Greece the Hellenic Republic, self-identified and known as Hellas, is a country located in Southern and Southeast Europe, with a population of 11 million as of 2016. Athens is largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe and Africa. Situated on the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, Turkey to the northeast; the Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a large number of islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres; the country consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Thrace and the Ionian Islands.
Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilisation, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, Western drama and notably the Olympic Games. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as poleis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Philip of Macedon united most of the Greek mainland in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great conquering much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, in which Greek language and culture were dominant. Rooted in the first century A. D. the Greek Orthodox Church helped shape modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World. Falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence.
Greece's rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The sovereign state of Greece is a unitary parliamentary republic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, a high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the tenth member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001, it is a member of numerous other international institutions, including the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Greece's unique cultural heritage, large tourism industry, prominent shipping sector and geostrategic importance classify it as a middle power, it is the largest economy in the Balkans. The names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
The Greek name of the country is Hellas or Ellada, its official name is the Hellenic Republic. In English, the country is called Greece, which comes from Latin Graecia and means'the land of the Greeks'; the earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, in the Greek province of Macedonia. All three stages of the stone age are represented for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries, as Greece lies on the route via which farming spread from the Near East to Europe. Greece is home to the first advanced civilizations in Europe and is considered the birthplace of Western civilisation, beginning with the Cycladic civilization on the islands of the Aegean Sea at around 3200 BC, the Minoan civilization in Crete, the Mycenaean civilization on the mainland; these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek.
The Mycenaeans absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC, during a time of regional upheaval known as the Bronze Age collapse. This ushered from which written records are absent. Though the unearthed Linear B texts are too fragmentary for the reconstruction of the political landscape and can't support the existence of a larger state contemporary Hittite and Egyptian records suggest the presence of a single state under a "Great King" based in mainland Greece; the end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to the year of the first Olympic Games. The Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, which spread to the shores of the Black Sea, So
Macedonia (ancient kingdom)
Macedonia called Macedon, was an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece, the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The kingdom was founded and ruled by the royal Argead dynasty, followed by the Antipatrid and Antigonid dynasties. Home to the ancient Macedonians, the earliest kingdom was centered on the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south. Before the 4th century BC, Macedonia was a small kingdom outside of the area dominated by the great city-states of Athens and Thebes, subordinate to Achaemenid Persia. During the reign of the Argead king Philip II, Macedonia subdued mainland Greece and Thrace through conquest and diplomacy. With a reformed army containing phalanxes wielding the sarissa pike, Philip II defeated the old powers of Athens and Thebes in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. Philip II's son Alexander the Great, leading a federation of Greek states, accomplished his father's objective of commanding the whole of Greece when he destroyed Thebes after the city revolted.
During Alexander's subsequent campaign of conquest, he overthrew the Achaemenid Empire and conquered territory that stretched as far as the Indus River. For a brief period, his empire was the most powerful in the world – the definitive Hellenistic state, inaugurating the transition to a new period of Ancient Greek civilization. Greek arts and literature flourished in the new conquered lands and advances in philosophy and science spread throughout much of the ancient world. Of particular importance were the contributions of Aristotle, tutor to Alexander, whose writings became a keystone of Western philosophy. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, the ensuing wars of the Diadochi, the partitioning of Alexander's short-lived empire, Macedonia remained a Greek cultural and political center in the Mediterranean region along with Ptolemaic Egypt, the Seleucid Empire, the Kingdom of Pergamon. Important cities such as Pella and Amphipolis were involved in power struggles for control of the territory. New cities were founded, such as Thessalonica by the usurper Cassander.
Macedonia's decline began with the Macedonian Wars and the rise of Rome as the leading Mediterranean power. At the end of the Third Macedonian War in 168 BC, the Macedonian monarchy was abolished and replaced by Roman client states. A short-lived revival of the monarchy during the Fourth Macedonian War in 150–148 BC ended with the establishment of the Roman province of Macedonia; the Macedonian kings, who wielded absolute power and commanded state resources such as gold and silver, facilitated mining operations to mint currency, finance their armies and, by the reign of Philip II, a Macedonian navy. Unlike the other diadochi successor states, the imperial cult fostered by Alexander was never adopted in Macedonia, yet Macedonian rulers assumed roles as high priests of the kingdom and leading patrons of domestic and international cults of the Hellenistic religion; the authority of Macedonian kings was theoretically limited by the institution of the army, while a few municipalities within the Macedonian commonwealth enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and had democratic governments with popular assemblies.
