Megali Idea

The Megali Idea (Greek: Μεγάλη Ιδέα, Megáli Idéa, "Great Idea")[1] was an irredentist concept of Greek nationalism that expressed the goal of establishing a Greek state that would encompass all historically ethnic Greek-inhabited areas, including the large Greek populations that were still under Ottoman rule after the end of the Greek War of Independence (1821–1828) and all the regions that traditionally belonged to Greeks in ancient times (the Southern Balkans, Anatolia and Cyprus).[2]

The term appeared for the first time during the debates of Prime Minister Ioannis Kolettis with King Otto that preceded the promulgation of the 1844 constitution.[3] This was a visionary nationalist aspiration that was to dominate foreign relations and, to a significant extent, determine domestic politics of the Greek state for much of the first century of independence. The expression was new in 1844 but the concept had roots in the Greek popular psyche. It long had hopes of liberation from Turkish rule and restoration of the Byzantine Empire.[3]

Πάλι με χρόνια με καιρούς,

πάλι δικά μας θα 'ναι!

(Once more, as years and time go by, once more they shall be ours).[4]

The Megali Idea implied the goal of reviving the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, by establishing a Greek state, which would be, as ancient geographer Strabo wrote, a Greek world encompassing mostly the former Byzantine lands from the Ionian Sea to the west, to Asia Minor and the Black Sea to the east and from Thrace, Macedonia and Epirus to the north, to Crete and Cyprus to the south. This new state would have Constantinople as its capital: it would be the "Greece of Two Continents and Five Seas" (Europe and Asia, the Ionian, Aegean, Marmara, Black and Libyan seas, respectively).

The Megali Idea dominated foreign policy and domestic politics of Greece from the War of Independence in the 1820s through the Balkan wars in the beginning of the 20th century. It started to fade after the defeat of Greece in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) and the Great Fire of Smyrna in 1922, followed by the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923. Despite the end of the Megali Idea project in 1922, the Greek state expanded five times in its history, either through military conquest or diplomacy (often with British support). After the creation of Greece in 1830, it later annexed the Ionian Islands (Treaty of London, 1864), Thessaly (Convention of Constantinople (1881)), Macedonia, Crete, southern Epirus and the Eastern Aegean Islands (Treaty of Bucharest (1913)), Western Thrace (Treaty of Neuilly, 1920) and the Dodecanese (Treaty of Peace with Italy, 1947), making them Greek territory.

Greek map showing the possible lands of a Greater Greece, 1919
Map Greece Megali Idea-fr
Map of Megali Hellas (Great Greece) as proposed at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 by Eleftherios Venizelos, the leading major proponent of the Megali Idea at the time.
Map Greece expansion 1832-1947-en
The territorial expansion of Greece, 1832–1947.

Fall of Constantinople

Zonaro GatesofConst
Sultan Mehmed II's entry into Constantinople.

The Byzantine Empire was Roman in origin and was called the "Roman Empire" by its inhabitants and the entire world, until some 120 years after its fall, when Hieronymus Wolf coined the usage of "Byzantium". It became Hellenistic with time to the point where Greek replaced Latin as the official language in AD 610, owing to several factors: Its religion, being Christian, with the New Testament written in Greek; its location in the Greek-speaking realm and sphere of influence; and the fact that, following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it became the eastern continuation of the Roman Empire. Byzantium held out against the invasions of the centuries with a vitality that the Western Roman Empire lost, repelling the Visigoths, the Huns, the Saracens, the Mongols and finally the Turks (during the first siege). Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, fell to the Fourth Crusaders in the early years of the 13th century. The city was eventually liberated by the Empire of Nicaea, a Byzantine successor, and the Empire was restored. However, the city fell to a different foe in 1453—the Ottoman Turks—and this fall of Constantinople marked the nadir of Byzantine civilization; the city was comprehensively sacked and looted; the Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque. Following the conquest of Constantinople, the capture of the remainder of the Byzantine territories was easily accomplished by the Ottomans.

