Portal:Military of Greece

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Coat of arms of Greece military variant.svg

The Military of Greece consists of the Hellenic Army, the Hellenic Navy (HN) and the Hellenic Air Force (HAF), with the Ministry of National Defence being the government authority. Greece has around 177,600 active soldiers as well as around 2,000,000 reservists due to the compulsory conscription in Greece.

The military history of Greece stretches back more than 2,500 years. Between 499 BC to 449 BC, the Greek city-states defeated the Persians in the Persian Wars. Towards the end of the century the two major powers, Athens and Sparta, clashed in the Peloponnesian War, which ended in Spartan victory. Around seventy years later most of Greece was occupied by the Macedonians under the command of King Philip II of Macedon. His son, Alexander the Great, led a Greek army in the conquest of the Persian Empire, reaching as far as India. On Alexander's death his empire split into many small successor kingdoms, the last of which, Ptolemaic Egypt, became a Roman province in 30 BC after the death of Cleopatra.

The Greeks stayed under Roman control for around 400 years until the split of the Roman Empire, after which they became part of the East Roman or Byzantine Empire, in which Greeks and Greek culture played a dominant role. After the Fourth Crusade took the imperial capital of Constantinople in 1204, Byzantium was fatally weakened, and its lands divided between western ("Latin") principalities and Greek Byzantine successor states. Eventually, most of these were conquered by the emerging Ottoman Empire, which in 1453 took Constantinople. The Greeks lived under Ottoman Turkish rule for around 400 years, until the revolt of 1821. The ensuing Greek War of Independence lasted until 1829, and in 1832 the Kingdom of Greece was founded.

Since then Greece has fought in many wars, among them the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, the First Balkan War, the Second Balkan War, World War I, the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922, World War II, the Korean War and more recently the War in Afghanistan.

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The Byzantine-Arab Wars were a series of wars between the Arab Caliphates and the Byzantine Empire. These started during the initial Muslim conquests under the Rashidun and Umayyad caliphs and continued in the form of an enduring border tussle until the beginning of the Crusades. As result the Byzantines, also called the Romans ("Rûm" in Muslim historical chronicles, the Byzantine Empire was formerly the Eastern half of the Roman Empire), saw an extensive loss of territory.

The initial conflict lasted from 629-717, ending with the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople that halted the rapid expansion of the Arab Empire into Asia Minor. Conflicts with the Caliphate however continued between the 800s and 1169. The loss of southern Italian territories to the Abbassid forces occurred in the 9th and 10th centuries. However, under the Macedonian dynasty, the Byzantines recaptured territory in the Levant with the Byzantine's armies advance even threatening Jerusalem to the south. The Emirate of Aleppo and its neighbours became vassals of the Byzantines in the east, where the greatest threat was the Egyptian Fatimid kingdom, until the rise of the Seljuk dynasty reversed all gains and pushed Abbassid territorial gains deep into Anatolia. This resulted in the Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus request for military aid from Pope Urban II at the Council of Piacenza; one of the events often attributed as precursors to the First Crusade. (Read more...)

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Alexander fighting Persian king Darius III at Issus (not visible). From a mosaic found in Pompeii.

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Solidus Basiliscus-RIC 1003.jpg

Flavius Basiliscus (His full name is known only through the Fasti consulares; elsewhere, he is known simply as Basiliscus (Martindale). (d. 476/477) was a Byzantine Emperor of the House of Leo, who ruled briefly (9 January 475-August 476), when Emperor Zeno had been forced out of Constantinople by a revolt.

Basiliscus was the brother of Empress Aelia Verina, the wife of Emperor Leo I (457-474). His relationship with the emperor allowed him to pursue a military career that, after minor initial successes, ended in 468, when he led the disastrous Byzantine invasion of Vandal Africa, in one of the largest military operations of Late Antiquity.

Basiliscus succeeded in seizing power in 475, exploiting the unpopularity of Emperor Zeno, the "barbarian" successor to Leo, and a plot organized by Verina that had caused Zeno to flee Constantinople. However, during his short rule, Basiliscus alienated the fundamental support of the Church and the people of Constantinople, promoting the Monophysite christological position in opposition to the widely accepted Chalcedonian faith. Also, his policy of securing his power through the appointment of loyal men to key roles antagonized many important figures in the imperial court, including his sister Verina. So, when Zeno tried to regain his empire, he found virtually no opposition, triumphally entering Constantinople, and capturing and killing Basiliscus and his family.

The struggle between Basiliscus and Zeno impeded the intervention of the Eastern Empire in the fall of the Western Roman Empire, which happened in early September 476. When the chieftain of the Heruli, Odoacer, deposed Western Emperor Romulus Augustus, sending the imperial regalia to Constantinople, Zeno had just regained his throne, and he could only appoint Odoacer dux of Italy. So the Western Roman Empire ended. (Read more...)

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  • "Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος"
  • "Freedom or Death"

Quoted from the leaders of the Greek War of Independence when they declared the independence of Greece on 25 March (Julian calendar)/April 6 (Gregorian calendar), 1821.


Events People
Archaic Greece
Persian Wars
Sicilian Wars and Conflicts of Magna Grecia
First Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
Corinthian War
4th century BC Greek conflicts
Wars of Alexander the Great
Hellenistic Greece
Pyrrhic War
Byzantine Greece
Ottoman Greece
Greek War of Independence
Balkan Wars
World War I and aftermath
World War II and aftermath

Athens and the Delian League




Later leaders

Byzantine leaders

Greek War of Independence

Modern Greece

Units and formations Weapons and technology

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From the Classical warfare task force of the Military history WikiProject and from the Balkan military history task force of the Military history WikiProject:

Requested articles 
Second Cretan WarHeruli raid on Greece (267 AD)Achaean WarBattle of ScarpheiaCretan Revolt (1897)Mordechai Frizis1944 Greek Armed Forces mutiny
Cleanup needed
Military history of GreeceGreco-Turkish War (1897)
Expansion needed 
Military history of GreeceFirst Battle of LamiaSecond Battle of LamiaBattle of GiannitsaBattle of Vevi (1912)Battle of Kresna GorgeBattle of KarpeniziBattle of SarandaBattle of DymeNikolaos TrikoupisHellenic Air Force MuseumByzantine conquest of BulgariaGreece in the Balkan WarsOttoman–Venetian War (1463–1479)


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