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Greece History

Greece History

Last Update June 3, 2024

Greek history spans across multiple millennia, beginning with the ancient civilizations that emerged in the region. The earliest notable period is the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1450 BCE) on Crete, followed by the Mycenaean civilization (c. 1600–1100 BCE) on the mainland. The Mycenaeans were part of the broader Aegean culture and are often associated with the legends of the Trojan War. After the decline of the Mycenaeans, Greece entered the Dark Ages (c. 1100–800 BCE), a period marked by a decline in population and literacy. The subsequent Archaic period (c. 800–500 BCE) saw the rise of city-states (poleis) like Athens and Sparta, the establishment of colonies, and significant developments in art, politics, and philosophy.

The Classical period (c. 500–323 BCE) is usually considered the pinnacle of ancient Greek civilization. It was marked by great achievements in literature, philosophy, art, and architecture, with figures like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle laying the foundations of Western thought. Politically, this era saw the Persian Wars, where Greek city-states united against the Persian Empire, and the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. The conquests of Alexander the Great (356–323 BCE) spread Greek culture across the Mediterranean and into Asia, initiating the Hellenistic period (323–31 BCE), characterized by the blending of Greek and Eastern cultures. This era ended with the Roman conquest of Greece, leading to Greece becoming a part of the Roman Empire and later the Byzantine Empire after the Roman Empire's division.

The modern history of Greece began with the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829) against the Ottoman Empire, leading to the establishment of the modern Greek state in 1830. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, Greece expanded its territory, and during World War I and World War II, it played a strategic role due to its geographic location. The mid-20th century saw political instability, including a civil war (1946–1949) and a military junta (1967–1974). Since the restoration of democracy in 1974, Greece has become a member of the European Union (1981) and the Eurozone (2001). Despite economic challenges, particularly during the 2008 financial crisis, Greece continues to be an integral part of European and global affairs, maintaining its rich cultural heritage and historical significance.

Greek History Topics

Attalos II Philometor Euergetes

King Otto of Greece

Constantine II – The Last King of Greece

Byzantium and Constantinople

Hagia Sophia


Parthenon (photo 1920)

Hekatompedon vs Parthenon

Greece 1990s economic survival

Colonel Fabvier in Greece

The Phanariots in Greece

The Panathenaic Stadium in Athens

Lycurgus of Athens famed financial leader and public works administrator for Athens in 4th century BC

The Junta in Greece 1967-1974

Greece Bicentennial 2021

Archeology in Greece

Description of the original Hagia Sophia of Justinian I from the book History of the Byzantine Empire by George Ostrogorsky


Theodore Colocontranes

Dimitrios Ioannidis

Antonis Samras

Media Links

Remembering the famine in Athens in 1941-1942

May 19, 2024 :Story at Protothema [Greek]

How potatoes came to Greece

April 3, 2023: Story at Irish Central [English]

Greece History Internet Links

March 15, 2022: "Greece feels the squeeze as history closes in all around it"Irish Times

...the past 200 years have seen permanent tension, distrust and aggression between Greece and Turkey. History repeats itself – even in its personnel. The central figure of Greek politics 1910-1935 was Eleutherios Venizelos, a devious, charismatic and deeply divisive character, whose great-great-nephew Kyriakos Mitsotakis is the current prime minister, who lacks his ancestor’s charisma and acumen.

Although Venizelos wasn’t in office at the time of the “Anatolian Catastrophe”, his fingerprints were all over it. Today, Mitsotakis points the Greek finger at Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan for creating a casus belli with Greece by demanding the return of some of the islands it acquired in the period 1913-1947.

August 11, 2021: Women of Troy – "The Booker-winner continues her visceral recounting of the Trojan war from the perspective of its female victims" – Financial Times

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Original page April 2021 | Updated June 2, 2024

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