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3 mai 2011 2 03 /05 /mai /2011 07:39

Greece, also known as Hellas and officially theHellenic Republic , is a country in southeastern Europe. Situated on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula, Greece has land borders with Albania, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the east.HP 448007-001 battery

TheAegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the twelfth longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km (8,498 mi) in length, featuring a vast number of islands (approximately 1400, of which 227 are inhabited), includingCrete, the Dodecanese, the Cyclades, and the Ionian Islands among others.HP Pavilion DV7 battery

Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest at 2,917 m (9,570 ft).

Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilisation of ancient Greece, generally considered the cradle of Western civilization. HP DV6-1120SA battery

As such, it is the birthplace ofdemocracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematicalprinciples, and Western drama,including both tragedy and comedy. This legacy is partly reflected in the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Greece. HP DV6-1210SA battery

The modern Greek state was established in 1830, following a victorious uprising against Ottoman rule.

A developed country with an advanced, high-income economy, a very high Human Development Index (22nd highest in the world as of 2010) and consistently high quality of life rankings, Greece has been a member of what is now the European Union since 1981 and the eurozone since 2001, NATO since 1952,and the European Space Agency since 2005.Compaq CQ50 battery

It is also a founding member of the United Nations, the OECD, and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization. Athens is the capital and the largest city in the country (its metropolitan area includes also Piraeus).

History

Greece was the first area in Europe where advanced early civilizations emerged, beginning with the Cycladic civilization of the Aegean Sea, the Minoan civilization in Crete and then the Mycenaean civilization on the mainland. HP Pavilion DV8 battery

Later, city-states emerged across the Greek peninsula and spread to the shores of the Black Sea, South Italy andAsia Minor, reaching great levels of prosperity that resulted in an unprecedented cultural boom, that of classical Greece, expressed in architecture, drama, science and philosophy, and nurtured in Athens under a democraticenvironment.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Athens and Sparta led the way in repelling the Persian Empire in a series of battles. Both were later overshadowed byThebes and eventually Macedonia, with the latter under the guidance of Alexander the Great uniting and leading the Greek world to victory over the Persians.HP Pavilion TX1000 battery

The Hellenistic period was brought only partially to a close two centuries later with the establishment of Roman ruleover Greek lands in 146 BC.[24] Many Greeks migrated to Alexandria, Antioch, Seleucia and the many other new Hellenistic cities in Asia and Africa founded in Alexander's wake.HP Pavilion DV3500  battery

The subsequent mixture of Roman and Hellenic cultures took form in the establishment of the Byzantine Empire in 330 AD around Constantinople. Byzantium remained a major cultural and military power for the next 1,123 years, until the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. HP HDX X18-1005EA battery

On the eve of the Ottoman conquest, much of the Greek intelligentsia migrated to Italy and other parts of Europe not under Ottoman rule, playing a significant role in theRenaissance through the transmission of ancient Greek works to Western Europe. Nevertheless, the Ottoman millet system contributed to the cohesion of the Orthodox Greeks by segregating the various peoples within the empire based on religion, as the latter played an integral role in the formation of modern Greek identity.Compaq PF723A battery

After the Greek War of Independence, successfully waged against the Ottoman Empire from 1821 to 1829, thenascent Greek state was finally recognized under the London Protocol in 1830. In 1827, Ioannis Kapodistrias, fromCorfu, was chosen as the first governor of the new Republic.HP G6000 battery

However, following his assassination, the Great Powersinstalled a monarchy under Otto, of the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach. In 1843, an uprising forced the King to grant a constitution and a representative assembly.HP Compaq Business Notebook NW9440 battery

Due to his unimpaired authoritarian rule, he was eventually dethroned in 1863 and replaced by Prince Vilhelm (William) of Denmark, who took the name George I and brought with him the Ionian Islands as a coronation gift from Britain. In 1877, Charilaos Trikoupis, who is attributed with the significant improvement of the country's infrastructure, Compaq Evo N800W battery

curbed the power of the monarchy to interfere in the assembly by issuing the rule of vote of confidence to any potential prime minister.

20th century onwards

As a result of the Balkan Wars, Greece increased the extent of its territory and population. Compaq Evo N620C battery

In the following years, the struggle between King Constantine I and charismatic Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos over the country's foreign policy on the eve of World War I dominated the country's political scene, and divided the country into two opposing groups.HP Pavilion DV7 battery

In the aftermath of WWI, Greece fought against Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal, a war which resulted in a massive population exchange between the two countries under the Treaty of Lausanne. According to various sources, several hundred thousand Pontic Greeks died during this period.HP Pavilion DV2745SE battery

Instability and successive coups d'état marked the following era, which was overshadowed by the massive task of incorporating 1.5 million Greek refugees from Turkey into Greek society. The Greek population in Istanbul dropped from 300,000 at the turn of the century to around 3,000 in the city today.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM battery

On 28 October 1940 Fascist Italy demanded the surrender of Greece, but Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas refused and in the following Greco-Italian War, Greece repelled Italian forces into Albania, giving the Allies their first victory over Axis forces on land. The country would eventually fall to urgently dispatched German forces during the Battle of Greece. HP Compaq 490306-001 battery

The German occupiers nevertheless met serious challenges from the Greek Resistance. Over 100,000 civilians died from starvation during the winter of 1941–42, and the great majority of Greek Jews were deported to Nazi extermination camps. HP 520 battery

After liberation, Greece experienced a bitter civil war between communist and anticommunist forces, which led to economic devastation and severe social tensions between rightists and largely communist leftists for the next 30 years.The next 20 years were characterized by marginalisation of the left in the political and social spheres but also by rapid economic growth, propelled in part by the Marshall Plan.HP TouchSmart TX2-1150EG battery

King Constantine's dismissal of George Papandreou's centrist government in July 1965 prompted a prolonged period of political turbulence which culminated in a coup d'état on 21 April 1967 by the United States-backed Regime of the Colonels. The brutal suppression of the Athens Polytechnic uprising on 17 November 1973 sent shockwaves through the regime, and a counter-coup established Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis as dictator.HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

On 20 July 1974, as Turkey invaded the island ofCyprus, the regime collapsed.

Former premier Konstantinos Karamanlis was invited back from Paris where he had lived in self-exile since 1963, marking the beginning of the Metapolitefsi era. On 14 August 1974 Greek forces withdrew from the integrated military structure of NATO in protest at the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus. Compaq Presario CQ70 battery

The first multiparty elections since 1964 were held on the first anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising. A democratic and republican constitution was promulgated on 11 June 1975 following a referendum which abolished the monarchy.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Meanwhile, Andreas Papandreou founded the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in response to Karamanlis's conservative New Democracy party, with the two political formations alternating in government ever since. Greece rejoined NATO in 1980.[Compaq Presario CQ71 battery]

Traditionally strained relations with neighbouring Turkey improved when successive earthquakes hit both nations in 1999, leading to the lifting of the Greek veto against Turkey's bid for EU membership.

Greece became the tenth member of the European Communities (subsequently subsumed by the European Union) on 1 January 1981, ushering in a period of remarkable and sustained economic growth. HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

Widespread investments in industrial enterprises and heavy infrastructure, as well as funds from the European Union and growing revenues from tourism, shipping and a fast-growing service sector have raised the country's standard of living to unprecedented levels. Compaq Presario CQ50-105EL battery

The country adopted the euro in 2001 and successfully hosted the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. More recently, it has borne the brunt of the late-2000s recession and related 2010 European sovereign debt crisis.