Greeks under Ottoman rule

Ethnic map of Asia Minor in 1910

In the Millet system in force during the Ottoman empire, the population was classified according to religion rather than language or ethnicity. Orthodox Greeks were seen as part of the millet-i Rûm (literally "Roman community") which included all Orthodox Christians, including besides Greeks also Bulgarians, Serbs, Vlachs, Slavs, Georgians, Arabs, Romanians and Albanians, despite their differences in ethnicity and language and despite the fact that the religious hierarchy was Greek dominated. It is not clear to what extent one can speak of a Greek identity during those times as opposed to a Christian or Orthodox identity.[5] In the late 1780s, Catherine II of Russia and Joseph II of Austria intended to reclaim the Byzantine heritage and restore the Greek statehood as part of their joint Greek Plan.

It is notable that during the Middle Ages and the Ottoman period, Greek-speaking Christians identified as Romans and thought of themselves as the descendants of the Roman Empire (including the Medieval Eastern Roman Empire). Indeed, the term Roman was often interpreted as synonymous with Christian throughout Europe and the Mediterranean during this time. The terms Greek or Hellene were largely seen by Ottoman Christians as referring to the ancient pagan peoples of the region. This, however, changed during the late stages of the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of the Greek independence movement.[6][7]

Greek War of Independence

Carte grece 1843
The Greek Kingdom in 1831, after its independence.

After the Greek War of Independence ended in 1829, a new Southern Greek state was established, with assistance from the United Kingdom, France and Imperial Russia. However, this new Greek state under John Capodistria after the Greek War of Independence was, with Serbia, one of the only two countries of the era whose population was smaller than the population of the same ethnicity outside its borders; most of ethnic Greeks still resided within the borders of Ottoman Empire. This version of Greece was designed by the Great Powers, who had no desire to see a larger Greek state supplant the Ottoman Empire.

The Great Idea embodied a desire to bring all ethnic Greeks into the Greek state, and subsequently revive the Byzantine Empire; specifically those Greeks in Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia, Thrace, the Aegean Islands, Crete, Cyprus, parts of Anatolia, and the city of Constantinople, which would replace Athens as capital.

When the young Danish prince Wilhelm Georg was elected king in 1863, the title offered to him by the Greek National Assembly was not "King of Greece", the title of his deposed predecessor, King Otto; but rather "King of the Hellenes". Implicit in the wording was that George I was to be king of all Greeks, regardless of whether they then lived within the borders of his new kingdom.

The first areas to be incorporated into the Kingdom were the Ionian islands in 1864, and later Thessaly with the Treaty of Berlin (1878).

Revolts, Cretan crisis and Greco-Turkish War (1897)

King Constantine I of Greece, by Georges Scott
Constantine I of Greece was called Constantine XII by his supporters, the legitimate successor to the Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos
Ελευθέριος Βενιζέλος
Eleftherios Venizelos, the radical politician who tried to realize the Megali Idea

In January 1897, violence and disorder were escalating in Crete, polarizing the population. Massacres of the Christian population took place in Chania and Rethimno. The Greek government, pressured by public opinion, intransigent political elements, extreme nationalist groups (e.g. Ethniki Etairia) and with the Great Powers reluctant to intervene, decided to send warships and personnel to assist the Cretans. The Great Powers had no option then but to proceed with the occupation of the island, but they were too late. A Greek force of 1,500 men had landed at Kolymbari on 1 February 1897, and its commanding officer, Colonel Timoleon Vassos, declared that he was taking over the island "in the name of the King of the Hellenes" and that he was announcing the union of Crete with Greece. This led to an uprising that spread immediately throughout the island. The Great Powers finally decided to land their troops and stopped the Greek army force from approaching Chania. At the same time their fleets blockaded Crete, preventing both Greeks and Turks from bringing any more troops to the island.

The Ottoman Empire, in reaction to the rebellion of Crete and the assistance sent by Greece, relocated a significant part of its army in the Balkans to the north of Thessaly, close to the borders with Greece. Greece in reply reinforced its borders in Thessaly. However, irregular Greek forces and followers of the Megali Idea acted without orders and raided Turkish outposts, leading the Ottoman Empire to declare war on Greece; the war is known as the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. The Turkish army, far outnumbering the Greek, was also better prepared, due to the recent reforms carried out by a German mission under Baron von der Goltz. The Greek army fell back in retreat. The other Great Powers then intervened and an armistice was signed in May 1897. The war, however, only ended in December of that year.

