Greek art began in the Cycladic and Minoan civilization, gave birth to Western classical art in the subsequent Geometric and Classical periods. It absorbed influences of Eastern civilizations, of Roman art and its patrons, the new religion of Orthodox Christianity in the Byzantine era and absorbed Italian and European ideas during the period of Romanticism, until the Modernist and Postmodernist. Greek art is five forms: architecture, painting and jewelry making. Artistic production in Greece began in the prehistoric pre-Greek Cycladic and the Minoan civilizations, both of which were influenced by local traditions and the art of ancient Egypt. There are three scholarly divisions of the stages of ancient Greek art that correspond with historical periods of the same names; these are the Classical and the Hellenistic. The Archaic period is dated from 1000 BC; the Persian Wars of 480 BC to 448 BC are taken as the dividing line between the Archaic and the Classical periods, the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC is regarded as the event separating the Classical from the Hellenistic period.
Of course, different forms of art developed at different speeds in different parts of the Greek world, varied to a degree from artist to artist. There was a sharp transition from one period to another; the art of ancient Greece has exercised an enormous influence on the culture of many countries from ancient times until the present in the areas of sculpture and architecture. In the West, the art of the Roman Empire was derived from Greek models. In the East, Alexander the Great's conquests initiated several centuries of exchange between Greek, Central Asian and Indian cultures, resulting in Greco-Buddhist art, with ramifications as far as Japan. Following the Renaissance in Europe, the humanist aesthetic and the high technical standards of Greek art inspired generations of European artists. Pottery was either black with blue designs. Byzantine art is the term created for the Eastern Roman Empire from about the 5th century until the fall of Constantinople in 1453; the term can be used for the art of states which were contemporary with the Persian Empire and shared a common culture with it, without being part of it, such as Bulgaria, or Russia, Venice, which had close ties to the Byzantine Empire despite being in other respects part of western European culture.
It can be used for the art of people of the former Byzantine Empire under the rule of Ottoman Empire after 1453. In some respects the Byzantine artistic tradition has continued in Russia and other Eastern Orthodox countries to the present day. Byzantine art grew from the art of ancient Greece and, at least before 1453, never lost sight of its classical heritage, but was distinguished from it in a number of ways; the most profound of these was that the humanist ethic of ancient Greek art was replaced by the Christian ethic. If the purpose of classical art was the glorification of man, the purpose of Byzantine art was the glorification of God. In place of the nude, the figures of God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and the saints and martyrs of Christian tradition were elevated and became the dominant - indeed exclusive - focus of Byzantine art. One of the most important forms of Byzantine art was, still is, theded the Cretan school as the leading school of Greek post-Byzantine painting after Crete fell to the Ottomans in 1669.
Like the Cretan school it combined Byzantine traditions with an increasing Western European artistic influence, saw the first signiand the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. Cretan School describes the school of icon painting known as Post-Byzantine art, which flourished while Crete was under Venetian rule during the late Middle Ages, reaching its climax after the Fall of Constantinople, becoming the central force in Greek painting during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries; the Cretan artists developed a particular style of painting under the influence of both Eastern and Western artistic traditions and movements. The Heptanese School of painting succeeded the Cretan School as the leading school of Greek post-Byzantine painting after Crete fell to the Ottomans in 1669. Like the Cretan school it combined Byzantine traditions with an increasing Western European artistic influence, saw the first significant depiction of secular subjects; the school was based in the Ionian Islands, which were not part of Ottoman Greece, from the middle of the 17th century until the middle of the 19th century.
Modern Greek art, after the establishment of the Greek Kingdom, began to be developed around the time of Romanticism. Greek artists absorbed many elements from their European colleagues, resulting in the culmination of the distinctive style of Greek Romantic art, inspired by revolutionary ideals as well as the country's geography and history. After centuries of Ottoman rule, few opportunities for an education in the arts existed in the newly independent Greece, so studying abroad was imperative for artists. Munich, as an important international center for the arts at that time, was the place where the majority of the Greek artists of the 19th century chose to study. On, they would return to Greece
The Crusader states were a number of 12th- and 13th-century feudal Christian states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor and the Holy Land, during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area. The name refers to other territorial gains made by medieval Christendom against Muslim and pagan adversaries; the Crusader states in the Levant, collectively known as Outremer, were the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and the County of Edessa. The people of the Crusader states were referred to as "Latins", a common demonym among the followers of the Latin Church as opposed to indigenous followers of Eastern Christianity. Beginning in the 7th century, Muslim rulers began expanding their territories into Christian Roman/Byzantine lands, conquering Egypt and the Levant, taking over all of North Africa, much of Southwest Asia, most of the Iberian Peninsula; the Eastern Romans, or Byzantines recovered lost territory on numerous occasions but lost all but Anatolia and parts of Thrace and the Balkans.
