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The Greeks are an ethnic group who have populated Greece from the early 2nd millennium BC to the present day. Today they are primarily found in the Greek peninsula of southeastern Europe, Cyprus and the large diaspora.
Classical sources 
- So far has Athens left the rest of mankind behind in thought and expression that her pupils have become the teachers of the world, and she has made the name of Hellas distinctive no longer of race but of intellect, and the title of Hellene a badge of education rather than of common descent. Isocrates, "Panegyricus", 50
- O Solon, Solon, Hellenes aei paides este, geron de Hellen ouk estin.
- Translation: O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you.
- Plato, Timaeus, 22b.
- Equo ne credite, Teucri.
quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.
- Translation: O Trojans, do not trust the horse.
Be it what it may, I fear the Grecians even when they offer gifts.
- Virgil, Aeneid, Book II, line 48.
- Translation: O Trojans, do not trust the horse.
- There have been only two great peoples: the Greeks and the Jews. Perhaps the Greeks were even greater than the Jews, but now I can see no sign of that old greatness in the modern Greeks. Maybe, when the present process is finished we too will degenerate, but I see no sign of degeneration at present.
- Hence we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks!
- Historical justice obliges me to state that of the enemies who took up positions against us, the Greek soldier particularly fought with the highest courage. He capitulated only when further resistance had become impossible and useless.
- I thank Your Majesty for your friendly message which comes at a time when all free peoples are deeply impressed by the courage and steadfastness of the Greek nation.
- On the early morning of October 28, 1940, the Fascist aggressors handed an ultimatum to Greece. The challenge was hurled back without a moment's hesitation. This was what might have been expected from a gallant and courageous people devoted to their homeland. You commemorate tonight the second anniversary of the beginning of the total resistance of the Greek people to totalitarian warfare. More significant, even, than the initial reply to the challenge is the fact that Greece has continued to fight, with every means at its command. When the Greek mainland was overrun, the resistance was carried on from the islands. When the islands fell, resistance continued from Africa, from the seas, from anywhere the aggressor could be met. To those who prefer to compromise, to follow a course of expediency, or to appease, or to count the cost, I say that Greece has set the example which every one of us must follow until the despoilers of freedom everywhere have been brought to their just doom.
Academic sources 
- p.79 There, however, the medieval or early modern state assimilated most of them, although a significant number of distinctive ancient cultures persisted through such processes of integration — Irish, Catalan. Norwegian and others (in Eastern Europe, the Greeks perhaps form an analogy).’
- p.182 Kohn does, however, attempt to link his ideological types with their social settings, albeit somewhat crudely; and to show some of the pre-modern group sentinients among Greeks,J ews and others, that went into the formulations of
- Gopal Balakrishnan (1996). Mapping the nation. London: Verso. ISBN 1-85984-060-4.
- The cultural tradition of which the Greek language is the focal point has the longest unbroken history of any in Europe. The Greek state, however, was newly born out of the conflict of 1821-8 and was without precedent in the history of the Greeks. The newly defined nation therefore had, as a matter of urgency, to create its own past, that is, to select and endorse those elements of earlier Greek history which retrospectively could claim to have made the present existence and future aspirations of the nation inevitable. Since the state itself was in many ways the creation of European Romanticism, it was only natural that the means to hand for defining and justifying its existence should derive from the same source.
- Beaton, Roderick; Teich, Mikuláš; Porter, Roy (1988). Romanticism in national context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 99. ISBN 0-521-33913-8.
- By the twentieth century there has been a series of successive collapses of both the Greek and Jewish Diasporas. The expansion of the Greek kingdom until World War I brought Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia and most of Thrace within its expanding borders. The disastrous military adventure of 1922 emptied Asia Minor of its 3,000-year old Greek and Orthodox Diaspora. Turkish pressure has reduced the Greek population in its European areas. Egyptian nationalism sent most of the Alexandrian Greeks back to the homeland during the l950s, while Communist pressures adversely affected Balkan Greeks and the decline of die Soviet Union and its successor staes brought some 300.000 Russian Greeks to the Mediterranean.