The military defeat of Greece in the Greco-Turkish war cost it small territorial losses along the border line in northern Thessaly, and a large sum of financial reparations that wrecked Greece's economy for years, while giving no lasting solution to the Cretan Question. The Great Powers (Britain, France, Russia, and Italy) in order to prevent future clashes and trying to avoid the creation of a revanchist climate in Greece, imposed what they thought of as the final solution on the Cretan Question: Crete was proclaimed an autonomous Cretan State. The four Great Powers assumed the administration of Crete; and, in a decisive diplomatic victory for Greece, Prince George of Greece (second son of King George I) became High Commissioner.

Early 20th century

Balkan Wars

Maximal Greek claims in Epirus and Macedonia
Greek claims in Epirus and Macedonia after the first Balkan war
New Greece
Poster celebrating the "New Hellas" after the Balkan Wars.

A major proponent of the Megali Idea was Eleftherios Venizelos, under whose leadership Greek territory doubled in the Balkan Wars of 1912–13 — southern Epirus, Crete, Lesbos, Chios, Samos along with the totality of Aegean Islands and the majority of Macedonia were attached to Greece. Born and raised in Crete, in 1909 Venizelos was already a prominent Cretan and had influence in mainland Greece. As such, he was chosen after the Goudi coup in 1909 to become Prime Minister of Greece. A proponent of the Megali Idea, Venizelos pressed forward a series of reforms in society, as well as the military and administration, which helped Greece succeed in its goals during the Balkan Wars.

World War I

Greece in the Treaty of Sèvres
Map of Megali Hellas after the Treaty of Sèvres and featuring a picture of Eleftherios Venizelos.

Following the Greek gains in the Balkan Wars, The Ottomans began to persecute ethnic Greeks living in the Empire, which led to ethnic cleansing in the Greek genocide. This persecution continued into World War I when the Ottomans declared for the Central Powers on late 1914. Greece remained neutral until 1917 when they joined the Allies. Refugees reports of Turkish atrocities as well as the Allied victory in World War I seemed to promise an even greater realization of the Megali Idea. Greece gained territory in Asia Minor the administration of Smyrna and its hinterland as a protectorate for five years, after with a referendum could decide whether it would remain in the Ottoman Empire or join Greece. Greece also gained the islands of Imbros and Tenedos, Western and Eastern Thrace, the border then drawn a few miles from the walls of Constantinople.

Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922)

Greek soldiers in Smyrna, May 1919.

Greece's efforts to take control of Smyrna in accordance with the treaty were thwarted by Turkish revolutionaries, who were resisting the Allies. The Turks defeated and expelled the Greeks from Anatolia during the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) (part of the Turkish War of Independence). The war was concluded by the Treaty of Lausanne which saw Greece lose Eastern Thrace, Imbros and Tenedos, Smyrna and the possibility of staying in Anatolia. To avoid any further territorial claims, both Greece and Turkey engaged in an "exchange of populations": During the conflict, 151,892 Greeks had already fled Asia Minor. The Treaty of Lausanne moved 1,104,216 Greeks from Turkey,[9] while 380,000 Turks left the Greek territory for Turkey. This followed other so-called population exchanges after World War I, including 40,027 Greeks from Bulgaria, 58,522 from Russia (because of the defeat of Wrangel) and 10,080 from other lands (for example Dodecanese or Albania), while 60,000 Bulgarians from Thrace and Macedonia had moved to Bulgaria.

The immediate reception of refugees to Greece cost 45 million francs, so the League of Nations arranged for a loan of 150 million francs to aid settlement of refugees. In 1930, Venizelos even went on an official visit to Turkey, where he proposed that Mustafa Kemal be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

World War II, annexation of Dodecanese and the Cyprus dispute

Although the Great Idea ceased to be a driving force behind Greek foreign policy, some remnants continued to influence Greek foreign policy throughout the remainder of the 20th century.

Thus, after his coup d'état of 4 August 1936, Ioannis Metaxas proclaimed the advent of the "Third Hellenic Civilization", similar to Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.[10] The attack by Italy from Albania and the Greek victories enabled Greece to conquer, during the winter of 1940–1941, parts of southern Albania (Northern Epirus, as it is identified by Greeks) which were administered as a province of Greece for a short time until the German offensive of April 1941.

