Jon Woronoff, Series Editor
1. Portugal, by Douglas L. Wheeler. 1993. Out of print. See no. 40.
2. Turkey, by Metin Heper. 1994. Out of print. See no. 38.
3. Poland, by George Sanford and Adriana Gozdecka-Sanford. 1994.
Out of print. See no. 41.
4. Germany, by Wayne C. Thompson, Susan L. Thompson, and Juliet
S. Thompson. 1994.
5. Greece, by Thanos M. Veremis and Mark Dragoumis. 1995.
6. Cyprus, by Stavros Panteli. 1995. Out of print. See no. 69.
7. Sweden, by Irene Scobbie. 1995. Out of print. See no. 48.
8. Finland, by George Maude. 1995. Out of print. See no. 49.
9. Croatia, by Robert Stallaerts and Jeannine Laurens. 1995. Out of
print. See no. 39.
10. Malta, by Warren G. Berg. 1995.
11. Spain, by Angel Smith. 1996. Out of print. See no. 65.
12. Albania, by Raymond Hutchings. 1996. Out of print. See no. 42.
13. Slovenia, by Leopoldina Plut-Pregelj and Carole Rogel. 1996. Out
of print. See no. 56.
14. Luxembourg, by Harry C. Barteau. 1996.
15. Romania, by Kurt W. Treptow and Marcel Popa. 1996.
16. Bulgaria, by Raymond Detrez. 1997. Out of print. See no. 46.
17. United Kingdom: Volume 1, England and the United Kingdom;
Volume 2, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, by Kenneth J.
Panton and Keith A. Cowlard. 1997, 1998.
18. Hungary, by Steven Béla Várdy. 1997.
19. Latvia, by Andrejs Plakans. 1997.
20. Ireland, by Colin Thomas and Avril Thomas. 1997.
21. Lithuania, by Saulius Suziedelis. 1997.
22. Macedonia, by Valentina Georgieva and Sasha Konechni. 1998.
Out of print. See no. 68.
23. The Czech State, by Jiri Hochman. 1998.
24. Iceland, by Guđmunder Hálfdanarson. 1997. Out of print. See no.
25. Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Ante Cuvalo. 1997. Out of print. See
no. 57.
26. Russia, by Boris Raymond and Paul Duffy. 1998.
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Gypsies (Romanies), by Donald Kenrick. 1998. Out of print.
Belarus, by Jan Zaprudnik. 1998.
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, by Zeljan Suster. 1999.
France, by Gino Raymond. 1998. Out of print. See no. 64.
Slovakia, by Stanislav J. Kirschbaum. 1998. Out of print. See no.
Netherlands, by Arend H. Huussen Jr. 1998. Out of print. See no.
Denmark, by Alastair H. Thomas and Stewart P. Oakley. 1998. Out
of print. See no. 63.
Modern Italy, by Mark F. Gilbert and K. Robert Nilsson. 1998. Out
of print. See no. 58.
Belgium, by Robert Stallaerts. 1999.
Austria, by Paula Sutter Fichtner. 1999. Out of print. See No. 70.
Republic of Moldova, by Andrei Brezianu. 2000. Out of print. See
no. 52.
Turkey, 2nd edition, by Metin Heper. 2002. Out of print. See no.
Republic of Croatia, 2nd edition, by Robert Stallaerts. 2003.
Portugal, 2nd edition, by Douglas L. Wheeler. 2002.
Poland, 2nd edition, by George Sanford. 2003.
Albania, New edition, by Robert Elsie. 2004.
Estonia, by Toivo Miljan. 2004.
Kosova, by Robert Elsie. 2004.
Ukraine, by Zenon E. Kohut, Bohdan Y. Nebesio, and Myroslav
Yurkevich. 2005.
Bulgaria, 2nd edition, by Raymond Detrez. 2006.
Slovakia, 2nd edition, by Stanislav J. Kirschbaum. 2006.
Sweden, 2nd edition, by Irene Scobbie. 2006.
Finland, 2nd edition, by George Maude. 2007.
Georgia, by Alexander Mikaberidze. 2007.
Belgium, 2nd edition, by Robert Stallaerts. 2007.
Moldova, 2nd edition, by Andrei Brezianu and Vlad Spânu. 2007.
Switzerland, by Leo Schelbert. 2007.
Contemporary Germany, by Derek Lewis with Ulrike Zitzlsperger.
Netherlands, 2nd edition, by Joop W. Koopmans and Arend H.
Huussen Jr. 2007.
09_152_01_Front.indd ii
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56. Slovenia, 2nd edition, by Leopoldina Plut-Pregelj and Carole Rogel. 2007.
57. Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2nd edition, by Ante Čuvalo. 2007.
58. Modern Italy, 2nd edition, by Mark F. Gilbert and K. Robert Nilsson. 2007.
59. Belarus, 2nd edition, by Vitali Silitski and Jan Zaprudnik. 2007.
60. Latvia, 2nd edition, by Andrejs Plakans. 2008.
61. Contemporary United Kingdom, by Kenneth J. Panton and Keith
A. Cowlard. 2008.
62. Norway, by Jan Sjåvik. 2008.
63. Denmark, 2nd edition, by Alastair H. Thomas. 2009.
64. France, 2nd edition, by Gino Raymond. 2008.
65. Spain, 2nd edition, by Angel Smith. 2008.
66. Iceland, 2nd edition, by Guđmunder Hálfdanarson. 2009.
67. Turkey, 3rd edition, by Metin Heper and Nur Bilge Criss. 2009.
68. Republic of Macedonia, by Dimitar Bechev. 2009.
69. Cyprus, by Farid Mirbagheri. 2009.
70. Austria, 2nd edition, by Paula Sutter Fichtner, 2009.
71. Modern Greece, by Dimitris Keridis, 2009.
09_152_01_Front.indd iii
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09_152_01_Front.indd iv
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Historical Dictionary of
Modern Greece
Dimitris Keridis
Historical Dictionaries of Europe, No. 71
The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
Lanham, Maryland • Toronto • Plymouth, UK
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Published in the United States of America
by Scarecrow Press, Inc.
A wholly owned subsidiary of
The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706
Estover Road
Plymouth PL6 7PY
United Kingdom
Copyright © 2009 by Dimitris Keridis
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without the prior permission of the publisher.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Information Available
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Keridis, Dimitris.
Historical dictionary of modern Greece / Dimitris Keridis.
p. cm. — (Historical dictionaries of Europe ; No. 71)
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 978-0-8108-5998-2 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-0-8108-6312-5
1. Greece–History–1821—Dictionaries. 2. Greece–Politics and government–
1821—Dictionaries. I. Title.
DF802.K47 2009
⬁ ™ The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of
American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper
for Printed Library Materials, ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America.
09_152_01_Front.indd vi
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To Roula and all my teachers
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Editor’s Foreword Jon Woronoff
Acronyms and Abbreviations
1. Map of Ancient Greece
2. Political Map of Greece
3. Road Map of Greece
A. Kings of Greece (1833–1973)
B. Presidents of Greece (1828–2008)
C. Prime Ministers of Modern Greece (1833–2008)
D. National Election Results in Greece (1946–2007)
E. Basic Data on Greece
F. Economic Statistical Charts
Graph 1. Greece: GDP
Graph 2. Greece: GDP per Capita
Graph 3. Greece: Inflation
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x •
Graph 4. Greece: Public Deficit
Graph 5. Greece: Imports and Export
Graph 6. Greece: Public Debt
About the Author
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Editor’s Foreword
Few countries have as glorious a past as Greece, due both to the prowess and the culture of its ancient city-states as well as its status as the
center of the Byzantine Empire. Its subsequent history, alas, was less
impressive: domination by the Ottoman Empire for centuries and a succession of periodic crises as an independent state. Only more recently
has it come into its own once again. It is a significant member of the
European Union and has finally overcome its role as a peripheral nation
now that its traditional hinterland has been freed of Soviet domination
and as closer relations are developing with its old foe, Turkey. This sea
change means that Greece is now far more than just a vacation spot; it
has become a country that, although small, is playing an enhanced role
in Europe. However, this transformation is not generally appreciated,
and present-day Greece is still far less known and understood than it
deserves. It is thus helpful to have a fully new Historical Dictionary of
Modern Greece that can inform readers about the new Greece while still
reflecting the history of Greece in earlier times.
This particular volume deals mainly with the present state and provides a well-rounded approach. It starts with a particularly helpful list
of acronyms. Then the chronology traces the major events that have
shaped the country. The broader context is described in an introduction
that deals not only with its geography and population, its history and
politics, but also with its economy. The core of the book is a dictionary section that provides further information on significant persons,
kings and presidents, soldiers and politicians, writers and musicians,
as well as major historical events, the basic political institutions and
parties, and important aspects of its religion and culture. But it also
traces Greece’s roots and, wherever appropriate, the book looks much
further back, dealing with ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire.
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xii •
Further information on major topics can then be sought in the selective
It is important for the author of such a historical dictionary to see the
country both from within and without, so as to understand better what
outsiders want to know and be able to convey this information cogently.
Dimitris Keridis certainly fits the bill. A Greek himself, he studied in
Greece and received a JD from the Law School of the Aristotelian
University of Thessaloniki. He then obtained his PhD from the Fletcher
School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the United States,
where he also served as the Constantine Karamanlis Associate Professor in Hellenic and Southeastern European Studies, after serving as director of the Kokkalis Program and also as a lecturer of Balkan Studies
at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
At present, he is an associate professor of international politics at the
University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki and a senior associate at the
Karamanlis Foundation in Athens. His main research interests—all of
which were crucial for this book—include foreign policy, European
politics, nationalism, and democracy. He has written widely, most of
this relating to Greece, although his latest book deals with U.S. foreign
Jon Woronoff
Series Editor
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Writing a historical dictionary is an exercise in abstraction, parsimony,
and simplification. Having to choose what to include and what to omit
from a vast historical record is the primary, but not the only, challenge.
Each entry should be autonomous and self-contained and yet, there
needs to be an underlying narrative that connects the whole work and
provides an inexperienced reader with a coherent picture of the subject
in its totality.
A historical dictionary written in English for an international audience carries a great, almost unbearable, responsibility. How to speak
about modern Greece to people who know very little about it? How to
explain and make it comprehensible, with the necessary nuances and
complexities involved, in a very limited space? No matter how hard
one tries, there simply can be no perfect outcome that will meet every
reader’s need, as the historical record is far from settled, the debate
underlying many of the subjects remains lively and controversial, and
current power struggles influence and revise our historical memory.
This is not a project for the fainthearted or for the academician who
prefers to play it safe, who deals with obscure subjects about which
few people care and about which even fewer people will fight. This is
an opportunity, rare for most university professors, to engage a broader
public having in mind an appreciation of the politics and the historicity involved. This work is a product of its time, conditioned by current
understanding of the subject’s history and, thus, different from similar
works written in the past or those that will be written in the future.
Furthermore, a dictionary is created for a general audience but must
withstand the criticism of connoisseurs, including the professional historian. The latter may be quick to question why this historical dictionary
is written by a political scientist and an international relations expert.
To answer this, one must remember what a historical dictionary is not.
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xiv •
It is not simply based on years of archival research of primary sources.
On the contrary, a dictionary should take full advantage of and include
the works of others, especially—but not exclusively—historians. After
all, some of the most interesting studies on various aspects of modern
Greece have been written not by historians but by other social scientists.
In a sense, a historical dictionary is a political synthesis based on prioritizing choices. A dictionary of this kind is about a rereading of history
that is already available while contextualizing this history and drawing
parallels with cases elsewhere in the world.
While remaining factual in content and dry in style, this historical
dictionary does not refrain from acknowledging the politics involved.
On the contrary, it consciously strives to challenge many of the established truths about modern Greece, based on the results of new research
conducted by many talented colleagues, while adapting theunderstanding of Greece to the changing times.
There were three primary ambitions that underwrote this project.
First, I intend to put modern Greece in context and study it through
a historical perspective and comparative framework. As is the case
elsewhere, Greece may have some unique characteristics, but it shares
many traits and comparable trajectories with its neighbors and countries
of a similar background. Greece is a successor nation-state of the Ottoman Empire, created in the early 19th century through the interplay of
an evolving Greek nationalism, the crisis of the Ottoman state, and the
intervention of great powers.
Second, I hope to distance the dictionary’s narrative from the stereotypes of Greek public history. The latter is today mainly composed of
a conventional nationalist history and a post-1960s leftist critique. The
two have powerfully amalgamated into a series of established truths that
view Greece as the perennial victim of history, of unscrupulous foreigners and their domestic collaborators, while understanding its history as
a succession of conspiracies. In this work, the Greeks and their state are
no longer simply the objects of history. On the contrary, their agency,
as subjects rather than objects of history, is restored. They have a say,
often decisive, in their destiny.
Third, although this work’s focus has been the state and its politics,
an effort has been made to broaden the study of modern Greece to
encompass various aspects of its society, including the economy, arts,
and culture. After all, modern Greece is internationally known not as
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• xv
much for the achievements of the Greek state but for the success of a
few ambitious and talented individuals in various fields, from shipping
to opera to poetry.
This is work was written over the course of a year but was in the
making for many years, as my thinking continued to slowly evolve and
be cross-fertilized with the acquaintance of foreign lands with which the
Greek experience can be juxtaposed in order to be better understood.
In this journey, studying, researching, and teaching in the United States
for 12 years was a great help. I am particularly grateful for the generous
opportunities given to me as the director of the Kokkalis Program on
Southeastern and East-Central Europe at the John F. Kennedy School
of Government, Harvard University, and, later, as the Constantine
Karamanlis Associate Professor in Hellenic and Southeastern European
Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.
After all, having to explain Greece to a foreign audience presupposes a
certain understanding of the codes and language of the audience. Furthermore, having written a doctoral dissertation on neighboring Serbia
was a useful mirror for understanding Greece. It was there and then that
the Greek condition came into perspective for me.
This historical dictionary could not have been written without the
support and guidance of many individuals. I would like to thank in particular the series editor, Jon Woronoff; my assistant, Theodoros Vavikis, who worked tirelessly and without complaint on collecting much
of the data used; Annette Rondos for her superb editorial skills that
improved the quality of the written text; and Aggeliki Anagnostopoulou
for the graphs she created. Some of the many thinkers who contributed
to this work, over the course of many years, are S. Bazzaz, H. Berktay,
D. Chigas, T. Coloumbis, A. Evin, M. Glenny, M. Herzfeld, C. Kafadar, S. Kalyvas, D. Kiskira, P. Kitromilides, S. Kromidas, I. Lalatsis, L.
Martin, K. Nicolaides, E. Papoulias, R. Pfaltzgraff, E. Prodromou, M.
Protic, P. Roilos, A. Rondos, K. Svolopoulos, M. Todorova, L. Tsoukalis, N. Tzavella, I. Varakis, E. Voutira, and K. Yfantis.
I would like to dedicate this dictionary to my teachers and to my
critics—the former for everything they taught me and the latter for the
motivation to work harder. This is a work that belongs to everybody
interested in Greece. Mine is a country endowed with stunning natural beauty, an ancient culture, a vibrant lifestyle, and a rich historical
record that, despite its controversies, includes many achievements and
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xvi •
experiences that are relevant to many nations, and increasing the worth
of knowing and studying Greece.
Dimitris Keridis
Thessaloniki, September 2008
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Acronyms and Abbreviations
Anorthotiko Komma Ergazomenou Laou (Progressive
Party of the Working People, PPWP—Communist Party
of Cyprus)
Common Agricultural Policy
Dimosia Epihirisi Hilektrismou (Public Power Company,
Dimokratikos Stratos Elladas (Democratic Army of Greece,
Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo (National Liberation
Front, NLF)
European Community/European Union
Eniaia Dimokratiki Aristera (Unified Democratic Left,
Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos Syndesmos (National
Democratic Greek Link, NDGL)
Enosi Dimokratikou Kentrou (Union of the Democratic
Center, UDC)
Ethniki Kai Koinoniki Apeleftherosi (National and Social
Liberation, NSL)
Ellinikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos (National Peoples’ Liberation Army, NPLA)
Economic and Monetary Union
Ethniki Organosi Kyprion Agoniston (National Organization of Cypriot Fighters, NOCF)
Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosis (National Radical Union,
Finos Films
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Gross domestic product
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xviii •
09_152_01_Front.indd xviii
Geniki Synomospondia Ergaton Ellados (General Confederation of Workers of Greece, GCWG)
International Court of Justice
Kinima Ethnikis Amynis (Movement of National Defense,
Kommounistiko Komma Elladas (Communist Party of
Greece, CPG)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
National Bank of Greece
Nea Dimokratia (New Democracy)
Nongovernmental Organization
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Panellinio Apelftherotiko Kinima (Panhellenic Liberation
Movement, PLM)
Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima (Panhellenic Socialist
Politiki Epitropi Ethnikis Apeleftherosis (Political Committee of National Liberation, PCNL)
Palestinian Liberation Organization
Public Power Company (Dimosia Epihirisi Hilektrismou,
Sosialistiko Ergatiko Komma Elladas (Socialist Labor
Party of Greece, SLP)
Synaspismos [tis Aristeras kai tis Proodou] (Coalition [of
the Left and Progress])
Synaspismos tis Rizospastikis Aristeras (Coalition of the
Radical Left, CRL)
United Nations
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Map of Ancient Greece
Map 1.
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Map 2.
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Political Map of Greece
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Map 3.
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Road Map of Greece
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3000–2000 BC An early Bronze Age civilization emerges in the Cyclades, in the southern Aegean.
2700–1450 BC
The Minoan civilization flourishes in Crete.
1600–1100 BC The first Greek civilization, a late Bronze Age civilization called Mycenaean, dominates southern Greece and Crete.
1100–800 BC Following the Dorian invasion from the north, the Mycenaean civilization collapses and Greece enters what historians have
called a Dark Age.
900–500 BCA network of Greek city-states emerges; the geometric
period is succeeded by the archaic before giving rise to the classical age
in the 5th century BC.
776 BC
First recorded Olympic Games held in Greece.
508 BC Kleisthenes, completing previous reforms by Solon, democratizes the constitution of Athens.
490 BC Battle of Marathon, the first of the Persian Wars, is won by
the Athenians in spite of being outnumbered by the Persians.
480 BC Athenian fleet defeats Persian King Xerxes at the naval battle
of Salamina.
479 BC
Remaining Persian army defeated at the battle of Platea.
431 BC The Peloponnesian War breaks out between Athens and
Sparta and their respective allies. It lasts for 27 years and ends in 404
BC when Athens sues for peace and Sparta abolishes Athenian democracy.
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xxiv •
334 BC Alexander the Great embarks on his campaign to Asia and
defeats the Persian army at the River of Granicus.
323 BC Alexander the Great dies in Babylon, having established an
empire reaching the Indus River.
149 BC Allied Greek forces are defeated by the Romans at the battle
of Corinth, and Greece falls under the Roman control.
330 AD Roman Empire’s capital moves from Rome to Byzantium,
under Emperor Constantine I, marking the beginning of the Byzantine
1054 AD Christian Church is divided into the Catholic Church
(headed by the pope in the Vatican) and the Orthodox Church (headed
by the ecumenical patriarch in Constantinople).
1024 AD
Capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade.
1453 AD Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans and the end of the
Byzantine Empire.
1774 AD Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca between the Russian Empress
Catherine II and the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, providing trading
privileges and certain freedoms to Orthodox citizens of the Ottoman
1780–1820 Greek Enlightenment spreads throughout southeastern
Europe, preparing the ground for the Greek War of Independence.
1821 War of Independence, organized by Filiki Eteria, breaks out
simultaneously in Peloponnesus, Greece, and Vlachia, Romania. The
ecumenical patriarch is executed by the Ottomans on Easter Day.
First constitution of independent modern Greece is proclaimed.
1827 Joint Ottoman–Egyptian fleet is defeated by the allied British–French–Russian fleet during the naval battle at Navarino, in southwestern Peloponnesus.
1828 Arrival of Count Ioannis Capodistrias in Greece as the first
president of the country.
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• xxv
1829 At the conclusion of a Russo–Turkish war, the Treaty of Adrianople is signed between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, guaranteeing
the autonomy of Greece.
1830 3 February: London Protocol is established, in which independent Greece is recognized by Great Britain, France, and Russia.
1831 Assassination of Ioannis Capodistrias in the first capital of
Greece, Nafplio.
1833 Otto Wittelsbach of Bavaria, the first king of Greece, arrives in
the country. Greek Orthodox Church declares its independence from the
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
1843 A popular revolt demanding a constitution from King Otto takes
place in front of the royal palace.
Greece is declared a constitutional monarchy.
1854 During the Crimean War, the port of Piraeus is blocked by British and French troops to impose neutrality on Greece.
King Otto is ousted and leaves Greece.
Prince George Glücksburg of Denmark becomes the new king.
1864 Britain cedes the Ionian Islands to Greece. Greece is declared a
crowned democracy.
An uprising in Crete against Ottoman rule fails to free the
1871 Nonlegitimized peasant landowners are granted legal title
1875 King George declares his respect for the sovereignty of Parliament (Arhi Tis Dedilomenis).
1881 The provinces of Thessaly and Arta are added to the Greek
1896 Greece becomes involved in the Cretan rebellion against Ottoman rule.
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xxvi •
1897 Greek forces, led by Prince Constantine I, are defeated by the
Ottoman army in Thessaly.
1903 Outbreak of the Macedonian struggle against the Bulgarian
Outbreak of the Young Turks’ revolution in Thessaloniki.
1909 Revolt by the Military League in Goudi, Athens, results in parliamentary reforms. Eleftherios Venizelos arrives in Greece.
1910 Venizelos prevails in the national elections and begins implementing his reform program.
1911 Following the war in Libya, Italy occupies the Dodecanese
1912 Venizelos’ Liberal Party wins the national elections. First Balkan War: Greece enters into alliances with Bulgaria, Serbia, and Montenegro against the Ottoman Empire.
1913 Second Balkan War: Bulgaria against Greece and the Balkan
allies. King George is assassinated in Thessaloniki. King Constantine I
becomes king. 30 May: Treaty of London. 10 August: Peace Treaty of
Bucharest. Both treaties add Crete, Macedonia, Epirus, and the eastern
Aegean Islands to Greece.
1915 The National Schism (Ethnikos Dihasmos) begins, following a
disagreement between Prime Minister Venizelos and King Constantine
I on Greece’s participation in World War I.
1916 Venizelos establishes a revolutionary government in Thessaloniki and enters World War I.
1917 King Constantine I is forced to abdicate and his second son,
Alexander, becomes king. Venizelos returns to Athens, and his government establishes its authority over the whole of Greece.
The end of World War I finds Greece among the victors.
1919 15 May: At the invitation of the Allies, Greek forces land in
western Asia Minor and occupy Smyrna (Izmir); the three-year Greek
campaign in Asia Minor begins. 27 November: With the Treaty of
Neuilly, Greece is awarded western Thrace from Bulgaria.
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• xxvii
1920 10 August: The Treaty of Sèvres is signed; Greece acquires
eastern Thrace up to the outskirts of Istanbul, along the Chatalja line,
the Aegean islands of Imvros and Tenedos, and the temporary command of the Smyrna (Izmir) district. 25 October: King Alexander dies.
1 November: Venizelos is defeated in the national elections, followed
by the return of King Constantine I to the throne.
1922 Greek forces are defeated in Asia Minor and withdraw to the
islands of eastern Aegean. Smyrna (Izmir) is burned and the Greek
population suffers heavily from reprisals by Turkish nationalists; survivors escape to Greece. A military coup ousts King Constantine I. 27
September: George II becomes king.
1923 24 July: Treaty of Lausanne establishes Greece and Turkey’s
boundaries and imposes an exchange of populations; approximately 1.5
million refugees arrive in Greece.
1924 Greece is declared a republic. 25 March: George II steps
1925–1926 General Theodoros Pangalos establishes a short-lived
Venizelos’ last term in power.
Popular Party wins the elections.
1935 1 March: An antiroyalist preemptive coup fails. 10 October:
A royalist coup succeeds. 3 November: George II is recalled to the
Greek throne.
1936 4 August: George II agrees to the suspension of the constitution, which permits Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas to establish a
1940 28 October: Fascist Italy declares war against Greece. Greek
army achieves significant victories on the Albanian front
1941 6 April: German forces invade Greece, occupy the country, and
attack Crete. George II, the royal family, and part of the Greek army
move to Egypt, where a government in exile is established. Greece is
occupied by German, Italian, and Bulgarian forces.
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xxviii •
1943 Following the surrender of Italy, hostilities between left- and
right-wing resistance organizations intensify.
The Germans leave. The communists try to occupy Athens but
1946 The right wins the first postwar elections, helped by the abstention of the communists. George II returns to Greece.
1946–1949 Greek Civil War between the communists and government forces comprised of royalists and liberals and supported by Britain
and the United States.
1947 Under the Treaty of Paris, the Dodecanese islands are ceded to
Greece. The Truman Doctrine provides massive aid to Greece. 1 April:
George II dies and is succeeded by his brother Paul.
1952 Greece enters the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Marshal Alexandros Papagos’ conservatives win the elections.
1955 The crisis in Cyprus escalates and provokes an anti-Greek
pogrom in Istanbul. Papagos dies and is succeeded by Konstantinos
Karamanlis’ National Radical Union wins the national elec-
1957 Cypriot struggle for union with Greece reaches its peak and
British authorities of Cyprus deport Archbishop Makarios to the Seychelles.
1958 Karamanlis’ National Radical Union wins the national election
for the second time, while the communist-controlled Unified Democratic Left comes second.
1959 Greece applies to the European Community (EC) for associate
membership. The London–Zurich Agreements providing for an independent Cyprus are signed.
1960 Cyprus gains its independence. Archbishop Makarios becomes
president and Dr. Fazil Küçük vice president.
1961 Karamanlis’ National Radical Union wins the national election
for the third time. Papandreou, leader of the Center Union Party (Enosis
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Kentrou), dismisses the results as the product of a dishonest election
and inaugurates an unyielding (anendotos) struggle against Karamanlis’
1963 Papandreou’s Center Union wins a plurality in the national
elections. Outbreak of violence in Cyprus between Greek-Cypriots
and Turkish-Cypriots. Karamanlis resigns from politics and leaves for
1964 Papandreou’s Center Union wins in landslide elections. 6
March: King Paul dies and, his son, Constantine II, becomes king.
1965 Quarrel between King Constantine II and Prime Minister Papandreou leads to the prime minister’s resignation and political instability.
1967 21 April: A group of colonels establish a military dictatorship
in a bloodless coup. 13 December: King Constantine II leaves Greece
after failing to end the junta.
1973 Unsuccessful coup by the navy against the regime. The army
suppresses a student uprising at the Polytechnio, the Athens Engineering School. A coup within the coup ends the junta’s attempt at liberalization and strengthens the hard-liners.
1974 The Greek junta organizes a coup in Cyprus that deposes but
fails to kill Archbishop Makarios. Turkey invades Cyprus, leading to
the collapse of the military regime and the restoration of democracy
in Greece. Karamanlis returns from Paris as leader of a government of
national unity. The Communist Party of Greece becomes legal. 17 November: Karamanlis wins in a landslide national election with his new
party, New Democracy. 8 December: In a referendum, Greece votes in
favor of a republic.
1975 The 1952 Constitution is replaced. Parliament elects Konstantinos Tsatos as president.
1976 Turkish survey ship explores for oil in the continental shelf
claimed by Greece, causing a new crisis in Greek–Turkish relations.
Karamanlis’ New Democracy Party wins the national election.
Karamanlis signs the treaty of Greece’s accession to the EC.
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1980 Karamanlis resigns from the premiership and becomes president
of the republic. George Rallis becomes prime minister.
1981 Greece enters the EC. 18 October: The Panhellenic Socialist
Movement of Andreas Papandreou wins in a landslide national election.
1983 The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by
Turkey, is proclaimed.
1984 Konstantinos Mitsotakis is elected leader of the New Democracy Party, succeeding Evangelos Averoff.
1985 Resignation of Karamanlis and election of Christos Sartzetakis
as president. 2 June: The Panhellenic Socialist Movement wins the
1986 In the municipal elections, New Democracy wins in Greece’s
three major cities, including Athens.
1987 Greece and Albania formally put an end to the 47-year “state of
war” between them. A crisis develops between Greece and Turkey over
oil-drilling rights in Aegean waters.
1988 Prime Ministers Papandreou of Greece and Turgut Özal of Turkey meet in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss Greek–Turkish relations.
1989 18 June: Papandreou loses the elections and is ousted from
power. The inconclusive results lead to an unprecedented coalition
government under New Democracy deputy Tzannis Tzanetakis with
the support of the Communist Party of Greece. 5 November: New Democracy comes first in elections but fails to win a majority. An all-party
government is formed under banker Xenophon Zolotas.
1990 8 April: New Democracy, under Mitsotakis, wins the national
election with a marginal parliamentary majority. Karamanlis becomes
president of the republic.
1991 8 September: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM) declares its independence. The foreign ministers of the EC
decide that, before granting recognition to FYROM, the country should
“adopt constitutional and political guarantees ensuring that it has no
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territorial claims towards a neighboring Community state,” implying
1992 Greek foreign policy focuses on the Balkan conflict. Economic
immigrants from Albania and the former Soviet Union start arriving in
Greece in great numbers.
1993 9 September: At the instigation of former foreign minister
Andonis Samaras, the government falls. 10 October: Papandreou’s
Panhellenic Socialist Movement wins the national election. Miltiades
Evert succeeds Mitsotakis as leader of New Democracy.
1994 Greece imposes a full trade embargo on FYROM in order to
force the country to abandon its claims over the name “Macedonia.”
1995 Karamanlis completes his second presidential term and retires
from politics. Konstantinos Stephanopoulos is elected president of
the republic. After pressures from the EC, the embargo on FYROM is
lifted. An Interim Agreement is signed between the two countries with
U.S. mediation. Papandreou is hospitalized following a serious deterioration of his health.
1996 17 January: Papandreou resigns from the premiership and is
succeeded by Kostas Simitis. U.S. intervention diffuses another crisis between Greece and Turkey over Imia (Kardak), an Aegean islet.
23 June: Papandreou dies. 22 September: The Panhellenic Socialist
Movement, led by Kostas Simitis, wins the national election.
1997 Kostas Karamanlis, nephew of the retired president, is elected
president of the New Democracy Party.
1999 Kurdish PPK leader Abdulah Otsalan (Abdullah Ocalan) is arrested by Turkish intelligence on his way out of the Greek embassy in
Nairobi, Kenya. Greece provides aid to FYROM during the Kosovo
crisis. Devastating earthquakes in Istanbul and Athens contribute to a
Greek–Turkish rapprochement. The European Council of the European
Union (EU) meets in Helsinki and, with Greek support, officially recognizes Turkey as a candidate for full membership.
2000 The Panhellenic Socialist Party, led by Simitis, narrowly wins
the national election for the second time. Stephanopoulos is reelected
president of the republic.
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2001 Greece enters the Economic Monetary Union (EMU). Greece
supports FYROM’s integrity during its ethnic crisis.
2004 Georgios Papandreou, son of Andreas, is elected president of
the Panhellenic Socialist Party. 7 March: New Democracy, led by
Karamanlis, wins the election. Greek-Cypriots overwhelmingly reject
the Annan Plan of the United Nations for the reunification of the island.
The Republic of Cyprus enters the EU. Greece successfully hosts the
2004 Olympic Games.
Karolos Papoulias is elected president of the republic.
2007 16 September: New Democracy, led by Karamanlis, wins
reelection. After a tough intraparty struggle, Papandreou is reelected
president of the Panhellenic Socialist Party Movement.
2008 Following the failure to reach a compromise with FYROM,
Greece vetoes its neighbor’s entry into NATO.
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Located in the southernmost tip of the Balkan Peninsula in Europe’s
southeast, Greece is a small country of some 11 million people. It is
also a fairly young country, founded in 1830, although it has a long
history. This is where much of Europe’s civilization emerged from and
later flourished as evidenced by the cultural, political, and scientific
achievements of classical Hellas. Organized around self-governed
city-states, ancient Greece expanded its influence across much of the
Mediterranean before succumbing to the unifying force of Macedonia.
Its king, Alexander the Great, defeated the Persian Empire and brought
Greek civilization to the Middle East, creating the common cultural
space from which Christianity later arose and spread. Alexander’s
empire fragmented after his premature death in Babylon and, in the
middle of the second century BCE, the Greek lands were conquered by
Rome. The Romans assimilated much of the Greek culture and ethos,
while the Greek language continued to be widely spoken in the eastern
After the transfer of its capital to Constantinople in 330 CE and the
loss of the western provinces to the invading Germanic tribes, the surviving Roman Empire in the East was progressively further Hellenized
and came to be known in the West as Byzantium. This was a medieval
civilization that lasted for a millennium before succumbing first to the
Crusaders and then to the rising Ottomans. The Ottomans used a few
of the Byzantine traditions and recognized some rights for their subjects, including their Greek-speaking Orthodox Christians. In a sense,
the Ottoman conquest prolonged the Middle Ages in the Greek lands,
although some limited contact with the emerging Europe of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment in the West did occur.
The Greeks’ secession from the Ottoman imperial order was a long
and gradual process that had a lot to do with the increasing influence of
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xxxiv •
the national idea coming from the West, the growing mercantile Greek
elite, the decline of Ottoman authority, and the rivalry of Europe’s
great powers. The making of modern Greece went hand in hand with
the making of Greek nationals out of a polyglot, Christian Orthodox,
mostly rural society. Following a national revolution in 1821, the kingdom of Greece was established in 1830 under British tutelage.
Independent Greece adopted Western laws and institutions, but
social and economic progress was slow and most Greeks remained
outside the country’s borders. On the eve of World War I, Greece
doubled its size to the detriment of the Ottomans but in 1922 it experienced, at the hands of nationalist Turks led by Kemal Atatürk,
a crushing military defeat that forced the evacuation of all Greeks
from Asia Minor and western Thrace. This misfortune was followed
by other calamities, including the economic crisis of the 1930s, the
persistence of political polarization, the turn to authoritarianism, war,
foreign occupation, and then a civil war that defeated a powerful
communist insurgency in 1949.
Having preserved its Western orientation, Greece became a member
of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), associated itself
with the rising European Community (EC), benefited from the Marshall
Plan, and began modernizing and growing rapidly. Greek parliamentary
politics broke down in 1967 but were reinvigorated in 1974. Since then,
Greece has consolidated a stable and well-functioning democracy, and
after 1989 and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, it has emerged
as an important player in the Balkans with considerable economic, political, and cultural influence.
Greece is a land of mountains and islands. Continental Greece is
dominated by the Pindus mountain chain, which runs southwards and
is an extension of the Dinaric Alps in the north. The Pindus Mountains
divide Greece into a wet western coastand a dry eastern region. The
highest mountain is Mt. Olympus, the legendary home of ancient Greek
gods. The mountains run into numerous small valleys, bays, peninsulas, and capes. There are two main plains, one in Thessaly and one in
central Macedonia. There are no large, commercially navigable rivers
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in Greece; the longest river is the Aliakmonas in the north, while many
large Balkan rivers flow into northern Greece.
Forests cover less than one fifth of Greece, a low proportion compared with other European countries, and which is further declining due
to forest fires and land development. Only one third of Greece is cultivated, while the remaining area is arid and unused. Much of the cultivated land is not very fertile and suffers from a chronic lack of water.
Thus, traditionally the Greek lands were poor and, in the past, Greeks
migrated massively or turned to trade in search of enrichment abroad.
Historically, poverty has been the defining condition of much of
Greece, and it is only in the past 50 years that an affluent society, accompanied by a consumerist, hedonistic, carefree lifestyle, has emerged.
The effect of this newly arrived wealth is profound, multifaceted, and
yet not fully understood. It has produced an asymmetry as many Greeks,
although well off, continue to think of themselves and their country as
an underdog and a victim. This delay of the Greek mentality to adapt
itself to the current conditions of Greek reality has reinforced a certain
self-centered and self-referential narcissism and blinding provincialism:
Someone else is always to blame for its troubles; Greece bears no responsibility for its actions or omissions; and there are no other problems
in the world except for those related to Greece itself.
Since ancient times, geography has conditioned the development of
Greece and made overland communication difficult. Often, it impeded
the establishment of land-based empires, fragmented Greece into isolated communities or city-states, and favored the sea as the fastest and
safest route. Coastal trade developed very early on, aided by the existence of the many small islands that dot the Greek seas.
Overall, squeezed among the three continents of Europe, Asia, and
Africa, the lands of modern Greece have often been a crossroad of civilizations and invaders. After the great discoveries of the 15th century,
Greece, together with the rest of the Mediterranean, lost much of its
traditional geostrategic significance as trade moved westwards toward
the northern Atlantic. However, after the opening of the Suez Canal
in 1869, Great Britain renewed its interest in keeping Greece under its
influence. During the Cold War, Greece provided an important link
between Italy and Turkey, at the center of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization’s (NATO) southern flank. In the meantime, Greece has
continued to control important sea routes toward the Black Sea and
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xxxvi •
across the Mediterranean. In particular, Crete hosts an important U.S.
air and naval base in Souda Bay.
Athens is the capital and the biggest city, by far, of Greece. More
than Paris in France, Athens houses one third of the nation’s population,
maintains half of its economic life, and initiates most of its cultural production. The only other significant cities are Thessaloniki in the north
and Patras in the southwest. Most other Greek cities have a population
of fewer than 100,000 people. Much of the countryside and most of the
islands, with the exception of Crete, Corfu, Lesvos, and Rhodes, are
depopulated. State policy in support of the periphery has proved inefficient and Greece remains heavily centralized. Most of the nation’s
creative minds and energy are found in Athens.
It is hard to define modern Greek culture. A starting point should
be the Greek language. Greek is an ancient language that possesses
an extraordinary literary tradition, encompassing both the classics and
the New Testament, in a variety of dialects. Modern Greek is derived
from the colloquial Greek spoken in the southern part of the mainland.
Despite evolution, the linguistic continuity of Greek from ancient times
to the present is both remarkable and unprecedented. This continuity
buttressed modern Greek nationalism and has often been abused by
traditionalists. To a certain extent, it has stunted the cultural development of the new nation, whose intellectual life has been haunted by the
“ghosts” of famous ancestors.
Modern Greek literature emerged in the late Byzantine era, in the
Venice-held Crete and Ionian Islands, and later in the Greek diaspora
communities. After becoming the capital and endowed with a modern
university, Athens emerged as the center of the intellectual life of the
nation. Much of the early intellectual production of the newly independent nation was characterized by conservatism, academic formality, and
an uncritical imitation of advanced Europe. The turning point came in
the 1930s and 1940s with changes brought by the incoming refugees
from the east and the political turmoil of the interwar period and World
War II.
Designated as the generation of the 1930s, this period produced a
new, innovative synthesis of a modern Greek culture that creatively
accommodated the indigenous tradition with European norms and ecumenical aspirations. Literature, music, and the visual and performing
arts flourished; after World War II, a few Greeks, such as Cornelius
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Castoriades and Nikos Poulantzas, contributed to a pan-European philosophical dialogue. Progressively, Greek art has become less political
while its underlying discourses have fragmented as Greek society has
pluralized. This, together with the overmarketing of a pop culture, is
often felt as a decline, but in reality Greek culture, albeit transformed
and adapted to new conditions, is alive and well.
Greece is an ancient land. Its first historical civilization was that of
the Minoans, who flourished in the island of Crete and left behind a
written record and some superb palaces and works of art. The Minoans
extended their influence to the surrounding seas and in the process
absorbed the Cycladic culture of the islands north of Crete. Originally
they were pre–Indo-Europeans and succumbed to the invading Greeks
from the north around 1400 BCE. These Greeks established the Mycenaean civilization, named after Mycenae in northeastern Peloponnesus,
the strongest city-kingdom of the time. Their civilization became world
famous, centuries later, thanks to the epic poems of Homer and the
Trojan War described in the Iliad. Theirs marked the last phase of the
Bronze Age.
Around 1100 BCE, the Mycenaean civilization collapsed and Greece
entered what many historians call a “dark age,” with a declining population and the weakening of its city culture. Many blamed this development on the destruction caused by the invasion of new Greek tribes, the
Dorians. Greek culture started flourishing again in the eighth century
BCE. Progress was rapid and by the fifth century BCE, Greece was
experiencing its classical age. This was centered on the city of Athens.
Following internal reforms that strengthened the power of the citizenry
and the defeat of the invading Persians, Athens, under the leadership of
Pericles, established a maritime empire through parts of the Mediterranean. Arts, philosophy, and science flourished to an unprecedented
degree, setting the foundation for what is widely known as the Western
or Greco-Roman civilization.
However, Athens’ rise antagonized the old Greek hegemony of
Sparta and led to a devastating war that weakened the Greek city-states
and opened the way for the rise of Macedonia under Phillip II and his
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xxxviii •
son, Alexander the Great. Having united the old Greek world under
Macedonian authority, Alexander defeated and conquered the Persian
Empire. His main achievement was to further spread the Greek civilization and language throughout the Middle East, creating a common cultural space where Christianity, four centuries later, would flourish. In
a sense, Christianity is a Hellenized reinterpretation of Judaism, and it
was the ecumenical spirit of classical Greece that turned it into a global
religion. St. Paul himself, the primary Christian messenger, was a Hellenized Jew who was deeply immersed in the classical Greek traditions.
The very concept of “love” that distinguishes Christianity from all other
monotheistic religions had first been developed by Greek philosophers
from the time of Plato and after.
However, after his early death, Alexander’s empire fragmented
among its successors. Finally, after the battle of Corinth in 146 BCE,
the Greek world came under the control of Rome. Having lost its independence, Greece fertilized the emerging Roman Empire with its
culture and ethos. When the imperial capital moved eastwards to Constantinople in 330 CE and the western half was lost forever after Justinian in the sixth century CE, the eastern Roman Empire progressively
Hellenized. Later called Byzantine by Western scholars, the empire
rested on the synthesis of the Roman imperial legacy and administration, and on Christianity—a product of Jewish monotheism and Greek
culture and language. Byzantium, an astounding if often misunderstood
medieval civilization, succumbed to the Crusaders in 1204 CE and was
completely destroyed by the Ottoman Turks who conquered Constantinople in 1453 CE.
The Ottomans incorporated Byzantine traditions into their empirebuilding project and, as time passed, Greeks came to play an increasingly important role in the administration of parts of the Ottoman state
and lands. However, beginning in the late 18th century, nationalism,
a modern ideology that had originated in the West for the creation of
an independent state (separated from the Ottomans), came to dominate
politics in the Greek lands.
Modern Greece emerged from a long and multifaceted process that
included a cultural revival, economic modernization, war, gradual
territorial expansion, the rivalry of great powers, and the decline of
Ottoman power. Starting in the second half of the 18th century, Greek
Enlightenment carried the European spirit of nationalism and liberal-
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ism to the Greek lands. This cultural “renaissance” was centered on
both a renewed appreciation for the classics and secular rationalism.
It was supported by an expanding network of Greek merchants who
contributed to and benefited from the integration of the Ottoman dominions into the world economy and the global distribution of labor.
The project of Greek nation-building was pillared by the legacy of
classical Hellas and the strength of its hold on the European imagination. In their quest for an independent nation, the Greeks were further
privileged in comparison to all other Ottoman peoples by the existence of a Greek-speaking bureaucratic elite, coming mainly from the
Fanar district of Istanbul where the patriarchate has been based. This
elite had access to church and state institutions and, increasingly, to
a foreign, secular education. Overall, the classical heritage that had
dominated the European Enlightenment facilitated Greek rapprochement with Europe and the rupture with the Ottoman regime by the
newly rich Greek merchants and an increasingly Western-oriented
The tremors of the great French Revolution, which Napoleon carried
eastwards, were strongly felt in Greece through the Greek diaspora
trade communities and the Ionian Islands, which witnessed firsthand
the destruction of Venice’s feudal order and the dawn of the new era.
Six years after Waterloo and the triumph of conservative restoration,
the Greek national Revolution of 1821 sought to create—and eventually
succeeded in establishing—the first independent nation-state emerging
from the Ottoman Empire. In that sense, Greece pioneered the historical process in the Ottoman East of replacing an imperial order with nation-states. This process continues to the present day in places such as
Cyprus, Kosovo, Kurdistan, and Palestine.
After some initial military successes, due largely to the Ottomans’
preoccupation with the rebellion of the powerful Ali Pasha of Jannina,
the Greek Revolution fell victim to fierce infighting and its own internal
contradictions. The Fanar Greeks, the diaspora merchants, Roumeli’s
military leaders, the nobles of Peloponnesus, and the seamen of the
Aegean Islands formed powerful but competing constituencies, sharing
contrasting visions for an independent Greece. Success came, thanks
largely to the intervention of foreigners. Despite the sultan’s stubborn
opposition, a small, independent Greek kingdom was established after
the naval battle at Navarino in 1827 when Great Britain, France, and
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xl •
Russia sunk the Egyptian–Ottoman fleet and after Russian victory in a
war against the Ottomans in 1829.
Independent Greece was immediately faced with enormous challenges. Impoverished and encompassing only a quarter of Ottoman
Greeks, the new nation embarked on building a centralized, bureaucratic, homogenous, and modern state according to the European
norms, under the enlightened despotism of, first, Governor Ioannis
Capodistrias and then the Bavarians, with the young King Otto. Despite some progress, the first 50 years of independence after 1830 were
characterized by stagnation and economic failure. As a result, Ottoman Turkey continued to offer more opportunities for entrepreneurial
Greeks than Greece itself.
Nevertheless, under British protection and tutelage, Greece managed
to expand moderately and consolidate a tradition of liberal parliamentary politics. The acquisition of the Ionian Islands in 1864 strengthened
the country’s Western outlook and orientation, and the addition of
Thessaly in 1881 made Greece self-sufficient in foodstuffs and provided some vital space for economic expansion. Under the premiership
of Harilaos Trikoupis, the 1880s marked the first consistent attempt at
systematic modernization. Trikoupis’ ambitious program to upgrade the
infrastructure and industrialize the Greek economy fell victim to the
country’s limited financial resources, the world economic crisis, and
the demands of Greek irredentism. In the 1890s, Greece was declared
bankrupt and humiliatingly lost a war to Ottoman Turkey.
Shortly thereafter, the modernization of the Greek state and its
economy blossomed under Eleftherios Venizelos, who came to power
in 1910 following a military revolt that demanded changes in managing the country, and was influenced by the nearby success of the
Young Turks’ revolution in 1908. Greece’s finest moment came with
the victories in the two Balkan Wars in 1912–1913, which resulted in
the doubling of its territory upon the acquisition of Macedonia, Epirus,
and the islands of the eastern Aegean and Crete. Venizelos coupled his
diplomatic successes abroad with an ambitious program of reforms at
home that increased the state’s capacity to regulate the economy and
provide for its people. Change was dramatic and mismanaged, and led
to a clash between Venizelos and King Constantine in 1915 over the
question of Greece’s entry into World War I.
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The conflict between Venizelos’ modernizers and the king’s traditionalists was fierce, destroyed the old political consensus, and inaugurated a long period of turbulent, often extraparliamentary, politics that
lasted until 1974. The defeat of the Greek campaign in Asia Minor in
1922 and the subsequent arrival in Greece of 1.5 million refugees contributed further to the country’s political instability. Overall, the period
of 1915–1974 is largely characterized by an ongoing crisis of national
integration as Greece struggled to accommodate new lands, “new”
Greeks, and the new politics that this process generated.
For a brief moment in the aftermath of World War I, Greece, supported by Great Britain, seemed to be on its way to becoming the
dominant regional power, in control of the whole Aegean coastline
and reaching all the way to the Black Sea. The Asia Minor catastrophe
brought virulent irredentism to an end and was the single most important event in the transformation of Greek society, polity, economy, and
identity. The destitute but industrious and often well-educated refugees
provided cheap and skilled labor for a second wave of industrialization,
and lent their support to liberal republicanism and, later, to a Marxist
left. The newcomers fertilized Greek popular culture with their own
experiences and traditions, strengthened the urban areas in an otherwise
agrarian nation, and helped reimagine Greek identity within a broader
European and ecumenical framework that led to a flourishing of Greek
arts after the 1930s.
The interwar republic failed because of the economic crisis and the
fragmentation of Venizelist forces. World War II was a cataclysm with
grave long-term consequences. Allied to Britain, Greece was attacked
by but defeated Fascist Italy before succumbing to Nazi Germany. The
foreign occupation was brutal. It impoverished and radicalized the nation, marginalized the old political class, and provided the conditions
for the rise of a communist-led resistance with growing ambitions for
dominating postwar Greece. Thanks to British intervention and the
communists’ Stalinist ethos and political incompetence, these ambitions
were frustrated—but not before a full-blown civil war had destroyed
much of mountainous Greece, deepened the divisions, and hampered
the democratic growth of the nation. Unlike postwar Italy and France,
where the large communist parties were integrated into the political process, Greece had to wait for the defeat of a bloody communist insurgency
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xlii •
before reconstruction could begin, and full political normalization was
achieved only after 1974.
In the meantime, an internationalist United States replaced Britain
as Greece’s guarantor and the dominant naval force in the Mediterranean. Greece became not only a frontline state in the U.S. strategy of
containment against the Soviet Union but also a test case for a Western-sponsored policy of liberal modernization. U.S. aid and guidance
poured in generously while parliamentary politics, albeit restricted,
wererespected. In the 1950s, Greece found in Konstantinos Karamanlis a young, dynamic, and progressive leader who tirelessly promoted
economic growth and the modernization of the country’s physical and
institutional infrastructure.
However, Greek politics failed to cope with rapid social change and
demands for more political and social inclusion through further liberalization and wealth redistribution. Royal interventionism in support of
a conservative establishment led to the breakdown of the democratic
order and to a seven-year military dictatorship. In 1974, the junta ended
in tragedy in Cyprus, where its policy provoked the invasion of Turkey
and the violent partition of the island. The military rule stimulated a
powerful long-term reaction in the Greek body politic and the establishment of a certain leftist discourse as the hegemonic ideology of
post-1974 democratic Greece. Traumatized by the Turkish threat, this
ideology remains suspicious of the United States, foreign alignments,
liberalism, and the market, while embracing nationalist and collectivist
Upon his return from Paris, Karamanlis succeeded in establishing a
well-functioning democracy. Greece became a republic, abolished all
restrictions to political participation, renewed its European-Western
orientation, and sought to deflate diplomatically tensions with Turkey.
Karamanlis’ crowning achievement came on 1 January 1981 when
Greece became the 10th member of the European Community (EC),
five years ahead of Spain and Portugal. In the 1980s, under the premiership of Andreas Papandreou, Greece experienced a populist backlash
that hurt the economy, public finances, and the public administration
but fully legitimized the strategic choices made and the institutions
designed by Karamanlis. Since the 1990s, Greece has tried, with mixed
results, to reform and adapt to the demands of intensified European
integration and accelerated globalization.
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Since 1989, the year the Cold War ended and communism fell, Greece
has experienced serious socioeconomic changes in its effort to avoid
marginalization in Europe and to secure a place at the center of European integration. Initially, Greece reacted alarmingly and defensively
against the destabilization caused by the forceful change of borders
in its neighborhood. Its opposition to the disintegration of Yugoslavia
was often misinterpreted as support for Slobodan Milosevic’s policy
for a greater Serbia. In the meantime, Greek nationalism has provided
a convenient cover for domestic corporate interests in their defense
of undeserved privileges and in opposition to market reforms and the
opening of the Greek economy.
As a result of mounting social pressures and political infighting, the
reform-minded government of Konstantinos Mitsotakis fell in 1993.
The return of Papandreou to power weakened but did not reverse the reformist drive. This was enhanced after the election of Kostas Simitis to
the premiership in 1996 and of Kostas Karamanlis, a nephew of the old
statesman, in 2004. Thus, the 1990s and the 2000s have been a period of
macroeconomic stabilization, economic liberalization and privatization,
and the further Europeanization of Greece.
Greece today is a more open, pluralistic, cosmopolitan, individualistic, unequal, dynamic, and achievement-oriented society. The market
has expanded to the detriment of the state, while the economy dominates politics rather than the other way around, which was the case in
the 1970s and the 1980s. Greek politics have become more managerial
and consensus oriented, while old cleavages represented by polarizing,
charismatic, and messianic leaders seem to belong to the past.
On the other hand, income and regional disparities have increased.
Athens is the main beneficiary while old sectors, such as agriculture and
textiles, decline in favor of services. Nowhere is change more evident
and more pronounced than in the demographic profile of the country.
The arrival of about a million economic immigrants, mainly from Albania, in a very short period of time introduced multiculturalism to a
largely homogenous country. Today, Greece is no longer an exporter
but an importer of labor and the percentage of nonnative residents, at
around 10 percent of the total population, is comparable to that of the
United States.
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As in most modernizing societies, Greece exhibits a pronounced
dualism between an innovative, progressive, and self-confident core
and a traditional, conservative, and defensive periphery. Thus, change
is haphazard and asymmetrical. Greece continues to suffer from an
oversized, inefficient, and corrupt state bureaucracy that overtaxes and
overregulates the productive capacity of the nation. Education at all
levels, but especially tertiary, is in crisis. The social security system is
bankrupt. Public policy in almost every field remains hostage to special
interests that use their privileged access to power to parasitize on state
Three challenges are particularly acute. The first is that Greece is aging rapidly, despite the influx of immigrants, due to low fertility rates
since 1980. With 1.3 children per fertile woman, Greece has one of the
lowest reproductive rates in the world. As a result, the population of
Greece might decline to fewer than 9 million by 2050 while the percentage of people over 60, which has already doubled in the past 40 years,
will double again in the next 40.
The second challenge is the extent of its corruption. There is usually
a correlation between poverty and corruption. Greece is an exception;
although rich, it suffers from widespread corruption usually associated
with the Third World. Corruption permeates the entire state structure,
including the judiciary, police, church, and tax and urban planning
authorities. Corruption wastes precious resources, dampens economic
growth, rescinds public policy, reinforces inequality, and makes Greece
unattractive to investment. It is no coincidence that Greece has failed
to draw substantial greenfield foreign investment (that is, investment
in new assets). Nor is it a coincidence that the serious Greek money is
made in shipping, where the corrupt Greek state is mostly absent and
where Greek entrepreneurship is allowed to flourish unhindered. Carrying out or creating a business in Greece means having to work through
a labyrinth of laws and state agencies that are often more determined to
satisfy their own self-interests rather than the good of the public.
The third challenge is that Greece’s natural environment is under
threat. The crystal waters, the unspoiled coastline, the pristine mountains, and the extraordinary biodiversity of the land are Greece’s most
precious resource and the country’s unique comparative advantage in
an increasingly competitive world economy. The density of Greek cities
has saved the country from the suburban sprawl that has afflicted most
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• xlv
of the developed world and has left much of the countryside untouched.
However, in a country where tourism and land speculation constitute
primary economic activities, considerable damage has already been
done. If “progress” is left unchecked, Greece’s environment will be
Despite these unmet challenges, there have been many achievements.
Since the mid-1990s, the Greek economy has grown rapidly, at a rate
of 3.5 percent a year, which is well above the Eurozone average (see
graphs 1 and 2 in appendix F); inflation and public finances have been
brought under control (see graphs 3 and 4 in appendix F); and although
public debt remains among the highest in the European Union (EU),
unemployment is declining. Despite widespread initial doubts, Greece
joined the European Monetary Union (EMU) and has benefited from
the resulting monetary stability and low interest rates. Although much
of the growth has been caused by a real estate bubble and a dramatic
credit expansion, the Greek economy is much healthier today than it
was in the late 1980s. Greece’s greatest achievement during this growth
was the successful hosting of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 and
the physical endowment of state-of-the-art highways, airports, underground transportation, and athletic and cultural venues. The Olympics
also enhanced the image of Greece. International preconceptions of its
infrastructure and administration changed positively.
Progress has been even more significant at the nonmaterial level.
Greek political discourse is less ideological, messianic, and absolutist
today than it used to be. It is also less tolerant of violent practices, as exercised in the past by the now-defunct terrorist group called November
17. Greek morals are considerably more liberal, alternative lifestyles
are tolerated and occasionally even celebrated, the position of women
has improved, and Greek nationalism exhibits some signs of becoming
more civic and less ethnic. Overall, as the richest and oldest democracy
in its region, Greece today is more self-confident than at any moment
in its modern history.