- Both Greeks and Jews were the only people who were able to leave their homeland or birth city (natio) and maintain the identity through subsequent generations and both did so through the strength of their respective cultures (The phenomenon of empire as reflected in the experience of Carthage and Rome is of a different order. It is noteworthy that their respective Diasporas disappeared when the mother city lost its political control. ) Both people received a boost during the Hellenistic period: The Jews when they fell in love with Greek logic and the Greeks when they adopted Christianity, a variant of the Jewish religion. The national identity that emerged in the ancient times from the mix of language and religion was a unique kind of supranationalism that became a model for new peoples who entered Western civilization in the Medieval and modern periods.
- Bowman, Robert, Skoggard, Ian A.; Ember, Melvin; Ember, Carol R. (2005). Encyclopedia of diasporas: immigrant and refugee cultures around the world. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 0-306-48321-1.
- Some economically brilliant groups of this kind have behind them a long tradition of dispersal, urbanization and minority status: this is clearly the case of the Jews, Greeks Armenians or Parsees.
- The Hellenes initially thought not so much in terms of secession from the Ottoman Empire, as of inverting the hierarchy within it and taking it over, thereby reviving Byzantium. The first Creek rising took place not in Greece, hut in what is now Romania, where the Greeks were a minority and moreover one doing rather well out of the Ottoman system. The use of what is now southern Greece as a territorial basis only came later.
- Greek and Armenian nationalism arose among populations which were generally more prosperous and better able to understand the wealth- generating economies of modern Europe than their Ottoman Muslim overlords.
- Ernest Gellner (2006). Nations and Nationalism (New Perspectives on the Past). Blackwell Publishing Limited. pp. 101-103. ISBN 1-4051-3442-9.
- A Christianity split into a diversity of ecclesiastical streams, the dualism implicit within its political agenda – nation-forming on the one side, universalism on the other was further accentuated. The classical eastern orthodox form stressing the power of the emperor was in principle universalist enough in its vision of Constantinople as the New Rome, but in practice Byzantium became a rather thoroughly Greek empire, .ihen1mung non-Greeks in Egypt, Syria or the west. This combined with its considerable degree of Caesaropapism led to the generation of a type of church-state relationship characteristic of eastern autocephalous churches of a highly nationalist type.
- Hastings, Adrian (1997). The construction of nationhood: ethnicity, religion, and nationalism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 202. ISBN 0-521-62544-0.
- p.76-77 Nevertheless it is evident — if only from the Greek example just cited — that proto-nationalism, where it existed, made the task of nationalism easier, however great the differences between the two, insofar as existing symbols and sentiments of proto-nacional community could he mobilized behind a modern cause or a modern state. But this is far from saying that the two were the same, or even that one must logically or inevitably lead into the other. For it is evident that proto-nationalism alone is clearly not enough to form nationalities, nations, let alone states.
- p.133 However, mass expulsion and even genocide began to make their appearance on the southern margins of Europe during and after World War I, as the Turks set about the mass extirpation of the Armenians in 1915 and, after the Greco Turkish war of 1911, expelled between 1.3 and 1.5 millions of Greeks from Asia Minor, where they had lived since the days of Homer.1 Subsequently Adolph Hitler, who was in this respect a logical Wilsonian nationalist, arranged to transfer Germans not living on the territory of the fatherland, such as those of Italian South Tyrol, to Germany itself, as he also arranged for the permanent elimination of the Jews.
- Hobsbawm, E. J. (1992). Nations and nationalism since 1780 programme, myth, reality. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43961-2.
- However Fallmerayer greatly overstated his case. Much of northern and western Greece and the Peloponnesus was extensively settled by Slavs and did escape Byzantine control, but the east and parts of central Greece, the Aegean coast, the major Greek islands and coastal cities were never overrun by Slavs and many of these places received numerous Greek refugees. Starting in the late seventh century moreover the Slav-settled areas of Greece were gradually re-Hellenized by the Byzantine Empire, the Greek Orthodox Church and Greek-speaking merchants and colonists, aided by the establishment of effective new Byzantine military administrations known as themata (Browning 1975: 39-42). Thus even though the Peloponnesus itself was under Slav control for more than two hundred years, there was no question of any permanent Slavonization of Greek territory. Little by little the Byzantine authorities in Greece and the other coastal regions managed to regain lost ground. Nevertheless, the greater part of the Balkan Peninsula, the whole interior, became completely a Slav country and from now onwards is referred to in Byzantine sources as the region of “Sclavinia” (Ostrogorsky 1968: 94).
