Romaniots are a Jewish population who have lived in the territory of today's Greece and neighboring areas with large Greek populations for more than 2,000 years. Their languages were Yevanic, a Greek dialect, and Greek. They derived their name from the old name for the people...

, and survives in small communities in Greece, New York and Israel. In addition to Greek, many Greeks in Greece and the Diaspora are bilingual in other languages or dialects such as English, Arvanitika
Arvanitika
Arvanitika also known Arvanitic is the variety of Albanian traditionally spoken by the Arvanites, a population group in Greece...

, Aromanian
Aromanian language
Aromanian , also known as Macedo-Romanian, Arumanian or Vlach is an Eastern Romance language spoken in Southeastern Europe...

, Macedonian Slavic, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 and Turkish.

Religion



Most Greeks are Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s, belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

. During the first centuries after Jesus Christ
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 was originally written in Koine Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

, which remains the liturgical language
Sacred language
A sacred language, "holy language" , or liturgical language, is a language that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life.-Concept:...

 of the Greek Orthodox Church, and most of the early Christians and Church Fathers were Greek-speaking. While the Orthodox Church was always intensely hostile to the ancient Greek religion, it did help Greeks keep their sense of identity during the Ottoman rule through its use of Greek in the liturgy and its modest educational efforts. There are small groups of ethnic Greeks adhering to other Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 denominations like Greek Catholics
Roman Catholicism in Greece
The Catholic Church in Greece is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and Curia in Rome.Indigenous Catholic Greeks number about 50,000 and are a religious and not an ethnic minority...

, Greek Evangelicals
Greek Evangelical Church
The Greek Evangelical Church is a Presbyterian Reformed denomination in Greece...

, Pentecostals
Free Apostolic Church of Pentecost
The Free Apostolic Church of Pentecost is the biggest Greek pentecostal church. Founded by Dr. Leonidas Feggos in 1965, it now counts more than 140 churches, and over than 20,000 members in Greece. The Free Apostolic Church of Pentecost has churches and missions also in Cyprus, Albania, Bulgaria,...

, and groups adhering to other religions including Romaniot
Romaniotes
The Romaniotes or Romaniots are a Jewish population who have lived in the territory of today's Greece and neighboring areas with large Greek populations for more than 2,000 years. Their languages were Yevanic, a Greek dialect, and Greek. They derived their name from the old name for the people...

 and Sephardic Jews and Greek Muslims
Greek Muslims
Greek Muslims, also known as Greek-speaking Muslims, are Muslims of Greek ethnic origin, nowadays found mainly in Turkey, although migrations to Lebanon and Syria have been reported. Historically, Greek Orthodoxy has been associated with being Romios, i.e...

. In particular, there are Greek Muslim communities in Tripoli
Greeks in Lebanon
The Greek presence in Lebanon is dated to ancient times and the Phoenicians and Greeks, both maritime peoples shared close ties. The Greek alphabet for example is derived from the Phoenician...

, Lebanon, (7,000 strong) and Al Hamidiyah
Greeks in Syria
The Greek presence in Syria is dated to the 7th century BCE and became more prominent during the Hellenistic era and when the Seleucid Empire was centered there...

 in Syria, while there is a large community of indeterminate size in the Pontus region, who were spared of the population exchange because of their faith. About 2,000 Greeks are members of Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism congregations.

Art



Greek art has a long and varied history. Greeks have contributed to the visual, literary and performing arts. In the West, ancient Greek art
Art in Ancient Greece
The arts of ancient Greece have exercised an enormous influence on the culture of many countries all over the world, particularly in the areas of sculpture and architecture. In the West, the art of the Roman Empire was largely derived from Greek models...

 was influential in shaping the Roman
Roman art
Roman art has the visual arts made in Ancient Rome, and in the territories of the Roman Empire. Major forms of Roman art are architecture, painting, sculpture and mosaic work...

 and later the modern western art
Western art history
Western art is the art of the North American and European countries, and art created in the forms accepted by those countries.Written histories of Western art often begin with the art of the Ancient Middle East, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Aegean civilisations, dating from the 3rd millennium BC...