This is further reflected in Greek foreign policy. Not concerned with
its own survival, as was the case for much of its past, Greece is favorably
positioned to project its influence on and play a leadership role in southeastern Europe. Greece’s trade and investments abroad have increased
considerably. For the first time, it provides some modest foreign aid. It has
moderated its demands on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
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xlvi •
(FYROM) and has tried to accommodate its neighbor’s national
identity. Overall, Greece has supported the accession of southeastern
Europe into the EU and the completion of the European project both
geographically and institutionally. As Greece has moved closer to the
European core, it has become an ardent Eurofederalist. Put simply, for
Greece, the more Europe the better.
At the same, Greece has lent its support to Turkey’s European vocation and strives to engage rather than confront it, while supporting
United Nations efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem. Turkey remains
Greece’s first and foremost strategic challenge. It is not only that Turkey is by far the largest and richest of Greece’s neighbors; it is also
that the antagonism with Turkey after 1955 complicated greatly and
unnecessarily the modernization of Greece and negatively affected its
political development. Fear of Turkey increased Greece’s insecurity
and siege mentality, and created fertile ground for the growth of a
defensive, xenophobic, and antimodernist nationalism. Turning this antagonism into a partnership will not only be beneficial economically but
will also partially liberate Greece (and Turkey) from a political culture
that holds back the country. For this reason, the successful conclusion
of the Greek policy of rapprochement with Turkey forms a cornerstone
for any program of modernization and reform in Greece.
After 30 years of rapid growth, Greece stagnated in the 1980s and
diverged from the European average. More recently, Greece has been
catching up and today real per capita income has come close to 90
percent of the EU average. Despite this wealth, which is evident in the
consumerist lifestyle enjoyed by the expanding Greek middle class,
many of the country’s economic, political, and social structures remain
archaic and traditional.
It is worth remembering that manufacturing constitutes only 10 percent of the economy, which is one of the lowest ratios in the developed
world. Greek exports are minimal, with a value of less than $25billion a
year, or one fifteenth of Belgium’s, a country of similar size (see graph
5 in appendix F). The rate of employment, or the active population as a
percentage of the total, is among the lowest in Europe; less than half of
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• xlvii
all Greek women work. Almost half of the Greeks are self-employed,
and the percentage of the salaried workforce in the private sector remains low. Most of Greek businesses are small, family-owned, undercapitalized, and of low technology and productivity. At the same time,
the state is an overstaffed behemoth with some 700,000 employees, or
one sixth of the total workforce. Finally, the continued decline of Greek
agriculture will release some 200,000–300,000 unskilled laborers who
cannot easily find employment elsewhere.
Furthermore, Greek public finances, despite considerable progress,
remain in a precarious state. Public debt is stubbornly high and equals
the gross domestic product (GDP); see graph 6 in appendix F. State
liabilities are three to four times the GDP, if pension pledges are included. One third of the economy, if not more, operates underground
and is unregulated and untaxed. At the same time, the demographic
decline has acquired an inescapable dynamic that will inevitably shrink
the future productive base of the country. In sum, Greece suffers from a
central paradox: Greece enjoys a First World level of consumption with
a productive structure that often resembles the Third World. Much of its
growth was achieved without real modernization.
All these speak of a society faced with serious, structural problems
in need of deep and painful reforms. And yet, the reformist drive has
been weakening recently and will not gather steam in the absence of the
pressures of an economic downturn. Greece has been fortunate to have
benefited enormously from globalization and relies on foreign sources
of income that have financed a domestic level of consumption that the
real productive capacity of the country could not have supported. These
sources have historically included the diaspora’s remittances and, more
recently, tourism, shipping, and EU aid. Shipping alone has brought
more than $100 billion into the country in the past decade. At the same
time, being part of the EU has provided a strong cushion against the
side effects of populist politics at home—as was the case in 1989 when
bankruptcy was avoided thanks to EU support.
Not paying the price for past mistakes is one reason why nationalist and collectivist instincts and suspicion of the market are probably
stronger in Greece than anywhere else in Europe. Often, it feels as
though Greece is stuck in the 1970s, refusing to realize that the Cold
War is over, the free market won, and the country is among the winners. Whereas former communist countries have quickly liberalized,
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xlviii •
large sections of Greek society long for the protection of an all-embracing state. At the same time, while many Greeks are accustomed to
expecting everything from the government, they do their best to avoid
contributing to the state. The end result is an omnipresent but weak and
dysfunctional public administration.
Resolving these paradoxes is both a gradual and historical process,
and a political choice. It takes time to mend past traumas. Healing is
further complicated because some political forces, especially on the
left, have invested in preserving the memory of these traumas as a way
of surviving politically. However, no matter how much past-oriented
opinion makers try, theirs is a lost cause. Under the surface, Greece has
been modernizing rapidly. A new generation of Greeks is coming of age
that is less ideological and more results oriented. These Greeks belong
to a generation with no memory of poverty and violent conflict. Their
universe and outlook is distinctly European.
Thus, Greece has come a long way. A client state, first of Britain
and then of the United States, for much of its modern existence, it has
secured an equal place at the top tables of NATO and the EU. It has
grown quickly but modernized haphazardly. When compared to its
region, it is, undoubtedly, a great historical success and a model for its
neighbors. This ancient land, blessed with a stunning natural beauty and
an inspiring cultural heritage but burdened with history and conflict,
has reached a state of normalcy that feels novel, almost unnatural. In
the past, the Greek identity was forged through traumas. How it will
survive its present affluence and comfort remains to be seen and studied
by the historians of the future.
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The Dictionary
– A –
ADMINISTRATION, PUBLIC. Greece is a unitary and highly centralized state, although since the 1980s, local administration has been
strengthened. Greece is organized around municipalities, districts,
and regions. Mayors and district governors are directly elected for a
fixed four-year term. However, the central government continues to
control most of the state revenues and thus dictates policy. The public administration of Greece has been notorious for its bureaucracy,
overstaffing, inefficiency, and corruption. From the early days of independence, the Greek state became hostage to special interests while
patron–client relations between politicians and voters flourished.
A public service job has traditionally provided financial security
and has been much coveted. In the early 1980s, the public administration expanded further and suffered from the incoming socialists’
attempt to fully control and politicize it. It is difficult to know the
exact number of public-sector employees as the state continues to
offer employment to thousands of Greeks through numerous special
schemes and contracts that are not centrally registered or accounted
for. A good estimate is around 700,000 employees, half of whom
are civil servants—mostly employed in the ministries and local
governments—and many of whom are medical, security, and teaching personnel. Total government expenditure for salaries in 2008 is
projected to reach €15 billion; pensions, social security, and health
expenditures, €19 billion; public investments, €9 billion; and interest paid on the public debt, €11 billion. The central government’s tax
revenues in 2008 are budgeted at €54 billion or around 21 percent
of the annual gross domestic product (GDP): €22 billion from direct
and €32 billion from indirect taxation.
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2 •
Some reforms aiming at streamlining, introducing some meritocracy, and information and digital technology have been—gradually
and reluctantly—put in place since the 1990s, with mixed results.
Public administration is one of Greece’s most serious, urgent, and
difficult problems to be solved today.
AEGEAN SEA. Named after Aegeas, king of Athens and father of
Theseas, the Aegean is the sea between mainland Greece and Asia
Minor. The Aegean has played a unique role in shaping Greece and
Greek culture. The Aegean is an archipelago of 8,000 islands, islets,
and rock formations of stunning beauty. Mild and green in the north,
dry and windy in the south, the Aegean has provided the ecosystem
for the development of maritime civilizations based on the sea and
sea trade.
Trade was facilitated by high winds, the short distances between
most Aegean islands, and the Aegean’s geostrategic position among
the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. From 3500 to
1100 BCE, the archaic Cycladic civilization in the Cycladic islands
flourished together with the Minoan civilization in Crete. In the
fifth century BCE, most of the Aegean Islands became part of the
Athenian hegemony. Later, the Aegean fell under the control of the
Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire. As imperial control weakened, piracy thrived and Crete was briefly lost to the
Arabs in the 10th century CE. Following the Fourth Crusade, much
of the Aegean fell under the control of the northern Italian city-states
of Venice and Genoa. Under Venice, trade and culture grew. Today,
in a few Cycladic islands, some Catholic communities survive within
an otherwise overwhelmingly Greek Orthodox nation. Gradually,
the Ottomans, the previously reluctant navigators, managed to expel
the Venetians, but Crete was not seized until 1669 CE. During the
Napoleonic Wars, some islanders, especially in Hydra, Spetses, and
Psara, amassed great fortunes by breaking the British continental
embargo. Their wealth served as the basis of an emerging procapitalist, moneyed economy and, after 1821, financed the Greek War of
Modern Greece established its sovereignty over the Aegean in
the course of more than a century. In 1830, Greece incorporated the
small Saronic islands close to Athens, the Cyclades, and the Spo-
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• 3
rades, and after the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, the islands of the
eastern Aegean and Crete. The Dodecanese in the southeast were
latecomers in this process and were awarded to Greece only in 1947
following the defeat of Italy in World War II. Only two Aegean
islands, Imvros and Tenedos, at the entrance of the Straits of Dardanelles, were retained by Turkey under the Treaty of Lausanne of
1923. Today, the Aegean is mostly famous for generating Greece’s
bulk of tourist earnings and for the dispute between Greece and
Turkey over the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf and the
respective territorial waters of the two adjoining nations. The dispute
was aggravated by successive crises over Cyprus and the prospect of
discovering large oil deposits in the Aegean seabed.
AGRICULTURE. Greece has traditionally been an agricultural country. Even today, after half a century of relative agricultural decline,
around half a million Greeks, or 10 percent of the labor force, are
still employed in farming, contributing 5 percent to the country’s
gross domestic product (GDP). Twenty years ago, both figures were
double that. This is the highest proportion in Western Europe and one
of the highest in the European Union (EU). Greek agriculture has
grown into a serious social problem. Despite generous EU funding
since 1981, Greek agriculture has mostly failed to restructure and remains internationally uncompetitive and dependent on EU and state
subsidies. Periodic unrest by farmers has become an endemic feature
of Greek politics, and discontent is bound to increase as the EU’s
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) continues reforms and as fewer
rural job opportunities are available.
Traditionally, Greek agriculture faced two main obstacles: the
scarcity of fertile land and its fragmentation into unsustainable small
plots. Only one third of Greece’s surface is arable land, mostly
concentrated in small valleys in Peloponnesus and the large plains
of Thessaly and central Macedonia in the north. The latter is exceptional in that it is well irrigated and highly fertile. Historically,
Greece has been a country of small landowners who have formed
the backbone of the country’s social structure and infused a certain
conservative and egalitarian ethos in its politics. Surplus labor was
exported from the countryside to the cities, mainly Athens, and
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4 •
Greece was integrated, for the first time, in the expanding world
capitalist economy, with the development of the cultivation of the
currant in the late 19th century. The currant was Greece’s first cash
crop, facilitating the transition from subsistence to a money-based
agriculture, and was replaced by tobacco, which remained Greece’s
main export throughout most of the 20th century. Today, Greece exports olive oil, fruits and vegetables, and cotton and remains self-sufficient in cereals. Fish farming has expanded spectacularly during the
past 20 years, making Greece one of the largest producers throughout
Europe. Dairy production and animal husbandry remain much more
problematic—local production of meat and dairy products covers
only 20 percent of total domestic consumption. Overall, despite considerable exports, Greece remains a food-importing country.
ALBANIA (RELATIONS WITH). Albania is one of the four neighbors with which Greece shares a land border. This border has been
much contested since Albania’s independence in 1912. The creation
of a modern Albanian nation-state was mainly sponsored by Italy
and Austria-Hungary against the wishes of neighboring Serbia and
Greece. In several instances, as at the conclusion of World War I,
Greece put forward a claim for much of southern Albania or northern
Epirus, which contains a large Greek minority.
Under Italian occupation, Albania became the launching pad for
Benito Mussolini’s attack against Greece in October 1940. At the
end of World War II, Greek forces expelled approximately 5,000
Albanian-speaking Chams from the border district of Thesprotia,
who were accused of collaborating with the Nazi Germans. In the
Greek Civil War that followed, communist Albania provided assistance to Greek communist rebels and an escape route when they
were defeated in the late summer of 1949. Throughout the Cold War,
the Greek–Albanian border remained closed and heavily guarded
while the “state of war” between the two neighbors persisted until
1987. Albania’s Stalinism was particularly harsh in its treatment of
the Greek minority, which was doubly discriminated against for both
its ethnic origin and its relative bourgeois social status. Albania did
participate reluctantly in a few Balkan-wide regional initiatives, but
overall it remained fiercely independent, suspicious of foreigners,
and isolated.
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• 5
Change came abruptly and dramatically in 1991, when the Stalinist regime collapsed and chaos ensued. Greece opened its borders
with the intention of assisting its long-suffering Greek minority. This
resulted in a flood of thousands of Albanian economic immigrants.
Consequently, there are two separate but interrelated issues: state relations between Greece and Albania, and relations between the Greek
state and Greek society with the incoming Albanians.
Since 1991, the situation in Albania has improved and its economy
has grown. Today, it is estimated that Greece is home to approximately 700,000 ethnic Albanians, who constitute the largest immigrant group in the country. They are mostly employed in low-paid
menial jobs in construction, agriculture, tourism, and as domestic staff. They have taken advantage of many job opportunities in
Greece’s unregulated, labor-intensive, and service-based economy.
They have contributed to lowering production costs while expanding
the domestic market and have played a significant part in energizing the Greek economy from its previous stagnation to its current
dynamic growth.
For all the occasional sensational stories of sporadic Albanian
criminality and a certain suspicion, if not racism, on the part of many
Greeks, the integration of Albanians into contemporary Greek society should be considered a success, especially when compared to the
difficulties other European countries experience in assimilating large
immigrant populations. In particular, Albanian children go to Greek
schools and grow up as Greek citizens, many excelling academically
and in sports.
Historically, Albanian-speaking Christians, called Arvanites, inhabited the area around Athens and proudly participated in the Greek
War of Independence. Prior to 1991, there were many village communities less than an hour’s drive from downtown Athens where
Albanian was also spoken. Furthermore, for all the nationalistic
antagonism, much of southern Albania has remained culturally and
economically under substantial Greek influence. It is worth noting
that southern Albania is much more urban and developed compared
with northern Albania’s tribal and feudal character, multiplying further the relative influence of interacting with Greece. This influence
increased exponentially after 1991 due to Albanian immigration to
Greece and the expansion of strong social networks between the
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6 •
Albanians’ new and old homes, Greek business with and investment
in Albania, and the reestablishment of a Greek-led Albanian Orthodox Church under the inspired leadership of the ecclesiastical leader
Archbishop Anastasios.
Nationalists on both sides remain uncomfortable with the improved relationship. Greece’s initial warming to Serbia’s Slobodan
Milosevic left a legacy of suspicion on both sides. The two nations,
given the difference in their recent past, seem to stand on opposite
sides on many issues. Whereas Albania strongly supports the independence of Kosovo, Greece remains sensitive to Serbia’s objections. Although Albania enthusiastically welcomed and greeted as a
hero President George W. Bush of the United States in June 2007,
Greek anti-Americanism shows no sign of abating.
Despite some initial concerns, the return of Sali Berisha to the
premiership did not witness a rebound of the polemics of the 1990s
in Athens. Coming from the north and representing a northern constituency that has largely remained outside the Greek orbit, Berisha
confirmed the increased pragmatism that characterizes the relations
between the two nations, to the mutual benefit of both and the region.
Furthermore, Greece’s improved relations with Turkey have greatly
weakened Greece’s siege mentality and fears, and have enabled the
country’s leadership to pursue a policy of constructive engagement
in its region.
Given the historical ties between Greeks and Albanians and the
existence of large ethnic Albanian immigrant communities in Greece
whose presence in Greek life will increase, the Greek–Albanian relationship is of great strategic importance for the future development of
Greece (and Albania), second only to Greece’s relations with Turkey.
ALEXANDER GLÜCKSBURG (1893–1920). Born in Athens, the
second son of King Constantine I and Queen Sophia, Alexander was
the brother of the future King George II and King Paul. He studied
at the Military Academy of Athens and participated in the Balkan
Wars (1912–1913) as an officer in the Greek armed forces. In 1917,
Alexander became king after his father’s abdication. Constantine I
was forcibly exiled by the Entente due to his pro-German position of
keeping Greece neutral during World War I against the wishes of
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• 7
the popularly elected prime minister, Eleftherios Venizelos. The rift
between the two developed into a destructive quasi Civil War known
as the National Schism (Ethnikos Dihasmos).
The fact that Alexander was an Anglophile was the main reason he
became king, but many Greeks continued to remain loyal to his deposed father. Alexander’s marriage in 1919 to Aspasia Manou, who
was not a member of a royal family, was a scandal in the Athenian
society of the time. As a king, Alexander was more interested in easy
living than in the Greek state and politics.
If Alexander’s life was unremarkable, his untimely death in Athens had important historical consequences. In October 1920, he was
bitten by a monkey in the palace garden and died from a serious
infection three weeks later. His death came unexpectedly during
the election campaign called by Liberal Prime Minister Venizelos,
who, having achieved the landing of Greek forces in western Asia
Minor and the signing of the Treaty of Sèvres, was confident of
his reelection. However, after eight years of war and bitter domestic
infighting, Alexander’s premature death galvanized the monarchist
opposition to Venizelos and reopened the question of a return to the
throne of Constantine, Alexander’s popular father. Surprisingly, the
monarchists won the elections, Venizelos left Greece, and Constantine returned to the Greek throne against the fierce opposition of the
Entente victors of World War I. First France and then Great Britain gradually distanced themselves from Greece and its efforts to
implement the postwar settlement of the Treaty of Sèvres against the
increasing resistance of a nationalist Turkey led by Kemal Atatürk.
Eventually, Greece was defeated in 1922 and abandoned both Asia
Minor and eastern Thrace.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT (356–323 BCE). Born in Pella in present-day northern Greece, Alexander, the king of ancient Macedonia,
was a military genius and a great conqueror. He remained undefeated
in battle and expanded his rule as far as India. Following the unification of the Greek city-states by his father Phillip II, Alexander
engaged in a military campaign that destroyed the Persian Empire
and brought the Greek culture to the Middle East, Mesopotamia,
Persia, and Egypt—all homes of great ancient civilizations. His work
culturally united a vast area and created the receptive conditions for
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8 •
the rise of a new monotheistic religion, Christianity. Although he
died in Babylon at a very young age and his empire fragmented soon
thereafter, his legacy lived on and he left a significant imprint on
world history.
In the 20th century, Alexander’s historical impact has been entangled in nationalist controversies between Greece and the neighboring
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Slav-Macedonians dispute his Greek origin and often claim him as a distant ancestor. Although the Slavs arrived in the Balkans a millennium after
Alexander’s death and most of ancient Macedonia lies within present-day Greece, Skopje initially chose the ancient Macedonian sun
as its national flag following FYROM’s independence in 1991. More
recently, Skopje named its airport after Alexander. Squares, streets,
airports, and so forth in Greece bear Alexander’s name, where he is
venerated as a Greek hero.
ANCIENT GREECE. Modern Greece is often unfavorably juxtaposed
to ancient Greece. Although modern Greece has benefited greatly
by its association with its distant but glorious relative, comparisons
between the two have complicated the development of modern Greek
consciousness and national identity. Ancient Greece is hard to define precisely, both chronologically and geographically. It has been
roughly equated with classical Hellas, an area similar to present-day
Greece, with its center southwards around Athens and Peloponnesus
from the sixth century to the Macedonian conquest in the middle
of the fourth century BCE, and organized around city-states, most
prominent of which emerged first Sparta and then Athens.
Greeks belonged to Indo-European tribes that came from the north
and settled in the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula around the
middle of the second millennium BCE. Having subjugated local populations, they established kingdoms and developed a civilization that is
described and glorified by Homer in his two epic poems. The primary
center of power became Mycenae in northeastern Peloponnesus. Its supremacy ended with the invasion of Dorian Greeks around 1200 BCE.
After four centuries of what might be called a dark age, a network of
thriving and expanding Greek city-states emerged, with Sparta the strongest among them. Starting with internal reforms in the sixth century that
increased the powers of the citizenry, Athens benefited greatly from the
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• 9
defeat of the invading Persians in the early fifth century and claimed
the leadership of the whole of the Greek world. Sparta responded reluctantly to the challenge and, after an exhausting Peloponnesian war,
temporarily prevailed. This infighting allowed Macedonia, a distant
kingdom to the north under the leadership of Philip II, to gradually
dominate Greece and unite it under his authority. His son, Alexander,
later used these united resources to campaign in the east and conquer
the vast Persian Empire, taking Greek culture and language as far as
India. In the meantime, ancient Greece was subsumed by the expanding
Roman Empire and became a Roman province.
It is hard to exaggerate the role ancient Greece has played in world
developments and the tight hold it has had on Western imagination—an unparalleled contribution to the development of philosophy,
science, the arts, and the birth of the humanistic spirit and the democratic ideal. Much idealized by the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, ancient Greece formed the central pillar of what has been
called Western or Judeo-Christian civilization, together with Roman
law and Jewish monotheism. Ancient Greece remains subject to constant reinterpretations. Recently, scholars have turned their attention
from its uniqueness to the study of its relations and interactions with
its Semitic surroundings in the eastern Mediterranean.
ANENDOTOS. Literally meaning unyielding, unbending, uncompromising, and unrelenting, anendotos was the way Georgios
Papandreou defined his and his party’s political struggle against
Konstantinos Karamanlis’ government after 1961. In the general
elections of 1961, the conservative National Radical Union (NRU;
Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosis, ERE), headed by Karamanlis, prevailed
once again against the centrist opposition of Georgios Papandreou’s
Center Union (Enosis Kentrou) with a remarkable 51 percent of the
popular vote. The elections were not conducted by Karamanlis but,
as was customary, by a caretaker government comprised of staunch
conservatives appointed by the king. As soon as voting was concluded, evidence of irregularities emerged. It seemed that in the rural
areas voters were intimidated by police and regime loyalists to vote
for the government and in some urban centers the counting of votes
was fraudulent. The exact extent of violence and fraud is still being
debated and will probably never be fully known.
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Karamanlis would have been reelected in any case albeit with a
smaller margin. It became evident later that the main target of voters’
intimidation was not the center but the left. Although the Communist Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE)
remained outlawed, a left-wing party called Unified Democratic Left
(UDL; Eniaia Dimokratiki Aristera, EDA) participated in the elections. In the 1958 elections, it performed exceptionally well, capturing one quarter of the votes and becoming the largest opposition
party in Parliament. Its continuous success, only a few years after
the conclusion of a bloody Civil War and at the height of the Cold
War, troubled many conservatives (especially around the palace and
in the army) and the United States government. Many centrist leaders, probably including Papandreou himself, were aware of plans to
suppress the leftist vote. Some welcomed the possibility in the hope
that they would benefit from it. Fine-tuning electoral mingling is
never easy and it seems that the center suffered some losses itself.
The initial announcement of the election results disappointed Papandreou, who hesitated to declare his future course of action. Having to lead a fractured opposition and a disunited party with many
challengers, he decided not to recognize the results and proceeded
to polarize Greek politics. He proved very successful. Anendotos
touched a raw nerve in the Greek body politic of the time. Many
Greeks felt it was time to move on with the liberalization and normalization of Greek politics, away from the restrictions and traumas of
the recent past. Anendotos channeled and gave voice to an emerging
liberal and independent-minded Greece. It soon escalated into massive marches and demonstrations across the whole country, gradually
eroding support for Karamanlis’ government and softening opposition within the regime to a possible defeat of the ERE. Eventually,
the Center Union won a landslide victory in 1964, with King Paul’s
help, and Karamanlis left Greece for Paris, where he remained in
self-imposed exile until 1974.
Anendotos served Papandreou well. It papered over the fissures
among the various factions of his party and it united not only the
Center Union but the entire opposition, including to a large extent
the left. It rebranded him as a radical opposition leader, sharpening
his differences with the conservatives with whom he had worked
many times in the past. It allowed him to take advantage of his con-
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siderable rhetorical skills without having to explain policy specifics,
and it helped isolate Karamanlis, who was the primary target, from
the regime and the king. Twice, in less than a year, King Paul did
Papandreou’s bidding: King Paul forced Karamanlis to resign in the
summer of 1963 without immediately dissolving Parliament, and he
conceded to Papandreou’s request for a new election in February
1964, following the inconclusive elections of November 1963.
In retrospect, anendotos destabilized Greek politics and initiated a
process that led to the collapse of parliamentarianism with the coup
of April 1967. Although much celebrated in Greek democratic mythology, anendotos polarized Greek politics at a time when Greece
was moving away from its Third World status and aspired to a European future and when popular expectations were rising too fast for
the socioeconomic system to adequately satisfy. The management
of this transition required visionary leadership capable of careful
planning and resistant to populist outburst. This proved a tall order
for the Greek political class, whose infighting allowed extraconstitutional forces to impose their own solution on the country’s political
ANGELOPOULOS, THEODOROS (1935– ). Born in Athens, Angelopoulos is Greece’s most internationally celebrated cinema director.
A master of imagery, he best represents the transition of the Greek
movie industry from the mass production of popular light comedies
and melodramas for domestic consumption in the 1960s into a more
demanding, artistic, slow-moving, and soul-searching filmmaking
with some international aspirations. This transition was marked by
technological change, by the advance of television and corresponding decline in movie-going, and by political change, embodied in the
democratization and legalization of the Communist Party of Greece
(CPG; Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE) in 1974.
Starting in the mid-1970s and aided by newly available state
subsidies and a keen interest by post-junta Greek governments in
promoting contemporary Greek culture abroad and, especially, in
Europe, Angelopoulos created some epic films centered on the heroic
defeat of the left in the Civil War and its aftermath. Shot in the Greek
mountains, far away from Greece’s coastline tourist attractions, rich
in symbolism but parsimonious with words or a plot, Angelopoulos
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developed a reputation for difficult but majestic cinematography that
became particularly popular among the left, the up-and-coming new
urban sophisticates, and a few audiences abroad, especially in France.
Some of his most memorable works include The Traveling Players,
Voyage to Cythera, and Eternity and a Day, which won the Palme
d’Or at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. Recently, as the memory of
the epic struggles of resistance and insurgency has faded away and
Greece seems to have left behind the heroic politics of its recent past,
Angelopoulos’ popularity has declined and his vocabulary seems out
of touch with the younger, less politicized, generations.
ANNAN PLAN. Named after United Nations (UN) Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, this plan was the most comprehensive attempt, to date,
on the part of the United Nations and the international community for
the resolution of the Cyprus problem and the peaceful coexistence
of Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots who live on and share the island.
Put forward for approval in two separate referendums on 24 April
2004, the plan was voted for by the Turkish-Cypriots but defeated
by the Greek-Cypriots, after which it was abandoned. The plan was
an elaborate and detailed attempt to provide for a functional bizonal,
bicommunal federation that has long been accepted as the basis for
the reunification of the island, which has remained divided since
1974. Greek and Turkish nationalists denounced the plan as a sellout.
The plan’s defeat angered Europeans and Americans and increased
the distance between Greek liberals and the Cypriot cause. See also
APOSTASIA. Literally meaning defection, apostasia came to negatively describe the defection of parliamentarians from the ruling
Center Union (Kentro Enosis) Party in order to form a new government in the summer of 1965. This royally sanctioned government
enjoyed the support of the conservative opposition party of the National Radical Union (NRU; Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosis, ERE) and
was led, after two failed attempts to win a parliamentary majority, by
Stefanos Stefanopoulos.
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Apostasia was the direct result of the clash between the popularly elected Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou and the young,
inexperienced, and ill-advised King Constantine II. Starting with
a disagreement over control of the Greek armed forces, the king
forced Papandreou to resign and quickly moved to divide his party.
Apostasia became a turning point of post–Civil War Greek politics
and highlighted the restrictions under which Greek democracy was
forced to operate, embodied by the king’s insistence on interfering
and guiding the political process. It directly questioned the vitality of
Greek parliamentarianism and made a mockery of the Greek political class. It caused a massive political mobilization and created an
escalating crisis that led to the downfall of democratic politics with
the military coup of 21 April 1967. Finally, apostasia turned the Papandreous—the father and his son Andreas—into popular fighters for
democracy and sovereignty and was a severe blow to the legitimacy
of the monarchy, from which it never really recovered.
ARAB WORLD (RELATIONS WITH). Greece has traditionally enjoyed warm relations with the Arab world due to historical, cultural,
and geographical proximity. Three of the five ancient Christian patriarchates are located in the Arab world and two of them, in Alexandria
and Jerusalem, are headed by Greeks. There were tensions in the past
when, for example, Greek communities fell victim to Arab nationalism in Egypt and elsewhere. But Greece remains particularly sympathetic to the national struggle of Palestinians and critical of Israeli
and United States policy in the Arab world, whereas Arab states
have diplomatically supported Greece on the issue of Cyprus. Many
Arabs, especially Lebanese, Palestinians, Saudis, and Syrians, reside
in Greece, in particular in the southern suburbs of Athens. Economic
relations are based on oil, shipping, and tourism. The high point of
Greece’s relations with the Arab world came in the early 1980s with
the arrival of Andreas Papandreou, who cultivated his connection
with Arab nationalist leaders like Yasser Arafat, Muammar Qaddafi,
and Hafez Assad, despite American objections. In the summer of
1982, the fighters of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
were evacuated from Beirut with the assistance of Greek ships, and
Papandreou briefly contemplated offering Arafat and his movement
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a home in Greece. PLO headquarters moved to Tunis but Athens
remained particularly welcoming to Arabs. The end of the Cold War
refocused Greek attention on the Balkans and the violent disintegration of Yugoslavia, and Greece remained largely absent from the
Arab–Israeli peace process in the 1990s, although it did participate
in the first Gulf War in 1990–1991. More recently, there has been
a renewed Greek interest in the Arab world, and Greek business is
taking advantage of the liberalization of Arab economies, primarily
in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, and the Gulf, while some Arab oil money is
being invested in Greece. See also FOREIGN POLICY.
ARMED FORCES. The armed forces of Greece comprise an army, a
navy, and an air force, while the civilian authority rests with the Ministry of National Defense. The Greek armed forces rely on universal
male conscription. Recently, military service has been shortened to
one year. The total number of soldiers in uniform has fallen below
200,000 and will continue to decrease as the country suffers from a
demographic decline. The government is promoting the further professionalization of the army with a generous recruitment policy.
Historically, Greece is one of the biggest defense spenders of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Currently, defense
expenditures total 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP),
or around €7 billion a year. Moreover, Greece is one of the top importers of military equipment worldwide. Most of the Greek weaponry comes from the United States and, in recent years, has included
third-generation jet fighters, attack helicopters, tanks, antiaircraft
missiles, submarines, frigates, reconnaissance planes, and high-tech
telecommunication equipment. Despite a few attempts, Greece has
failed to develop a reliable national defense industry. Most of the
Greek army is stationed along the border with Turkey and on the
islands of the eastern Aegean. Greek contingencies are currently
serving in several missions of the United Nations (UN) and NATO,
including Kosovo and Afghanistan.
ART. Growing under the shadow of an overwhelming classical heritage, modern Greek art has struggled to balance itself between indigenous and European forms. Greek painting in the 19th century was
heavily influenced by Munich and is best represented in the works
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of Nikolaos Ghysis, Konstantinos Volanakis, Nikiforos Lytras, and
Georgios Iakovidis. Paris exerted a powerful influence in the first
half of the 20th century with the postimpressionist works of Konstantinos Parthenis and Konstantinos Maleas. Photis Kondoglou rejected
foreign influences and revived the Byzantine tradition, whereas
postwar Greek painters such as Yannis Tsarouchis, Yannis Moralis,
and Spyros Vassiliou masterfully combined Greek and Western influences.
However, it is in poetry, music, and theater where Greek art stands
in a class of its own. Greek poetry earned two Nobel Prizes, in 1963
and in 1979 for the works of Georgios Seferis and Odysseas Elytis
respectively, and has provided the lyrics for much of contemporary
Greek music. Blending distinctly oriental sounds with Western orchestration, Greek music is spectacularly popular and is heard across
the eastern Mediterranean. Athens remains a theatrical metropolis
in Europe, and postwar Greece has developed a world-class tradition
in staging ancient Greek drama. See also LITERATURE.
ASIA MINOR CATASTROPHE (1922). The defeat of the Greek
forces in Asia Minor by Turkish nationalists led by Kemal Atatürk
in August 1922 was a major turning point in modern Greek history.
In the age of nationalism, the Greek military defeat meant the ethnic
cleansing of all Greeks of Asia Minor. The evacuation of the Greek
army was followed by the expulsion of more than a million Asia Minor Greeks, while many thousands perished and never made it to the
Greek islands across the western Anatolian coast. Ancient communities were destroyed or uprooted, and the demographic and cultural
composition of much of western Asia Minor changed dramatically.
The catastrophe brought an abrupt end to a century-long irredentist project of expanding Greece into Ottoman territory with large
Greek communities. After 1922, Greece turned from a revisionist to
a conservative power, abandoned foreign adventurism, and focused
on domestic development and the demanding task of assimilating the
With a broken army, Greece was forced to agree to the evacuation
of eastern Thrace as well, in order to sign an armistice with Turkey.
This meant that additional Greek refugees poured in, who—together
with the Greeks from Bulgaria—brought the total to more than 1.5
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million people, at a time when Greece’s native population was no
more than 5.5 million.
Funding, housing, and employing the hundreds of thousands of
destitute refugees were a monumental challenge for the impoverished
and war-torn nation. The task was facilitated by the departure of half
a million Muslim Turks from northern Greece who were exchanged
for the incoming Greeks, but later this was complicated by the world
economic crisis of 1929. Overall, the Greek state performed well and
the infusion of refugees provided for the industrialization of the
Greek economy, the ethnic homogenization of Greek Macedonia
and Thrace, and the overall modernization of Greek society. Politically, the refugees lent massive support to the Liberals of Eleftherios Venizelos by blaming the royalists for their misfortunes, and
increasingly provided a receptive audience to a growing communist
Who was to blame for the catastrophe? In the immediate aftermath
of the defeat, the military revolted against the king and the royalist
government. The army demanded and secured the sentencing and
execution of the six royalist leaders, including the former prime
minister and the head of the army. Constantine I abdicated and two
years later a republic was proclaimed. It took years for the royalists
to recover politically from the blame.
In retrospect, the decision to land Greek forces in Izmir (Smyrna)
in May 1919 was a risky gamble. At the time, Venizelos had belatedly allied Greece with the victorious Entente and was invited by
British Prime Minister Lloyd George to land in Asia Minor and assist in the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. However, the
landing of the Greeks was bound to raise fierce opposition among
the Turks. Not only did their former subjects suddenly threaten the
very heartland of the Turkish nation, but unlike the British, French,
and Italians, the Greeks, if allowed, were there to stay since they
already had a strong demographic presence in Izmir and its vicinity.
As a result, as soon as news of the landing spread, irregular Turks
slaughtered Greeks in the areas they controlled, especially inland and
on the Black Sea. The Greeks committed their own share of atrocities against the local Muslim population in the areas they controlled,
poisoning further the relations between the two peoples and making
their coexistence increasingly unattainable. The nationalist dream of
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Venizelos for a Greece of the two continents and the five seas was
not as widely shared as one might have thought; many soldiers from
old Greece, especially from Peloponnesus, longed to return home
and to lead civilian lives after almost a decade of mobilization.
Venizelos did not anticipate the emergence of a fierce and wellorganized Turkish nationalist resistance led by a charismatic Kemal
Atatürk, in opposition to the compliant government of the sultan
based in Istanbul. Furthermore, having secured most of the Greek
claims under the Treaty of Sèvres, which the defeated Ottoman
Turkey was forced to sign in 1920, Venizelos did not expect to lose
the forthcoming elections. Running on a pacifist ticket, the royalist
opposition unexpectedly won what proved to be one of the most
fateful elections of Greek history. The change of government denied
Greece the great diplomatic skills of Venizelos, a longtime friend of
the Entente, at a time when they were most needed, while the change
in the leadership of the army created a turmoil that was never fully
resolved. Once in power, the royalists openly defied Great Britain
and France by orchestrating the return to the throne of anti-Entente
King Constantine I, who had been expelled in 1917 by Entente forces
because of his pro-German sympathies. Rather than bringing the war
to a quick end as promised, the new government was trapped into
expanding the war effort inside Anatolia all the way to the outskirts
of Ankara in a desperate effort to force Kemal to compromise.
In the summer of 1921, the Greek forces reached the limit of their
overextension and were repelled at the Saggarios River. Greece
desperately sued for a diplomatic settlement but Kemal would make
no deal. Exhausted and isolated internationally after the return of
King Constantine from exile, Greece looked for a miracle that never
happened. Instead, Kemal carefully planned a massive attack on the
overextended Greek lines; the Greek forces were defeated, which led
to a panic rush to the Aegean coast, leaving behind thousands of civilian Greeks trying to survive the onslaught. On 5 September 1922,
the Turkish forces entered Izmir (Smyrna), which was burned to the
ground four days later. Allied naval forces, including many British
and French ships, declined to offer help to the fleeing Greeks—a
tragic end of millennia of Hellenism on the eastern shores of the
Aegean. Eventually, a new peace treaty was signed in Lausanne in
1923. Turkey, alone among the defeated powers of World War I,
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managed to revise the initial Treaty of Sèvres in its favor. The Treaty
of Lausanne became the cornerstone of relations between Greece
and Turkey. See also FOREIGN POLICY.
ATHENS. Athens is the capital of Greece. It was also the epicenter of
much of classical Hellas and, to this day, resonates with a powerful
symbolism associated with the classical age. With around four million inhabitants, Athens is a modern metropolis and the largest city
in Greece. Approximately 65 percent of the Greek gross domestic
product (GDP) is produced in Athens, where most of the Greek industry is concentrated. Even more than Paris in France, Athens is the
administrative, economic, and cultural center of the very centralized
modern Greek nation-state.
After having declined to the status of a large village after the
Middle Ages, Athens was chosen to be the capital of the newly independent Kingdom of Greece by the incoming young King Otto and
his Bavarians in 1833, thanks to its classical glory. Urban planning
was daring but fell victim to the lack of resources and popular pressures. The center of Athens is still marked by the old town at the foot
of the Acropolis with the Bavarian new city, the Parliament building,
and a number of majestic neoclassical buildings surrounding it.
Athens’ population continued to increase throughout the 19th
century and reached one million on the eve of World War I. Its
population exploded in the aftermath of the Asia Minor catastrophe
with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Greek refugees. Many of
its suburbs bear names from Asia Minor such as Nea Smyrni (New
Izmir), Nea Ionia, Nea Philadelphia, and so forth. Athens suffered
greatly during the first winter of Nazi occupation in 1941–1942 when
food supplies were diverted to German troops and the civilian population was left to starve. Athens was the main stage for the “second
round” of the Greek Civil War in December 1944. After the Civil
War, Athens received many relocated highlanders who abandoned,
forcefully or willingly, their mountainous villages to escape the
Athens expanded rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s as thousands of
peasants moved there to take advantage of new job opportunities.
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More recently, there has been an influx of Albanians. Rapid growth
changed the character of the city and put enormous pressure on its
infrastructure. By the 1980s, Athens reached a low point, suffering
from chronic traffic congestion, record air pollution, and a lack of
green spaces. Since the early 1990s, conditions have improved with
the creation of a modern new subway, superfast beltway road, new
airport, a number of state-of-the-art stadiums, a network of pedestrian
streets, and new public spaces. The height of this rejuvenation came
with the hosting of the Olympic Games in August 2004.
Although not particularly beautiful, Athens occupies a favorable
position surrounded by a scenic coastline, is close to many historical sites and natural attractions, and is blessed with a temperate
Mediterranean climate—dry in the summer and mild in the winter.
Built in a valley and surrounded by mountains, Athens’ horizon is
dominated by the Acropolis, which is home to some of the world’s
most celebrated structures, including the Parthenon. Athens is a city
buzzing with energy and with countless cafes, bars, restaurants, and
night clubs that cater to all tastes. On a cultural note, Athens has renowned museums, more than 150 theater companies, and hosts many
international art and music festivals. Several institutions of higher
learning are based in Athens, including the oldest modern university
in southeastern Europe, the National and Capodistrian University of
Athens, founded in 1837, and the National Technical University of
Athens (Polytechnio), Greece’s leading engineering school, founded
in 1836.
Although densely built, with a vibrant downtown and an expanding subway that brings its suburbs closer together, Athens is still five
cities wrapped in one. There is central Athens with the posh district
of Kolonaki; the northern suburbs housing the Athenian middle and
upper classes; the western, working-class suburbs; the port city of Piraeus with a strong local identity; and the expanding California-like
southern suburbs along the coast. There is not much left on which to
build in the central valley, and new development occurs in Mesogia,
an area to the east where the new airport is located, and in formerly
industrial sites within the city, such as the Gazi district and around
Piraeus Street. See also ANCIENT GREECE.
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– B –
BALKAN WARS (1912–1913). The Balkan Wars have been independent Greece’s most territorially profitable military engagement,
resulting in almost doubling its territory and population. Greece’s
gains in Epirus, Macedonia, and the Aegean were disproportionate to the costs of the military campaigns because both wars were
short in duration. For all the victories of the Greek armed forces,
especially of the Greek navy that dominated the Aegean, much of
the Greek success should be attributed to the able diplomacy of its
prime minister, Eleftherios Venizelos, who twice placed Greece on
the winning side.
The First Balkan War was sparked by the Christian Balkan states’
desire to expel Ottoman Turkey from Europe. Despite the opposition of the great powers (such as Great Britain, andGermany) who
worried about regional instability, Greece and its allies—Serbia,
Bulgaria, and Montenegro—were surprisingly successful and the
Ottoman front, as far as the outskirts of Constantinople (Istanbul),
quickly succumbed. Having won a bloody battle in Yanitsa and led
by Prince Constantine, the Greek army’s finest hour came when it
entered Thessaloniki, the Ottomans’ largest city in Europe after Istanbul, only a few hours before the Bulgarians, on St. Dimitrios Day,
26 October 1912. Simultaneously, the Greek fleet, commanded by
Pavlos Koundouriotis, defeated the Ottomans at sea and liberated the
islands in the northern and eastern Aegean (Lesvos, Chios, Imvros,
Tenedos, Limnos, Samos, and Ikaria islands).
The First Balkan war ended with the Treaty of London, which
obliged the Ottomans to abandon the territories lost to the Balkan
alliance, without specifying the new borders of the Balkan countries.
This ambiguity and Bulgaria’s increasing frustration, having fought
the hardest but gained the least—especially when compared to the
territories it was promised by the unrealized Treaty of San Stefano in
1878—led to the Second Balkan War in July 1913. The war ended
with the Treaty of Bucharest in August 1913.
The Second Balkan War was fought between Bulgaria and the
rest of the region, including Ottoman Turkey and Romania, for the
distribution of the spoils. Fighting alone, Bulgaria lost and had to
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give up much of Macedonia, the main contested territory, to Greece
and Serbia.
Greece’s expansion partially fulfilled the long-lasting irredentist
project of Megali Idea (or Greater Greece) and should be attributed
to the success of its domestic modernization on the eve of the war
and to Venizelos’ inspiring leadership. Incorporating the new lands,
especially Macedonia with its heterogeneous ethnic composition,
was a challenge for the Greek state. As a result, in the years that followed and until recently, Greek politics were dominated by a multifaceted crisis of integration that had much to do with the transfers of
territories and populations, in the period that started with the Balkan
Wars in 1912 and ended with the Asia Minor catastrophe in 1922.
In the meantime, Constantine became the king of Greece, following
his popular father’s assassination in March 1913 in Thessaloniki, and
used his own recently acquired popularity as the military “liberator”
of Macedonia to confront his prime minister, Venizelos. See also
BALKANS. Greece lies at the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula. As part of the Balkans, Greece shares much of the history
and culture of the region, including the common legacy left by the
Byzantine and Ottoman empires and by Orthodox Christianity.
However, the Greeks form a national group distinct from the Slavs to
the north and the Turks to the east. Furthermore, surrounded by the
sea, Greek identity has been influenced by the Mediterranean to a
degree rarely found in the rest of the Balkans.
During the Cold War, Greece was cut off from the Balkans and
looked to the west. From the 1970s onward, relations with the Balkan
neighbors gradually improved as a result of the Europe-wide détente
and the deterioration of Greece’s relations with Turkey. Following
the fall of communism, a natural Balkan hinterland reemerged, offering numerous opportunities for trade, investment, and cultural
and social exchanges. Although Greeks opposed and were saddened
by the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the truth is that the elimination
of the large Yugoslav federation to the north has allowed Greece to
claim a leadership role in the region based on its superior economic
and political resources.
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Greece has been an ardent supporter of Balkan cooperation, sponsoring the establishment of numerous fora in politics, the economy,
and sports, among others. Recently, however, the drive for regional
integration has been superseded by European integration itself and
the desire of all Balkan countries to enter the European Union (EU)
as soon as possible. In their quest, Greece has been supportive, arguing in favor of EU enlargement in southeastern Europe. See also
BANKING. Banking is one of the most dynamic and profitable sectors of the Greek economy. The Greek banking sector is currently
booming, bank profits are at a record high, totaling some €4.5 billion
in 2007 alone, and profit margins are among the highest in Europe.
There are many reasons for this success, including the liberalization
reforms since the mid-1980s, the rapid expansion of domestic credit,
mergers, consolidation, and expansion abroad.
Until Greece’s entry into the European Union (EU) in 1981,
Greek banking was dominated by state-owned or state-controlled
institutions. To a large extent, banks were an extension of the government’s economic and developmental policy. In addition, banks
were obliged to lend to the state at very low rates. The result was
the overpoliticization of credit that became scarce and costly. Half
of the market was controlled by the National Bank of Greece (NBG),
the oldest and largest Greek bank. The NBG was founded in 1841,
following several unsuccessful attempts to establish such a bank, and
had the right to issue banknotes until the establishment of the Bank
of Greece in 1928.
Since the late 1980s, Greek banks have undergone a dramatic
change, and since the 1990s, they have expanded vigorously into
southeastern Europe. Today, the 3,200 branches of Greek banks that
operate in the Balkans control around 20% of the market. The most
celebrated deal was NBG’s acquisition of Turkey’s Finansbank
for around $4 billion, the largest commercial transaction in history
between Greece and Turkey. This confirmed the extroversion of the
Greek banking sector and further boosted investors’ confidence in the
current Greek–Turkish détente.
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Today, there are five major banks: NBG (the only bank in which
the state still has a controlling influence), followed by Alpha, EFG
Eurobank, Piraeus, and Commercial Bank (which is owned by
France’s Credit Agricole). Greek banks aggressively took advantage
of the new economic conditions in Greece caused by its membership
in the EU, which included the lifting of previously tight controls and
the macroeconomic stability introduced by the euro. Thus, retail
credit has rapidly expanded to mortgages and consumers. Nevertheless, Greek banks are still burdened by an excessive workforce,
generous pension liabilities, and militant unions, and continue to
provide some of the most expensive credit in the Eurozone. There is
ample room for further consolidation, computerization, and increased
competition. In the meantime, although fairly conservative and riskaverse, Greek banks have been hit by the global economic downturn
in 2009, mainly through their exposure in the Balkans.
BARTHOLOMEW I (1940– ). As the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul (Constantinople), Bartholomew is recognized as the nominal
spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians, a position much disputed
by Turkey and Russia. Born in 1940 on the island of Imvros in
Turkey, he studied at the ancient Divinity School of Halki in the
Marmara Sea. He received his master’s degree from the Eastern
Studies Institute in Rome and his PhD from the Gregorian University of Rome. In 1968, Bartholomew obtained a faculty position at
the Patriarchal Divinity School in Halki and in 1972 became director of the Patriarchal Office. In 1973, he was ordained metropolitan
of Philadelphia, an ancient but flockless metropolis in present-day
Turkey, and in 1990 was enthroned metropolitan of Chalcedon. Bartholomew was elected Ecumenical Patriarch in 1990 after the death
of Patriarch Dimitrios.
A polyglot and well educated, Bartholomew has promoted the
unity of the Orthodox Church, more contacts with the Vatican, better
protection of the environment, and an enhanced understanding of
the patriarchate’s troubled relationship with Ankara. His ambition is
to reopen the Halki School for the education of new recruits to the
aging patriarchate. Nevertheless, Bartholomew has not avoided controversy, as evidenced by his clash with the dynamic and politically
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savvy Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America, the patriarchate’s most important province, which led to Iakovos’ retirement
and a decline in the Greek Church’s political influence in the United
States. Furthermore, he clashed with the ambitious Greek Archbishop
Christodoulos over the control of Greek Macedonia’s dioceses.
BAVARIAN RULE (VAVAROKRATIA). The short period in the
early years of the newly independent Greek state, when the administration of the country was assumed by a three-man Regency Council,
designated by King Otto’s father and king of Bavaria, Ludwig I. In
1832, Otto was chosen by the great powers (mainly Great Britain,
Russia, and France) to be the Greek king and arrived in Greece in
1833 at the age of 18, unable to assume his royal duties until the age
of 20. During that period, Otto’s father formed a group of Bavarian
nobles in order to rule Greece and prepare the country for his son’s
reign. The Bavarian Regency Council consisted of Count Joseph
Ludwig von Armansperg, Major-General Karl von Heideck, and
Professor Georg Ludwig von Maurer. The Regency Council ruled
Greece in the most centralized way, repulsing the Greeks from
any control over their state and subsequently provoking general
discontent. However, the Bavarians worked hard and efficiently to
modernize the administration, justice, and education systems, the
economy, public finances, and the army of the Greek kingdom. Furthermore, they declared the Greek Orthodox Church independent
from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ottoman
In 1835, Otto came of age and assumed his royal duties. He was
neither interested in nor capable of governing, and the Bavarian
Council continued to control the country. In 1837, under strong British and French pressure, Otto dismissed the regents and appointed
Greeks to his cabinet. However, he refused to grant a constitution or
to allow for a popularly elected legislature. The authoritarianism of
the Bavarian rule and its generally heavy-handed involvement in the
country’s politics contributed to the popular uprising of 1843 and the
final ousting of Otto in 1863.
BULGARIA (RELATIONS WITH). In the past, the emergence of
Bulgarian nationalism, supported by Slavic Russia after the mid-19th
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century, was bound to challenge Greece’s cultural prerogatives and
political aspirations in the southern Balkans and especially in the
Ottoman province of Macedonia, which was to become the bone
of contention over which the two nations would fight several times
in the first half of the 20th century. What started as an ecclesiastical dispute between the Greek-controlled Ecumenical Patriarchate
in Istanbul (Constantinople) and the newly independent Bulgarian
Exarchate after 1870, quickly degenerated into a low-intensity conflict as pro-Bulgarian and pro-Greek bands fought to secure support
of the mostly illiterate Christian peasant population of Macedonia
for their respective causes. Greece emerged from the Balkan Wars
victorious, fostering a strong revisionist revanchism in Bulgaria. In
both World War I and World War II, Bulgaria sided with Germany
in its bid to recover Macedonia and, twice, it failed. During the occupation of Greek territories, Bulgarian forces committed numerous
atrocities against Greek civilians. In the meantime, Greece and Bulgaria exchanged populations, and with the arrival of the Asia Minor
refugees Greece consolidated its hold on its part of Macedonia. Revisionism has long since died in Bulgaria, and the independence of
a neighboring Macedonia in 1991 did not have much of a nationalist
impact on Sofia, where economic development remains the primary
Greece’s relations with Bulgaria have improved markedly since
the mid-1970s and are currently in an excellent state. In the latter
stages of the Cold War, Greece warmed to Bulgaria to counterbalance Turkey and to promote the Helsinki spirit of détente in the
Balkans. Greece strongly supported Bulgaria’s bid for the European
Union (EU) and invested heavily in the opening of the Bulgarian
economy after 1989, while hosting thousands of immigrants and welcoming hundreds of thousands of Bulgarian tourists, especially in
the north of the country. See also ASIA MINOR CATASTROPHE;
BYZANTINE EMPIRE (BYZANTIUM). The terms Byzantine and
Byzantium were introduced by Westerners after the Renaissance to
describe, often in a derogatory manner, the Eastern Roman Empire
with Constantinople as its capital and Christian Orthodoxy as its
state religion. The empire was Roman in its institutional structure
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and historical and ideological consciousness but it was, gradually,
Hellenized, as it slowly lost its non-Greek-speaking provinces in
the eastern Mediterranean and contracted to a culturally Greek
core. It lasted for a thousand years until the fall of Constantinople to
the Ottoman Turks in 1453, having withstood numerous invasions
and weakened by the crusades and Frankish rule after 1204. The
Byzantines did not simply serve as the transmitters of the classical
Greek and Roman civilization to the present day but were creators
of a superb medieval civilization themselves, as can be traced in the
architecture, literature, painting, and philosophy they left behind.
Reaching its peak in the 10th century under the Macedonian dynasty, the empire’s deepest and longest lasting historical imprint has
been the Christianization of the Slavs, most of whom came to share
Byzantium’s Orthodoxy and the Cyrillic alphabet, which is based on
the Greek alphabet.
Modern Greece has had a complicated relationship with Byzantium. Early Greek nationalists looking westwards and, being critical
of the church, preferred to focus on classical antiquity, which formed
the cornerstone of the Enlightenment’s historical narrative. Newly independent Greece chose Athens as its capital and broke off relations
with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul (Constantinople). It
fell upon the late 19th-century historian Konstantinos Paparigopoulos to restore Byzantium in the Greek nationalist narrative and to
“imagine” a continuity for the Greek nation from ancient to medieval
to modern times. Such a restoration was in line with 19th-century
Romantic thinking as well as the Greek Church’s power exigencies.
Today, Byzantine history forms part of the core curriculum in Greek
schools, Byzantine monuments are maintained and often wonderfully
restored, and the Byzantine museums in Athens, Thessaloniki, and
elsewhere have been turned into major cultural centers.
– C –
CALLAS, MARIA (1923–1977). Maria Anna Sophia Cecelia Kalogeropoulou, known as Maria Callas, was born in New York and
died of a heart attack in Paris. Callas is probably considered modern
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Greece’s greatest and best known artist. A soprano of unmatched talent, she is one of opera’s greatest and best-selling vocalists.
Callas was born into poverty and struggled with a dominating
mother and a lack of self-confidence in her appearance. She came
of age in Athens studying in the national music conservatory but
quickly moved on to an international career, starting in Italy, after
World War II. Callas is universally admired as a musical revolutionary. By modernizing the great bel canto tradition, she took an
old-fashioned art form with a declining audience and made it trendy
again with millions of new admirers.
Her personal life was no less dramatic. Originally married to
Giovanni Meneghini, she fell in love with her fellow Greek, Aristotle Onassis, a shipping tycoon. For a while, their affair attracted
enormous publicity as both were prominent members of the international jet set in the 1960s. The affair ended in 1968 when Onassis
married Jackie Kennedy, although they continued to see each other
until Onassis’ untimely death in 1975. Two years later, Callas died
alone in her apartment in Paris. Her body was cremated and her ashes
were scattered in the Aegean according to her wishes.
CAPODISTRIAS, IOANNIS (1776–1831). Count Ioannis Antonios
Capodistrias, or Conte Capo d’Istria in Italian, was born in Corfu,
the richest and most developed of the Ionian Islands, which were
controlled by Venice until the Napoleonic wars. He was tragically
assassinated in Nafplio, the first capital of independent Greece. Capodistrias was originally a career Russian diplomat. Having reached
the position of foreign minister at the court of Czar Alexander I,
Capodistrias was elected in 1827 by the Greek National Assembly to
serve as the first president of the country for a seven-year term.
A Greek of international repute with extensive diplomatic and administrative experience, Capodistrias arrived in Nafplio in 1828 and
was immediately confronted with the devastation and poverty that the
War of Independence had wreaked on the country. Where there was
chaos, he tried to establish order following the latest administrative
principles of the advanced states of Europe. His primary purpose was to
centralize power, but in the process he encountered the opposition of local nobles and warlords who, having just fought a war of independence
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against the Turks, had no desire to succumb to the authority of a
centralizing, modern state.
Capodistrias introduced significant reforms in newly independent
Greece’s administration, economy, education system, and armed
forces. His diplomatic skills proved essential in safeguarding the independence of Greece and the inclusion of more territories in the new
country than initially planned. Nevertheless, France and especially
Great Britain did not cease to be suspicious of his supposed Russophilia. Their hostility—coupled with the growing dissatisfaction
of local nobles, especially the powerful Mavromihalis family from
Mani—led to his political isolation and, subsequently, his assassination. His death provoked much civic strife and chaos, and some of
his reforms were rescinded. He was succeeded by the Bavarians
and King Otto, who ruled Greece until 1864 under the protection of
Capodistrias is rightly considered independent Greece’s first modernizer and one of its four leading statesmen, followed chronologically by Harilaos Trikoupis, Eleftherios Venizelos, and Konstantinos Karamanlis. Although much of recent historiography accuses
him of authoritarianism and a failure to appreciate local conditions,
Capodistrias was a man of his times, a product of the Enlightenment,
and a believer in rationalism. He implemented a radical program of
reforms that aimed to turn an Ottoman backwater into a European
nation-state. His assassination not only inaugurated a tradition of
violence in Greek politics but was followed by more authoritarianism
and disregard for Greek sensitivities by the Bavarians.