- Jeffries, Ian; Bideleux, Robert (2007). A history of Eastern Europe: crisis and change. New York: Routledge. pp. 49-50. ISBN 0-415-36626-7.
- p.122 Along with Moisiodax, Rigas Velensrinbs (he too a VLich), Nikolaos Zervoulis, Dimitrios Darvaris, Nikolaos Piccolos, and Arhanacios Vogoridis had all assimilated into Hellenism at the time. During much of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries, Hellenism served in the Balkans as an ecumenical cultural ideal, very much like the role it played in the eastern Mediterranean of the Hellenistic period and of late antiquity. Although not supported by military might as was the case in Alexander’s time, it attained enormous prestige. Indeed, Greek culture along with Orthodoxy and the Ottoman administration served as the three unifying forces in the Balkans. Hellenism expanded throughout the region because Greeks had dominated the four areas— religion, economy, administration, and intellectual life—that constituted the shared substratum of Balkan life (Tsourkas 1967: 212). Ethnic Greeks occupied positions of enormous prestige and influence in the Ottoman administration and served for decades as governors of Walachia and Moldavia. Greek had become the language of commerce and Hellenism the secular culture of the Balkans (Camariano-Cioran 1974: 15, 311). The economic and political power of the Greeks enabled them to have more contacts with Westerners than their neighbours, which explains in part their earlier attempts at modernization.
- Jusdanis, Gregory (2001). The Necessary Nation. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. pp. 122. ISBN 0-691-08902-7.
- p.209 It is also important that the process of nation- building he distinguished from related social phenomena. For instance if we accept as do most theorists of nationalism, that nations ate modern constructs, it becomes imperative to differentiate nation-building from expansionist ethnicism, The latter phenomenon for instance. describes the pattern to he found after 987 in Capetian France among the Zulus of the nineteenth century and among lateral-aristocratic ethnies like the Greeks (Smith 19**6. 141—2; Smith 1991: 57, Francis 1976: 28—31). The spread of ethnic consciousness within these pre-modern populations sprang from the efforts of clerics, monarchs, warrior bands or wandering performers, whose activities lacked the intensity, coordination or precision that is associated with nation-building (Armstrong 1982).
- Leoussi, Athena S. (2001). Encyclopaedia of nationalism. New Brunswick, N.J., U.S.A: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0-7658-0002-0.
- The Greek question has a longer history in Turkey. Greeks have lived in Anatolia for millennia, especially along the Aegean coast. For a while, under Alexander, they dominated the land. And for all intents and purposes, the Byzantine Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire at the time) was Greek. When Mehmct 11 conquered Constantinople, he appointed a Greek monk to the orthodox Patriarch and allowed him to govern both the religious and secular affairs of the Greek community. The first Ottoman census, of 1477, counted half of Constantinople’s population as Greek, and four-hundred years later, even after the Greek War of Independence, it was still 21 percent Greek.
- Lowenthal, David (1998). The heritage crusade and the spoils of history. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 245. ISBN 0-521-63562-4.
- As Elie Kedourie has remarked “Greek [nationalism] may be considered the first to appear outside Western Christendom, among a community ruled by non-Christians and itself hitherto violently hostile to all Western nations.”
- Peckham, Robert D. (2001). National Histories, Natural States: Nationalism and the Politics of Place in Greece. London: I. B. Tauris. pp. 3-5. ISBN 1-86064-641-7.