istic heritage. Following the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, the humanist aesthetic and the high technical standards of Greek art inspired generations of European artists. Well into the 19th century, the classical tradition derived from Greece played an important role in the art of the western world. In the East, Alexander the Great's conquests initiated several centuries of exchange between Greek, Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

n and Indian
Culture of India
India's languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food and customs differ from place to place within the country, but nevertheless possess a commonality....

 cultures, resulting in Greco-Buddhist art
Greco-Buddhist art
Greco-Buddhist art is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism, a cultural syncretism between the Classical Greek culture and Buddhism, which developed over a period of close to 1000 years in Central Asia, between the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE, and the Islamic...

, whose influence reached as far as Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

.

Byzantine Greek art
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

, which grew from classical art and adapted the pagan motifs in the service of Christianity, provided a stimulus to the art of many nations. Its influences can be traced from Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 in the West to Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 in the East. In turn, Greek art was influenced by eastern civilizations in classical antiquity and the new religion of Orthodox Christianity during Roman times, while modern Greek art is heavily influenced by western art.

Notable modern Greek artists include Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 painter Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), Panagiotis Doxaras
Panagiotis Doxaras
Panagiotis Doxaras was a Greek painter who founded the Heptanese School of Greek art .- Biography :He was born in Mani, Ottoman Greece. In 1664, his family moved to Zante where he was taught iconography by Leo Moscos. In 1694 he joined the Venetian army and fought against the Ottomans in Chios...

, Nikolaos Gyzis, Yannis Tsarouchis
Yannis Tsarouchis
-Early life:Born in Piraeus, he studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts . He was also a student of Photios Kontoglou, who introduced him to Byzantine iconography, while he also studied popular architecture and dressing customs...

, Nikos Engonopoulos
Nikos Engonopoulos
Nikos Engonopoulos was a modern Greek painter and poet. He is one of the most important members of the Greek Generation of the '30s as well as a major representative of the surrealistic movement in Greece...

, Constantine Andreou
Constantine Andreou
Constantine Andreou , was a painter and sculptor of Greek origin with a highly successful career that spanned six decades...

, Jannis Kounellis
Jannis Kounellis
Jannis Kounellis was born on March 23, 1936 in Piraeus, Greece. He studied in art college in Athens until 1956 and at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome....

, conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos, soprano Maria Callas
Maria Callas
Maria Callas was an American-born Greek soprano and one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century. She combined an impressive bel canto technique, a wide-ranging voice and great dramatic gifts...

, composers such as Mikis Theodorakis
Mikis Theodorakis
Mikis Theodorakis is one of the most renowned Greek songwriters and composers. Internationally, he is probably best known for his songs and for his scores for the films Zorba the Greek , Z , and Serpico .Politically, he identified with the left until the late 1980s; in 1989, he ran as an...

, Nikos Skalkottas, Iannis Xenakis
Iannis Xenakis
Iannis Xenakis was a Romanian-born Greek ethnic, naturalized French composer, music theorist, and architect-engineer. He is commonly recognized as one of the most important post-war avant-garde composers...

, Manos Hatzidakis, Eleni Karaindrou
Eleni Karaindrou
Eleni Karaindrou is a Greek composer, born in Teichio. She studied piano and theory at the Hellenikon Odion in Athens. She is best known for scoring the films of Theo Angelopoulos...

, Yanni
Yanni
Yanni , born Yiannis Hrysomallis is a Greek self-taught pianist, keyboardist, and composer who has spent most of his life in the United States.He earned Grammy nominations for his 1992 album, Dare to Dream, and the 1993 follow-up, In My Time...

 and Vangelis
Vangelis
Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou is a Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, pop rock and orchestral music, under the artist name Vangelis...

, one of the best-selling singers worldwide Nana Mouskouri
Nana Mouskouri
Nana Mouskouri , born Ioánna Moúschouri on October 13, 1934, in Chania, Crete, Greece, is a Greek singer who has sold about 300 million records worldwide in a career spanning over five decades, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She was known as Nána to her friends and...

 and poets such as Kostis Palamas
Kostis Palamas
Kostis Palamas was a Greek poet who wrote the words to the Olympic Hymn. He was a central figure of the Greek literary generation of the 1880s and one of the cofounders of the so-called New Athenian School along with Georgios Drosinis, Nikos Kampas, Ioanis Polemis.-Biography:Born in Patras, he...