In the West, the Roman Catholic kingdoms of northern Iberia launched campaigns known as the Reconquista to reconquer the peninsula from the Arabized Berbers known as Moors. The conquered Iberian principalities are not customarily called Crusader states, except for the Kingdom of Valencia, despite fitting the criteria. Malcolm Barber, a British scholar of medieval history, indicates that, in the Crusader state of the Kingdom of Jerusalem the Holy Sepulchre was added to in the 7th century and rebuilt in 1022, "after a previous collapse". "In 691–2 Caliph Abd al Malik had built a great dome over the rock here, a place sacred to all three great religions". In 1071, the Byzantine army was defeated by the Muslim Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert, resulting in the loss of most of Asia Minor; the situation was a serious threat to the future of the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire. The Emperor sent a plea to the Pope in Rome to send military aid to restore the lost territories to Christian rule.
The result was a series of western European military campaigns into the eastern Mediterranean, known as the Crusades. For the Byzantines, the crusaders had no allegiance to the Byzantine Emperor and established their own states in the conquered regions, including the heart of the Byzantine Empire; the first four Crusader states were created in the Levant after the First Crusade: The first Crusader state, the County of Edessa, was founded in 1098 and lasted until 1150. The Principality of Antioch, founded in 1098, lasted until 1268; the Kingdom of Jerusalem, founded in 1099, lasted until 1291. There were many vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the four major lordships being: The Principality of Galilee The County of Jaffa and Ascalon The Lordship of Oultrejordain The Lordship of Sidon The County of Tripoli, founded in 1104, with Tripoli itself conquered in 1109, lasted until 1289. After the First Crusade's capture of Jerusalem and victory at Ascalon the majority of the Crusaders considered their pilgrimage complete and returned to Europe.
Godfrey was left with only 300 knights and 2,000 infantry to defend the territory won in the Eastern Mediterranean. Only Tancred of the crusader princes remained with the aim of establishing his own lordship. At this point the Franks held two great Syrian cities. Jerusalem remained economically sterile despite the advantages of being the centre of administration of church and state and benefitting from streams of pilgrims. Consolidation in the first half of the 12th-century established four Crusader states: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Tripoli; these states were the first examples of "Europe overseas". They are known as outremer, from the French outre-mer. Based in the ports of Acre and Tyre. Separate from the Frankish nobles or burgesses, the communes were autonomous political entities linked to their countries of origin; this gave the inhabitants the ability to monopolise foreign trade and all banking and shipping in the Crusader states.
Every opportunity to extend trade privileges was taken. One such example was the case of the Venetian Doge receiving one third of Tyre, its territories and exemption from all taxes after participating in the successful 1124 siege of the city. However, despite all efforts the two ports were unable to replace Alexandria and Constantinople as the primary centres of commerce in the region. Instead, the communes competed with each other to maintain economic advantage. Power derived from the support of the communards' native cities rather than their number, which never reached more than several hundred. Through this, by the middle of the 13th-century, the rulers of the communes were required to recognise the authority of the crusaders and divided Acre into a number of fortified miniature republics; the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia had its origins before the Crusades, but was granted the status of a kingdom by Pope Innocent III, became westernized by the Lusignan dynasty. During the Third Crusade, the Crusaders founded the Kingdom of Cyprus.
Richard I of England conquered Cyprus on his way to Holy Land. He subsequently sold the island to the Knights Templar who were unab
Most of the areas which today are within modern Greece's borders were at some point in the past a part of the Ottoman Empire. This period of Ottoman rule in Greece, lasting from the mid-15th century until the successful Greek War of Independence that broke out in 1821 and the proclamation of the First Hellenic Republic in 1822, is known in Greek as Tourkokratia; some regions, like the Ionian islands, various temporary Venetian possessions of the Stato da Mar, or Mani peninsula in Peloponnese did not become part of the Ottoman administration, although the latter was under Ottoman suzerainty. The Eastern Roman Empire, the remnant of the ancient Roman Empire which ruled most of the Greek-speaking world for over 1100 years, had been fatally weakened since the sacking of Constantinople by the Latin Crusaders in 1204; the Ottoman advance into Greece was preceded by victory over the Serbs to its north. First, the Ottomans won the Battle of Maritsa in 1371; the Serb forces were led by the King Vukašin of Serbia, the father of Prince Marko and the co-ruler of the last emperor from the Serbian Nemanjic dynasty.
