Portal:Military of Greece

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Introduction

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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Selected articles

The Greco-Italian War (Greek: Ελληνοϊταλικός Πόλεμος or Πόλεμος του Σαράντα, "War of '40") was a conflict between Italy and Greece which lasted from October 28, 1940 to April 23, 1941. It marked the beginning of the Balkans Campaign of World War II. From the April 6, 1941 intervention of Nazi Germany onwards, this conflict is known as the Battle of Greece.

On 28 October 1940, after Greek prime minister Ioannis Metaxas rejected an Italian ultimatum demanding the occupation of Greek territory, Italian forces invaded Greece. The Hellenic Army counter-attacked and forced the Italians to retreat and by mid-December, the Greeks occupied nearly a quarter of Albania, tying down 530,000 Italian troops. In March 1941, a major Italian counter-attack failed, with small gains around Himare. In the first days of April, as the German attack on Greece unfolded, the Italian army resumed its attacks. From April 12, the Greek army started retreating from Albania to avoid being cut off by the rapid German advance. Nevertheless, on April 20, the Greek army of Epirus surrendered to the Germans, and on 23 April 1941 the armistice was repeated including the Italians, and effectively ending the Greco-Italian war.

The Greek victory over the initial Italian offensive of October 1940 was the first Allied land victory of the Second World War, and helped raise morale in occupied Europe. Some historians argue that it may have influenced the course of the entire war by forcing Germany to postpone the invasion of the Soviet Union in order to assist Italy against Greece. This led to a delayed attack and subjected the German forces to the conditions of the harsh Russian winter, leading to their defeat at the Battle of Moscow. (Read more...)

Selected picture

Agrianian3.jpg

A drawing of an Agrianian peltast. Agrianian peltasts serviced in Alexander the Great's army. Illustration by Johnny Shumate.

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John II Komnenos or Comnenus (Greek: Ιωάννης Β΄ Κομνηνός, Iōannēs II Komnēnos) (September 13, 1087 – April 8, 1143) was Byzantine emperor from 1118 to 1143. Also known as Kaloïōannēs ("John the Beautiful"), he was the eldest son of emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Irene Doukaina. The second emperor of the Komnenian restoration of the Byzantine Empire, John was a pious and dedicated emperor who was determined to undo the damage his empire had suffered at the battle of Manzikert, half a century earlier.

In the course of his twenty-five year reign, John made alliances with the Holy Roman Empire in the west, decisively defeated the Pechenegs in the Balkans, and personally led numerous campaigns against the Turks in Asia Minor. John's campaigns fundamentally changed the balance of power in the east, forcing the Turks onto the defensive and restoring to the Byzantines many towns, fortresses and cities right across the peninsula. In the southeast, John extended Byzantine control from the Maeander in the west all the way to Cilicia and Tarsus in the east. In an effort to demonstrate the Byzantine emperor's role as the leader of the Christian world, John marched into the Holy Land at the head of the combined forces of Byzantium and the Crusader states; yet despite the great vigour with which he pressed the campaign, John's hopes were disappointed by the treachery of his Crusader allies, who deliberately failed to fight against the Muslim enemy at the crucial moment. (Read more...)

Selected quotes

  • "A sound of wailing ran from Piraeus through the long walls to the city, one man passing on the news to another; and during that night no one slept, all mourning, not for the lost alone, but far more for their own selves."

Xenophon describes Athens when the news of the Athenian's decisive defeat at Aegospotami reached Athens.

Topics

Events People
Archaic Greece
Persian Wars
Sicilian Wars and Conflicts of Magna Graecia
First Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
Corinthian War
4th century BC Greek conflicts
Wars of Alexander the Great
Diadochi
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
Sparta

Athens and the Delian League

Thebes

Macedon

Diadochi

Later leaders

Byzantine leaders

Greek War of Independence

Modern Greece

 
Units and formations Weapons and technology

Categories

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