, Dionysios Solomos
Dionysios Solomos
Dionysios Solomos was a Greek poet from Zakynthos. He is best known for writing the Hymn to Liberty , of which the first two stanzas, set to music by Nikolaos Mantzaros, became the Greek national anthem in 1865...

, Angelos Sikelianos
Angelos Sikelianos
Angelos Sikelianos was a Greek lyric poet and playwright. He wrote on national history, religious symbolism, and universal harmony in poems such as The Light-Shadowed, Prologue to Life, Mother of God, and Delphic Utterance...

 and Yannis Ritsos. Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

n Constantine P. Cavafy
Constantine P. Cavafy
Constantine P. Cavafy, also known as Konstantin or Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, or Kavaphes was a renowned Greek poet who lived in Alexandria and worked as a journalist and civil servant...

 and Nobel laureate
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

s Giorgos Seferis
Giorgos Seferis
Giorgos or George Seferis was the pen name of Geōrgios Seferiádēs . He was one of the most important Greek poets of the 20th century, and a Nobel laureate...

 and Odysseas Elytis
Odysseas Elytis
Odysseas Elytis was regarded as a major exponent of romantic modernism in Greece and the world. In 1979 he was bestowed with the Nobel Prize in Literature.-Biography:...

 are among the most important poets of the 20th century. Novel is also represented by Alexandros Papadiamantis
Alexandros Papadiamantis
Alexandros Papadiamantis was an influential Greek novelist and short-story writer.-His life:Papadiamantis was born in Greece, on the island of Skiathos, in the western part of the Aegean Sea. The island would figure prominently in his work. His father was a priest...

 and Nikos Kazantzakis
Nikos Kazantzakis
Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer and philosopher, celebrated for his novel Zorba the Greek, considered his magnum opus...

.

Notable Greek actors include Marika Kotopouli
Marika Kotopouli
-Biography:Kotopouli was born on 3 May 1887 in Athens, to Dimitris and Eleni. Her parents were also actors, and Marika's first stage appearance came during one of their tours, in the play "The Coachman of the Alps"...

, Melina Mercouri
Melina Mercouri
Melina Mercouri , born as Maria Amalia Mercouri was a Greek actress, singer and politician.As an actress she made her film debut in Stella and met international success with her performances in Never on Sunday, Phaedra, Topkapi and Promise at Dawn...

, Ellie Lambeti
Ellie Lambeti
Ellie Lambeti was a Greek actress.-Family:Born in 1926 in Greece,her father owned a Greek tavern in the village of Vilia Attikis. She had six siblings. Her maternal grandfather was a Captain Stamatis who fought together with Kolokotronis against the Turks in 1821, when the modern Greek democracy...

, Academy Award winner Katina Paxinou
Katina Paxinou
Katina Paxinou was a Greek film and theatre actress.-Early life:Born Aikaterini Konstantopoulou in Piraeus, Greece, she trained as an opera singer, and appeared in the operatic version of Maeterlinck's "Sister Beatrice," with a score by Dimitri Mitropoulos, but changed career and joined the Greek...

, Dimitris Horn
Dimitris Horn
Dimitris Horn was a Greek theatrical and film performer. He is regarded probably as the greatest Greek actor of modern times.-Biography:...

, Manos Katrakis
Manos Katrakis
Manos Katrakis was a Greek actor of theater and film.-Biography:Born in Kastelli, Crete, Greece, he was the youngest of five children of Haralambos Katrakis and Irini Katraki. When Manos was 10 years old, his family moved from Crete to Athens, where his father searched for work...

 and Irene Papas
Irene Papas
Irene Papas is a Greek actress and occasional singer, who has starred in over seventy films in a career spanning more than fifty years.-Life:...

. Alekos Sakellarios
Alekos Sakellarios
Alekos Sakellarios was a Greek writer and a director.He was born in Athens and began to learn journalism and acting at a young age. He wrote his first theatrical play in 1935 called The King of Halva...