This was followed by another Ottoman draw in the 1389 Battle of Kosovo. With no further threat by the Serbs and the subsequent Byzantine civil wars, the Ottomans besieged and took Constantinople in 1453 and advanced southwards into Greece, capturing Athens in 1458; the Greeks held out in the Peloponnese until 1460, the Venetians and Genoese clung to some of the islands, but by the early 16th century all of mainland Greece and most of the Aegean islands were in Ottoman hands, excluding several port cities still held by the Venetians. The mountains of Greece were untouched, were a refuge for Greeks who desired to flee Ottoman rule and engage in guerrilla warfare; the Cyclades islands, in the middle of the Aegean, were annexed by the Ottomans in 1579, although they were under vassal status since the 1530s. Cyprus fell in 1571, the Venetians retained Crete until 1669; the Ionian Islands were never ruled by the Ottomans, with the exception of Kefalonia, remained under the rule of the Republic of Venice.
It was in the Ionian Islands where modern Greek statehood was born, with the creation of the Republic of the Seven Islands in 1800. Ottoman Greece was a multiethnic society. However, the modern Western notion of multiculturalism, although at first glance appears to correspond to the system of millets, is considered to be incompatible with the Ottoman system; the Greeks with the one hand were given freedom. Despite losing their political independence, the Greeks remained dominant in the fields of commerce and business; the consolidation of Ottoman power in the 15th and 16th centuries rendered the Mediterranean safe for Greek shipping, Greek shipowners became the maritime carriers of the Empire, making tremendous profits. After the Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Lepanto however, Greek ships became the target of vicious attacks by Catholic pirates; this period of Ottoman rule had a profound impact in Greek society. The Greek land-owning aristocracy that traditionally dominated the Byzantine Empire suffered a tragic fate, was completely destroyed.
The new leading class in Ottoman Greece were the prokritoi called kocabaşis by the Ottomans. The prokritoi were bureaucrats and tax collectors, gained a negative reputation for corruption and nepotism. On the other hand, the Phanariots became prominent in the imperial capital of Constantinople as businessmen and diplomats, the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarch rose to great power under the Sultan's protection, gaining religious control over the entire Orthodox population of the Empire, Greek, Αlbanian-speaking, Latin-speaking and Slavic. After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453, the Despotate of the Morea was the last remnant of the Byzantine Empire to hold out against the Ottomans. However, it fell to the Ottomans in 1460. While most of mainland Greece and the Aegean islands was under Ottoman control by the end of the 15th century and Crete remained Venetian territory and did not fall to the Ottomans until 1571 and 1670 respectively; the only part of the Greek-speaking world that escaped Ottoman rule was the Ionian Islands, which remained Venetian until 1797.
Corfu withstood three major sieges in 1537, 1571 and 1716 all of which resulted in the repulsion of the Ottomans. Other areas that remained part of the Venetian Stato da Màr include Nafplio and Monemvasia until 1540, the Duchy of the Archipelago, centered on the islands of Naxos and Paros until 1579, Sifnos until 1617 and Tinos until 1715; the consolidation of Ottoman rule was followed by two distinct trends of Greek migration. The first entailed Greek intellectuals, such as Basilios Bessarion, Georgius Plethon Gemistos and Marcos Mousouros, migrating to other parts of Western Europe and influencing the advent of the Renaissance; this trend had effect on the creation of the modern Greek diaspora. The second entailed Greeks leaving the plains of the Greek peninsula and resettling in the mountains, where the rugged landscape made i
The National Schism was a series of disagreements between King Constantine I and Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos regarding the foreign policy of Greece in the period of 1910–1922 of which the tipping point was whether Greece should enter World War I. Venizelos was in support of the Allies and wanted Greece to join the war on their side, while the pro-German King wanted Greece to remain neutral, which would favor the plans of the Central Powers; the disagreement had wider implications, since it would affect the character and role of the king in the state. The dismissal of Venizelos by the King resulted in a deep personal rift between the two and in subsequent events their followers divided into two radically opposed political camps affecting the wider Greek society. With the contrary actions of Venizelos permitting the landing of Allied forces in Thessaloniki and the unconditional surrender of a military fort in Macedonia to German-Bulgarian forces by the king, the disagreements of the two men started to take the form of civil war.