Geography

Greece consists of a mountainous, peninsular mainland jutting out into the sea at the southern end of the Balkans, ending at the Peloponnesepeninsula (separated from the mainland by the canal of the Isthmus of Corinth).HP Compaq 572190-001 battery

Due to its highly indented coastline and numerous islands, Greece has the twelfth longest coastline in the world with 13,676 km (8,498 mi);[35] its land boundary is 1,160 km (721 mi). The country lies approximately between latitudes 34° and 42° N, and longitudes 19° and 30° E.HP Pavilion DV6373EA battery

Greece features a vast number of islands, between 1200 and 6000, depending on the definition,[36] 227 of which are inhabited. Crete is the largest and most populous, Euboea, separated from the mainland by the 60m-wide Euripus Strait, is the second largest island is Euboea, followed by Rhodes and Lesbos.HP Pavilion DV2820EA battery

The Greek islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters: The Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic gulf near Athens, the Cyclades, a large but dense collection occupying the central part of the Aegean Sea, the North Aegean islands, a loose grouping off the west coast of Turkey, the Dodecanese, HP Compaq Business Notebook 6735S battery

another loose collection in the southeast between Crete and Turkey, the Sporades, a small tight group off the coast of Euboea, and the Ionian Islands, located to the west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea

Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains or hills, making the country one of the most mountainous in Europe. Compaq Presario 300 battery

Mount Olympus, the mythical abode of the Greek Gods, culminates at Mytikas peak 2,917 m (9,570 ft), the highest in the country. Western Greece contains a number of lakes and wetlands and is dominated by the Pindus mountain range. The Pindus, a continuation of the Dinaric Alps, reaches a maximum elevation of 2,637 m (8,652 ft) at Mt. Smolikas (the second-highest in Greece) and historically has been a significant barrier to east-west travel.HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL battery

The Pindus range continues through the central Peloponnese, crosses the islands of Kythera and Antikythera and find its way into southwestern Aegean, in the island of Crete where it eventually ends. The islands of the Aegean are peaks of underwater mountains that once constituted an extension of the mainland.HP Compaq Business Notebook TC4400 battery

Pindus is characterized by its high, steep peaks, often dissected by numerous canyons and a variety of other karstic landscapes. The spectacular Vikos Gorge, part of the Vikos-Aoos National Park in the Pindus range, is listed by the Guinness book of World Records as the deepest gorge in the world.[HP Pavilion ZD8227 battery]

Another notable formation are the Meteora rock pillars, atop which have been built medieval Greek Orthodox monasteries.

Northeastern Greece features another high-altitude mountain range, the Rhodope range, spreading across the periphery of East Macedonia and Thrace; this area is covered with vast, thick, ancient forests, including the famous Dadia forest in the prefecture of Evros, in the far northeast of the country.HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 battery

Expansive plains are primarily located in the prefectures of Thessaly, Central Macedonia and Thrace. They constitute key economic regions as they are among the few arable places in the country. Rare marine species such as the Pinniped Seals and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle live in the seas surrounding mainland Greece, while its dense forests are home to the endangered brown bear, the lynx, the Roe Deer and the Wild Goat.HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

Phytogeographically, Greece belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the East Mediterranean province of the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature and the European Environment Agency, the territory of Greece can be subdivided into six ecoregions:HP DV9700 battery

theIllyrian deciduous forests, Pindus Mountains mixed forests, Balkan mixed forests, Rhodope montane mixed forests, Aegean and Western Turkey sclerophyllous and mixed forests and Crete Mediterranean forests.

Climate

Greece primarily has a Mediterranean climate, featuring mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

This climate occurs at all coastal locations, includingAthens, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, Crete, the Peloponnese and parts of the Sterea Ellada (Central Continental Grece) region. The Pindus mountain range strongly affects the climate of the country, as areas to the west of the range are considerably wetter on average (due to greater exposure to south-westerly systems bringing in moisture) than the areas lying to the east of the range (due to a rain shadow effect).Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

The mountainous areas of Northwestern Greece (parts of Epirus, Central Greece, Thessaly, Western Macedonia) as well as in the mountainous central parts of Peloponnese, including parts of the prefectures of Achaia, Arcadia and Laconia feature an Alpine climate with heavy snowfalls. HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

The inland parts of northern Greece, in Central Macedonia and East Macedonia and Thrace feature a temperate climate with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers with frequent thunderstorms. Snowfalls occur every year in the mountains and northern areas, and brief snowfalls are not unknown even in low-lying southern areas, such as Athens.Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery

Politics

Greece is a parliamentary republic. The nominal head of state is the President of the Republic, who is elected by theParliament for a five-year term. The current Constitution was drawn up and adopted by the Fifth Revisionary Parliament of the Hellenes and entered into force in 1975 after the fall of the military junta of 1967–1974.Sony VGN-CR11M Battery

It has been revised twice since, in 1986 and in 2001. The Constitution, which consists of 120 articles, provides for a separation of powers into executive,legislative, and judicial branches, and grants extensive specific guarantees (further reinforced in 2001) of civil liberties andsocial rights.[Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery]

Women's suffrage was guaranteed with a 1952 Constitutional amendment.

According to the Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government.[38] From theConstitutional amendment of 1986 the President's duties were curtailed to a significant extent, and they are now largely ceremonial; most political power thus lies in the hands of the Prime Minister.[Sony VGN-NR11S Battery]

The position of Prime Minister, Greece's head of government, belongs to the current leader of the political party that can obtain a vote of confidence by the Parliament. The President of the Republic formally appoints the Prime Minister and, on his recommendation, appoints and dismisses the other members of the Cabinet.[Sony VGN-NR110E Battery]

Legislative powers are exercised by a 300-member elective unicameral Parliament.[38] Statutes passed by the Parliament are promulgated by the President of the Republic.[38] Parliamentary elections are held every four years, but the President of the Republic is obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier on the proposal of the Cabinet, in view of dealing with a national issue of exceptional importance.[Sony VGN-NR110E/T Battery]

The President is also obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier, if the opposition manages to pass a motion of no confidence.[38]

The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature and comprises three Supreme Courts: the Court of Cassation (?????? ?????), the Council of State(????????? ??? ???????????) and the Court of Auditors (????????? ????????). Sony VGN-NR110E/S Battery

The Judiciary system is also composed of civil courts, which judge civil and penal cases and administrative courts, which judge disputes between the citizens and the Greek administrative authorities.

Political parties

Since the restoration of democracy, the Greek two-party system is dominated by the liberal-conservative New Democracy (ND) and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).[Sony VGN-NR110E/W Battery]

Other significant parties include the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS). The current prime minister is George Papandreou, president of the PASOK, who on 4 October 2009, won with a majority in the Parliament of 160 out of 300 seats.Sony VGN-CR11SR Battery

Administrative divisions

Since the Kallikratis programme reform entered into effect on 1 January 2011, Greece consists of thirteen peripheries subdivided into a total of 325 municipalities. The 54 old prefectures and prefecture-level administrations have been largely retained as sub-unitsof the peripheries.Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery

Seven decentralized administrations group one to three peripheries for administrative purposes on a regional basis. There is also one autonomous area, Mount Athos (Greek: Agio Oros, "Holy Mountain"), which borders the periphery of Central Macedonia.Sony VGN-CR11S Battery

Foreign relations

Prominent issues in Greek foreign policy include the enduring dispute over Cyprus, differences with Turkey over the Aegean sea, as well as the naming dispute with the Republic of Macedonia, which Greece refers to internationally by the provisional reference "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".Sony VGN-CR11M Battery

Military

The Hellenic Armed Forces are overseen by the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (?????? ????????? ??????? ?????? – ?????) and consists of three branches:

The civilian authority for the Greek military is the Ministry of National Defence. Furthermore, Greece maintains the Hellenic Coast Guardfor law enforcement in the sea and for search and rescue.Sony VGN-CR21E Battery

Greece currently has universal compulsory military service for males, while females (who may serve in the military) are exempted from conscription. As of 2009, Greece has mandatory military service of 9 months for male citizens between the ages of 19 and 45.Sony VGN-CR21S Battery

However, as the Armed forces had been gearing towards a complete professional army system, the government had promised that the mandatory military service would be cut or even abolished completely.Sony VGN-CR21Z Battery

Greek males between the age of 18 and 60 who live in strategically sensitive areas may be required to serve part-time in the National Guard. Service in the Guard is paid. As a member of NATO, the Greek military participates in exercises and deployments under the auspices of the alliance.Sony VGN-CR21SR Battery

Economy

The Greek economy (that is gross domestic product, GDP) expanded at an average annual rate of 4% from 2004–2007 and 2% during 2008 (at constant prices of 2000), one of the highest rates in the Eurozone. However, in 2009 GDP decreased by ?1.9%. In 2010 a decrease of GDP by ?2.5% to ?4% is estimated. Sony VGN-CR31SR Battery

See below: 2010-2011 Economic Crisis.