- In antiquity, the power of Greek cities was manifested by their ability to found far—off, independent colonies, where the cities and colonies were connected more by language, culture, and history than by law or a hierarchical relationship. This is what the French geographer Georges Prévélakis calls a “galactic” organization, as opposed to a “dendritic” organization based on the relation between a centre and its periphery. The spread of Roman power—first by the republic, then the empire—over the entire Mediterranean did not cause Hellenism to disappear as a cultural unity. After the empire split in two in 395, Hellenism actually blossomed in the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, where it became the principal cultural component, especially in the religious domain: The Great Schism of 1054 divided Roman Catholics from the Greek Orthodox. Even political power became Hellenized. The seizure of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire, but Hellenism survived in the Ottoman Empire. Along with the Jews and the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church was allowed to establish an autonomous religious community, called milliet, that was responsible for the allocation and collection of taxes and for such matters as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. With the development of the Mediterranean trading system in the sixteenth century, Greek communities appeared outside the empire, including western Europe (Livorno and Venice) and Russia. Contact with Enlightenment philosophy and the ideas of 1789 fed the aspiration for a Greek state. This was created in 1830, founded on the ambition of restoring Greater Greece by recovering the Ottoman territories of Asia Minor. That hope collapsed in 1922-23 with the end of the Greco-Turkish war and the territorial agreement between the two countries.
- William Rodarmor; Stephane Dufoix (2008). Diasporas. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 39. ISBN 0-520-25359-0.
- p.150 This is the case even in such a culturally long-lived example as the Greeks, where
- p.191 Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Persians, Chinese and Japanese could be cited as examples of ethnic continuity, since, despite massive cultural changes over the centuries, certain key identifying components—name, language, customs, religious community and territorial association—were broadly maintained and reproduced for millennia.
- p.192 All this points to the importance of social memory; as the example of the relationship between modern and ancient Greeks shows, ethnies are constituted, not by lines of physical descent, but by the sense of continuity, shared memory and collective destiny, i.e. by lines of cultural affinity embodied in myths, memories, symbols and values retained by a given cultural unit of population.
- Smith, Anthony Robert (1998). Nationalism and modernism: a critical survey of recent theories of nations and nationalism. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-06341-8.
- It is irrelevant in that ethnies arc constituted, not by lines of physical descent, but by the sense of continuity, shared memory and collective destiny, i.e. by lines of cultural affinity embodied in distinctive myths, memories, symbols and values retained by a given cultural unit of population. In that sense much has been retained, and revived, from the extant heritage of ancient Greece. For, even at the time of Slavic migrations, in Ionia and especially in Constantinople, there was a growing emphasis on the Greek language, on Greek philosophy and literature, and on classical models of thought and scholarship. Such a ‘Greek revival’ was to surface again in the tenth and fourteenth centuries, as well as subsequently, providing a powerful impetus to the sense of cultural affinity with ancient Greece and its classical heritage. This is not to deny for one moment either the enormous cultural changes undergone by the Greeks despite a surviving sense of common ethnicity or the cultural influence of surrounding peoples and civilizations over two thousand years. At the same time in terms of script and language, certain values, a particular environment and its nostalgia, continuous social interactions and a sense of religious and cultural difference, even exclusion, a sense of Greek identity and common sentiments of ethnicity can be said to have persisted
- Smith, Anthony Robert (1991). National identity. Harmondsworth [Eng.]: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-012565-5.
- Though Latin long held sway in Court and bureaucratic circles, the cultural cement of the empire’s core populations was Greek and its education was in the Greek classics and tongue. Imperial tradition, Christian Orthodoxy and Greek culture became even more the bases of Byzantium and her Hellenic community, after she had lost most of her western and Asiatic possessions in the seventh century — to Visigoths and then Arabs m Spain and North Africa, to the Lombards in much of Italy, to the Slavs in the Balkans and to Muslim armies in Egypt and the Near East. Political circumstances, and the resilience of Greek culture and Greek education, made her predominantly Greek in speech and character. After the sack of Constantinople in 1204 and the establishment of a Latin empire under Venetian auspices, the rivalry of the Greek empires based on Nicaea, Epirus and Trebizond to realize the patriotic Hellenic dream of recapturing the former capital further stimulated Greek ethnic sentiment against Latin usurpation. W1cn in the face of Turkith threats, the fifteenth-century Byzantine emperor, Michael Palaeologus, tried to place the Orthodox Church under the Papacy and hence Western protection; an inflamed Greek sentiment vigorously opposed his policy. The city’s populace in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, their Hellenic sentiments fanned by monks, priests and the Orthodox party against the Latin policies of the government, actually preferred the Turkish turban to the Latin mitre and attacked the urban wealthy classes. But the Turkish conquest and the demise of Byzantium did not spell the end of the Orthodox Greek community and its ethnic sentiment. tinder its Church and Patriarch, and organized as a recognized milliet of the Ottoman empire, the Greek community flourished in exile, the upper classes of its Diaspora assuming privileged economic and bureaucratic positions in the empire. So Byzantine bureaucratic incorporation had paradoxical effects: as in Egypt, it helped to sunder the mass of the Greek community from the state and its Court and bureaucratic imperial myths and culture in favour of a more demotic Greek Orthodoxy; but, unlike Egypt, the demise of the state served to strengthen that Orthodoxy and reattach to it the old dynastic Messianic symbolism of a restored Byzantine empire in opposition to Turkish oppression.