In August 1916, followers of Venizelos set up a provisional state in Northern Greece, with Entente support, with the aim of reclaiming the lost regions in Macedonia splitting Greece into two entities. After intense diplomatic negotiations and an armed confrontation in Athens between Allied and royalist forces the king abdicated on 11 June 1917, his second son Alexander took his place. Venizelos returned to Athens on 29 May 1917 and Greece, now unified joined the war on the side of the Allies, emerging victorious and securing new territory by the Treaty of Sèvres; the bitter effects of this division were the main features of Greek political life until the 1940s, contributed to Greece's defeat in the Greco-Turkish War, the collapse of the Second Hellenic Republic and the establishment of the dictatorial Metaxas Regime. The main cause of the conflict was the dispute between Venizelos and King Constantine over power in Greece, in which the development of true representation had been slow since the creation of the state.
Up till the 1870s and the King's acceptance of the principle that the leader of the majority party in Parliament should be given the mandate to form a government, the formation of political groupings around a leader who could govern if this pleased the King meant that the parliamentary government was at the monarch's discretion. Many reformists and liberals viewed meddling by the monarchy in politics as deleterious; the negative public attitude towards the monarchy was strengthened by the defeat of the Greek army, headed by Constantine, in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. Many of these hopes for reform were shared by young officers in the Hellenic Army, who felt humiliated by the defeat, who were influenced by republicanism. A "Military League" was formed, on 15 August 1909, they issued a pronunciamiento at the Goudi barracks in Athens; the movement, which demanded reforms in government and military affairs, was supported by the public. He appointed Kyriakoulis Mavromichalis as Prime Minister and accepted the dismissal of the Princes from the military.
However, it soon became apparent that the leadership of the League was not able to govern the country, they looked for an experienced political leader, who would preferably be anti-monarchist and not tainted by the "old-partyism" of the old system. The officers found such a man in the person of Eleftherios Venizelos, a prominent Cretan politician, whose clashes with Prince George, the island's regent, seemed to confirm his anti-monarchist and republican credentials. With Venizelos' arrival, the League was sidelined, the energetic and young politician soon dominated Greek political life, his government carried out a large number of overdue reforms, including the creation of a revised constitution. However, he established a close relationship with the King, resisted calls to transform the revisionary assembly into a constitutional one, reinstated the Princes in their positions in the army, with Crown Prince Constantine as its Inspector-General. With the outbreak of the Balkan Wars, Constantine was appointed again as commander-in-chief, the successes of the army in the field in the Second Balkan War against the Bulgarians, helped many forget his record in 1897.
Constantine, now king, was being hailed as "laurel-crowned" and "Bulgar-slayer". It was however during this war that the first tension between Constantine and Venizelos surfaced, in a dispute over the army's course following the victory at Sarantaporo. Constantine wanted to march due north, towards Monastir, while Venizelos was anxious that the army should turn east, towards the strategically important city and harbor of Thessaloniki; the anxiety of Venizelos was doubled by the fact that the Bulgarians had set their eyes on the city, the most important in Macedonia, were sending their own troops towards it. Venizelos prevailed, the Greeks captured the city only a few hours before the arrival of the Bulgarians; this episode was not publicised at the time, in the aftermath of the Wars, the two men and Prime Minister, both wildly popular, were seen as making up a formidable partnership at the helm of the Greek state. However, the antivenizelist opposition in the parliament began rallying around the King.
During the negotiations of the Treaty of Bucharest, Venizelos was criticised for being too compliant against Bulgaria. Bulgaria took the lands of Western Thrace though it had been captured by the Greek army during the war; as the Great War began, the Greek authorities had to ch
Greek Civil War
Τhe Greek Civil War was fought in Greece from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek government army — backed by the United Kingdom and the United States — and the Democratic Army of Greece — the military branch of the Communist Party of Greece — backed by Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. It is considered the first proxy war of the Cold War, although the Soviet Union avoided sending aid; the fighting resulted in the defeat of the DSE by the Hellenic Army. Founded by the Communist Party of Greece and supported by neighboring and newly founded Socialist States such as Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, the Democratic Army of Greece included many personnel who had fought as partisans against German and Bulgarian occupation forces during the Second World War of 1939–1945; the civil war resulted from a polarized struggle between left and right ideologies that started in 1943. From 1944 each side targeted the power vacuum resulting from the end of German-Italian occupation during World War II; the struggle became one of the first conflicts of the Cold War and represents the first example of Cold War power postwar involvement in the internal politics of a foreign country.