The tourism industry is a major source of foreign exchange earnings and revenue accounting for 15% of Greece’s total GDP[43] and employing, directly or indirectly, 16.5% of the total workforce.Sony VGN-CR31S Battery

The Greek labor force totals 4.9 million, and it is the second most industrious between OECD countries, after South Korea. The Groningen Growth & Development Centre has published a poll revealing that between 1995 and 2005, Greece ranked third in the working hours per year ranking among European nations; Greeks worked an average of 1,811 hours per year. Sony VGN-CR31E Battery

In 2007, the average worker produced around 20 dollars per hour, similar to Spain and slightly more than half of average U.S. worker's hourly output. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, occupied mainly in agricultural and construction work.Sony VGN-CR31Z Battery

Greece's purchasing power-adjusted GDP per capita is the world's 25th highest. According to the International Monetary Fund it has an estimated average per capita income of $29,882 for the year 2009,[46] a figure slightly higher than that of Italy and Spain. According to Eurostat data, Greek PPS GDP per capita stood at 95 per cent of the EU average in 2009.[Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery]

According to a survey by The Economist, the cost of living in Athens is close to 90% of the costs in New York; in rural regions it is lower.[48]Sony VGN-CR41S Battery

In Greece, the euro was introduced in 2002. As a preparation for this date, the minting of the new euro coins started as early as 2001, however all Greek euro coins introduced in 2002 have this year on it; unlike some other countries of the Eurozone where mint year is minted in the coin.Sony VGN-CR41E Battery

Eight different designs, one per face value, was selected for the Greek coins. In 2007, in order to adopt the new common map like the rest of the Eurozone countries, Greece changed the common side of their coins. Before adopting the Euro in 2002 Greece had maintained use of the Greek drachma from 1832.Sony VGN-CR41SR Battery

In 2009, Greece had the EU's second lowest Index of Economic Freedom (after Poland), ranking 81st in the world. The country suffers from high levels of political and economic corruption and low global competitiveness relative to its EU partners.The Greek economy faces significant problems, including rising unemployment levels and an inefficient government bureaucracy.[Sony VGN-CR42ZR Battery]

Although remaining above the euro area average, economic growth turned negative in 2009 for the first time since 1993.[53][verification needed] An indication of the trend of over-lending in recent years is the fact that the ratio of loans to savings exceeded 100% during the first half of the year.[Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery]

2010-2011 Economic Crisis

By the end of 2009, as a result of a combination of international and local factors (respectively, the world financial crisis and uncontrolled government spending), the Greek economy faced its most severe crisis since the restoration of democracy in 1974 as the Greek government revised its deficit from an estimated 6% to 12.7% of gross domestic product (GDP).Sony VGN-CR42S Battery

In early 2010 it was revealed that successive Greek governments had been found to have consistently and deliberately misreported the country's official economic statistics to keep within the monetary union guidelines.  This had enabled Greek governments to spend beyond their means, while hiding the actual deficit from the EU overseers.Sony VGN-CR42E Battery

In May 2010, the Greek government deficit was again revised and estimated to be 13.6%[61] which was one of the highest in the world relative to GDP[62] and public debt was forecast, according to some estimates, to hit 120% of GDP during 2010,[63] one of the highest rates in the world.Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery

As a consequence, there was a crisis in international confidence in Greece's ability to repay its sovereign debt. In order to avert such a default, in May 2010 the other Eurozone countries, and theInternational Monetary Fund agreed to a rescue package which involved giving Greece an immediate €45 billion in bail-out loans, with more funds to follow, totaling €110 billion.Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/P Battery

In order to secure the funding, Greece was required to adopt harsh austerity measures to bring its deficit under control. Their implementation will be monitored and evaluated by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.[Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/R Battery

On 15 November 2010, the EU's statistics body Eurostat revised the public finance and debt figure for Greece following an excessive deficit procedure methodological mission in Athens and put Greece's 2009 government deficit at 15.4% of GDP and government debt at 126.8% of GDP making it the biggest deficit (as a percentage of GDP) amongst the EU member nations (although some have speculated that Ireland's in 2010 may prove to be worse). Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/W Battery

Maritime industry

The shipping industry is a key element of Greek economic activity dating back to ancient times. Today, shipping is one of the country's most important industries. It accounts for 4.5% of GDP, employs about 160,000 people (4% of the workforce), and represents 1/3 of the country's trade deficit.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21/B Battery

During the 1960s, the size of the Greek fleet nearly doubled, primarily through the investment undertaken by the shipping magnates Onassis and Niarchos.The basis of the modern Greek maritime industry was formed after World War II when Greek shipping businessmen were able to amass surplus ships sold to them by the United States Government through the Ship Sales Act of the 1940s.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/L Battery

According to the BTS, the Greek-owned maritime fleet is today the largest in the world, with 3,079 vessels accounting for 18% of the world's fleet capacity (making it the largest of any country) with a total dwt of 141,931 thousand (142 million dwt).In terms of ship categories, Greece ranks first in both tankersand dry bulk carriers, fourth in the number of containers, and fourth in other ships.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/P Battery

However, today's fleet roster is smaller than an all-time high of 5,000 ships in the late 70's.

Tourism

An important percentage of Greece's income comes from tourism. In 2004 Greece welcomed 16.5 million tourists. Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/L Battery

According to a survey conducted in People's Republic of China in 2005, Greece was voted as the Chinese people's number one choice as a tourist destination, and 6,088,287 tourists visited only the city of Athens, the capital city. In November 2006, Austria, like China, announced that Greece was the favourite destination. Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/P Battery

Transport

Since the 1980s, the roads and rail network of Greece has been significantly modernized. Important works include the Egnatia Odos that connects northwestern Greece (Igoumenitsa) with northern and northeastern Greece (Kipoi). The Rio–Antirrio bridge, the longest suspension cable bridge in Europe, (2250 m or 7382 ft long) connects the western Peloponnese from Rio (7 km or 4 mi from Patras) with Antirrio in Central Greece.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/W Battery

An expansion of the Patras-Athens national motorway towards Pyrgos in the western Peloponnese is scheduled to be completed by 2014. Most of the highway connection of Athens to Thessaloniki has also been upgraded.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N Battery

The Athens metropolitan area has an international airport, the privately run suburban motorway Attiki Odos and an expanded metro system. Most of the Greek islands and many main cities of Greece are connecting by air mainly from the two major airlines of Greece, Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines. Sony Vaio VGN-CR21Z/R Battery

Maritime connections have been improved with modern high-speed craft, including hydrofoils and catamarans. Railway connections play a somewhat lesser role than in many other European countries, but railways too have been expanded, with new suburban connections around Athens,Sony Vaio VGN-CR220E/R Battery

a modern intercity connection between Athens and Thessaloniki, and upgrading to double lines in many parts of the 2500 km (1550 mi) network. International railway lines connect Greek cities with the rest of Europe, the Balkans and Turkey.

Communications

Broadband internet availability is widespread in Greece; there were a total of 2.105.076 broadband connections as of early 2010.Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/B Battery

This translates to 18.6% broadband penetration. Internet cafes that provide net access, office applications and multiplayer gaming are also a common sight in the country, while mobile internet on 3G cellphone networks and public Wi-Fi connectivity are present, but not as extensively available.Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/P Battery

Science and technology

The General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Hellenic Ministry of Development is responsible for designing, implementing and supervising national research and technological policy. In 2003, public spending on R&D was 456.37 million euros (12.6% increase from 2002). Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/R Battery

Total research and development (R&D) spending (both public and private) as a percentage of GDP has increased considerably since the beginning of the past decade, from 0.38% in 1989, to 0.65% in 2001. R&D spending in Greece remains lower than the EU average of 1.93%, but, according to Research DC, HP Pavilion DM3 battery

based on OECD and Eurostat data, between 1990 and 1998, total R&D expenditure in Greece enjoyed the third highest increase in Europe, after Finland and Ireland. Because of its strategic location, qualified workforce and political and economic stability, many multinational companies such as Ericsson, Siemens, SAP, Motorola and Coca-Cola have their regional research and development headquarters in Greece.HP Pavilion DM4 battery

Greece's technology parks with incubator facilities include the Science and Technology Park of Crete (Heraklion), the Thessaloniki Technology Park, the Lavrio Technology Park and the Patras Science Park .Greece has been a member of the European Space Agency (ESA) since 2005.HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA battery

Cooperation between ESA and the Hellenic National Space Committee began in the early 1990s. In 1994, Greece and ESA signed their first cooperation agreement. Having formally applied for full membership in 2003, Greece became ESA's sixteenth member on 16 March 2005. Dell N3010 battery

As member of the ESA, Greece participates in the agency's telecommunication and technology activities, and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Initiative.