The name Macedonia comes from the ethnonym Μακεδόνες, which itself is derived from the ancient Greek adjective μακεδνός, meaning "tall" descriptive of the people. It has the same root as the adjective μακρός, meaning "long" or "tall" in Ancient Greek; the name is believed to have meant either "highlanders", "the tall ones", or "high grown men". Linguist Robert S. P. Beekes claims that both terms are of Pre-Greek substrate origin and cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European morphology; the Classical Greek historians Herodotus and Thucydides reported the legend that the Macedonian kings of the Argead dynasty were descendants of Temenus, king of Argos, could therefore claim the mythical Heracles as one of their ancestors as well as a direct lineage from Zeus, chief god of the Greek pantheon. Contradictory legends state that either Perdiccas I of Macedon or Caranus of Macedon were the founders of the Argead dynasty, with either five or eight kings before Amyntas I; the assertion that the Argeads descended from Temenus was accepted by the Hellanodikai authorities of the Ancient Olympic Games, permitting Alexander I of Macedon to enter the competitions owing to his perceived Greek heritage.
Little is known about the kingdom before the reign of Alexander I's father Amyntas I of Macedon during the Archaic period. The kingdom of Macedonia was situated along the Haliacmon and Axius rivers in Lower Macedonia, north of Mount Olympus. Historian Robert Malcolm Errington suggests that one of the earliest Argead kings established Aigai as their capital in the mid-7th century BC. Before the 4th century BC, the kingdom covered a region corresponding to the western and central parts of the region of Macedonia in modern Greece, it expanded into the region of Upper Macedonia, inhabited by the Greek Lyncestae and Elimiotae tribes, into regions of Emathia, Bottiaea, Mygdonia and Almopia, which were inhabited by various peoples such as Thracians and Phrygians. Macedonia's non-Greek neighbors included Thracians, inhabiting territories to the northeast, Illyrians to the northwest, Paeonians to the north, while the lands of Thessaly to the south and Epirus to the west were inhabited by Greeks with similar cultures to that of the Macedonians.
A year after Darius I of
Battle of Leuctra
The Battle of Leuctra was a battle fought on 6 July 371 BC between the Boeotians led by the Thebans, the Spartans along with their allies amidst the post-Corinthian War conflict. The battle took place in the neighbourhood of Leuctra, a village in Boeotia in the territory of Thespiae; the Theban victory shattered Sparta's immense influence over the Greek peninsula, which Sparta had gained after its victory in the Peloponnesian War. In 371 BC, the newly established democracy of Thebes had elected four Boeotarchs, the traditional title of the generals of the Boeotian League, so proclaimed their intention of reconstituting the aforementioned league that Sparta had disbanded. During this period, Thebes had had an ally in Athens, but Athens was far from happy with the treatment Plataea had received; when it came to swearing an oath to respect the treaty, Sparta swore on behalf of itself and its allies. When Epaminondas came forward, asking to swear on behalf of the whole Boeotian League, the Spartans refused, saying he could swear as the representative of Thebes or not at all.
This Epaminondas refused. In this, Sparta saw an opportunity to reassert its shaky authority in central Greece. Hence, the Spartan king, Cleombrotus I, marched to war from Phocis. Rather than take the expected, easy route into Boeotia through the usual defile, the Spartans marched over the hills via Thisbae and took the fortress of Creusis before the Thebans were aware of their presence, proceeded to Leuctra where they were confronted by the Boeotian army; the six Boeotian generals present were divided as to whether to offer battle, with Epaminondas being the main advocate in favor of battle. Only when a seventh arrived, who sided with Epaminondas, was the decision made. In spite of inferior numbers and the doubtful loyalty of his Boeotian allies, the Boeotians would offer battle on the plain before the town. Several ancient writers give figures for one or both of the armies, but they are contradictory and, in some cases, unbelievable. Modern scholars' estimates have varied from 6,000 to 9,000 for the Boeotian force.
