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 division 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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Battle of Greece - 1941.png

The Battle of Greece was an important World War II battle which occurred on the Greek mainland and in southern Albania. The battle was fought between the Allies (Greece and the British Commonwealth) and the Axis (Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy) forces. The battle of Greece began on October 28, 1940, when Fascist Italy invaded Greece, and ended with the fall of Kalamata in the Peloponnese. With the Battle of Crete and several naval actions it is considered part of the wider Aegean component of the Balkans Campaign of World War II.

Fascist Italy invaded Greece on October 28, 1940, from Italian-occupied Albania. The Greek army however, proved to be an able opponent, counterattacked and forced the Italians to retreat. By mid-December the Greeks occupied one quarter of Albania, tying down 530,000 Italian troops. In March 1941 a major Italian counterattack failed, humiliating Italian military pretensions.

On April 6, 1941, Nazi Germany reluctantly invaded Greece through Bulgaria to secure its southern flank. The Greek troops fought back with great tenacity but the Greek army was vastly outnumbered and outgunned, and it collapsed. Athens fell on April 27 and the British Commonwealth managed to evacuate nearly 50,000 troops. The Battle of Greece, however, is credited by some historians, such as John Keegan, as being "decisive in determining the future course of the Second World War" as the invasion of the area made it impossible for Hitler and Stalin to come to an agreement on their respective spheres of influence. (Read more...)

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Greek troops in Smyrna following its occupation by Greece in 1919.

Photo credit: Photograph for Cumhuriyet, source unknown.

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Ptolemy I Soter Louvre Ma849.jpg

Ptolemy I Soter (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ, Ptolemaios Soter, i.e. Ptolemy the Savior, 367 BC283 BC) was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great who became the ruler of Egypt (323 BC283 BC) and founder of both the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the Ptolemaic Dynasty. In 305/4 BC he took the title of king.

He was the son of Arsinoe of Macedonia. His father is unknown. He was described in ancient times as the son of Lagus, a Macedonian nobleman, but there are also suggestions that he was illegitimate, and even that he was the son of Philip II of Macedon (which would make him the half-brother of Alexander the Great if true). Ptolemy was one of Alexander the Great's most trusted generals, and among the seven "body-guards" attached to his person. He was a few years older than Alexander, and his intimate friend since childhood. He may even have been in the group of noble teenagers tutored by Aristotle. He was with Alexander from his first campaigns, and played a principal part in the later campaigns in Afghanistan and India. At the Susa marriage festival in 324, Alexander had him marry the Persian princess Atacama. Ptolemy also had a consort queen in Thaïs, the famous Athenian hetaera and one of Alexander's companions in his conquest of the ancient world. (Read more...)

Selected quotes

  • Greek: Μολών Λαβέ
  • English: Come and get them.

These famous words where said by King Leonidas I of Sparta at the Battle of Thermopylae when asked by a herald of King Xerxes I of Persia for Leonidas and the Spartans to give up their arms.


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
Greco-Turkish Conflicts

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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