CASTORIADIS, CORNELIUS (1922–1997). Born in Istanbul, Castoriadis was a political philosopher of much influence in postwar
Western Europe. He is best known for offering a devastating leftist
critique against the Soviet Union, its socioeconomic system, and
the international communist movement it sponsored, through his
participation in the French journal Socialisme ou Barbarie and the
publication of major works such as The Imaginary Institution of Society and Crossroads in the Labyrinth. Following a long tradition and
like many Greek intellectuals of his generation, he found a hospitable
home in France where, during the Cold War, lively debates between
new and post-Marxists took place. He died in Paris.
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CAVAFY, CONSTANTINE (1863–1933). Born in Alexandria,
Egypt, and having spent time in England and Istanbul before returning to settle in his native Alexandria, Cavafy is Greece’s most
internationally acclaimed poet. His writing was unique both in the
use of the Greek language and in the forms he employed. In the
154 short poems he published, he wrote on aspects of the human
condition in a universal spirit. Making use of historical narratives,
mainly with references to the Hellenistic era, Cavafy, a master of
irony and ambivalence, spoke of love, longing, youth, alienation,
decadence, and human dignity. A homosexual, he lived a quiet,
secluded life as a public servant. Recognition came late and mainly
after his death (in Alexandria), but his reputation grew during
the postwar period and today Cavafy’s work is read and taught
throughout the world. See also LITERATURE.
formed in 1961 by Georgios Papandreou with the participation of
Sofoklis Venizelos. Bringing together a wide spectrum of centrist
politicians and old liberals, ranging from the center-left with Ilias
Tsirimokos to the center-right with Konstantinos Mitsotakis, its aim
was to provide a credible government alternative to the hegemony
of the Greek right and Konstantinos Karamanlis. Helped by the
charismatic personality and great oratory skills of Papandreou and
an understanding with King Paul, the Center Union won the 1963
and 1964 elections. It was propelled to power on a wave of rising
popular expectations in favor of social and political reforms. However, the Center Union proved disunited while in power and broke
down when Papandreou was forced to resign by the new and young
King Constantine II in July 1965. Nevertheless, the Center Union
recovered and was on its way to reclaiming power in the May 1967
elections when the colonels’ coup of 21 April froze the political process for the following seven years. Following the fall of the junta in
1974, the Center Union’s successor party, Union of the Democratic
Center (UDC; Enosi Dimokratikou Kentrou, EDIK) rapidly declined
and much of its old constituency followed Andreas Papandreou,
son of Georgios, into his new Panhellenic Socialist Movement
(PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima) that eventually came to
power in 1981.
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CENTRAL GREECE (STEREA ELLADA). Traditionally called
Roumeli, Sterea Ellada, or Central Greece, is part of old Greece or
the original kingdom of Greece that was established after the War
of Independence. With a surface area of 24,391 square kilometers
and a population of 1,235,558, excluding Athens, Central Greece is
a large, mountainous region that stretches from the Ionian Sea to the
Aegean Sea north of Peloponnesus and the Bay of Corinth. In addition to Athens, world-famous ancient sites such as Thebes and Delphi
and Byzantine monasteries such as that of St. Lucas are located in
Central Greece.
CHRISTODOULOS, ARCHBISHOP (1939–2008). Born in Xanthi
in Thrace, he studied law and theology and became a priest in 1965.
In 1974 Christodoulos was elected bishop of Dimitriada in Volos in
Thessaly. In 1998, the Holy Synod of the Greek Church elected him
archbishop after the death of his predecessor, Serafim.
Christodoulos distinguished himself as a dynamic, young bishop
in Volos, working with the local civil society on a number of social
problems, including drug abuse and poverty. Upon his ascension to
the leadership of the Orthodox Church, he strove to modernize the
church’s profile and role in Greek society in accordance with the
changing times. Although always powerful and sanctioned by the
Constitution, the leadership of the church had chosen to lie low in
the aftermath of the fall of the junta in 1974. By 1998, the Greek
Church was confident enough to claim a stronger role in Greek society, take advantage of a global religious revival, and mount a defense
against the excesses of globalization, Europeanization, and the erosion of national identity. Fairly youthful, media savvy, and easygoing, Christodoulos embodied the church’s new ambition. Initially,
Christodoulos’ popularity skyrocketed as disadvantaged Greeks,
tired of the politicians, warmed to him but he soon came into conflict
with the political leadership.
He was in a difficult position: appointed for life and a high public
functionary paid by the Greek taxpayer, Christodoulos flirted with
a political role that made him and the church vulnerable to all sorts
of attacks. The high point of the confrontation came in 2001 when
the Socialist government of Kostas Simitis introduced legislation
eliminating religious affiliation (judging this a private matter) from
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the identity cards issued to all Greek citizens. Christodoulos led a
popular revolt, tried to turn this minor reform into a major assault on
the Greek nation, but failed to force the government to back down.
A strong and charismatic personality, Christodoulos confronted
the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul (Constantinople) and much of his own Holy Synod as his centralizing tendencies
threatened the prerogatives of many bishops. He was able to ignore
much of the conservative opposition within the church when he successfully hosted Pope John Paul II in Athens in 2001, lending his
support to the reconciliation of the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
In 2005, the church and some of his close associates were implicated in serious financial improprieties. He survived the storm and
remained popular while growing wiser over the years. Christodoulos
died in Athens in 2008.
His controversial tenure reopened the old debate on the separation
of church and state. Many of Christodoulos’ liberal enemies consider
this is a way to weaken the church and its hold on much of the Greek
populace. However, it is doubtful whether an independent church
leader would be less, rather than more, powerful than he already is.
Ieronymos, Christodoulos’ successor, seems to have opted for a more
spiritual and less political leadership role.
CINEMA. Although several attempts had already been made, Greek
cinema really became popular only after World War II. Its development can be divided into four distinct phases. The first ran through
1960, with the founding of commercial studios such as Finos Films
(FF) and the emergence of inspiring directors such as Georgios
Tzavellas and Nikos Koundouros and talented actors such as Vasilis
Logothetidis and Aliki Vougiouklaki, and, more importantly, the
development of a certain cinematographic vocabulary. The second
phase, from 1960 to 1973, was the most popular and most commercial, with production consisting mainly of light comedies, musicals,
and melodramas, reaching some 80 films per year. The works of
Alekos Sakellarios and Yannis Dalianidis best represent this period.
The third phase was influenced by the political change of the mid1970s and the return of a hegemonic left and its narrative. As the
mass audience deserted the movie theaters in favor of television,
Greek cinema sought to speak artistically and politically following
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the pioneering, if difficult, work of Theodoros Angelopoulos. With
the fall of communism and the deconstruction of the heroic leftist
narrative, a fourth phase emerged. Greek movies in the 1990s and
thereafter left behind old traumas and focused on contemporary
subjects and contexts with the promising works of directors such as
Nikos Perakis and Konstantinos Giannaris. See also THEODORAKIS, MIKIS; ZORBAS, ALEXIS.
CIVIL SOCIETY. Despite recent progress, the civil society in Greece
is considered underdeveloped compared with its Western partners. It
has fallen victim to an overextended and omnipresent state, which has
become more pervasive in the 20th century, and to the Greeks’ notorious individualism and attachment to the family unit. Greeks have
come to expect most services from a leviathan state and have been
reluctant to self-organize. This was not always the case. In Ottoman
times and during the 19th century, wealthy Greeks took great pride
in bestowing on their communities works of philanthropy and, in the
absence of a state, took the initiative of providing for the education,
health, and care for the poor, the elderly, and the underprivileged.
Greece’s democratization in the 1970s witnessed the strengthening
of the political parties, turning them into the main bridges between
society and the state. Parties have absorbed most of the Greeks’ spirit
of civic-mindedness, turning Greece into a party society. Recently,
however, there is increased activity by the multiplying nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), mainly on the environment and quality-of-life issues. Wealthy Greeks, especially shipowners and their
endowments, such as the Onassis, Niarchos, and Latsis Foundations
as well as the Bodossakis, Kokkalis, and Leventis Foundations, have
renewed their interest in investing part of their expanding wealth in
social works.
CIVIL WAR (1946–1949). Greece was ravaged by civil strife between
communists and nationalists in the 1940s. With the exception of the
national revolution and the Asia Minor catastrophe, no other event
in modern Greek history has exerted as great a political influence as
the Civil War. The root causes of the conflict lay in the country’s
brutal triple occupation by Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria in April
1941. With its political class demoralized and fleeing into exile as
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local socioeconomic conditions rapidly deteriorated, a massive communist-led resistance movement grew, centered on the National
Liberation Front (NLF; Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo, EAM)
and its military wing, the National Peoples’ Liberation Army
(NPLA; Ellinikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos, ELAS). Although
broadly based and fairly inclusive, NLF/EAM remained under the
direct control of the Communist Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE), which, having been outlawed, been
repressed, and gone underground during the Ioannis Metaxas dictatorship prior to World War II, quickly seized upon the opportunity
presented by the occupation to consolidate its position in the country,
with an eye to dictating its future after liberation.
The first round of the Civil War came in late 1943 when the NLF/
EAM and NPLA/ELAS attempted and largely succeeded in eliminating all other rival resistance organizations and monopolized the
antioccupation struggle. The disbanding of the National and Social
Liberation (NSL; Ethniki Kai Koinoniki Apeleftherosi, EKKA) and
the execution of its leader, Dimitris Psaros, in April 1944 marked the
high point of this effort. However, the NPLA/ELAS failed to eliminate Napoleon Zervas and his group, the National Democratic Greek
Link (NDGL; Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos Syndesmos, EDES),
which continued to control Epirus in northwestern Greece.
The second round occurred following the withdrawal of the
Germans in late 1944 and the communists’ violent attempt to seize
Athens and come to power, in what became known as Dekembriana
or the December Affair. With their military power broken and their
political fortunes in decline, the Greek Communist Party conceded
to the Varkiza Agreement in February 1945. However, both sides
violated the agreement. When elections were proclaimed in March
1946, the communists and their sympathizers decided to abstain and
soon thereafter created their Democratic Army of Greece (DAG;
Dimokratikos Stratos Elladas, DSE) and escalated a campaign of
guerrilla warfare in the mountainous provinces of the country.
Thus, the third and bloodiest round began. Initially, the loyalist
Greek army proved unable to contain the insurgency. However, three
factors contributed decisively to the victory of the anticommunist
forces. First, the increasing unpopularity of the communists was coupled with the fact that the Greek government continued to be led by
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moderate old liberals, starting with Georgios Papandreou who was
succeeded by Nikolaos Plastiras and, later, Themistoklis Sofoulis.
These men managed to expand the political appeal of the anticommunist cause beyond the right wing. Second, massive aid—military,
financial, and diplomatic—was provided by the United States after
the proclamation of the Truman Doctrine in March 1947. Third, the
Tito–Stalin split in 1948 alienated the Greek communists’ greatest
supporter from their cause and led Tito to close the Yugoslav border
and cease all aid to the rebels. The final act of the war was played out
in August 1949 in the mountains of Grammos and Vitsi in northwestern Greece where the last communist outposts were uprooted.
The destruction caused by the Civil War was immense. About
80,000 Greeks died, mainly on the rebels’ side. Hundreds of thousands of villagers, mostly from the highlands, were displaced and relocated, some permanently, to the cities. The remaining defeated rebels passed through Albania to Eastern Europe, where approximately
75,000 political refugees lived in exile before they started returning
home after 1974. More than the physical destruction caused, the Civil
War poisoned Greek politics and the country’s postwar development.
Unlike Italy or France, which managed to democratically accommodate the postwar rise of the popularity of the communists, the Greek
Civil War led to the restriction, albeit not the elimination, of civil
liberties and democratic rights. Greece’s democratic deficit was effectively addressed only as late as 1974, in the period that followed
the fall of the military junta. Overall, the Civil War was one of the
most important events in modern Greek history and left an imprint
that remains to this day.
CLIMATE. The climate of Greece is Mediterranean with dry summers and mild winters, as no part of the country is more than 150 kilometers from the sea. Contrary to the southern Mediterranean littoral,
the Greek climate is neither as humid nor as hot. There are some important regional variations. Western Greece is wet with a much higher
annual rainfall than eastern Greece. Northern Greece is colder and
subject to cold northern winds coming south through the Balkan river
valleys. The southern Aegean suffers from violent winds, especially
when the summer heat energizes the atmosphere. Overall, Greece enjoys a very temperate climate, although there is a growing concern of
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a negative climatic change as the North African desert encroaches on
southern Greece and sea levels are projected to rise.
the Coalition of the Left of the Movements and Ecology, the party
represents the non-Stalinist Greek left. The old outlawed Communist Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE)
split in 1968, following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Out
of this rift grew a reformist, Eurocommunist alternative to the CPG/
KKE’s communist orthodoxy and blind obedience to Moscow. After
1974, the party, led by the charismatic Leonidas Kyrkos, competed
in elections with unimpressive results and the CPG/KKE remained
the dominant force in the left. While barely, if at all, represented in
Parliament due to Greece’s prohibitive majoritarian electoral laws,
the party developed a following among Greek intellectuals, students,
journalists, and urban professionals.
In the late 1980s, forced by the crisis of world communism and
the decline in the fortunes of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement
(PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima), the CPG/KKE and the
Eurocommunists joined forces, creating the Coalition of the Left and
Progress. Despite the initial euphoria in the elections of 1989, the
coalition failed to unseat PASOK as the main governmental alternative to the conservatives of New Democracy (ND; Nea Dimokratia)
and, later, paid an electoral price for cooperating with them. In 1991,
the majority of the CPG/KKE decided to leave the coalition and run
independently. A reformist or revisionist minority remained in the
coalition and, together with the old Eurocommunists, turned it into
a party. In 1993, the coalition failed to cross the 3 percent threshold
and enter Parliament. However, in recent years, helped by the crisis
in PASOK and a dynamic oppositionist leadership, the coalition is
enjoying a mild upsurge.
The electoral support of the coalition is heavily concentrated in the
urban centers and, especially, in Athens among well-educated voters.
While it is well represented in white-collar trade unions, it is almost
nonexistent in rural areas and in much of the Greek hinterland. Historically, the coalition is credited with bringing a certain renewal in
the ideas and practices of the Greek left, making it more responsive
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36 •
to a new era away from the heroism and the traumas of the Civil War
and helping it connect with broader European currents.
In this regard, unlike PASOK or the CPG/KKE, the old Eurocommunists lent their support to Konstantinos Karamanlis’ bid to have
Greece join the European Community (EC). In recent years, the
coalition has tried to respond to the worldwide crisis of the left by
espousing a canopy of causes such as the environment and the fight
against “neoliberal” globalization. While it remains socially progressive, the coalition has adopted a certain polemical antiestablishment
rhetoric that is popular among younger voters but does not always
suit its elitist background. See also RUSSIA.
KOMMA ELLADAS, KKE). Founded in 1918 as the Socialist
Labor Party of Greece (SLP; Sosialistiko Ergatiko Komma Elladas,
SEKE), the party was renamed Kommounistiko Komma Elladas
(KKE) in 1924. After 1920, it was affiliated with the Third International and was based on democratic centralism. The party played a
leading role in trade unionism and the founding of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GCWG; Geniki Synomospondia
Ergaton Ellados, GSEE).
Despite the favorable social conditions, the CPG/KKE was slow
to grow mainly because part of its agenda ran against Greek nationalism. Greek communists opposed the military campaign in Asia
Minor in 1919 as imperialistic and sympathized with Macedonian
nationalism. Politically, they were faced with the hostility of the
Greek liberals who dominated Greek interwar politics up to 1935.
After the 1936 elections, the CPG/KKE held the balance of power in
Parliament, which was divided between the liberals and the royalists. Espousing the logic of a popular front, the CPG/KKE seemed
willing to lend its support to a liberal government but the Liberals,
after some hesitation, refused. The CPG/KKE supported a wave of
strikes in May 1936 that were violently suppressed and accelerated
the establishment of a dictatorship by Ioannis Metaxas. Metaxas
outlawed the CPG/KKE, imprisoned many of its members, and successfully suppressed its organization.
Following Adolf Hitler’s attack against the Soviet Union in June
1941, the CPG/KKE mobilized a popular resistance network in oc-
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cupied Greece. During World War II, in the absence of a legitimate
government, the CPG/KKE’s fortunes grew to the point where upon
liberation, in the fall of 1944, it was the strongest force in the country. Nevertheless, it failed to win power violently in December 1944
as it encountered the resistance of noncommunists and the British.
Following the CPG/KKE’s abstention from the first postwar elections in March 1946, the row escalated into a Civil War in which the
CPG/KKE was defeated.
The CPG/KKE remained outlawed up to 1974. However, a sister party, the Unified Democratic Left (UDL; Eniaia Dimokratiki
Aristera, EDA), did compete in the postwar elections and performed
exceptionally well in 1958 when it came second. In the meantime,
the CPG/KKE leadership, accused of Stalinism, was purged in 1956
by Moscow. Intraparty feuding continued and escalated in a major
breakup in 1968 following the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia,
which further traumatized and jeopardized the CPG/KKE’s future.
In November 1974, the first elections in which it had participated
since 1936, the CPG/KKE took part in an electoral alliance together
with other leftists. The experiment failed and was not repeated until
1989. During this period, the CPG/KKE was confined to around 10
percent of the electorate and managed to beat its reformist Eurocommunist rival and consolidate its dominant position in the left.
However, due to its ideological rigidity and sclerotic leadership, the
CPG/KKE was unable to halt, or benefit, from the spectacular rise
of Andreas Papandreou’s Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima) in the 1970s. Having failed
in its electoral competition, the CPG/KKE was initially confined to
supporting PASOK. The high point of this policy of implicit support
was when the CPG/KKE lent PASOK the necessary votes in Parliament to have the socialist candidate elected to the presidency of the
republic in 1985.
A year later, however, the CPG/KKE changed its course and increasingly distanced itself from PASOK by withholding its support
to PASOK’s candidates in the second round of the 1986 municipal
elections. This resulted in the election of conservatives in Greece’s
three largest cities. On the eve of the 1989 elections, the CPG/KKE
decided to form the Coalition of the Left and Progress (CLP; Synaspismos tis Aristeras kai tis Proodou, SYN), together with its former
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Eurocommunist rival. Following inconclusive results, it participated
in an unprecedented coalition government with the conservatives,
which proceeded to charge the former prime minister, Andreas Papandreou, with criminal offenses.
This was a policy that proved controversial and did not benefit
the CPG/KKE politically. In 1991, a majority of the members of the
CPG/KKE’s Central Committee decided to leave the CLP/SYN and
promoted Aleka Papariga, an unreconstructed woman activist, to the
party’s leadership. Thus, the CPG/KKE returned to its isolationism
and reacted to the collapse of Soviet communism with reinforced
neo-Stalinism. In the 1993 elections, the CPG/KKE suffered heavy
losses and in the following years its share of the vote was cut in half,
to around 5 percent. Recently, however, the CPG/KKE has been
enjoying a mild upsurge due to increased social inequality and the
fatigue the electorate feels with the two major parties that have alternated in power since 1974. See also FLORAKIS, HARILAOS.
CONSTANTINE I GLÜCKSBURG (1868–1923). Constantine was
born in Athens and died in exile in Palermo, Sicily. There have
been two kings named Constantine who ruled modern Greece. Both
caused a constitutional crisis and lost their throne. At the time of his
enthronement, Constantine I enjoyed enormous popularity and goodwill, thanks to the leadership he provided during Greece’s successful
military campaigns in the Balkan Wars (1912–1913). However, he
quickly misused his political capital in an effort to dictate the foreign
policy of Greece against the wishes of its elected premier, Eleftherios Venizelos, and its protector, Great Britain. Thus, Constantine
was exiled twice. He managed to return the first time but not the
second, and he died abroad. The damage he caused to the throne was
such that Greece was proclaimed a republic in 1924 and remained
so until 1935.
Constantine was the first son of King George I and Queen Olga.
As was customary at the time, he studied at the Military Academy in
Germany and was brought up to admire Prussian militarism. His German sympathies were reinforced by his marriage to the sister of the
German Kaiser Wilhelm II, Princess Sophia. For the king of a state
that was traditionally in the orbit of Great Britain and always vulner-
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able to the intervention of the British navy in the Mediterranean, such
sympathies were to prove detrimental.
During the disastrous Greco–Ottoman war of 1897, Constantine
was the commander in chief of the Greek armed forces and he and
his fellow royals were accused of being responsible for the defeat.
However, Constantine’s reputation recovered when he led the Greek
forces during the Balkan Wars. Constantine became king of Greece
in 1913, quite unexpectedly, after his father’s assassination.
Constantine’s dispute with Prime Minister Venizelos over whether
Greece should enter World War I on the side of the Entente, as
Venizelos strongly favored, or stay neutral, as the king urged, compelled the prime minister to resign twice. The dispute escalated to a
constitutional crisis and a fierce polarization between the Venizelists
and royalists that became known as the National Schism (Ethnikos
Dihasmos). Constantine was convinced of Germany’s victory. Unable to support Germany openly due to the presence of the British
fleet, he insisted on neutrality and imposed his will on the parliamentary majority. Disgusted, Venizelos abstained from the new elections,
and, in the late summer of 1916, he left Athens and organized a
rebellious government in Thessaloniki for the “national defense” of
the recently acquired Macedonia, which was at risk of being taken
over by Bulgaria, a German ally. Constantine went so far in keeping
Greece neutral as to have the Fourth Army Corps in Kavala surrender
to the much hated Bulgarians.
By 1917, the Entente had already landed troops in Thessaloniki
in support of a Balkan front against the Germans and the Bulgarians
from the north and had had enough. Entente naval forces landed and
marched into Athens and forced Constantine into exile. His second
son, Alexander, who, unlike his father, was an Anglophile, assumed
the throne. But this was not the end of Constantine’s remarkable
life. Venizelos’ return to Athens was not unanimously welcomed.
Many southern Greeks resented the breaching of Greek sovereignty
and the occupation by Entente forces. Constantine was a charismatic
leader with a certain appeal that resonated with a broad spectrum of
the electorate. The abuse of many royalists by Venizelos’ supporters, especially Cretan militiamen, further enhanced Constantine’s
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40 •
In 1920, after the unexpected death of Alexander and the electoral
victory of the anti-Venizelists, Constantine returned to the Greek
throne, against the wishes and the explicit warnings of the Entente
powers. His return greatly contributed to Greece’s isolation from its
powerful allies, especially France, which started befriending Kemalist Turkey at the time of Greece’s greatest need. When the Asia
Minor catastrophe occurred in 1922, Constantine was immediately
blamed for the debacle and left for Italy, where he died a few months
later in disgrace.
CONSTANTINE II GLÜCKSBURG (1940– ). Born in Athens,
Constantine II was the last king of Greece and with him both the
Glücksburg dynasty and monarchy came to an end. He ascended to
the throne at a young age, but his reign was short and was interrupted
by the military coup of 21 April 1967. Constantine was implicated in
the political crisis of the 1960s that led to the coup and was accused
of undermining parliamentary sovereignty. Upon the restoration of
democracy in 1974, the Greeks decided freely and irrevocably, in a
referendum, in favor of a republic by a wide margin of two to one.
Currently, Constantine resides in London, enjoys his royal connections as brother of Queen Sophia of Spain, visits Greece frequently,
and, from time to time, offers his opinion publicly.
Constantine was the first son of King Paul and Queen Frederika.
He married Princess Anna Maria of Denmark. Together they made a
beautiful, photogenic couple. In 1960, in the Rome Olympic Games,
he won the gold medal in sailing. When he became king after his
father’s death in 1964, the good-looking Constantine was hailed as a
symbol of a new, young, optimistic, and forward-looking Greece that
was rapidly healing from the wounds of the Civil War and all the
misfortunes that had afflicted it in the recent past.
However, his youth and inexperience proved decisive. He misread
Greek politics and underestimated the rising expectations of most
Greeks for liberal reforms. He remained under the influence of his
strong-willed and controversial mother, Queen Frederika, and he
intervened in politics tactlessly and against the Constitution, which
he was supposed to safeguard. When he dismissed his popular prime
minister, Georgios Papandreou, he plunged Greece into a political
crisis that eventually led to the colonels’ coup. When the military
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took power in the coup of April 1967, Constantine was surprised as
he expected to have the army under his control. He was forced to
concede but in December 1967 he plotted to reassert his control over
the army and the country through a royalist counter-coup. He failed
and was forced to fly off to Rome in humiliation. He never returned
to his throne.
Upon the restoration of democracy in the summer of 1974, Konstantinos Karamanlis decided to resolve democratically, once and
for all, the constitutional question that had destabilized Greece in the
past, through a referendum. Having clashed with Constantine’s parents who led him to withdraw from Greek politics in 1963, Karamanlis refrained from lending his support to the king. Without Karamanlis’ support, Constantine’s fate was sealed and Greece was declared
a republic. An open issue remained between Constantine as a private
citizen and the Greek state, especially in regard to the royal property.
Having nationalized most of it in the 1990s, Greece was forced by
the European Court of Human Rights to pay a small compensation to
Constantine and thus the matter was resolved.
CONSTANTINOPLE. Present-day Istanbul, Constantinople is Turkey’s largest city and its commercial and cultural hub. As the capital
city of the Byzantine Empire, seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, home of what used to be a prosperous Greek community and of
priceless monuments related to the culture and traditions of modern
Greece, Constantinople carries a symbolism and emotional attachment for Greek nationals parallel only to that of Athens. Founded
by and named after Constantine the Great as the new capital of his
Roman Empire in 330 CE, Constantinople resonates with a certain
imperial tradition that cannot be easily understood by modern nation-states. Thus, in recent history, both Greece and Turkey have
had a strained relationship with “the City” as it is commonly called
in Greek.
The Greeks of Istanbul, an ancient community of mostly sophisticated urbanites, numbering some 150,000 at the time of the Asia
Minor catastrophe, were exempt from the compulsory exchange
of populations mandated by the Treaty of Lausanne. However, the
Turkish Republic, established by Kemal Atatürk in 1923, discriminated heavily against them. In 1942, during World War II, much
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of their property was confiscated as they were unable to pay the discriminatory Verlik Vergisi capital gains tax. Furthermore, the community fell victim to a Turkish pogrom on 6 and 7 September 1955,
which destroyed much of its property; many Greeks were killed,
injured, and raped, after which most Greeks left for Greece. Today,
fewer than 2,000 Greeks remain in a megacity of more than 10 million inhabitants. Every year, thousands of Greeks visit the City, while
a few study, work, or buy property there. Deepening liberal reforms
in Turkey hold the promise that the city will regain some of its old
multicultural appeal, further advancing Greek–Turkish relations.
CONSTITUTION. Independent Greece has known many constitutions.
This succession of constitutions is evidence of the political instability that Greece has suffered during much of its history. Nevertheless,
despite periods of authoritarianism, from early on, constitutionalism
sank deep roots in the nation’s body politic.
The first constitution was adopted in Epidavros in 1822 during
the War of Independence and it was a strikingly liberal document.
More revolutionary constitutions followed but when peace came,
Otto, the first king of Greece, decided to rule without one, as an
absolute monarch. On 3 September 1843, the Athens’ garrison
spearheaded a revolt that demanded a constitution and the king acquiesced. In memory of this event, the main square of Athens is called
Constitution Square.
Following the ousting of Otto, Greece acquired a new constitution
in 1864 that introduced the supremacy of a parliament and was designed after the liberal Belgian Constitution of 1830. More changes,
consolidating the rule of law, came in 1911. In the interwar period,
a republic was proclaimed in 1924 only to have the monarchy restored in 1935. The constitution was changed and then suspended
altogether on 4 August 1936, with Ioannis Metaxas’ dictatorship.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, a fairly restrictive constitution
was approved in 1952. Konstantinos Karamanlis’ effort at constitutional reform in 1962 fell victim to the growing political unrest
and it was not enacted. The colonels’ junta experimented with some
constitutional engineering. Its sudden and nonnegotiated downfall in
1974 opened the way for a complete break with the past. In 1975, the
current constitution of Greece was approved.
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Since then, Greece’s constitution has been amended three times,
in 1986, in 2001, and in 2008. The Greek Constitution of 1975 established a liberal parliamentary republic that has produced stable
democratic politics with regular alterations in power between the two
main political parties, the center-right New Democracy (ND; Nea
Dimokratia) and the center-left Panhellenic Socialist Movement
(PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima). There is no constitutional
court. Judicial review is dispersed and all courts are obliged not to
implement laws contravening the Constitution following the American legal practice. Amendments are difficult to pass and require an
election and a three-fifths majority in Parliament.
Designed by Konstantinos Karamanlis, the 1975 Constitution was
initially accused, by the opposition, of being authoritarian and consolidating the tyranny of the majority. However, it quickly proved both
democratic and effective in providing efficient governance albeit at
the cost of overfavoring the executive and turning the prime minister
into the primary and unrivalled center of political power. The list of
constitutional rights endowed Greece with the most liberal regime
of its history and created one of the freest societies in the world.
Future constitutional debates will focus on pressing new challenges,
including the protection of the environment, the defense of privacy,
the separation of church and state, the protection of minorities, the
expansion of educational opportunities, and the better control of and
transparency in the workings of governmental agencies.
CONSTRUCTION. In the first 30 postwar years, the construction industry was the locomotive of the Greek economy. While providing
housing to the rapidly expanding Greek cities and a modern infrastructure to a growing nation, construction created thousands of jobs.
Until recently, the sector remained heavily dependent on residential
construction and public works.
Much of the initial boom in construction was based on land
speculation provided by an ingenious Greek legal relationship, called
antiparohi, literally meaning a trade-off. In conditions of financial
scarcity and a lack of banking credit, homeowners on small urban
land plots traded their property to a private engineer or contractor in
exchange not for money but for a share in the future high-rise apartment building that the contractor promised to build. In the meantime,
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the contractor would presell apartments in the building-to-be; with
the collected down payments, capital was created to finance the start
of the construction of the apartment building itself. The more the
contractor built, the more money was collected from the apartment
owners-to-be with which he was to complete the building. In this
way, cities were built and expanded rapidly, often without much
planning or consideration for future urban conditions.
Today, construction continues to play a significant role, comprising some 10 percent of the Greek gross domestic product (GDP)
and growing by some 5 percent annually, faster than the rest of the
Greek economy. The Greek state, aided by generous grants and loans
from the European Union (EU), is a key sponsor of large projects,
including highways, subways, and airports. The construction industry
is consolidated around a few large groups that provide economies of
scale and that can enter and exploit the financial markets. In addition,
the construction industry is expanding abroad, especially in Eastern
Europe and the Arab world . The three largest construction groups
are AKTOR-Elliniki Technodomiki, JP, and GEK-TERNA. These
firms are no longer simply contractors but financiers and managers of
major projects, such as the Athens Beltway, the Rio-Antirio Bridge
over the Bay of Corinth, and the Athens–Thessaloniki highway.
CONTINENTAL SHELF. The continental shelf is the seabed roughly
200 meters off the coast. According to international law, a state’s
sovereignty extends to the continental shelf that lies below its territorial waters. The law provides different ways of equitably sharing
the shelf that lies beyond a state’s territorial waters. In the past, when
technology was less advanced and exploration of the continental
shelf in deep waters was virtually impossible, such an issue remained
theoretical. Recent progress and the quest for minerals, especially oil,
have increased the interest of coastal states in the continental shelf
that lies beyond their territorial waters. Greece has extended its territorial waters to six miles but has refrained, threatened by Turkey
with war, from going to 12 miles as international law provided after
1982. Thus, almost half of the Aegean Sea remains in international
waters and the continental shelf that lies under these waters remains
a question of dispute between the two coastal nations of Greece and
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The question of how to delineate the continental shelf between
the two countries arose in the early 1970s when some oil was found
south of the northern Greek city of Kavala. Since then, Greece and
Turkey have failed to agree; Greece has favored letting the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decide while Turkey has insisted
on bilateral negotiations first. The Turkish position that the Greek
islands in the Aegean have no continental shelf of their own and that
the Aegean continental shelf should be equally divided between the
Greek and the Turkish mainland is totally unacceptable to Greece. It
would mean that some Greek islands lay within the Turkish continental shelf and are cut off from mainland Greece by an intervening
Turkish territory. On the other hand, while it is generally accepted
that islands do have a continental shelf of their own, such a position,
if fully implemented in the Aegean, would not leave much of a continental shelf for Turkey to claim. Thus, some adjustments in favor of
Turkey, as a coastal state, taking into consideration the peculiarities
of the geography of the Aegean, might be needed and the ICJ could
be the right forum to provide a solution that would be acceptable to
both countries. Such a formula seems increasingly possible as Turkey
moves closer to the European Union (EU).
Traditionally, for Greece, the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf has been the only outstanding dispute with Turkey and
should be resolved according to international law as applied by the
ICJ. Turkey, meanwhile, believes that this disagreement is only one
of several outstanding issues needing resolution through bilateral
negotiations. These include Greece’s territorial waters, airspace,
military fortification of the Aegean islands, status of the minority
population in Greek Thrace, and, more recently, gray zones of disputed sovereignty over certain uninhabited Aegean islets. See also
CRETAN QUESTION. The Cretan question concerned the future of
Crete, a large, strategically located island in the eastern Mediterranean that had belonged to the Ottomans since 1669 and used to have
a Greek Christian majority and a sizeable Turkish Muslim minority.
It was part of the broader “Eastern question” that kept European
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diplomacy busy for much of the 19th century and, one can argue,
continues to do so in Kosovo and elsewhere. The Eastern question
itself was the product of the emergence of multiple nationalist secessionisms within the Ottoman dominions and the concern of the great
powers of how to replace Ottoman sovereignty without upsetting the
balance of power in Europe.
Since the time of Venetian rule, Cretans developed a reputation for
being freedom loving and independent minded. This reputation survives today as Crete continues to preserve a unique gun culture and
a strong local identity distinct from the rest of Greece. Having been
left outside the independent Greek kingdom created by the London
Protocol of 1830, the Greeks of Crete agitated against foreign rule
from the mid-19th century onwards, demanding the island’s union
with Greece. The Ottomans, and the Egyptians at periodic intervals,
brutally suppressed several revolts, with the massacre in the Arkadi
monastery in 1866 stirring an international outcry. In response, the
Ottomans introduced, in 1868, the “Organic Law of Crete” that upgraded the position of the Christians and provided for their participation in the island’s administration. Delays in the implementation
of the law coupled with mounting international tensions and the
Russo–Turkish war of 1877 led to a new uprising.
At the Congress of Berlin in 1878, the defeated Ottoman Turkey
was forced to grant the Halepa Charter, which gave the Christians
several freedoms and upgraded the status of Crete to that of a semiindependent province. Against the opposition of the sizeable Muslim
minority and especially the beys (the Muslim land-owning nobles),
Crete acquired full autonomy by 1898, ruled by a Christian governor
and protected by the great powers (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, , Great Britain, andRussia).
Although Prince George of Greece was appointed high commissioner of the island and the sultan had no more rights, Cretans,
headed by leaders such as Eleftherios Venizelos, Greece’s future
prime minister, remained restless and collided with the Greek prince
himself. Finally, the Cretan question was resolved at the end of the
First Balkan War in 1913, when, with the Treaty of London, Crete
was united with Greece.
Greece was naturally supportive of the Cretan struggle but its
willingness to act was constrained by its military inferiority and its
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dependence on Great Britain. Thus, the Greek leadership sought to
remain neutral against the popular impulse. Increasingly after the
1870s, Greece turned most of its attention northwards to the fiercely
contested Macedonia, calculating that it was a matter of time before
the Ottomans would leave Crete in Greek hands. The great powers
played their own distinct role in the Cretan question, using it to advance their interests and often to extract concessions from both the
Ottoman Empire and Greece.
Today, the Cretan question is mostly historical and holds no political significance other than, occasionally, being used by Turkish
nationalists as the model to be avoided at all costs in Cyprus, where a
Turkish Muslim minority community shares the island together with
a Greek Christian majority.
CRETE. The largest Greek island and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean, Crete has a surface area of 8,335 square kilometers and a
population of 562,276. Crete was the basis of Europe’s most ancient
civilization, the Minoan civilization. Due to its geographical position among the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Crete
experienced the influence of many different civilizations. After the
Byzantines, it was held by Venice until 1669 CE when it passed
to the Ottomans. After several uprisings, it became autonomous
in 1898 and was united with Greece in 1913. With the exchange of
populations between Greece and Turkey in 1923, Cretan Muslims,
comprising some 12 percent of the population, left for Turkey.
Crete is famous for its distinct, strong, proud, and independent
local identity. Politically, Crete, the birthplace of Eleftherios Venizelos, has been liberal and, more recently, a socialist stronghold,
where neither the conservatives nor the communists have had much
power. Blessed with a long summer season, a spectacular coastline,
and the cultural heritage of ancient civilizations, Crete is the locomotive of the Greek tourist industry, receiving the most foreigners each
year of all of Greek provinces. Agriculture, especially the off-season
production of fruits and vegetables, is highly developed. See also
CYCLADES. A group of approximately 120 small islands in the Aegean, southeast of Athens, known for their dry, barren, windblown
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scenic landscape, the Cyclades are a world of their own. The islands
gave birth to the major preclassical Cycladic civilization and prospered during much of the antiquity but fell victim to increasing piracy
and the lack of water. They were included in modern Greece from the
start in 1830. After World War II, tourism boomed first in Mykonos and Santorini and, more recently, almost everywhere else.
CYPRUS QUESTION. Half a century after Cyprus’ independence
from Great Britain in 1960, the Cyprus question is still unresolved.
The island remains divided between the internationally recognized
Greek-Cypriot Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus where 40,000 Turkish troops are stationed, since
Turkey’s invasion in the summer of 1974.
Cyprus became an Ottoman dominion in 1571 and passed to
Great Britain with the Congress of Berlin in 1878, in exchange for
London’s help in annulling the San Stefano Treaty and keeping
Macedonia in Ottoman hands. Under the British, Greek-Cypriots
prospered but remained committed to the unification with Greece,
following the example of Crete.
In 1931 Greek-Cypriots revolted but were left unaided by Greece,
which was recovering from the Asia Minor catastrophe and did not
want to upset its relationship with Britain at a time of rising Italian
revisionism in the Mediterranean. The British easily suppressed the
revolt, exiled Greek-Cypriot leaders, and marginalized the bourgeois
nationalists, leaving the church as the main political representative of
the Greek-Cypriot community. Following World War II, against a
rising communist party, the church, headed by the newly appointed,
young, ambitious, and charismatic Archbishop Makarios, seized the
leadership of the anticolonial struggle. With Greek public opinion on
Makarios’ side, the Greek government, after much initial hesitation,
brought the matter to the United Nations General Assembly in 1954,
where the Greek position was soundly defeated, having failed to secure the support of the United States.
Makarios turned to Georgios Grivas, a military officer with strong
nationalist and anticommunist views, who organized the National
Organization of Cypriot Fighters (NOCF; Ethniki Organosi Kyprion Agoniston, EOKA) to fight the British. NOCF/EOKA’s campaign started in April 1955 and was met with violence by the British
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and the increasingly assertive Turkish-Cypriots. Makarios was exiled
to the Seychelles but it was evident that British rule was coming to
an end.
The United States pressed for a diplomatic solution as the unrest threatened the unity of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) and the Western alliance in the crucial area of the eastern
Mediterranean, where the Soviet Union began antagonizing Western interests through the support of Arab nationalism. However, the
Greek-Cypriots failed to secure their primary goal of Cyprus’ unification with Greece. Faced with the unyielding opposition of Turkey
and the Turkish-Cypriots, British manipulation, and Greece’s foreign dependence and military weakness, a compromise was reached
among the governments of Britain, Greece, and Turkey first in Zurich
and then in London that, in 1960, granted Cyprus its independence,
guaranteed by the three countries, and provided enhanced political
rights to the Turkish-Cypriots.
Makarios was elected president of the new Republic of Cyprus
but was forced to share power with his Turkish-Cypriot vice president. Amid rising frustration among many Greek-Cypriots and
against the advice of the Greek government, in November 1963,
Makarios suggested a constitutional revision to curtail the rights
of the Turkish-Cypriots. In protest, the latter withdrew from all
of the republic’s institutions and isolated themselves in limited
ethnic enclaves protected, after 1964, by a United Nations (UN)
peacekeeping force. Twice Turkey threatened to invade but was
restrained by the United States—first in 1964 and then in 1967.
Makarios’ relations with Athens deteriorated, especially after the
coup in 1967, and Washington was openly hostile to his leadership.
In July 1974, the Greek junta overthrew Makarios but failed to
assassinate him.
This gave Turkey a good enough reason to realize what was
long in the planning, a full-scale invasion of the island to secure its
geostrategic interests and protect the Turkish-Cypriot community.
Cyprus was violently divided, with Turkish-Cypriots remaining in
the northern 36percent of the island and the Greek-Cypriots being
pushed to the southern and less developed part of the island. The
international community did not recognize the partition of the island
although it failed to effectively confront Turkey.
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Since 1974, the Greek-Cypriot south has prospered, taking advantage of a liberal economic regime and the devastation caused by
a civil war in neighboring Lebanon. More recently, the tables have
turned as the Republic of Cyprus became a member of the European
Union (EU) in 2004, and thus acquired a veto in Turkey’s relations
with the EU.
Apart from the cost to lives and properties, the size of the collateral
damage to Greece and Hellenism caused by the conflict over Cyprus
is difficult to underestimate. As a result, the remaining Greek communities of Turkey, especially the prosperous Istanbul (Constantinople) Greeks, were uprooted. Greece redirected valuable resources
to its defense against the Turkish threat, and Greek public opinion
was radicalized in ways that remain relevant to the present day.
Cyprus seriously complicated the postwar efforts at domestic
modernization of Greece, destroyed the Greek–Turkish friendship,
and poisoned Greece’s relations with its Western allies, especially
the United States. The dispute gave rise to a new age of anticolonial
nationalism and enhanced the electoral appeal of nationalists and
populists alike, especially on the Greek left. Even the preeminent
postwar Greek leader Konstantinos Karamanlis, who signed the
Zurich–London compromise in an effort to put Cyprus behind and
refocus on Greece’s domestic development, saw his pre-junta administration suffer because of his reluctance to play the nationalist and
anti-Western card. See also ENOSIS; FOREIGN POLICY.
– D –
better known as Dekembriana in Greek, refers to the violent disturbances that shook Athens in December 1944, only two months after
the withdrawal of the Germans. At that time, government forces,
aided by the British, fought against the communist-led National Peoples’ Liberation Army (NPLA; Ellinikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos
Stratos, ELAS), the military wing of the largest resistance movement,
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the National Liberation Front (NLF; Ethniko Apeleftherotiko
Metopo, EAM).
The government won and the communists failed to take control
of the capital. Thus, Greece, unlike the rest of southeastern Europe,
remained under British and Western influence. However, unlike Italy
and France, Greece failed to incorporate peacefully the postwar rise
of communism and went through a devastating Civil War followed
by the regime of a “restricted” democracy. It would not be until 1974
before a fully functioning, liberal, and inclusive democracy was
introduced, steered by the statesmanship of Konstantinos Karamanlis.
Dekembriana is generally recognized as the second round in a civil
conflict that started during Greece’s occupation by the Axis over
the control of the future development of the country. Dekembriana
resulted in containing the communist influence over Greece at the
cost of further poisoning Greek politics, at a time when recovery and
reconstruction were most needed. The end result of the escalating
polarization between the left and the right was a full-blown Civil War
(the third round) between 1946 and 1949.
Upon his arrival in newly liberated Athens, Georgios Papandreou, heading an all-party government formed in exile in Lebanon,
ordered the disarmament of all the guerrilla troops, including the
NPLA/ELAS. Although necessary in order for the government to
establish its authority, disarmament threatened the NPLA/ELAS’
overwhelming supremacy as the largest fighting force in the country
and was flatly rejected by the NLF/EAM, NPLA/ELAS’ political
The NLF/EAM organized mass demonstrations in downtown Athens in a poorly coordinated attempt to force its way to power. Vastly
outnumbered government forces, consisting mostly of police, had to
rely on the British expeditionary forces. Clashes ensued for days and
even Winston Churchill, in the midst of the Allied effort against Nazi
Germany, had to visit Athens on Christmas Day 1944 to ensure that
the capital did not fall into communist hands. A few days later, on 11
January 1945, the new prime minister, centrist Nikolaos Plastiras,
and British General R. M. Scobie reached an agreement with the
NLF/EAM and hostilities ceased.
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On 12 February 1945, the Plastiras government and the NLF/EAM
concluded the Agreement of Varkiza, according to which the NPLA/
ELAS had to disarm while its soldiers were granted general amnesty;
free elections and a plebiscite on the future of the monarchy were
promised. Unfortunately, the Varkiza Agreement was violated by
both sides. Many of the NPLA/ELAS’ arms were kept hidden while
the government harassed many of the NPLA/ELAS’ soldiers and
What led to the Dekembriana remains much debated, as each side
stresses the other side’s responsibility and tries to avoid its own. It
seems that the Communist Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko
Komma Elladas, KKE) attempted to impose facts on the ground,
emboldened by its military superiority and the communist takeover
in Eastern Europe, especially Tito’s success in neighboring Yugoslavia. However, it was confronted by the British who fought, sent
reinforcements, and managed to keep Greece under their influence.
The Soviets did not provide much help as they were concerned with
preserving their wartime alliance with Great Britain in fighting the
Germans. Irrespective of where one stands in apportioning blame, it
seems that the Dekembriana was a colossal miscalculation and a major defeat, both militarily and politically, for the communists. More
were to follow so that by 1949 the communists, who in 1944 were
so close to playing an important role in postwar Greece, were totally
defeated and outlawed.
DELIGIANNIS, THEODOROS (1820–1905). Born in Kalavryta in
northern Peloponnesus and murdered in Athens as he was entering
the Parliament, Theodoros Deligiannis was a prominent Greek politician of the second half of the 19th century, who succeeded Alexandros Koumoundouros as head of the nationalist faction. Representing
the nationalism and conservatism of the small peasant landowners,
Deligiannis emerged as the main political opponent of Harilaos
Trikoupis and his modernizing efforts. After defeating Trikoupis,
he led Greece into the disastrous war with Ottoman Turkey in 1897.
Deligiannis’ career fell within a rich tradition of populism in Greek
politics that survives to the present day.
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DELIGIORGIS, EPAMINONDAS (1829–1879). Born in Tripoli in
Peloponnesus, Deligiorgis was a distinguished Greek politician in
the 19th century and a pioneer of progressive ideas and modern, liberal politics. He served four times as prime minister for short terms.
Deligiorgis was involved in politics since he was a student at the Law
School of Athens and in 1859 was elected for the first time member
of the Greek Parliament. In 1862, Deligiorgis, who was an ardent
antiroyalist, played a significant role during the popular uprising that
ousted King Otto from the throne. Contrary to most of his fellow
politicians, Deligiorgis supported Greek–Turkish friendship and,
realizing his country’s weakness, did not hesitate to distance himself
from the popular irredentist rhetoric of his day. He died in Athens.
DEMOCRACY. Democracy was established in Greece as recently as
in 1974 and yet, Greek democracy has a very long history. It is not
simply that democracy, as an idea and as a political practice, was born
in ancient Greece. It is also the less well-known fact that the democratic ideal can be traced back to the period leading to the national
Revolution of 1821 when Greeks fought to govern themselves.
The first revolutionary Constitution of Epidavros in 1822 established a republic. However, Greek infighting and foreign pressures led
to the initial establishment of royal absolutism. This did not last long. A
constitution limiting the monarch’s prerogatives was approved in 1844.
Democratic rights were further expanded with the liberal Constitution
of 1864 and were fully recognized in 1875, when the king accepted that
the government needed a parliamentary majority.
In the 20th century, Greek democracy often fell victim to the turmoil caused by the incorporation of new territories, wars, military
defeats, the influx of refugees, an overall crisis of national integration, and the rise of communism. A stillborn republic was established
in the interwar period between 1924 and 1935. After World War II,
democracy and parliamentarianism survived with many restrictions
that progressively became unsustainable, leading to a crisis between
King Constantine II and his elected prime minister, Georgios Papandreou, that paved the way for the colonels’ coup in 1967.
Democracy was fully established seven years later, in 1974,
thanks, to a great extent, to the leadership provided by Konstantinos
Karamanlis. As far as democratic transitions go, the Greek case
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enjoys an exemplary record. Karamanlis founded, quickly and peacefully, a well-functioning open democracy. Called the Third Republic
and based on the 1975 Constitution, post-1974 democracy has contributed to the reconciliation of the left and the right while providing
a stable, liberal, and fairly effective governance of the country.
DEMOGRAPHY. Greece today has a population of 11 million. Since
1980, the fertility rate has dropped dramatically and births are only
around 100,000 a year. The rate of children per woman at a reproductive age is around 1:3, far below the 2:1 necessary to sustain a
constant population. In the past few years, the number of births has
been lower than the number of deaths. As a result, the demographic
structure of Greece is aging rapidly, as one in four Greeks is 60 years
old or older. Since the early 1990s, the population of Greece has been
growing thanks only to immigration.
Until then, Greece was one of the most homogenous countries in
Europe, comparable only to Iceland, Norway, and Portugal. Traditionally, more than 97 percent of Greeks have been Christian Orthodox. The largest minority in the country is the Muslim community
in Thrace of some 120,000 people. There are a few Catholics, Old
Calendarists, and Jehovah Witnesses, and even fewer Protestants.
Ethnically, many Greek Muslims identify themselves as Turks while
there are a few Slav-Macedonians in northern Greece.
Since the 1990s, Greece has become much more diverse. Currently, it is estimated that Greece hosts some 900,000 immigrants
mainly from Albania but also from Eastern Europe, the Arab world,
Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Philippines as well as Kurds from Iraq
and Turkey. Only about half of these immigrants are legal; therefore,
an accurate census is difficult. See also DIASPORA.
DIASPORA. Since ancient times, Greeks have emigrated to escape
their poverty and in search of trading and enriching opportunities
abroad. Until the advance of nationalism in the 19th century, there
were large and prosperous Greek communities across much of the
eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and southeastern Europe,
mainly in the ports of Izmir, Istanbul, Trabzon, Odessa, Burgas, Trieste, and Alexandria in Egypt.
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Today’s Greek diaspora is of a different kind. Starting in the late
19th century, Greeks of Peloponnesus immigrated to the United
States because of the deteriorating economic conditions and the
increased difficulty in exporting Greece’s main cash crop, the currant. This migration abated in the aftermath of World War I as the
United States closed its borders. Following World War II, Greeks
left for Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Australia, and various European
colonies in Africa, taking advantage of their booming economies. It
is estimated that today there are approximately five million Greeks
living outside Greece, although it is both difficult to count and determine who exactly is a Greek and who is not.
The Greek diaspora is mostly organized around the Orthodox
Church, which, in the absence of the Greek nation-state, plays an
important cultural and political role in the defense of the community.
More recently, the Greek state has appeared more concerned with
expatriates’ well-being, including their education and preservation
of their identity. Furthermore, the Greek government has decided to
allow many expatriates to vote in Greek elections, something that
might revolutionize the relationship of the diaspora with the mother
country in the future.
Greeks are proud of their diaspora and the achievements of Greeks
abroad. It is estimated that in the United States alone, there are more
than 3,000 university professors of Greek origin. Famous diaspora
Greeks include physician George Papanikolaou (who invented the
Pap test), philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis, shipping tycoon
Aristotle Onassis, opera singer Maria Callas, U.S. presidential
candidate Mike Dukakis, and aviation groundbreaker Stelios Hatziioannou. Excelling in science, the arts, business, and even politics,
hyphenated Greeks of the diaspora preserve a long tradition of ingenuity, perseverance, and entrepreneurship that often seems missing
from the motherland. See also DEMOGRAPHY.
DIMAS, PYRROS (1971– ). Born in Himara in southern Albania
to ethnic Greek parents, Pyrros Dimas is a Greek sports hero. As
a weightlifter, Dimas won gold medals in the Olympic Games in
Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000, and a bronze
in Athens in 2004. Thus, Dimas is the most decorated and accomplished modern Greek athlete. His victories made weightlifting popular and contributed to an athletic renaissance in a nation, which, until
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recently, was not accustomed to victories in Olympiads and world
championships. Repatriated Greeks from Eastern Europe, such as
Dimas and his fellow weightlifter Kakhi Kakhiashvilli, have contributed greatly to these recent Greek successes.
DODECANESE. A small archipelago of 12 (dodeka) islands in the
southeastern Aegean Sea between Crete and the Asia Minor coast,
the largest of which is Rhodes. Following the Crusades, Rhodes became the home of the Knights of St. John, who endowed it with one
of the grandest, still preserved, medieval, fortified cities in Europe.
The Ottomans came fairly late and stayed until 1912, and after their
defeat in Libya the islands were transferred to Italy. The Italians
left behind an interesting, interwar architecture. Having preserved a
Greek culture, both in language and religion, the islands were finally
united with Greece in 1947 with the Treaty of Paris. This was the last
expansion of the Greek state.
Today, the islands, with Rhodes and Kos at the forefront, have
developed a robust tourist industry and form one of the wealthiest areas of Greece. Lying very close to the Turkish coast, the presence of
Greek troops in defensive formations remains an irritant for Turkey,
which objects to their militarization and claims relevant treaty provisions. In January 1996, an engagement between the two countries’
navies, at the small islet of Imia (Kardak in Turkish) off the island of
Kalymnos, threatened briefly to escalate into war. From time to time,
Turkey disputes the sovereignty of certain uninhabited island formations in the archipelago.
DOMAZOS, MIMIS (1942– ). Born in Athens, Mimis Domazos has
probably been Greece’s best soccer player. Playing for the Panathinaikos soccer team from 1959 until 1980 as a midfielder, he won
many titles, became immensely popular, and remained a public icon
throughout the 1960s and 1970s. See also SPORTS.
– E –
ECONOMY. The economy probably remains the greatest paradox of
modern Greece. Although, to a certain degree, archaically structured
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and dependent on revenues from abroad, Greece is a prosperous
country with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Its
current gross domestic product (GDP) totals $330 billion. This is
more than the GDP of the economies of all the Balkan countries
combined. In the meantime, the Greek GDP continues to expand robustly at a healthy average rate of 3.5 percent a year. Overall, Greece
is placed in the top 25 countries of the United Nations Human Development Index worldwide.
Historically, the Greek lands, especially the highlands and much
of the arid coastline, suffered from poverty, and social stability was
only maintained through emigration. After independence, Greece
developed very slowly and entrepreneurial Greeks continued to seek
enrichment in the Ottoman lands. The situation improved slowly in
the 1870s and progressed rapidly in the 1880s under the premiership
of Harilaos Trikoupis, who initiated an ambitious program of major
public works while welcoming home Greek capitalists from abroad.
Growth was followed by stagnation until the eve of World War I.
After the war, the arrival of Asia Minor refugees enlarged the domestic market and endowed Greece with an industrious and experienced
workforce. Industrialization progressed but, once more, it was interrupted by the world recession and war. Following World War II,
reconstruction was delayed by the Civil War, which destroyed and
displaced the population of much of mountainous Greece.
What followed, however, has been described as the Greek
“economic miracle.” Through the stewardship of Prime Minister
Konstantinos Karamanlis and of other Greek politicians, such as
Georgios Kartalis and Spyros Markezinis, foreign aid and favorable
international conditions were coupled with macroeconomic stability,
a liberal regime that welcomed foreign investment, the existence of
a cheap and abundant workforce, and an activist state that invested
heavily in public works and industrialization. This formidable combination produced high growth rates from the 1950s onwards, with the
exception of the 1980s, and has helped place Greece among the rich
nations of the world. Although industrialization was important, overall manufacturing remains particularly weak in Greece, providing
less than 10 percent of the GDP. Rather, growth has come through
construction, tourism, shipping, and other services such as trade
and banking.