For the Spartan side, most modern scholars favor Plutarch's figure of 10,000 in infantry and 1,000 cavalry. The battle opened with the Spartans' mercenary peltasts attacking and driving back the Boeotian camp followers and others who were reluctant to fight. According to Xenophon, the Boeotian camp followers were trying to leave the field, as they did not intend to fight. There followed a cavalry engagement; the Spartan infantry were sent into disarray when their retreating cavalry hopelessly disrupted Cleombrotus's attempt to outflank the Theban left column. At this point the Theban left hit the Spartan right with the Sacred Band of Thebes, led by Pelopidas, at its head; the decisive engagement was fought out between the Theban and Spartan infantry. The normal practice of the Spartans was to establish their armed infantry in a solid mass, or phalanx, some eight to twelve men deep; this was considered to allow for the best balance between width. The infantry would advance together so. In order to combat the phalanx's famous right-hand drift, Greek commanders traditionally placed their most experienced regarded and deadliest troops on the right wing, as this was the place of honor.
By contrast, the shakiest and/or least influential troops were placed on the left wing. In the Spartan battleplan, the hippeis and the king of Sparta would stand on the right wing of the phalanx. In a major break with tradition, Epaminondas massed his cavalry and a fifty-deep column of Theban infantry on his left wing, sent forward this body against the Spartan right, his shallower and weaker center and right wing columns were drawn up so that they were progressively further to the right and rear of the proceeding column, in the so-called Echelon formation. The Theban center and right were held back; the infantry engaged, the Thebans smashed the Spartan right wing. The Spartans' twelve-deep formation on their right wing could not sustain the heavy impact of their opponents' 50-deep column; the Spartan right was hurled back with a loss of about 1,000 men, of whom 400 were some of Sparta's most experienced soldiers, including King Cleombrotus I. Wilhelm Rüstow and Hermann Köchly, writing in the 19th century, believed that Pelopidas led the Sacred Band out from the column to attack the Spartans in the flank.
Hans Delbrück considered this to be a mere misreading of Plutarch. Plutarch does indeed describe Pelopidas leading the Band and catching the Spartans in disorder, but there is nothing in his account that conveys anything other than the Sacred Band being the head of the column, the Spartans were disordered not because they were taken in the flank but because they were caught in mid-maneuver, extending their line. Seeing their right wing beaten, the rest of the Peloponnesians, who were unwilling participants and left the enemy in possession of the field; the arrival of a Thessalian army under Jason of Pherae persuaded a relieving Spartan force under Archidamus no
Kalamata is the second most populous city of the Peloponnese peninsula, after Patras, in southern Greece and the largest city of the homonymous administrative region. The capital and chief port of the Messenia regional unit, it lies along the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf; the 2011 census recorded 69,849 inhabitants for the wider Kalamata Municipality, of which 62,409 in the municipal unit of Kalamata proper. Kalamata is renowned as the land of Kalamata olives; the modern name Kalamáta is a corruption of the older name Καλάμαι, Kalámai, "reeds". The phonetic similarity of Kalamáta with the phrase "kalá mátia" has led to various folk etymologies; the municipality Kalamata was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 4 former municipalities, that became municipal units: Arfara Aris Kalamata ThouriaThe municipality has an area of 440.313 km2, the municipal unit 253.279 km2. The municipal unit of Kalamata is subdivided into the following communities: Municipal communities Kalamata Verga Local communities Alagonia Antikalamos Artemisia Asprochoma Elaiochori Karveli Ladas Laiika Mikri Mantineia Nedousa Piges Sperchogeia The province of Kalamata was one of the provinces of the Messenia Prefecture.
Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipalities West Mani. It was abolished in 2006; the history of Kalamata begins with Homer, who mentions Firai, an ancient city built more or less where the Kalamata Castle stands today. It was believed that during ancient times the area that the city presently occupies was covered by the sea, but the proto-Greek and archaic period remains that were unearthed at Akovitika region prove the opposite. Pharai was rather unimportant in antiquity, the site continued in obscurity until middle Byzantine times. Kalamata is first mentioned in the 10th-century Life of St. Nikon the Metanoeite, experienced a period of prosperity in the 11th–12th centuries, as attested by the five surviving churches built in this period, including the Church of the Holy Apostles, as well as the comments of the Arab geographer al-Idrisi, who calls it a "large and populous" town. Following the Fourth Crusade, Kalamata was conquered by Frankish feudal lords William of Champlitte and Geoffrey of Villehardouin in 1205, when its Byzantine fortress was in so bad a state that it could not be defended against them.