- Smith, Anthony Robert (1987). The ethnic origins of nations. Oxford: B. Blackwell. pp. 108. ISBN 0-631-16169-4.
- Ethnic Change, Dissolution and Survival
- This shifted the centre of a truly Hellenic civilization to the east, to the Aegean, the Ionian littoral of Asia Minor and to Constantinople. It also meant that modem Greeks could hardly count as being of ancient Greek descent, even if this could never be ruled out.’ There is a sense in which the preceding discussion is both relevant to a sense of Greek identity, now and earlier, and irrelevant. It is relevant in so far as Greeks, now and earlier, felt that their ‘Greekness’ was a product of their descent from the ancient Greeks (or Byzantine Greeks), and that such filiations made them feel themselves to be members of one great ‘super-family’ of Greeks, shared sentiments of continuity and membership being essential to a lively sense of identity. It is irrelevant in that ethnies arc constituted, not by lines of physical descent, but by the sense of continuity, shared memory and collective destiny, i.e. by lines of cultural affinity embodied in distinctive myths, memories, symbols and values retained by a given cultural unit of population. In that sense much has been retained, and revived, from the extant heritage of ancient Greece. For, even at the time of Slavic migrations, in Ionia and especially in Constantinople, there was a growing emphasis on the Greek language, on Greek philosophy and literature, and on classical models of thought and scholarship. Such a ‘Greek revival’ was to surface again in the tenth and fourteenth centuries, as well as subsequently, providing a powerful impetus to the sense of cultural affinity with ancient Greece and its classical heritage.
- This is not to deny for one moment either the enormous cultural changes undergone by the Greeks despite a surviving sense of common ethnicity or the cultural influence of surrounding peoples and civilizations over two thousand years. At the same time in terms of script and language, certain values, a particular environment and its nostalgia, continuous social interactions, and a sense of religious and cultural difference, even exclusion, a sense of Greek identity and common sentiments of ethnicity can be said to have persisted beneath the many social and political changes of the last two thousand years
- Smith, Anthony Robert (1991). National identity. Reno: University of Nevada Press. pp. 28-31. ISBN 0-87417-204-7.
- Against this view, it is still possible to identify some cultural continuities. Kitromilides himself alludes to some of them, when he mentions “inherited forms of cultural expression, such as those associated with the Orthodox liturgical cycle and the images of emperors, the commemoration of Christian kings, the evocation of the Orthodox kingdom and its earthly seat, Constantinople, which is so powerfully communicated in texts such as the Akathist Hymn, sung every year during Lent and forming such an intimate component of Orthodox worship . . .“ (Kitromilides 1998, 31). There are other lines of Greek continuity. Despite the adoption of a new religion, Christianity, certain traditions, such as a dedication to competitive values, have remained fairly constant, as have the basic forms of the Greek language and the contours of the Greek homeland (though its centre of gravity was subject to change). And John Armstrong has pointed to the “precocious nationalism” that took hold of the Greek population of the Byzantine Empire under the last Palaeologan emperors and that was directed as much against the Catholic Latins as against the Muslim Turks—an expression of medieval Greek national sentiment as well as a harbinger of later Greek nationalism. But again, we may ask: was this Byzantine sentiment a case of purely confessional loyalty or of ethnoreligious nationalism? (See Armstrong 1982, I74—8I cf. Baynes and Moss 1969, 119—27, and Carras 1983.)