Greece in the end was funded by the US and joined NATO, while the insurgents were demoralized by the bitter split between the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin, who wanted the war ended, Yugoslavia's Josip Broz Tito, who wanted it to continue. Tito was committed to helping the Greek Communists in their efforts, a stance that caused political complications with Stalin, as he had agreed with Winston Churchill not to support the Communists in Greece, as documented in their Percentages Agreement of October 1944; the first signs of the civil war occurred in 1942 during the German occupation. With the Greek government in exile unable to influence the situation at home, various resistance groups of differing political affiliations emerged, the dominant ones being the leftist National Liberation Front, its military branch the Greek People's Liberation Army, controlled by the KKE. Starting in autumn 1943, friction between the EAM and the other resistance groups resulted in scattered clashes, which continued until spring 1944, when an agreement was reached forming a national unity government that included six EAM-affiliated ministers.
The immediate prelude of the civil war took place in Athens, on December 3, 1944, less than two months after the Germans had retreated from the area. After an order to disarm, leftists called for resistance. A riot erupted and Greek government gendarmes, with British forces standing in the background, opened fire on a pro-EAM rally, killing 28 demonstrators and injuring dozens; the rally had been organised under the pretext of a demonstration against the perceived impunity of the collaborators and the general disarmament ultimatum, signed by Ronald Scobie. The battle lasted 33 days and resulted in the defeat of the EAM; the subsequent signing of the Treaty of Varkiza spelled the end of the left-wing organization's ascendancy: the ELAS was disarmed while the EAM soon after lost its multi-party character, to become dominated by KKE. All the while, White Terror was unleashed against the supporters of the left, further escalating the tensions between the dominant factions of the nation; the war erupted in 1946, when forces of former ELAS partisans who found shelter in their hideouts and were controlled by the KKE organized the DSE and its High Command headquarters.
The KKE backed up the endeavor, deciding that there was no alternative way to act against the internationally recognized government, formed after the 1946 elections, which the KKE had boycotted. The Communists formed a provisional government in December 1947 and used the DSE as the military branch of this government; the neighboring communist states of Albania and Bulgaria offered logistical support to this provisional government to the forces operating in the north of Greece. Despite setbacks suffered by government forces from 1946 to 1948, increased American aid, the failure of the DSE to attract sufficient recruits and the side-effects of the Tito–Stalin split of 1948 led to victory for the government troops; the final victory of the western-allied government forces led to Greece's membership in NATO and helped to define the ideological balance of power in the Aegean Sea for the entire Cold War. The civil war left Greece with a vehemently anti-communist security establishment, which would lead to the establishment of the Greek military junta of 1967–74 and a legacy of political polarisation that lasts until today.
While Axis forces approached Athens in April 1941, King George II and his government escaped to Egypt, where they proclaimed a government-in-exile, recognised by the UK but not by the Soviet Union. Winston Churchill encouraged King George II of Greece to appoint a moderate cabinet; as a result, only two of his ministers were previous members of the 4th of August Regime under Ioannis Metaxas, who had both seized power in a coup d'état with the blessing of the king and governed the country since August 1936. The exiled government's inability to influence affairs inside Greece rendered it irrelevant in the minds of most Greek people. At the same time, the Germans set up a collaborationist government in Athens, which lacked legitimacy and support; the puppet regime was further undermined when economic mismanagement in wartime conditions created runaway inflation, acute food shortages and famine among the civilian population
Axis occupation of Greece
The occupation of Greece by the Axis Powers began in April 1941 after Nazi Germany invaded Greece to assist its ally, Fascist Italy, at war with Allied Greece since October 1940. Following the conquest of Crete, all of Greece was occupied by June 1941; the occupation in the mainland lasted until Germany and its ally Bulgaria were forced to withdraw under Allied pressure in early October 1944. However, German garrisons remained in control of Crete and some other Aegean islands until after the end of World War II in Europe, surrendering these islands in May and June 1945. Fascist Italy had declared war and invaded Greece in October 1940, but the Hellenic Army managed to push back the invading forces into neighboring Albania an Italian protectorate. Nazi Germany intervened on its ally's behalf in southern Europe. While most of the Hellenic Army was dislocated on the Albanian front to fend off the relentless Italian counter-attacks, a rapid German Blitzkrieg campaign commenced in April 1941, by June Greece was defeated and occupied.