Thus the town became part of the Principality of Achaea, after Champlitte granted its possession to Geoffrey of Villehardouin, the town was the center of the Villehardouins' patrimony in the Principality. Prince William II of Villehardouin was died there. After William II's death in 1278, Kalamata remained in the hands of his widow, Anna Komnene Doukaina, but when she remarried to Nicholas II of Saint Omer, King Charles of Anjou was loath to see this important castle in the hands of a vassal, in 1282 Anna exchanged it with lands elsewhere in Messenia. In 1292 or 1293, two local Melingoi Slavic captains managed to capture the fortress of Kalamata by a ruse and, aided by 600 of their fellow villagers, took over the entire lower town as well in the name of the Byzantine emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos. Constable John Chauderon in vain tried to secure their surrender, was sent to Constantinople, where Andronikos agreed to hand the town over, but immediately ordered his governor in Mystras not to do so.
In the event, the town was recovered by the Franks through the intercession of a local Greek, a certain Sgouromalles. In 1298, the town formed the dowry of Princess Matilda of Hainaut upon her marriage to Guy II de la Roche. Matilda retained Kalamata as her fief until 1322, when she was dispossessed and the territory reverted to the princely domain. In 1358, Prince Robert gifted the châtellenie of Kalamata to his wife, Marie de Bourbon, who kept it until her death in 1377; the town remained one of the largest in the Morea—a 1391 document places it, with 300 hearths, on par with Glarentza—but it declined in importance throughout the 14th and 15th centuries in favour of other nearby sites like Androusa. Kalamata remained in Frankish hands until near the end of the Principality of Achaea, coming under the control of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea only in 1428. Kalamata was occupied by the Ottomans like the rest of Greece. In 1659, during the long war between Ottomans and Venetians over Crete, the Venetian commander Francesco Morosini, came into contact with the rebellious Maniots, for a joint campaign in the Morea, in the course of which he took Kalamata.
He was soon after forced to return to Crete
Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese, it is situated in the eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological figure Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan. In European Renaissance arts, Arcadia was celebrated as an harmonious wilderness. Arcadia has its present-day capital at Tripoli, it covers about 18% of the Peloponnese peninsula, making it the largest regional unit on the peninsula. Arcadia has a ski resort on Mount Mainalo, located about 20 km NW of Tripoli. Other mountains of Arcadia are the Lykaion in the west; the climate consists of hot summers and mild winters in the eastern part, the southern part, the low-lying areas and the central area at altitudes lower than 1,000 m. The area receives rain during fall and winter months in the rest of Arcadia. Winter snow occurs in the mountainous areas for much of the west and the northern part, the Taygetus area, the Mainalon. After the collapse of the Roman power in the west, Arcadia remained as part of the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire.
Arcadia remained a beautiful, secluded area, its inhabitants became proverbial as herdsmen leading simple pastoral unsophisticated yet happy lives, to the point that Arcadia may refer to some imaginary idyllic paradise, immortalized by Virgil's Eclogues, by Jacopo Sannazaro in his pastoral masterpiece, Arcadia. After the Fourth Crusade, the area became a part of the Principality of Achaea, but was progressively recovered by the Byzantine Greeks of the Despotate of the Morea from the 1260s on, a process, completed in 1320; the region fell into the hands of the Ottoman Turks in 1460. With the exception of a period of Venetian rule in 1687–1715, the region remained under Turkish control until 1821; the Latin phrase Et in Arcadia ego, interpreted to mean "Even in Arcadia there am I", is an example of memento mori, a cautionary reminder of the transitory nature of life and the inevitability of death. The phrase is most associated with a 1647 painting by Nicolas Poussin known as "The Arcadian Shepherds".