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Greece enjoys a high standard of living, comparable to that of
Italy and Spain, but the structure of its economy remains markedly
different from its partners in Europe as it is dominated by small, family-owned firms, an overblown public sector, a relatively large but
not very productive agricultural sector, and an extensive untaxed,
shadow economy. Salaried labor, in proportion to the population, is
the lowest in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the self-employed continue to make up almost
half of the total workforce.
Despite an unsupportive business environment at home, evident
by Greece’s inability to attract much greenfield foreign investment
and an ossified educational system, Greece is greatly aided by the
acceleration of globalization and the new economic opportunities
this provides. A booming China and Southeast Asia have enriched
Greek shipowners while newly rich East Europeans and Russians
are competing for a share of the unique Greek coastline. See also
ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE. One of the five ancient patriarchates of the early Christian church, based in Constantinople and
headed by the bishop of New Rome. Following centuries of rivalry
with the pope and the bishop of (old) Rome, the two Christian leaders
excommunicated each other in 1054 CE and the church was divided
between an eastern Orthodox and western Catholic part. The Ecumenical Patriarch never managed to exercise a centralized control
over the various Orthodox churches, in the way the pope did over his
Catholic dominions. Autonomous Orthodox churches headed by their
own patriarch or archbishop have proliferated since the late Middle
Ages. However, the patriarch of Constantinople was recognized as
the spiritual leader of all and the ultimate arbiter of disputes among
Orthodox churches. Following their own tradition, the Ottomans
upgraded the position of the patriarch to that of the leader of the
Christian Orthodox millet (protected religious minority), irrespective
of ethnicity.
The rise of nationalism spelled the end of the patriarch’s political
authority, and newly independent national churches broke away from
his jurisdiction. With the departure of Orthodox Christians from Turkey, the patriarch has been left with a very small following. However,
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he continues to lead the Orthodox Greeks of the diaspora. Turkey
continues to resist the ecumenical character of the patriarchate, afraid
that such an admission might infringe on its sovereignty. Ankara has
imposed a series of restrictions on the operation of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate that has put its long-term survival in Istanbul in doubt
and has contributed to the rivalry with Greece. Russia, being the
largest and strongest Orthodox country in the world, would like to
have the patriarch of Moscow recognized as the leader of worldwide
Orthodoxy, something the United States does not favor. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is familiar with political controversy and, for all
the changes brought by nationalism, it has survived throughout the
centuries. The current patriarch is Bartholomew I.
EDUCATION. Education in Greece is highly prized and Greek parents
do not hesitate to spend their wealth on their children’s education.
Demand for a good university education remains strong and feeds a
national frenzy every June at university entry exam periods. Some
students attend technical or special schools following their completion of high school. Historically, the educational system has been a
primary mechanism in support of upward social mobility. Concerted
efforts to secure open access to education for all has greatly contributed to making Greece a fairly egalitarian society, lacking the great
social divides found elsewhere.
Education in Greece is provided mostly by the state and controlled
by a large bureaucratic, centralized machinery headed by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs. Overall, the system
consists of a six-year elementary school, a three-year secondary
school, and a three-year high school. The mandatory education is
nine years in duration. There are some good private high schools,
mainly in Athens and Thessaloniki, often affiliated with foreign
educational institutions, the best known being Athens College and
Anatolia College, both supported by United States education boards.
There are more private elementary schools and a very large number
of preschools, as the demand by working mothers remains unmet.
In the past, Greece used to have one of the largest university student populations abroad, mainly in Great Britain, Italy, and Eastern Europe. Recently, many new university departments, often of
dubious quality, have opened, especially in small provincial towns,
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doubling the available supply and almost meeting existing demand,
although admission to the prestigious medical, law, and a few engineering schools remains very competitive.
Higher education is constitutionally the exclusive prerogative of
the state. One serious side effect of the bottlenecks in the system is
the growth of a vast unregulated network of private, profit-making,
preuniversity preparatory tutoring schools used by high school students in search of university admission. Another is the proliferation
of profitmaking, postsecondary, skill-oriented private colleges for
those who fail the university entry exams. Most of the problems and
public attention focus on the state of the Greek university, which suffers from the excesses of reforms introduced in the 1980s. Some, especially from the left, claim that the most serious issue is underfunding, and it is true that many departments are not adequately staffed.
But meritocracy, accountability, and discipline standards are low and
no matter how much more money the state spends, it is doubtful if
the present system can produce better results.
It is often said that Greek education is in a crisis and in dire need
of reform. Reform, however, has proved extremely difficult and
cumbersome as governments are faced with strong resistance from
unions, student activism, and pressing demands elsewhere. It seems
that educational changes can wait, the costs of which are politically
paid up front but the benefits are enjoyed many years after they have
been introduced.
Recently, the Greek government, obliged to follow its European
partners in respecting a common minimum of educational standards,
introduced a few mild reforms that it had to dilute because of fierce
opposition. In the past, the Greek educational system served the
Greek nation-state adequately by contributing to a modern, homogenous, national-minded, upwardly mobile society. However, in the
age of globalization and the rise of a knowledge-based economy,
Greek education needs to prepare Greek society to meet intense international competition. This seems to be an issue that will dominate
Greek politics in the years to come.
ELYTIS, ODYSSEAS (1911–1996). Born in Herakleio in Crete but
with family origins from the island of Lesvos, Odysseas Elytis was
a poet and a Nobel laureate for literature (1979). He belonged to the
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so-called generation of the 1930s. Following the Asia Minor catastrophe and the “closing in” of Greece’s national horizons, Elytis’
generation balanced between tradition and European modernism in
an attempt to redefine contemporary Greek identity. Employing surrealism and vivid imagery, Elytis’ poetry is full of the light found in
his native Aegean Sea and speaks optimistically of man’s struggle
for liberty. He died in Athens in 1996.
EMPLOYMENT. Officially, Greece has one of the lowest levels of
employment in the developed world. Only one in two Greeks is
employed. This has to do with a high rate of youth unemployment,
early retirement, low female participation in the job market, and an
extensive unregistered market of self-employed workers. In addition,
the Greek labor market has a number of distinct characteristics. Half
of the Greeks who work, work for themselves. Only half of the labor
force is salaried and only a small fraction of it works for a private
establishment with more than 100 employees. Besides an inflexible
official labor market that protects those with jobs to the detriment
of those without jobs, there exists a large underground economy of
unregulated and untaxed jobs.
Furthermore, Greece still employs a disproportionate share of its
people in agriculture and the primary sector. The largest employer
is the wider public sector with some 700,000 employees, although
the exact number is unknown. Unemployment started rising after
1980 and remains among the highest in the European Union (EU),
although recently it has fallen below 10 percent. Traditionally a labor-exporting country, Greece has turned into a labor importer in the
past two decades, hosting close to one million economic immigrants.
See also ECONOMY.
ENERGY. Greece’s only indigenous energy source is the polluting lignite, abundantly found in western Macedonia. Lignite provides the
fuel for the production of half of the country’s electricity. Some small
oil deposits off the island of Thassos in the north have been mostly
depleted. Alternative sources include the full use of all of the country’s small rivers through an extensive system of hydroelectric dams.
More recently, solar and wind power have expanded. Nevertheless,
Greece remains heavily dependent on imports of oil from the Middle
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East. In the mid-1990s, Russian and Algerian gas was introduced in
increased quantities and an extensive gas network covering most of
the country’s urban centers is constantly expanding.
Greek energy ambitions include satisfying the growing demand
for electricity, which rises by around 5 percent annually, complying with tighter environmental regulations against the emission of
greenhouse gases, turning Greece into an energy hub, with gas and
oil pipelines crossing the country from north to south and from east
to west, while liberalizing the energy market in compliance with the
regulations of the European Union (EU). The most important recent
energy projects include the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline,
between Greece and Bulgaria, circumventing the Bosporus Straits,
and the Turkey-Greece-Italy gas pipeline that will deliver Caspian
gas to Western Europe, circumventing Russia. See also ECONOMY;
ENOSIS. Meaning “union” in Greek, enosis refers to the demand by
Greek-Cypriots to unite Cyprus with Greece, following the departure
of the British. Enosis was defeated by Turkey’s strong opposition,
Great Britain’s manipulation, and Greek infighting. Instead, Cyprus
became an independent republic. After independence, Archbishop
Makarios, its first president, continued to pay lip service to enosis.
With the exception of the communists, so did most of the GreekCypriot politicians. For a while, enosis was favorably regarded internationally. In search of a solution to the Cyprus conflict, the United
States suggested the Acheson Plan, which provided for Cyprus’
union with Greece in exchange for a large military base for Turkey.
All sides involved rejected the plan as unfair.
The concept of enosis destabilized Cyprus domestically and poisoned relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. In 1971, a few
Greek-Cypriot right-wing extremists led by Georgios Grivas took
up arms and formed EOKA B, supposedly a reincarnation of the
original anticolonial military organization, the National Organization
of Cypriot Fighters (NOCF; Ethniki Organosi Kyprion Agoniston,
EOKA), created to force the implementation of enosis. Supported
by the Greek colonels, EOKA B terrorized communists, antagonized
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the Cypriot government, and participated in the coup of the National
Guard that temporarily overthrew Makarios on 15 July 1974.
As a result of Greece’s postwar anticommunist authoritarianism,
enosis was not simply contested along ethnic lines, between Greeks
and Turks in Cyprus, but also along political lines, between communists and anticommunists. Enosis with Greece, a country where the
Communist Party was banned until 1974, was naturally unappealing
to the numerous Cypriot communists for the same reason that it was
particularly attractive to Greek-Cypriot right-wing anticommunists.
The overthrow of democracy in Greece in 1967 made enosis even
less appealing to the Greek-Cypriots, as unification could only lead
to being ruled by a Greek military dictatorship.
If enosis was used in Cyprus to politically marginalize the left, it
worked the other way in Greece, where the conservative Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis was accused by his opponents, to his
left and to his right, of having conceded to the abandoning of enosis
in the 1959–1960 negotiations that gave Cyprus its independence.
The pro-enosis demands helped the Greek left polish its nationalist
credentials that had been tarnished during the Civil War and to bring
the centrist Georgios Papandreou to power in 1963–1964.
The Turkish invasion of 1974 put a violent end to any plan for
Cyprus’ unification with Greece. After 1974, the Republic of Cyprus
emphasized the distinctiveness of a common Cypriot identity and
Cypriot nationalism bonding Greeks and Turks living on the island,
and stressed that Cyprus’ independence was being violated by Turkey. Ironically, for many Turkish nationalists, Cyprus’ entry into
the European Union (EU) in 2004 brought enosis through the back
door, as Greece is a member of the EU but Turkey is not. See also
ENVIRONMENT. Despite its comparatively small size, Greece is endowed with a unique and diverse natural environment of high mountains, small plains, thousands of islands, and a 16,000-kilometer-long
coastline. Greece’s weak industrialization and the density of its urbanization have kept much of the countryside pristine and unspoiled,
although booming tourism is a real threat. Since arable land occupies
only one third of the total, much of Greece is left to its natural flora.
Forests occupy less than 20 percent of the total surface of the country
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and their size is shrinking because of fires, herding, and construction. The Greek seas remain among the cleanest in Europe.
Urban pollution is a problem. In the 1980s, Athens, the largest
Greek city, became infamous for its air pollution caused by old cars
and trucks using low-quality gas. Thermaikos, Thessaloniki’s shallow, closed bay in the north, has been virtually dead due to massive
residential and industrial waste.
Environmental consciousness remains underdeveloped and the
prerogative of a few urban sophisticates. A few nongovernmental
organizations (NGO), such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife
Fund, have had some sporadic success. However, concern for the environment is often hypocritical and the façade behind which special
and entrenched interests hide.
The Greek state has created a series of national parks and protected
zones for the benefit of wildlife. More recently, it introduced stricter
regulations, offered incentives, and invested in public transportation networks in order to improve the urban environment, where the
majority of Greeks live. Thanks to new car technologies, the use of
natural gas for heating and in industry, and the operation of a subway system, Athens is no longer the most polluted city in Europe.
Although, the coasts of Greece have avoided the overbuilding that
occurred in Spain, land speculation, a cumbersome legal system, and
an ineffective and corrupt public administration continue to put
extraordinary pressure on a unique environmental resource.
EPIRUS. Greece is famous as an archipelagic nation. However, Greece
is also a land of steep mountains and alpine landscapes. Nowhere is
that more true than in Epirus, the country’s northwestern region bordering Albania. With a surface area of 9,450 square kilometers and a
total population of 338,147, Epirus is divided into four districts with
Ioannina (Jannina) as its largest city and regional capital.
In the past, Epirus became prominent three times: first, because
of a brilliant Hellenistic general called Pyrrhus (318–272 BCE) who
fought numerous campaigns in Italy; second, as one of the Byzantine Greek states that emerged from the Fourth Crusade in 1204,
the Despotate of Epirus (founded in 1205), which lasted until 1479
when it fully succumbed to the advancing Ottomans; and third,
when it emerged as a semiautonomous Ottoman province under the
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leadership of an ambitious and clever Ottoman pasha, Ali of Tepelen
(1787–1822), before provoking the wrath of the sultan who sent his
army to defeat and kill him.
Present-day Greek Epirus is the southern part of a region that was
divided between Greece and Albania to the north. Greece acquired
the city of Arta in 1881 and the rest of Epirus after the First Balkan
War in 1912. The Greek advance against the fortifications of Jannina
was slow and difficult and the city surrendered four months after
Thessaloniki in Macedonia. For many years after the war, Greece
continued to claim northern Epirus from Albania, where a sizeable
Greek minority has lived. During World War II, Greece repelled
the attacking Italians and advanced deep into northern Epirus but
withdrew after Nazi Germany intervened. Following the end of the
war, several thousand Albanian-speaking Chams, accused of collaboration with the occupiers, were expelled from Greek Epirus. The
border with Albania remained closed until 1991 when the Stalinist
regime in Tirana abruptly collapsed and Epirus, together with the rest
of Greece, was flooded with Albanian economic immigrants.
Epirus is a region of stunning, wild natural beauty with a developing winter tourist industry. Despite some modest government aid,
the region remains underpopulated and the poorest in Greece, and
one of the poorest in Western Europe.
EURO. Today, the euro is the official currency of Greece. It replaced
the drachma on 1 January 2002. The euro is the common European
currency, currently shared by 15 member-states of the European
Union (EU), and the basis of the Economic and Monetary Union
(EMU). Per the treaty of Maastricht in 1991, Greece initially struggled to join the EMU as it did not satisfy any of the entry criteria.
After a great effort, Greece lowered its inflation rate and public
deficit, although it continues to struggle with a large public debt that
is estimated to be around 100 percent of the gross domestic product
(GDP). The Greeks supported the EMU. After 30 years of inflationary politics and soft money, Greece has acquired a strong currency
and has benefited greatly from the low interest rates the euro has
brought. However, there are complaints that the conversion from the
drachma to the euro has favored the speculators and has made everyday life more expensive.
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EUROPEAN COMMUNITY (EC). Greece became a member of
the European Community (EC) on 1 January 1981, having signed
the accession treaty on 28 May 1979. Under the leadership of
Konstantinos Karamanlis, a committed Europeanist, Greece was
the first country to become an associate member of the, recently
formed, EC in 1961. Karamanlis had explored an EC–Greece association as early as 1957, the year the Rome treaty founding the
EC was signed. Negotiations started in 1958 and were concluded
with an agreement in 1959. Thus, from early on, Greece had participated in the project of European integration. When it became a
member, five years ahead of Spain and Portugal, Greece was the
only Christian Orthodox member and, until the 2007 accession of
Bulgaria, the only EU country with no common border with any
of its EU partners.
Nevertheless, relations between Greece and the EU have not always been smooth. During the seven-year dictatorship (1967–1974),
relations froze and the association agreement stalled. Furthermore,
the first decade of Greece’s membership in the 1980s was troubled
by Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou’s Third-Worldism and
populist economic policies.
The speedy Greek accession after the fall of the junta and the
overall general strategic orientation of Greece toward the EU should
undoubtedly be attributed to the tenacity of Karamanlis. He overcame strong opposition both in Europe and at home to make Greece
a member. Karamanlis’ reasoning had a lot to do with his desire
to secure Greece’s democracy and frontiers. However, the Greeks
warmed to Europe as soon as EU subsidies began pouring in, first in
support of agriculture and later to upgrade the country’s infrastructure. Since then, Greece has grown into a committed Europeanist. In
debates over the future of Europe, Greece systematically sides with
the Eurofederalists.
For Greece, the more Europe the better. With the exception of
the small Communist Party, almost all of the Greek political forces
share this view, as the country has benefited enormously through its
association with and membership in the EU, having received close
to $150 billion so far in EU money. And the benefits are not only
financial. They include the consolidation of democratic politics, the
introduction of Europe’s advanced public policy practices, opening
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of the economy to competition, and enhancement of Greece’s international diplomatic position, among other benefits. A negative aspect
is that the EU’s generosity, channeled through an inefficient Greek
state, has often fed corruption, dampened the urgency of domestic
reforms, and preserved a certain corporatist economic culture that,
eventually, will be incompatible with globalization.
Nevertheless, the strong desire to remain in and benefit from the
hard core of European integration has been a powerful incentive
to reform, as Greece’s rush to join the European Monetary Union
(EMU) and to adopt the euro in 2002 proved. Today, Greece is a
medium-size partner in Europe and appears increasingly adept at
playing European politics constructively, having placed several of its
nationals in key positions. The European Court of Justice is headed
by a Greek jurist, the vice president of the European Central Bank
is a Greek banker and economist, and the European ombudsman is a
Greek academician. Furthermore, having strongly favored the EU’s
enlargement eastwards, Greece has found in the EU the best possible
way to normalize its troublesome relations with some of its neighbors, including, first and foremost, Turkey. See also FOREIGN
– F –
FERAIOS, RIGAS (1757–1798). Born in Velestino near ancient
Pherae in Thessaly in Central Greece, Rigas Feraios was the most
eminent prerevolutionary Greek hero and is widely recognized as a
forerunner of the 1821 uprising. Well educated and well traveled,
Feraios worked for the Greek administrators of the Danube provinces
of the Ottoman Empire in present-day Romania. He was deeply
moved by the French Revolution and thought that a similar popular
movement could free the Christian Orthodox population from the
Ottoman oppression. He wrote inspiring poems, the best known of
which is “Thourios,” and reflected on a future independent Balkan
commonwealth. He was arrested by the Austrians while he was traveling to Venice on his way to meet Napoleon, whose help he needed,
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and was handed over to the Ottomans in Belgrade, where he was
strangled by the Ottoman authorities while in prison.
created to obtain the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman Empire, Filiki Eteria played a significant role in preparing the Revolution of 1821. Supported by members of an emerging and assertive
Greek middle class, the Filiki Eteria was founded in 1814 by three
merchants, Nikolaos Skoufas, Athanasios Tsakalof, and Emanouel
Xanthos, in the prosperous Russian port of Odessa in the Black Sea.
Modeled after the Masonic philosophy, the association was financed
by the Sekeris brothers who were prominent merchants from Constantinople. They all shared the liberal vision of Rigas Feraios.
To increase membership and credibility, the organization’s leaders
spread rumors that a great power, implicitly Russia, backed their
plans and that an invisible authority was in charge. After Ioannis Capodistrias, who was later to become president of Greece, declined,
Alexandros Ypsilantis, an officer of the Russian army, accepted the
leadership of the association.
Filiki Eteria made an enormous contribution toward the revolution,
mobilizing Greeks within and without the Ottoman Empire, collecting
funds, organizing an army, and finally, choosing the time and place
for the outbreak. Its attempt in the Ottoman provinces of Moldovia
and Wallachia, where the Ottoman army needed Russia’s permission
to enter, met with defeat and Ypsilantis himself was killed. A month
later, however, in March 1821, the revolution broke out in Peloponnesus. Soon, Alexandros’ brother, Dimitris Ypsilantis, was elected
as leader of the revolutionaries. Many Filikoi, or members of the association, took prominent positions in the developing revolutionary
institutions, but relations with the native population became progressively strained. Overall, the members of the association had a much
more modern outlook and political agenda compared with the locals.
Although outnumbered by the locals, their organizational skills and
cosmopolitanism contributed decisively to the overall success of the
struggle for independence and the establishment of a modern Greek
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FINANCES. The Greek economy suffers from a number of deficits;
trade and fiscal deficits are the two most important. The government
or fiscal deficit is the result of chronic overspending and massive
tax evasion. For most of the postwar period and up until the late
1970s, the deficit remained fairly low. Following the second oil crisis and the socialists’ expansionary policies in the 1980s, the deficit
exploded to the point of threatening the Greek treasury with bankruptcy. Since the early 1990s, much of the fiscal balance has been
restored, thanks mainly to an increase in taxation rather than any
major spending cuts. Today, the fiscal deficit remains under 3 percent
of the gross domestic product (GDP), although Greece is burdened
with a high public debt, around 100 percent of the GDP, the servicing of which consumes a great part of the annual public revenues. In
addition, long-term pension liabilities require a large primary surplus
today, if the current state of affairs is to be sustainable in the medium
to long term.
FINOS FILMS (FF). Founded and owned by an entrepreneurial producer, Filopemen Finos, Finos Films (FF) was the largest and most
successful studio of the emerging Greek postwar film industry.
Starting in the 1940s, FF produced the greatest Greek blockbusters
and established a number of young movie stars, first among whom
was actress Aliki Vougiouklaki. FF offered a variety of melodramas,
film noirs, comedies, and musicals. It employed smart, well-written,
straightforward scenarios with simple, easily identifiable characters,
centered mainly on a love story where the lovers had to overcome
social and other obstacles before reaching happiness. A happy ending
was essential.
FF’s productions were criticized for their naiveté, commercialism,
lack of artistry, and a certain social escapism since they created an
idealized universe quite different from the hardships of the first postwar years. Although gradually films of a few gifted, young directors
were released, FF remained oriented toward large audiences who,
in the absence of television, flocked to the movie theaters by the
thousands. Television was the undoing of FF and of the Greek commercial movie industry in general. See also CINEMA.
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FLAG. The Greek national flag is rectangular with nine horizontal blue
and white stripes and a white cross in four blue boxes on the upper
left side. It was adopted in 1822 by the revolutionary constitutional
assembly in Epidavros. There is a debate about the symbolism of its
shape and colors. Most claim that the blue was chosen to refer to the
sea and the ancient maritime traditions of Greece, the nine stripes
correspond to the nine syllables of the revolutionary slogan “freedom
or death” in Greek, and the cross is the symbol of Christianity.
FLORAKIS, HARILAOS (1914–2005). Born in Karditsa in Thessaly in Central Greece, Florakis was the general secretary of the
Communist Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE) during its transition from a clandestine organization
to a legitimate participant in elections, parliamentary politics, and
even the government after 1974. In that capacity, Florakis played a
crucial, although often underappreciated, role in the democratization
and normalization of Greek politics.
Florakis attended the Law School of Athens, but never completed his studies due to his leftist beliefs. He joined the Communist
Youth and participated in the resistance against the occupying Axis
forces during World War II. Later he fought in the Greek Civil War
(1946–1949) where he became known by his nom de guerre Captain
Giotis. In 1949, together with his fellow fighters, he left the country
for Eastern Europe as a political refugee. He returned to Greece in
1954 but was arrested, tried, and imprisoned for 17 years for his communist activities.
In 1972, while Greece was under a military dictatorship and anticommunist harassment had intensified, Florakis was elected general
secretary of the Greek Communist Party in exile. A year later, with
the return of democracy, the party took part in parliamentary elections for the first time since 1936. In 1988, sensing international
political changes and the declining fortunes of the Soviet Union,
Florakis moved to strengthen the unity of the left by forming a broad
left-wing alliance, together with the CPG/KKE’s former reformist
rivals, called the Coalition of the Left and Progress (CLP; Synaspismos tis Aristeras kai tis Proodou, SYN). Florakis became president of
the new coalition while resigning from his post as general secretary
of the CPG/KKE. For a while, following the inconclusive 1989 elec-
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tions, Florakis and the left became the kingmakers of Greek politics.
Together with his coalition partner, Leonidas Kyrkos, he took the
left into an unprecedented coalition government with the conservative New Democracy (ND; Nea Dimokratia) Party. This move
proved controversial and was hostile to Andreas Papandreou’s
Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko
Kinima). By 1991, internal fighting between the various factions of
the leftist coalition and CPG/KKE’s traditional reluctance to weaken
its autonomy and suspicion of partners, brought the coalition to an
end. Florakis retired from the leadership as an honorary president of
his party.
Florakis supervised the transition of a battered, traumatized, and
clandestine party to parliamentary politics and practices. This was
a process that greatly legitimized Greece’s young democracy. After
1974, he failed to contain the advance of Andreas Papandreou’s PASOK that kept the CPG/KKE confined to around 10 percent of the
electorate. Speaking in simple Greek with a heavy accent, Florakis
exhibited a certain political wisdom that in his later years made him
widely popular among his fellow Greeks. Although a Stalinist, treading carefully and appearing to move slowly, Florakis was capable
of some bold initiatives, such as his refusal to back PASOK in the
1986 municipal elections, the formation of the leftist coalition in
1988, and the left’s participation in the government in 1989–1990.
Unlike its Italian counterpart, the Greek Communist Party has not
been particularly fortunate with its leaders. Overall, Florakis appears
to be somewhat of an exception in the party’s long history. He died
in 2005 in Athens.
FOREIGN POLICY. Greece is a founding member of the United
Nations (UN) and an early participant in Euro-Atlantic institutions.
It became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) in 1952, an associate member of the European Community (EC) in 1961, and a full member in 1981. Thus, Greek foreign
policy has a well-established Western orientation, inherited from the
Cold War and beyond.
Historically, Greek foreign policy can be better understood
through a series of contrasting poles. Until 1922, Greece was a revisionist state, dissatisfied with the territorial status quo in southeastern
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Europe and striving to expand, in order to incorporate as many of
the Ottoman Greeks as possible. During that first half of its independent existence, Greece’s foreign policy was a perilous balancing
act between its warlike impulses and the country’s limited resources.
Following the Asia Minor catastrophe in 1922, Greece has become
a conservative power, opposing strongly the forceful change of borders.
As a small state dependent on the protection of great powers,
Greece was drawn between Great Britain, the dominant naval
power in the Mediterranean, and Russia, the dominant land power
in Eastern Europe. The Greek people have remained sympathetic
toward the Russian co-religionists, helped by Russia’s continual
antagonism with Turkey. However, the Greek elites, aware of their
country’s vulnerability from the sea due to its extensive coastline, allied Greece with Britain. After 1947, the United States replaced Britain as the dominant naval force in the Mediterranean and Greece’s
patron. The alliance with Britain and the United States has provided
Greece with several collateral benefits, including the strengthening of
the country’s liberal and democratic traditions when compared with
its Balkan neighbors.
Moreover, Greek foreign policy has oscillated between a popular
discourse on rights and justice and the international reality of power
balances. Nowhere has this been more evident than in Greece’s relationship with Turkey and the United States. Since the 1950s, Greece’s
main foreign policy problem has been what Greece perceives to be
a growing Turkish threat against Hellenism in the Aegean, Thrace,
and Cyprus. The Greek people have felt that the United States and the
Western alliance have not done enough to help Greece and restrain
Turkey. This gave rise to a virulent anti-Americanism that, over
the years, has become instinctive, reflexive, and institutionalized.
However, because of Turkey, Greece has needed the United States
and has depended on the Western alliance even more. Thus, successive Greek governments have felt obliged to safeguard the country’s
Western orientation and participation in NATO and the EU, while
rhetorically engaging in sporadic anti-U.S. criticism for domestic
political consumption.
The end of the Cold War in 1989 repositioned Greece from a
frontline state in the American strategy of containment into a regional
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leader. As the richest and oldest democracy in southeastern Europe,
Greece supported, both politically and economically, the accession
of the Balkan countries into Euro-Atlantic institutions. Fearful of
border changes, Greece opposed the disintegration of old Yugoslavia
and was slow to realize that this was often misinterpreted as support
for the policy of Slobodan Milosevic, in favor of a greater Serbia.
Finally, since 1991, Greece has engaged in a lonely diplomatic effort
to neutralize Macedonian nationalism.
Progressively, and especially after 1999, Greek foreign policy has
become more realistic, proactive, and less vulnerable to emotional
impulses. Greece has espoused a policy of engagement with the Europeanization of Turkey, while it has striven to renew its partnership
with its allies in Europe and the United States. Finally, Greek foreign
policy is uniquely Eurofederalist.
As an active UN member, Greece participates in UN peacekeeping
missions around the world, including Kosovo and Afghanistan, with a
force of 1,000 soldiers and civilian personnel. Greece has supported UN
efforts for the resolution of the Cyprus question. In 2004, it advised
in favor of, but avoided pushing the Greek-Cypriots to espouse, UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan’s plan. In recognition of its international
standing, Greece was elected as a nonpermanent member of the UN
Security Council for 2005 and 2006. See also ALBANIA; ANNAN
FRANCE (RELATIONS WITH). Modern Greece has had a close
relationship with France. The Greek Revolution of 1821 was largely
inspired by the French Revolution of 1789 and its ideals that had
spread to the east by Napoleon and his conquests. The Greek-populated Ionian Islands fell under the French rule briefly between 1797
and 1800 and between 1807 and 1815. France participated in the
naval battle of Navarino against the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet and
in the negotiations that led to the establishment of the independent
kingdom of Greece in 1830.
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However, France never managed to supersede the influence of
Great Britain, which—thanks to its naval superiority in the Mediterranean—dominated Greek politics. In the aftermath of independence, a French party competed for power against an English party
and a Russian party. Led by the populist Ioannis Kolettis, it enjoyed
a considerable following. Toward the end of the 19th century, Greek
infrastructure projects, including the building of the Corinth canal
and the railway system, attracted French capital. French officers advised the Greek army and helped in its modernization.
During World War I, in September 1915, French troops landed in
Thessaloniki to create a Balkan front against the Central Powers and
Bulgaria, which had just entered the war. A year later, French troops
forced the resignation of the government in Athens and in the spring
of 1917 the departure into exile of King Constantine I, who had
strongly advocated in favor of Greece’s pro-German neutrality. After
the war, France initially lent its support to the Greek territorial claims
put forward by Eleftherios Venizelos but was quick to abandon the
Treaty of Sèvres and find an accommodation with Kemal Atatürk’s
nationalists after Venizelos’ defeat in the elections of 1920.
In the postwar period, the influence of France in Greek affairs
declined but remained strong in cultural matters. Many young Greek
intellectuals left to study and made successful careers in France,
including philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis and composer Yannis
Xenakis. During the seven-year junta, France provided a welcoming
refuge for Greek democrats. After 1974, having studied in France,
members of the Greek intellectual class, the media, and parts of the
political elites, although not in business, continued to draw inspiration from the French way. Greece’s three most prominent prime
ministers—Harilaos Trikoupis, Eleftherios Venizelos, and Konstantinos Karamanlis—stayed in France when they could not live in
Greece for political reasons. The former two died in France.
FREDERIKA, QUEEN OF GREECE (1917–1981). Born in Blakenburg in Germany into a family of high nobility, related to both
the British and German royal houses, Frederika was married to the
future King Paul I in 1938 and was the mother of King Constantine
II (and of Queen Sophia of Spain and Princess Irene of Greece and
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Frederika played an important, if controversial, role in postwar
Greece. When King George II died in 1947 and Paul ascended to
the throne in the midst of the Greek Civil War, strong-willed and
ambitious Queen Frederika energetically supported the government’s
efforts against the communist insurgents. She sponsored a network
of children’s protection camps. However, she was of the opinion that
the sovereign rules and thus, she had a proclivity to interfere in political affairs in defense of the monarchy’s prerogatives and Greece’s
alliance with the United States. She supported the appointment of
young Konstantinos Karamanlis to the premiership in 1955 and his
dismissal in 1963 when he tried to curtail the monarch’s autonomy.
After the death of her mild-mannered husband in 1964, Frederika exerted her influence on her young and inexperienced son, Constantine
II, in his fateful confrontation with the popular and democratically
elected Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou in 1965. During the
military dictatorship, she followed her son’s family into exile, died in
Madrid, and was buried in her old palace in Tatoi, outside Athens.
– G –
GALIS, NICK (1957– ). Born in New Jersey, Nick Galis was a great
athlete who revolutionized the game of basketball in the land of his
parents. After a short but promising career in the American college
league, Galis was drafted by Thessaloniki’s Aris basketball team in
1979 and won a series of titles. His triumph came in 1987 when he
led Greece to victory in the European Basketball Championship. See
also SPORTS.
GEOGRAPHY. Greece is a land of mountains and islands. Continental
Greece is dominated by the Pindus mountain chain, an extension of
the Dinaric Alps in the north. The Pindus divides Greece into a wet
western and a dry eastern part. The highest mountain is Mt. Olympus,
the legendary home of the ancient gods. The high mountains run into
numerous small valleys, bays, peninsulas, and capes. There are two
main plains, one in Thessaly and one in central Macedonia. There
are no commercially navigable rivers; the longest river is Aliakmonas
in the north.
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Since ancient times, geography has affected the development of
Greece. Overland communication was difficult and impeded the establishment of land-based empires, fragmented Greece into isolated
communities or city-states, and favored the sea as the fastest and safest route. Coastal trade developed early on, aided by the existence of
numerous small islands that dot the Greek seas.
Positioned among the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa,
the Greek terrain has formed the crossroad of civilizations and invaders.
After the great discoveries of the 15th century, Greece—together with
the rest of the Mediterranean—lost much of its traditional geostrategic
significance. However, after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869,
Great Britain made sure that Greece remained under its influence.
During the Cold War, thanks to its geography, Greece provided an important link between Italy and Turkey, comprising the southern flank
of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In the meantime,
it has continued to control important sea routes, northwards to the Black
Sea and across the Mediterranean. In particular, there is an important
air and naval base of the United States in Suda Bay, Crete. See also
GEORGE I (1845–1913). Born in Copenhagen, George I was the second king of modern Greece. Like his predecessor, Otto, he reigned
for a long period, during which he faced several upheavals, including
a humiliating military defeat by the Ottomans in 1897 and a popular
military uprising in 1909 that imposed an extensive revision of the
Constitution. During his reign, Greece grew economically and demographically and experienced the beginnings of industrialization.
In his later years, George I became a popular king, thanks to Greece’s
territorial expansion.
Mild and cautious, King George I allowed for the development of
the parliamentary system of government and treaded carefully between the military weakness and the fierce irredentism of the Greece
of his age. Thus, unlike his predecessor, George I was not overthrown
and the dynasty he founded continued to rule Greece until 1974. Nevertheless, his life abruptly ended in newly liberated Thessaloniki in
March 1913 when he was shot by a mentally disturbed person.
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George was the second son of King Christian XV of Denmark.
Following the ousting of Otto, George was selected as king by the
National Assembly of Greece in 1863 with the support of Great
Britain. A year later, a new constitution, modeled after the liberal
Belgian charter of 1830, introduced the crowned democracy. Finally,
in 1875, on the advice of the young politician Harilaos Trikoupis,
King George accepted the supremacy of Parliament in choosing the
government and the prime minister.
As a gift to the new king, Britain offered Greece the seven Ionian
Islands, which had been in its possession since 1815. Britain continued to lend its support; at the Congress of Berlin, it secured Thessaly
and Arta for the kingdom of Greece, which were transferred from the
Ottomans in 1881. In 1896, George I inaugurated the first modern
Olympic Games in Athens. A year later, he failed to control the
anti-Turkish fervor caused by the Cretan question and endorsed a
short war that the Ottomans quickly and decisively won. Greece did
not pay a heavy price for its bellicosity; on the contrary, thanks to
Britain’s support, it secured the autonomy of Crete.
Thus, despite widespread antiroyalist feelings, King George survived the storm and the 1909 military coup that brought a liberal
reformer, Eleftherios Venizelos, to power. The king cooperated
well with his dynamic prime minister. King George’s finest moment
came with the Greek victory in the Balkan War and the conquest of
Macedonia. His assassination, after half a century of ruling Greece,
left a vacuum and brought to the throne his son Constantine, who
quickly proved much less wise and less respectful of the democratic
GEORGE II (1896–1947). Born in Athens, George II was the first son
of King Constantine I and Queen Sophia. He studied at the Greek
and the German Military Academies, and married Elisabeth, princess
of Romania. As an officer of the Greek army, George took part in the
Balkan Wars (1912–1913) and the Greek campaign in Asia Minor
(1921–1922). Together with his father, George was exiled between
1917 and 1920 after having been accused of being pro-German. He
returned to Greece with his father in 1920 and succeeded him in 1923
after his father’s ousting, following the Asia Minor catastrophe. He
did not stay long on the throne, as antimonarchist feelings ran high,
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especially among the recently arrived Asia Minor refugees, and
Greece was proclaimed a republic in 1924.
However, royalists retained much of their old support. Following
the infighting and the miscalculations of the Venizelists, George was
recalled to the Greek throne in 1935 after a spurious referendum held
by his loyal adherents with the help of a former Venizelist officer,
Georgios Kondylis.
Faced with a divided Parliament and labor unrest, George II supported the suspension of the Constitution and the establishment of
a dictatorship by his conservative Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas.
George II kept Greece allied with Great Britain and, through his
control of the armed forces, exerted some influence on Metaxas’
policies. In October 1940, Greece successfully resisted the attack of
Fascist Italy but, in April 1941, it succumbed to the superior forces
of Nazi Germany. George II and the royal family moved to Egypt
together with the Greek government-in-exile and parts of the Greek
army that continued the fight against the Axis on the North African
During the occupation, the Greek political landscape changed dramatically as a strong communist-led resistance movement grew and
threatened to take control of the country after the Germans withdrew.
By then, George II was a polarizing figure symbolizing Greece’s
old regime and dependency on Britain. The left fought for him to
stay away but the right, having won the elections of March 1946,
imposed, through a spurious referendum and with strong British
backing, George II’s return in September 1946. He died a year later
in Athens, having seen the outbreak of the devastating Civil War to
which his return contributed. On account of his turbulent reign and
many travails, he is famously reported as saying that “the most important tool for a Greek king is a suitcase.”
GONATAS, STYLIANOS (1876–1966). Born in Patras in Peloponnesus, Gonatas belonged to a generation of military men who were
heavily involved in politics, frustrated with the stagnation and corruption of parliamentarianism, and worried about Greece’s territorial integrity. Starting with the 1909 revolt in Goudi, the army played
a key part in domestic developments throughout the interwar period
and continued to claim a guardianship role until 1974.
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Gonatas completed the Military Academy, after which he enjoyed
a long military career, fighting in the Macedonian struggle in 1904–
1908 (Makedonikos Agonas), participating in the popular uprising
in Goudi in 1909 that was organized by the Military League (Stratiotikos Syndesmos), and fighting in the Balkan Wars (1912–1913)
and the Asia Minor campaign (1920–1922). After the collapse of
the front and the retreat of the Greek army, Gonatas, together with
Nikolaos Plastiras and Dimitrios Fokas, led a successful military
rebellion that ousted the king and tried and convicted to death six
prominent members of the previous government deemed responsible
for the disaster. A committed Venizelist, he founded a political party
named National Liberals (Ethnikoi Fileleftheroi) after World War
II, followed by an unsuccessful political career. He died in Athens.
GOUDI. A location in a suburb of Athens where its garrison was
traditionally stationed, Goudi became synonymous with the military
interference in politics. On 15 August 1909, a military putsch was
organized there, led by Nikolaos Zorbas and many other dissatisfied
officers, that demanded reforms and brought Eleftherios Venizelos
to power. On 15 November 1922, the six most senior members of
the government at the time of the Asia Minor Catastrophe were
executed there, following a hastily arranged court martial, despite the
international outcry.
GOUNARIS, DIMITRIOS (1867–1922). Born in Patras in Peloponnesus, Dimitrios Gounaris was a tragic political figure and a prime
minister of Greece who was put to death at Goudi, Athens, following the Asia Minor catastrophe. He studied at the Law School of
Athens and continued his education in Munich, Paris, and London.
Well educated and cosmopolitan, Gounaris was a member of a new
progressive generation of politicians who aimed to modernize Greece
and better prepare it for war to secure new territories. Elected for the
first time to Parliament in 1902, together with other members, he
formed a political grouping that became known as the “Japanese”
(Omada Iaponon) for its radicalism. The Omada Iaponon demanded
a wiser management of public finances and the rationalization of
public policy. In 1908, Gounaris became a successful minister of
finance in the reformist government of Georgios Theotokis.
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Young, proud, and ambitious, Gounaris saw the arrival of Eleftherios Venizelos to the premiership as a great threat to his personal
political fortunes. The Cretan politician stole the reformist thunder
from all “old politicians.” Gounaris opposed Venizelos, leading the
monarchist camp during the National Schism (Ethnikos Dihasmos)
and was appointed prime minister after Venizelos resigned twice.
His great moment of glory came when he defeated Venizelos in the
polls in 1920 as the head of a united anti-Venizelist opposition. His
victory was bittersweet as he quickly found himself trapped in a military campaign in Asia Minor that was draining Greek resources, with
no easy end in sight. Reneging on his pacifist preelection promises,
he expanded the war effort, making an already bad situation worse.
After the disaster in Asia Minor, he was the most prominent, wellknown, and respected leader of the monarchists, and he attracted the
wrath of the returning Venizelists. Together with some of his cabinet
members and the former chief of staff, he was executed in Goudi,
despite some international appeals to spare his life.
GREAT BRITAIN (RELATIONS WITH). Until 1947, no other foreign power played a larger role in the creation and development of
independent Greece than Great Britain. British espousal of the Greek
cause proved decisive for the success of the Greek Revolution. When
in 1824 Britain lent money to the revolutionaries, it underwrote the
Greek War of Independence and, diplomatically and militarily, saw
to its successful conclusion. In 1827 the British fleet, joined by the
Russian and the French, destroyed the Turkish–Egyptian navy at
Navarino in western Peloponnesus. Greece was granted its independence with a diplomatic protocol signed in London in 1830. Britain
was recognized as one of the protector powers of the new state and
chose Greece’s young king, Otto. Diplomatic relations were established between the two nations in 1834.
The essence of British influence in Greek affairs lay in the predominance of the British navy in the Mediterranean. Often, whenever Greece attempted to directly confront British interests in the
region, as happened during the Crimean War (1853–1856), in the
beginning of World War I, or in the aftermath of World War II,
the British navy quickly restored British influence and the pro-British
orientation of the Greek foreign policy. For this lopsided alliance—
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or, better, patron–client relationship—Greece was rewarded with the
Ionian Islands in 1864, Thessaly and Arta in 1881, escaped lightly
after its defeat by the Ottomans in 1897, and was granted the autonomy of Crete a year later.
The high point of Greek–British cooperation came in the aftermath
of World War I, when Britain invited Greece to land its forces in
Smyrna (Izmir) in what soon developed into the ill-fated Asia Minor
campaign, with the aim of radically redrawing the map of the Near
East in Greece’s favor. On the eve of World War II, the Greek dictator, Ioannis Metaxas, despite his former pro-German sympathies,
did not question Greece’s alliance with Britain. Greece entered the
war in October 1940 on Britain’s side, despite the fact that, at the
time, after the capitulation of France and before the entrance of the
Soviet Union and the United States, Britain was left fighting the
Axis alone.
After the departure of the occupying German forces in 1944, Britain’s political maneuverings and open military intervention ensured
the defeat of the numerically superior Greek communist forces and
helped keep Greece in the West. However, in 1947 as the Civil War
escalated, hard-pressed Britain invited the United States to take the
lead as Greece’s new patron.
Greece’s relations with Britain plummeted in the 1950s as a result
of the Cyprus question and the islanders’ anticolonial quest for their
union with Greece. After much initial hesitation, the Greek government confronted the British openly in the United Nations General Assembly to the annoyance of the United States. While the dispute was
temporarily resolved with the independence of Cyprus in 1960, a certain suspicion that Britain cooperated with Turkey and the TurkishCypriots against Greek interests in Cyprus lingered for years.
In later years, relations between Greece and Britain were gradually normalized and were put on an equal footing. Trade in goods
between the two nations remains substantial, at around €3 billion a
year. However, services are equally, if not more, important. Around
three million British tourists visit Greece annually; 30,000 Greeks
study in Britain; much of Greek shipping relies on the banking,
insurance, and brokerage services provided by London; and British
Vodafone has made one the largest foreign investments in recent
Greek history.
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In the councils of the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Britain and Greece often stand at
opposite ends of the political spectrum. Britain is traditionally Atlanticist, suspicious of further European integration, and welcoming of
U.S. influence in Europe while Greece is more of a Eurofederalist.
Recently, however, Athens and London have moved closer in support of Turkey’s candidacy for membership in the EU, against the
resistance of many other EU member-states.
Overall, since the days of post-Napoleonic philhellenism, Britain’s
involvement in Greece has been crucial. Often criticized and resented
for being heavy-handed, British influence infused Greece with a certain liberal and democratic spirit in support of representative politics.
It has kept Greece away from the excesses of German romanticism,
Prussian militarism, and Russian authoritarianism and communism
that were popular elsewhere in the Balkans. See also FOREIGN
GREEK-AMERICANS. The total number of U.S. citizens of Greek
origin is hard to calculate but is probably at least one million. The
Greek-American community is diverse in its origin, time of arrival,
social status, and political outlook. It is mainly concentrated in New
York, Boston, Chicago, and parts of Florida. There are third- and
fourth-generation Greek-Americans with ancestors who emigrated in
the late 19th century to escape the poverty caused by the failure of the
currant crop. Upon arrival, many of them found employment in the
booming textile industry of northern Massachusetts. That first wave
of immigration peaked on the eve of World War I but declined in
the early 1920s when the United States imposed strict restrictions on
immigration. After World War II, more Greeks immigrated to the
United States. From the 1960s onward, they included many young
scientists and professionals with a more liberal outlook compared to
the conservatism of older generation Greek-Americans.
Faced with discrimination, Greek-Americans organized themselves around their local Christian Orthodox Church. A few became
involved in politics, among whom the best known are Michael Dukakis, a long-term governor of Massachusetts and the Democrats’ presidential contender in 1988; Spiro Agnew, a governor of Maryland and
vice president to former President Richard Nixon; Paul Sarbanes, a
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long-term senator from Maryland; Paul Tsongas, a reformist senator
from Massachusetts; Olympia Snow, a senator from Maine; John
Brademas, a New York congressman; Phil Angelides, a treasurer and
gubernatorial candidate in California; and George Stephanopoulos,
a senior advisor to former president Bill Clinton and an influential
TV political talk show host. In recent years, there have been one or
two senators and six or seven congressmen of Greek origin at the
federal level and many more at the state level. Coming mainly from
the northeast, they tend to be Democratic, but overall moderate and
The Greek-American lobby organized itself following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and managed to secure a U.S. arms
embargo on Turkey that was imposed in 1975 and lasted until 1978.
The lobby was influential in securing a balance in U.S. aid toward
Greece and Turkey and in maintaining the Greek–U.S. relationship
during the difficult years when Andreas Papandreou and Ronald
Reagan were in power in the 1980s. Weakened by infighting and
a lack of leadership, the Greek–American lobby relies heavily on
a few Greek–American tycoons like Alex Spanos and Angelos
Tsakopoulos. Despite the continued successes of individual GreekAmericans in business and politics, the lobby appears to be a spent
force, confused and directionless, as Greek foreign policy has moved
away from antagonism and toward the accommodation of Turkey in
recent years.
GREEK–OTTOMAN WAR (1897). In the final decades of the 19th
century, fired by an unyielding irredentism, Greece mobilized
frequently, at great financial cost, against the Ottoman Empire. In
most cases, it refrained from initiating a war against its much bigger
neighbor. Crete provided, once again, the context for one more crisis
in Greek–Ottoman relations that, unfortunately this time, in 1897,
escalated into a war. Greece was quickly and resoundingly defeated.
It was saved from paying too harsh a price by the intervention of the
great powers, mainly Great Britain.
In 1896 an uprising in Crete, which remained under the sultan’s
suzerainty, infuriated the Ottoman authorities. They demanded, under
a threat of war, that Greece withdraw the troops that it had sent to the
island in early 1897. Greek Prime Minister Theodoros Deligiannis,
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a populist nationalist and a staunch supporter of irredentism, the
Megali Idea, and Greece’s territorial expansion, was trapped in the
controversy, disregarding the fact that the Greek armed forces were
totally unprepared and disorganized. The Greek army, commanded
by the future king, Prince Constantine, suffered serious defeats in
Thessaly and retreated southwards. The intervention of the great
powers ended the war and returned the border to more or less where
it was before the start of hostilities.
As a result, Greece was obliged to pay war reparations to Ottoman Turkey and accept the management of its public finances
by foreigners. While securing revenues from customs and special
duties that went directly to the repayment of Greece’s debts, the international financial control infringed on Greek sovereignty. On the
positive side, and quite unexpectedly for a loser, the great powers
declared the autonomy of Crete and King George I’s second son,
Prince George, was appointed high commissioner of the island. One
year after the war, in 1898, the last Ottoman troops left Crete, never
to return. The defeat was a political shock that strengthened the reformist forces within Greece in the beginning of the 20th century. See
– H –
HATZIDAKIS, MANOS (1925–1994). Born in Xanthi in western
Thrace, Manos Hatzidakis was one of the most accomplished artists
and public intellectuals of modern Greece. A gifted composer who
wrote independent works as well as popular scores and songs for
theatrical plays and films, Hatzidakis is compared to Germany’s Kurt
Weil and Italy’s Nino Rota. Like Weil and Rota, Hatzidakis used his
native country’s folk musical traditions to produce new syntheses in
dialogue with European norms. Few artists have had a greater influence on fostering the contemporary Greek cultural identity, and his
music continues to be very popular. In 1960 he was awarded an Oscar
for his music score in Jules Dassin’s film Never on Sunday.
Hatzidakis belonged to the first postwar generation of many talented artists. He worked closely with director Karolos Koun, poet
Nikos Gatsos, singer Nana Mouskouri, painter Yannis Tsarouchis,
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choreographer Rallou Manou, and many others. Starting with a
controversial espousal of rebetiko music in a public speech in 1949,
Hatzidakis was never afraid to speak his mind and break from established truths in support of what he believed to be right. He was quick
to denounce the junta. Despite—or, maybe, because of—his free,
almost anarchic, spirit, he was a close friend of conservative Prime
Minister and President Konstantinos Karamanlis. After the return
of democracy, he served briefly as director of a public radio station
but came into conflict with its bureaucratic practices. In 1989, he
founded the Orchestra of Colours to help spread classical music in
Greece. He died in Athens in 1994.
– I –
INDUSTRY. Greek industry has been struggling to grow and remains
weak, internationally uncompetitive, underdeveloped, labor intensive, undercapitalized, and concentrated mostly in small, inwardlooking, low-technology, family-owned establishments. Comprising
manufacturing, mining, and the production of electricity, gas, and
water, industry constitutes around 14 percent of the gross domestic
product (GDP) of Greece. Manufacturing itself is 10 percent of the
GDP. Industry forms the largest part of the secondary sector of the
economy, with an additional 8 percent of the GDP produced by
Some initial industrial establishments emerged prior to World
War I, mainly in Athens and Piraeus. The influx of refugees from
Asia Minor during the interwar period boosted industrialization by
providing the skilled and cheap labor needed and expanding domestic
demand. Greek industry soared after the Civil War in the 1950s and
1960s, helped by an interventionist state, urbanization, protectionism, a favorable tax regime, and low levels of unionization. The 1952
Constitution sanctioned the repatriation of profits, giving an additional incentive to foreign investment. Refineries, shipyards, power
stations, steel mills, chemical and food processing plants, and textile
factories were built in the two decades that followed.
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However, the world economic crisis of the 1970s, the increased
labor demands that followed the fall of the junta in 1974, the end of
protectionism after Greece’s entry into the European Community
(EC) in 1981, and the socialist economic mismanagement after 1981
led to a wave of factory closures and deindustrialization. After 1985,
and especially since the mid-1990s, there has been some recovery.
However, overall production in manufacturing has increased less
than 10 percent in the course of the past 30 years.
Greek industry is heavily concentrated in Athens, where some
60 percent of manufacturing is based. Thessaloniki and Thrace
form two secondary industrial centers. Industry employs some
650,000 workers, mostly salaried. Despite recent growth, employment has remained constant as smaller establishments continue
to close down and automation dampens the demand for jobs.
The largest sectors of Greek industry are food and beverages, oil
products, metals, minerals and cement, chemicals, and textiles.
Car manufacturing and other heavy industrial sectors are virtually nonexistent. Growth has been provided by new fields such as
cosmetics and designer products, plastics, and electronics. Industry
provides 60 percent of Greek exports of goods, worth approximately €10 billion in 2006.
Greek prosperity and economic growth have traditionally been
mostly nonindustrially based. The Greek state has tried to provide
some incentives for investing in manufacturing without much success. Militant unions, an inflexible labor market, a small domestic
market, increased foreign competition, a cumbersome regulatory
regime, bureaucracy, heightened environmental sensitivities, economic instability, and greater profit opportunities elsewhere in trade,
banking, shipping, tourism, and the broader services sector have
forced Greeks to look for investment opportunities elsewhere and
have kept foreigners away.
IONIAN REPUBLIC. The seven Ionian Islands in western Greece remained under Venetian rule until 1797. During the Napoleonic wars,
they changed hands three times before passing to Great Britain in
1815, at which time a free United States of the Ionian Islands under
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British protection was established. British rule, represented by a high
commissioner, lasted until 1864 when the islands were united with
the Kingdom of Greece. Having escaped, to a great degree, Ottoman
rule and having remained under Western influence, the Ionian republic was the first Greek state in modern times. It flourished as a center
of Greek culture and thus it played a prominent role in the building
of modern Greece.
IRREDENTISM. For most of the first century of its independent
existence, irredentism formed the central core of Greece’s official
ideology and policy. The original kingdom created in 1830 included
only one quarter of all Ottoman Greeks and claimed the Byzantine
Empire as its ancestor. The incorporation of lands that were historically or demographically Greek, by expanding Greece’s borders to
the detriment of Ottoman Turkey, formed the Great Idea (Megali
Idea) that dominated Greek public life throughout the 19th century.
The Great Idea, in support of the resurrection of a Greek Byzantine
Empire, was originally proclaimed by Ioannis Koletis (1773–1847),
a prominent Greek politician who served as the first constitutional
prime minister of Greece. Speaking to the constituent assembly on 11
January 1844, Koletis defended the constitutional rights of diaspora
Greeks, having been born himself in Ottoman-held Epirus. Koletis
declared that Greece should be where Greeks live, whether it is in
Constantinople, Smyrna, or elsewhere.
Greek irredentism reached the point of being fulfilled with the
Treaty of Sèvres, signed by Eleftherios Venizelos in 1920. The
treaty granted Greece large territories of the Ottoman Empire, defeated in World War I. However, two years later, the Asia Minor
catastrophe put an end to Greek irredentist dreams once and for all.
Greece continued to claim the Dodecanese, northern Epirus, and
Cyprus. Thanks to the defeat of Italy in World War II, Greece acquired the Dodecanese in 1947. However, northern Epirus remained
within Albania, and Cyprus was not united with Greece but instead
became independent in 1960. Today, political irredentism remains a
fringe ideology with very little popular support. However, a certain
romantic irredentism for the lost Greek homelands in Anatolia and
elsewhere survives and is cultivated by some politicians, opinion
makers, and church leaders.
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– J –
JUNTA. The term refers to the military dictatorship established by a
colonels’ coup on 21 April 1967. The coup was orchestrated by a
group of fervently conservative, nationalist, and anticommunist, ambitious middle-rank officers of low-middle-class and peasant origin.
They were schooled in the unhealthy, conspiratorial, and authoritarian spirit that grew out of the Civil War. They took the initiative to
violently rebalance Greek politics and preclude the victory of Georgios and Andreas Papandreou in the forthcoming elections. The
coup was led by a triumvirate of Georgios Papadopoulos, Stylianos
Pattakos, and Nikolaos Makarezos.
The coup itself, in the historical cradle of democracy, constituted
the only democratic reversal in postwar Western Europe. It was a
huge blow to American liberal designs for a stable postwar Greek
democracy closely allied with the United States. It generated widespread anti-American discontent around the world and within Greece
and formed one more episode in the ongoing Soviet–U.S. Cold War
It is accepted that the colonels preempted a planned royal coup of
generals. In that sense, they succeeded not only against the civilian
authorities of the country but against the military hierarchy as well.
Faced with a weakened and discredited political class after years of
infighting and an isolated king, the junta took control of the country
easily, quickly, and without resistance. However, staying in power
proved much more challenging, despite the favorable economic conditions internationally.