, Michael Cacoyannis and Theo Angelopoulos
Theo Angelopoulos
Theodoros Angelopoulos is a Greek filmmaker, screenwriter and film producer.-Life:Angelopoulos studied law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, but after his military service went to Paris to attend the Sorbonne. He soon dropped out to study film at the IDHEC before returning...

 are among the most important directors.

Science


The Greeks of the Classical era made several notable contributions to science and helped lay the foundations of several western scientific traditions, like philosophy, historiography and mathematics. The scholarly tradition of the Greek academies was maintained during Roman times with several academic institutions in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 and other centres of Greek learning while Eastern Roman science was essentially a continuation of classical science. Greeks have a long tradition of valuing and investing in paideia (education). Paideia was one of the highest societal values in the Greek and Hellenistic world while the first European institution described as a university was founded in 5th century Constantinople and operated in various incarnations until the city's fall
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 to the Ottomans in 1453. The University of Constantinople
University of Constantinople
The University of Constantinople, sometimes known as the University of the palace hall of Magnaura in the Roman-Byzantine Empire was founded in 425 under the name of Pandidakterion...

 was Christian Europe's first secular institution of higher learning since no theological subjects were taught, and considering the original meaning of the world university as a corporation of students, the world’s first university as well.

As of 2007, Greece had the eighth highest percentage of tertiary enrollment in the world (with the percentages for female students being higher than for male) while Greeks of the Diaspora are equally active in the field of education. Hundreds of thousands of Greek students attend western universities every year while the faculty lists of leading Western universities contain a striking number of Greek names. Notable modern Greek scientists of modern times include Dimitrios Galanos
Dimitrios Galanos
Dimitrios Galanos was the earliest recorded Greek Indologist. His translations of Sanskrit texts into Greek made knowledge of the philosophical and religious ideas of India available to many Europeans....

, Georgios Papanikolaou
Georgios Papanikolaou
Georgios Nicholas Papanikolaou was a Greek pioneer in cytology and early cancer detection, and inventor of the "Pap smear".-Life:...

 (inventor of the Pap test), Nicholas Negroponte
Nicholas Negroponte
Nicholas Negroponte is an American architect best known as the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, and also known as the founder of the One Laptop per Child Association ....

, Constantin Carathéodory
Constantin Carathéodory
Constantin Carathéodory was a Greek mathematician. He made significant contributions to the theory of functions of a real variable, the calculus of variations, and measure theory...

, Manolis Andronikos
Manolis Andronikos
Manolis Andronikos was a Greek archaeologist and a professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He was born on October 23, 1919 at Bursa . Later, his family moved to Thessaloniki....

, Michael Dertouzos, John Argyris
John Argyris
John Hadji Argyris was among the creators of the Finite Element Method and lately Professor at the University of Stuttgart and Director of the Institute for Statics and Dynamics of Aerospace Structures. His uncle, Constantin Carathéodory, was a Greek mathematician of the Modern Era...

, Panagiotis Kondylis
Panagiotis Kondylis
Panagiotis Kondylis , was a Greek writer, translator and publications manager who principally wrote in German, in addition to translating most of his work into Greek...

 and Dimitri Nanopoulos
Dimitri Nanopoulos
Dimitri Nanopoulos is a Greek physicist. He is one of the most regularly cited researchers in the world, cited more than 35,800 times over across a number of separate branches of science....

.

Symbols


The most widely used symbol is the flag of Greece
Flag of Greece
The flag of Greece , officially recognized by Greece as one of its national symbols, is based on nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white...

, which features nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white representing the nine syllables of the Greek national motto Eleftheria i thanatos
Eleftheria i thanatos
Eleftheria i thanatos is the motto of Greece. It arose during the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s, where it was a war cry for the Greeks who rebelled against Ottoman rule. It was adopted after the Greek War of Independence. It is still in use today, and is a popular theory regarding the use...