Demographics

The official Statistical body of Greece is the National Statistical Service of Greece (NSSG). Dell Inspiron N4010 battery

According to the NSSG, Greece's total population in 2001 was 10,964,020.  That figure is divided into 5,427,682 males and 5,536,338 females. As statistics from 1971, 1981, and 2001 show, the Greek population has been aging the past several decades.

The birth rate in 2003 stood 9.5 per 1,000 inhabitants (14.5 per 1,000 in 1981). Dell INSPIRON 9100 battery

At the same time the mortality rate increased slightly from 8.9 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1981 to 9.6 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2003. In 2001, 16.71% of the population were 65 years old and older, 68.12% between the ages of 15 and 64 years old, and 15.18% were 14 years old and younger.[Dell XPS 1340 battery]

Greek society has also rapidly changed with the passage of time. Marriage rates kept falling from almost 71 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1981 until 2002, only to increase slightly in 2003 to 61 per 1,000 and then fall again to 51 in 2004.[ ] Divorce rates on the other hand, have seen an increase – from 191.2 per 1,000 marriages in 1991 to 239.5 per 1,000 marriages in 2004.[Dell Inspiron 1464 battery]

Almost two-thirds of the Greek people live in urban areas. Greece's largest municipalities in 2001 were: Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patras, Iraklio, Larissa, and Volos.

Throughout the 20th century, millions of Greeks migrated to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Germany, creating a thriving Greek diaspora.Dell Inspiron 1764 battery

The migration trend however has now been reversed after the important improvements of the Greek economy since the 80's.

Immigration

Due to the complexity of Greek immigration policy, practices and data collection, truly reliable data on immigrant populations in Greece is difficult to gather and therefore subject to much speculation. Dell Inspiron 1564 battery

In 1986, legal and unauthorized immigrants totaled approximately 90,000. A study from the Mediterranean Migration Observatory maintains that the 2001 Census from the NSSG recorded 762,191 persons residing in Greece without Greek citizenship, constituting around 7% of total population and that, of these, 48,560 were EU or EFTA nationals and 17,426 Cypriots with privileged status.Dell Inspiron 1720 battery

People from the Balkan countries of Albania (56%), Bulgaria (5%), and Romania (3%) make up almost two-thirds of the total foreign population. Migrants from the former Soviet Union (Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, etc.) comprise 10% of the total. The greatest cluster of non-EU immigrant population is in the Municipality of Athens –some 132,000 immigrants, at 17% of local population.Dell Inspiron Mini 12 battery

Thessaloniki is the second largest cluster, with 27,000, reaching 7% of local population. After this, the predominant areas of location are the big cities environs and the agricultural areas.Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

According to the same study, the foreign population (documented and undocumented) residing in Greece may in reality figure upwards to 8.5% or 10.3%, that is approximately meaning 1.15 million – if immigrants with homogeneis cards are accounted for.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

Greece is a gateway for the entry of illegal immigrants to Europe. The Cabinet has approved a draft law that would allow children born in Greece to parents who are immigrants, one of whom must have been living in the country legally for at least 5 consecutive years to apply for Greek citizenship.[SONY VAIO VGN-FW31Z Battery]

The government, despite strong objections from oppositions is determined to pass the bill. The main objective is to facilitate the smooth integration of legal immigrants and their children in the Greek social reality. The basic criteria remain the legality of residence and children's participation in Greek culture.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31M Battery

For the same reason, moreover, long-term residents, political refugees and expatriates will be allowed to participate in local elections.

Religion

The constitution of Greece recognizes the Orthodox faith as the "prevailing" of the country, while guaranteeing freedom of religious belief for all.[SONY VAIO VGN-FW31B Battery]

The Greek Government does not keep statistics on religious groups and censuses do not ask for religious affiliation. According to the State Department, an estimated 97% of Greek citizens identify themselves as Orthodox Christians, belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church.[SONY VAIO VGN-FW31E Battery]

In the Eurostat – Eurobarometer poll of 2005, 81% of Greek citizens responded that they believe there is a God, which was the third highest percentage among EU members behind only Malta and Cyprus. According to other sources, 15.8% of Greeks describe themselves as very religious, which is the highest among all European countries. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

The survey also found that just 3.5% never attend a church, compared to 4.9% in Poland and 59.1% in the Czech Republic.

Estimates of the recognized Muslim minority, which is mostly located in Thrace, range from 98,000 to 140,000, (between 0.9% and 1.2%) while the immigrant Muslim community numbers between 200,000 and 300,000. Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

Albanian immigrants to Greece are usually associated with the Muslim religion, although most aresecular in orientation. Following the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922 and the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne Greece and Turkey agreed to a population transfer based on cultural and religious identity. Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

About 500,000 Muslims from Greece, predominantly Turks, but also other Muslims, were exchanged with approximately 1,500,000 Greeks from Asia Minor (now Turkey).[89] Athens is the only EU capital without a purpose-built place of worship for its Muslim population. Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

Judaism has existed in Greece for more than 2,000 years. Sephardi Jews used to have a large presence in the city of Thessaloniki (by 1900, some 80,000, or more than half of the population, were Jews),  but nowadays the Greek-Jewish community who survived German occupation and the Holocaust, during World War II, is estimated to number around 5,500 people.Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

Greek members of Roman Catholic faith are estimated at 50,000 with the Roman Catholic immigrant community approximating 200,000. Old Calendaristsaccount for 500,000 followers. Protestants, including Greek Evangelical Church and Free Evangelical Churches, stand at about 30,000.SONY VGP-BPS21 Battery

Assemblies of God,International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and other Pentecostal churches of the Greek Synod of Apostolic Church has 12,000 members. Independent Free Apostolic Church of Pentecost is the biggest Protestant denomination in Greece with 120 churches.[SONY VGP-BPS21A Battery]

There are not official statistics about Free Apostolic Church of Pentecost, but the Orthodox Church estimates the followers as 20,000. The Jehovah's Witnesses report having 28,859 active members. SONY VGP-BPS21B Battery

Languages

The first concrete evidence of the Greek language dates back to 15th century BC and the Linear B script which is associated with the Mycenaean Civilization. Greek was a widely spoken lingua franca in the Mediterranean world and beyond duringClassical Antiquity, and would eventually become the official parlance of the Byzantine Empire. SONY VGP-BPS21/S Battery

During the 19th and 20th centuries there was a major dispute known as Greek language question, on whether the official language of Greece should be the archaic Katharevousa, created in the 19th century and used as the state and scholarly language, or the Dimotiki, the form of the Greek language which evolved naturally from Byzantine Greek and was the language of the people. SONY VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

The dispute was finally resolved in 1976, when Dimotiki was made the only official variation of the Greek language, and Katharevousa fell to disuse.

Greece is today relatively homogeneous in linguistic terms, with a large majority of the native population using Greek as their first or only language.SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

Among the Greek-speaking population, speakers of the distinctive Pontic dialect came to Greece from Asia Minor after the Greek genocide and constitute a sizable group.