King Constantine I attempted to overthrow the dictators on 13
December 1967. He failed, left the country, and never returned to his
throne. In May 1973, the navy, which was never close to the colonels’ regime, unsuccessfully conspired against the dictatorship and,
on 25 May 1973, the battleship Velos defected and its crew requested
political asylum in Italy. On 17 November 1973, the army intervened
to quash a growing revolt of students and outsiders in the Polytech-
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nio in downtown Athens. On 25 November 1973, Brigadier Dimitris
Ioannides replaced Papadopoulos with his loyal officers. On 15 July
1973, Ioannides ordered the Greek officers in the Cypriot National
Guard to overthrow President Makarios. On 20 July 1974, Turkey
invaded Cyprus, and on 24 July the junta’s president of Greece,
General Phaidon Gizikis, appointed Konstantinos Karamanlis as
prime minister.
Their lower rank made the colonels more radical in their political designs, compared to their superiors in the army. In fact, a rift
progressively developed among the conservative and the radical
coup leaders. The conservatives, led by Papadopoulos, temporarily
emerged as the most powerful and attempted a political transition.
However, this attempt failed to secure credible civilian counterparts,
with the exception of Spyros Markezinis, and was met with a strong
public reaction in November 1973, after which it quickly unraveled.
The radicals, led by Ioannides and inspired by nearby Arab military revolutionaries, pushed out the conservatives in what amounted
to a coup within a coup. Their nationalism and antagonism towards
the Cypriot president, Archbishop Makarios, led them to a self-destructive foreign adventurism in July 1974. Discredited by the successful Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the military regime collapsed and
power was handed to Konstantinos Karamanlis.
Karamanlis quickly proclaimed elections, held a referendum that
established a republic, drafted a new constitution and tried, sentenced, and jailed the coup leaders. Greece is one of only a handful of
countries that punished the violators of its democratic order. The dictators did not request nor were they granted a pardon. They remained—
and most of them died—in jail.
The junta has had a long-lasting effect on Greek politics. It discredited anticommunist nationalism as the postwar state ideology and
the democratic restrictions that survived the Civil War. As a result,
a liberal, open, and inclusive democracy was introduced in 1974 as
had never existed in the past. On the negative side, the junta delayed
Greece’s convergence with the European Community (EC), radicalized Greek politics leading to a populist outbreak in the 1980s, and
corrupted the state’s structure and institutions.
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– K –
KARAMANLIS, KONSTANTINOS (1907–1998). Born in the small
town of Küpköy in Ottoman Macedonia, Konstantinos Karamanlis
was a leading Greek politician who served for 10 years as president
of the republic and for 14 years as prime minister. Karamanlis is
widely recognized as a towering figure who dominated Greek postwar politics and contributed enormously to the modernization of his
nation. Today, Greece is a well-functioning and prosperous democratic member of the European Union (EU), due, in large part, to
Karamanlis’ vision, determination, and skills.
Karamanlis’ father was a teacher and a tobacco farmer who fought
for the Greek cause in Ottoman Macedonia. His origins from Küpköy, which is now called Proti, in the district of Serres in Greek
Macedonia influenced Karamanlis’ future course. Karamanlis was
not born into a prominent political family of Athens; his rise carried
a distinct promise of political renewal. Karamanlis was not from
old, southern Greece but came from the new lands of Macedonia in
the north that have traditionally been politically underrepresented
in Athens. He came from a rural district and, having lived through
the ordeals suffered by the Greek farmers, he remained close to the
simple people of Greece. Furthermore, Karamanlis lived and was
traumatized by the National Schism that divided Greece between
royalists and Venizelists. Although himself a progressive, being an
indigenous Greek Macedonian, he entered politics on the side of
the royalists because the newly arrived Greek refugees from Asia
Minor competing for land with the locals sided with the Venizelists.
Throughout his political career, Karamanlis struggled to reconcile his
own radicalism with the conservatism of the political camp to which
he belonged.
After completing his studies at the Law School in Athens, he
practiced law in Serres, entered politics, and was elected to Parliament in 1935 for the Peoples’ Party. He refused to cooperate with
the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas and stayed in Athens working
as a lawyer before escaping to the Middle East in 1944 while Greece
was occupied by the Germans. He ran in the first postwar elections of
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1946 and entered the government as minister of employment under
the premiership of Konstantinos Tsaldaris. He served in a number
of ministries, including transportation, social welfare, and defense.
Karamanlis established a national reputation for decisiveness and
efficiency as minister of public works in the years between 1952 and
1955 in the government of Alexandros Papagos. He initiated an
extensive program of reconstruction and modernization of the public infrastructure that was badly damaged during the war years, and
made good use of foreign, mainly American, aid.
When Papagos died, King Paul chose the young minister as his
new prime minister, circumventing the parliamentarians of the ruling
party who would have chosen one of the conservative party’s elders.
It was a wise choice, as Karamanlis brought a renewed dynamism
and determination in resolving Greece’s pressing postwar problems.
Initially a beneficiary of royal favoritism, Karamanlis would later
confront royal interventionism in politics and, in 1974, orchestrated
a referendum that abolished the monarchy altogether.
As a prime minister, Karamanlis devoted his full attention to
economic development and, in his first eight years in power (1955
to 1963), Greece was radically transformed. In foreign policy,
Karamanlis sought and achieved a compromise solution with Great
Britain and Turkey that turned Cyprus into an independent republic. Karamanlis always associated Greece with the European Community (EC) and remained, throughout his life, a firm believer in
European integration.
Despite this progress, Karamanlis was obliged to operate within the
restrictive environment created by the Civil War that excluded the
communist left from politics and allowed the monarchy, the armed
forces, and their associates to dictate policy beyond and above the
Parliament. As a result, Karamanlis faced mounting opposition from
the liberal center and the left and a deteriorating relationship with the
king. This led to his resignation and, eventually, to self-imposed exile
in Paris that lasted for 11 years.
Karamanlis opposed the colonels’ dictatorship and discouraged
his allies from cooperating with the junta. Following the Turkish
invasion in Cyprus, he was invited to assume the leadership of the
transitional government of national unity. At a great personal risk
but widely popular, Karamanlis deflated the crisis with Turkey and
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proceeded quickly to democratize Greece. His achievements were
extraordinary. He established a liberal constitution, legalized the
Communist Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE), dismantled old Civil War restrictions, abolished the
monarchy in favor of a republic, and reenergized Greece’s drive to
enter the EC. Karamanlis’ crowning achievement was the signing of
the Athens treaty in May 1979 that allowed Greece to enter the EC
in 1981.
Furthermore, Karamanlis presided over the consolidation of a
post-junta two-party system. In 1980, he was elected president of
the republic. When Andreas Papandreou won the premiership in
October 1981, Karamanlis played a crucial double role. He used his
prestige to steer Papandreou away from his Third-Worldism toward
a more European course of action while assuring conservatives at
home and Greece’s foreign allies abroad that the country’s fundamental orientation would remain intact. Despite the partnership he
strove to build with his former firebrand rival, Karamanlis resigned
from the presidency when Papandreou reneged on his promise and
withdrew his support for Karamanlis’ reelection.
When the party he founded, New Democracy (ND; Nea Dimokratia), returned to power in 1990, Karamanlis was reelected by the
Parliament to the presidency. During his second term, Karamanlis’
suffered from deteriorating health and was unable to travel internationally. As a Greek Macedonian, he was alarmed by the breaking up
of old Yugoslavia and the establishment of an independent Macedonian republic to the north. He demanded the solidarity of Greece’s
western allies while, behind the scenes, he urged the country’s leaders to remain cautious and resist the nationalist fever engulfing the
Balkans. Until his death in Athens, he continued to offer his wisdom
to the people he served for 60 years. See also ANENDOTOS; APOSTASIA; FREDERIKA, QUEEN OF GREECE; PAPANDREOU
KARAMANLIS, KOSTAS A. (1956– ). Born in Athens, Kostas Karamanlis earned a doctorate in international relations at the Fletcher
School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. As a nephew
of Konstantinos Karamanlis, Kostas Karamanlis was involved in
post-junta conservative politics and was elected to Parliament, for
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the first time, in 1989. In 1997 he assumed the leadership of the New
Democracy (ND; Nea Dimokratia) Party after a prolonged leadership crisis and took it to power in 2004. He has been the prime minister ever since, having been reelected in September 2007.
While in office, Kostas Karamanlis has proved prudent in economics and foreign policy while cautiously attempting to implement
certain public-sector reforms. His style is consensus oriented and he
has avoided major confrontations. As a good reader of public opinion
and international conditions, a superb political tactician, and a formidable public speaker, Karamanlis has dominated Greek politics in the
current decade and continues to enjoy a personal popularity, more so
than his government or his party.
KARATHEODORI, KONSTANTINOS (1873–1950). Born in Berlin while his father, Stephanos, was serving as Ottoman ambassador, Konstantinos Karatheodori was an internationally acclaimed
mathematician and a scientific pioneer of global reach. Better
known as Constantin Caratheodory, he studied and taught in several German universities, corresponding with some of the greatest
scientists of his time, including Albert Einstein. Due to his love
for his native country, Greece, and his friendship with Eleftherios
Venizelos, Karatheodori spent two years in Izmir (Smyrna) prior
to the Asia Minor Catastrophe organizing the local university.
He died in Munich.
KAZANTZAKIS, NIKOS (1883–1957). Born in Herakleio in Crete,
Nikos Kazantzakis is Greece’s most-read modern writer and philosopher. He was influenced by Bergson, Nietzsche, Marxism,
Buddhism, and Christianity. He traveled around the world and lived
outside Greece extensively. Kazantzakis struggled with existential
and metaphysical themes that relate to the human condition. In the
process, he antagonized religious conservatives and the Greek Orthodox Church. His works include the novels Alexis Zorbas, Christ
Recrucified, Captain Michalis, The Last Temptation of Christ, Report
to Greco, Saint Francis, travelogues, and an epic poem The Odyssey.
Films such as Zorba by Michalis Cacoyannis and The Last Temptation by Martin Scorcese familiarized larger audiences with his work.
He died in Freiburg, Germany. See also LITERATURE.
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KAZANTZIDIS, STELIOS (1931–2001). Born in Athens, where he
also died, Stelios Kazantzidis became not only Greece’s most popular singer but also the voice of a whole era. Orphaned at a young age
and growing up in poverty, Kazantzidis brought to his singing the
anguish and sorrow of the unfortunates of life. He appealed particularly to the Greek diaspora and the feeling of alienation and longing
for the homeland that postwar immigration produced. Endowed with
an exceptional voice, he was, to the Greeks what Um Kalthoum was
to the Arabs. See also MUSIC.
KOLOKOTRONIS, THEODOROS (1770–1843). Born in Ramavouni in Messinia in southern Peloponnesus, but with family roots
originally in mountainous Arkadia in central Peloponnesus, Theodoros Kolokotronis started as a kleftis, or rebel in Ottoman times. He
emerged as the greatest military hero of the Greek revolutionary War
of Independence that broke out in 1821. Three years earlier, he had
joined the Association of Friends (Filiki Eteria) and had already
started preparing for the uprising. In January 1821, Kolokotronis left
the British-held island of Zakynthos and landed in Peloponnesus. In
March 1821, he led the Greek forces into Kalamata, a primary cityport in southern Peloponnesus, in what was the first major victory for
the revolutionary cause. Throughout the summer, he organized the
siege of Tripolitsa, the capital of the Ottoman province, situated in
central Peloponnesus, and in September his forces captured the city.
His military genius rested on his understanding of the workings of
unconventional warfare against numerically superior Ottoman forces
and of the importance of logistics and supplies in support of the war
effort. Often, he avoided open confrontation, preferring attrition and
cutting off the enemy’s routes of supply. He made sure that his troops
remained well fed and armed. He led with his brave example while
speaking in simple, heartfelt Greek in favor of freedom that deeply
impressed and inspired his troops.
Kolokotronis’ finest moment was his defeat of the army of Dramalis pasha on 26 July 1822, in Dervenakia, which proved decisive for
the temporary success of the revolution. Although he worked for the
unity of the revolutionary forces, he became involved in the partisan
controversies and civil wars of his time. As a result, he found himself
imprisoned by his opponents. Later, he lent his support to Ioannis
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Capodistrias, the first president of Greece. Following Capodistrias’
assassination, he disagreed with the authoritarianism of the Bavarian regency, was arrested and sentenced to death. He was pardoned
by King Otto and died of a heart attack after a party at the palace in
KORAIS, ADAMANTIOS (1748–1833). Born in Smyrna, Adamantios Korais studied medicine in France. Korais is considered the best
representative of the Greek Enlightenment, the intellectual movement that carried the European spirit to the Greek lands and prepared
the Greek Revolution of 1821. Arriving in Paris in 1788 on the eve
of the French Revolution, he witnessed firsthand the revolutionary
turmoil and its excesses. His work was devoted to the education of
the Greek nation as the necessary precondition for its liberation. He
studied and published the works of ancient Greeks and wrote extensively on Greek affairs. Although he thought of the uprising of 1821
as premature and ill prepared, he supported and promoted the cause
abroad. Later, he opposed Ioannis Capodistrias’ authoritarianism.
Faced with the linguistic dispute between ancient and modern Greek,
Korais proposed a compromise called Katharevousa, a purified and
slightly archaic form of Greek that became the official language of
the new state. He died in Paris in 1833. See also LANGUAGE.
KOSKOTAS, GEORGIOS (1954– ). Georgios Koskotas took Greek
public life by storm in the 1980s as an up-and-coming banker, publisher, and owner of Greece’s most popular soccer team, Olympiakos. When evidence emerged that he had embezzled the deposits
of his Bank of Crete, he became the epicenter of a four-year-long
sensational scandal that contributed to the downfall of the Socialist
Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou in 1989. Having escaped to
the United States, he was extradited to Greece, tried, convicted, and
jailed for 12 years. Although some of his ministers were convicted,
Papandreou was acquitted and returned to power in 1993.
KOUN, KAROLOS (1908–1987). Born in Bursa, Turkey, Karolos
Koun was modern Greece’s most acclaimed theater director. Koun
founded the avant-garde Art Theater in 1942. After World War II,
Koun was credited with renewing the tradition of ancient Greek
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drama. Together with some of Greece’s most gifted artists, such
as composer Manos Hatzidakis and painter Yannis Tsarouchis,
he staged some memorable performances of ancient tragedies and
Aristophanes’ comedies. In addition, he introduced the Greek public
to masterpieces of modern Western theater and the works of many
modern Greek playwrights. He died in Athens.
– L –
LAMBRAKIS, GREGORIS (1912–1963). Born in the small village
of Kerasitsa in central Peloponnesus, Lambrakis was a physicist who
became involved in postwar leftist and pacifist politics, although he
was not a communist. In 1961 he was elected to Parliament for the
United Democratic Left (UDL; Eniaia Dimokratiki Aristera, EDA).
After a public speech in Thessaloniki in May 1963, he was assassinated by an anticommunist parastate gang. His death produced a
wave of sympathy and contributed to the downfall of Konstantinos
Karamanlis from the premiership. As a martyr for a democratic
Greece, Lambrakis’ sacrifice became the theme of a popular novel
and a film, and gave rise to an active progressive political movement
called the Lambrakis Youth (Neolaia Lambraki), headed by the eminent Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.
LANGUAGE. As it happens with many national movements, but even
more so in this case, Greek nationalism is based on language. A
literary renaissance at the end of the 18th century and the European
Enlightenment provided the foundation for the nationalist surge that
led to the Revolution of 1821. Moreover, language provided the allimportant link of modern with ancient Greece and its heritage. Thus,
since early in its history, the Greek nation-state building project had
a linguistic question at its core. What language should the new state
endorse? The peoples’ language that varied depending on the region,
or a standardized archaic version?
It should be noted that the Greek language has a long, rich, and
proud history as very few in the world. In Hellenistic times when
Greek culture expanded across the eastern Mediterranean, a simplified Greek called koine, or common, became the lingua franca of the
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east. Koine was employed in the original writing of the New Testament and provided the common cultural basis for the spread of Christianity. Since then, the Greek language had continued to evolve, but
the real break remained between the classical, archaic Greek that was
confined to the Greek lands and the post–Alexander the Great simplified Greek that was widely spoken in the eastern Mediterranean.
When the matter reemerged during the nationalist surge of the
early 19th century, Adamantios Korais, the most prominent Greek
intellectual at the time, proposed a compromise whereby a purified
version of Greek, called Katharevousa, which encompassed many
archaic forms but was not ancient Greek, should become the official
language of the new state—and so it happened, provoking a controversy that lasted until the 1970s. Then, the new democratic government of Konstantinos Karamanlis finally decreed that the demotic
spoken language of the people would be the only state language in
which education, administration, and justice would be exclusively
The rivalry between supporters of demotic and Katharevousa
Greek acquired a broader political significance and divided Greeks
between progressives and conservatives, “supporters” and “opponents” of the people. Unfortunately, due to the polemics involved,
many literary achievements in either the demotic or Katharevousa
Greek were often overlooked.
LEGAL SYSTEM. The Greek system of justice is independent of
the government and, to some degree, self-governed. Greece follows continental Europe’s legal traditions, especially Germany’s.
Greek civil, penal, commercial, and administrative codes have been
largely imported from Western Europe. Greece has three supreme
courts: Areios Pagos for all civil and criminal cases, the Council of
State (Symvoulio tis Epikratias) for all administrative cases, and the
Congress of Auditors (Elegktiko Synedrio) for all matters pertaining
to state finances. Greece lacks a constitutional court since all Greek
courts are authorized to judicially review laws and administrative
decisions. The Greek legal system suffers from chronic congestion
caused by understaffing, mismanagement, and overlitigation. More
recently, revelations of corruption have shaken the system and led to
the dismissal and prosecution of a few judges.
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LIBERALS. There is no party today named Liberal in the Greek
Parliament. This was not always the case. Originally founded by
Eleftherios Venizelos in 1910, the Liberals (Party of Liberals,
Komma Fileleftheron) dominated Greek political life for much of the
20th century. The Liberals were the first truly modern party in Greek
history. They built a massive grassroots organization that extended
throughout the country and was based on a fairly cohesive modernizing and nationalist ideology. The Liberals came in sharp conflict with
King Constantine I in 1915. After the Asia Minor catastrophe,
they imposed a republic. During the interwar period, they attempted
to suppress the rise of a communist party.
In the aftermath of World War II, their support of the government against the communist insurrection was critical in limiting the
communists’ popular appeal and ensuring its defeat. Throughout the
1950s, the liberals remained divided among several groups. They
regrouped with the creation of the Center Union (Enosis Kentrou) in
1961 and came to power in 1963. After 1974, the old liberal political
center rapidly disappeared. Many party leaders joined the conservatives of New Democracy (ND; Nea Dimokratia) while most of the
party’s supporters moved leftwards toward the Panhellenic Socialist
Movement (PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima). Badly led and
out of touch with the new political realities, the liberals were an easy
prey for the charismatic Andreas Papandreou.
In the 1980s, the new ND leader, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, a
former centrist, reemphasized the liberal credentials of the party and
cultivated a liberal wing. Liberals included the new ND mayor of Piraeus elected in 1986, Andreas Andrianopoulos, and the ND minister
of national economy in 1992, Stefanos Manos. In the 1993 elections,
ND was defeated, Mitsotakis resigned, and many liberals soon found
themselves marginalized or outside the party. Manos created his own
liberal party in 1999 but was forced to suspend its operations in 2001.
In the 2004 elections, both Andrianopoulos and Manos joined the
electoral list of PASOK. In the 2007 elections, the Liberal Alliance
received 7,514 votes and the Party of Liberals 3,091, or 0.1 percent
and 0.04 percent respectively.
LITERATURE. It is said that Greece is a land of poets. Greek itself
is one of the oldest spoken languages in the world and the medium
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in which some of the world’s literary treasures were written. Modern Greek literature emerged in the late medieval times during the
end of Byzantium. Crete under Venice produced some significant
works of Western influence. Close to Italy and free from the Ottomans, the Ionian Islands also developed a rich literary tradition.
After independence, Athens in the late 19th century, under the
influence of Kostis Palamas, acquired its own literary school. Following the Asia Minor catastrophe, a new generation of writers
and poets, the so-called generation of the 1930s, tried to rebalance
Western modernism with Greek tradition. This generation produced
Greece’s two Nobel Prize winners in literature, Georgios Seferis
in 1963 and Odysseas Elytis in 1979. The other two best known
Greek writers of the 20th century have been Constantine Cavafy
and Nikos Kazantzakis. Some of the postwar literature turned
political and became part of a leftist/Marxist discourse. Although
Greek is a language that fewer than 15 million people speak and the
Greeks read much less than the average European, Greece continues to produce hundreds of novels and poetic works every year. See
– M –
MACEDONIA. With a surface area of 34,231 square kilometers and a
population of 2,625,681, Macedonia is the largest and second-most
populous region of Greece. It forms most of northern Greece, bordering on Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM), and Bulgaria.
Macedonia entered the historical stage under King Philip II
(382–336 BCE), who united all of the Greek city-states under his
command. His son Alexander the Great fought a brilliant campaign
against the Persian Empire and brought the Greek world to India. In
later years, Macedonia became a Roman and then a Byzantine province. Its capital city, Thessaloniki, fell to the Ottomans in 1430 CE.
Due to its easy access to the north through the Vardar River valley
and the Ottoman demographic policies, Macedonia became mixed
ethnically with Bulgarians, Greeks, Turks, Vlachs, and other smaller
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groups living side by side, and after 1492 CE, Thessaloniki acquired
a Jewish majority.
During Ottoman times, all the Christians of Macedonia, irrespective of their ethnicity, which was not yet politicized, belonged to
the same Christian Orthodox millet, led by the Greek Ecumenical
Patriarch in Istanbul. The distance between the Greeks and the
Slavs of Macedonia began to grow when, after 1870, an independent
Bulgarian Church started countering Greek nationalism by recruiting
the Slav-speaking faithful of Macedonia to the Bulgarian nationalist
cause. In 1878, the San Stefano Treaty, imposed by Russia on the
defeated Ottomans, awarded most of Macedonia, with the exception
of Thessaloniki and Halkidiki, to Bulgaria. The treaty was short-lived
thanks to British intervention, but the dream of a greater Bulgaria,
encompassing all of Macedonia, lived on. This gave rise to a bitter
struggle between Greek and Bulgarian paramilitary forces for the
control of the Macedonian countryside during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. The turmoil in Ottoman Macedonia and the inability
of the sultan to pacify his province contributed to the Young Turks’
revolution that broke out in Thessaloniki in 1908.
Ottoman Macedonia became the apple of discord among competing nationalist claims advanced by Bulgarians, Greeks, Serbs, Romanians, and local Slavic-speaking Macedonians. Greece conquered
half of Ottoman Macedonia during the First Balkan War in 1912 and
defended its gains successfully against Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War in 1913. During World War I, the royalist government in
Athens lost control of Macedonia, where a rebel government under
Eleftherios Venizelos, allied with the Entente, was established. At
the end of the war, Greece and Bulgaria exchanged most of each other’s populations. After 1922, Macedonia received the bulk of Greek
refugees from Asia Minor and lost its Turkish population. During
World War II some 97 percent of the Jews of Thessaloniki, and
many Jews of other Macedonian cities, perished in the Holocaust.
After the war, having fought on the side of the communists during the
Civil War who were more supportive of Slav-Macedonian national
rights, many Slav-Macedonians left Greece.
After the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia reemerged as an international concern. In particular, Athens objected
to the independent Republic of Macedonia monopolizing the name
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“Macedonia.” Apart from the confusion this might create, Athens
remains fearful of Slavic irredentism against Greek Macedonia.
Despite these difficulties, Macedonia is a fairly prosperous province of Greece. It enjoys a thriving agriculture in the center; rich lignite fields that fuel half of Greece’s electricity production in the west;
a booming tourist industry in Halkidiki, Pieria, and in the island
of Thassos; and a developed services sector, mainly in education,
health, and trade, based in Thessaloniki. See also ASIA MINOR
19th century, a homegrown Slav-Macedonian national movement
emerged in Ottoman Macedonia, in juxtaposition to both Bulgarian and Greek nationalism. Following the Balkan Wars, half of
Macedonia was awarded to Greece, one third to Serbia, while
Bulgaria, being the loser, was left with the rest. Greek Macedonia
was quickly mostly Hellenized, especially after the exchange of
populations with Turkey, when Muslims left and Greek Christians
arrived. In Serbian Macedonia, the oppression of Slav-Macedonian
rights by Serbia during the interwar period and by Bulgaria during
World War II further reinforced local Macedonian nationalism.
“Macedonianism” was espoused by the rising communists. Josip
Broz Tito, with an eye to reshuffling the balance of power in the
Balkans, proclaimed a Macedonian Republic within the new postwar Yugoslav Federation.
In Greek Macedonia, frustrated by their treatment at the hands of
the Greek state, which favored the incoming Greek refugees over
the local Slav-Macedonian natives, harassed by the dictatorship of
Ioannis Metaxas in the late 1930s, and energized by international
communism’s promise for an independent and united Macedonia,
many remaining Slav-Macedonians sided with the communist insurgents during the Greek Civil War in the aftermath of World War II.
Upon their defeat in 1949, they left the country for neighboring Yugoslav Macedonia. During the Cold War, Belgrade kept a tight leash
on Slav-Macedonian nationalists in Skopje, fearing that otherwise
its relations with Athens could be jeopardized. Similarly, Athens
preferred to deal directly with Belgrade and conveniently ignored
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102 •
the occasional irritation of Macedonian nationalism with claims on
Greek territory.
However, upon the disintegration of Yugoslavia, old demons
seemed to reemerge. Greece interpreted the independence of the FYROM as having the potential to reopen the old Macedonian question,
over which Greece had victoriously fought several wars in the first
half of the 20th century. On the other hand, as was the case elsewhere
in former Yugoslavia, the FYROM’s newly discovered independence
gave rise to nationalist and irredentist claims that irritated Greeks
who traditionally identify Macedonia with the heritage of Alexander
the Great and with their northern Greek province.
Somewhat ill-advised and often emotionally driven, Greece decided to wage a diplomatic campaign to defeat what it considered to
be Macedonian irredentism. For Greece, the very name of Macedonia—monopolized by a multinational state consisting of Slavs, Albanians, and others that occupies only a fraction of Ottoman Macedonia
and almost none of historical, ancient Macedonia—implies an irredentist claim against Greek territory. Faced with much more serious
problems in Bosnia and in Kosovo, and recognizing the peacefulness
of the FYROM’s transition toward independence, Greece’s Western
allies proved reluctant to lend Athens their support. With the exception of its European partners, most countries, including Russia and
the United States, recognized the FYROM under its constitutional
name. The name FYROM was itself a compromise reached so that
the new state could become a member of the United Nations (UN).
Riddled with anxiety due to the changes brought by the end of
the Cold War and influenced by nationalist and populist politicians,
Macedonia resonated greatly with Greeks, who reacted with an unprecedented popular mobilization, forcing an uncompromising and
maximalist stance on the country’s leaders. Gradually, however, the
reality of facing the spreading instability in the southern Balkans and
the recognition of mutual benefits derived from their cooperation
calmed both sides.
Currently, relations between Greece and the FYROM are based
on the Interim Agreement the two countries signed with the mediation of the United States in 1995. The Interim Agreement established
diplomatic relations between Athens and Skopje, satisfied certain
Greek demands, and left the dispute about the name of the newly
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independent republic to be resolved in the future. The agreement
concluded a four-year diplomatic war that included a partial and a
full trade embargo imposed by Greece. It has been followed by the
great expansion of Greek investment in FYROM and the growth in
trade and tourism between the two countries. As the FYROM moves
closer to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the
European Union (EU), where Greece has the power of veto, an opportunity may arise to resolve the name dispute, based on a mutually
accepted compromise.
MAKARIOS III (1913–1977). Mihalis Christodoulou Mouskos was
born in the western province of Paphos in Cyprus. Known under his
adopted clerical name, Makarios was the archbishop of the Autocephalous Cypriot Orthodox Church (1950–1977) and the first president of the Republic of Cyprus (1960–1977). Although originally
a religious leader, Makarios quickly came to head the anticolonial
struggle of the Greek-Cypriots against British rule in the 1950s and
was elected as the first president of the newly independent republic.
Although hated by some Greek nationalists and right-wingers
for supposedly betraying the cause of Cyprus’ union (enosis) with
Greece and for his policy of nonalignment, he remained very popular
among the Greek-Cypriot population. His religious authority added
to his appeal but was viewed with suspicion by Turkish-Cypriots
and Turkey. In his capacity as the leader of the Greek-Cypriots, he
played a significant role in postwar Greek politics, as he often antagonized the Greek government in Athens.
Makarios was born in poverty in the mountainous village of
Panagia. As was often the case for children of families with limited
resources and prospects, he entered monastic life at a very young
age. Bright and ambitious, he was sent by the powerful and wealthy
Church of Cyprus to Athens where he studied law and theology. With
a scholarship he received from the World Council of Churches, he
continued his education in Boston. At a very young age, Makarios
was elected bishop of Kytio and soon thereafter, in 1950, he became
archbishop of the Autocephalous Cypriot Orthodox Church.
Under the long Ottoman rule, in addition to its spiritual role, the
church had acquired the political leadership of the Greek Orthodox
Christians on the island. When the island passed to the British in
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1878, they attempted to introduce secular institutions representing
the local population. These institutions, however, fell victim to Greek
nationalism and, later, to a rising communist influence. Therefore,
they had limited appeal for the British, who tried to restrict them
and, from time to time, abolish them altogether. Makarios was happy
to step into the vacuum, reclaim the church’s old national role (ethnarhia), and provide leadership uncontaminated by the communists
toward the struggle for self-government.
In the 1950s, Makarios’ nationalist appeal made him hugely popular among Greeks and, despite initial resistance, he managed to persuade the Greek government to bring the matter to the United Nations
(UN), against the wish of Greece’s ally and former protector, Great
Britain. There, Greece was defeated as the United States sided with
Britain. Frustrated by the lack of diplomatic progress, Makarios authorized a military struggle conducted by the National Organization
of Cypriot Fighters (NOCF; Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston,
EOKA). Starting on 1 April 1955, the NOCF/EOKA’s fight mostly
involved a terrorist campaign to raise the cost of keeping Cyprus
British. Makarios was briefly exiled to the Seychelles but upon his
return he participated in negotiations for a political settlement. In defense of a sizeable Turkish-Cypriot minority and its own geostrategic
interests, Turkey’s involvement further complicated matters. Cyprus’
decolonization was agreed upon and regulated in meetings in Zurich
and London in 1959 between the governments of Britain, Greece, and
Turkey. Makarios was present and reluctantly conceded. The Zurich–
London agreements created an independent Cyprus and frustrated
Greek nationalists who demanded enosis, union with Greece, and
Turkish nationalists who argued for the island’s partition, taksim.
Makarios was comfortably elected to power twice. In the 1960s,
hard-pressed by Greek and Turkish nationalists, he followed an independent course of action, befriending domestically the large communist party and internationally the Nonaligned Movement. At times,
he tried to balance the unmet aspirations of most Greek-Cypriots
for Cyprus’ union with Greece with the reality of a Turkish-Cypriot
veto and the presence of Turkish troops at home and in the vicinity. Nevertheless, Makarios felt constrained by the powers granted
to the Turkish-Cypriots and, on 30 November 1963, he unilaterally
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proposed changing the Cypriot Constitution to the detriment of the
Turkish-Cypriot prerogatives. The Turkish-Cypriots walked out of
the republic’s institutions and after some intercommunal fighting
withdrew into a few, restricted ethnic enclaves. For the next 11 years,
Cyprus lived a precarious life under the threat of a Turkish invasion.
The arrival of a UN peacekeeping force in 1964, numerous U.S. diplomatic initiatives, led first by Dean Acheson and then Cyrus Vance,
and the opening of an intercommunal dialogue in 1968 did not ease
the situation.
The military coup in Greece in 1967 further complicated Makarios’ relationship with Athens while his antagonism with the
United States at the height of the Cold War gradually reduced his
room to maneuver. Finally, he was deposed by a coup of officers of
the Cypriot National Guard, under the direction of the Greek junta
in Athens, on 15 July 1974. The coup plotters tried, but failed, to
kill him. On 20 July 1974, Turkey used the pretext of restoring the
violated constitutional order, granted by the Treaty of Guarantee,
to invade. On 15 August 1974, Turkey further expanded its control
to 36 percent of the island, sending about 200,000 Greek-Cypriots
southwards as refugees, and imposing the partition of the island that
remains divided to the present day. Having denounced Greece at the
United Nations, Makarios returned to Cyprus to inspire his defeated
people, open the economy to accommodate the large number of refugees, stress “Cypriotness,” and work for the reconciliation with the
Turkish-Cypriot brethren. Within this framework, in 1977 he conceded to a bizonal, bicommunal federation as the basis for reunifying
the island and resolving the Cyprus question. He died in Nicosia of
a heart attack later that year.
Still revered as a national hero in the Republic of Cyprus where
many streets and squares bear his name and his statue, Makarios’
image, although recognized as a popular and charismatic leader,
has been recently tainted. Critics accuse him of populism and a
certain lack of appreciation of international politics and balances. In
particular, for some, Makarios underestimated Turkish nationalism
and Turkey’s power. At times, he appeared to ignore the Cold War
constraints imposed by the dependence of Greek-Cypriots on Greece,
which remained dependent on the United States.
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MEDIA. Until the late 1980s, all electronic media remained under
state control, although there were a few romantic radio pirates who
challenged the state monopoly. Following the spread of media
technology, the Greek electronic media market was liberalized in a
sudden and haphazard way. In the 1990s, media outlets of all types
mushroomed. Today, there are five major private television channels:
Mega TV, Antenna, Alpha, Star, and Alter. The Greek public television station, ERT, and its three channels are supported by public fees
but control only 15 percent of the market. There are hundreds of local
low-budget and low-quality TV stations. The radio market is even
less structured, with hundreds of radio stations transmitting locally.
A few, such as Antenna, Sky, and Flash, transmit nationally through
local affiliates.
Greek media is free and aggressive but characterized by commercialism, extreme sensationalism, and a lack of professionalism.
Successive Greek governments have proved too timid to put order
in the chaotic market and establish some regulations and standards.
Television has a very influential role in Greek politics, turning anchormen and prominent TV journalists into stars to whom politicians
need to pay close attention. At times, it seems that Greek public life
revolves around the eight o’clock news, which consists less of hard
news and more of impressionistic commentaries by pundits and invited guests. Populist excesses are fueled by the fierce competition
for market share. Although the market is small and commercials can
only support one or two private TV stations, Greek businessmen, in
search of political influence and a public role, have invested heavily
in unprofitable media outlets.
In the meantime, the Greek press has suffered a steady decline in
circulation and corresponding influence. There are still a few quality papers, mainly the conservative Kathimerini and the liberal Vima. Popular
papers include Ta NEA, Eleftherotypia, Ethnos, and Eleftheros Typos.
Tabloids have increased their market share. As Internet penetration
increases, blogs, portals, and websites have become the new media for
news and commentary, especially among younger Greeks.
MEDITERANNEAN SEA. Greece is a Mediterranean nation. The
entire country’s 16,000-kilometer-long coastline lies in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean has formed and shaped the land, its
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people, and their character. It has endowed the Greek lands with a
temperate climate of mild winters and hot but dry summers. From
ancient times, it has provided Greeks with food and an easy way to
communicate and trade. It turned the Greeks into a maritime nation,
in control of one fifth of the world’s shipping industry today. Together with other southern European nations, such as Italy and Spain,
Greece shares a certain Mediterranean lifestyle of strong family ties
and high sociability.
The Mediterranean, forming several smaller seas such as the
Aegean and the Ionian, is famous for its crystal clear waters, and
thus provides a major tourist attraction. In recent years, the state has
invested heavily in sewage treatment in an effort to contain urban
pollution and keep coastal waters clean. Similarly, large parts of the
coastline have been turned into protected zones while a few national
sea parks have been created. However, construction, tourism, and
overfishing have taken a heavy toll on the health of Greece’s share
of the Mediterranean.
MERKOURI, MELINA (1920–1994). Born in Athens, Melina
Merkouri was an accomplished actress, singer, political activist, and
politician. Coming from a prominent conservative political family,
she performed memorably in some of Greece’s best remembered
postwar theater productions and films. During the colonels’ junta,
she lived in Paris and actively participated in the international effort
for the return of democracy to its cradle. After 1974, she was elected
to Parliament and in 1981, following the victory of the Panhellenic
Socialist Movement (PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima), she
became the minister of culture. She proposed the introduction of an
annual “cultural capital of Europe” and tirelessly campaigned for the
return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece from the British Museum
in London. Emancipated and strong-willed, liberal and outspoken,
immensely gifted and well-endowed with a unique star quality, no
other woman has embodied the spirit of modern Greece as fully as
Melina Merkouri. She died in a hospital in New York and was buried
as a national hero; her funeral was attended by hundreds of thousands
of mourning Greeks.
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METAXAS, IOANNIS (1871–1941). Born in the island of Ithaca
in western Greece, Ioannis Metaxas came from an aristocratic, if
impoverished, family of the neighboring Ionian island of Cephalo.
He graduated from the Military Academy of Athens and, later, of
Berlin. He had a distinguished military career, starting with the
Greek–Ottoman war in 1897. During the Balkan Wars, he was at
the forefront of the surrender of Thessaloniki in Macedonia and
Ioannina in Epirus, a well-fortified city that resisted the Greek
advance the longest.
In the meantime, Metaxas was closely associated with the royal
family and in 1910, incoming Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos
appointed him his personal military attaché. In that capacity, he
proved a useful link between the liberal premier and the royal family. However, in 1915 when Venizelos moved to have Greece join
World War I on the side of the Entente, Metaxas disagreed, sided
with his King Constantine I, and resigned from his position in Venizelos’ personal cabinet.
After Venizelos’ departure from power, Metaxas led the antiVenizelist paramilitary forces that controlled Greek politics until
1917. Following Venizelos’ return, Metaxas was exiled and, later,
convicted and sentenced to death in absentia. Venizelos lost the
elections in 1920 and Metaxas returned but, despite the pleas of his
fellow monarchists, he refused to be involved in the Asia Minor
campaign as he was convinced that Greece could not win the war.
After Greece’s defeat, he formed his own political party. In 1923,
he participated in a failed coup against the Venizelist military government. He survived his defeat and accepted the legitimacy of the
new republic.
Metaxas, an idiosyncratic but confident man, participated in all
subsequent elections without much success, something that contributed to his increased contempt for parliamentary politics. In 1936,
his party gained seven seats in Parliament. However, faced with a
hung Parliament, where the communists held the balance of power
between the Venizelist liberals and the royalists, King George II
appointed Metaxas as his prime minister, with the consent of Parliament, except for the communists. On 4 August 1936, Metaxas, in
agreement with the king, abolished Parliament altogether and proceeded to rule dictatorially.
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Metaxas’ rule was one of repression and he flirted with fascism.
Despite some measures in favor of social protection and the working
class, the Metaxas regime never became popular. His foreign policy
remained oriented toward Great Britain, Greece’s traditional ally.
Metaxas’ great moment of glory, for which he is mostly remembered,
came on 28 October 1940, when he rejected Benito Mussolini’s ultimatum to allow Italian troops into Greece and brought Greece into
World War II against the Axis. The Greek army, well motivated
and prepared, performed exceptionally well against the Italians, who
were forced to retreat in humiliation into Albania. In the meantime,
Metaxas died of cancer while Greece was attacked and occupied by
Nazi Germany.
MINORITIES. The only minority officially recognized by Greece is
the Muslims of western Thrace. They were exempt from the compulsory exchange of populations agreed upon by Greece and Turkey in
Lausanne in 1923. This is an agrarian and conservative community
of some 120,000 people that is ethnically comprised of three groups:
the Turks, the Slavic Pomaks, and the Roma. Greece respects the
community’s religious autonomy and cultural rights, including its
partial education in Turkish. Nevertheless, the community fell victim
to the deterioration of Greek–Turkish relations in the past and the
forceful expulsion of the Greeks from Istanbul and the islands of
Imvros and Tenedos. Since 1990, conditions for the minority have
markedly improved, although Greek nationalists remain suspicious
of the community’s true loyalties.
As is the case in many other states, Greece has been fearful that
recognizing minorities and their rights might lead to claims against
its own territorial integrity. Thus, traditionally it has been reluctant
to acknowledge its own partial ethnoreligious diversity. Nevertheless, Greece is not as homogenous as it often claims. A small Slavspeaking minority of fewer than 20,000 people still survives in Greek
Macedonia. Religiously, there are a few Catholics, mainly in islands
held in the past by Venice, a small Jewish community that survived
the devastation of World War II, and a much larger community of
Jehovah’s Witnesses and Old Calendarists.
Since 1989, ethnoreligious diversity has increased dramatically
with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of economic immigrants
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from Eastern Europe and southern Asia. The largest group by far is
the Albanians, who number more than 600,000 and reside all over
Greece. In many elementary schools, there is already a plurality of
students whose native language is not Greek. The change has been
dramatic, and the bureaucratic and inefficient Greek state has found
it hard to cope. However, Greek society has improvised quite well
and Greece has been more successful in integrating its newly arrived
immigrants than many other European nations.
MITSOTAKIS, KONSTANTINOS (1918– ). Born in Chania in
Crete, Konstantinos Mitsotakis comes from a prominent liberal
family. Eleftherios Venizelos was his uncle. He studied at the University of Athens and entered Parliament in 1946. He became a
prominent member of the Center Union (Enosis Kentrou) Party led
by Georgios Papandreou. But in July 1965, Mitsotakis led a group
of defectors, in what became known as apostasia, against his own
party leader and prime minister. In the 1967 coup, he was arrested
and imprisoned.
Upon the return of democracy, he failed to be elected to Parliament in 1974 but succeeded in 1977. In 1978 he joined the New
Democracy (ND; Nea Dimokratia) Party and the government of
Konstantinos Karamanlis, becoming first the minister of coordination and then of foreign affairs. While in opposition, he was elected
leader of ND in 1984. He lost the 1985 elections against his old-time
rival Andreas Papandreou but managed to retain control of the
party’s leadership. His first victory came in the municipal elections of 1986 when the candidates he chose were elected mayors in
Greece’s major cities. In the meantime, he energized the party’s base
and organization. In 1989, Mitsotakis gained a plurality and after two
more elections a slim majority in Parliament. In between, he struck
a historic deal and formed a short-lived coalition government with
the Greek left followed by a national unity government that included
Papandreou’s defeated Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK;
Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima).
In April 1990, Mitsotakis became prime minister, fulfilling a
lifelong ambition. He ruled for three and a half turbulent years. His
government was faced with numerous problems resulting from socialist misrule in the 1980s. He introduced a series of liberal reforms
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while trying to bring the public deficit under control. He was partially
successful in reforming the pension and the educational system,
the rigid labor laws, and in the privatization and deregulation of the
However, his government was seriously affected by an international economic recession, infighting, and the Macedonia controversy. A year after dismissing his popular, ambitious, and nationalist
foreign minister, Antonis Samaras, Mitsotakis lost his parliamentary
majority, resigned, and called for early elections that he resoundingly
lost. Soon thereafter, Mitsotakis resigned from the party leadership
but remained active in Greek politics.
A formidable public speaker and parliamentary debater, Mitsotakis’ politics were best placed in the liberal political center and have
been marked by his tenacity in the face of formidable obstacles, due
largely to a network of loyal friends. Mitsotakis has been known for
his charm and efficiency as a negotiator, his strong local identification with his native island of Crete, and for a certain ruthlessness. In
a sense, he has embodied both the age of the old oligarchic politics
of party notables and its passing, as he engaged in fierce power struggles while espousing a modern, liberal vision for Greece. Two of
his children, Dora Bakoyanni and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, are popular
members of Parliament. Bakoyanni is currently the foreign minister
and is considered one of Greece’s most prominent politicians in her
own right. As several of his grandchildren are said to be contemplating political careers, Mitsotakis could be considered to be the founder
of a Greek political dynasty, together with the Karamanlises and the
MONARCHY. For most of its modern history, Greece has been a
monarchy. However, the history of Greek monarchy was turbulent
and ended on 8 December 1974, when the Greek people voted overwhelmingly to abolish it and establish a republic. The first king of
Greece was Otto, a Bavarian, who ruled from 1832 to 1862, and was
expelled following a coup. He was succeeded by the Danish King
George, who ruled until 1913, when he was assassinated. George
did manage to establish a dynasty. His son Constantine was exiled
twice and was succeeded by his own sons, first Alexander, then
George II, and later Paul. George II was exiled twice but died while
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on the throne. His brother Paul had a calmer reign and was smoothly
succeeded by his own son, Constantine II, in 1964. Youthful and
photogenic, Constantine II was thought to embody a young and energetic, rapidly developing nation. However, Constantine II found
himself entangled in political controversies that cost him his throne
and brought the monarchy to an end.
The monarchy never acquired deep roots in Greece. This was
mainly because it was perceived by many Greeks as the representative of foreign interests and the interlocutor of the great powers’
neocolonial control over Greece. After all, it was the great powers
that insisted on turning Greece into a monarchy, and it was they who
chose a king and supported him at times of popular discontent. Until
1974, Greece remained divided between opponents and sympathizers of the monarchy, the latter largely concentrated in Peloponnesus.
Today, the former king and his family enjoy some celebrity status but
his influence on Greek politics is minimal.
MOUNT ATHOS. Forming the easternmost of the three peninsulas of
Halkidiki in northern Greece, Mount Athos is the home of a unique
medieval Christian Orthodox monastic commonwealth, under the spiritual authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. Founded in
960 CE by Athanasios of Trabzon, later of Athos, at the height of the
Byzantine Empire with the help of emperors Nikiforos Fokas and Ioannis Tsimiskis, the self-governed commonwealth has been in existence
for more than a millennium. Comprising 20 monasteries, hundreds of
smaller establishments, and a capital in Karyes, Mount Athos—or the
Holy Mountain, as it is most commonly known—is a world of its own
living under the ancient rules of monasticism.
Although found in the West, monasticism is a distinct religious
practice of oriental Christianity. Monks and nuns have traditionally
enjoyed the respect of laypeople for their devotion and asceticism.
During Byzantine times, monasteries were richly endowed by emperors and aristocrats, developed into centers of learning, and formed
an important pillar of the sociopolitical establishment. Important
monastic centers grew throughout the eastern Mediterranean, such
as the Meteora community in Thessaly or St. Catherine in the Sinai.
Nowhere, however, has monasticism reached the majesty and scale
it has in Mount Athos.
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In Athos, fortresslike monasteries were built, accumulating invaluable cultural treasures, manuscripts, and works of art over the centuries. In addition to the 17 Greek monasteries, there are 3 Russian,
Serbian, and Bulgarian monasteries. No women are allowed in the
territory, a rule that has been recently challenged but is vigorously
enforced. After years of decline and dwindling numbers of monks,
Athos has experienced a revival since the 1980s, as more young
and well-educated men have been attracted to the “garden of Virgin
Mary.” Funding from the European Union (EU) and some heightened attention from the Greek government have helped to restore
many of the architectural and artistic treasures on the peninsula.
MOUSKOURI, NANA (1934– ). Born in Chania, Crete, Nana
Mouskouri has been Greece’s best-selling vocal artist and its most
internationally acclaimed pop singer. Following her training at the
Athens Music Conservatory, Mouskouri debuted in the late 1950s
with some of Manos Hatzidakis’ great successes. In 1963, she left
Greece and moved to Paris. What followed was a celebrated international career with such hits as “White Roses from Athens” and “Only
Love” in several languages, including Japanese. It is estimated that
Mouskouri has sold 230 million discs, sung 1,500 songs in 15 different languages, and recorded 450 albums, half of which became gold
and platinum. See also MUSIC.
MUSIC. Greece continues to produce an abundance of music. Although much of contemporary Greek music is a cheap, Eastern imitation of Western pop, the country is proud of a long musical tradition
that was rigorously reinvigorated after World War II. As happened
in literature and poetry, a new generation of gifted composers,
schooled in Western canons but sensitive and receptive to local traditions, undertook to reinvent Greek music by combining local sounds
with a Western instrumentalization. Mikis Theodorakis and Manos
Hatzidakis were the most successful among an influential group that
left a deep imprint on contemporary Greek cultural identity.
Although small in size, by virtue of its geography, fragmented
space, and a variety of cultural influences, Greece has a multifaceted musical tradition, encompassing, among many different styles,
the Italian-like Ionian cantatas; the austere, slow, and monotonous
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Epirus folk sounds; the joyful Aegean songs; and the manly, almost
polemical, Cretan and Pontian dance music.
As important as all these are, it is rebetiko that has provided the basis for the development of modern Greek music. Coming from Asia
Minor, and Smyrna in particular, and developed during the interwar
period among refugees and outlaws in Piraeus, the port of Athens,
slow, bitter, sorrow, mellow, and subversive, rebetiko has been justifiably compared to the blues of the American south. After years of
being an underground and, often, persecuted art form, rebetiko was
acknowledged in the postwar period and provided the launching pad
and the fuel for groundbreaking new syntheses. See also KAZANTZIDIS, STELIOS; MERKOURI, MELINA; MOUSKOURI, NANA;
– N –
APELEFTHEROTIKO METOPO, EAM). Founded by the Communist Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko Komma Elladas,
KKE) and other smaller left-wing parties in September 1941 following Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union, the NLF/EAM grew
quickly to a massive and broad-based organization that dominated
the resistance during Greece’s occupation by the Axis.
In 1942, the NLF/EAM established its military wing, the National
People’s Liberation Army (NPLA; Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos
Stratos, ELAS). Commanded by a competent old liberal, antimonarchist military officer, Stefanos Sarafis, and ruthless rebel captains
like Aris Velouchiotis, the NPLA/ELAS recruited heavily from the
countryside, especially the Greek mountains, and was open to noncommunists as well. It sporadically and successfully engaged small
German and Italian forces, dominated the Greek mountains, and
contributed to the Allied war effort. In cooperation with the National
Democratic Greek Link (NDGL; Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos
Syndesmos, EDES) and British agents, under the instruction of
British Brigadier Endy Mayers, their greatest success came on 25
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November 1942, with the destruction of the Gorgopotamos Bridge
along the north-south railway line. It was a daring act that divided
Greece in half.
After Italy’s surrender in 1943, the NPLA/ELAS turned against
the other resistance fighters in an effort to monopolize power and,
with the exception of the NDGL/EDES, its largest rival, succeeded
in controlling a large part of Central Greece, where it established a
temporary government, called the Political Committee of National
Liberation (PCNL; Politiki Epitropi Ethnikis Apeleftherosis, PEEA),
which included many high-minded liberals and socialists.
The NLF/EAM succeeded for a number of reasons that had mostly
to do with the conditions of the Axis occupation of Greece. In addition to the prewar experience of communists in organizing underground operations, they included the decline and departure abroad
of traditional politicians, the radicalization of much of the Greek
population due to the hardships of the occupation, the increasing
prestige of the Soviet Union, and the open and welcoming policy the
NLF/EAM followed toward liberals and leftists. However, as soon as
the defeat of Germany became a certainty, the NLF/EAM hardened
its position in preparation of dominating postwar Greek politics. The
NLF/EAM eliminated domestic rivals and antagonized the Greek
government-in-exile, which the British supported, but it failed to
secure any substantial Soviet support.
From the start, the NLF/EAM was immersed in controversy for
two reasons: its campaign of resistance was responded to by the
Germans with extremely cruel reprisals against the Greek civilian
population and, despite its broad appeal, it was suspected of being
a front for the communists, who were only interested in monopolizing power in postwar Greece, as in the rest of Eastern Europe. After
liberation, the NPLA/ELAS’ demobilization and disarmament grew
into a serious political controversy that led to clashes and eventually
to Civil War.
The NLF/EAM and its legacy of resistance and sacrifice became
a central part of the heroic narrative of the left that has dominated
Greek politics since 1974. The effort has been to idealize the NPLA/
ELAS fighters as honest, freedom-loving, if naïve, patriots, following a long Greek and Balkan partisan tradition of taking up arms
against overly oppressive governments. According to this reading
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of history, the NPLA/ELAS rank and file should be distinguished
from the CPG’s political motives that had more to do with seizing
power in postwar Greece. Whatever the motives of the NPLA/ELAS
fighters, they suffered persecution bIy the Greek state. The socialists,
after coming to power in 1981, granted the surviving the NLF/EAM
The term Ethnikos Dihasmos describes the serious clash between
King Constantine I and Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos over
Greece’s entry into World War I. The clash started as a political
crisis, escalated into a constitutional crisis, and quickly turned into
a quasi Civil War that divided Greece both politically and territorially.
The already antagonistic relationship between the two charismatic
protagonists, the king and his prime minister, deteriorated rapidly
when Venizelos pressed for Greece to side with the Entente and its
traditional ally, Great Britain. For Venizelos, Britain offered the
best assurances of satisfying Greece’s territorial ambitions against
Ottoman Turkey and Bulgaria, both of which sided with the
Central Powers. King Constantine, an admirer of German military
might, married to Kaiser Wilhelm II’s sister Sophia, and sincerely
convinced of Germany’s victory, opposed Greece’s entrance in the
war. He opted for Greek neutrality, a stance that, given the circumstances, could only be considered pro-German. Constantine’s insistence forced Venizelos to resign twice from the premiership despite
his success at the polls.
Following the failed Gallipoli campaign in 1915–1916, the Entente’s pressure on Greece increased. By opening a front in Greek
Macedonia against the Bulgarians and the Austro-Germans, who
were moving south after the collapse of Serbia, the Entente was
already encroaching on Greek sovereignty.
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When Constantine chose to have Greece’s Fourth Army Corps
in Kavala surrender to the Bulgarians rather than fight, Venizelos
moved to Thessaloniki and in August 1916 led the Movement of
National Defense (MND; Kinima Ethnikis Amynis, KEA.) He established a parallel government based in Thessaloniki, whose authority
extended throughout northern Greece and the Aegean, due to the
help of the Entente’s navy. By 1917, with Athens surrounded by
British and French naval forces, Constantine was forced to abdicate
in favor of his second son, Prince Alexander, and left the country.
Venizelos returned to Athens and declared war on the Central Powers
and their allies.
The ramifications of the Venizelos–Constantine clash proved
long lasting and poisoned Greek politics for the following decades.
For much of the 20th century, Greece was fiercely divided between
royalists and republicans. The limits of the constitutional authority of the monarchy continued to be debated, and kings came and
went frequently until 1974, when the issue was settled in favor of a
republic in a fair and free referendum conducted by the government
of Konstantinos Karamanlis.
EOKA). A nationalist organization founded in 1954 by a Greek-Cypriot brigadier of the Greek army, Georgios Grivas, whose nom de
guerre was Digenis. Grivas was an anticommunist nationalist who,
toward the end of World War II, had founded and led the small organization “X” in Athens. This developed into a notorious anticommunist paramilitary force that participated actively in the December
Affair (Dekembriana) against the National Liberation Front (NLF;
Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo, EAM) and its sympathizers, and
contributed to the polarization of Greek politics that led to an outright
Civil War.
The NOCF/EOKA’s purpose was the fulfillment of the popular
demand for enosis (unification) of Cyprus with Greece through an
armed struggle against British colonial rule. The NOCF/EOKA’s
military campaign started on 1 April 1955 and targeted the British
military infrastructure. As expected, the British were quick to brand
the NOCF/EOKA a terrorist organization and were successful in
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capturing and killing many of its members. Nevertheless, the NOCF/
EOKA, secretly supported by the Greek government, continued its
struggle until the end of 1959, when Cyprus gained its independence.
The large communist party of Cyprus, the Progressive Party of the
Working People (PPWP; Anorthotiko Komma Ergazomenou Laou,
AKEL), did not participate in the NOCF/EOKA’s struggle. For Cypriot communists, the union with post–Civil War Greece, where communism was outlawed and its supporters were persecuted, could not
have been attractive. Apart from British soldiers, the NOCF/EOKA
killed several civilians including Turkish-Cypriots and even GreekCypriots whom the NOCF/EOKA accused of collaborating with
the British but often were only opposed to its politics. Archbishop
Makarios, the political leader of the NOCF/EOKA and the anticolonial struggle, had great difficulty in controlling Grivas, who became
increasingly popular. However, after independence, Grivas tried but
failed to turn his popularity into a successful political career.
In 1971, Grivas returned to Cyprus and attempted to resurrect an
EOKA B, in support of his long-cherished goal of enosis, which had
remained elusive during the first 11 years of Cyprus’ independence.