- Smith, Anthony Robert (2000). The Nation in History: Historiographical Debates about Ethnicity and Nationalism (The Menahem Stern Jerusalem Lectures). Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press. pp. 42-43. ISBN 1-58465-040-0.
- Greeks, Armenians and Jews
- Yet even here all these peoples have remained rooted in their sacred homelands for centuries. Though oppressed and colonized by outsiders, they have never been expelled en masse, and so the theme of restoration to the homeland has played little part in the conceptions of these peoples. There are, however, two peoples, apart from the Jews, for whom restoration of the homeland and commonwealth have been central: the Greeks and the Armenians, and together with the Jews, they constitute the archetypal Diaspora peoples, or what John Armstrong has called ‘mobilized diasporas° Unlike diasporas composed of recent mi migrant workers—Indians, Chinese and others in Southeast Asia, East Africa and the Caribbean— mobilized diasporas are of considerable antiquity, are generally polyglot and multi-skilled trading communities and have ancient, portable religious traditions. Greeks, Jews, and Armenians claimed an ancient homeland and kingdom, looked back nostalgically to a golden age or ages of great kings, saints, sages and poets, yearned to return to ancient capitals with sacred sites and buildings, took with them wherever they went their ancient scriptures, sacred scripts and separate liturgies, founded in every city congregations with churches, clergy and religious schools, traded across the Middle East and Europe using the networks of enclaves of their co-religionists to compete with other ethnic trading networks, and used their wealth, education and economic skills to offset their political powerlessness)
- But the parallels go further, Greeks, Jews, and Armenians after their subordination to others and emigration or expulsion from their original homelands became Diaspora ethno-religious communities cultivating the particular virtues and aptitudes of their traditions. These included a respect for scholarship and learning, derived from constant study of sacred texts (and in the Greek case some of their ancient secular texts seen through religious filters); and hence a generally high status accorded to religious scholars and clergy within each enclave. Allied to this was a marked aptitude for literary expression—poetic, philosophical, legal, liturgical, linguistic, and historical.
- Greek Phanariot merchants and traders dominated the commerce of the Ottoman empire, utilizing their kinship networks and social and religious institutions to maximize not only their business and assets, but also their cultural capital. Diaspora Greeks became especially prominent from the eighteenth century in the development of printing and the press, and experienced a major intellectual revival in cities as far afield as Vienna, Venice, Odessa, Paris, and Amsterdam
- In each case, the concept of chosenness played a central role. For Greeks and Armenians, the myth of ethnic election was both direct and transmitted. It was an act of God who had singled out a special community of His faithful to live according to His holy laws and receive His special blessings, the blessings being conditional on the holding of correct beliefs and the performance of sacred obligations. As with the Jews, the overriding purpose was to become a holy people beloved of God, a people of priests worthy of the status and location which God had bestowed on the community. But, unlike the Jews, Armenians and Greeks saw their election as a reward for receiving the true faith rejected by the Jews. They were therefore required to supplant the Jews as the chosen people, and become the heirs of a people who had fallen from grace. In this sense, the chosen status of Greeks and Armenians was a legacy from the Jewish people, and only much later did the Orthodox community of true believers become imbued with Greek culture and a sense of Greek-speaking community, and to the outside world Orthodoxy became synonymous with Greek culture and origins.
- Smith, Anthony Robert (1999). Myths and memories of the nation. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. pp. 212-215. ISBN 0-19-829534-0.
- However, such myths developed earlier in the Byzantine periphery. In the heart of the Empire, it was really only in its final phase from 1261, under the Palaeologan emperors, after the chastening experience of the Sack of Constantinople by the Latins in 1204, and the subsequent period of ‘penance’ in the Nicene Empire, that we can begin to speak of a definite Greek ethnic component fuelled by strong anti-Latin sentiment, alongside the Universal Church and its mission to outsiders (see Raynes and Moss 1969: 33—6). In fact, a strong Greek ethnic sentiment had developed already at Nicaca. In John Armstrong’s words: At Nicaea after the Crusader conquest of Constantinople, the literati demanded that the emperor in-exile entitle himself king of the Hellenes”. Two centuries later the last emperor was mourned as Constantine the Hellene (Armstrong 1981: 179). For Armstrong, this was partly the result of a long-term homogenizing socialization process required for a powerful, integrated, and hierarchical central bureaucracy. But it was also due to Greek adherence to classical learning and literature, and to Byzantine unwillingness to accept the parity of Latin as a language of empire (Armstrong 1982.: 178—8 I, 116—17).