The occupation, resistance and the civil war initially put the Great Idea in the background. Nevertheless, another very good diplomatic performance by the Greek side at the Paris Peace Conference, 1946 secured a further enlargement of Greek territory, in the form of the Dodecanese Islands, despite the very strong opposition of Vyacheslav Molotov and the Soviet delegates.[11] The Soviet opposition was also the main reason for the non incorporation of the Northern Epirus, since Albania was, after WW2, communist controlled.

The British colony of Cyprus became the "apple of discord" in Greco-Turkish relations. In 1955, a Greek army colonel of Greek Cypriot origin, George Grivas, began a campaign of civil disobedience whose purpose was primarily to drive the British from the island, then move for Enosis with Greece. The Greek Prime Minister, Alexandros Papagos, was not unfavourable to this idea. There was increasing polarisation of opinion between the dominant Greek population and the minority Turks.

The problems in Cyprus affected the continent itself. In September 1955, in response to the demand for Énosis, an anti-Greek riot took place in Istanbul. During the Istanbul Pogrom 4,000 stores, 100 hotels and restaurants and 70 churches were destroyed or damaged.[12] This led to the last great wave of migration from Turkey to Greece.

Cyprus districts named
The partition of Cyprus showing the Turkish-occupied north and government controlled south.

The Zürich Agreement of 1959 culminated in independence of the island within the British Commonwealth. The inter-ethnic clashes from 1960 led to the dispatch of a peacekeeping force of the United Nations in 1964.

The Cyprus issue was revived by the dictatorship of the colonels, who presented their April 21, 1967, coup d'état as the only way to defend the traditional values of what they called the "Hellenic-Christian Civilization".

Youth of Greece ... you recall, in your heart and your faith, the deep sense of sacrifice. It dates back to Leonidas, "Come and take them!", to Constantine XI, "I do not wish to give the City.", and Metaxás, "No!". It is in the "Stop or I draw!".

Against the backdrop of the oil crisis in the Aegean, Brigadier General Ioannidis arranged, in July 1974, to overthrow Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios, and proceed to Enosis with Greece. This led to an immediate reaction from Turkey. Turkey invaded the north part of the island. The two countries moved to a general mobilization and there was a well-founded fear of an imminent war with Turkey.


Today, there is no significant population of Greeks in Turkey, due to the population exchange between Greece and Turkey and the Greek genocide. There are several extant Greek–Turkish border disputes, most notably taking place at Imia/Kardak.

Relations between Greece and Turkey improved after the Greek aid sent after the 1999 İzmit earthquake and the Turkish aid sent after the 1999 Athens earthquake. This period of mutual reconciliation is known as the earthquake diplomacy, and Greco-Turkish relations have been more cordial since then.

The nationalist Golden Dawn party, which has had a recent surge in electoral support, supports the Megali Idea.[13]

Regions involved in the "Megali Idea"

Regions and claims vary in significance. Usually only regions with a modern Greek presence were attested in official contexts.

See also


  1. ^ Mateos, Natalia Ribas. The Mediterranean in the Age of Globalization: Migration, Welfare & Borders. Transaction Publishers.
  2. ^ "Introduction: Greece"
  3. ^ a b History of Greece Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  4. ^ D. Bolukbasi and D. Bölükbaşı, Turkey And Greece: The Aegean Disputes, Routledge Cavendish 2004
  5. ^ Koliopoulos, John S.; Veremis, Thanos (2007). Greece: The Modern Sequel. C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd.
  6. ^ Honing, Matthias; Vogl, Ulrik; Moliner, Olivier (eds.). Standard Languages and Multilingualism in European History. John Benjamins. p. 163.
  7. ^ Zacharia, Katerina (ed.). Hellenisms: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity from Antiquity to Modernity. Ashgate Publishing. p. 240.
  8. ^ Smith M., Ionian Vision, (1999), p. 2
  9. ^ André Billy, La Grèce, Arthaud, 1937, p. 188.
  10. ^ R. Clogg, op. Cit, p. 118.
  11. ^ K. Svolopoulos, Greek Foreign Policy 1945–1981. Cit, p. 134.
  12. ^ R. Clogg, op. Cit, p. 153.
  13. ^ Μιχαλολιάκος: Του χρόνου στην Κωνσταντινούπολη, στην Σμύρνη, στην Τραπεζούντα…. Stochos (in Greek). 31 December 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
Acritic songs

The Acritic songs (Greek: Ακριτικά τραγούδια "frontiersmen songs") are the epic poems that emerged in the Byzantine Empire probably around the ninth century. The songs celebrated the exploits of the Akritai, the frontier guards defending the eastern borders of the Byzantine Empire. The historical background was the almost continuous Arab–Byzantine wars between the seventh and twelfth centuries. Against this background several romances were produced, the most famous of which is that of Digenes Akritas, considered by some to signal the beginnings of modern Greek literature.