Supported by the Greek junta, the EOKA B was an extremist paramilitary organization opposing Makarios and the PPWP/AKEL. The
EOKA B took part in the coup against Makarios on 15 July 1974,
which led to the Turkish invasion five days later. See also GREAT
by Konstantinos Karamanlis, New Democracy (ND) represents the
Greek center-right. It has been in power from 1974 to 1981, 1989 to
1993, and since 2004. The ND was most popular in the 1974, 1990,
and 2004 elections, winning around 40–45 percent of the electorate. The party combines conservatives, liberals, and nationalists in
a broad coalition. Its electoral appeal is the strongest in Macedonia
and eastern Peloponnesus and the weakest in the working-class
suburbs of Athens and Piraeus, in Crete, the islands, and in western
Greece. Since 1997, the party has been led by Kostas Karamanlis,
who is a nephew of the former Greek president.
Although originally ideologically quite eclectic, ND was forced
to respond to the challenge presented by the rising Panhellenic
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Socialist Movement (PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima) of
Andreas Papandreou in the late 1970s. As an ideological platform,
it endorsed what it calls “radical liberalism.” While being promarket,
ND recognizes the regulatory role of the state, as do fellow European Christian-Democratic parties. Meanwhile, ND also appealed
to the trade unions, to student and women’s movements spreading
throughout the country, and much of the Greek diaspora. Since
its founding, ND has been at the forefront of Greek politics as the
primary supporter of Greece’s Western orientation, early entry into
the European Community (EC), Greek-Turkish détente, and, more
recently, market reforms.
was not a founding member of NATO. It joined in 1952, three years
after the signing of the founding Washington Treaty. There was some
opposition to Greece’s entry, as the country is not Atlantic, and Great
Britain feared that the American security umbrella was spreading too
thin. However, thanks to Greece’s participation in the Korean War,
the prevalence of Cold War considerations, and the insistence of the
United States, Greece, together with Turkey, joined the alliance.
Greece’s entry was approved by a centrist, liberal government and
was accompanied by the signing of a defense cooperation agreement
with the United States, which provided for the opening of U.S. military bases in the country.
Greece’s relations with NATO have been rather complicated as
a result of the growing antagonism with Turkey. For most Greeks,
NATO has not done enough to restrain Turkey, due to the latter’s
alleged superior geostrategic significance. Greece has found itself
inside a defensive alliance that cannot protect it from Turkey, which
is both an “ally” and its main enemy. A breakdown came in the summer of 1974, following Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus. The incoming
broad-based government of Konstantinos Karamanlis withdrew
Greece from NATO’s military command, following France’s example under President Charles de Gaulle. Greece reentered in the fall
of 1980 but relations remained tense. When Andreas Papandreou
came to power in 1981, he used NATO summits to register his independence and Third World inclinations. NATO’s bombing of the
Serbs, first in Bosnia in 1995 and then over Kosovo in 1999, further
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alienated Greek public opinion. However, officially, Greece gave its
consent and has participated quietly in several NATO operations.
At the NATO summit in April 2008, Greece used its veto power to
block the entry of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM) before a settlement on the name issue is reached. This was
the first time in decades that NATO was favorably received by the
Greek media, although the Greek left continues to demand Greece’s
full withdrawal and the dissolution of the organization itself. See also
– O –
OLYMPIAKOS. Based in Piraeus, the port-city of Athens, in the
state-of-the-art Karaiskaki Stadium, Olympiakos is the most popular
and successful Greek football club. Established in 1925, it has won
the Greek League championship 36 times and the Greek Cup 23
times. With fans all over Greece and in the diaspora, Olympiakos
has traditionally represented the working class, as opposed to its
rival and pro-establishment Panathinaikos. Since 1993, Olympiakos
has been owned and successfully managed by the dynamic telecommunications tycoon and philanthropist Socrates Kokkalis.
OLYMPIC GAMES. Ancient Greece gave birth to the original Olympic Games in 776 BCE, the greatest religious and sports festival in
antiquity. With the advance of Christianity, Emperor Theodosios outlawed the games in 393 CE. The Victorian enthusiasm for sports gave
rise to an international movement, led by the French Baron Pierre de
Coupertin, for the Games’ revival. The first modern Olympic Games
took place in Athens in 1896. Although Greece tried to host the
games on a permanent basis, Coupertin disagreed and prevailed.
In 2004, Greece hosted the 28th Olympiad with the participation
of 10,500 athletes from 202 countries. Faced with the world’s skepticism, renewed concerns over terrorism, and chronic bureaucratic
mismanagement, Athens—led by the dynamic and powerful Yanna
Angelopoulou—proved an impeccable host and the Games were
praised for their superb organization. Although there was some criticism for exceeding the budget, the 2004 Olympic Games dramati-
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cally improved the self-image of Greece and its reputation abroad
and paved the way for a boom in tourism that continues to this day.
ONASSIS, ARISTOTLE (1906–1975). Aristotle Onassis was born
in Izmir (Smyrna) in Turkey. If Greece is a country of seamen and
shipping tycoons, Onassis stands out as the most famous. Onassis
might be considered the most well-known Greek of modern times
abroad and one of the few whose life became a Hollywood movie.
Having suffered the impoverishment associated with the expulsion
of so many Greeks from Asia Minor, Onassis immigrated to Buenos
Aires where he accumulated his first small fortune. By marrying Tina
Livanou, daughter of an established Greek shipping family, Onassis
climbed socially while consolidating his wealth. Following an aggressive, risky, but profitable business strategy, Onassis took full
advantage of the postwar expansion in world trade and, in particular,
the need to transport Middle Eastern oil globally, to create a shipping
Strong-willed, ambitious, and savvy, Onassis knew how to grab
the attention of the world media. A notorious womanizer, Onassis
made the headlines with his romance with opera diva Maria Callas and his marriage to Jackie Kennedy, wife of the assassinated
president of the United States. Onassis died in Paris; his end was as
dramatic as his life and came quickly after suffering the loss of his
beloved son and heir, Alexandros, who was killed in a plane crash.
He was survived by his daughter, Christina, who was herself survived
by her daughter, Athina. Among his many activities, Onassis founded
Olympic Airways, the national airline of Greece.
Expanding on a Greek tradition of philanthropy, upon his death, he
left half of his vast fortune to the Onassis Foundation, which has built
hospitals and art centers and has supported education and culture
generously in Greece and internationally.
ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GREECE. Greece is an overwhelmingly Christian Orthodox nation and takes great pride in its Orthodox
religious and cultural heritage. Most of the faithful belong to the
Church of Greece, headed by a Holy Synod presided by the archbishop of Athens. The Church of Greece has been autocephalous of
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the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul (Constantinople) since
the early years of independence in 1833. However, its constitutional
status remains ambiguous. Although the 1975 Constitution protects
freedom of religion and consciousness, Orthodox Christianity is
recognized as the established, but not the official, religion of Greece.
Furthermore, the Church of Greece enjoys a number of special privileges unlike other religions in the country.
In reality, the Greek territory is fragmented into five distinct religious regimes, as a result of the gradual expansion of Greece into
formerly Ottoman territory. Most of Greece belongs to the Church
of Greece but in some islands and in northern Greece, the so-called
New Lands, the Patriarchate in Istanbul retains the spiritual authority. The islands of the Dodecanese belong to the Patriarchate, Crete
has an autonomous church, and Mount Athos is a self-governing
religious commonwealth under the protection of the Greek state and
the Patriarchate’s supervision.
The Church of Greece owns considerable property consisting of
land, buildings, stocks, and other assets. More than its strong economic and constitutional position, it derives great power from the
hold it has on many Greeks. Politicians have been reluctant to antagonize the church and even the popular Andreas Papandreou, at
the peak of his power, had to compromise on a number of issues. In
later years, an activist leadership has turned the church into a quasi
political actor, giving rise to voices for the constitutional separation
of church and state. Currently, the Church of Greece is headed by
ORTHODOXY. This is the version of Christianity practiced in Greece
and espoused by the overwhelming majority of its population.
Greece was the first nation in Europe to be evangelized, due to the
missionary work of St. Paul. As the New Testament and much of
the subsequent Christian philosophy were written in Greek, and as
the Greek language and culture provided the medium to universalize what originally was a small Jewish community of believers, the
Greeks have, historically, claimed a special, orthodox relationship
with Christianity.
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Orthodoxy rests upon the ecumenical synods convened by the
Byzantine emperors from the fourth to the eight centuries CE. The
synods’ aim was to fend off challenges to the correct and Orthodox
interpretation of the scriptures, the most important of which had to
do with the dual nature of Christ and the trinity of God. Orthodoxy
grew into the official ideology of the great Byzantine Empire, culturally interwoven with medieval Hellenism. In the meantime, cultural
and political differences brought Greek Christianity into conflict
with Latin Christianity and escalated into the official schism of 1054
CE, with the excommunication of the pope by the patriarch in Constantinople and vice versa. Through a systematic and multifaceted
campaign, Byzantium attracted most Slavs into its cultural orbit and
version of Christianity. Thanks to the work of two Byzantine missionaries, Cyril and Methodius, East European Slavs were gradually
converted to Christian Orthodoxy. However, the destruction of the
Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Western world left Orthodoxy,
in power terms, behind.
Unlike the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church remains fragmented among many national, self-governed churches, although the
Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul is acknowledged as the ecumenical and spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox community. In
modern times, Orthodoxy’s relations with nationalism and the state
have been both problematic and controversial. Deeply traumatized
by communism’s antireligious fervor, Orthodoxy began recovering
in the 1990s, helped by the Greek Church as well, which is one of
the richest in the Orthodox world. See also BAVARIAN RULE; ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GREECE; OTTO WITTELSBACH.
OTTO WITTELSBACH (1815–1867). Otto, known in Greek as
Othon, was the first king of modern Greece. He was appointed in
1832, following the assassination of Ioannis Capodistrias the previous year. His reign was long but turbulent and ended in a popular
revolt in 1862 that led to his ousting. He died in Bamberg, Germany.
He was the second son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria of the House of
Wittelsbach. Greece initiated a process whereby Germany, thanks to
its numerous but weak royal houses that presented no threat to British
or Russian interests, provided many of the rulers of the newly created
Balkan states.
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Otto came to Greece as a minor accompanied by a three-member
regency council arranged by his father, together with 3,500 Bavarian troops. One of the first decisions of his regents was the transfer
of the capital to Athens and the breaking away of the Greek Church
from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul.
He dismissed his regents when they proved unpopular with the Greek
people and attempted to rule on his own. Following a military revolt
on 3 September 1843, he was forced in 1844 to grant a constitution
that preserved many of his royal prerogatives.
King Otto was entrapped between the poverty and military weakness of his new country and the extravagant ambitions of Greek
nationalism. He was forced to move cautiously, balancing the competing interests of the great powers. Occasionally, he failed, as was
the case during the Crimean War (1853–1856) when Great Britain
blockaded Greece to prevent it from allying with Russia. Progressively, his rule grew more unpopular while the inability to produce
an heir sealed his fate and made him vulnerable to a popular uprising.
Despite the initial reformist drive, Otto’s reign was characterized by
stagnation in most aspects of the life of the new state. Not only did
the Greek kingdom fail to expand, but some of its citizens continued
to seek a better future in the neighboring Ottoman Empire. It would
be another 20 years after his overthrow before Greece was to start
showing signs of economic growth and social progress. See also
OTTOMAN EMPIRE. Greeks came into contact very early with the
emerging Ottoman Empire. The empire started as a frontline warrior
state in the northwestern corner of Turkic, tribal Anatolia, in the 14th
century CE. It expanded first into the Balkans and the Greek lands
before conquering much of the Middle East. Although Constantinople fell in 1453, the last Greek medieval state survived until the
Ottoman capture of Trabzon in the Black Sea in 1461. Additional
Greek lands were added to the Ottoman dominions, including Cyprus in 1571 and Crete in 1669. Only the island of Corfu remained
outside Ottoman sovereignty throughout this time.
In running this vast, multicultural empire, the Ottomans allowed a
great degree of self-rule that was mainly institutionalized through a
Christian Orthodox millet led by the Greek Ecumenical Patriarch
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in Istanbul and a network of local communities that enjoyed various levels of autonomy. In later years, the sultan recruited the Fanar
Greeks of Istanbul to man key state positions, including the governorships of the provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia.
Nevertheless, Greeks were early converts to nationalism and they,
together with the Serbs, were the first to successfully secede from the
Ottoman Empire. After Greek independence in 1830, three quarters
of the Greeks continued to live under the authority of the sultan.
Initially, they saw their status decline as their loyalty was questioned
by the authorities of the Ottoman state, but Ottoman Greeks quickly
benefited from Ottoman reforms in the 19th century. They also took
advantage of the expanding trade opportunities as the empire was
opening and being integrated in the global distribution of labor.
Like other minorities, the Greeks welcomed the Young Turks’
revolution in 1908 in the hope of having their status upgraded. They
organized politically and elected 23, among a total of 275, representatives in the Ottoman Parliament convened in 1908, comprising
almost half of all non-Muslim deputies. However, the rise of Turkish
nationalism and the Balkan Wars that followed forced many Greeks
to start leaving Ottoman Turkey, especially after the Ottoman Empire’s dissolution after World War I. See also FOREIGN POLICY.
– P –
PANGALOS, THEODOROS (1878–1952). Born in Elefsis outside
Athens, Theodoros Pangalos was a Venizelist military officer and,
for a while, a military dictator in the years 1925–1926. Starting with
his participation in the Goudi revolution, Pangalos belonged to a
generation of officers who became heavily involved in politics, as
Greece faced enormous challenges related to its expansion, territorial
integrity, and the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees. He
died in Athens at the age of 74.
Andreas Papandreou in 1974 with the “Declaration of the 3rd of
September,” a date chosen to commemorate the constitutional revolt
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of 1843. PASOK provided a non-Marxist, left-wing political platform after the fall of the junta and gradually became very popular
among the radicalized Greek electorate. Originally based on the
three principles of national independence, popular sovereignty, and
social liberation, PASOK was innovative and groundbreaking. While
incorporating both the liberal tradition of the old Venizelists and
the leftist tradition of the resistance during World War II, PASOK
was not simply a continuation of old politics. Balancing between
fierce rhetoric and cautionary practice, PASOK satisfied the statedependent Greek middle class, which often thinks radically but acts
Built around and controlled tightly by the charismatic Andreas
Papandreou, PASOK has provided one of the two poles of the Greek
political party system since 1977. It governed Greece between 1981
and 1989 and from 1993 to 2004. The history of PASOK has been
one of constant adaptation. While originally disdainful of European
social democracy, in later years, PASOK, especially under the leadership of Kostas Simitis, accepted economic rationality, foreign
policy realism, and European integration. Since 2004, PASOK has
been in opposition and, after years in power has unsuccessfully tried
to renew itself under the leadership of Andreas Papandreous’ son,
Georgios Papandreou.
PAPADOPOULOS, GEORGIOS (1919–1999). Born in the small
village of Elaiohori in Achaea in northern Peloponnesus, Georgios
Papadopoulos was a military officer and the leader of the coup of
21 April 1967 and the military dictatorship it established. A staunch
anticommunist with an inclination to conspiracies and extraparliamentary politics, Papadopoulos, heading a group of fellow middleranking officers, took advantage of Greece’s political instability
in the mid-1960s. He overthrew the government and preempted
King Constantine’s own maneuverings in the armed forces. Subsequently, he became minister, prime minister, regent, and finally,
president of the military regime he helped introduce.
The oppression of the junta made Papadopoulos deeply unpopular.
His public speeches were pedantic and revealed a naïve and provincial mind. Nevertheless, he had the foresight to try and liberalize the
regime. With the exception of a former minister, Spyro Markezini,
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his search for credible civilian partners failed. Following the student
revolt at the Polytechnio, he was deposed on 25 November 1973 by
his former colleague and hard-liner Dimitris Ioannides. Upon his fall,
Papadopoulos was confined to house arrest. He was tried by the incoming democratic government and condemned to death in 1975, although his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He refused
to apply for a pardon and remained in jail until his death, leaving
behind a legacy of old-fashioned authoritarianism and xenophobia.
PAPAGOS, ALEXANDROS (1883–1955). Born in Athens, Alexandros Papagos was a highly decorated military officer and a prime
minister of Greece. He participated in the Balkan Wars and the Asia
Minor campaign. As a royalist, his career stalled and he quit the army
after the republicans took over power in late 1922. He returned in
1926, and in 1935 he participated in the coup that forced the return
of the monarchy and of King George II to the throne. He was then
promoted to chief of staff of the army and held this position throughout the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas.
His finest moment was in October 1940 when Fascist Italy attacked Greece. At the helm of the much inferior Greek forces, Papagos made excellent use of the mountainous terrain and repelled the
Italians into Albania. Later, when the Germans occupied Greece,
Papagos organized a small resistance group; he was arrested and
sent to a concentration camp. He returned to Greece at the end of
World War II. In January 1949, at the height of the Greek Civil
War, Papagos was asked to lead the government forces against the
communist insurgents. By August 1949, thanks to clever tactics and
the good use of the military aid provided by the United States, he
managed to quickly prevail. Three months later, the Greek Parliament, in an unprecedented move, voted a degree awarding Papagos
the title of Marshal.
Faced with weak, fragmented, and unstable centrist governments,
and capitalizing on his popularity and prestige, Papagos entered politics in 1951, founding his own party called the Greek Rally (Ellinikos
Synagermos). Despite King Paul’s opposition, who was afraid that
Papagos might undermine the royal control of the military, he won
half of the votes in 1952 and an overwhelming majority of seats in
Parliament. He ruled until his death in Athens in 1955, providing
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Greece with its first postwar, single-party, stable government. His
tenure in office was marked by his government’s unsuccessful attempt to internationalize the Cyprus problem, which led to a rapid
deterioration of Greece’s relations with Turkey. Domestically, he
was more successful in managing the ravaged Greek economy. His
monetary reform in 1953 opened the way for Greece’s economic
takeoff in the following years.
PAPANASTASIOU, ALEXANDROS (1876–1936). Born in Levidi
in Arkadia in central Peloponnesus, Alexandros Papanastasiou was
exceptionally well educated in law and philosophy, mainly in Germany, and was an early-day progressive in Greek politics. Influenced
by socialist ideas, he joined forces with Eleftherios Venizelos and
his liberal camp where, in later years, he led the center-left faction.
He was elected to Parliament many times and briefly became prime
minister from March to July 1924. While in power, he supervised the
abolition of the monarchy and the introduction of a new republican
constitution. He founded the University of Thessaloniki, currently
Greece’s largest, and contributed to the better organization of Greek
agriculture. He is recognized as a precursor of a non-Marxist Greek
left, which became electorally viable only after 1974 under the
charismatic leadership of Andreas Papandreou. He died of a heart
attack in 1936 in Athens.
PAPANDREOU, ANDREAS (1919–1996). Born in the island of
Chios, where his father Georgios Papandreou was the governor,
Andreas Papandreou had a spectacular political career. He ruled as
Greece’s prime minister from 1981 to 1989 and from 1993 to 1996.
While studying at the Athens Law School, Papandreou became
involved in left-wing politics and was arrested by the secret police
of the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas. Thanks to his father and
his own collaboration with the regime, he secured his escape to the
United States. He graduated from Harvard University, served in the
U.S. Army, and embarked on a successful academic career that led
him to become the chairman of the Department of Economics at the
University of California, Berkeley. While living abroad, Papandreou
married twice. He had four children with his second wife, Margarita,
an American.
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At his aging father’s request, Papandreou was invited back to
Greece in 1961 by then Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis.
Papandreou became an advisor to the central bank and headed a
newly founded economic think tank sponsored by the government.
Inevitably, as the son of a prominent opposition leader, he gradually became involved in politics and ran for a parliamentary seat in
the 1964 elections in the district of origin of his family, Achaea, in
Peloponnesus. During his father’s brief premiership between 1964
and 1965, Papandreou was appointed minister of administration and
alternate minister of coordination, before resigning following his alleged involvement in a military conspiracy.
With his strong academic background, cosmopolitan nature, and
American liberal ideas, Papandreou quickly provided a breath of
fresh air to the antiquated Greek politics. However, his ambition to
build a left-of-center power base within his father’s loosely united
party brought Papandreou into conflict with the party’s establishment. Papandreou understood the changing times and the rising
expectations of the Greek people, and gave voice to their demand for
political and social change. In particular, Papandreou used the problem of Cyprus to distance himself from his father and the country in
which he had spent half of his life, the United States, while capitalizing on Greek resentments and nationalist feelings.
Eventually, he succumbed to his father’s pressure and supported
the compromise reached with their right-wing opponents, which was
to lead to new elections in May 1967. However, the coup of 21 April
1967 caught him, and everybody else, by surprise. He was arrested
and imprisoned before he was allowed to leave the country—thanks
to the intervention of the U.S. government. While abroad, Papandreou formed the Panhellenic Liberation Movement (PLM; Panellinio Apeleftherotiko Kinima, PAK), which attracted many of those
who were fighting for the fall of the junta. During this period, Papandreou cultivated his radicalism and consolidated his antiestablishment credentials.
Papandreou was initially distrustful of the democratic transition of
1974 and unjustly accused the incoming Karamanlis government as
“a changing of the guard.” However, he quickly formed his Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima)
and took part in the November 1974 elections with very modest
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success. Papandreou distanced himself from the pre-junta political
center. Although he could have, he refused to take the mantle of his
deceased father’s party. He founded a movement rather than a party,
further underlining his intention to avoid traditional party politics.
Papandreou’s political genius rested on his understanding of the
changing times. He took advantage of the communists’ ideological
rigidities and formed, for the first time in Greek history, a successful
non-Marxist left-wing party. In a sense, PASOK revolutionized the
political landscape. PASOK’s use of a fiery rhetoric and eye-catching hyperboles helped it emerge as the second-strongest party in
Parliament in the 1977 elections. It thus provided a credible governmental alternative to the right-wing New Democracy (ND; Nea
Dimokratia). Thereafter, Papandreou toned down his anti-Europe and
anti–U.S. rhetoric, winning a landslide victory in 1981 and an easy
reelection in 1985.
Papandreou was successful in introducing some delayed and much
needed social reforms in health care, education, family law, and
church–state relations, among others, while providing the consolidation of Greek democracy and national reconciliation by bringing the
left back to power. However, his preference for tactical zigzags at
the expense of a long-term strategy and his adventurism abroad and
statism at home marked his premiership negatively. In particular, his
populist overspending and overall economic mismanagement led to
the explosion of the public debt while turning the 1980s into a lost
decade of no economic growth and rising unemployment.
Papandreou lost the elections of 1989–1990 but returned to power
in 1993. He did not avoid using the Macedonian issue to stir up
Greek nationalist passions for his own short-term political benefit,
just as he had done with the Cyprus issue earlier. Weakened by heart
problems but wiser, Papandreou, while in power for a second time,
proved conciliatory on the economy and with Greece’s relations with
Europe and the United States. Finally, after months in hospital in
Athens, he died a very popular, if controversial, leader, leaving behind a centrist PASOK that stayed in power for another eight years.
PAPANDREOU, GEORGIOS (1888–1968). Born in the small village
of Kalentzi in Achaea in Peloponnesus, Georgios Papandreou died
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in Athens while Greece was under military rule. His funeral, attended by a mass of the population, provided an early platform for the
Greek people to register their rejection of the dictatorship. Georgios
Papandreou had a distinguished political career that could be divided
into three phases.
Having studied law in Athens and in Berlin, Papandreou emerged
as a liberal politician loyal to Eleftherios Venizelos. Venizelos
appointed him governor of the islands of Lesvos and then Chios.
During the interwar period, he served as a minister in several posts
and distinguished himself as the reforming minister of education
(1930–1932). However, due to his antiroyalist positions, he was exiled after 1936 during Ioannis Metaxas’ dictatorship.
During World War II, Papandreou escaped to the Middle East and
helped organize the Lebanon Conference in May 1944 that attempted
to unite all Greeks behind a government of national unity. He was
appointed as prime minister of this government that, later, after the
Germans’ withdrawal, entered Athens in October 1944. His liberal
credentials and political maneuverings contributed to the defeat of the
communists during the December Affair (Dekembriana) of 1944, after
which he resigned. In the years that followed, he served in the centrist
governments in the aftermath of the Civil War, but he allied himself
with Marshal Alexandros Papagos in the 1952 elections and survived
in opposition while Greece was ruled by the conservatives.
In 1961, together with Sofoklis Venizelos and other liberals, Papandreou formed and headed the Center Union (Enosis Kentrou)
Party. He denounced the 1961 elections as neither free nor fair and
fiercely antagonized the then prime minister, Konstantinos Karamanlis. He led his centrist forces to power in 1964, having won a
landslide election while fueling popular expectations to unmanageable levels. In July 1965, he had a strong disagreement with the
inexperienced King Constantine II over the control of the armed
forces. He resigned and led a popular movement against the royally
appointed new government that replaced him in power. The crisis led
to the weakening of Greek democracy. Despite some last-minute efforts to normalize the situation, a breakdown occurred with the coup
of 21 April 1967.
Originally an interwar liberal who turned into an anticommunist
before becoming an antiright crusader, Georgios Papandreou is best
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remembered for expressing the popular demand for a less restricted
social and political life in Greece in the 1960s. Probably the best
political orator Greece has seen in modern times, Papandreou was
often hostage to his own rhetoric and a growing distance between
words and deeds.
PAPANDREOU, GEORGIOS A. (1952– ). Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Georgios Papandreou has been the leader of the Panhellenic
Socialist Movement (PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima), the
main opposition party in Greece, since February 2004. Coming from
the distinguished Papandreou political dynasty, with a grandfather
and father who were prime ministers, Papandreou has struggled to
modernize and revive his father’s party that had ruled Greece for 19
years between 1981 and 2004.
Papandreou was brought up and educated abroad, and entered politics in 1981 when his father, Andreas Papandreou, won a landslide
victory for PASOK. He served in several posts, advocated a series of
progressive reforms, and excelled as foreign minister between 1999 and
2004. In that post, Papandreou implemented a complete reorientation of
Greek foreign policy toward engagement and friendship with Turkey.
His popularity catapulted him into the party leadership. In 2006, he
was elected president of Socialist International. However, fighting with
the party elders and an unresponsive establishment has proved both
troublesome and frustrating. In the meantime, unlike his distinguished
forefathers, he has often appeared as an elitist, often disconnected with
the average Greek voter and his concerns. Overall, his tenure so far has
been difficult. See also PAPANDREOU, GEORGIOS.
PAPANIKOLAOU, GEORGE (1883–1962). Born in Kyme in Evia,
George Papanikolaou was an eminent doctor and researcher and
Greece’s most famous scientist in the 20th century. While working in the United States, he invented the Pap smear or Pap test for
the early detection of cervical cancer. He died in New Jersey in the
United States.
PARLIAMENT. The Parliament of Greece, called Vouli, is unicameral and has 300 members elected for a maximum of a four-year term.
Greece is a parliamentary democracy, which means that the execu-
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tive needs to enjoy the confidence of a majority of parliamentarians.
Most members of Parliament are elected by the people in districts
that vary greatly in size, as constituencies, with the exception of
Athens and Thessaloniki, coincide, more or less, with administrative
boundaries. Twelve members are elected by national lists depending
on each party’s strength. The electoral law is fairly proportional with
a strong bias in favor of the first party. To enter Parliament, a party
needs to cross a 3 percent threshold in the national vote. Since 1974,
there have been three to five political parties in Parliament, with the
two dominant being New Democracy (ND; Nea Dimokratia) and the
Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko
Kinima) that have alternated in power. Thus, Greece can be described
as a kind of a two- party system. Parliament votes on the legislation,
approves the budget, controls the government, and elects the president of the republic.
PAUL, KING OF GREECE (1901–1964). Born in Athens, King
Paul ascended to the throne in 1947 after the death of his brother,
George II, during the Greek Civil War. He was the third son of King
Constantine I. He was married to Frederika in 1938 and had three
children, the future King Constantine II, Queen Sophia of Spain,
and Princess Irene. He oversaw the successful conclusion of the Civil
War, the establishment of a guarded democracy, and the launching
of the country’s economic program during the 1950s. Mild-mannered and cautious, Paul was a good reader of politics and well liked.
Nevertheless, he did intervene in politics when he thought it necessary. He unsuccessfully resisted the entrance into politics of Marshal
Alexandros Papagos, afraid that the latter would be too independent
minded, and twice changed the course of modern Greek history: first,
by appointing the young and dynamic Konstantinos Karamanlis to
the premiership in 1955 following Papagos’ death, circumventing the
elders of Papagos’ party, and second, in 1963, by dismissing Karamanlis and favoring the coming to power of Georgios Papandreou
and his Center Union (Enosis Kentrou). He gave in to Papandreou’s
repeated requests for early elections, for the appointment of a nonpartisan government to hold these elections, and, when these elections
proved inconclusive, King Paul agreed to the holding of a second
election in 1964, which Papandreou easily won.
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PELOPONNESUS. Surrounded by sea and connected with the Greek
mainland by two bridges, one over the canal of Corinth and the other
in Rio at the western entrance of the Bay of Corinth, Peloponnesus is
a large peninsula in the shape of a maple leaf. Located in the southern
part of mainland Greece, Peloponnesus is, in a sense, its historical
cradle. With a total surface area of 21,439 square kilometers and
a population of 1,086,935, Peloponnesus is a region of spectacular
beauty and great physical diversity. It has tall mountains, which in
the Taygetos range reach an altitude of 2,407 meters, small valleys,
coastal fertile plains, large bays, long beaches, and sharp capes.
Divided into seven districts, Peloponnesus’ largest city is Patras,
Greece’s western port to Italy; other urban centers are Tripolis, Kalamata, Pyrgos, and Corinth.
Ancient civilizations have always flourished in Peloponnesus:
first, the Mycenaean and then the Classical, with Sparta as the military hegemony that defeated Athens in the famous Peloponnesian
War (431–404 BCE) described by Thucydides. Peloponnesus was
part of the Roman and Byzantine empires. Following the Fourth
Crusade, a small Hellenic kingdom based in Mystras, in the Peloponnesus, flourished and was ruled by the Palaeologoi family. Before
succumbing to the Turks in 1460, Mystras provided for a short-lived
but interesting Greek renaissance led by the neoplatonic philosopher
Georgios Gemistos, better known as Plethon.
Having developed a tradition of self-government under the Ottomans, Peloponnesus was the center of the national Revolution
of 1821 and provided the bulk of the revolutionary forces. This is
where all the national revolutionary assemblies took place and where
the provisional government was based. However, after the arrival
of King Otto, the Greek capital was moved northwards to Athens,
although Peloponnesus continued to provide the backbone of the
original kingdom of Greece, prior to its expansion into Macedonia in 1912. In the late 19th century, currant production and trade
fostered some economic development, but its decline forced many
Peloponnesians to emigrate, mainly to the United States. During the
political crises of the 20th century, Peloponnesus found itself mostly
on the side of the royalists and anticommunists. Nevertheless, since
the 1970s, the Greek socialists of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK; Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima) have had a strong
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hold over the western districts of the region. Today, Peloponnesus
lives mainly through agriculture, tourism, and the remittances of its
people living in Athens and abroad.
PLASTIRAS, NIKOLAOS (1881–1953). Born in Vounesi, currently known as Morfovouni, in Karditsa in Thessaly, Nikolaos
Plastiras was a military officer who fought bravely in the Balkan
Wars and World War I. He particularly distinguished himself in
the Asia Minor campaign, advancing the furthest eastwards and
then, when the front collapsed, retreating in an orderly manner
with his troops, saving the lives of thousands of fleeing Greeks in
the process. As soon as hostilities ended, he led a military coup demanding the expulsion of King Constantine I and the punishment
of the culprits of the Asia Minor catastrophe. Having supervised
the establishment of a republic, Plastiras temporarily withdrew
from politics. Fearing that the anti-Venizelists were plotting the
return of the monarchy, he staged a failed coup in 1933 and supported another one in 1935, after which he was exiled abroad.
Following the December affair in 1944, he was asked to lead
the Greek government in January 1945. During his brief tenure,
he signed the Varkiza Agreement in an attempt to bring peace to
the country. After the Civil War ended in 1949, Plastiras led two
coalition governments between 1950 and 1952. He attempted to
limit political oppression while liberalizing and providing for the
poor. Despite his efforts to overcome the deep wounds of war and
fratricide, he was forced to compromise and had the communist
Nikos Beloyannis executed. Plastiras is generally recognized as a
true patriot who lived spartanly and died in Athens in poverty, an
honest public man of the highest integrity.
POLITICAL PARTIES. Greece is a party democracy. Political parties permeate all aspects of public life in ways, and to a degree, rarely
found in other mature Western democracies. Greek civil society is
dominated by parties. This is the result of a long historical process
and the specific characteristics of its democratization after 1974. In
one sense, this is also an unexpected development as Greek constitutions have said very little about parties and have aimed at regulating
the nation’s political life without reference to parties.
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Parties began to form already during the revolution and the War
of Independence in the 1820s. At that time, Greeks were divided into
military and civilian factions or according to their place of origin. After the establishment of an independent state, three parties came into
existence—the English, the French, and the Russian—sponsored by
the ambassadors of the three powers under whose protection the new
state was established. The English party led by an early constitutionalist, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, advocated liberal reforms. However, it was the French party, under the leadership of early populist
Ioannis Kolettis that dominated Greek politics after the constitutional
uprising of 1843. As Greece progressively emancipated itself, the old
parties gave place to new ones. Throughout the 19th century, parties remained volatile coalitions centered on a strong leader with an
eclectic ideology and a weak national organization.
The first modern party with massive popular support, a strong
national organizational apparatus, and a coherent ideology was the
Liberal Party, founded by Eleftherios Venizelos after 1910. However, it was their rivals to the right who persevered first as a Peoples’
Party (PP; Laikon Komma, LK), then as the Greek Rally (GR; Ellinikos Synagermo, ES), the National Radical Union (NRU; Ethniki
Rizospastiki Enosis, ERE), and after 1974, as the New Democracy
(ND; Nea Dimokratia) Party. After the collapse of the Venizelist
republic in the 1930s, the liberal center remained disunited until the
rise of a new center-left under the charismatic leadership of Andreas
Papandreou and his Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK;
Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima), which came to power in 1981.
PASOK has been the embodiment of a catchall party. Thanks to its
flexibility and adaptability, it remained in office for 19 full years.
All these parties have been dominated by strong leaders. The only
exception has been the Communist Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE), which has been driven mainly by
an orthodox and unyielding ideology and a well-structured organization across the country and most social sectors.
The role of political parties in Greek life has been much debated.
While they have been generally recognized as essential for the functioning of democracy and the formulation of broad policy consensus,
they have been resented for the suffocating control they exercise
over much of the state machinery, including the civil service and
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the universities. Not even the justice system and the military have
been immune to their influence. Party connections are often more
important than any merit for being hired, promoted, or awarded a
public contract. In recognition of the need to curtail their corrupting
influence, Greek lawmakers have introduced new independent public
agencies with the aim of regulating some aspects of public life without political interference. Nevertheless, parties continue to be strong
and attract the loyalty of millions of Greeks, who view them as a
quick and easy way toward social or professional advancement. See
ATHENS). The Engineering School of Athens, or Metsovio Polytechnio, is a prestigious institution of higher learning. Founded in
1836, Polytechnio has provided Greece with its engineering elites.
It is named “Metsovio” to honor its benefactors who came from the
town of Metsovo in Epirus. Politically, it became famous when a
student revolt took place in its downtown campus on 14 November 1973 that was ended by the military junta in a bloodbath three
days later. The revolt signaled the unpopularity of the colonels, the
failure of their efforts at liberalization, and the Greeks’ longing for
freedom and democracy. The student protest had similarities with
student movements in France, Thailand, and elsewhere. Although
leftist in orientation, the communists were initially suspicious of it.
The immediate effect of the revolt was the imposition of martial law
followed, on 25 November 1973, by a hard-liners’ coup within the
coup led by Brigadier Dimitris Ioannides. Ioannides would go on to
organize a coup against President Makarios of Cyprus on 15 July
1974, which led to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 20 July 1974.
HILEKTRISMOU, DEH). Greece’s public power company and
largest industrial firm, DEH was a monopoly until 2001. DEH’s
stock has recently been floated on the Athens and London stock exchanges, and the company is struggling to reform in order to respond
to the demands of its shareholders and of its private, foreign, and
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domestic competitors. DEH’s spectacular rise in the 1950s signaled
Greece’s determination to industrialize and modernize its archaic
economy. DEH took full advantage of the country’s limited energy
resources, mainly lignite, found in western Macedonia. It expanded
its network throughout Greece, taking over small local producers so
that in less than 20 years, 99.9 percent of the Greek population enjoyed cheap and reliable electricity.
DEH continues to dominate the Greek market, providing close to
90 percent of domestic electricity consumption, with the rest coming from private and foreign producers. DEH relies mostly on thermoelectric production. Around 60 percent of its production comes
from lignite, 20 percent from oil and natural gas, and the rest from
hydropower and a few renewable sources. DEH’s success, despite its
bureaucratic structure and powerful unions, should be attributed to
the abundance of cheap lignite that, for decades, DEH used at no cost
despite the environmental pollution it caused. Today, as new competitors that use natural gas and state-subsidized renewable sources
enter the market, and pollution fees are imposed, DEH, as an old state
behemoth, is faced with an unprecedented challenge of restructuring
and streamlining.
– R –
RALLIS, GEORGIOS (1918–2006). Born in Athens, Georgios Rallis
came from a very prominent political family. Both of his grandfathers, Dimitris Rallis and Georgios Theotokis, had been prime ministers, and so was his uncle, Ioannis Theotokis. His father, Ioannis
Rallis, was the prime minister appointed by the Nazis during the German occupation of Greece in World War II. After the war, Ioannis
Rallis was convicted and died in prison.
Starting in 1950, Rallis was elected to Parliament on the side of
the conservatives and their several postwar incarnations, first with
the Peoples’ Party (PP; Laikon Komma, LK), then with the Greek
Rally (GR; Ellinikos Synagermo, ES), and finally with the National
Radical Union (NRU; Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosis, ERE). He disagreed with Konstantinos Karamanlis in 1958 but was reelected in
1961. During the junta, he was arrested, imprisoned, displaced, and
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confined to house arrest. In 1974, he expressed his preference for the
monarchy. After 1974, he became a prominent member of Karamanlis’ government. He introduced major educational reform and, later,
oversaw the final stage of the negotiations for the entry of Greece
into the European Community (EC). In 1980, when Karamanlis left
the premiership and the chairmanship of the New Democracy (ND;
Nea Dimokratia) Party to become the president of the republic, Rallis was elected to be his successor.
Although suffering from declining popularity, Prime Minister
Rallis distinguished himself for his moderation and liberalism. His
achievements included the wise stewardship of Greece toward membership into the EC in January 1981. When defeated in October 1981
by the incoming socialists of Andreas Papandreou, he oversaw a
smooth transition of power. In that regard, he contributed greatly to
the consolidation of Greek democracy. Until 1993 he kept his seat
in Parliament. In his later years, his popularity increased and he was
generally recognized as a voice of reason and wisdom. He died in
Athens in 2006.
REFUGEES. It is often said that Greece is a nation of refugees. It is estimated that one in four Greeks has family origins from outside present-day Greece. Ruled by empires for centuries and scattered across
southeastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Black
Sea, Greeks both benefited and suffered greatly from the advance
of nationalism. After 1830, a historical process began according to
which the Greek state expanded as the Greek nation contracted. This
led, after a century and a half, to a fairly homogeneous Greek nationstate. Greeks came to the homeland from a variety of destinations,
including the Slavic lands and Romania to the north and Egypt to the
south. By far, the largest wave of refugees came from Asia Minor after the defeat of the Greek army in 1922. Despite the initial hardship
of their relocation, refugee Greeks have been fairly well integrated
and have had a great impact on the development of modern Greece.
They shifted Greek politics to the left, provided the skills and the
labor for the industrialization and the overall modernization of the
Greek economy, and cultivated the arts, literature, and culture of
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the nation. After the fall of communism and the dissolution of the
Soviet Union in 1991, an additional 150,000 Pontian Greeks from
Georgia and Central Asia arrived.
Despite this history, Greece remains quite unwelcoming to nonethnic Greek refugees, granting asylum to only a miniscule number each
year. This is due to a restrictive understanding of citizenship on the
basis of traditional jus sanguinis. Greek naturalization law sanctions
ethnicity irrespective of the place of birth. Thus, while overgenerous
to distant Greeks from afar, the Greek law and administrative practices are very restrictive to any foreigner who seeks to acquire Greek
citizenship, including refugees who need protection.
REPUBLIC. Although the original constitution of the Greek Revolution provided for a republic, with an elected and not an inherited head
of state, Greece has been a kingdom during most of its modern history. Since 1974, Greece has been a republic, for a third time. Greeks
voted two-to-one in favor of abolishing the monarchy in a popular
referendum on 8 December 1974. According to the current Constitution, designed by Konstantinos Karamanlis and introduced on 11
June 1975, the Hellenic republic is headed by a president. The president is elected indirectly by an enhanced majority in Parliament.
The president has very little authority since most of the power lies
with the prime minister.
Republicanism remains widely popular and, more or less, unchallenged. This was not always the case. A previous attempt at
consolidating a republic in the interwar period failed. A republic
was introduced in 1924 after the Asia Minor catastrophe for which
King Constantine I and the royalists were largely blamed. However,
a great part of the electorate remained committed to the monarchy.
Following a period of instability, King George II’s throne was
returned to him in 1935. Following World War II, republicanism
remained divisive. While it was strongly supported by the left, the
right—together with Great Britain—lent its support to the monarchy, believing it to be the best guarantee to keep Greece in the Western camp. The irony was that it was the colonels—who ruled Greece
dictatorially between 1967 and 1974 and came in conflict with King
Constantine II—who abolished the monarchy and established an
undemocratic republic in 1973.
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REVOLUTION. There had been many revolts against Ottoman rule
prior to 1821. They all had a local character and were quickly suppressed. The most important occurred in 1870 and was instigated by
Catherine the Great of Russia, who sent a naval force to Peloponnesus led by Theodore and Alex Orlof. The revolt that followed
was quickly put down by Ottoman forces, at a great cost to the local
population and economy.
The national Revolution of 1821 was different in character and
scope. It was prepared well in advance and supported by an extended
organizational network that spread from the Black Sea to Crete, encompassing most of the Greek world of the time. There were many
factors that led to the revolution and contributed to its final success.
By the early 19th century, the Greek world was agitating as it
was greatly affected by the French Revolution, the Napoleonic wars,
and the spirit of the Enlightenment that they carried to the east. An
emerging Greek trade bourgeoisie, based on a few Aegean islands
and in several diaspora communities in Trieste, Vienna, Odessa, and
elsewhere, together with the old Fanar-based Greek aristocracy of
Istanbul, lent their support toward a modern, secular, and nationally
minded education. This quickly grew into a full-blown nation-state
building program. Moreover, the declining authority of the sultan
and the internal crisis of the Ottoman Empire—proved, for example,
by the rebellion of Ali Pasha of Jannina—created the framework for
the outbreak of what became the first truly national uprising in the
Ottoman east. This uprising formed the first independent successor
nation-state out of the Ottoman Empire, initiating a process that gave
rise to a number of Balkan and Middle East states and continues to
the present day in places like Kosovo, Montenegro, and Cyprus.
After the establishment of the Greek kingdom, revolutions did not
cease to occur. Their goal, however, was no longer the independence
of the Greek nation but rather the reconfiguration of the Greek polity. Although people did participate, they were often spearheaded by
army units and led by military officers. The first revolution of this
kind took place on 3 September 1843, and demanded a constitution
from King Otto, who until then had insisted on ruling as an absolute
monarch. A following revolution forced Otto to leave Greece on 23
October 1862. On 15 August 1909, military officers proclaimed what
became known as the Goudi revolution that brought Eleftherios
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Venizelos to power. The most recent revolutionary agitation occurred
in November 1973, during the colonels’ military dictatorship, when
students and sympathizers gathered at the downtown campus of Polytechnio in defiance of military rule. In recent years, the consolidation
of democracy has diffused the revolutionary fervor, although Greeks
continue to take to the streets, with a characteristic frequency, in support
of various causes. See also ARMED FORCES; JUNTA.
RUSSIA (RELATIONS WITH). The rise of Russia as a major European power in the 18th century changed the power balance in the
Black Sea and the Balkans, forcing the retreat of the Ottomans
southwards. Russia played a crucial role in the making of modern
Greece. In 1770, Russia, under Catherine the Great, sponsored an
unsuccessful Greek revolt against the Ottomans. With the treaty of
Küçük Kaynarca in 1774, Russia emerged as a protector of Ottoman
Orthodox Christians while the Greeks were allowed to sail unimpeded under the Russian flag.
Much of the preparation for the Revolution of 1821 took place
in Russia, and Filiki Eteria was founded in Odessa. The revolution
itself broke out first in the Danubian provinces where the Ottoman
army needed Russian permission to enter. Although Russia opposed
this initial disturbance of the post-Napoleonic peace, it participated
in the destruction of the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet in Navarino in 1827
and won the war against the Ottomans two years later, forcing the
sultan to concede to Greek independence. Both leaders of the revolution, Dimitrios and Alexandros Ypsilantis, and the first governor of
Greece, Count Ioannis Capodistrias, had worked for the czar and,
after independence, a Russian party competed for power against an
English party and a French party.
Until the middle of the 19th century, Russia commanded the widespread sympathy of Greeks as a fellow Christian Orthodox nation
and the Turks’ worst enemy. However, the presence of the powerful
British fleet in the Mediterranean kept Greece in the British orbit,
as was proven during the Crimean War (1853–1856). In the second
half of the 19th century, Russia supported the national aspirations of
its fellow Slavs in the Balkans, mainly the Bulgarians. After another
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military success against the Ottomans, in 1878 Russia imposed the
creation of a greater Bulgaria, which alarmed the Greeks. The Russian-sponsored Treaty of San Stefano was not implemented thanks to
British intervention.
In both World War I and World War II, Greece and Russia
fought on the same side. However, the Bolshevik Revolution complicated the Greek–Russian relationship. Greece sent a small expeditionary force to Crimea in 1919 during the Russian civil war in support
of the Whites while the Bolsheviks provided Kemal Atatürk and his
nationalists with arms and support in the war against the Greeks. The
newly founded Communist Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko
Komma Elladas, KKE) was under Soviet control, while the Soviet
Union, in the interwar period, lent its support to Macedonianism and
the creation of an independent Macedonia within Greek territory as
well. The prestige of the Soviet Union recovered as a result of the
war against the Germans after June 1941. However, Stalin agreed to
Churchill’s demand in 1944 to keep postwar Greece under British
influence and did not give Greek communists much support in their
insurgency after World War II.
During the Cold War, relations remained cool and started to
warm up only in the 1970s. After the collapse of the Soviet Union,
most of the remaining Soviet Greeks, mainly from the Caucasus
and Central Asia, were repatriated to Greece, having suffered many
hardships. While Russia continues to promote its patriarchate as
the world leader of the Christian Orthodox community, to the detriment of the Greek-controlled Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul
(Constantinople), Greeks remain sympathetic to Russia as the two
countries share no common border and Greece views Russia as a useful counterbalance to Turkey and the United States. Today, Greece
is becoming a popular tourist and real-estate investment spot for the
Russian nouveaux riches and increasingly dependent on Russian energy. See also FOREIGN POLICY.
– S –
SEFERIS, GEORGIOS (1900–1971). Born in Smyrna (Izmir), Georgios Seferis was a distinguished poet and a Nobel laureate (1963). He
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entered the Greek foreign service in 1927 and served in various posts,
including the Greek embassy in London during the upheaval over
Cyprus. He discretely, but unhesitatingly, made public his disagreement with the military junta in 1969.
Seferis’ poetry takes full advantage of the modern Greek language. It is more cerebral than emotional and heavy with symbolism
rather than naturalistic imagery. His writing is considered clear but
difficult. Seferis’ work bears the experience of the uprooting from
Asia Minor as well as his cosmopolitanism and foreign influences
from his traveling during his diplomatic career. Seferis opened new
horizons and modernized 20th-century Greek literature by establishing a firm dialogue with its Western counterparts. He died in Athens
in 1971.
SERBIA (RELATIONS WITH). Traditionally, relations between
Greece and Serbia have been very cordial as the two nations fought
on the same side in both World War I and World War II. In addition, Greece and Serbia, while sharing a common Christian Orthodox faith, have currently no common border over which to fight.
Greeks, on the way to their revolution in 1821, were inspired by the
successful revolt of the Serbs against the Ottomans, first in 1804 and
then in 1815, and the creation of a Serbian autonomous principality. In
later years, Greece saw Serbia as a useful counterbalance to expansionist Bulgaria, especially regarding the division of Ottoman Macedonia.
During the Second Balkan War, Greece and Serbia closely cooperated in defeating Bulgaria. During the interwar period, both Greece and
Serbia-turned-Yugoslavia were satisfied with the postwar settlement
and were allies in defending the status quo, although at some point
Belgrade demanded free access to the port of Thessaloniki. During
World War II, a strong partisan resistance movement grew in Greek
and Serbian lands. However, after the war, while Greece remained
Western, Serbia/Yugoslavia became communist.
When Yugoslavia started disintegrating in the early 1990s, Greece
remained committed to the preservation of Yugoslav unity, afraid of
any forceful border changes in the region. Soon, however, Greek policy was increasingly interpreted as supporting Slobodan Milosevic’s
strategy of “Serbianizing” the Yugoslav federation and later with his
bid for a Greater Serbia. Some Westerners became alarmed by what
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appeared as a Greek–Serbian axis connected to Moscow. Greece,
as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),
conceded and participated in the air campaign against Serbian forces,
first in Bosnia in 1995 and then in Serbia proper over Kosovo in
1999. Although Greek public opinion remains deeply sympathetic to
Serbian sensitivities, especially regarding Kosovo, successive Greek
governments have tried to rebalance Greece’s position in the area
taking into account Albanian interests and Western preferences as
well. See also FOREIGN POLICY.
SHIPPING. Since ancient times, the Greeks have been a maritime nation, shaped by and benefiting from the sea. In Ottoman times, under
Russian protection, and later, thanks to the Napoleonic wars, Greek
shipping prospered and provided much of the capital that was needed
for the Revolution of 1821. During the revolutionary war, the Greek
fleet prevented the Ottomans from using the sea to send reinforcements to their troops fighting the rebels.
After World War II, Greek shipping boomed, helped by American aid and the growing world trade in oil. Greeks have proved great
masters in what is one of the most competitive, cyclical, and volatile
industries in the world, knowing how to take risks, when to buy
ships, and when to sell them. After the decline in world shipping in
the 1980s, Greek shipping recovered and benefited greatly from the
rise in international cargo rates in the early 2000s.
Today, Greek shipowners control around 16 percent of world shipping, making Greece the first shipping power in the world. Shipping
earns some 5 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product (GDP) and
employs a total of 160,000 people, or some 3.5 percent of the country’s total labor force. Only a fraction of them are seamen; the rest are
brokers, insurers, and administrators, based mainly in the port city of
Piraeus, south of Athens. With €14 billion in earnings in 2006, shipping covered close to one third of the total trade deficit of Greece.
Having amassed great fortunes, many shipowners have turned into
great benefactors. Led by Aristotle Onassis, Stavros Niarchos, Yannis Latsis, and the Goulandris family, and followed by newer tycoons
such as Panayiotis Tsakos, Vassilis Konstantakopoulos, and Theodoros Aggelopoulos, they have endowed their Greek homeland with
hospitals, arts centers, museums, and other great works.
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SIMITIS, KOSTAS (1936– ). Born in Piraeus, the port city of Athens, Kostas Simitis became involved in radical politics in the 1960s.
During the junta, he participated in the resistance and later joined an
antiregime group led by Andreas Papandreou. In 1974, he was a
founding member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK;
Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima). Representing the Europeanist wing
in PASOK, he did not run in the 1981 elections but was appointed
minister of agriculture in the first government of Papandreou, where
he successfully oversaw the introduction of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in Greek farming.
In 1985, he was elected to Parliament for the first time and, soon
after, Simitis was appointed minister of national economy, with the
purpose of salvaging public finances. During his two-year tenure,
Simitis succeeded in lowering both the deficit and inflation, while
instigating a small investment boom. He resigned his post after Papandreou dismissed his income policy in Parliament in December
1987 and when it became clear that Simitis’ frugality was eroding
PASOK’s popularity.
In subsequent years, he remained cautiously critical of the leadership of Papandreou and positioned himself for his eventual succession. The opportunity came in January 1996, when a bedridden
Papandreou resigned from the premiership. Against two other contenders, Simitis succeeded in the second round, with a slim majority, and was elected as Greece’s new prime minister by PASOK’s
parliamentary group. He went on to win two consecutive elections in
September 1996 and in April 2000.
In his eight years in office, Simitis sought to modernize Greece
and his party. His first term focused on preparing Greece for entry
into the European Monetary Union (EMU) and adopting the euro. A
few mild economic reforms and a tight fiscal and monetary policy
produced a gradual improvement of the economy.
Simitis’ greatest achievement was in foreign policy. Following
two crises with Turkey, one in January 1996 over the Imia islet in
eastern Aegean and the other in February 1999 over the capture of
Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, Simitis, together with his foreign minister, Georgios Papandreou, initiated a policy of constructive engagement with Turkey. He lifted Greece’s veto on Turkey’s
rapprochement with the European Union (EU); signed the Helsinki
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agreement; facilitated trade, investment, and cultural exchanges
between the two neighbors; and secured Cyprus’ entry into the EU.
After decades of rivalry and near-wars, Greece under Simitis moved
decisively and successfully to resolve its strategic problem with Turkey through Europe.
In his second term, Simitis’ government became entangled in a
number of unpopular controversies, including a failed attempt at
pension reform and a disagreement with the Orthodox Church of
Greece over the elimination of religious affiliation from state-issued
identity cards. Much of his attention was devoted to the successful
preparation of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, while accusations
of corruption proliferated.
Simitis was faced with two handicaps. Greeks never truly warmed
to him due to his particular professorial stiffness. In addition, he was
never fully accepted by his own party. His modernizing rhetoric and
his Germanic, “uncharismatic” posture were in stark contrast to his
flamboyant predecessor, Andreas Papandreou, and alienated much of
the rank and file of PASOK. On the eve of the 2004 elections, Simitis
handed the presidency of the party to his popular foreign minister,
Georgios Papandreou, in an attempt to contain voters’ discontent.
Simitis was widely respected throughout Europe and recognized
as a hardworking and meticulous manager who oversaw the further
Europeanization of Greece and the transition of Greek politics from
a heroic and populist phase in the past into a more consensus and
result-oriented era in the present.
SOFOULIS, THEMISTOKLIS (1860–1949). Born in Vathi in the
island of Samos in the eastern Aegean, Themistoklis Sofoulis left
Samos, which had previously been autonomous under Ottoman
suzerainty, for Greece in 1913, following the Balkan Wars. As a
center-left liberal, he joined forces with Eleftherios Venizelos and
participated in his government. He served, several times, as Speaker
of the House. He was distinguished for his moderation and ability to
speak to all sides, including the communists, despite the polarization
of interwar politics in Greece. During the Greek Civil War, from 7
September 1947 and until his death on 24 June 1949 in Athens, Sofoulis headed a coalition government of conservatives and liberals.
Despite his old age, his contribution to the victory of the government
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forces was essential as his presence and policies while in power undercut potential liberal and center-left support for the rebels.
SOLOMOS, DIONYSIOS (1798–1857). Born in the Ionian island
of Zakynthos (Zante), Dionysios Solomos is recognized as Greece’s
national poet. Despite his original education in Italian and the fact
that he did not live in independent Greece but in the British-held
Ionian Republic, Solomos was an early literary genius for a nation
that had just begun experiencing independence. He wrote in demotic
Greek, making use of the folk and Cretan literary traditions. In 1823
he composed his most famous Hymn to Liberty, which provided the
lyrics for the Greek national anthem. He died in Corfu.
SPORTS. Athletics were invented in the Greek lands and it is in Crete
where a Minoan mosaic depicts the first scene ever recorded in the
history of sports. In classical times, sports competitions became an
integral part of public life and the Olympic Games grew into the
largest and most celebrated gathering of the ancient Greek world.
In modern times, sports grew slowly due to poverty and lack of
interest and support by the state. Spiros Louis, who won the marathon in the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896, was Greece’s
first sports hero. During the interwar period, soccer was firmly
established as Greece’s most popular sport. After World War II,
Greece had some sporadic successes in sailing, wrestling, weightlifting, and track. The first major Greek victory came when the national
basketball team won the European Championship in Athens in 1987.
