A nation on the Mediterranean Sea, the vast majority of which is connected to the mainland of Europe, although the country does contain some islands, including Crete. It borders Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Ancient Greece, a group of separate city-states speaking related dialects, covered a somewhat larger area and sent out colonies to what is now Italy and other areas.

The Hellenic Republic of Greece, also known as Ellas or Elliniki Dhimokratia, is a land of mountains and islands, covering 131,957 sq km. To the west of Greece lies the Ionian Sea, to the south the Mediterranean, and to the east the Aegean Sea. Its northern land borders include Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. There are more than 2,000 Greek islands, 170 of them inhabited. The country's capital is Athens.


Greek history

The long history of Greece began in the so-called classical era, and continued with a period of Macedonian supremacy, before entering the Roman and Byzantine eras. The Ottoman empire dominated Greece for many years before a movement for independence began in the 1820s. Modern Greece has included a period of military dictatorship 1967-1973, and democracy returned in 1974. In 1981, Greece became a member of the European Community (now the European Union).


Greek language

The Greek language has evolved considerably since the days of ancient Greek, passing through periods characterised as archaic, classical, Hellenistic, and Byzantine Greek, before arriving at the modern variety of the language.


Greek society and culture

Byzantine rule led to Greek adoption of Orthodox Christianity, and the period of Ottoman rule also had a strong influence on the country's culture. Greek literature has included ancient writers like Homer, Sophocles, Plato, and Aristotle, and more modern writers like Nikos Kazantzakis, author of Zorba the Greek. Greece has also given the world the Olympic Games, which first began in ancient Greece.


Greek art and architecture

Ancient Greece left a legacy of sculpture, mosaic, and crafts. The Archaic period (800-480 BC) showed Egyptian influence; the Classical period (480-323 BC) was characterised by dignified realism; and the Hellenistic period (323-27 BC) was more exuberant and dramatic.

Greek architecture perfected three orders of columns: the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. These led to fine buildings like the Parthenon, the temple of Diana in Ephesus, and the Mausoleum in Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.




Sources:
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc, 1994-2000
The Hutchinson Encyclopedia, Helicon Publishing Ltd, 1996
Chronicle of the World, Chronicle Communications Ltd, London, 1989

The following e2 nodes may be of interest. /Msg me with any additions.


Geography

History

Culture

Food

Language

Philosophy

Politics

Religion and Mythology

Miscellaneous

Alright!

Here is a deeper definition for those interested in the truth.

Greece: The name given to the inhabitants of the small nation that revolted against the Ottoman empire, around 1821. This name was arranged by non-Greeks and is the one used in the english language, meaning primarily by anglosaxon countries. "Greeks", call themselves today Ellines (Έλληνες) and their country "Greece", Ellas. Of course, these words are probably best written in english as Hellas and Hellenes. I am not writing them this way, because in the past i was astonished to see that an American woman argued with me in blaming Greeks of the past for a generalized trend of homosexuality, saying: "So why do you all call yourselves Hellenes?" You get it? She was telling me that since we call ourselves Hellenes, it must be related to the female name of Helen, so yeah, we got to be gay! I was really amazed at that level of intellectual confrontation. Which reminded me once again how easily Greek words can and are misunderstood when transfered into english. By the way, yes, Helen is a Greek female name, and it comes from the same root word as Hellas and Hellenes. But no, Greeks do not name themselves collectively with that female name..

Lets get into more details on the name. Greeks, were called the first settlers of the south Italian colonies of Greeks in classical times, by the Italians of the time. Then it passed to all latin-based languages. Before that? Yes, Homer refers to Greeks as one of the Hellenic tribes that took part in the Trojan War. This tribe came from Boiotia (region in Greece).*

With the formation of the independent state in the 1800s, there was a debate inside Ellas too, about how its inhabitants should call themselves from now on. There were different opinions. Three actually. 1. Greeks, the name with the history i mentioned, which was what foreign powers wanted to use. It was in very minor use in the 'Greek' population of the time, mostly to declare they are not Turks. There are few accounts of non-educated warlords of the 'Greek' countryside, that declared 'we are Grecians', 'i was born a Grecian, i will die a Grecian', etc. 2. Romioi, a word related to 'Romans'. It heavily declares mostly the Orthodox Christian religion of the population, than their nationality. Considering the 1000 year old Eastern Roman Empire's (Byzantium) legacy, that 'Greeks' were a part of, and the 400 years under Ottoman rule where Christianity was their main concept of coherence and unity against the muslim Turks, it is not a suprise that this name was also considered. 3. Ellines (Hellenes), a name that clearly states nationality, the name that from the classical times was used to first show signs of unity between the 'Greek' tribes.

The last one was chosen, and the independent nation was first named "Hellenic Kingdom".

But, non-Greeks continued and continue to call the nation 'Greece'. Thus, we are discussing now in a node named 'Greece'.

It is probably a non-issue to anyone but people of the said nationality. But a deeper history of the name is interesting, at least to the ones interested in historical truth.

*This is only one possibility for where the words 'Greeks' and 'Greece' originated. There are numerous different opinions, by different ancient writers. It would be extremely lengthy to include them all here.

Greece (?), n. pl.

See Gree a step.

[Obs.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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