(freedom or death), which was the motto of the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

. The blue square in the upper hoist-side corner bears a white cross, which represents Greek Orthodoxy
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

. The Greek flag is widely used by the Greek Cypriots
Greek Cypriots
Greek Cypriots are the ethnic Greek population of Cyprus, forming the island's largest ethnolinguistic community at 77% of the population. Greek Cypriots are mostly members of the Church of Cyprus, an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity...

, although Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 has officially adopted a neutral flag to ease ethnic tensions with the Turkish Cypriot
Turkish Cypriots
Turkish Cypriots are the ethnic Turks and members of the Turkish-speaking ethnolinguistic community of the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The term is used to refer explicitly to the indigenous Turkish Cypriots, whose Ottoman Turkish forbears colonised the island in 1571...

 minority – see flag of Cyprus
Flag of Cyprus
The flag of Cyprus came into use on August 16, 1960, under the Zürich and London Agreements, whereby a constitution was drafted and Cyprus was proclaimed an independent state. The flag was designed by Turkish Cypriot art teacher İsmet Güney....

).

The pre-1978 (and first) flag of Greece, which features a Greek cross
Cross
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet...

 (crux immissa quadrata) on a blue background, is widely used as an alternative to the official flag, and they are often flown together. The national emblem of Greece
National emblem of Greece
The national emblem of Greece , also known as the coat of arms of Greece, consists of a blue escutcheon with a white cross totally surrounded by two laurel branches...

 features a blue escutcheon with a white cross surrounded by two laurel branches. A common design involves the current flag of Greece and the pre-1978 flag of Greece with crossed flagpoles and the national emblem placed in front.

Another highly recognizable and popular Greek symbol is the double-headed eagle, the imperial emblem of the last dynasty of the Roman Empire and a common symbol in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and, later, Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

. It is not part of the modern Greek flag or coat of arms, although it is officially the insignia of the Greek Army and the flag of the Church of Greece
Church of Greece
The Church of Greece , part of the wider Greek Orthodox Church, is one of the autocephalous churches which make up the communion of Orthodox Christianity...

. It had been incorporated in the Greek coat of arms between 1925 and 1926.

Surnames


The Greeks were one of the first people in Europe to use surnames and these were widely in use by the 9th century supplanting the ancient tradition of using the father’s name, however Greek surnames are most commonly patronymics. Commonly, Greek male surnames end in -s, which is the common ending for Greek masculine proper nouns in the nominative case
Nominative case
The nominative case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments...

. Exceptionally, some end in -ou, indicating the genitive case
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

 of this proper noun for patronymic reasons. Although surnames in mainland Greece are static today, dynamic and changing patronymic usage survives in middle names where the genitive of father's first name is commonly the middle name (this usage having been passed onto the Russians). In Cyprus, by contrast, surnames follow the ancient tradition of being given according to the father’s name. Finally, in addition to Greek-derived surnames many have Latin, Turkish and Italian origin.

With respect to personal names, the two main influences are early Christianity and antiquity. The ancient names were never forgotten but have become more widely bestowed from the 18th century onwards.

Sea


The traditional Greek homelands have been the Greek peninsula and the Aegean Sea, the Southern Italy (Magna Graecia
Magna Graecia
Magna Græcia is the name of the coastal areas of Southern Italy on the Tarentine Gulf that were extensively colonized by Greek settlers; particularly the Achaean colonies of Tarentum, Crotone, and Sybaris, but also, more loosely, the cities of Cumae and Neapolis to the north...

), the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

, the Ionian coasts
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

 of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and the islands of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 and Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. In Plato's Phaidon
Phaedo
Plato's Phaedo is one of the great dialogues of his middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The Phaedo, which depicts the death of Socrates, is also Plato's seventh and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days .In the dialogue, Socrates...

, Socrates remarks, "we (Greeks) live like ants or frogs around a pond". This image is attested by the map of the Old Greek Diaspora, which corresponded to the Greek world until the creation of the Greek state
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 in 1832. The sea
Sea
A sea generally refers to a large body of salt water, but the term is used in other contexts as well. Most commonly, it means a large expanse of saline water connected with an ocean, and is commonly used as a synonym for ocean...

 and trade were natural outlets for Greeks since the Greek peninsula is rocky and does not offer good prospects for agriculture.