Further successes followed as sports grew in popularity in parallel
with the growing prosperity of the country.
As of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Greece started winning
several medals and was placed within the top 10 or 20 countries with
the most Olympic medals won. At the Athens Olympics of 2004,
Greece won 16 medals, but only four in Beijing in 2008. In the same
year, Greece won the European soccer championship, the greatest
sports triumph the country has ever experienced.
There have been three major reasons for these successes. As the
country has prospered, Greeks have focused more on an athletic life-
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style; since the 1980s, the state has taken a more systematic interest
in cultivating sports and champions, not always benevolently, as the
proliferation of doping scandals often shows; and the geopolitical
changes of 1989–1991 brought home many great East European
and expatriate athletes. See also DIMAS, PYRROS; DOMAZOS,
– T –
TERRORISM. Up until the 1970s, terrorism was largely absent from
Greece. Terrorism as a form of violent political practice appeared
in the aftermath of the fall of the junta in 1974 as a byproduct of
democratization. For a few radicals, the democratic transition was
not genuine; even Andreas Papandreou initially accused the incoming government led by Konstantinos Karamanlis as “a change of the
guards.” Within this political climate of extreme cynicism and total
opposition to the “establishment,” the use of violence as a way of
facilitating social change was legitimized. It is no coincidence that
Greece, like other societies that have encountered terrorism, including Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan, had experienced a period of
state oppression in the past.
The best-known Greek terrorist group is November 17th, a small,
closed, secretive, leftist organization, formed in 1973 and, supposedly, disbanded in 2002 by the police. November 17th was responsible for 103 attacks and the assassinations of 23 people. Although
it attacked American and Turkish citizens and interests, exploiting
Greek feelings after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the
main targets were Greek businessmen, politicians, and publishers
of the center-right, including an influential member of parliament,
Pavlos Bakoyannis, who was gunned down outside his office on 26
September 1989.
November 17th took its name from the date in 1973 when the military dictatorship crashed the student revolt in Polytechnio, the Athens Engineering School. It used a mixture of Marxist, anti-American
and populist rhetoric against the rich and the powerful and tried to
capitalize on the Greeks’ resentments against an unresponsive and
selfish state. The consolidation of democracy, the fall of communism
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and the economic boom of the past decade further weakened the occasional political support that November 17th enjoyed within a small
part of the Greek public.
On the eve of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the Greek police,
after years of failures, mobilized, and arrested many but, certainly
not all, of the members of November 17th. The destruction of the
group, in the summer of 2002, followed years of operational decline
and divergence from the Greek society. It was greeted with relief and
satisfaction by the Greek public and Greece’s allies, especially the
United States.
However, other smaller groups, new and old, with leftist or no ideological pretensions at all continue to exist and, occasionally, trouble
the authorities. Following the gunning of a Greek youth by a police
officer on 6 December 2008, Greek cities were rocked by two weeks
of demonstrations and riots that caused €100 million in damages.
The inability and unwillingness of the Greek police to secure the
public order has undermined the public’s trust on the Greek state and
demonstrated the popularity that violence continues to enjoy among
many Greeks who feel, rightly or wrongly, disenfranchised by a dysfunctional, corrupt, and, often, unrepresentative political system.
THEODORAKIS, MIKIS (1925– ). Born in the island of Chios in
the eastern Aegean, Mikis Theodorakis has been Greece’s most
recognized composer and best representative of the cultural revolution brought by the turbulent 1960s. Using tradition to renew Greek
music, Theodorakis produced many different kinds of works, from
songs and movie scores to symphonies and metasymphonies, some
of which became hugely popular. His syrtaki for the movie Zorba the
Greek was used by the growing tourist industry to define the spirit
of Greece internationally.
Throughout his life, Theodorakis has been a political animal. During World War II, he fought with the resistance. For much of his
life, he belonged to the left and supported the worldwide oppressed,
while being critical of the foreign policy of the United States, Israel,
and others. He was first elected to Parliament in 1964 and organized
a popular youth movement named after Gregoris Lambrakis, whose
assassination in 1963 shocked Greece. He actively opposed the colonels’ junta. After 1974, Theodorakis and his work became symbols
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of the new free and democratic Greece. In 1989, he joined forces
with the conservatives of New Democracy (ND; Nea Dimokratia).
Theodorakis remains active and popular both in Greece and abroad.
See also CINEMA.
THEOTOKIS, GEORGIOS (1844–1916). Born in Corfu, Georgios
Theotokis distinguished himself as mayor of his native city of Corfu
before becoming minister of the navy and of education and ecclesiastical affairs with the party of Harilaos Trikoupis. After Trikoupis’
death, Theotokis became the leader of the old faction, heading the
Modernizing Party and becoming a prime minister several times during the first decade of the 20th century. In many respects, Theotokis
prepared the ground for the future successes of Eleftherios Venizelos by strengthening the Greek armed forces, public administration, and the economy. He died in Athens in 1916.
THESSALONIKI. The second-largest Greek city with an approximate
population of 800,000, Thessaloniki was founded by Kassandros, Alexander the Great’s brother-in-law. It was named after Kassandros’
wife, Alexander’s sister and Philip II’s daughter, Thessaloniki. Well
protected by the long but shallow Thermaikos Bay, situated at the
center of the Macedonian plain on the crossroads of the east-west
Egnatia highway and the northward corridor along the Vardar River
valley, Thessaloniki has always remained an important urban center.
St. Paul visited and preached in the city and wrote two famous letters to its inhabitants. In the early fourth century CE, the late Roman
coemperor Gallerios endowed the city with a palatial complex, a
hippodrome, and an arch of triumph. During Byzantine times, Thessaloniki enjoyed the privilege of being the second city of the empire
after Constantinople. In the 13th century CE, under Metropolitan
Grigorios Palamas, Thessaloniki grew into an important religious
center that reinvigorated Greek Orthodox Christianity.
Thessaloniki was seized by the advancing Ottomans in 1430
CE. The city changed dramatically with the arrival of thousands of
Sephardic Jews from Spain after 1492 CE. As the Ottoman age was
coming to a close, Thessaloniki began experiencing great events and
tragedies. The transition from the age of empires to that of nationstates was particularly traumatic for the city. Thessaloniki is the city
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where Mustafa Kemal, better known as Atatürk, was born in 1881.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Thessaloniki’s Macedonian
hinterland was devastated by the armed conflict between pro-Bulgarian and pro-Greek paramilitaries. It was in Thessaloniki where the
revolution of the Young Turks took place in 1908 when the Third
Ottoman Army, stationed in the city, revolted against the sultan. This
is also the city to which the previously powerful Sultan Abdul Hamid
was exiled after 1909.
Thessaloniki was taken by the Greeks during the First Balkan
War in October 1912. Five years later, in 1917, a devastating fire
destroyed almost three quarters of the city. During World War I,
Thessaloniki hosted Entente troops, exiled Serbs, and the rebellious
government of National Defense of Eleftherios Venizelos. After the
Asia Minor catastrophe in 1922, Thessaloniki became the home of
thousands of Greek refugees. The cycle of blood peaked and came
to a tragic closure in 1943 when the Nazi Germans gathered and
expelled 97 percent of the city’s Jewish community, sending nearly
65,000 of its inhabitants to their death.
Since World War II, Thessaloniki has grown as a commercial, industrial, and educational center, hosting Greece’s largest university.
In 1997, Thessaloniki was designated as the cultural capital of Europe. Since the Cold War ended, Thessaloniki emerged as Greece’s
gateway to its Balkan hinterland, and, with some hesitation, as a
vibrant regional urban center. In particular, the opening of borders
holds the promise of Thessaloniki recovering some of its old status as
a Balkan metropolis, beyond the confinements of nationalism, while
the arrival of East Europeans and other immigrants has revived a certain multi-cultural tradition that had been lost with World War II.
THESSALY. Surrounded by mountains, Thessaly forms Greece’s
largest plain and its main agricultural region. With a surface area
of 14,036 square kilometers and a population of 740,115, Thessaly
is situated in Central Greece (Sterea Ellada). Prehistoric communities have been found near the port city of Volos. The Homeric hero
Achilles came from Thessaly.
The region was united with Greece in 1881, following the compromise reached at the Congress of Berlin, three years earlier, and
Greece became, for the first time since its independence, self-suf-
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ficient in cereals and basic foodstuffs. However, the departing Ottoman landowners quickly sold their large estates, called tsiflikia, to
rich Greeks. Subsequently, the unequal distribution of land caused
rising social tensions. Thessaly’s agrarian question, which radicalized the local population, was finally solved under the pressure created by the influx of Asia Minor refugees after 1922. After World
War II, Thessaly prospered as Greece’s breadbasket.
THRACE. Situated in the northeast, Thrace is a region of Greece bordering Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the east. It comprises
three districts and has a surface area of 8,578 square kilometers and a
population of 338,147. Greek Thrace is the western part of a broader
historical region. The much larger eastern Thrace lies within Turkey
and is Turkey’s only hold on the continent of Europe.
In antiquity, Thrace remained in the periphery of the Greek world
but in Byzantine times it grew and became Constantinople’s immediate hinterland. The Macedonian dynasty of the 10th century
CE originally came from Thrace. The Ottoman Turks first landed
in Thrace by conquering Gallipoli in 1354 CE and, soon thereafter,
they made the Thracian city of Adrianople (Edirne) their capital.
Thrace was conquered by Bulgaria in the First Balkan War but its
eastern part was lost to Ottoman Turkey in the Second Balkan War.
Greece took possession of western Thrace with the Treaty of Neuilly
in 1919, following the conclusion of World War I.
A large Muslim minority of around 120,000 people resides in
Thrace. This is the only minority Greece officially recognizes. The
Muslims of Thrace belong to three distinct ethnic groups: Turks, Pomaks, and Roma. They were exempt from the mandatory exchange
of populations between Greece and Turkey provisioned in the Treaty
of Lausanne of 1923. Following the deterioration of Greek–Turkish
relations in the 1950s and the departure of the Greeks of Istanbul
and the islands of Imvros and Tenedos from Turkey, the Muslims of
Thrace suffered discrimination by the Greek authorities.
Since 1990, the minority’s position has improved greatly although
the Muslims remain a largely agrarian and conservative community
with incomes and education well below the national average. Defined in religious terms and having escaped the secularizing reforms
of Kemal Atatürk in neighboring Turkey, the Muslims of Greek
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Thrace form the oldest Muslim community in Europe with institutions and shrines that are centuries old and exhibit a multicultural
tradition that is no longer available elsewhere.
Because of its remoteness, the presence of a large minority, and
Turkey’s close vicinity, the Greek government introduced generous financial incentives for investors while promoting an ambitious
public works program in Thrace. Today, the region is no longer the
poorer part of Greece. With the accession of neighboring Bulgaria to
the European Union (EU) and Turkey’s aspirations for membership,
Thrace is rapidly developing into a trade and energy hub.
TOURISM. Tourism is Greece’s major industry. Approximately 18
million foreign tourists visit Greece annually, leaving behind €20
billion in revenue. They come mainly from Europe, and especially
Great Britain and Germany. Recently, there has been an increase of
Americans, Eastern Europeans, wealthy Russians, and Asians. Approximately 1 in every 10 Greek workers is employed in the tourism
Traditionally, Greece has offered three main attractions: its stunning natural beauty that includes some of the world’s best beaches,
the history of an ancient land filled with famous antiquities, and a
uniquely free-spirited and highly social Mediterranean lifestyle and
culture. More recently, high-class hotels have proliferated, catering
to a more exclusive clientele. The Greek tourist industry took off in
the 1960s, stagnated in the 1980s, and has further expanded in the
2000s, following the success of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Greece’s main tourist spots are Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Halkidiki, and
the Cycladic Islands. Athens, which used to be a mere transit point,
is growing into a European destination in its own right. Throughout
the year, the city hosts a number of international conferences, owing
to its easily accessible location.
Despite the growth of mass tourism, much of Greece has avoided
the fate of the Spanish coast and remains pristine and unspoiled.
Nevertheless, competition is fierce with countries such as Turkey,
Egypt, and Croatia, which offer lower prices for services of similar
quality. Recently, there has been an effort to diversify Greek tourism from the high summer season and centered on the sea resorts
to new kinds of tourism including winter, conference, sports, and
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ecotourism. For example, sailing is an area of much future growth.
Current tourist policy is aimed at quality rather than quantity, attracting fewer but wealthier tourists. Nevertheless, every summer, Greece
continues to be inundated with young Europeans, whose presence
and interaction with the local population has had a profound effect in
the liberalization of the traditionally conservative Greek culture. See
TRADE. Although external trade remains relatively small—the total
sum of imports and exports in proportion to the gross domestic product (GDP)—compared with other small European nations, Greece
possesses an open economy, well integrated into the global market.
Protectionist barriers were gradually dismantled after Greece’s entry
into the European Community (EC) in 1981.
However, Greece’s external trade has traditionally suffered a pronounced asymmetry. In the past, Greek exports of goods were around
40 percent of their imports. Recently, this has fallen below 30 percent, despite some healthy growth in exports. This is because Greece
has the lowest export rate in the old European Union (EU-15), after
tiny Luxembourg.
The resulting large trade deficit is partially covered by a surplus
in the provision of services, mainly through revenues from shipping
and tourism, and large transfers in the form of EU subsidies. Greek
emigrants’ remittances have declined in relative importance, as diaspora Greeks’ bonds with the mother country have progressively
Greece imports cars and machinery, food products (mainly meat
and dairy), consumer goods, and oil. It exports some agricultural
products (mainly olive oil, fruits, fish, and tobacco), a few minerals
(bauxite and marble), cement, and chemicals. Overall, a high current account deficit of around 10 percent of the GDP will continue
to persist, as long as the economy grows and demand for imports
remains strong.
TREATY OF LAUSANNE. Signed on 24 July 1923, the Treaty of
Lausanne replaced the Treaty of Sèvres, which was never accepted
by Kemal Atatürk’s nationalists. Turkey was the only defeated nation of World War I that managed to revise a peace treaty to its
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favor, following the successful conclusion of a military struggle
against the Greeks and the Armenians over parts of Asia Minor in
Turkey won back all of Asia Minor and eastern Thrace, together
with a strip of land from Syria, the two small Aegean islands of Imvros and Tenedos, and the full control of the demilitarized Straits of
the Dardanelles. With this same treaty, Turkey recognized the loss of
all other Ottoman provinces to its neighbors and the transfer of the
Dodecanese islands to Italy.
A separate agreement between Greece and Turkey regulated the
mandatory exchange of populations between the two nations based on
religious affiliation. As a result, around 1.5 million Turkish citizens
of Greek Orthodox faith, some of whom spoke only Turkish, left
Turkey for Greece; some 600,000 Greek Muslims, some of whom
spoke only Greek, left Greece and moved to Turkey. The human
suffering involved in turning ancient communities into refugees was
considerable but Greece acquired a previously nonexistent homogeneity. The Greeks of Istanbul (approximately 120,000 people) and
of Imvros and Tenedos (an additional 6,000 people) were excluded
from the transfer, as were the 120,000 Muslims of western Thrace.
Turkey undertook, but failed, to provide self-government rights to
the islands of Imvros and Tenedos, and to respect its minorities and
the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate based in Istanbul.
The Treaty of Lausanne provides the legal basis for Greece’s relations with Turkey. Despite the evacuation of eastern Thrace where
the Greeks were not militarily defeated, Lausanne was an honest
compromise and competently negotiated by Eleftherios Venizelos,
who represented the Greek side. The treaty is so fundamental that
it is often referred to in the press and forms part of everyday Greek
politics. Much of the postwar Greek–Turkish rivalry has been on
conflicting interpretations of the provisions of the treaty or on issues
the treaty could not have foreseen, such as the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf. See also FOREIGN POLICY.
TREATY OF SÈVRES. Signed on 10 August 1920, in the Paris
suburb of Sèvres, the treaty was part of the network of Paris peace
treaties and was supposed to be the last one concluded between the
victors and losers of World War I. Sèvres punished the Ottoman
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Empire severely by extracting some four fifths of its territories.
Greece benefited the most by acquiring eastern Thrace (except for
Istanbul [Constantinople]) and the islands of Imvros and Tenedos,
and the right to administer much of western Asia Minor, around
Izmir (Smyrna), for a period of five years, at the end of which the fate
of the territory would be decided by a referendum. The treaty was a
diplomatic triumph for Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos
and the culmination of the Greek irredentist project of Megali
Idea. Although the sultan’s government was forced to concede, the
nationalists under Kemal Atatürk refused and fought against it. The
dismemberment of Asia Minor and the containment of the Turks, the
former masters of an empire, into a small portion of Anatolia stimulated Turkish nationalism. The resulting war ended with the triumph
of Atatürk and the defeat of the Greeks. For Turkish nationalists,
Sèvres has represented a continuous threat that should never be allowed to be resurrected. See also FOREIGN POLICY.
TRIKOUPIS, HARILAOS (1832–1896). Born in Nafplio in Peloponnesus, Harilaos Trikoupis died in Cannes in France, where he
withdrew after his electoral defeat the year before. Trikoupis came
from a well-established family of Mesologi in western Greece. His
father, Spyridon, served as prime minister and wrote the seminal history of the Greek Revolution and the War of Independence. After
his studies, Trikoupis entered the foreign service and worked at the
Greek embassy in London. In 1862, he was elected representative of
the Greek community of London to the constitutional assembly and,
a year later, he helped Greece secure the Ionian Islands from Great
In 1865, Trikoupis was elected a member of Parliament for his
native Mesologi and, a year later, he became foreign minister. He
quickly resigned and remained an independent. In 1872, he founded
the liberal and progressive “Fifth Party.” In 1874, he wrote an article
in the press against the monarch and in support of parliamentary
sovereignty that made him famous. A year later, he became prime
minister for a short period.
In reality, he was in power from 1882 to 1895 with a few interruptions in between. Trikoupis provided Greece, for the first time since
its independence, with governmental stability and a coherent policy.
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He was a modernizer who initiated a major program of reforms and
public works. He built Greece’s railway network and the Corinth
canal. Under his stewardship, some industrialization occurred. He
expanded the Greek navy with the acquisition of three battleships.
In foreign policy, he distanced himself from traditional Greek irredentism and avoided confrontation with the much stronger Ottoman
Empire, preferring to concentrate, unlike many of his opponents, on
domestic development.
Trikoupis’ modernization fell victim to an unreceptive Greek society, a coalition of vested interests, and the unpopularity of the heavy
taxation he had to impose to find the necessary economic resources.
Eventually, with the public finances in tatters, he declared bankruptcy, accepted foreign financial supervision, and held elections in
1895, which he lost, failing even to be elected to Parliament himself.
He left Greece for France, where he died a year later.
TRUMAN DOCTRINE. Named after the president of the United
States, Harry Truman, the Truman Doctrine inaugurated a policy of
postwar activism on the part of the United States with the aim of containing the spread of Soviet influence around the world and of U.S.
interventionism in Greek affairs. Proclaimed at the U.S. Congress on
12 March 1947, the doctrine was the result of Great Britain’s inability to continue supporting the Greek government against the communist insurgency and of Joseph Stalin’s growing pressure on Turkey.
By stating that the United States would “support free peoples who are
resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside
pressure,” Truman undertook, with the use of U.S. financial, military,
technological, and political resources, to keep Greece and Turkey
within the Western sphere of influence in the deepening Cold War
with the Soviet Union, while replacing Britain as the dominant force
in the Mediterranean.
TSAROUCHIS, YANNIS (1910–1989). Born in Piraeus, Yannis Tsarouchis was a talented painter who, toward the end of his life, became
a cultural icon of modern Greece. A student of Photis Kontoglou, he
strove to blend traditional iconography with French impressionism
and Western trends. In 1949, he and other celebrated artists, including Nikos Engonopoulos, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, and Yannis
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Moralis, established the “Armos” art group. Tsarouchis worked a
lot for the theater and became famous for the homoerotic images of
vulnerable men, in uniforms or nude. He died in Athens.
TSATSOS, KONSTANTINOS (1899–1987). Born in Athens, Konstantinos Tsatsos was both an eminent scholar in philosophy of law
and a politician. He studied in Heidelberg and joined the faculty of the
University of Athens in 1930. In the following hard years, he was dismissed, imprisoned, and internally exiled. After the war, he supported
the liberals, but in 1956 he joined the newly formed National Radical
Union (NRU; Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosis, ERE) led by Konstantinos
Karamanlis. Tsatsos became a prominent member of Karamanlis’
cabinet. After the fall of the junta in 1974, Tsatsos chaired the parliamentary committee that drafted Greece’s new democratic constitution and in 1975 he became the first elected president of the country’s
Third Republic. He died in Athens in 1987.
TSITSANIS, VASSILIS (1915–1984). Born in Trikala in Thessaly,
Vassilis Tsitsanis is a musical legend of modern Greece. As the
best representative of rebetiko and laiko (popular) music, Tsitsanis
composed and performed songs that became extremely popular and
have become a part of Greece’s postwar cultural identity. His work
rejuvenated Greek music and influenced subsequent artists in their
search for authenticity and originality. He died in London on his 69th
TURKEY (RELATIONS WITH). No other country has influenced
the development of modern Greece more than Turkey. It is an irony
that both countries have fought their wars of independence against
each other. Greece emerged from the Turkish Ottoman Empire in
the 1820s while modern Turkey was created through the nationalist
struggle, principally against the invading Greeks, to retain Anatolia
after World War I. Many Greeks’ place of origin lies in modern
Turkey. On a popular and cultural level, the two nations have a lot
in common, such as in cuisine, music, and mentality. However, as
generalizations and ethnic stereotypes go, the Greeks tend to be more
anarchic and passionate while the Turks are more stern, self-disciplined, and obedient to authority.
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During the first century of its independent existence, Turkey was
Greece’s primary enemy. The young nation remained irredentist and
expansionist to the detriment of Ottoman Turkey, where the majority of Greeks continued to live. Although Greece paid a heavy price
for its revisionism and lost a war against Ottoman Turkey in 1897,
it did expand several times until the major defeat of 1922 in Asia
Minor. The end of the Greek Megali Idea was followed by a rapprochement, as the two nations concentrated their efforts on domestic
reconstruction and the containment of Fascist Italy’s revisionism in
the Mediterranean.
The international community is aware of the traditional antagonism between the two nations. However, there have been periods of
friendship and détente in the past. This was the case from the 1930s
until 1955. Starting with the proclamation of the Truman Doctrine
in 1947, both Greece and Turkey formed a part of the strategy of containment of the United States against the Soviet Union. Together,
they entered the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
in 1952, provided military bases to the United States, and formed
NATO’s southeast European flank.
The relationship unraveled because of the Cyprus question. The
first victim was the Greek community of Istanbul (Constantinople),
which suffered a government-sponsored pogrom in September
1955. Tensions increased in the Aegean, where Turkey disputed the
continental shelf of the Greek islands, Greece’s right to expand its
territorial waters and airspace to 12 miles, Greece’s armament of its
islands facing the Anatolian coast, the treatment of the Muslim-Turkish minority in Greek Thrace and, after 1996, Greek sovereignty
over certain border island formations.
The rivalry with Turkey was intimately linked with domestic
political antagonisms. It was exploited mainly by a recovering left
as a way to question Greece’s Western orientation and alliance with
the United States. In the 1970s, Turkey provided the platform upon
which Andreas Papandreou based much of his meteoric rise to
Despite some previous attempts, Greek–Turkish relations started
recovering truly only after 1999, due to the efforts of modernizing
leaders on both sides. Triggered by repeated crises that risked escalating into an armed confrontation, Athens decided to complement
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its traditional policy of deterrence, based on increased military spending, with a policy of engagement, based on Turkey’s aspirations for
membership in the European Union (EU).
As a result, although the political problems separating the two nations remain unresolved, they are currently being benignly neglected
or functionally circumvented. Trade, tourism, investment, and cultural exchanges are booming as the two largest economies of southeastern Europe have come closer together. Although Greek public
opinion remains volatile and suspicious of Turkey, the Greek elites
remain committed to the rapprochement as a condition for Greece’s
own modernization, development, and better integration into the EU.
– U –
UNITED STATES (RELATIONS WITH). Greece is believed to be
one of the most anti-American nations. On the surface, this appears to
be a paradox given the large Greek-American diaspora and the massive American political and financial investment on postwar Greece.
After all, both countries fought on the same side in all major wars of
the 20th century, while both nations, the “oldest” and the “strongest”
democracy, share a certain liberal and independent-minded predisposition. The United States was the first country to recognize diplomatically the independence of Greece after the revolution of 1821.
The United States is blamed for its interventionism and imperialist
tendency. However, overall Greece has benefited greatly from U.S.
interventionism. America’s entry in World War I in 1917 secured
the victory of the Entente and Greece over the Central Powers and
their local allies, including the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, and
consolidated Greek sovereignty over southern Macedonia and western Thrace. U.S. involvement in World War II hastened Greece’s
liberation from a brutal triple occupation by Nazi Germany, Fascist
Italy, and nationalist Bulgaria.
The high point of the U.S. engagement with Greece came in March
1947 with the proclamation of the Truman Doctrine. For a brief
moment, Greece occupied the center stage in the unfolding Cold
War drama and took advantage of U.S. aid to defeat a communist
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insurgency. In per capita terms, Greece received the largest share
of Marshall Plan aid. Initially, Greece was to become a poster child
for liberal, post–New Deal America and was promoted as a small
and brave democracy worthy of American support. The Americans
remained skeptical of the wisdom of returning the king to the Greek
throne, as the British insisted in 1946, a move that further polarized
Greek politics and accelerated the descent into Civil War. Furthermore, the Americans favored the centrist liberals over right-wing
conservatives to rule Greece during and in the immediate aftermath
of the Civil War, as the best way to undercut support for the left.
The root of Greek anti-Americanism has been Turkey. Starting
in the 1950s, the growing rivalry between Greece and Turkey over
Cyprus greatly affected Greek–U.S. relations. Turkey was an important ally of the U.S. policy of containment of the Soviet Union
and Washington appeared, in Greek eyes, to be favoring Turkey over
Greece. When the Greek community of Istanbul (Constantinople)
was unfairly victimized by a government-sponsored pogrom in September 1955, Secretary of State Allen Dulles asked both sides to stay
calm, adopting a policy of equidistance that, in Greek eyes, equated
the victim with the victimizer. When Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974,
the United States declined to use its political and military power to
stop and then reverse Turkey’s advance southwards.
Although the United States did try to restrain Turkey from invading Cyprus in 1964 and from starting a war in the Aegean in 1996,
the suspicion was that Greek–Turkish antagonism, if properly managed, was beneficial to the United States, making both countries
more dependent on Washington. The side effect of this triangular
relationship was the constant erosion of Greek goodwill toward the
United States. For many Greeks, not only leftists, Turkey was an
American pawn and a local agent of U.S. imperialism.
Furthermore, the heavy-handedness of U.S. ambassadors in
Greece in the 1950s and the U.S. toleration, if not tacit support,
of the colonels’ junta between 1967 and 1974, further fed Greek
anti-Americanism. Following Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus, the U.S.
ambassador in Nicosia was assassinated and Greece withdrew from
the military command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
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The restoration of democracy in 1974 and the gradual normalization of Greek politics that followed witnessed the institutionalization
of a certain anti-Americanism that became almost officially sanctioned. Every 17 November, massive demonstrations take place at
the U.S. embassy in Athens in remembrance of U.S. support of the
Greek junta. Anti-American protests have been ritualized and take
place often. A few U.S. state employees were assassinated by Greek
left-wing terrorists, and the U.S. embassy and other sites affiliated
with the United States have been victims of bomb explosions and
missile attacks. To this day, the U.S. embassy in Athens remains one
of the most heavily guarded in the world. What was originally envisioned as an open space, designed by the renowned architect Walter
Gropius, has been turned into a fortress.
The impulsive attitude of opposing U.S. policy and blaming the
Americans for every misfortune that befalls Greece and the world
is actively cultivated by many politicians and journalists. Overall,
Greek anti-Americanism is widespread and cuts across the whole
political spectrum. Recently, it has been fueled by the wars in former
Yugoslavia, turmoil in the Middle East, and globalization, since the
United States is seen as the promoter of wild, aggressive capitalism.
In the meantime, Greeks continue to consume American culture,
adopt American fashion trends and admire American universities
while many American tourists visit every year the country they have
been brought up to believe to be the cradle of Western civilization.
– V –
VENIZELOS, ELEFTHERIOS (1864–1936). Eleftherios Venizelos
was born near Chania in Crete. He is a towering figure in the politics of postindependent Greece, thanks mainly to his diplomacy and
strategic vision that greatly shaped Greece’s current character and
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structure. Present-day Greece recognizes Venizelos as its leading
statesman and there is no other name as frequently used for naming
Greek streets, squares, and public buildings.
With a father who fought the Ottoman hold on Crete and following his law studies at the University of Athens, Venizelos became
involved in the politics of the Cretan question in favor of the
island’s union with Greece. From the start, Venizelos exhibited his
exceptional political skills as he confronted the Ottomans, the great
powers, and Prince George of Greece, who was appointed high commissioner to Crete. Against all odds, he prevailed and established a
reputation that far surpassed the confines of his island.
After the revolution in Goudi in 1909, the Military League invited
him to Athens, first as a political advisor and then to assume the
premiership. Venizelos’ arrival revolutionized Greek politics. He
founded a new political party, the Liberals, and won one election
after another, starting in 1910. He allowed for new social forces to
be represented in Parliament, far from the ossified partisans of the
past, and gave voice to the demands of an aspiring bourgeoisie for
the modernization of the Greek state. He voted for a number of reforms, including a radical revision of the 1864 Constitution in 1911.
Although many demanded a republic, he prevailed in preserving
the monarchy, a decision he would come to regret in the years to
Through the reorganization of the Greek armed forces and an active diplomacy, he favorably positioned Greece on the eve of the Balkan Wars. When hostilities erupted in the fall of 1912, he insisted on
the fastest possible advance of the Greek army toward Thessaloniki,
the capital of Macedonia, and the much-contested crown jewel of the
Ottomans in Europe. In the negotiations that followed, Venizelos excelled in securing the maximum possible territorial gains for Greece.
This was his finest moment and helped build his legend.
When World War I erupted, Venizelos—being a supporter of
Great Britain, a firm believer in the superiority of the Entente and
its naval power, and stimulated by the promise of great territorial
gains—maneuvered to have Greece participate. The new king, Constantine I, a Germanophile, disagreed and preferred to keep Greece
neutral. The rift quickly escalated into a serious constitutional crisis
that turned into a quasi Civil War and is remembered as the National
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Schism (Ethnikos Dihasmos). In 1915, Venizelos resigned, won the
elections, and was forced to resign again. This time, he and his supporters abstained from the new elections, since royal interference was
making a mockery of parliamentary politics.
However, following Bulgaria’s attack on Serbia and the Gallipoli campaign, external pressures on Greece’s joining the Entente
increased. When the Greek Fourth Army stationed in Kavala was
ordered to surrender rather than fight the invading Bulgarians, Venizelos left Athens, went to Thessaloniki, and organized a rebellious
government of National Defense supported by the Entente troops.
Finally, in 1917, the Entente forces obliged King Constantine I to
abdicate in favor of his second son, Alexander. Venizelos returned
to Athens, assumed the premiership, reunited Greece that had been
divided in two (one part loyal to the government in Athens and the
other to the government in Thessaloniki), and declared war on the
side of the Entente. In the meantime, many of his supporters took
revenge against the outgoing royalists, further deepening the wounds
of the National Schism.
Although Serbia saw its male population decimated in the war
and Bulgaria and Ottoman Turkey suffered heavy casualties, Greece,
joining the war at that late stage, suffered, comparably speaking,
few losses. Nevertheless, its participation in the war effort secured
for Greece a seat on the side of the victors in the postwar peace negotiations in Paris. Once more, Venizelos excelled. First, he secured
western Thrace with the Treaty of Neuilly in 1919 that forced Bulgaria to abandon its exit to the Aegean and confined it to the Black
Sea. In May of that year, Venizelos was invited, by the Entente led
by Britain, to land Greek forces in Izmir (Smyrna). This was a major
decision with far-reaching consequences as it prepared the ground
for a permanent Greek hold on parts of western Asia Minor. A year
later, he triumphantly cosigned the Treaty of Sèvres that awarded
additional new lands to Greece at the expense of Ottoman Turkey.
Having secured all these gains, Venizelos called for elections after years of war and turbulence. Against all odds, although he won
the popular vote, he lost his majority in Parliament, resigned, and
left for Paris, leaving his monarchist opponents to rule the country
at a very crucial moment. The monarchists made their first mistake
by recalling Constantine I to the throne. This infuriated the Entente
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166 •
powers and led to the increasing diplomatic isolation of Greece as the
country was struggling to implement the Treaty of Sèvres, against the
rising tide of Turkish nationalism led by Kemal Atatürk.
After the Greek defeat and the Asia Minor catastrophe in 1922,
Venizelos was asked to lead the Greek efforts for a new peace
treaty with Turkey. He secured the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923,
by which Greece, despite its humiliating military defeat, did manage
to preserve many of its gains from the previous 11 years. Finally,
he returned to power in 1928 and ruled for a full four-year term.
Venizelos’ major achievements during this second period in power
included the signing of a treaty of friendship with Turkey, the acceleration of the efforts to accommodate and better integrate refugees,
and an ambitious public works program.
However, starting in 1929, his administration suffered greatly
during the international economic crisis and the rising popularity of
communism that was undercutting support for Venizelos’ liberals on
the left. He lost in the 1932 elections to the monarchists. After the
failure of the 1935 proliberal military coup led by Nikolaos Plastiras, once more, he left Greece and died in exile in Paris a year later.
Venizelos oversaw the expansion, integration, and development
of the modern Greek nation-state. In his extraordinarily rich political
career, it is natural to find some dark shadows. In his own way, Venizelos contributed to the National Schism and did not have enough
control of his supporters both at the time of victory and of defeat.
His decision to land Greek troops in Asia Minor was a daring gamble
with an uncertain future under the best of circumstances. His decision
to hold elections in 1920 and then leave the country opened the way
for the disaster that followed. And, in his later years, he proved too
ready to suppress the communists and the ethnoreligious minorities
that threatened his liberal, modernizing vision. These issues will continue to be debated over the years. Nevertheless, if one man has left
the deepest footprint on prewar Greece, he is undoubtedly Venizelos.
VENIZELOS, SOFOKLIS (1894–1964). Born in Chania in Crete,
Sofoklis Venizelos died on board a ship on his way from Crete to
Piraeus days before the landslide victory of his party, the Center
Union (Enosis Kentrou), in the 1964 elections. Venizelos was the
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• 167
second son of his famous father, Eleftherios Venizelos. He graduated from the Military Academy but his military career never really
advanced. After his father’s death, he claimed the leadership of the
His first cabinet post was in the government-in-exile during
World War II in 1943. A year later, he became prime minister for a
brief period. In 1945 he was appointed vice-chairman of the Liberals
under Themistoklis Sofoulis. In the early 1950s, Venizelos headed
the government three times and was second-in-command under
Nikolaos Plastiras. After the victory of the conservative Alexandros
Papagos in 1952, he remained in opposition. In 1961 he collaborated
with Georgios Papandreou in founding the Center Union. His death
came at a critical moment in Greek history and allowed Papandreou
to think of himself as the undisputed leader of the soon-to-be victorious party while it changed the political balance of power in favor of
a more radical Center Union, further distancing itself from the right
and the king.
– W –
WAR OF INDEPENDENCE (1821–1828). Prior to 1821, there were
several revolts against Ottoman rule in the Greek lands, although
mostly of a local character. The ideas and success of the French
Revolution greatly affected Greece. The Greek Revolution and War
of Independence were preceded by a Greek Enlightenment, an intellectual revivalist movement, in concert with European developments
that enjoyed the support of an expanding merchant class.
Thanks to agitators like Rigas Feraios, Filiki Eteria, and others, a
political project for the expulsion of the Ottomans and the establishment of a Greek national state took shape. The decline of the power of
the Ottoman Empire and the increased infighting between the sultan
and his provincial pashas created new opportunities for an insurrection. Despite the political hegemony of reactionary conservatism in
post-Napoleonic Europe, which viewed any kind of revolution with
great suspicion, the Greek insurrection broke out on two fronts.
The first front in the Danubian provinces led by Alexandros Ypsilantis was soon defeated by the Ottoman army in the battle of Dragatsani.
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168 •
However, the second front that opened in remote Peloponnesus
gathered strength and defeated one Ottoman expeditionary force after
another. Helped by the great distance separating Peloponnesus from
Istanbul (Constantinople), the rough mountainous terrain, and the
sultan’s preoccupation with the rebellious Ali Pasha of Jannina, Peloponnesus fell quickly into rebel hands. In 1822, Theodoros Kolokotronis, the revolution’s military genius, achieved a great victory by
destroying the Ottoman army in Dervenakia, on the road between
Corinth and Argos. Simultaneously, the Greek navy consisting of
merchant ships converted to battleships, manned by skilled captains
and experienced crews, contained the Ottoman fleet in the Aegean
away from Peloponnesus.
The initial successes of the revolutionaries were followed by
infighting among various factions for control of political power. In
the meantime, the Ottomans reorganized and invited Mehmet Ali,
governor of Egypt, to help in ending the revolution. Arriving in 1824,
Ibrahim Pasha, son of Mehmet Ali, had, by 1827, most of Peloponnesus under his control. In 1826, Mesologi in western Greece, under
siege for months, surrendered. However, what might have been a
misunderstanding started a naval battle between the allied fleet of
Great Britain, France, and Russia and the Ottoman–Egyptian
forces stationed in Navarino Bay in southwestern Peloponnesus. The
Ottoman–Egyptian fleet was sunk, the Egyptians left, and Peloponnesus was, once more, free from Ottoman rule.
A year later, war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire further
strengthened the revolutionaries. The Treaty of Adrianople in 1829,
which ended the Russian–Ottoman war, acknowledged the autonomy
of the Greek state. This state had just started being built under its first
president, Ioannis Capodistrias. A year later, the London Protocol
of 1830 recognized Greece as an independent state.
Greece was the first nation-state to emerge from the Ottoman
Empire and the pioneer of the modern, Western, national ideas in the
East. It was soon followed by many others until the empire was no
more. As poor as the country was, Greece had managed to develop a
merchant class and the commercial networks that connected it to the
West and the Enlightenment.
In addition, despite initial European opposition, the Greek War
of Independence and the atrocities the Ottoman troops committed
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• 169
against civilians attracted the sympathy of many Europeans to the
Greek cause. For the Russians, the Greeks were their fellow Christian
Orthodox while, for the British and the French, they were the descendants of Plato and Aristotle. Philhellenism played an important
role in changing international perceptions of the war. Britain, under
Foreign Minister George Canning, was the first to support the Greek
effort. Judging from the naval battle at Navarino, the support of the
great powers proved crucial in making the revolution prevail. It was
no accident that Greece remained under their tutelage, especially
Britain’s, in the years to come.
For the Greeks, the establishment of an independent kingdom in
the southernmost part of the Balkans was a mixed blessing. Three
quarters of the Greeks continued to live under the sultan’s rule and
many suffered a decline in their fortunes following the revolution.
For many decades after the establishment of a Greek independent
state, Greeks left their homeland in search of a better economic future
offered by the Ottoman Empire in cities such as Izmir (Smyrna) and
Alexandria. Undoubtedly, the war initiated a process of national integration that continued for 130 years until the Dodecanese in 1947,
but not Cyprus, were brought into the Greek national fold.
WOMEN. Greece used to be a traditional society where women were
discriminated against, stayed at home, raised a family, followed their
husband’s lead, and had few opportunities for personal advancement. And yet, like other Mediterranean societies, Greece is fairly
matriarchical. Usually, a wife is the head of the household and bears
most, if not the sole, responsibility for the children’s upbringing,
and a mother is usually deferred to by her husband, children, and the
broader family. Since the 1960s, the position of Greek women has
improved dramatically. Nevertheless, Greece has one of the lowest
rates of working women in Western Europe. Only one in two adult
women works, although most young women work today. While the
majority of university students these days are women, the rate of
female illiteracy remains double that of the corresponding male, as
some older women have never gone to school.
Many professions are dominated by women. Although old male
bastions have fallen, few women have made it to the top. In the
1980s, the newly arrived socialists made women’s rights a priority
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170 •
under the influence of Andreas Papandreou’s strong-willed and
American-born wife, Margarita. Family law was modernized, adultery decriminalized, civil marriage introduced, divorce facilitated,
and abortion legalized. But more recently, interest in women’s issues
has declined and there is strong resistance against affirmative action
and preferential treatment in support of women.
From the beginning of modern Greek national life, many women
have distinguished themselves in public life. First there were the revolutionary heroines Laskarina Bouboulina and Manto Mavrogenous,
then writers such as Penelope Delta, and artists such as Maria Callas
and Melina Merkouri. More recently, some women have acquired
important public positions including Yanna Angelopoulou, who won
the bidding for and successfully organized the Athens 2004 Olympic
Games; Aleka Papariga, the general secretary of the Communist
Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE);
Maria Damanaki, president of the Coalition of the Left; Anna Psarouda-Benaki, president of Parliament; and Dora Bakoyanni, mayor
of Athens and now foreign minister. See also FREDERIKA, QUEEN
WORLD WAR I. Greece entered World War I late, in 1917, on the
side of the Entente. Greek forces operated mainly in Macedonia
against the advancing Bulgarians and Germans, following the occupation of Serbia. Greece suffered few casualties: fewer than 3,000
Greeks died in combat. After the war ended, as a victor, Greece
secured western Thrace from Bulgaria with the Treaty of Neuilly
of 1919. In addition, Greece was awarded large Ottoman territories
under the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920. These gains were later largely
reversed under the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, following the Greek
defeat by the Turks.
The decision to enter the war divided Greeks into two hostile
camps: the pro-Entente camp led by the democratically elected prime
minister, Eleftherios Venizelos, and the pro-German camp that advocated Greece’s neutrality, led by the popular King Constantine I.
Twice dismissed in 1915, Venizelos formed a parallel government in
Thessaloniki in 1916 and, with the help of Entente troops, toppled
the king who was forced into exile in 1917. These dramatic events
that, at times, felt like a virtual civil war, generated an enduring hos-
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• 171
tility between the royalists and the liberals and destabilized Greek
political life for decades to come. See also FOREIGN POLICY.
WORLD WAR II. Greece entered World War II on 28 October 1940,
when it was attacked by Italy on the Albanian border. During the
previous year, Greece had desperately tried to avoid the conflict as
the country was struggling to recover from the misfortunes of the
interwar period, including the influx of hundreds of thousands of
refugees after the Asia Minor catastrophe and the world economic
crisis. Faced with repeated Italian provocations and Benito Mussolini’s megalomaniac imperialism in the Mediterranean, Greece
reaffirmed its alliance with Great Britain.
Recovering quickly from the surprise Italian attack, the Greek
forces fought bravely and took advantage of the mountainous geography of Epirus and the adverse weather conditions to force the
Italians into retreat deep into Albania. At the time, together with
Britain, Greece was the only country in Europe fighting the Axis.
The Greek success stunned the world and encouraged the Allies to
continue fighting. However, it did provoke Adolf Hitler to come to
his ally’s rescue. Nazi Germany, together with Bulgaria, attacked
Greece on 6 April 1941. By 27 April 1941, Athens had surrendered.
Nevertheless, it took German elite parachutists another five weeks to
overpower the island of Crete. It is generally assumed that Hitler’s
Greek campaign delayed the attack against Soviet Russia by several
weeks. This delay proved essential as it made it impossible for the
Germans to reach Moscow before the coming of the winter.
During World War II, Greece suffered greatly from the triple occupation of Bulgarians in the northeast, Germans in Athens and the
larger cities, and Italians in the rest of the country. The economy
collapsed and the few resources of the poor nation were diverted in
support of the German war machine. Greek Jews were persecuted
and old Jewish communities, such as the one in Thessaloniki, were
completely destroyed. Widespread famine spread during the first,
extremely harsh, winter of 1941–1942, fueling a strong resistance
Coming late and only after the Soviet Union was attacked, the
communists dominated the resistance. They took advantage of the
retreat of the Italians after the surrender of Italy to the Allies in 1943
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172 •
and tried to position themselves so they could dominate postwar
Greek politics. As a result, during the last phase of World War II,
a conflict developed between the communists and their adversaries
that later grew into a full-blown Civil War. Furthermore, for every
German loss, the Nazis disproportionately and severely punished the
Greek civilian population, massacring and burning several villages.
After the war’s devastation, Greece’s liberation in the fall of 1944
was quickly followed by the December Affair (Dekembriana) that
plunged the country into violence and chaos. Greece’s recovery
started only after 1949, while the rift between the left and the right
remained alive until the late 1980s and played a great part in postwar
Greek politics. In the meantime, in 1947, Italy was obliged to give
Greece the Greek-populated Dodecanese islands in the southeastern
Aegean. See also FOREIGN POLICY.
– Y –
– Z –
ZAHARIADIS, NIKOS (1903–1973). Born in Adrianople (Edirne),
Turkey, as one of the most controversial figures in modern Greek
history, Nikos Zahariadis was the secretary-general of the Communist Party of Greece (CPG; Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE)
from 1931 until 1956. Trained in Moscow, he was appointed head of
the Greek communists by Joseph Stalin himself, at a very young age.
Arrested in 1936 and imprisoned in Dachau by the Germans after
1941, he returned to Greece in May 1945. His first move was to denounce the rebellious Ari Velouhioti, who had rejected the Varkiza
Agreement. Zahariadis is accused as one of the main culprits of the
events that led to an escalation of hostilities and the subsequent Civil
War. With a charming personality but a Stalinist understanding of
politics, he insisted on confronting the government forces conventionally, leading his party into a crushing defeat and exile in 1949. He
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• 173
is further criticized for a confrontational post–Civil War attitude in
preserving the CPG/KKE’s fighting spirit, a policy that was used by
Greek governments to suppress the left. During the sixth plenary session of the CPG/KKE, Zahariadis was purged as an anti-Khrushchev
Stalinist and a year later, he was expelled from the party. He spent his
final years in exile in Siberia, where he committed suicide in 1973.
ZORBAS, ALEXIS. Alexis Zorbas was a real person but was immortalized as a fictional character featured in a popular movie of 1964,
Zorba the Greek, directed by Michael Cacoyannis and famously
played by the Irish–Mexican actor Anthony Quinn. The film was
based on the novel of Nikos Kazantzakis. The story is about the
encounter of a Cretan with an Englishman. In juxtaposition to the reserved and introvert Englishman, warm, proud, freedom-loving, rulebreaking, life-affirming, and womanizing Zorba embodied the Dionysian spirit of Greece. Mikis Theodorakis wrote the music score
of the syrtaki danced by Zorba in the film’s most memorable scene.
Thanks to Hollywood and the booming tourist industry, Zorba and
the syrtaki have become important parts of modern Greece’s identity.
Today, Greece is littered with various kinds of tourist establishments
named Zorba that play the Zorba the Greek soundtrack as part of an
invented, but much acclaimed, Greek tradition.
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Appendix A: Kings of Greece 1833–1973
Otto (Wittelsbach)
George I (Glücksburg)
Constantine I
Constantine I
George II
Constantine II
1922–1924, 1935–1941, 1946–1947
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09_152_03_AA.indd 176
3/26/09 1:07:18 PM
Appendix B: Presidents of Greece 1828–2008
Note: Dictatorial rulers are in parentheses.
Ioannis Capodistrias
Monarchy (see Kings of Greece)
Admiral Pavlos Koundouriotis
(General Theodoros Pangalos)
Admiral Pavlos Koundouriotis
Alexandros Zaimis
Monarchy (see Kings of Greece)
(Colonel Georgios Papadopoulos)
(General Phaidon Gyzikis)
Mikhail Stasinopoulos
Konstantinos Tsatsos
Konstantinos Karamanlis
Christos Sartzetakis
Konstantinos Karamanlis
Konstantinos Stephanopoulos
Karolos Papoulias
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09_152_04_AB.indd 178
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Appendix C: Prime Ministers of Modern Greece
Spyridon Trikoupis
Alexander Mavrokordatos
Count Armansberg
Knight Rundhart
Presidency of King Otto
Alexandros Mavrokordatos
Presidency of King Otto
Andreas Metaxas
Alexandros Mavrokordatos
Ioannis Koletis
Kitsos Tzavelas
Georgios Koundouriotis
Konstantinos Kanaris
Antonios Kriezis
Alexandros Mavrokordatos
Dimitrios Voulgaris
Athanasios Miaoulis
Gennaios Kolokotronis
Dimitrios Voulgaris
Zinon Valvis
Diomidis Kyriakou
Roufos Venizelos
Dimitrios Voulgaris
Konstantinos Kanaris
Zinon Valvis
Konstantinos Kanaris
Alexandros Koumoundouros
Epaminondas Deligiorgis
Roufos Venizelos
January 1833–October 1833
October 1833–May 1834
May 1835–February 1837
February 1837–December 1837
December 1837–June 1841
June 1841–October 1841
October 1841–September 1843
September 1843–March 1844
March 1844–August 1844
August 1844–September 1847
September 1847–March 1848
March 1848–October 1848
October 1848–December 1849
December 1849–May 1854
May 1854–September 1855
September 1855–November 1857
November 1857–May 1862
May 1862–October 1862
October 1862–February 1863
February 1863–March 1863
March 1863–April 1863
April 1863–October 1863
October 1863–March 1864
March 1864–April 1864
April 1864–July 1864
July 1864–March 1865
March 1865–October 1865
October 1865–November 1865
November 1865–June 1866
09_152_05_AC.indd 179
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180 •
Dimitrios Voulgaris
Alexandros Koumoundouros
Aristotelis Moraitis
Dimitrios Voulgaris
Thrasivoulos Zaimis
Epaminondas Deligiorgis
Alexandros Koumoundouros
Thrasivoulos Zaimis
Dimitrios Voulgaris
Epaminondas Deligiorgis
Dimitrios Voulgaris
Harilaos Trikoupis
Alexandros Koumoundouros
Epaminondas Deligiorgis
Alexandros Koumoundouros
Epaminondas Deligiorgis
Alexandros Koumoundouros
Konstantinos Kanaris
Alexandros Koumoundouros
Harilaos Trikoupis
Alexandros Koumoundouros
Harilaos Trikoupis
Alexandros Koumoundouros
Harilaos Trikoupis
Theodoros Diligiannis
Dimitrios Valvis
Harilaos Trikoupis
Theodoros Diligiannis
Konstantinos Konstantopoulos
Harilaos Trikoupis
Sotirios Sotiropoulos
Harilaos Trikoupis
Nikolaos Diligiannis
Theodoros Diligiannis
Dimitrios Rallis
Alexandros Zaimis
Georgios Theotokis
Alexandros Zaimis
09_152_05_AC.indd 180
June 1866–December 1866
December 1866–December 1867
December 1867–January 1868
January 1868–January 1869
January 1869–July 1870
July 1870–December 1870
December 1870–October 1871
October 1871–December 1871
December 1871–August 1872
August 1872–February 1874
February 1874–April 1875
April 1875–October 1875
October 1875–November 1876
November 1876–December 1876
December 1876–February 1877
February 1877–May 1877
May 1877–May 1877
May 1877–January 1878
January 1878–October 1878
October 1878–October 1878
October 1878–March 1880
March 1880–October 1880
October 1880–March 1882
March 1882–April 1885
April 1885–April 1886
April 1886–May 1886
May 1886–October 1890
October 1890–February 1892
February 1892–June 1892
June 1892–March 1893
March 1893–October 1893
October 1893–January 1895
January 1895–May 1895
May 1895–April 1897
April 1897–September 1897
September 1897–April 1899
April 1899–November 1901
November 1901–November 1902
3/26/09 1:09:14 PM
Theodoros Diligiannis
Georgios Theotokis
Dimitrios Rallis
Georgios Theotokis
Theodoros Dilligiannis
Dimitrios Rallis
Georgios Theotokis
Dimitrios Rallis
Kyriakoulis Mavromichalis
Stefanos Dragoumis
Eleftherios Venizelos
Dimitrios Gounaris
Eleftherios Venizelos
Alexandros Zaimis
Stefanos Skouloudis
Alexandros Zaimis
Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos
Spyridon Lambros
Alexandros Zaimis
Eleftherios Venizelos
Dimitrios Rallis
Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos
Dimitrios Gounaris
Nikolaos Stratos
Petros Protopapadakis
Nikolaos Triantafillakos
Anastasios Charalambis
Sotirios Krokidas
Stylianos Gonatas
Eleftherios Venizelos
Georgios Kafantaris
Alexandros Papanastasiou
Themistoklis Sofoulis
Andreas Michalakopoulos
Theodoros Pangalos
Athanasios Eftaxias
Georgios Kondylis
Alexandros Zaimi
09_152_05_AC.indd 181
• 181
November 1902–June 1903
June 1903–June 1903
June 1903–December 1903
December 1903–December 1904
December 1904–June 1905
June 1905–December 1905
December 1905–July 1909
July 1909–August 1909
August 1909–January 1910
January 1910–October 1910
October 1910–February 1915
February 1915–August 1915
August 1915–September 1915
September 1915–October 1915
October 1915–June 1916
June 1916–September 1916
September 1916–September 1916
September 1916–April 1917
April 1917–June 1917
June 1917–November 1920
November 1920–January 1921
February 1921–March 1921
March 1921–May 1922
May 1922–May 1922
May 1922–August 1922
August 1922–September 1922
September 1922–September 1922
September 1922–November 1922
November 1922–January 1924
January 1924–February 1924
February 1924–March 1924
March 1924–July 1924
July 1924–October 1924
October 1924–June 1925
June 1925–July 1926
July 1926–August 1926
August 1926–December 1926
December 1926–July 1928
3/26/09 1:09:14 PM
182 •
Eleftherios Venizelos
Alexandros Papanastasiou
Eleftherios Venizelos
Panaghis Tsaldaris
Eleftherios Venizelos
Alexandros Othonaios
Panaghis Tsaldaris
Georgios Kondylis
Konstantinos Demertzis
Ioannis Metaxas
Alexandros Koryzis
Emamanouel Tsouderos
Sofoklis Sofoklis
Georgios Papandreou
Nikolaos Plastiras
Petros Voulgaris
Archbishop-Regent Damaskino
Panayiotis Kanellopoulos
Themistoklis Sofoulis
Panayiotis Poulitsas
Konstantinos Tsaldaris
Dimitrios Maximos
Konstantinos Tsaldaris
Themistoklis Sofoulis
Alexandros Diomidis
Ioannis Theotokis
Sofoklis Venizelos
Nikolaos Plastiras
Sofoklis Venizelos
Nikolaos Plastiras
Dimitrios Kiossopoulos
Alexandros Papagos
Konstantinos Karamanlis
Konstantinos Georgiakopoulos
Konstantinos Karamanlis
Konstantinos Dovas
Konstantinos Karamanlis
Panayiotis Pipinelis
09_152_05_AC.indd 182
July 1928–May 1932
May 1932–June 1932
June 1932–November 1932
November 1932–January 1933
January 1933–March 1933
March 1933–March 1933
March 1933–October 1935
October 1935–November 1935
November 1935–May 1936
May 1936–January 1941
January 1941–April 1941
April 1941–April 1944
April 1944–April 1944
April 1944–January 1945
January 1945–April 1945
April 1945–October 1945
October 1945–November 1945
November 1945–November 1945
November 1945–April 1946
April 1946–April 1946
April 1946–January 1947
January 1947–August 1947
August 1947–September 1947
September 1947–June 1949
June 1949–January 1950
January 1950–March 1950
March 1950–April 1950
April 1950–August 1950
August 1950– October 1951
October 1951–October 1952
October 1952–November 1952
November 1952–October 1955
October 1955–March 1958
March 1958–May 1958
May 1958–September 1961
September 1961–November 1961
November 1961–June 1963
June 1963–September 1963
3/26/09 1:09:15 PM
Stylianos Mavromichalis
Georgios Papandreou
Ioannis Paraskevopoulos
Georgios Papandreou
Georgios Athanasiadis-Novas
Ilias Tsirimokos
Stefanos Stefanopoulos
Ioannis Paraskevopoulos
Panayiotis Kanellopoulos
Konstantinos Kollias
Georgios Papadopoulos
Spyridon Markezinis
Adamantios Androutsopoulos
Konstantinos Karamanlis
Georgios Rallis
Andreas Papandreou
Tzannis Tzannetakis
Ioannis Grivas
Xenofon Zolotas
Konstantinos Mitsotakis
Andreas Papandreou
Kostas Simitis
Kostas Karamanlis
09_152_05_AC.indd 183
• 183
September 1963–November 1963
November 1963–December 1963
December 1963–February 1964
February 1964–July 1965
July 1965–August 1965
August 1965–September 1965
September 1965–December 1966
December 1966–April 1967
April 1967–April 1967
April 1967–December 1967
December 1967–October 1973
October 1973–November 1973
November 1973–July 1974
July 1974–May 1980
May 1980–October 1981
October 1981– July 1989
July 1989–October 1989
October 1989–November 1989
November 1989–April 1990
April 1990–September 1993
September 1993–January 1996
January 1996–March 2004
March 2004–
3/26/09 1:09:15 PM
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Appendix D: National Election Results in Greece
National Election 1946
United Order of Nationalists, UON
(Enomeni Parataxis
Ethnikofronon, EPE)
National Political Union, NPU
(Ethniki Politiki Enosis, EPE)
Liberal Party, LP (Komma
Fileleftheron, KF)
National Election 1950
People’s Party, PP (Laikon
Komma, LK)
Liberal Party, LP (Komma
Fileleftheron, KF)
National Progressive Centre Union
(Ethniki Proodeftiki Enosis Kentrou,
Democratic Socialist Party, DSK
(Dimokratiko Sosialistiko Komma,
Democratic Alignment (Dimokratiki
Parataxis, DP)
Independent Political Party, IPP
(Politiki Anexartiti Parataxis, PAP)
09_152_06_AD.indd 185
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186 •
National Election 1951
Greek Rally, GR (Ellinikos
Synagermos, ES)
National Progressive Centre Union,
NPCU (Ethniki Proodeftiki Enosis
Kentrou, EPEK)
Liberal Party, LP (Komma
Fileleftheron, KF)
United Democratic Left, UDL
(Eniaia Dimokratiki Aristera, EDA)
People’s Party, PP (Laikon Komma,
National Election 1952
Greek Rally, GR (Ellinikos
Synagermos, ES)
Liberal Party, LP (Komma
Fileleftheron, KF)
United Democratic Left, UDL (Eniaia
Dimokratiki Aristera, EDA)
National Election 1956
Democratic Union, DU (Dimokratiki
Enosis, DE)
National Radical Union, NRU
(Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosis, ERE)
Small independent parties and candidates
09_152_06_AD.indd 186
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National Election 1958
National Radical Union, NRU (Ethniki 1,583,885
Rizospastiki Enosis, ERE)
• 187
United Democratic Left, UDL (Eniaia
Dimokratiki Aristera, EDA)
Liberal Party, LP (Komma
Fileleftheron, KF)
Progressive Rural Democratic Union,
PRDU (Proodeftiki Agrotiki
Dimokratiki Enosis, PADE)
National Election 1961
National Radical Union, NRU
(Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosis, ERE)
National Election 1963
Center Union, CU (Enosis
Kentrou, EK)
United Democratic Left, UDL (Eniaia
Dimokratiki Aristera, EDA)
Progressive Party, PP (Komma
Proodeftikon, KP)
Center Union/Progressive Party,
CU/PP (Enosis Kentrou/Komma
Proodeftikon, EK/KP)
Pandemocratic Agrarian Front of
Greece, PAFG (Pandimokratikon
Agrotikon Metopo Elladas, PAME)
National Radical Union, NRU
(Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosis, ERE)
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188 •
National Election 1964
Center Union, CU (Enosis Kentrou,
National Radical Union/ Progressive
Party, NRU/PP (Ethniki Rizospastiki
Enosis/Komma Proodeftikon, KP/ERE)
United Democratic Left, UDL (Eniaia
Dimokratiki Aristera, EDA)
National Election 1974
New Democracy, ND (Nea Dimokratia, 2,669,113
Center Union/New Forces, CU/NF
(Enosis Kentrou/ Nees Dynamis,
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement, PSM
(Panellinio Sosialistikio Kinima,
United Ledt, UL (Enomeni Aristera,
National Election 1977
New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement, PSM
(Panellinio Sosialistikio Kinima,
Union of Democratic Center, UDC
(Enosi Dimokratikou Kentrou, EDIK)
Communist Party of Greece, CPG
(Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE)
National Alignment, NA (Ethniki
Parataxi, EP)
09_152_06_AD.indd 188
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National Election 1981
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement, PSM
(Panellinio Sosialistikio Kinima, PASOK)
• 189
Communist Party of Greece, CPG
(Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE)
Communist Party of Greece (Internal),
CPG (Kommounistiko Komma
Elladas Esoterikou, KKE Esoterikou)
New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
Communist Party of Greece, CPG
(Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE)
National Election 1985
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement,
PSM (Panellinio Sosialistikio
Kinima, PASOK)
New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
National Election June 1989
New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
Democratic Renewal, DR (Demokratiki
Ananeosi, DA)
Fidelity (Embistosini)
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement,
PSM (Panellinio Sosialistikio Kinima,
Coalition of the Left and Progress,
CLP (Synaspismos tis Aristeras kai
tis Proodou, SYN)
09_152_06_AD.indd 189
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190 •
National Election November 1989
New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement, PSM
(Panellinio Sosialistikio Kinima,
Coalition of the Left and Progress,
CLP (Synaspismos tis Aristeras kai
tis Proodou, SYN)
National Election April 1990
New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement,
Democratic Renewal, DR
(Demokratiki Ananeosi, DA)
PSM (Panellinio Sosialistikio Kinima,
Coalition of the Left and Progress,
CLP (Synaspismos tis Aristeras
kai tis Proodou, SYN)
Others (including deputies elected
jointly by PSM/PASOK and CLP/SYN)
National Election 1993
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement, PSM
(Panellinio Sosialistikio Kinima,
09_152_06_AD.indd 190
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New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
• 191
Political Spring, PS (Politiki Anixi, PA)
Communist Party of Greece, CPG
(Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE)
National Election 1996
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement,
PSM (Panellinio Sosialistikio
Kinima, PASOK)
Communist Party of Greece, CPG
(Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE)
Coalition of the Left and Progress,
CLP (Synaspismos tis Aristeras kai
tis Proodou, SYN)
Democratic Social Movement, DSM
(Dimokratiko Koinoniko Kinima,
New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
National Election 2000
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement, PSM
(Panellinio Sosialistikio Kinima,
Communist Party of Greece, CPG
(Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE)
Coalition of the Left and Progress,
CLP (Synaspismos tis Aristeras kai
tis Proodou, SYN)
New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
09_152_06_AD.indd 191
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192 •
National Election 2004
New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
Communist Party of Greece,
CPG (Kommounistiko Komma
Elladas, KKE)
Coalition of the Radical Left,
CRL (Synaspismos Rizospastikis
Aristeras, SYRIZA)
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement,
PSM (Panellinio Sosialistikio
Kinima, PASOK)
National Election 2007
New Democracy, ND (Nea
Dimokratia, ND)
Communist Party of Greece, CPG
(Kommounistiko Komma Elladas, KKE)
Coalition of the Radical Left, CRL
(Synaspismos Rizospastikis Aristeras,
Panhellenic Sociaist Movement,
PSM (Panellinio Sosialistikio Kinima,
People’s Orthodox Rally, POR
(Laikos Orthodoxos Synagermos, LAOS)
09_152_06_AD.indd 192
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Appendix E: Basic Data on Greece
Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean
Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean
Sea, between Albania and Turkey
Geographic coordinates:
39°00́ N, 22°00́ E
total: 131,940 sq km
land: 130,800 sq km
water: 1,140 sq km
Area, comparative:
slightly smaller than Alabama
Land boundaries:
total: 1,228 km
border countries: Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 246 km
13,676 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the
depth of exploitation
temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry
09_152_07_AE.indd 193
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194 •
mostly mountains with ranges extending
into the sea as peninsulas or chains of
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Olympus 2,917 m
Natural resources:
lignite, petroleum, iron ore, bauxite, lead,
zinc, nickel, magnesite, marble, salt, hydropower potential
Land use:
arable land: 20.45%
permanent crops: 8.59%
other: 70.96% (2005)
Irrigated land:
14,530 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water
72 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal
total: 8.7 cu km/yr (16%/3%/81%)
per capita: 782 cu m/yr (1997)
Natural hazards:
severe earthquakes
current issues:
air pollution; water pollution
Geography, note:
strategic location dominating the Aegean
Sea and southern approach to Turkish
Straits; a peninsular country, possessing
an archipelago of about 2,000 islands
09_152_07_AE.indd 194
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• 195
10,722,816 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0–14 years: 14.3% (male 789,137/female 742,469) 15–64 years: 66.6% (male
3,568,101/female 3,575,572) 65 years
and over: 19.1% (male 898,337/female
1,149,200) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 41.5 years
male: 40.4 years
female: 42.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.146% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
9.54 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
10.42 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.33 migrants/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female
(2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.25 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.77 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2008
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.52 years
male: 76.98 years
female: 82.21 years (2008 est.)