- But perhaps the most significant factor in the turn to a Greek ethnicism, which resisted both the Turkish turban and the Latin mitre in the years before the fall of Constantinople, was the opposition of the urban populace, led by the Orthodox party, monks, and priests, to the wealthy urban classes and the Byzantine court. After the Ottoman conquest in 1453, recognition by the Turks of the Greek millet under its Patriarch and Church helped to ensure the persistence of a separate ethnic identity, which, even if it did not produce a ‘precocious nationalism’ among the Greeks, provided the later Greek enlighteners and nationalists with a cultural constituency fed by political dreams and apocalyptic prophecies of the recapture of Constantinople and the restoration of Greek Byzantium and its Orthodox emperor in all his glory.
- Smith, Anthony Robert (2003). Chosen peoples: [sacred sources of national identity]. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. pp. 98. ISBN 0-19-210017-3.
- p.203 First, Greece: for modem Greeks, as I intimated, the future could mirror ‘the past’ past’ in more than one way, since there was a clear split in that past. One school argued for the Byzantine roots and glory of Greece. They pointed to the massive influx of Slavic immigrants in the sixth and succeeding centuries throughout the Balkans and Greece, and claimed that this had weakened the links with a decayed Hellenic (or Hellenistic— Roman) culture. What was Byzantine was essentially Orthodox Christianity only the Greek language and liturgy retained any connection with a pre-Christian past. In the Orthodox millet of the Ottoman empire, Christianity had kept a Byzantine Greek ethnic alive, as in a chrysalis, ready to be transformed under the impact of Western ideas and commercialization in the late eighteenth century.8’ For the Byzantine-Orthodox clergy and their flocks, for the notables in the Mores and Phanariots in Constantinople, this grandiose dream of a restored Byzantine empire under Greek control located the re-nascent Greek people and charted their future in the Aegean and Ionia. It also pointed the way to a restored agrarian society of peasants, notables and clergy, essentially smallholders, but led by educated Orthodox elites under the Patriarch.
- Another school opposed this dream with its summons to military adventure in Anatolia, and took its blueprint from a Western reading of classical antiquity. While conceding the demographic break with the ancient Greek world, the westernized intelligentsia claimed a continuing spiritual affinity between modem Western, secular ideals and those of classical Athens. Locating the modern Greeks through their cultural heritage of classical antiquity along an cast—west axis that stretched from Paris and London to Athens and Constantinople, the ‘Hellenic’ map differed profoundly from the ‘Byzantine’ one; for the Latter had a north—south axis from Moscow to Constantinople and Egypt, which aligned a re-nascent Byzantine Greece with Orthodox Russia as the protector of Eastern Christianity. There was a similar contrast in ethnic moralities. While the Byzantine conception of Greek revival envisaged a renewal of the Orthodox Christian virtues and ecclesiastical controls, the secular Hellenic vision advocated a ‘return’ to the qualities of rational enquiry, self-control and reflective choice which seemed to sum up the ethical message of ancient Greece.
- These differences in moral vision and map-making bred, In turn, conflicting institutional needs and social policies, within the constraints of an under-developed economy and society in terms of Western standards. Though both were ‘backward-looking’, the hierarchical and theocratic Byzantine ideal with its cultural affinity to Orthodox Tsarism, lent itself to a rural and patriarchal society whose political institutions would be subordinated to the religious controls of the clergy and their supporters among the notables; their suspicions of the West would be compensated by the eastward drive inherent in the Megali Idea and its dream of a restored Byzantine empire in Anatolia and the Aegean. Whereas the Hellenic vision,
- Smith, Anthony Robert (1987). The ethnic origins of nations. Oxford: B. Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-16169-4.