Notable Greek seafarers include people such as Pytheas
Pytheas
Pytheas of Massalia or Massilia , was a Greek geographer and explorer from the Greek colony, Massalia . He made a voyage of exploration to northwestern Europe at about 325 BC. He travelled around and visited a considerable part of Great Britain...

 of Marseilles, Scylax of Caryanda
Scylax of Caryanda
Scylax of Caryanda was a renowned Carian explorer and writer of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE.-Exploration and literary works:In about 515 BCE, Scylax was sent by King Darius I of Persia to follow the course of the Indus River and discover where it led. Scylax and his companions set out from city...

 who sailed to Iberia and beyond, Nearchus
Nearchus
Nearchus was one of the officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. His celebrated voyage from India to Susa after Alexander's expedition in India is preserved in Arrian's account, the Indica....

, the 6th century merchant and later monk Cosmas Indicopleustes
Cosmas Indicopleustes
Cosmas Indicopleustes was an Alexandrian merchant and later hermit, probably of Nestorian tendencies. He was a 6th-century traveller, who made several voyages to India during the reign of emperor Justinian...

 (Cosmas who sailed to India) and the explorer of the Northwestern passage Juan de Fuca
Juan de Fuca
Ioánnis Fokás , better known by the Spanish transcription of his name, Juan de Fuca , was a Greek-born maritime pilot in the service of the king of Spain, Philip II...

. In later times, the Romioi plied the sea-lanes of the Mediterranean and controlled trade until an embargo imposed by the Roman Emperor on trade with the Caliphate opened the door for the later Italian pre-eminence in trade.

The Greek shipping tradition recovered during Ottoman rule when a substantial merchant middle class developed, which played an important part in the Greek War of Independence. Today, Greek shipping continues to prosper to the extent that Greece has the largest merchant fleet in the world, while many more ships under Greek ownership fly flags of convenience. The most notable shipping magnate
Magnate
Magnate, from the Late Latin magnas, a great man, itself from Latin magnus 'great', designates a noble or other man in a high social position, by birth, wealth or other qualities...

 of the 20th century was Aristotle Onassis
Aristotle Onassis
Aristotle Sokratis Onassis , commonly called Ari or Aristo Onassis, was a prominent Greek shipping magnate.- Early life :Onassis was born in Karatass, a suburb of Smyrna to Socrates and Penelope Onassis...

, others being Yiannis Latsis
Yiannis Latsis
Yiannis Latsis , also John Spyridon Latsis, was a Greek shipping tycoon notable for his great wealth, influential friends, and charitable activities.-Biography:...

, George Livanos
George Livanos
Georges P. Livanos was born in 1926 in New Orleans. His father was Peter Livanos. During the World War II, Georges Livanos served in the American army in Japan....

, and Stavros Niarchos
Stavros Niarchos
Stavros Spyros Niarchos was a Greek shipping tycoon, sometimes known as "The Golden Greek." In 1952, Stavros Niarchos built the first supertankers capable of transporting large quantities of oil, and subsequently earned millions of dollars as global demand for his ships increased.- Early life :He...

. A famous Greek poet of the 20th century was also a Chinese-born seaman Nikos Kavvadias
Nikos Kavvadias
Nikos Kavvadias was a Greek poet and writer; currently one of the most popular poets in Greece, who used his travels around the world as a sailor, and life at sea and its adventures, as powerful metaphors for the escape of ordinary people outside the boundaries of reality.- Early life and...

.

Timeline


The history of the Greek people is closely associated with the history of Greece, Cyprus, Constantinople, Asia Minor and the Black Sea. During the Ottoman rule of Greece, a number of Greek enclaves around the Mediterranean were cut off from the core, notably in Southern Italy, the Caucasus, Syria and Egypt. By the early 20th century, over half of the overall Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

-speaking population was settled in Asia Minor (now Turkey), while later that century a huge wave of migration to the United States, Australia, Canada and elsewhere created the modern Greek diaspora.

Some key historical events have also been included for context, but this timeline is not intended to cover history not related to migrations. There is more information on the historical context of these migrations in History of Greece
History of Greece
The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern state of Greece, as well as that of the Greek people and the areas they ruled historically. The scope of Greek habitation and rule has varied much through the ages, and, as a result, the history of Greece is similarly...