Droungos (Greek: δροῦγγος, sometimes δρόγγος, drongos) or drungus is a late Roman and Byzantine term for a battalion-sized military unit, and later for a local command guarding mountain districts. Its commander was a "droungarios" or "drungarius" (δρουγγάριος), anglicized as "Drungary".

Duke of Sparta

Duke of Sparta (Katharevousa: Δοὺξ τῆς Σπάρτης, Demotic Greek: Δούκας της Σπάρτης) was a title instituted in 1868 to designate the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Greece. Its legal status was exceptional, as the Greek constitution forbade the award or acceptance of titles of nobility for Greek citizens. Consequently, it was mostly used abroad, and only occasionally and unofficially within Greece.

The birth of Crown Prince Constantine (later king as Constantine I) on 21 July/2 August 1868 was widely celebrated in Greece, especially as the heir-apparent's name resonated with the Byzantine imperial tradition and the irredentist aspirations enshrined in the "Megali Idea". As a result, on the day of the Crown Prince's baptism on 22 August/3 September, at the initiative of the Prime Minister Dimitrios Voulgaris, his father, King George I, issued a decree according to which Constantine, as well as any future heir to the Greek crown, would bear the title "Duke of Sparta". However, this decree was contrary to Article 3 of the Greek constitution, which expressly prohibited the recognition of foreign titles of nobility or the conferment of such on Greek citizens, a tradition that had been established already during the Greek War of Independence, even though several of its leading figures bore such titles.This led to a stormy debate in Parliament, at the instigation of Timoleon Filimon. The government of the day backed the decree on an argument that the constitutional provision did not apply to members of the Royal Family, but Filimon and others countered that the phrasing made no distinction, and that the decree violated the constitution.The decree was finally approved by Parliament on 17/29 September 1868, with 98 votes in favour, 2 abstentions, and 26 against. Nevertheless, use of the title "Duke of Sparta" within Greece was later quietly dropped. However, Crown Prince Constantine was known as "HRH The Duke of Sparta" on the international scene from his birth until his accession in 1913—for 45 years.

This again led to the misunderstanding of various, quite respectable publications that the title "Duke of Sparta" was synonymous with that of "Crown Prince of Greece", and the title has thus re-surfaced from time to time, but neither of the successive Crown Princes of Greece have ever been officially styled thus. The term Diadochos (literally, "heir"), which does not have any connotations of a nobility title, has been historically employed to denote the position of heir-apparent in general, not limited to the Greek throne, instead.

Eleftherios Venizelos

Eleftherios Kyriakou Venizelos (full name Elefthérios Kyriákou Venizélos, Greek: Ελευθέριος Κυριάκου Βενιζέλος, pronounced [elefˈθerios cirˈʝaku veniˈzelos]; 23 August 1864 – 18 March 1936) was a Greek statesman and a prominent leader of the Greek national liberation movement. He is noted for his contribution in the expansion of Greece and promotion of liberal-democratic policies. As leader of the Liberal Party, he was elected several times, in total eight, as Prime Minister of Greece, serving from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1933. Venizelos had such profound influence on the internal and external affairs of Greece that he is credited with being "the maker of modern Greece", and is still widely known as the "Ethnarch".

His first entry into the international scene was with his significant role in the autonomy of the Cretan State and later in the union of Crete with Greece. Soon, he was invited to Greece to resolve the political deadlock and became the country's Prime Minister. Not only did he initiate constitutional and economic reforms that set the basis for the modernization of Greek society, but also reorganized both army and navy in preparation of future conflicts. Before the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, Venizelos' catalytic role helped gain Greece entrance to the Balkan League, an alliance of the Balkan states against the Ottoman Empire. Through his diplomatic acumen, Greece doubled its area and population with the liberation of Macedonia, Epirus, and most of the Aegean islands.