The Muslim minority in Thrace, which amounts to approximately 0.95% of the total population, consists of speakers of Turkish, Bulgarian (Pomaks) and Romani. SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

Romani is also spoken by Christian Roma in other parts of the country. Further minority languages have traditionally been spoken by regional population groups in various parts of the country. Their use has decreased radically in the course of the 20th century through assimilation with the Greek-speaking majority. SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

Today they are only maintained by the older generations and are on the verge of extinction. This goes for the Arvanites, an Albanian-speaking group mostly located in the rural areas around the capital Athens, and for the Aromanians and Moglenites, also known as Vlachs, SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

whose language is closely related to Romanian and who used to live scattered across several areas of mountaneous central Greece. Members of these groups ethnically identify as Greeks and are today all at least bilingual in Greek.

Near the northern Greek borders there are also some Slavic-speaking groups, whose members identify ethnically as Greeks in their majority. Toshiba Satellite M300 Battery

Their dialects can be linguistically classified as forms of either Macedonian Slavic (locally called Slavomacedonian or simply Slavicto distinguish it from Macedonian Greek) or Bulgarian.It is estimated that in the aftermath of the population exchanges of 1923 there were somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 Slavic speakers in Greek Macedonia.[Toshiba Satellite 1200 Battery]

The Jewish community in Greece traditionally spoke Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), today maintained only by a small group of a few thousand speakers.

Education

Compulsory education in Greece comprises primary schools and gymnasium . Nursery schools (???????? ???????, Paidikós Stathmós) are popular but not compulsory. Toshiba Satellite A200 Battery

Kindergartens  are now compulsory for any child above 4 years of age. Children start primary school aged 6 and remain there for six years. Attendance at gymnasia starts a

t age 12 and last for three years.

Greece's post-compulsory secondary education consists of two school types: unified upper secondary schools and technical–vocational educational schools  .Sony VGP-BPS21 battery

Post-compulsory secondary education also includes vocational training institutes  which provide a formal but unclassified level of education. As they can accept both Gymnasio (lower secondary school) and Lykeio (upper secondary school) graduates, these institutes are not classified as offering a particular level of education.Sony VGP-BPS14 battery

Public higher education is divided into universities, "Highest Educational Institutions"  and "Highest Technological Educational Institutions"  . Students are admitted to these Institutes according to their performance at national level examinations taking place after completion of the third grade of Lykeio.Sony VGP-BPL8 battery

Additionally, students over twenty-two years old may be admitted to the Hellenic Open University through a form of lottery. The Capodistrian university of Athens is the oldest university in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Greek education system also provides special kindergartens, primary and secondary schools for people with special needs or difficulties in learning.Sony VGP-BPS22 battery

Specialist gymnasia and high schools offering musical, theological and physical education also exist.

Culture

The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, with its beginnings in the Mycenaean and Minoan Civilizations, continuing most notably intoClassical Greece, the Hellenistic Period, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its Greek Eastern successor the Byzantine Empire.Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

The Ottoman Empire too had a significant influence on Greek culture, but the Greek War of Independence is credited with revitalizing Greece and giving birth to a single entity of its multi-faceted culture throughout the ages.Sony VGP-BPS9 battery

Philosophy

Most western philosophical traditions began in ancient Greece in the 6th century BC.The first philosophers are called "Presocratics" which designates that they came before Socrates. The Presocratics were from the western or the eastern colonies of Greece and only fragments of the original writings of the presocratics survive, in some cases merely a single sentence.Sony VGP-BPS10 battery

A new period of philosophy started with Socrates. Like the Sophists, he rejected entirely the physical speculations in which his predecessors had indulged, and made the thoughts and opinions of people his starting-point. Aspects of Socrates were first united from Plato, who also combined with them many of the principles established by earlier philosophers, and developed the whole of this material into the unity of a comprehensive system.Toshiba PA3399U-2BRS battery

Aristotle of Stagira, the most important disciple of Plato, shared with his teacher the title of the greatest philosopher of antiquity but while Plato had sought to elucidate and explain things from the supra-sensual standpoint of the forms, his pupil preferred to start from the facts given us by experience.Toshiba Satellite T4900 Battery

Except from these three most significant Greek philosophers other known schools of Greek philosophy from other founders during ancient times were Stoicism, Epicureanism, Skepticism and Neoplatonism.

Literature

The timeline of the Greek literature can be separated into three big periods: the ancient, the Byzantine and the modern Greek literature.Toshiba Satellite L305 Battery

At the beginning of Greek literature stand the two monumental works of Homer: the Iliad and the Odyssey. Though dates of composition vary, these works were fixed around 800 BC or after. In the classical period many of the genres of western literature became more prominent.SONY VGN -FZ210CE Battery

Lyrical poetry, odes, pastorals, elegies, epigrams; dramatic presentations of comedy and tragedy; historiography, rhetorical treatises, philosophical dialectics, and philosophical treatises all arose in this period.The two major lyrical poets were Sappho and Pindar. The Classical era also saw the dawn of drama.Dell Precision M70 Battery

Of the hundreds of tragedies written and performed during the classical age, only a limited number of plays by three authors have survived: those of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The surviving plays by Aristophanes are also a treasure trove of comic presentation, while Herodotus and Thucydides are two of the most influential historians in this period. Acer Aspire One battery 10400mAh

The greatest prose achievement of the 4th century was in philosophy with the works of the three great philosophers.

Byzantine literature refers to literature of the Byzantine Empire written in Atticizing, Medieval and early Modern Greek, and it is the expression of the intellectual life of the Byzantine Greeks during the Christian Middle Ages.Dell RM791 battery

Modern Greek literature refers to literature written in common Modern Greek, emerging from late Byzantine times in the 11th century AD. The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is undoubtedly the masterpiece of this period of Greek literature. It is a verse romance written around 1600 by Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553–1613). Dell Inspiron E1505 battery

Later, during the period of Greek enlightenment (Diafotismos), writers such as Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios will prepare with their works the Greek Revolution (1821–1830).

Contemporary Greek literature is representated by many writers, poets and novelists: Dionysios Solomos,Dell Studio 1737 battery

Andreas Kalvos,Angelos Sikelianos, Emmanuel Rhoides, Kostis Palamas, Penelope Delta, Yannis Ritsos, Alexandros Papadiamantis, Nikos Kazantzakis, Andreas Embeirikos, Kostas Karyotakis, Gregorios Xenopoulos, Constantine P. Cavafy, Demetrius Vikelas, whileGeorge Seferis and Odysseas Elytis have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.Dell Inspiron 300M Battery

Cuisine

Greek cuisine is as an example of the healthy Mediterranean diet (Cretan diet). Greek cuisine incorporates fresh ingredients into a variety of local dishes such asmoussaka, stifado, Greek Salad, spanakopita and the world famous Souvlaki. Dell Latitude E4200 Battery

Some dishes can be traced back to ancient Greece like skordalia (a thick purée of potatoes, walnuts, almonds, crushed garlic and olive oil), lentil soup, retsina (white or rosé wine sealed with pine resin) and pasteli (candy bar with sesame seeds baked with honey).Dell Latitude E5400 Battery

Throughout Greece people often enjoy eating from small dishes such as meze with various dips such as tzatziki, grilled octopus and small fish, feta cheese, dolmades (rice, currants and pine kernels wrapped in vine leaves), various pulses, olives and cheese. Olive oil is added to almost every dish.Sony VGN-FW139E/H battery

Sweet desserts such as galaktoboureko, and drinks such as ouzo, metaxa and a variety of wines including retsina. Greek cuisine differs widely from different parts of the mainland and from island to island. It uses some flavorings more often than other Mediterranean cuisines: oregano, mint, garlic, onion, dill and bay laurel leaves.Sony VGN-FW11M Battery

Other common herbs and spices include basil, thyme and fennel seed. Many Greek recipes, especially in the northern parts of the country, use "sweet" spices in combination with meat, for example cinnamon and cloves in stews.

Music

Greek vocal music extends far back into Ancient times where mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration and spiritual reasons. Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

Instruments during that period included the double-reed aulos and the plucked string instrument, the lyre, especially the special kind called a kithara. Music played an important role in the education system during ancient times. Boys were taught music from the age of six. Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Battery

Later influences from the Roman Empire, Eastern Europe, and the Byzantine Empire changed Greek music.