09_152_07_AE.indd 195
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196 •
Total fertility rate:
1.36 children born/woman (2008 est.)
Ethnic groups:
population: Greek 93%, other (foreign
citizens) 7% (2001 census)
Note: percents represent citizenship, since
Greece does not collect data on ethnicity
Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other
Greek 99% (official), other 1% (includes
English and French)
definition: age 15 and over can read and
total population: 96%
male: 97.8%
female: 94.2% (2001 census)
School life expectancy
(primary to tertiary
total: 17 years
male: 17 years
female: 17 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
4.4% (2005)
Country name:
conventional long form: Hellenic Republic
conventional short form: Greece
local long form: Elliniki Dhimokratia
local short form: Ellas or Ellada
Government type:
parliamentary republic
name: Athens
geographic coordinates: 37°59́ N, 23°44́
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• 197
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of
Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last
Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in
Administrative divisions:
51 prefectures (nomoi; singular, nomos)
and 1 autonomous region*: Achaia, Agion
Oros* (Mt. Athos), Aitolia kai Akarnania,
Argolis, Arkadia, Arta, Attiki, Chalkidiki,
Chanion, Chios, Dodekanisos, Drama, Evros, Evrytania, Evvoia, Florina, Fokidos,
Fthiotis, Grevena, Ileia, Imathia, Ioannina, Irakleion, Karditsa, Kastoria, Kavala, Kefallinia, Kerkyra, Kilkis, Korinthia,
Kozani, Kyklades, Lakonia, Larisa, Lasithi, Lefkas, Lesvos, Magnisia, Messinia,
Pella, Pieria, Preveza, Rethynnis, Rodopi,
Samos, Serrai, Thesprotia, Thessaloniki,
Trikala, Voiotia, Xanthi, Zakynthos.
1830 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 March (1821)
11 June 1975
Legal system:
based on codified Roman law; judiciary
divided into civil, criminal, and administrative courts; accepts compulsory ICJ
jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
International organization
Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CE, CERN,
09_152_07_AE.indd 197
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198 •
NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer),
OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI, UN, UNCTAD,
GDP (purchasing power
$324.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange
$314.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP, real growth rate:
4% (2007 est.)
GDP, per capita (PPP):
$29,200 (2007 est.)
GDP, composition
by sector:
agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 24.8%
services: 71.6% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
4.92 million (2007 est.)
Labor force,
by occupation:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 20%
services: 68% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
8.3% (2007 est.)
Household income or
consumption by
percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 26% (2000 est.)
09_152_07_AE.indd 198
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Distribution of family
Income, Gini index:
33 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer
Investment (gross fixed):
3% (2007 est.)
• 199
26.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
revenues: $111.8 billion
expenditures: $120.6 billion (2007 est.)
Agriculture, products:
wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives,
tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef,
dairy products
tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products; mining,
Industrial production
growth rate:
3.2% (2007 est.)
Current account balance:
–$43.7 billion (2007 est.)
$23.91 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports, commodities:
food and beverages, manufactured goods,
petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
Exports, partners:
Germany 11.4%, Italy 10.7%, Cyprus
6.5%, Bulgaria 6.4%, UK 5.4%, Romania
4.5%, France 4.2%, US 4.1% (2006)
$80.79 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports, commodities:
machinery, transport equipment, fuels,
09_152_07_AE.indd 199
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200 •
Imports, partners:
Germany 12.9%, Italy 11.7%, Russia
5.6%, France 5.6%, China 5%, Netherlands 5% (2006)
Economic aid, donor:
$424 million (2006)
Economic aid, recipient:
$8 billion annually from EU (2000–2006);
Greece will receive about $3.8 billion per
year between 2007–2013 under the EU’s
Community Support Funds IV
Reserves of foreign
exchange and gold:
$3.658 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt, external:
$86.72 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign
investment, at home:
$43.18 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign
investment, abroad:
$18.02 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly
traded shares:
$145 billion (2005)
Military branches:
Hellenic Army (Ellinikos Stratos, ES),
Hellenic Navy (Ellinikos Polemiko Navtiko, EPN), Hellenic Air Force (Elliniki
Polimiki Aeroporia, EPA) (2007)
Military service age and
19–45 years of age for compulsory
military service; during wartime the law
allows for recruitment beginning January
of the year of inductee’s 18th birthday,
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• 201
thus including 17-year-olds; 17 years of
age for volunteers; conscript service obligation, 1 year for all services; women
are eligible for voluntary military service
Manpower available for
military service:
males age 16–49: 2,535,174
females age 16–49: 2,517,273 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military
males age 16–49: 2,084,469
females age 16–49: 2,065,956 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching
militarily significant
age annually:
males age 16–49: 53,858
females age 16–49: 50,488 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
4.3% (2005 est.)
Source: The World Factbook 2008, Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 2008.
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Appendix F: Economic Statistical Charts
Graph 1.
Greece: GDP
09_152_08_AF.indd 203
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Graph 2.
Greece: GDP per Capita
Graph 3.
Greece: Inflation
09_152_08_AF.indd 204
3/26/09 1:16:31 PM
Graph 4.
Greece: Public Deficit
Graph 5.
Greece: Imports–Exports
09_152_08_AF.indd 205
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Graph 6.
09_152_08_AF.indd 206
Greece: Public Debt
3/26/09 1:16:34 PM
A. General Information
B. Journals and Yearbooks
II. History
A. Before Independence
B. The National Revolution and the 19th Century
C. The 20th Century
III. Politics (Including Public Policy, the Government, Institutions, and
Political Parties)
IV. Foreign Relations (Including Cyprus and the European Union)
V. Diaspora
VI. Economy
VII. Society
A. Family, Village, Class, and Nation
B. Education
C. Religion
VIII. Culture
A. Architecture and Cities
B. Art
C. Literature
D. Music
E. Folklore
IX. Internet Sources
A. General
B. News
C. History
D. Economy and Business
E. Culture
09_152_09_Bibliography.indd 207
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208 •
The study of modern Greece has been overshadowed by its glorious ancestor, classical Hellas. Whereas Western scholarship has been fascinated
by, and invested heavily in, ancient Greece for centuries, the international
bibliography in general—and in English in particular—on modern Greece
is, by comparison, quite limited.
When dealing with such an ancient land as Greece, the first challenge
with which one is confronted is periodization. Until recently, the question
of dating various periods of Greek history and how to integrate them (or
not) have preoccupied most historians. A conventional and well-established
periodization accepts the end of ancient Greece with the Roman conquest
in 146 BCE and the end of ancient times with the transfer of the imperial
capital from Rome to Constantinople in 330 CE. Some historians mark the
end of the Middle Ages with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in
1453 CE. For others, the medieval era was prolonged in this part of Europe
because of the Ottoman conquest and the control of most of Greek lands
by a premodern, multiethnic, religiously legitimized, agriculturally based,
Near Eastern empire. For most, the eruption of the national Revolution of
1821 marks the beginning of modern, independent, and national Greece.
However, how this modern Greece is related to its medieval and ancient
ancestors is still hotly debated.
For the reader who knows little of modern Greece, a standard and popular introduction is Richard Clogg’s A Concise History of Greece (1992),
which presents a short, readable, dispassionate, well-balanced, and comprehensive narrative of an otherwise complicated subject. A more recent work
with similar aspirations is that of John Koliopoulos and Thanos Veremis
entitled Greece: The Modern Sequel—From 1821 to the Present (2003),
which expands into less conventional subject areas such as social and intellectual history.
Modern Greece has been studied from many different comparative perspectives. First, as a Balkan nation, modern Greece has been included in
historical studies of the Balkans. When it comes to comparative works, this
is the most dominant approach, traditionally espoused by historians. In that
regard, five works immediately come to mind. First is Lefteris Stavrianos’
The Balkans since 1453 (1965), a masterful tour d’horizon, which despite
its age remains an essential point of reference for the study of the making of
modern Greece. Then, there are the works of Barbara Jelavich, History of
the Balkans, Vol. 1: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (1983), History
09_152_09_Bibliography.indd 208
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• 209
of the Balkans, Vol. 2: Twentieth Century (1983), as well as the book she
coauthored with Charles Jelavich, The Establishment of the Balkan National States, 1804–1920 (1987), which constitute a good, conventional account on the late and post-Ottoman Balkans that helps place modern Greece
within a wider historical context. More recently, Mark Mazower has endowed us with a brief and readable The Balkans: A Short History (2002)
that brilliantly touches upon most of the themes that have preoccupied
modern Balkan historiography. Paschalis Kitromilides’ Enlightenment,
Nationalism, Orthodoxy: Studies in the Culture and Political Thought of
Southeastern Europe (1994) presents the intellectual environment within
which modern Greece and its neighboring nation-states emerged. Finally,
Maria Todorova’s revealing Imagining the Balkans (1997) offers a useful
and well-founded postmodernist critique of the prejudices of Western historiography with regard to the Balkans, including Greece.
Another approach in studying modern Greece is to view it as a southern
European nation related to Italy and, mostly, to the Iberian states of Spain
and Portugal. This is an approach favored mostly not by historians but by
comparative political scientists and experts in European Union studies. The
reason is that although modern Greece shared a common historical past
with its Balkan neighbors, it has followed a different developmental trajectory after World War II as it did not experience communist rule. On the
contrary, postwar Greece has been confronted with the challenges of economic development in the 1950s and 1960s, democratization in the 1970s,
and integration into Europe in the 1980s, just like Spain and Portugal. A
good work in that regard is Richard Gunther, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros,
and Hans-Jürgen Puhle (eds.), The Politics of Democratic Consolidation:
Southern Europe in Comparative Perspective (1995), which analyzes and
compares the democratization trajectories of the southern European countries, and Loukas Tsoukalis’ The European Community and Its Mediterranean Enlargement (1981).
A third, and much less developed, approach comes from a post-Marxist and wider leftist intellectual tradition that attempted to place modern
Greece in the global semiperiphery, somewhere between the underdeveloped Third World and the developed West. Espoused by sociologists and
other social scientists from the 1960s to the 1980s, today this approach is
in decline following the demise of dependency and other related theories.
Two good examples of works within this paradigm are Nikos Poulantzas’
The Crisis of the Dictatorships: Portugal, Greece, Spain (1976) and, more
recently, Nikos Mouzelis’ Politics in the Semi-Periphery (1986).
09_152_09_Bibliography.indd 209
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210 •
Apart from all these wider comparative studies, modern Greece has been
studied in its own right. In that regard, there are a few works in English
of exceptional quality, some of which have not even been translated into
Greek and remain accessible only to the English speaker. A good starting
point might be Speros Vryonis’ The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia
Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century (1986), which deals with an understudied and underappreciated period and a process out of which modern Greece would later start
taking form. Vryonis employs his exceptional intellectual gifts to brilliantly
construct a narrative for the contraction and transformation of Hellenism
into the modern times.
Turning to the pivotal moment of the arrival of nationalism in the
18th century and building upon the work of Konstantinos Th. Dimaras,
Paschalis Kitromilides’ The Enlightenment as Social Criticism: Iosipos
Moisiodax and Greek Culture in the Eighteenth Century (1992) provides
a groundbreaking study of intellectual history and the ideas that paved the
way for the national revolution and the emergence of modern Greece.
Furthermore, John Petropulos’ masterful Politics and Statecraft in the
Kingdom of Greece, 1833–1843 (1968) offers a vivid and comprehensive
account of the making of modern Greece, during and in the immediate
aftermath of the revolution. Deconstructing the national myth of a unified revolutionary movement, Petropulos delves into the power struggles
among the various constituencies and elites competing for the definition
of modern Greece. Very perceptively, Petropulos identifies the continuities
and discontinuities between Ottoman and independent Greece and many of
the pathologies and their causes of its politics that have survived, to a large
extent, to the present day.
Douglas Dakin has written the definitive account of the process of Greek
state formation in The Unification of Greece 1770–1923 (1972). Although
much smaller than Italy and Germany, it took Greece more than a century
to acquire its present form through the gradual enlargement of the original
small kingdom established in and around Peloponnesus in the 1830s.
Other important works that deal with specific subjects or time periods
after independence include Kostas Vergopoulos’ Le capitalisme difforme
et la nouvelle question agraire: L’example de la Grèce moderne (1977),
which explains the socioeconomic structure of modern Greece as the result
of the workings of a fundamental agrarian question that produced a nation
of small landowners. John Koliopoulos analyzes the phenomenon and social context of brigandry, which survived well after independence in 19th-
09_152_09_Bibliography.indd 210
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• 211
century Greece, in Brigands with a Cause (1987) and was extinguished
only after it colonized the Greek state structures. Mark Mazower used the
history of a city, Thessaloniki, to brilliantly discuss the broader issues of
empire, nationalism, and modernity in his Salonica—City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430–1950 (2004).
In his Stillborn Republic: Social Coalitions and Party Strategies in
Greece, 1922–1936 (1983), George Mavrogordatos analyzes the rise
and fall of the interwar Venizelist republic between the two cataclysms
that defined Greece in the 20th century: the Asia Minor catastrophe and
World War II. Mavrogordatos works his way through a universe of competing constituencies in what amounted to a profound crisis of national
integration that lasted until recently and had much to do with the new
lands and the new peoples coming into Greece after the Balkan Wars
of 1912–1913. Mark Mazower offers an insightful and sober account
of Inside Hitler’s Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941–1944
(1993) while reconnecting social with political history. Jean Meynaud
wrote Les Forces Politiques en Grèce (1965) that successfully explains
the forces and cleavages that shaped Greece’s guarded democracy in the
1950s and 1960s.
Michael Herzfeld in The Poetics of Manhood: Contest and Identity in a
Cretan Mountain Village (1988) offers an in-depth study of rural Greece
that vividly brings together the insights of social anthropology. Nikos Mouzelis’ Modern Greece: Facets of Underdevelopment (1978) is a pioneering
sociological study of the pathologies of modern Greece, especially when
compared with the advanced West. Thanos Veremis wrote The Military
in Greek Politics: From Independence to Democracy (1997), which is an
essential reading for the study of civil–military relations and the democratization of Greece in the 20th century. Finally, Konstantinos Th. Dimaras
wrote a History of Modern Greek Literature (1974), a year after Linos
Politis did, both of which are essential guides in modern Greece’s rich
literary traditions.
Two Greek politicians have written two influential books on the two
turning points of postwar Greek history. Evangelos Averoff published
By Fire and Axe: The Communist Party and the Civil War in Greece,
1944–1949 (1978) to offer a well-informed, conservative perspective from
the side of the victors of the Civil War. His main argument—which, thanks
to an abundance of evidence, he makes it hard to refute—is that the communists were defeated not so much because of the U.S. intervention but
because they had gradually lost the hearts and minds of the majority of
09_152_09_Bibliography.indd 211
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212 •
Greeks. This was the result of the mistakes they committed by being hostage to a Stalinist, dogmatic ideology and worldview.
Andreas Papandreou, who revolutionized Greek politics after 1974,
wrote Democracy at Gunpoint: The Greek Front (1971). In it, Papandreou
masterfully brings together the definitive leftist narrative on postwar Greek
history. This is a book that should be read less as history and more as
metahistory by everyone interested in the myths and ideology that have
dominated Greek public life since the fall of the colonels’ junta in 1974.
For Papandreou, postwar Greece has been a victim of U.S. intervention
and imperialism. For him, as for most Greeks in the 1970s and 1980s, the
precondition for the development and democratization of Greece should
be the restoration of the country’s independence. Much of contemporary
Greek historiography is about refuting the simplistic but captivating narrative that Papandreou promoted.
Contemporary Greek historiography can be grouped in two broad categories. There are the conventional studies of Greek politics, some of
which are particularly well researched, such as Evanthis Hatzivassiliou’s
Greece and the Cold War—Frontline State, 1952–1967 (2006) and Ioannis
Stefanidis’ Stirring the Greek Nation: Political Culture, Irredentism and
Anti-Americanism in Postwar Greece, 1945–1967 (2007). Then, there are
collective works that bring together different social sciences such as the
book edited by Mark Mazower and entitled After the War Was Over—Reconstructing the Family, Nation, and the State in Greece (2000).
In regards to more contemporary subject areas, including Greece’s
foreign relations, three edited volumes and a coauthored study stand out
within a plethora of works. First, the one by Harry J. Psomiades and
Stavros Thomadakis entitled Greece, the New Europe, and the Changing
International Order (1993), which, although a bit outdated, offers a rich
collection of essays on Greece in the immediate aftermath of the end of
the Cold War. Then there is Graham Allison and Kalypso Nicolaides’ The
Greek Paradox: Promise vs. Performance (1997), which is a multidisciplinary collection of essays by some leading social scientists and commentators on the particular developmental trajectory of modern Greece and its
failure to converge more rapidly with Western Europe. Thirdly, Dimitris
Keridis and Dimitris Triantafyllou brought together analysts from different
sides in Greek–Turkish Relations in the Era of Globalization (2001) in a
refreshing attempt to connect foreign policy with wider international and
domestic developments. Finally, RAND Corporation’s Ian O. Lesser and
his associates, together with the Kokkalis Foundation, produced Greece’s
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• 213
New Geopolitics (2001), which is a dispassionate assessment of Greece’s
current geostrategic position and its role in the world.
Since especially the end of the Cold War, researchers on modern Greece
have attempted to deconstruct national history. Anastasia Karakasidou’s
Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood: Passages to Nationhood in Greek Macedonia, 1870–1990 (1997) caused a storm when it was published and was
denounced as treacherous by Greek nationalists. More recently, political
scientists in particular have undermined the leftist narrative on postwar
Greece that has been the dominant one since 1974. In that regard, the works
of Stathis Kalyvas are of particular interest.
For further research, one can visit the National Library of Greece, the
Parliament Library, the General State Archives, the Athens Academy, the
Archives of Contemporary Social History, the Gennadius Library, the Diplomatic Historical Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Center
of Neo-Hellenic Research at the National Research Foundation, the Greek
Literary and Historical Archive (ELIA), the Balkan Studies Foundation,
the Historical and Ethnological Association of Greece, the Center of Asia
Minor Studies, the Directorate of Military History, the Vovolini Archive,
and the Historical Archive of the University of Athens.
In addition, valuable collections are found in institutions established by
Greek statesmen, banks, and museums. First and foremost, they include
the Konstantinos G. Karamanlis Foundation, the Andreas G. Papandreou
Foundation, the Konstantinos Mitsotakis Foundation, and the Eleftherios
Venizelos Foundation, as well as the historical archives of the National
Bank of Greece, the Agricultural Bank of Greece, the Bank of Greece, the
Benaki Museum, and the War Museum.
An extensive collection of books on Greece can also be found in the
Widener Library of Harvard University. Smaller collections exist in other
big universities in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere. Finally, important research material lies with the historical archives of the Foreign Office
in Britain, the Foreign Ministry of France, other major European powers,
and the United States.
The bibliography that follows is not exhaustive but it is quite extensive.
With few exceptions, it only lists titles of works published in English. They
are grouped in eight broad categories followed by a ninth that includes
some important Internet resources on Greece.
Occasionally, choosing a category in which to place a book presented its
own challenge. For example, Mark Mazower’s Salonica—City of Ghosts:
Christians, Muslims, and Jews, 1430–1950, is about the history of the city
09_152_09_Bibliography.indd 213
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214 •
of Thessaloniki and could have been listed in section II (History) or in
section VIII (Culture: Architecture and Cities). Instead, it is being listed
in section VII (Society: Family, Village, Class, and Nation) as its central
theme is the passage from the imperial to the age of nation-states. An extreme example of this difficulty was placing Martin Bernal’s Black Athena:
The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization. Although this is a work
that deals with ancient Greece, it has been hotly debated by present-day
nationalists and, more broadly, postmodernist theorists on the construction
of national and modern traditions. Thus, it is included in section VII (Society: Family, Village, Class and Nation), which lists works on the Greek
nation and nationalism.
Generally speaking, section II includes historical works, section III
works mostly of political science, section IV studies of international relations, while section VII and VIII anthropological and ethnographic studies.
It is true, however, that in regard to the vast majority of entries, the choice
of category was quite straightforward.
A. General Information
Campbell, John, and Philip Sherrard. Modern Greece. London: Ernest
Benn, 1968.
Clogg, Richard. A Concise History of Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1992.
———. A Short History of Modern Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979.
Clogg, Richard, and Mary Jo Clogg. Greece. Oxford: Clio Press, 1980.
Colovas, Anthone C. A Quick History of Modern Greece. New York: PublishAmerica, 2007.
Constantopoulou, Photini, ed. The Foundation of the Modern Greek State:
Major Treaties and Conventions, 1830–1947. Athens: Kastaniotis Editions, 1999.
Dimaras, Konstantinos Th., C. Koumarianou, and L. Droulia, eds. Modern
Greek Culture: A Selected Bibliography (in English, French, German,
Italian). 4th rev. ed. Athens: Neo-Hellenic Research Centre of the National Hellenic Research Foundation, 1974.
Gallant, Thomas W. Modern Greece. London: Hodder Arnold, 2001.
09_152_09_Bibliography.indd 214
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• 215
Hellander, Paul. Greece. Country Guide. 8th ed. New York: Lonely Planet,
Koliopoulos, John S., and Thanos M. Veremis. Greece—The Modern Sequel: From 1821 to the Present. New York: New York University Press,
Legg, Keith R., and John M. Roberts. Modern Greece: A Civilization on the
Periphery. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997.
Pantelouris, E. M. Greece: An Introduction. Moffat, Scotland: BlueAcre
Books, 1987.
Todorova, Maria. Imagining the Balkans. New York: Oxford University
Press, 1995.
Woodhouse, Christopher M. Modern Greece: A Short History. London:
Faber & Faber, 2000.
B. Journals and Yearbooks
ANTI. Athens, 1972
Archeion Ekklisiastikis Istorias, Athens, 1911.
Balkan Studies. Thessaloniki, Greece: Institute for Balkan Studies, First
Volume, 1960.
Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. Oxford, 1975.
Cambridge Papers in Modern Greece (KAMPOS). Cambridge, 1993.
Deltio Kentrou Mikrasiatikon Spoudon. Athens: Center for Asia Minor
Studies, 1977.
Ellinika. Athens, 1928.
Epitheorisis Koinonikon Erevnon: The Greek Review of Social Research.
Athens: Social Science Center, 1969.
Epsilon: Modern Greek and Balkan Studies. University of Copenhagen,
Department of Modern Greek and Balkan Studies, 1987.
Hellenic Review of International Relations. Thessaloniki: Institute of Public International Law, 1981.
Hellenika: Jahrbuchfuer die Freunde Griechenlands. Ausgaben Neugriechische Studien Bochum, 1964.
Istorein. Athens: Nefeli, 1999.
Istor.〈␪␩⬘␯␣, 1990.
Journal of Modem Greek Studies. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1985.
Journal of Modern Hellenism. New York, 1985.
Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora. New York: Pella, 1974.
09_152_09_Bibliography.indd 215
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216 •
Kleio. Thessaloniki, 2005.
Makedonika. Thessaloniki: Society for Macedonian Studies, 1940.
Mandatophoros: Bulletin of Modem Greek Studies. Amsterdam: ByzantijnsNieuwgrieks Seminarium, University of Amsterdam, 1972.
Mediterranean Quarterly. Washington, D.C.: Duke University Press,
Mediterranean Historical Review. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, School of
History, 1986.
Mnimon. Athens: Etairia Meletis Neou Ellinismou, 1971.
Modern Greek Society: A Social Science Newsletter. Providence, R.I.,
Modern Greek Studies Yearbook. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota,
Scandinavian Studies in Modern Greek. Gothenburg, Sweden, 1977.
The South-East European YEARBOOK. Athens: Hellenic Foundation for
European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), 1988.
Sudosteuropa Mitteilungen. Munich: Sudosteuropa-Gesellschaft (Southeast Europe Association), 1975.
Ta Istorika. Athens: Melissa, 1983.
A. Before Independence
Boardman, John. The Oxford History of Greece and the Hellenistic World.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Browning, Robert, ed. The Greek World—Classical, Byzantine, and Modern. London: Thames & Hudson, 2000.
Cartledge, Paul, ed. The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Clogg, Richard. The Movement for Greek Independence 1770–1821: A
Collection of Documents. London: Macmillan, 1976.
Cotterill, Henry B. Ancient Greece. New York: Frederick A. Stokes,
Diamandouros, Nikiforos P., J. P. Anton, J. A. Petropulos, and P. Topping,
eds. Hellenism and the First Greek War of Liberation (1821–1830):
Continuity and Change. Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies,
09_152_09_Bibliography.indd 216
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• 217
Driault, Edouard, and Michel Lheritier. Histoire diplomatique de la Grèce
de 1821 à nos jours. Paris: Didot, 1925–1926.
Finlay, George. A History of Greece from Its Conquest by the Romans to
the Present Time, 146 BC to AD 1864, Vol. 6. Edited by H. F. Tozer.
Oxford: n.p., n.d.
Hadjiantoniou, George. Protestant Patriarch: The Life of Cyril Lucaris
(1572–1638), Patriarch of Constantinople. London: Epworth Press,
Kitromilides, Paschalis M. The Enlightenment as Social Criticism: Iosipos
Moisiodax and Greek Culture in the Eighteenth Century. Princeton, N.J.:
Princeton University Press, 1992.
Koumoulides, John A., ed. Greece—The Legacy: Essays on the History of
Greece, Ancient, Byzantine and Modern. Bethesda: University Press of
Maryland, 1998.
Martin, Thomas R. Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times.
New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000.
Papadopoulos, Theodore. Studies and Documents Relating to the History
of the Greek Church and People under Turkish Domination. Brussels:
Pomeroy, Sarah B., Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Donlan, and Jennifer Tolbert Roberts. A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society and
Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Pratt, Michael. Britain’s Greek Empire: Reflections on the History of
the Ionian Islands from the Fall of Byzantium. London: Rex Collings,
Runciman, Steven. The Fall of Constantinople. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1965.
———. The Great Church in Captivity: A Study of the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the Eve of the Turkish Conquest to the Greek War of
Independence. Cambridge: Cambridge Press, 1968.
Stavrianos, L. S. The Balkans since 1453. New York: Holt, Rinehart, &
Winston, 1965.
Toping, Peter W. Studies in Latin Greece, A.D. 1205–1715. London: Variorum, 1977.
Vakalopoulos, Apostolos. The Greek Nation, 1453–1669: The Cultural and
Economic Background of Modern Greek Society. Translated by I. Moles
and P. Moles. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1976.
———. History of Macedonia 1354–1833. Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1973.
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218 •
———. A History of Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1972.
———. Origins of the Greek Nation: The Byzantine Period, 1204–1461.
Rev. ed. Translated by I. Marks. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1970.
Vryonis, Speros. The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the
Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.
Zakynthinos, Dionysios A. The Making of Modern Greece: From Byzantium to Independence. Oxford: Blackwell, 1976.
B. The National Revolution and the 19th Century
Bower, Leonard, and Gordon Bolitho. Otto I, King of Greece: A Biography.
London: Selwyn & Blount, 1939.
Brewer, D. The Flame of Freedom: The Greek War of Independence
1821–1835. London: John Murray, 2001.
Carrabott, Philip, ed. Greek Society in the Making, 1863–1913. Hampshire:
Variorum, 1997.
Clogg, Richard, ed. The Struggle for Greek Independence: Essays to Mark
the 150th Anniversary of the Greek War of Independence. London: Macmillan, 1973.
Dakin, Douglas. The Greek Struggle for Independence, 1821–1833. London: University of California Press, 1973.
———. The Unification of Greece 1770–1923. New York: St. Martin’s
Press, 1972.
Deringil, Selim. The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876–1909. London: I. B. Tauris,
Diamandouros, Nikiforos, et al., eds. Hellenism and the First Greek War
of Liberation (1821–1830). Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies,
Dontas, Domna. Greece and the Great Powers 1863–1875. Thessaloniki:
Institute for Balkan Studies, 1966.
Guthenke, Constanze. Placing Modern Greece: The Dynamics of Romantic
Hellenism, 1770–1840. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Economopoulou, Marietta. Parties and Politics in Greece 1844–55. Athens: 1984.
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Hussey, Joan M. The Finlay Papers: A Catalogue. London: Thames &
Hudson, 1973.
Jenkins, Romilly. The Dilessi Murders. London: Longman, 1961.
Kaldis, William P. John Capodistrias and the Modern Greek State. Ann
Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Bros, 1963.
Kofos, Evangelos. Greece and the Eastern Crisis 1875–1878. Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1975.
Koliopoulos, John. Brigands with a Cause. Oxford: Clarendon Press,
Levandis, John. The Greek Foreign Debt and the Great Powers 1821–1898.
New York: Columbia University Press, 1944.
Lidderdale, H. A. The Memoirs of General Makriyannis 1797–1864 London: Oxford University Press, 1966.
McGrew, William. Land and Revolution in Modern Greece 1800–1881.
Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1985.
Miller, William. The Ottoman Empire and Its Successors, 1801–1927.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1936.
Papadopoulos, G. S. England and the Near East 1896–1898. Thessaloniki:
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Petropulos, John-Anthony. Politics and Statecraft in the Kingdom of
Greece, 1833–43. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1968.
Prevelakis, Eleftherios. British Policy towards the Change in Dynasty in
Greece 1862–63. Athens: 1953.
Woodhouse, Christopher M. The Battle of Navarino. London: Hodder &
Stoughton, 1965.
———. Capodistria: The Founder of Greek Independence. London: Oxford
University Press, 1973.
———. The Greek War of Independence: Its Historical Setting. London:
Hutchinson, 1952.
———. Rhigas Velestinlis: The Protomartyr of the Greek Revolution.
Limni, Evia: Denise Harvey, 1995.
C. The 20th Century
Alastos, Dams. Venizelos: Patriot, Statesman, Revolutionary. London:
Lund Humphries, 1942.
Argenti, Philip. The Occupation of Chios by the Germans and Their
Administration of the Island: Described in Contemporary Documents.
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Augustinos, Gerasimos. Consciousness and History: Nationalist Critics
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Auty, Phyllis, and Richard Clogg, eds. British Policy towards Wartime
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Averoff, Evangelos. By Fire and Axe: The Communist Party and the Civil
War in Greece, 1944–1949. New York: Aristide Caratzas, 1978.
Baerentzen, Lars, ed. British Reports on Greece. Copenhagen: Museum
Tusculanum Press, 1982.
Baerentzen, Lars, John Iatrides, and Ole Smith, eds. Studies in the History
of the Greek Civil War, 1945–49. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum
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Barker, Elizabeth. British Policy in South-East Europe in the Second World
War. London: Macmillan, 1976.
Barros, James. The Corfu Incident of 1923: Mussolini and the League of
Nations. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965.
———. The League of Nations and the Great Powers: The Greek-Bulgarian
Incident, 1925. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970.
Bitzes, John. Greece in World War II to April 1941. Kansas: Sunflower
University Press, 1989.
Buckley, Christopher. Greece and Crete 1941. London: H. M. Stationery
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Byford-Jones, W. The Greek Trilogy: Resistance—Liberation—Revolution. London: Hutchinson, 1945.
Calvocovessi, P., Richard Clogg, Douglas Dakin, et al. Greece and Great
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Carmacolias, Demetrios. Political Communication in Greece, 1965–1967:
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Cassimatis, Louis. American Influence in Greece 1917–1920. Kent, Ohio:
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Casson, Stanley. Greece against the Axis. London: 1941.
Cervi, Mario. The Hollow Legions: Mussolini’s Blunder, 1940–1941. London: Chatto & Windus, 1972.
Chandler, Geoffrey. The Divided Land: An Anglo-Greek Tragedy. London:
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Clark, Bruce. Twice a Stranger: The Mass Expulsions That Forged Modern Greece and Turkey. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,
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Clogg, Richard, ed. Greece 1981–89: The Populist Decade. New York: St.
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———. Greece in the 1980s. London: Macmillan, 1983.
———. Greece under Military Rule. London: Seeker & Warburg, 1972.
Close, David. Greece since 1945. London: Longman, 2002.
———, ed. The Greek Civil War 1943–1950: Studies of Polarization. London: Routledge, 1993.
Couloumbis, Theodore, T. Kariotis, and F. Bellou, eds. Greece in the
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Cruickshank, Charles. Greece 1940–1941. London: Davis Poynter, 1976.
Curtright, Lynn. Muddle, Indecision and Setback: British Policy and the
Balkan States, August 1914 to the Inception of the Dardanelles Campaign. Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1986.
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Dobkin, Marjorie Housepian. Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a City.
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Eudes, Dominique. The Kapetanios: Partisans and Civil War in Greece,
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Featherstone, Kevin, and Dimitrios Katsoudas, eds. Political Change in
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Fleming, Amalia. A Piece of Truth. London: Jonathan Cape, 1972.
Gerolymatos, Andre. Guerrilla Warfare and Espionage in Greece 1940–
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———. Red Acropolis, Black Terror: The Greek Civil War and the Origins of Soviet–American Rivalry, 1943–1949. New York: Basic Books,
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———, ed. Greece in the 1940s: A Nation in Crisis. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1981.
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———. Nationalism and Communism in Macedonia. Thessaloniki: Institute
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———. Plundered Loyalties: WW II and Civil War in Greek West Macedonia. New York: New York University Press, 1999.
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———. Stillborn Republic: Social Coalitions and Party Strategies in
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———. Greece and the Inter-War Economic Crisis. Oxford: Clarendon
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———. Inside Hitler’s Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941–1944.
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———. The Metamorphosis of Greece since World War II. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.
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B. Education
Gennadius, J. A Sketch of the History of Education in Greece. Edinburgh:
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C. Religion
Amand, Emmanuel. Mount Athos: The Garden of the Panaghia. Berlin:
Akademie-Verlag, 1972.
Byrnes, Timothy A., and Peter J. Katzenstein, eds. Religion in an Expanding Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Frazee, Charles. The Orthodox Church and Independent Greece, 1821–
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Hammond, Peter. The Waters of Marah: The Present State of the Greek
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Hasluck, Frederick W. Athos and Its Monasteries. London: Kegan Paul,
Nicol, Donald. Meteora: The Rock Monasteries of Thessaly. London:
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Sherrard, Philip. Athos: The Mountain of Silence. London: Oxford University Press, 1960.
Vaporis, Nomikos Michael. Father Kosmas: The Apostle of the Poor.
Archbishop Iakovos Library of Ecclesiastical Historical Source, no. 4.
Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1977.
Ware, Timothy. The Orthodox Church. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin
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Yannaras, Christos. Elements of Faith: An Introduction to Orthodox Theology. Edinburgh: T. T. Clark, 1991.
Zizioulas, Jean D. Being as Communion. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s
Seminary Press, 1993.
A. Architecture and Cities
Boyer, Christine M., et al. Aris Konstantinidis: The Building and the Land.
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University, School of Architecture, 1987.
Doumanis, O. B., and Paul Oliver. Shelter in Greece-Oikismoi stin Ellada.
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Fermor, Patrick L. Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece. New York: Penguin, 1966.
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Michaelides, Constantine. Hydra: A Greek Island Town—Its Growth and
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Tsaktsiras Lambros. Thessaloniki: The City and Its Monuments. Thessaloniki: Malliares Paideia, 2004.
Waterfield, Robin. Athens, from Ancient Ideal to Modern City. New York:
Basic Books, 2004.
B. Art
Chrestou, Chrysanthos. Modern Greek Engraving. Athens: Ekdotiki Athinon, 1994.
Hadjinicolaou, Nicos. Theophilos, Kontoglou, Ghika and Tsarouchis: Four
Painters of 20th Century Greece. London: Wildenstein, 1975.
Ioachimides, Christos. Eight Artists, Eight Attitudes, Eight Greeks: Stephanos Antonakos, Vlassis Caniaris, Chryssa, J. Kounellis, Pavlos, Lucas
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Lidderdale, H. A. The War of Independence in Pictures: Copies by Demetrios Zographos from Originals by His Father Panayiotis Zographos
Commissioned by General Makriyannis and Presented to Her Majesty,
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Birmingham: University of Birmingham Centre for Byzantine Studies,
Lydakis, Stelios. Geschichte der Griechischen Malerei des 19ten Jahrhunderts [A History of Greek Painting in the 19th Century]. Munich: Prestel
Verlag, 1972.
Museum of Modern Art. Cinemythology: A Retrospective of Greek Film.
Athens: Greek Film Center, 1993.
Rice, David Talbot. Art of the Byzantine Era. London: Thames & Hudson.
Spender, Stephen. Ghika: Paintings, Drawing, Sculpture. London: Lund
Humphries, 1964.
Spiteris, Tony. Introduction à la peinture neo-hellenique [An Introduction
to Modern Greek Painting]. Athens: 1962.
Tsarouchis, Yannis. Theophilos. Athens: Commercial Bank of Greece.
C. Literature
Alexiou, Margaret. After Antiquity: Greek Language, Myth, and Metaphor.
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Beaton, Roderick. George Seferis: Waiting for the Angel—A Biography.
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———. An Introduction to Modern Greek Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
———, ed. The Greek Novel, AD 1–1985. London: Croom Helm, 1988.
Bien, Peter. Constantine Cavafy. New York: Columbia University Press,
———. Kazantzakis and the Linguistic Revolution in Greek Literature.
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———. Nikos Kazantzakis. New York: Columbia University Press, 1972.
Browing, Robert. Medieval and Modern Greek. Cambridge: Cambridge
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Calas, Nicolas. Texts on Poetics and Aesthetics (1929–38). New York:
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———. The Complete Poems of Cavafy. Translated by Rae Dalven. New
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———. Passions and Ancient Days. Translated by Edmund Keeley and
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———. The Poems of C. P. Cavafy. Translated by John Mavrogordatos.
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———. George Theotokas. Boston: Twayne, 1975.
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———. Modern Greek Poetry: Translation, Introduction, an Essay on
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———. The Poetics of Cavafy: Textuality, Eroticism, History. Princeton,
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Kazantzakis, Nikos. Christ Recrucified. Translated by Jonathan Griffin.
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———. The Fratricides. Translated by Athena Gianakas Dallas. New York:
Simon & Schuster, 1967.
———. Freedom and Death. Oxford: Cassirer, 1956.
———. The Last Temptation. Translated by Peter A. Bien. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961.
———. Report to Greco. Translated by Peter A. Bien. Oxford: Cassirer,
———. Travels in Greece: Journey to the Morea. Translated by E. A. Reed.
Oxford: Cassirer, 1966.
———. Zorba the Greek. Translated by Carl Wildman. New York: Simon
& Schuster, 1953.
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Variorum, 1993.
Keeley, Edmund. Angelos Sikelianos. London: George Allen & Unwin,
———. Cavafy’s Alexandria: Study of a Myth in Progress. Princeton. N.J.:
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———. The Modern Greek Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
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Myrivilis, Stratis. Life in the Tomb. Translated by Peter A. Bien. Hanover,
N.H.: University Press of New England, 1977.
———. The Mermaid Madonna. Translated by Abbott Rick. London:
Hutchinson, 1959.
———. The Schoolmistress with the Golden Eyes. Translated by Philip
Sherrard. London: Hutchinson, 1964.
Newton, Brian. Cypriot Greek: Its Phonology and Inflections. The Hague:
Mouton, 1972.
———. The Generative Interpretation of Dialect: A Study of Modern Greek
Phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972.
Palamas, Kostis. The Twelve Days of the Gypsy. Translated with an introduction by George Thomson. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1969.
———. The Twelve Words of the Gypsy. Translated with an introduction by
Frederic Will. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964.
———. The Twelve Words of the Gypsy. Translated by Ph. Theodore,
George Stephanides, and C. Katsimbalis. Memphis, Tenn.: Memphis
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Papadiamantis, Alexandros. The Murderess. Translated by George X. Xanthopoulides. London: Doric, 1977.
Politis, Linos. A History of Modern Greek Literature. Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1973.
Prevelakis, Pandelis. The Sun of Death. Translated by Philip Sherrard.
London: John Murray, 1965.
———. The Tale of a Town. Translated by Kenneth Johnstone. London:
Doric, 1976.
Raizis, M. Byron. Dionysios Solomos. New York: Twayne, 1972.
Ricks, David. The Shade of Homer: A Study in Modern Greek Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Ritsos, Yannis. Ritsos in Parentheses. Translated with an introduction by
Edmund Keeley. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1979.
———. Scripture of the Blind. Translated by Kimon Friar and Kostas
Myrsiades. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1979.
———. Selected Poems. Translated by Nikos Stangos. Harmondsworth,
England: Penguin Books, 1974.
Roberts, R. J. “The Greek Press at Constantinople in 1627 and Its Antecedents.” Library 22, no. 1 (1967).
Roidis, Emmanuel. Pope Joan. Translated by Lawrence Durrell. London:
Andre Deutsch, 1960.
Roilos, Panagiotis. Amphoteroglossia: A Poetics of the Twelfth-Century
Medieval Greek Novel. Washington, D.C.: Center for Hellenic Studies,
Harvard University, 2006.
Samarakis, Antonis. The Flaw. Translated by Peter Mansfield and Richard
Burns. London: Hutchinson, 1966.
Seferis, George. Collected Poems 1924–1955. Translated by E. Keeley and
P. Sherrard. London: Jonathan Cape, 1969.
———. On the Greek Style: Selected Essays in Poetry and Hellenism.
Translated by Rex Warner and Th. D. Frangopoulos with an introduction
by Rex Warner. London: Bodley Head, 1966.
———. A Poet’s Journal: Days of 1945–51. Translated by Athan Anagnostopoulos. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap, 1974.
Sherrard, Philip. The Marble Threshing Floor: Studies in Modern Greek
Poetry. London: Vallentine, Mitchell, 1956.
Spencer, Terence. Fair Greece! Sad Relic! Literary Philhellenism from
Shakespeare to Byron. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 1971.
Taktsis, Costas. The Third Wedding. Translated by Leslie Finer. London:
Alan Ross, 1967.
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248 •
Theotokas, George. Argo. Translated by E. Margaret Brooke and Aris
Tsatsopoulos. London: Methuen, 1951.
Trypanis, Constantine. Medieval and Modern Greek Poetry: An Anthology.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1951.
———. The Penguin Book of Greek Verse. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1971.
Tsirkas, Stratis. Drifting Cities: A Trilogy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
Tziovas, Dimitris. The Nationism of the Demoticists and Its Impact on
Their Literary Theory (1888–1930). Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1986.
———. The Other Self: Selfhood and Society in Modern Greek Fiction.
Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 2003.
———, ed. Greek Modernism and Beyond. Lanham, Md.: Rowman &
Littlefield, 1995.
Van Dyck, Karen R. Kassandra and the Censors: Greek Poetry since 1967.
Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998.
D. Music
Butterworth, Katherine, and Sara Schneider, eds. Rebetika: Songs from the
Old Greek Underworld. Athens: Komboloi, 1975.
Holst, Gail. Road to Rebetika: Music from a Greek Subculture: Songs of
Love, Sorrow and Hashish. Athens: Anglo-Hellenic, 1977.
———. Theodorakis: Myth and Politics in Modern Greek Music. Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert, 1980.
Papaioannou, John. European Music in the Twentieth Century. Edited by
Howard Hartog. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1961.
Pym, H. The Songs of Greece. London: Sunday Times, 1968.
Stasinopoulos, Arianna. Maria: Beyond the Callas Legend. London: Weidenfeld, 1987.
Wellesz, Egon. A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography. Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1961.
E. Folklore
Abbott, George F. Macedonian Folklore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969.
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Alexiou, Margaret. The Ritual Lament in Greek Tradition. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1974.
Alexiou, Margaret, Dimitrios Yatromanolakis, and Panagiotis Roilos. The
Ritual Lament in Greek Tradition. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield,
Antoniades, Anne Gault. The Anastenaria: Thracian Firewalking Festival.
Athens: Thracian Archives no. 36, 1954.
Argenti, Philip. The Folklore of Chios. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1949.
Beaton, Roderick. Folk Poetry of Modern Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1980.
Colaclides, Helen. Folktales of Greece (Translation). Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1970.
Crosfield, Domini. Dances of Greece. London: Max Parish, 1948.
Dawkins, Richard M. Modern Greek Folktales (Translation). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953.
———. More Greek Folktales (Translation). Oxford: Clarendon Press,
Herzfeld, Michael. Ours Once More: Folklore, Ideology and the Making of
Modern Greece. New York: Pella, 1986.
Johnstone, Pauline. Greek Island Embroidery. London: 1961.
———. Victoria and Albert Museum: A Guide to Greek Island Embroidery.
Victoria and Albert Museum. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1972.
Kyriakides, Stilpon. Two Studies on Modern Greek Folklore. Thessaloniki:
Institute for Balkan Studies, 1968.
Kyriakidou-Nestoros, Alke. “Folk Art in Greek Macedonia.” Balkan Studies 4, no.1 (1963).
Lawson, John Cuthbert. Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion: A Study in Survivals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
Megas, Georgios A. Greek Calendar Customs. Athens: Press and Information Department, Prime Minister’s Office, 1958.
Papadopoulos, S. A., ed. Greek Handicraft. Athens: National Bank of
Greece, 1969.
Petrides, Theodore. Greek Dances. Athens: Lycabettus Press, 1975.
Petrides, Theodore, and Elpida Petridos. Folk Dances of the Greeks;
Origins and Instructions. Folkestone, England: Bailey Bros. & Swinfen,
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A. General
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook—Greece.
Calendar of Greek Events.
GoGreece.com, general directory in English to Greek Internet sites on
all topics.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece.
General Secretariat of National Statistical Service of Greece.
World Statesmen: Greece (basic information about Greece, including
chronology, national anthem, flags, maps and constitution).
B. News
DOL, the Internet website of the Athens media group, including the
English weekly Athens News (www.athensnews.gr).
Kathimerini, the electronic edition in English of the Athens spreadsheet.
Eleftherotypia, the electronic edition in Greek of the Athens newspaper.
Eleftheros Tipos, the electronic edition in Greek of the Athens newspaper.
Flash.gr, a multimedia newspaper in Greek.
HR-NET, a news portal.
in.gr, a news portal.
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C. History
The Andreas G. Papandreou Foundation
Gennadius Library
Archives of Contemporary Social History
The Benaki Museum
The Greek Literary and Historical Archive (E.L.I.A.)
General State Archives
The Konstantinos G. Karamanlis Foundation
The Konstantinos Mitsotakis Foundation
National Library of Greece
The Parliament Library
D. Economy and Business
American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
Athens Stock Exchange
National Bank of Greece
Ministry of Development of Greece
Ministry of National Economy and Finance
World Bank: Greece
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E. Culture
Benaki Museum
The Bodossakis Foundation
National Hellenic Research Foundation
Foundation of the Hellenic World
Greek Film Center
Greece Museums Guide
Athens Festival
Hellenic Foundation for Culture
The Kokkalis Foundation
Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation
Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Ministry of Culture of Greece
Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs
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About the Author
Dimitris Keridis is an associate professor of international politics at the
Department of Balkan, Slavic, and Oriental Studies, at the University of
Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Greece, and a senior associate at the Karamanlis Foundation in Athens, Greece. His research interests include
foreign policy analysis, European politics, and theories of international
relations, nationalism, and democracy. He has edited several volumes
on Greece and its region, including Greek–Turkish Relations in the Era
of Globalization. His latest book is entitled U.S. Foreign Policy and the
Conservative Counterrevolution: Bush, Terrorism, Iraq, and Islam.
Dr. Keridis has served as the Constantine Karamanlis Associate Professor in Hellenic and Southeastern European Studies at the Fletcher
School, Tufts University (2005–2007); director of the Kokkalis Foundation in Athens, Greece (2001–2005); director of the Kokkalis Program
at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
(1997–2001); and as lecturer of Balkan studies at the John F. Kennedy
School of Government, Harvard University (1998–2001).
He is a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (PhD,
1998; MALD, 1994). The subject of his doctoral dissertation was “The
Foreign Policy of Nationalism: The Case of Serbia (1986–1995) and
Greece (1991–1995).” Dr. Keridis also holds a JD from the Law School
of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Greece (1991).
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