As result, the Greek government went into exile, an Axis collaborationist puppet government was established in the country. Furthermore, Greece's territory was divided into occupation zones run by the Axis powers, with the Germans proceeding to administer the most important regions of the country themselves, including Athens and the most strategic Aegean Islands. Other regions of the country were given to Germany's partners and Bulgaria; the occupation ruined the Greek economy and brought about terrible hardships for the Greek civilian population. Much of Greece was subjected to enormous destruction of its industry, ports, roads and bridges, forests and other natural resources and loss of civilian life. Over 40,000 civilians died in Athens alone from starvation, tens of thousands more died because of reprisals by Nazis and collaborators; the Jewish population of Greece was nearly eradicated. Of its pre-war population of 75-77,000, only around 11-12,000 survived, either by joining the resistance or being hidden.
Most of those who died were deported to Auschwitz, while those in Thrace, under Bulgarian occupation, were sent to Treblinka. The Italians did not deport Jews living in territory they controlled, but when the Germans took over, Jews living there were deported. At the same time the Greek Resistance was formed; these resistance groups launched guerrilla attacks against the occupying powers, fought against the collaborationist Security Battalions, set up large espionage networks. By late 1943 the resistance groups began to fight amongst themselves; when liberation of the mainland came in October 1944, Greece was in a state of extreme political polarization, which soon led to the outbreak of civil war. The subsequent civil war gave the opportunity to many prominent Nazi collaborators not only to escape punishment, but to become the ruling class of postwar Greece, after the communist defeat; the Greek government claimed in 2014 that the Greek Resistance killed 21,087 Axis soldiers and captured 6,463, for the death of 20,650 Greek partisans and an unknown number captured.
In the early morning hours of 28 October 1940, Italian Ambassador Emmanuel Grazzi awoke Greek Premier Ioannis Metaxas and presented him an ultimatum. Metaxas rejected the ultimatum and Italian forces invaded Greek territory from Italian-occupied Albania less than three hours later. Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini launched the invasion to prove that Italians could match the military successes of the German Army and because Mussolini regarded southeastern Europe as lying within Italy's sphere of influence; the Hellenic Army proved to be a formidable opponent, exploited the mountainous terrain of Epirus. The Hellenic forces forced the Italians to retreat. By mid-December, the Greeks had occupied nearly one-quarter of Albania, before Italian reinforcements and the harsh winter stemmed the Greek advance. In March 1941, a major Italian counterattack failed; the initial Greek defeat of the Italian invasion is considered the first Allied land victory of the Second World War, although due to German intervention, it resulted in a victory for the Axis.
Fifteen of the 21 Greek divisions were deployed against the Italians, so only six divisions were facing the attack from German troops in the Metaxas Line during the first days of April. Greece received help from British Commonwealth troops, moved from Libya on the orders of Winston Churchill. On 6 April 1941, Germany came to the aid of Italy and invaded Greece through Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Greek and British Commonwealth troops were overwhelmed. On 20 April, after Greek resistance in the north had ceased, the Bulgarian Army entered Greek Thrace, without having fired a shot, with the goal of regaining its Aegean Sea outlet in Western Thrace and Eastern Macedonia; the Bulgarians occupied territory between the Strymon River and a line of demarcation running through Alexandroupoli and Svilengrad west of the Evros River. The Greek capital Athens fell on 27 April, by 1 June, after the capture of Crete, all of Greece was under Axis occupation. After the invasion King George II fled, first to Crete and to Cairo.
A nominally Greek right-wing government ruled from Athens. The occupation of Gr
The history of Byzantine Greece coincides with the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. The Greek peninsula became a Roman protectorate in 146 BC, the Aegean islands were added to this territory in 133 BC. Athens and other Greek cities revolted in 88 BC, the peninsula was crushed by the Roman general Sulla; the Roman civil wars devastated the land further, until Augustus organized the peninsula as the province of Achaea in 27 BC. Greece was a typical eastern province of the Roman Empire; the Romans sent colonists there and contributed new buildings to its cities in the Agora of Athens, where the Agrippeia of Marcus Agrippa, the Library of Titus Flavius Pantaenus, the Tower of the Winds, among others, were built. Romans tended to be philohellenic and Greeks were loyal to Rome. Life in Greece continued under the Roman Empire much the same as it had and Greek continued to be the lingua franca in the Eastern and most important part of the Empire. Roman culture was influenced by classical Greek culture as Horace said, Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit.