While the new technique of polyphony was developing in the West, the Eastern Orthodox Church resisted any type of change. Therefore, Byzantine music remained monophonic and without any form of instrumental accompaniment.Dell Latitude D620 Battery

As a result, and despite certain attempts by certain Greek chanters (such as Manouel Gazis, Ioannis Plousiadinos or the Cypriot Ieronimos o Tragodistis) Byzantine music was deprived of elements of which in the West encouraged an unimpeded development of art. Dell Latitude D830 Battery

However, the isolation of Byzantium after 1453, which kept music away from polyphony, along with centuries of continuous culture, enabled monophonic music to develop to the greatest heights of perfection. Byzantium presented the monophonic Byzantine chant; a melodic treasury of inestimable value for its rhythmical variety and expressive power.Toshiba Satellite M60 battery

Along with the Byzantine chant, the Greek people also cultivated the Greek folk song which is divided into two cycles, theakritic and klephtic. The akritic was created between the 9th and 10th centuries A.D. and expressed the life and struggles of the akrites (frontier guards) of the Byzantine empire, the most well known being the stories associated with Digenes Akritas.Dell Studio 1457 Battery

The klephtic cycle came into being between the late Byzantine period and the start of the Greek War of Independencestruggle in 1821. The klephtic cycle, together with historical songs, paraloghes (narrative song or ballad), love songs, wedding songs, songs of exile and dirges express the life of the Greeks. Dell Latitude D610 Battery

There is a unity between the Greek people's struggles for freedom, their joys and sorrow and attitudes towards love and death.

The Second World War, German occupation of Greece and the Greek Civil War decisively influenced the Greek folk song. Dell Studio 1457 Battery

After the first World War and the 1922 debacle, the trend towards urban living focused on Athens where popular musicians congregated and, in 1928, founded their own professional society: the Athens and Piraeus Musicians Society. Until the early years of this century, musical tradition was preserved in the villages where there was little contact with the outside world. Dell Studio 1450 Battery

The events and social changes of the 20th century changed Greek folk song. Once the seat of folk song was the village, now the reverse applies.  The commercialised folk song spreads in all directions to the remotest villages. The authentic songs and dances have been replaced by the stylised modern "folk songs" written by contemporary musicians which they write new lyrics to authentic folk tunes, changing them enough to ensure copyright protection.Dell Inspiron 1320n Battery

Sports

Greece is the birth place of the Olympic Games. The Panathenian stadium in Athens hosted the Olympic Games in 1896. It had also hosted Olympic Games in 1870 and 1875 (see Evangelis Zappas). The Panathenian stadium also hosted the Games in 1906 and was used to host events at the 2004 Summer Olympics.SONY VGP-BPS13AS Battery

The Greek national football team, ranked 12th in the world in 2009, won the UEFA Euro 2004 in one of the biggest surprises in the history of the sport. The Greek Super League is the highest professional football league in the country comprising 16 teams. The most successful are Olympiacos,Panathinaikos and AEK Athens.SONY VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

The Greek national basketball team has a decades-long tradition of excellence in the sport. In August 2008, it ranked 4th in the world. They have won the European Championship twice in 1987 and 2005, and have reached the final four in three of the last four FIBA World Championships, taking second place in 2006.SONY VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

In 2009, Greece beat France in the under-20 European Basketball championship. The domestic top basketball league, A1 Ethniki, is composed of fourteen teams. The most successful Greek teams are Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, AEK Athens. Water polo and volleyball are also practiced widely in Greece while cricket and handball are relatively popular in Corfu and Veroia respectively.SONY VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

Mythology

Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices.SONY VGP-BPS13/S Battery

They were a part of religion in ancient Greece. Modern scholars refer to the myths and study them in an attempt to throw light on the religious and political institutions of Ancient Greece, its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.SONY VGP-BPS8 Battery

Greek mythology is embodied explicitly in a large collection of narratives and implicitly in Greek representational arts, such as vase-paintings and votive gifts. Greek myth attempts to explain the origins of the world and details the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, andmythological creatures. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ38M Battery

These accounts initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition; today the Greek myths are known primarily from Greek literature.

The oldest known Greek literary sources, the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, focus on events surrounding the Trojan War.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31Z Battery

Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, and the origin of sacrificial practices.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31M Battery

Myths also are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poemsof the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age and in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31J Battery

Archaeological findings provide a principal source of detail about Greek mythology, with gods and heroes featured prominently in the decoration of many artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31B Battery

In the succeedingArchaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods, Homeric and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence.

Greek mythology has exerted an extensive influence on the culture, the arts, and the literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31E Battery

Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in these mythological themes.

Sources of Greek mythology

Greek mythology is known today primarily from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900–800 BC onward.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ4000 Battery

Literary sources

Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. Nevertheless, the only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus. This work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ480E Battery

Apollodorus lived from c. 180–120 BC and wrote on many of these topics. His writings may have formed the basis for the collection; however the "Library" discusses events that occurred long after his death, hence the name Pseudo-Apollodorus.

Among the earliest literary sources are Homer's two epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ460E Battery

Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these later and lesser poems now are lost almost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer. They are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age.[SONY VAIO VGN-FZ340E Battery]

Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony (Origin of the Gods) the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world; the origin of the gods, Titans, and Giants; as well as elaborate genealogies, folktales, and etiological myths.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ220E Battery

Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life, also includes the myths of Prometheus, Pandora, and the Four Ages. The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods.

Lyrical poets often took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became gradually less narrative and more allusive.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ180E Battery

Greek lyric poets including Pindar,Bacchylides, Simonides and bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classicalAthenian drama. The tragic playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/T Battery

Many of the great tragic stories (e.g. Agamemnon and his children, Oedipus, Jason, Medea, etc.) took on their classic form in these tragedies. The comic playwright Aristophanes also used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs.

Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, and geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends, often giving little-known alternative versions. Sony VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery

Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East. Herodotus attempted to reconcile origins and the blending of differing cultural concepts.

The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was primarily composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise. Sony VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery

Nevertheless, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of:

  1. The Roman poets Ovid, Statius, Valerius Flaccus, Seneca, and Virgil with Servius's commentary.
  2. The Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, and Quintus Smyrnaeus.Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery
  3. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Callimachus, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, and Parthenius.
  4. The ancient novels of Greeks and Romans such as Apuleius, Petronius, Lollianus, and Heliodorus.

The Fabulae and Astronomica of the Roman writer styled as Pseudo-Hyginus are two important, non-poetical compendiums of myth. SONY VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery

The Imagines of Philostratus the Elder and Philostratus the Younger and the Descriptions of Callistratus, are two other useful sources that were drawn upon for themes.

Finally, Arnobius and a number of Byzantine Greek writers provide important details of myth, much derived from earlier now lost Greek works. SONY VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery

These preservers of myth include a lexicon of Hesychius, the Suda, and the treatises of John Tzetzes and Eustathius. The Christian moralizing view of Greek myth is encapsulated in the saying, ?? ????? ???? ??? ?? ???????? ????? / en panti muth?i kai to Daidalou musos("In every myth there is also the defilement of Daidalos").SONY VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery

In this fashion, the encyclopedic Sudas reported the role of Daedalus in satisfying the "unnatural lust" of Pasiphaë for the bull of Poseidon: "Since the origin and blame for these evils were attributed to Daidalos and he was loathed for them, he became the subject of the proverb." SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

Archaeological sources

The discovery of the Mycenaean civilization by the German amateur archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, in the nineteenth century, and the discovery of theMinoan civilization in Crete by British archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans, in the twentieth century,SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

helped to explain many existing questions about Homer's epics and provided archaeological evidence for many of the mythological details about gods and heroes. Unfortunately, the evidence about myth and ritual at Mycenaean and Minoan sites is entirely monumental, as the Linear B script   SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

(an ancient form of Greek found in both Crete and Greece) was used mainly to record inventories, although the names of gods and heroes doubtfully have been revealed.

Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle, as well as the adventures of Heracles.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ21E Battery

These visual representations of myths are important for two reasons. For one, many Greek myths are attested on vases earlier than in literary sources: of the twelve labors of Heracles, for example, only the Cerberus adventure occurs in a contemporary literary text.[SONY VAIO VGN-FZ18 Battery]

In addition, visual sources sometimes represent myths or mythical scenes that are not attested in any extant literary source. In some cases, the first known representation of a myth in geometric art predates its first known representation in late archaic poetry, by several centuries.HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

In the Archaic (c. 750–c. 500 BC), Classical (c. 480–323 BC), and Hellenistic (323–146 BC) periods, Homeric and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence.

Survey of mythic history

Greek mythology has changed over time to accommodate the evolution of their culture, of which mythology, both overtly and in its unspoken assumptions, is an index of the changes.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

In Greek mythology's surviving literary forms, as found mostly at the end of the progressive changes, is inherently political, as Gilbert Cuthbertson has urged.

The earlier inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula were an agricultural people who, using Animism, assigned a spirit to every aspect of nature. HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

Eventually, these vague spirits assumed human forms and entered the local mythology as gods. When tribes from the north of the Balkan Peninsula invaded, they brought with them a new pantheon of gods, based on conquest, force, prowess in battle, and violent heroism. HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Other older gods of the agricultural world fused with those of the more powerful invaders or else faded into insignificance.

After the middle of the Archaic period, myths about relationships between male gods and male heroes become more and more frequent, indicating the parallel development of pedagogic pederasty, thought to have been introduced around 630 BC. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ Battery

By the end of the fifth century BC, poets had assigned at least one eromenos, an adolescent boy who was their sexual companion, to every important god except Ares and to many legendary figures.Previously existing myths, such as those of Achilles and Patroclus, also then were cast in a pederastic light.HP PAVILION DV8000 Battery

Alexandrian poets at first, then more generally literary mythographers in the early Roman Empire, often readapted stories of Greek mythological characters in this fashion.

The achievement of epic poetry was to create story-cycles and, as a result, to develop a new sense of mythological chronology. HP PAVILION DV6000 Battery

Thus Greek mythology unfolds as a phase in the development of the world and of humans. While self-contradictions in these stories make an absolute timeline impossible, an approximate chronology may be discerned. The resulting mythological "history of the world" may be divided into three or four broader periods:HP Pavilion dv8000 battery

  1. The myths of origin or age of gods (Theogonies, "births of gods"): myths about the origins of the world, the gods, and the human race.
  2. The age when gods and mortals mingled freely: stories of the early interactions between gods, demigods, and mortals.HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery
  3. The age of heroes (heroic age), where divine activity was more limited. The last and greatest of the heroic legends is the story of the Trojan War and after (which is regarded by some researchers as a separate fourth period). Sony VGP-BPL15 battery

While the age of gods often has been of more interest to contemporary students of myth, the Greek authors of the archaic and classical eras had a clear preference for the age of heroes, establishing a chronology and record of human accomplishments after the questions of how the world came into being were explained.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

For example, the heroic Iliad and Odyssey dwarfed the divine-focused Theogonyand Homeric Hymns in both size and popularity. Under the influence of Homer the "hero cult" leads to a restructuring in spiritual life, expressed in the separation of the realm of the gods from the realm of the dead (heroes), of the Chthonic from the Olympian.Sony VGP-BPL9 battery

In the Works and Days, Hesiod makes use of a scheme of Four Ages of Man (or Races): Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron. These races or ages are separate creations of the gods, the Golden Age belonging to the reign of Cronus, the subsequent races the creation of Zeus. Hesiod intercalates the Age (or Race) of Heroes just after theBronze Age. Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

The final age was the Iron Age, the contemporary period during which the poet lived. The poet regards it as the worst; the presence of evil was explained by the myth of Pandora, when all of the best of human capabilities, save hope, had been spilled out of her overturned jar. In Metamorphoses, Ovid follows Hesiod's concept of the four ages. Sony VGP-BPS13A/B battery

Cosmogony and cosmology

"Myths of origin" or "creation myths" represent an attempt to render the universe comprehensible in human terms and explain the origin of the world. The most widely accepted version at the time, although a philosophical account of the beginning of things, is reported by Hesiod, in his Theogony. He begins withChaos, a yawning nothingness. Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery

Out of the void emerged Eurynome,Gê or Gaia (the Earth) and some other primary divine beings: Eros (Love), the Abyss (the Tartarus), and the Erebus.  Without male assistance, Gaia gave birth to Uranus (the Sky) who then fertilized her. From that union were born first the Titans—six males: Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Oceanus; and six females: Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themis, and Tethys. After Cronus was born, Gaia and Oranos decreed no more Titans were to be born. They were followed by the one-eyed Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires or Hundred-Handed Ones. Dell Studio 1555 battery

Cronus ("the wily, youngest and most terrible of Gaia's children" ) castrated his father and became the ruler of the gods with his sister-wife Rhea as his consort, and the other Titans became his court.

A motif of father-against-son conflict was repeated when Cronus was confronted by his son, Zeus. Dell KM958 battery

Because Cronus had betrayed his father, he feared that his offspring would do the same, and so each time Rhea gave birth, he snatched up the child and ate it. Rhea hated this and tricked him by hiding Zeus and wrapping a stone in a baby's blanket, which Cronus ate.Dell XPS M1210 Battery

When Zeus was grown, he fed his father a drugged drink which caused Cronus to vomit, throwing up Rhea's other children and the stone, which had been sitting in Cronus' stomach all along. Zeus then challenged Cronus to war for the kingship of the gods. SONY VAIO VGN-FW33GW Battery

At last, with the help of the Cyclopes (whom Zeus freed from Tartarus), Zeus and his siblings were victorious, while Cronus and the Titans were hurled down to imprisonment in Tartarus.

Zeus was plagued by the same concern and, after a prophecy that the offspring of his first wife, Metis, would give birth to a god "greater than he"—Zeus swallowed her. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21Z Battery

She was already pregnant with Athena, however, and they made him miserable until Athena burst forth from his head—fully-grown and dressed for war. This "rebirth" from Zeus was used as an excuse for why he was not "superseded" by a child of the next generation of gods, but accounted for the presence of Athena. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21M Battery

It is likely that cultural changes already in progress absorbed the long-standing local cult of Athena at Athens into the changing Olympic pantheon without conflict because it could not be overcome.

The earliest Greek thought about poetry considered the theogonies to be the prototypical poetic genre—the prototypical mythos—and imputed almost magical powers to it.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21L Battery

Orpheus, the archetypal poet, also was the archetypal singer of theogonies, which he uses to calm seas and storms in Apollonius' Argonautica, and to move the stony hearts of the underworld gods in his descent to Hades. When Hermes invents the lyre in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes, the first thing he does is sing about the birth of the gods.[Dell Latitude E6400 ATG Battery]

Hesiod's Theogony is not only the fullest surviving account of the gods, but also the fullest surviving account of the archaic poet's function, with its long preliminary invocation to the Muses. Theogony also was the subject of many lost poems, including those attributed to Orpheus, Musaeus, Epimenides, Abaris, and other legendary seers, which were used in private ritual purifications and mystery-rites. Asus M52N Battery

There are indications that Plato was familiar with some version of the Orphic theogony. A silence would have been expected about religious rites and beliefs, however, and that nature of the culture would not have been reported by members of the society while the beliefs were held. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

After they ceased to become religious beliefs, few would have known the rites and rituals. Allusions often existed, however, to aspects that were quite public.

Images existed on pottery and religious artwork that were interpreted and more likely, misinterpreted in many diverse myths and tales. Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

A few fragments of these works survive in quotations by Neoplatonist philosophers and recently unearthed papyrus scraps. One of these scraps, the Derveni Papyrus now proves that at least in the fifth century BC a theogonic-cosmogonic poem of Orpheus was in existence. Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

This poem attempted to outdo Hesiod's Theogony and the genealogy of the gods was extended back to Nyx (Night) as an ultimate female beginning before Eurynome,  Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus. Night and Darkness could equate with Chaos.

