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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The Cleomenean War (229 BC/228 BC222 BC) was fought between Sparta and their ally Elis against the Achaean League and Macedon. The war ended in a Macedonian and Achaean victory.

In 235 BC, Cleomenes III ascended the throne of Sparta and began an ambitious program of reform to restore the old Spartan discipline and depose the ephors. When the ephors sent Cleomenes to seize a town on the border with Megalopolis, the Achaeans declared war in 229 BC. Cleomenes responded by ravaging Achaea; he defeated an army under Aratus sent to attack Elis at Mount Lycaeum, and second army near Megalopolis. He also ordered that the ephors be killed.

In quick succession, Cleomenes cleared the cities of Arcadia of their Achaean garrisons before crushing another Achaean force at Dyme. Facing Spartan domination of the League, Aratus was forced to turn to Antigonus III Doson of Macedon to help the Achaeans defeat the Spartans. In return for Macedonian assistance, the Achaeans had to surrender Acrocorinth to Antigonus. Cleomenes invaded Achaea and took control of both Corinth and Argos, but, when Antigonus arrived in the Peloponnese, Cleomenes was forced to retreat to Laconia. He fought the Achaeans and the Macedonians at Sellasia, but the Spartans were routed. He fled to the court of his ally, Ptolemy III of Egypt, where he eventually committed suicide after a failed revolt. (Read more...)

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Attalus I Soter (Greek: "Savior"; 269 BCE – 197 BCE) Livy says that Attalus died in the consulship of Cornelius and Minucius (197 BCE) at the age of 72, having reigned 44 years. Polybius also says that he lived 72 and reigned 44 years. Strabo says that he reigned 43 years. He ruled Pergamon, a Greek polis in what is now Turkey, from 241 BCE to 197 BCE. He was the second cousin and the adoptive son of Eumenes I. Strabo says that he was the cousin of Eumenes. Pausanias, probably following Strabo, says the same. But modern writers have concluded that Strabo had skipped a generation; whom he succeeded, and was the first of the Attalid dynasty to assume the title of king.

Attalus won an important victory over the Galatians, newly arrived Celtic tribes from Thrace, who had been, for more than a generation, plundering and exacting tribute throughout most of Asia Minor without any serious check. This victory, celebrated by the triumphal monument at Pergamon, famous for its Dying Gaul, and the liberation from the Gallic "terror" which it represented, earned for Attalus the name of "Soter", and the title of "king."

A courageous and capable general and loyal ally of Rome, he played a significant role in the first and second Macedonian Wars, waged against Philip V of Macedon. He conducted numerous naval operations, harassing Macedonian interests throughout the Aegean, winning honors, collecting spoils, and gaining for Pergamon possession of the Greek islands of Aegina during the first war, and Andros during the second, twice narrowly escaping capture at the hands of Philip. (Read more...)

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  • "Look at the time Charon chose to take me, Now that the branches are flowering, Now that the earth sends forth grass."

Quoted from Athanasios Diakos, a leader in the Greek War of Independence as he was impaled on a spit by the Ottomans.


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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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