In the painting the phrase appears as an inscription on a tomb discovered by youthful figures in classical garb. Arcadia was one of the centres of the Greek War of Independence which saw victories in their battles including one in Tripoli. After a victorious revolutionary war, Arcadia was incorporated into the newly created Greek state. Arcadia saw small emigration. In the 20th century, Arcadia experienced extensive population loss through emigration to the Americas. Many Arcadian villages lost half their inhabitants, fears arose that they would turn into ghost towns. Arcadia now has a smaller population than Corinthia. Demographers expected that its population would halve between the early 21st century; the population has fallen to 87,000 in 2011. An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter magnitude scale shook Megalopoli and the surrounding area in 1965. Large numbers of buildings were destroyed. Within a couple of years, the buildings were rebuilt anti-seismically; this earthquake revealed an underground source of lignite in the area, in 1967 construction began on the Megalopoli Power Plant, which began operating in 1970.
The mining area south of the plant is the largest mining area in the peninsula and continues to the present day with one settlement moved. In July and August 2007 forest fires caused damage in Arcadia, notably in the mountains. In 2008, a theory proposed by classicist Christos Mergoupis suggested that the mummified remains of Alexander the Great, may in fact be located in Gortynia-Arkadia, in the Peloponnese of Greece. Since 2008, this research is ongoing and being conducted in Greece; the research was first mentioned on CNN International in May 2008. When, during the Greek Dark Ages, Doric Greek was introduced to the Peloponnese, the older Arcadocypriot Greek language survived in Arcadia. Arcadocypriot never became a literary dialect. Tsan is a letter of the Greek alphabet occurring only in Arcadia, shaped like Cyrillic И; the Tsakonian language, still spoken on the coast of modern Arcadia, is a descendant of Doric Greek, as such is an extraordinary example of a surviving regional dialect of Greek.
The principal cities of Tsakonia are the Arcadian coastal towns of Tyros. The regional unit Arcadia is subdivided into 5 municipalities; these are: Gortynia Megalopoli North Kynouria South Kynouria Tripoli As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit Arcadia was created out of the former prefecture Arcadia. The prefecture had the same territory as the present regional unit. At the same time, the municipalities were reorganised, according to the table below. Arcadia was divided into four provinces: Province of Gortynia—Dimitsana Province of Kynouria—Leonidio Province of Mantineia—Tripolis Province of Megalopoli—MegalopolisNote: Provinces no longer hold any legal status in Greece; the main towns in modern Arcadia are Tripoli, Vytina, Lagkadia, Leonidio, Levidi and Stemnitsa. Ancient cities include Acacesium, Astros, Daseae, Gortys, Heraia, Lykaio, Lycos
Regional units of Greece
The 74 regional units are administrative units of Greece. They are subdivisions of the country's 13 regions, further subdivided into municipalities, they were introduced as part of the "Kallikratis" administrative reform on 1 January 2011 and are comparable in area and, in the mainland, coterminous with the pre-"Kallikratis" prefectures of Greece
Stadion (running race)
Stadion or stade was an ancient running event, part of the Ancient Olympic Games and the other Panhellenic Games. It was one of the five major Pentathlon events, it was the premier event of the gymnikos agon. From the years 776 to 724 BC, the stadion was the only event; the victor gave his name to the entire four-year Olympiad, which has allowed scholars to know the names of nearly every ancient Olympic stadion winner. The stadion was named after the building in which it took place called the stadion; this word became stadium in Latin. The race gave its name to the unit of length, the stadion. There were other types of running events. Though a separate event, the stadion was part of the ancient Pentathlon. At the Olympic Games, the stadion was big enough for 20 competitors, the race was a 200 yd sprint, but the original stadion track in Olympia measures 210 yd; the race began with a trumpet blow, with officials at the starting blocks to make sure there were no false starts. There were officials at the end to decide on a winner and to make sure no one had cheated.
If the officials decided there was a tie, the race would be re-run. Runners started the race from a standing position with their arms stretched out in front of them, instead of starting in a crouch like modern runners, they ran naked on a packed earth track. By the fifth century, the track was marked by the balbis. Advancements in this stone starting block led to it having a set of double grooves in which the runner placed his toes; the design of these grooves were intended to give the runner leverage for his start. The winner of the stadion in the first Olympic Games was Coroebus of Elis. Running in Ancient Greece Olympic winners of the Stadion race