.


-
19th century || Conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Greek diaspora
Greek diaspora
The Greek diaspora, also known as Hellenic Diaspora or Diaspora of Hellenism, is a term used to refer to the communities of Greek people living outside the traditional Greek homelands, but more commonly in southeast Europe and Asia Minor...

 into Europe begins. Ottoman settlements in Greece. Phanariot Greeks occupy high posts in Eastern European millets.
|}
Time Events
1830s Creation of the Modern Greek State
History of modern Greece
The history of modern Greece covers the history of Greece from the recognition of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832 after the Greek War of Independence to the present day.- Background :In 1821, the Greeks rose up against the Ottoman Empire...

. Immigration to the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 begins. Large-scale migrations from Constantinople and Asia Minor to Greece take place.
1913 European Ottoman lands partitioned; Unorganized migrations of Greeks, Bulgarians and Turks towards their respective states.
1914–1923 Greek genocide; hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Greeks
Ottoman Greeks
Ottoman Greeks were ethnic Greeks who lived in the Ottoman Empire , the Republic of Turkey's predecessor...

 are estimated to have died during this period.
1919 Treaty of Neuilly
Treaty of Neuilly
The Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine, dealing with Bulgaria for its role as one of the Central Powers in World War I, was signed on 27 November 1919 at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France....

; Greece and Bulgaria exchange populations, with some exceptions.
1922 The Destruction of Smyrna
Great Fire of Smyrna
The Great Fire of Smyrna or the Catastrophe of Smyrna was a fire that destroyed much of the port city of Izmir in September 1922. Eye-witness reports state that the fire began on 13 September 1922 and lasted until it was largely extinguished on September 22...

 (modern-day Izmir) more than 40 thousand Greeks killed, End of significant Greek presence in Asia Minor.
1923 Treaty of Lausanne; Greece and Turkey agree to exchange populations with limited exceptions of the Greeks in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, Imbros
Imbros
Imbros or Imroz, officially referred to as Gökçeada since July 29, 1970 , is an island in the Aegean Sea and the largest island of Turkey, part of Çanakkale Province. It is located at the entrance of Saros Bay and is also the westernmost point of Turkey...

, Tenedos
Tenedos
Tenedos or Bozcaada or Bozdja-Ada is a small island in the Aegean Sea, part of the Bozcaada district of Çanakkale province in Turkey. , Tenedos has a population of about 2,354. The main industries are tourism, wine production and fishing...

 and the Muslim minority of Western Thrace
Western Thrace
Western Thrace or simply Thrace is a geographic and historical region of Greece, located between the Nestos and Evros rivers in the northeast of the country. Together with the regions of Macedonia and Epirus, it is often referred to informally as northern Greece...

. 1.5 million of Asia Minor and Pontic Greeks settle in Greece, and some 450 thousands of Muslims settle in Turkey.
1940s Hundred of thousands Greeks died from starvation during the Axis Occupation of Greece
1947 Communist regime in Romania begins evictions of the Greek community, approx. 75,000 migrate.
1948 Greek Civil War
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

. Tens of thousands of Greek communists and their families flee into Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 nations. Thousands settle in Tashkent
Tashkent
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and of the Tashkent Province. The officially registered population of the city in 2008 was about 2.2 million. Unofficial sources estimate the actual population may be as much as 4.45 million.-Early Islamic History:...

.
1950s Massive emigration of Greeks to West Germany, the United States, Australia, Canada, and other countries.
1955 Istanbul Pogrom
Istanbul Pogrom
The Istanbul riots , were mob attacks directed primarily at Istanbul's Greek minority on 6–7 September 1955. The riots were orchestrated by the Turkish government under Adnan Menderes. The events were triggered by the false news that the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki, north Greece—the...

 against Greeks. Exodus of Greeks from the city accelerates; less than 2,000 remain today.
1958 Large Greek community in Alexandria flees Nasser's
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 regime in Egypt.
1960s Republic of Cyprus created as an independent state under Greek, Turkish and British protection. Economic emigration continues.
1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Turkish invasion of Cyprus
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, launched on 20 July 1974, was a Turkish military invasion in response to a Greek military junta backed coup in Cyprus...