The first philosophical cosmologists reacted against, or sometimes built upon, popular mythical conceptions that had existed in the Greek world for some time. Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

Some of these popular conceptions can be gleaned from the poetry of Homer and Hesiod. In Homer, the Earth was viewed as a flat disk afloat on the river of Oceanus and overlooked by a hemispherical sky with sun, moon, and stars. HP Pavilion DV7 battery

The Sun (Helios) traversed the heavens as a charioteer and sailed around the Earth in a golden bowl at night. Sun, earth, heaven, rivers, and winds could be addressed in prayers and called to witness oaths. Natural fissures were popularly regarded as entrances to the subterranean house of Hades and his predecessors, home of the dead. Influences from other cultures always afforded new themes.Compaq CQ50 battery

Greek pantheon

According to Classical-era mythology, after the overthrow of the Titans, the new pantheon of gods and goddesses was confirmed. Among the principal Greek gods were the Olympians, residing atop Mount Olympus under the eye of Zeus.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

(The limitation of their number to twelve seems to have been a comparatively modern idea.) Besides the Olympians, the Greeks worshipped various gods of the countryside, the satyr-god Pan, Nymphs (spirits of rivers), Naiads (who dwelled in springs), Dryads (who were spirits of the trees), Nereids (who inhabited the sea), river gods, Satyrs, and others. HP DV9700 battery

In addition, there were the dark powers of the underworld, such as the Erinyes (or Furies), said to pursue those guilty of crimes against blood-relatives.In order to honor the Ancient Greek pantheon, poets composed the Homeric Hymns (a group of thirty-three songs). Compaq CQ35-100 battery

Gregory Nagy regards "the larger Homeric Hymns as simple preludes (compared with Theogony), each of which invokes one god".

In the wide variety of myths and legends that Greek mythology consists of, the gods that were native to the Greek peoples are described as having essentially corporeal but ideal bodies.HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

According to Walter Burkert, the defining characteristic of Greek anthropomorphism is that "the Greek gods are persons, not abstractions, ideas or concepts". Regardless of their underlying forms, the Ancient Greek gods have many fantastic abilities; most significantly, the gods are not affected by disease, and can be wounded only under highly unusual circumstances. Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

The Greeks considered immortality as the distinctive characteristic of their gods; this immortality, as well as unfading youth, was insured by the constant use of nectar and ambrosia, by which the divine blood was renewed in their veins.

Each god descends from his or her own genealogy, pursues differing interests, has a certain area of expertise, and is governed by a unique personality;HP 448007-001 battery

however, these descriptions arise from a multiplicity of archaic local variants, which do not always agree with one another. When these gods are called upon in poetry, prayer or cult, they are referred to by a combination of their name and epithets, that identify them by these distinctions from other manifestations of themselves (e.g. Apollo Musagetes is "Apollo,leader of the Muses").Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery

Alternatively the epithet may identify a particular and localized aspect of the god, sometimes thought to be already ancient during the classical epoch of Greece.

Most gods were associated with specific aspects of life. For example, Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty, Ares was the god of war, Hades the god of the dead, and Athena the goddess of wisdom and courage.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

Some gods, such as Apollo and Dionysus, revealed complex personalities and mixtures of functions, while others, such as Hestia (literally "hearth") and Helios (literally "sun"), were little more than personifications. The most impressive temples tended to be dedicated to a limited number of gods, who were the focus of large pan-Hellenic cults.Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

It was, however, common for individual regions and villages to devote their own cults to minor gods. Many cities also honored the more well-known gods with unusual local rites and associated strange myths with them that were unknown elsewhere. During the heroic age, the cult of heroes (or demi-gods) supplemented that of the gods.Apple A1280 battery

Age of gods and mortals

Bridging the age when gods lived alone and the age when divine interference in human affairs was limited was a transitional age in which gods and mortals moved together.Apple A1281 battery

These were the early days of the world when the groups mingled more freely than they did later. Most of these tales were later told by Ovid's Metamorphosesand they are often divided into two thematic groups: tales of love, and tales of punishment.

Tales of love often involve incest, or the seduction or rape of a mortal woman by a male god, resulting in heroic offspring. Dell Latitude E6400 battery

The stories generally suggest that relationships between gods and mortals are something to avoid; even consenting relationships rarely have happy endings. In a few cases, a female divinity mates with a mortal man, as in the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, where the goddess lies with Anchises to produce Aeneas.HP Pavilion DV6-1020ED Battery

The second type (tales of punishment) involves the appropriation or invention of some important cultural artifact, as when Prometheus steals fire from the gods, whenTantalus steals nectar and ambrosia from Zeus' table and gives it to his own subjects—revealing to them the secrets of the gods, SONY VAIO VGN-FW33GW Battery

when Prometheus or Lycaon invents sacrifice, when Demeter teaches agriculture and the Mysteries to Triptolemus, or when Marsyas invents the aulos and enters into a musical contest with Apollo. Ian Morris considers Prometheus' adventures as "a place between the history of the gods and that of man".[SONY VAIO VGN-FW33G/E1 Battery]

An anonymous papyrus fragment, dated to the third century, vividly portrays Dionysus' punishment of the king of Thrace, Lycurgus, whose recognition of the new god came too late, resulting in horrific penalties that extended into the afterlife. The story of the arrival of Dionysus to establish his cult in Thrace was also the subject of an Aeschylean trilogy.[SONY VAIO VGN-FW290JTH Battery]

In another tragedy, Euripides' The Bacchae, the king of Thebes, Pentheus, is punished by Dionysus, because he disrespected the god and spied on his Maenads, the femaleworshippers of the god.

In another story, based on an old folktale-motif, and echoing a similar theme, Demeter was searching for her daughter, Persephone, having taken the form of an old woman called Doso, and received a hospitable welcome from Celeus, the King of Eleusis in Attica.SONY VAIO VGN-FW290JTB Battery

As a gift to Celeus, because of his hospitality, Demeter planned to make his son Demophon a god, but she was unable to complete the ritual because his mother Metanira walked in and saw her son in the fire and screamed in fright, which angered Demeter, who lamented that foolish mortals do not understand the concept and ritual.[SONY VAIO VGN-FW29/B Battery]

Heroic age

The age in which the heroes lived is known as the heroic age. The epic and genealogical poetry created cycles of stories clustered around particular heroes or events and established the family relationships between the heroes of different stories; they thus arranged the stories in sequence.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31ZJ Battery

According to Ken Dowden, "there is even a saga effect: we can follow the fates of some families in successive generations".

After the rise of the hero cult, gods and heroes constitute the sacral sphere and are invoked together in oaths and prayers which are addressed to them.[SONY VAIO VGN-FW27/W Battery]

In contrast to the age of gods, during the heroic age the roster of heroes is never given fixed and final form; great gods are no longer born, but new heroes can always be raised up from the army of the dead. Another important difference between the hero cult and the cult of gods is that the hero becomes the centre of local group identity. HP Pavilion DV6-1020ED Battery

The monumental events of Heracles are regarded as the dawn of the age of heroes. To the Heroic Age are also ascribed three great events: the Argonauticexpedition, the Theban Cycle and the Trojan War.

Heracles and the Heracleidae

Some scholars believe that behind Heracles' complicated mythology there was probably a real man, perhaps a chieftain-vassal of the kingdom of Argos. Dell Latitude E6400 battery

Some scholars suggest the story of Heracles is an allegory for the sun's yearly passage through the twelve constellations of the zodiac. Others point to earlier myths from other cultures, showing the story of Heracles as a local adaptation of hero myths already well established.Apple A1281 battery

Traditionally, Heracles was the son of Zeus and Alcmene, granddaughter of Perseus. His fantastic solitary exploits, with their many folk-tale themes, provided much material for popular legend. He is portrayed as a sacrificier, mentioned as a founder of altars, and imagined as a voracious eater himself; Apple A1280 battery

it is in this role that he appears in comedy, while his tragic end provided much material for tragedy — Heracles is regarded by Thalia Papadopoulou as "a play of great significance in examination of other Euripidean dramas". In art and literature Heracles was represented as an enormously strong man of moderate height; his characteristic weapon was the bow but frequently also the club.Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

Vase paintings demonstrate the unparalleled popularity of Heracles, his fight with the lion being depicted many hundreds of times.

Heracles also entered Etruscan and Roman mythology and cult, and the exclamation "mehercule" became as familiar to the Romans as "Herakleis" was to the Greeks.[Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter]

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