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
Order of the Phoenix (Greece)
The Order of the Phoenix is an order of Greece, established on May 13, 1926, by the republican government of the Second Hellenic Republic to replace the defunct Royal Order of George I. The order was retained after the restoration of the monarchy in 1935 and continues to be awarded by the current Third Republic; the honour is bestowed by the Greek government to Greek citizens who have excelled in the arts and literature, public administration, shipping and industry. It is awarded to foreigners who have helped raise Greece's international prestige; the Order has five classes: Grand Cross - wears the badge of the Order on a sash on the right shoulder, the star of the Order on the left chest. The badge of the Order is a white-enameled cross, in silver for the Silver Cross class, in gold for the higher classes, with the Phoenix at the centre. A five-pointed star is at the upper arm of the cross; the first version of the Order featured the letters "E-T-T-A" in Byzantine uncial on each arm of the cross, the initials of the motto Εκ της τέφρας μου αναγεννώμαι.
During the Monarchy the letters were removed and the badge was topped by a crown, while the badge's reverse side featured the monogram of the reigning monarch. The current version omits the crown, while the reverse features the Greek National Emblem with the words ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ; the star of the Order is a silver eight-pointed star with straight rays, with the phoenix at the centre. The ribbon of the Order is orange with black edges. Crossed swords on the insignia indicate that the award was given in the military division of the Order. Presidency of the Hellenic Republic – The Order of the Phoenix The Greek Royal Orders George J. Beldecos, "Hellenic Orders and Medals", pub. Hellenic War Museum, Athens 1991, ISBN 960-85054-0-2
Karl von Abel
Karl von Abel was a Bavarian statesman. Born in Wetzlar, Abel was the son of a procurator at the superior Court of Justice, he studied law in Gießen from 1806-1809, became a civil servant of Bavaria in 1810. In 1817 he was appointed city and police commissar in Bamberg, in 1819, Governmental Councillor in Munich, in 1827 promoted to Senior Legal Secretary. In the Diet of 1831 he gave a speech against censorship. In the following year, Abel was assigned by King Ludwig I to be a part of the delegation accompanying the young King Otto to Greece, he joined with Georg Ludwig von Maurer in opposing the head of the delegation, Count Josef Ludwig von Armansperg who he felt was too susceptible to the wishes of the English diplomats. However, the count was able to mobilise his supporters in Munich and have Abel and Maurer unseated from the delegation. Abel once again became Legal Secretary in the Ministry of the Interior, he married Friederike von Rinecker in 1836, a religious woman who had much influence on him.
On 1 November 1837, Abel became Privy Councillor in place of Ludwig, Fürst von Wallerstein and began to lead the Ministry of the Interior. At this time, the Church Conflict of Colonia excited the masses on political levels. Soon enough the Ministry under Abel proved to be Catholic, following the traditions of Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria; the status of the clergy was raised and large sums were spent for religious issues. This was followed by several edicts, for example prescribing that Protestant soldiers must genuflect during a Catholic service; the formation of Evangelic communities and the execution of their services was made complicated and restricted and strict censorship applied to all opposing movements. In other issues Abel showed his ultramontane position, he authorized an edict disallowing the use of all modern terms, which try to foist the principle of classes with a representative one. As an example, the term of Ministry of the State was forbidden as the king must unite all power in himself.
Several affronts against his precursor Wallerstein resulted in a duel. Wallerstein lead the opposition forming in the newly acquired provinces of the kingdom against the paternalism of the Ministry. In the Diet of 1846 he fought the existing system. Abel could not avert the claims that he had broken the principle of parity, that the Christian party was in contact with radical elements. For this the King lost his trust in Abel, removed him as Ministry of Culture and Education. Abel was dismissed from power on 17 February 1847 when he and the other ministers opposed the naturalisation of the Kings' young lady Lola Montez. Afterwards, he had not only to suffer the disgrace of the king he had served for a long time, but was repudiated by the members of his own party. In 1848 Abel was voted into the Second Chamber, but refused to take the charge until the reign of Maximilian II of Bavaria, due to heavy attacks from all sides. Abel was retired from the political life; until his death in 1859 he lived on his tenure Stamsried manor in Upper Palatinate.
He died in Munich. Biography of Karl v. Abel in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, Bd. 1, S. 14, 15, at Wikisource
Georgios Kountouriotis was a Greek ship-owner and politician who served as prime minister from March to October 1848. He was born in 1782 on the Saronic island of Hydra to an Arvanite family, he was the brother of Lazaros Kountouriotis, another ship-owner of the Greek War of Independence and grandfather of Pavlos Kountouriotis who fought in the First Balkan War and served as first President of the Greek Republic. When the War of Independence broke out, along with the rest of the Kountouriotis family, supported the effort with generous donations as well as with their ships, he was at odds with other Hydriot sea captains, but was the wealthiest. Georgios Kountouriotis became a member of the executive committee of the Greek Revolution and served as its President from 1823 to 1826 during the crucial time of the siege of Missolonghi. After independence, he became a member of the cabinet of Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first governor of Greece, he was a semi-independent adherent of the French Party due to his antipathy to the Russian Party and his fellow Hydriots of the English Party.