. Almost all Greeks living in Northern Cyprus flee to the south and the United Kingdom.
1980s Many civil war refugees were allowed to re-emigrate to Greece. Retro-migration of Greeks from Germany begins.
1990s Collapse of Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Approx. 100,000 ethnic Greeks migrate from Georgia, Armenia, southern Russia, and Albania to Greece.
2000s Some statistics show the beginning of a trend of reverse migration of Greeks from the United States and Australia.



See also



  • Antiochian Greeks
    Antiochian Greeks
    Antiochian Greeks are members of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch who have resided in the territory of contemporary Turkish province of Hatay, which includes the old city of Antioch or modern-day Antakya. The community has a long heritage that dates back to the establishment of Antioch in 323...

  • Arvanites
    Arvanites
    Arvanites are a population group in Greece who traditionally speak Arvanitika, a dialect of the Albanian language. They settled in Greece during the late Middle Ages and were the dominant population element of some regions of the Peloponnese and Attica until the 19th century...

  • Greek Cypriots
    Greek Cypriots
    Greek Cypriots are the ethnic Greek population of Cyprus, forming the island's largest ethnolinguistic community at 77% of the population. Greek Cypriots are mostly members of the Church of Cyprus, an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity...


  • Griko people
    Griko people
    The Griko people sometimes spelled Grico, Greco and Grecanici in Calabria are an ethnic Greek community of Southern Italy, they are found principally in regions of Calabria and Puglia ,...

  • Macedonians (Greeks)
    Macedonians (Greeks)
    Macedonians are a regional population group of ethnic Greeks, inhabiting or originating from the region of Macedonia, in northern Greece. Today, most live in or around the regional capital city of Thessaloniki. Many have spread across the whole of Greece and in the diaspora.-Preface:Greek...

  • Maniots
    Maniots
    The Maniots or Maniates are the Greek inhabitants of the Mani Peninsula located in the southern Peloponnese in the Greek prefecture of Laconia and prefecture of Messinia. They were also formerly known as Mainotes and the peninsula as Maina. The Maniots are the direct descendants of the Spartans...


  • Northern Epirotes
  • Pontic Greeks
    Pontic Greeks
    The Pontians are an ethnic group traditionally living in the Pontus region, the shores of Turkey's Black Sea...

  • Romaniotes
    Romaniotes
    The Romaniotes or Romaniots are a Jewish population who have lived in the territory of today's Greece and neighboring areas with large Greek populations for more than 2,000 years. Their languages were Yevanic, a Greek dialect, and Greek. They derived their name from the old name for the people...




External links



Omogenia

Religious

Academic
  • Transnational Communities Programme at the University of Oxford, includes papers on the Greek Diaspora
  • Greeks on Greekness: The Construction and Uses of the Greek Past among Greeks under the Roman Empire.
  • The Modern Greek Studies Association
    Modern Greek Studies Association
    The Modern Greek Studies Association is a scholarly organization for modern Greek studies in North America. It was founded in 1968.It is interdisciplinary, covering language, history, politics, economics, society, and the arts of modern Greece, broadly defined.The MGSA sponsors the Journal of...

     is a scholarly organization for modern Greek studies in North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

    , which publishes the Journal of Modern Greek Studies
    Journal of Modern Greek Studies
    The Journal of Modern Greek Studies is an academic journal founded in 1983 and is the official publication of the Modern Greek Studies Association. It is devoted to the study of modern Greece and explores social, cultural, and political affairs in Greece from the late Byzantine period until the...

    .
  • The Got Greek? Next Generation National Research Study is an academic study of young diaspora Greeks sponsored by The Next Generation Initiative
    The Next Generation Initiative
    The Next Generation Initiative is an independent non-profit educational foundation focused on helping students gain real-world skills and experience that will advance their education, and serve them as future leaders in their communities and in the broader public arena.The Initiative works with...

  • Waterloo Institute for Hellenistic Studies


Trade organizations

Charitable organizations