Greece - A Primer


Greece is a country in the southern part of Europe. It lies on a piece of land called the the Balkan peninsula. Around this are the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas. To its north is Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. 
In any case, in terms of geography, the region can be divided into a few sections:
Northern Greece 
Central Greece 
Peloponnese 
Crete
Greece boasts a very long history, with the Greek language being present in the country for nearly 4,000 years. To truly appreciate this place, it's important to understand a little bit of the region's history, given that this place was certainly the cradle of Western civilization. I really suggest that you read up a little about this place before you leave. We could break it down into a few time periods and which areas they were in rule for.

Early civilizations
The country's first inhabitants are now referred to as the Pelasgians. Very little is known about them, but most believe that they were a primitive people. The first civilizations were the Cycladic Civilization -they inhabited most of the islands between Athens, Turkey and Greece (the islands in pink) - and the Minoan Civilization, who inhabited the islands of Crete and SantorĂ­ni. 

Dark Ages
Greek-speaking Indo-European people arrived in the country around 1700 BC, from both the north and the west coast of Asia Minor (now Turkey), absorbing the locals. They were divided into a number of tribes (the Achaeans, Ionians, Dorians, and others), each which arrived in the country at different time intervals. Their arrival may have been responsible for ending the Cycladic and Minoan civilizations. The first Greek-speaking civilization, the Mycenean Civilization, were centered in the Peloponnese region. Then, the arrival of the Dorians brought the country into what is referred to as the Dark Age of ancient Greece; although it is now understood among historians that civilization in Greece remained sophisticated and advanced during this time.
Related Posts: Mycenae

Archaic Period
Archaic Greece was the period lasting from the eighth century BC to the second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC, following the Dark Ages and succeeded by the Classical period. This period laid the foundations of classical Greece, and was marked by an increase in population.

Classical Greece
Classical Greece is often called the Golden Age of Greece, when city-states were formed. Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes were the most prominent of the city-states (with Athens being the most prestigious). It was during this time that the Greek mythologies became popular, and that's how the oracle of Delphi myths arose. 
Related Posts: AthensDelphi

Hellenistic Period
Later, the main hub of Greek Civilization shifted, during the 4th century BC, from southern Greece (Athens, Delphi etc. ) to northern Greece (Thesoloniki etc). The northern Macedonian kingdom, under Alexander the Great, conquered all of Greece, and proceeded eastward, creating an empire all the way to South Asia with the stated intent of spreading Greek Civilization. 

Roman Period
The empire eventually broke up, and Greece was eventually annexed by the growing Roman Empire. Although weakened politically, Greek Civilization continued to flourish under Roman rule and heavily influenced Roman culture.

Arrival of Christianity and Byzantine Empire
Christianity arrived in Greece with St. Paul during the 1st century AD, and eventually spread throughout Greece and the Roman Empire. In the 4th century, the Roman Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity and declared it the state religion. He moved the capital from Rome to Byzantium (present-day Istanbul), which he renamed Constantinople. Internal divisions divided the Roman Empire into a western half (West Roman Empire) and an eastern half (East Roman Empire.) 
Related Posts: CorinthIstanbul

Medieval Greece
This period refers to the time which is dominated by the Byzantine Empire and revolved around Christianity, Greek Language and Civilization, and Roman law. The empire together with Rome waged a war (the Crusades) against the Muslims. However, during the 13th century, the Crusaders turned on the Byzantine Empire itself, sacking Constantinople.
Related Posts: Istanbul

Ottoman rule
With the sacking of Constantinople, Greece fell under Ottoman Turkish rule, but vigorously retained its Greek-speaking Christian culture. However, many Greeks fled the country, establishing Greek communities elsewhere in Europe; these communities would later influence the Greek Revolution.
Related Posts: Istanbul

Enlightenment, Revolution and Later
At this time, the Italian city-states of Genoa and Venice competed with the Ottomans for control of various parts of Greece. They managed to conquer various islands and coastal areas, including Nafplion, an important port city. This also brought movements such as the Renaissance (and later the Enlightenment) to places like Crete and parts of the Peloponnese region.This also led to awakening of Greek identity, and gave birth to the goal of an independent, unified, and sovereign Greek state. The Greek Revolution finally broke out on the 25th of March, 1821, and led to a long war against the Ottomans for independence. The nation finally achieved its independence from the Ottomans in 1829. The newly-independent Greek State was briefly a republic, before becoming a monarchy. 
Related Posts: Nafplion 

With this primer on the history, you should be good to go. Now, off to reading my blog on Greece:

Greece



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