In World War I (1914–1918), he brought Greece on the side of the Allies, further expanding the Greek borders. However, his pro-Allied foreign policy brought him into direct conflict with Constantine I of Greece, causing the National Schism. The Schism polarized the population between the royalists and Venizelists and the struggle for power between the two groups affected the political and social life of Greece for decades. Following the Allied victory, Venizelos secured new territorial gains, especially in Anatolia, coming close to realizing the Megali Idea. Despite his achievements, he was defeated in the 1920 General Election, which contributed to the eventual Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22). Venizelos, in self-imposed exile, represented Greece in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, and the agreement of a mutual exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey.

In his subsequent periods in office, Venizelos succeeded in restoring normal relations with Greece's neighbors and expanded his constitutional and economical reforms. In 1935 he resurfaced from retirement to support a military coup. Its failure severely weakened the Second Hellenic Republic.


Enosis (Greek: Ένωσις, IPA: [ˈenosis], "union") is the movement of various Greek communities that live outside Greece, for incorporation of the regions they inhabit into the Greek state. Widely known is the case of the Greek-Cypriots for union of Cyprus into Greece. The idea of enosis is related to the Megali Idea, an irredentist concept of a Greek state which dominated Greek politics following the creation of the modern Greek state in 1830. The Megali Idea was a project which called for the annexation of all ethnic Greek lands, parts of which had participated in the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s but which were unsuccessful and remained under foreign rule.

Epameinondas Deligeorgis

Epameinondas Deligeorgis (Greek: Επαμεινώνδας Δεληγεώργης, pronounced [epamiˌnonðas ðeliʝeˈorʝis]; January 10, 1829, Tripoli, Arcadia – May 14, 1879, Athens) was a Greek lawyer, newspaper reporter and politician, who served as the 20th Prime Minister of Greece. He was the son of Dimitrios Deligeorgis, a politician from Missolonghi who participated in the Greek War of Independence. Deligeorgis studied law at the University of Athens and entered politics in 1854. He was not a proponent of the Megali Idea (Great Idea) and thought that a better solution to the Eastern Question would be to improve the condition of the Greeks living in Ottoman-controlled Macedonia, Epirus, Thrace and Asia Minor by liberalising the Ottoman Empire. Deligeorgis was the person who, on October 10, 1862, declared the end of the reign of King Otto and the convening of a national assembly.

Ethniki Etaireia

The Ethniki Etaireia (Greek: Εθνική Εταιρεία, "National Society") was a secret Greek nationalistic organization created in November 1894, by a number of young nationalist officers, advocates of the Megali Idea. Its aim was to revive the morale of the country and prepare the liberation of Greek people still under the Ottoman Empire.

In September 1895 they recruited civilians, all linked to the organization of the Olympic Games, including Demetrius Vikelas, although he claimed only to have given in to friendly pressure, playing a solely financial role and then quickly resigning from it.The populism of the Ethniki Etaireia is considered to be responsible for the outbreak of the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. Following Greece's humiliating defeat, it was dissolved under the pressure of Prime Minister Georgios Theotokis.

French military mission to Greece (1925–32)

The 1925–1932 French military mission to Greece was called to Greece to reorganize the Hellenic Army following the end of the disastrous Asia Minor Campaign and the turmoils that followed it.