The epics of Homer inspired the Aeneid of Virgil, authors such as Seneca the Younger wrote using Greek styles, while famous Romans such as Scipio Africanus, Julius Caesar and Marcus Aurelius compiled works in the Greek language. During that period, Greek intellectuals such as Galen or Apollodorus of Damascus were continuously being brought to Rome. Within the city of Rome, Greek was spoken by Roman elites philosophers, by lower, working classes such as sailors and merchants; the emperor Nero visited Greece in 66, performed at the Olympic Games, despite the rules against non-Greek participation. He was, of course, honored with a victory in every contest, in 67 he proclaimed the freedom of the Greeks at the Isthmian Games in Corinth, just as Flamininus had over 200 years previously. Hadrian was particularly fond of the Greeks, he built his namesake arch there, had a Greek lover, Antinous. At the same time Greece and much of the rest of the Roman east came under the influence of Christianity; the apostle Paul had preached in Corinth and Athens, Greece soon became one of the most Christianized areas of the empire.
During the second and third centuries, Greece was divided into provinces including Achaea, Epirus vetus and Thracia. During the reign of Diocletian in the late 3rd century, the western Balkans were organized as a Roman diocese, was ruled by Galerius. Under Constantine I Greece was part of the dioceses of Thrace; the eastern and southern Aegean islands formed the province of Insulae in the Diocese of Asia. Greece faced invasions from the Heruli and Vandals during the reign of Theodosius I. Stilicho, who acted as regent for Arcadius, evacuated Thessaly when the Visigoths invaded in the late 4th century. Arcadius' Chamberlain Eutropius allowed Alaric to enter Greece, he looted Corinth, the Peloponnese. Stilicho drove him out around 397 and Alaric was made magister militum in Illyricum. Alaric and the Goths migrated to Italy, sacked Rome in 410, built the Visigothic Empire in Iberia and southern France, which lasted until 711 with the advent of the Arabs. Greece remained part of the unified eastern half of the empire.
Contrary to outdated visions of late antiquity, the Greek peninsula was most one of the most prosperous regions of the Roman and the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire. Older scenarios of poverty, barbarian destruction and civil decay have been revised in light of recent archaeological discoveries. In fact the polis, as an institution, appears to have remained prosperous until at least the sixth century. Contemporary texts such as Hierocles' Synecdemus affirm that in late Antiquity, Greece was urbanised and contained 80 cities; this view of extreme prosperity is accepted today, it is assumed between the 4th and 7th centuries AD, Greece may have been one of the most economically active regions in the eastern Mediterranean. Following the loss of Alexandria and Antioch to the Arabs, Thessaloniki became the Byzantine Empire's second largest city, called the "co-regent", second only to Constantinople; the Greek peninsula remained one of the strongest centers of Christianity in the late Roman and early Byzantine periods.
After the area's recovery from the Slavic invasions, its wealth was restored. Events such as the Seljuk invasion of Asia Minor and the Latin occupation of Constantinople focused Byzantine imperial interest to the Greek peninsula during the late Byzantine period; the Peloponnese in particular continued to prosper economically and intellectually during its Latin domination, the Byzantine recovery, until its final fall to the Ottoman Empire. Greece was raided in Macedonia in 479 and 482 by the Ostrogoths under their king, Theodoric the Great; the Bulgars raided Thrace and the rest of northern Greece in 540 and on repeated other occasions. These continuing Bulgar invasions required the Byzantine Empire to build a defensive wall, called the "Anastasian Wall," that extended for some thirty miles, or more, from the city of Selymbria to the Black Sea; the Huns and Bulgars raided Greece in 559 until the Byzantine army returned from Italy, where Justinian I had been attempting to capture the heart of the Roman Empire.
According to historical documents, the Slavs invaded and settled in parts of Greece beginning in 579 and Byzantium nearly lost control of the entire peninsula during the 580s. However, there is no archaeological evidence indicating Slavic penetrat