During the period of French Party ascendancy in the reign of King Otto, he served as Prime Minister. He died in 1858
Lazaros Kountouriotis was a Greek Senator of the 1844 Senate and a major actor of the Greek War of Independence of 1821. Born in Hydra in April 1769 to a local Arvanite family, there are many hypotheses regarding his ancestry. After the family moved to Hydra, they adopted the surname "Zervas", dropped when Lazaros' grandfather, Hatzi Georgios Zervas, visited a family friend in the Kountouria region and returned wearing a local to that area dress, adopting the nickname of "Kountouriotis" which replaced the surname. Lazaros' father, used the new surname of Kountouriotis and married the daughter of the influential and rich merchant Lazaros Kokkinis. Lazaros Kountouriotis was the eldest of two children, his younger brother by 13 years was Georgios. At the age of 14, Lazaros became involved in the commercial activities of his father, representing him in Hydra while the elder Kountouriotis as on business in Genoa. After his father's assassination in 1799, Lazaros continued running the family's interests and grew it substantially.
Although he was not one of the initial instigators of the revolution, which he considered premature, he supported it after it began. At the time, his fortune was estimated to be at least 800,000 reals and he spent 3/4s of it for the revolution. While serving as a Senator and considered as the First Citizen of Greece, he died on 6 June 1852 and a five-day period of national mourning followed; the playwright Pantelis Horn was Lazaros' great-grandson. Αγαπητός Σ. Αγαπητός. "Οι Ένδοξοι Έλληνες του 1821, ή Οι Πρωταγωνισταί της Ελλάδος". Τυπογραφείον Α. Σ. Αγαπητού, Εν Πάτραις. Pp. 101–114. Retrieved 13 August 2009
Coat of arms of Greece
The Coat of arms of Greece comprises a white Greek cross on a blue escutcheon, surrounded by two laurel branches. It has been in use in its current form since 1975. Prior to the adoption of the current coat of arms, Greece used a number of different designs, some of which were not heraldic; the constitution does not specify a tincture for the branches, implying proper. Official usage portrays the laurel branches as monochrome blue, while a version with the branches in gold is used by the military and on the presidential standard; the Government of Greece uses a stylised version of the coat of arms as a government logo, standardised in 2010, again in monochrome. The political thinker and revolutionary Rigas Feraios was the first to propose a national emblem for Greece, including a hand-drawing rendition of it in his hand-written New Political Constitution of 1797. Rigas's proposal was composed of a club of Heracles, with the words Liberty – Equality – Fraternity superimposed on it, three crosses topping it.
In his Map of Greece of 1796–1797, Rigas explains that the club stands for the power of Greece, but its use was not limited to ethnic Greeks and could be used by any of the other Balkan peoples he envisaged would make up his multi-ethnic Hellenic Republic. In his selection of this device, however, he was directly influenced by the Jacobin radicalism of the French Revolution, which utilised the device of the club of Heracles as a symbol of democratic power; the national colours he proposed were red and black, symbolising self-determination and sacrifice respectively. The club, sewn onto a white cockade, would be the identifying mark by which "free democrats and equal brothers" would recognise each other; the first official Greek national emblem was provided for by the Provisional Constitution adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus on 1 January 1822 and was established by decree on 15 March of the same year. The national emblem was described as a simple cockade of blue. White and blue were chosen as the national colours over more "revolutionary" choices such as black and red, popular in Greece since Rigas had proposed them, so as to disassociate the government and the revolution from any perceived links to radical movements in the eyes of the conservative European royal courts.
Since its establishment, the emblem has undergone many changes in shape and in design due to changes of regime. Apart from the cockade, the Provisional Administration of Greece used a seal depicting the goddess Athena and her symbol, the Owl of Athena, encircled by the words "Provisional Administration of Greece". During the governorate of Ioannis Kapodistrias, a new seal based on the phoenix, the symbol of rebirth, was created; the words "Hellenic State", accompanied with the date "1821" in Greek numerals, surrounded it. This seal gave the Phoenix, its name; the phoenix was used as a symbol by Greek non-monarchical governments, including the Second Hellenic Republic and the junta-proclaimed republic of 1973–1974. The current coat of arms of Greece derives from the Greek national flag, adopted in March 1822. Theories published retrospectively in Greece try to justify this use by making a connection to Byzantine flags and insignia; the Great Greek Encyclopedia explains in 1934 that "the current national emblem of Greece shares this with the last emblem of Medieval, that it is made up of a cross dividing the emblem into four quarters.
The difference is that the emblem of the Imperial house of the Palaiologoi had a capital B in each of the quarters". This design is well attested in Byzantine and Western sources during the 14th and 15th centuries, but as the Byzantines lacked the Western tradition of "national" or family heraldic designs as coats of arms, this design was only used in flags; the introduction of the blue shield with the white cross as the heraldic device to represent Greece occurred on 26 February 1833, when the regency, governing Greece on behalf of its first king, announced the official design for the coat of arms. Approved by Prime Minister Josef Ludwig von Armansperg, it detailed the entire heraldic achievement and described, in Greek and German, its constituent parts; the lesser arms are described as an "equidistant azure escutcheon, pointed towards the middle of its lower side, containing the Greek cross, bearing at its centre a smaller escutcheon with the lozenges of the Royal House of Bavaria." The shade of blue is specified as light blue.
The escutcheon itself was supported by two crowned lions surmounted by the royal crown. The entire composition was contained within a mantle and pavilion, purple on the outside and ermine on the inside, topped again with the royal crown; this emblem was discarded following Otto's subsequent exile. Despite this fact, the blue shield with the white cross remained the basis upon which all subsequent coats of arms were based, including the current arms of the Third Hellenic Republic; the white and blue cockade of the revolutionary period was reinstated in March 1833, this time blue on the outside and white on the inside, so that the blue centre was equal to two thirds of the diameter of the cockade. This design, described both as a "national emblem" and a "cockade" in Greek and as the "national cockade" in German, was to be worn on caps by uniformed military and civilian personnel as well as on