The Greek army had relied on French models, and was often trained by French officers, ever since the first attempts to establish a regular army during the Greek War of Independence (1821–29). The first official French military mission to Greece occurred in 1828–31, as part of the Morea expedition. The Charilaos Trikoupis government invited the next, in 1884–87 under General Victor Vosseur; Eleftherios Venizelos called the 1911–14 mission under General Joseph-Paul Eydoux. Another mission under General A. Gramat came to Greece in 1918 as part of its participation in World War I, staying on until March 1923, when it was withdrawn on Greek request, citing budgetary constraints but most probably as a political gesture towards France.As the political situation in Greece stabilized, following the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the collapse of the Megali Idea, a major effort to reorganize the state and its institutions was undertaken, although Greek finances were limited, and the country was further burdened by the presence of over 1.5 million Asia Minor refugees. As part of this effort, in September 1924 the Greek government requested a new French military mission. General Adolphe Guillaumat, who knew Greece as the wartime commander of the Allied Army of the Orient in 1917–18, arrived in October to assess the situation, and make recommendations to the French government. The new mission, under Lt. General Nicolas Georges Girard, arrived in Greece in March 1925.The French mission extended French influence in Greece, and reinforced the tendency of the Greek army to closely copy French models—most Greek military manuals were translations of the equivalent French ones. Among the major achievements of the mission was the establishment of the Superior War School (Ανωτέρα Σχολή Πολέμου) as a staff academy, which was established already in April 1925, where members of the French mission delivered lectures. The mission was also crucial in the publication of the (heavily French-influenced) Great Military and Naval Encyclopedia (Μεγάλη Στρατιωτική και Ναυτική Εγκυκλοπαιδεία) in 1927–30.Girard remained in Greece until April 1928, when he was replaced by Major General Brallion, who remained in charge of the mission until 1931, when he was replaced by General Julien Goubard. The French military mission left Greece in 1932.

Generation of the '30s

The Generation of the '30s (Greek: Γενιά του '30) was a group of Greek writers, poets, artists, intellectuals, critics, and scholars who made their debut in the 1930s and introduced modernism in Greek art and literature. The Generation of the '30s is also cited as a social movement. The previous Medieval and post-Byzantine Greek eras, which glorified religion, Jesus, and the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, were rejected by modernism. Elements of surrealism and utopianism were introduced in efforts to renew contemporary literature. Most notable among the Generation of the ‘30s is Giorgos Seferis, a Greek poet of the 20th century who instigated the turning point into modernity with surrealism in his poetry. After the Balkan Wars and the disastrous Greco-Turkish War of 1922, literature could no longer boast nationalistic aspirations of the previous generation. Thus, there was a need to establish a new dogma, or Greekness (Greek: Ελληνικότητα), that would aestheticize Hellenocentric opinions, attitudes, and symbols, and foster a new national identity. The Generation of the ‘30s enacted this by publishing various art and literature that were autonomous from other foreign models, and institutionalized modern literature to open up new perspectives and explore new ways to understand Greekness.

Gerasimos Vokos

Gerasimos Vokos (Greek: Γεράσιμος Βώκος, 1868–1927) was a Greek scholar, writer, painter, and journalist.

Descended from the Hydriot family of Vokos, he was born in Patras in 1868 and died in Paris, France in 1928.

He began his career as a journalist, displaying particular talent as a chronicler and an article writer, at the most important Athenian newspapers of that time. He continued as an author, publishing several studies and monographs, as well as several books on various subjects. Among his most notable works are the 1893 novel Mr. President (Greek: Ο Κύριος Πρόεδρος, romanized: O Kyrios Proedros), the theatrical plays The Year '21 (Greek: Το 21, referring to the Greek War of Independence) and The Megali Idea (Greek: Η Μεγάλη Ιδέα), both from 1901, the historical novel The Occupation (Greek: Η κατοχή, romanized: I katochi), which was later adapted as a play, Greek Symphonies (Greek: Ελληνικαί Συμφωνίαι, romanized: Ellinikai Symfoniai) in 1916, his 1923 Short Stories (Greek: Διηγήματα, romanized: Diigimata), the 1923 novel The Exile (Greek: Εκτοπισμένος, romanized: Ektopismenos), and others.

He also founded and managed two literary journals, Our Journal (Greek: Το περιοδικό μας, romanized: To periodiko mas), published every fortnight in Piraeus in 1900, and Artist (Greek: Καλλιτέχνης, romanized: Kallitechnis), published in Athens in 1910–12 and 1914. During the last years of his life he settled in Paris, where he experienced some success as a painter, despite being self-taught. The subjects of his work were drawn from Greek landscapes (particularly Mount Pelion) and Parisian life.

Greater Romania

The term Greater Romania (Romanian: România Mare) usually refers to the borders of the Kingdom of Romania in the interwar period. It also refers to a pan-nationalist idea.