- A society in whose culture the Ancient Greeks played such an important part was bound to have a view about the Modern Greeks. The inhabitants of that famous land, whose language was still recognizably the same as that of Demosthenes, could not be regarded as just another remote tribe of natives or savages. Western Europe could not escape being concerned with the nature of the relationship between the Ancient and the Modem Greeks. The question has teased, perplexed, and confused generations of Greeks and Europeans and it still stirs passions to an extent difficult for the rational to condone.
- Whether the present inhabitants of Greece are descended from the Ancient Greeks is a profoundly unsatisfactory question. No method of subdividing the question makes much sense. On the one hand, one can attempt to trace the numerous incursions of immigrants to Greece and try to assess the extent to which the ‘blood’ of the Ancients has been diluted by outside races, Romans, barbarians, Franks, Turks, Venetians, Albanians, etc. On the other hand, one can point to the remarkable survival of ideas and customs and, in particular, to the astonishing strength of the linguistic tradition.
- But neither approach seems to lead to the kind of answer which those who ask the question are seeking. What they seem to want to know is—Are the Modern Greeks the same as the Ancient Greeks? Are their racial and national characteristics the same? Do the Modern Greeks behave in the same kind of way as the Ancient Athenians, Spartans, and Corinthians behaved? If one looks among the Modem Greeks will one find the equivalents of Pericles and Sophocles and Plato? By their nature such questions are vague and contain within them a host of assumptions—about human nature, genetics and race, the influence of environment on behaviour, and the reliability of our knowledge of ancient history—all of which are questionable and some of which are simply unfounded.
- During the hundreds of years since the glorious age of Greece, various views have been held about the Modern Greeks. Europeans of the Middle Ages and Renaissance times may have assumed that the Modern Greeks were the descendants of the Ancients hut they were far from regarding this as implying any continuity of character, let alone imposing any obligation. To be Greek was to be a drunkard, a lecher, and, especially, a cheat, It never seems to have occurred to the men who issued the calls to join in the defence of Byzantium, for example, to suggest that they were aiding the descendants of Pericles. Nor as Christians did the Western Europeans (of whatever sect) feel any instinctive sympathy for the schismatic Christians of the Orthodox Church.
- William St. Clair (1972). That Greece Might Still be Free: The Philhellenes in the War of Independence. Open Book Publishers. pp. 15-16. ISBN 1906924007.
- A strong sense of a common ethnic identity emerged among Greek speakers of the independent city-states of the Aegean area in the Bronze Age and characterized the city-states of the classical period and their colonies in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions. It endured over two millennia as these lands were ruled by the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, and Ottoman empires, and as the area became ethnically heterogeneous.
- Despite income differences in the population and a small upper stratum of established families in the larger cities, the class system has been marked by mobility since the establishment of the modern state. Former bases of wealth and power disappeared with the departure of the Ottomans and the dismantling of agricultural estates. A fluid class system fits the strongly egalitarian emphasis of the culture. The degree to which minority groups receive the rights and opportunities of Greeks is a topic of public discussion. Social status is not coterminous with economic class but results from a combination of wealth, education, occupation, and what is referred to as honor or love of honor (philotimo). While sometimes understood only as a source of posturing and argumentation, this concept refers to one's sense of social responsibility, esteem within the community, and attention to proper behavior and public decorum.
- Parents also stress the value of education,..Higher education is strongly valued…In the 1990s, 140,000 students annually vied for 20,000 university seats and 20,000 technical college seats. Many ultimately seek an education abroad.
- Sutton, Susan Buck. Culture of Greece - History and ethnic relations, Urbanism, architecture, and the use of space. www.everyculture.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-23.
- The legacy of the Greeks is under assault today thus deserves defence and celebration for the simple reason that much of what we are is the result of that brilliant examination of human life first begun by the Greeks: as Jacob Burckhardt says, "We see with the eyes of the Greeks and use their phrases when we speak." We must listen to the Greeks not because they will give us answers, but because they first identified the questions and problems, and they knew too where the answers must come from: the minds of free human beings who have control over their own lives. And this, finally, is the greatest good we have received from the Greeks: the gift of freedom.
- Bruce Thornton, US classicist, "Defending the Greeks", Private Papers, 2005