As a concept, its main goal is the re-creation of a nation-state which would incorporate all Romanian speakers. The phrase is strongly associated with the Kingdom of Romania between 1918 and 1940, often considered the realization of the pan-Romanian goal. In 1918, after the incorporation of Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia, the Romanian state reached its largest peacetime geographical extent ever (295,049 km²). Today the concept serves as a guiding principle for the unification of Romania and Moldova.

The idea is comparable to other similar conceptions such as the Greek Megali Idea, Greater Hungary, Great Yugoslavia, as well as Greater Italy.

Greek Plan

The Greek Plan or Greek Project is an early solution to the Eastern Question which was advanced by Catherine the Great in the early 1780s. It envisaged the partition of the Ottoman Empire between the Russian and Habsburg Empires followed by the restoration of the Byzantine Empire centered in Constantinople.

Greek nationalism

Greek nationalism (or Hellenic nationalism) refers to the nationalism of Greeks and Greek culture. As an ideology, Greek nationalism originated and evolved in pre-modern times. It became a major political movement beginning in the 18th century, which culminated in the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829) against the Ottoman Empire. It became a potent movement in Greece shortly prior to, and during World War I under the leadership of nationalist figure Eleftherios Venizelos who pursued the Megali Idea and managed to liberate Greece in the Balkan Wars and after World War I, briefly annexed the region of İzmir before it was retaken by Turkey. Today Greek nationalism remains important in the Greco-Turkish dispute over Cyprus.

National Schism

The National Schism (Greek: Εθνικός Διχασμός, Ethnikos Dikhasmos, sometimes called The Great Division) was a series of disagreements between King Constantine I and Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos regarding the foreign policy of Greece in the period of 1910–1922 of which the tipping point was whether Greece should enter World War I. Venizelos was in support of the Allies and wanted Greece to join the war on their side, while the pro-German King wanted Greece to remain neutral, which would favor the plans of the Central Powers.

The disagreement had wider implications, since it would also affect the character and role of the king in the state. The dismissal of Venizelos by the King resulted in a deep personal rift between the two and in subsequent events their followers divided into two radically opposed political camps affecting the wider Greek society.

With the contrary actions of Venizelos permitting the landing of Allied forces in Thessaloniki and the unconditional surrender of a military fort in Macedonia to German-Bulgarian forces by the king, the disagreements of the two men started to take the form of civil war. In August 1916, followers of Venizelos set up a provisional state in Northern Greece, with Entente support, with the aim of reclaiming the lost regions in Macedonia, effectively splitting Greece into two entities. After intense diplomatic negotiations and an armed confrontation in Athens between Allied and royalist forces the king abdicated on 11 June 1917, and his second son Alexander took his place.

Venizelos returned to Athens on 29 May 1917 and Greece, now unified, officially joined the war on the side of the Allies, emerging victorious and securing new territory by the Treaty of Sèvres. The bitter effects of this division were the main features of Greek political life until the 1940s, and contributed to Greece's defeat in the Greco-Turkish War, the collapse of the Second Hellenic Republic and the establishment of the dictatorial Metaxas Regime.


The Paramonai (Greek: Παραμοναί) were an obscure Byzantine guard regiment of the Palaiologan period.

The name derives from the Greek verb παραμένω, meaning "to stand near something". Unlike other major guard units in the Palaiologan army like the Varangian Guard, the regiment of the Paramonai was a native Byzantine formation, although little else is known about it. Its existence is safely attested in the literary sources only for the period from 1272 until 1315.They are still mentioned by the mid-14th century writer Pseudo-Kodinos, however, who records that the regiment had two divisions, one on foot and the other on horse, each commanded by an allagator, and that all the soldiers were armed with swords. The veracity of Kodinos's account is impossible to ascertain.


A sakellarios (Greek: σακελλάριος) is an official entrusted with administrative and financial duties (cf. sakellē or sakellion, "purse, treasury"). The title was used in the Byzantine Empire with varying functions, and remains in use in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Trade unions in Greece

Trade unions in Greece include:




Greek Trade Union of Cleaners and Housekeepers

Anarcho-Syndicalist initiative Rocinante.


Venizelism (Greek: Βενιζελισμός) was one of the major political movements in Greece from the 1900s until the mid-1970s.

Venizelos–Tittoni agreement

The Venizelos–Tittoni agreement was a secret non-binding agreement between the Prime Minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos, and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tommaso Tittoni, in July 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference.

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