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Culture

The first developed European societies emerged in Greece during the 3000s BC. During the Minoan Bronze Age culture in Crete (2600–1400 BC) and the Mycenaean culture on the mainland (1550–1125 BC), palaces and defense facilities, frescoes and ceramics were created. Since these cultures were destroyed, they fell into oblivion and were not rediscovered until at the excavations just over a hundred years ago.

The first known Greek poems were written by Homer in the 7th century BC. The Iliad and the Odyssey depict the myths of the Greek gods and have had a great influence on Western literature. Classical Greek culture reached its peak in the 500–300 BC with philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, as well as playwrights such as Aischylos, Euripides, and Sophocles.

  • Countryaah: Latest population statistics of Greece, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.

During this time, mathematicians such as Pythagoras and Archimedes, as well as astronomers like Herakleides and Aristarchos, also appeared. The temples at Acropolis in Athens, Delphi and Olympia were erected and the visual arts reached a pinnacle in sculpture and ceramics.

In the Middle Ages, when Greece belonged to the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire, church music, frescoes, mosaics and icons were created which provide an inspiration for artists even in modern times.

Culture of GreeceModern Greek literature grew in the early 1800s and was strongly associated with the national awakening and liberation from the Turks. Adamantios Kora´s revived the interest in classical poetry and helped to innovate the language with loans from antiquity. Dionysios Solomos gave literary dissemination to the vernacular dimotiki through patriotic poetry. Greece's best-known novelist during the 20th century is Nikos Kazantzakis, who among other things wrote Play for me, Zorba.

Greek poetry has held a strong position internationally during the 20th century with Nobel laureates Giorgos Seferis (1963) and Odysseas Elytis (1979) as well as Konstantin Kavafis and Jannis (Giannis) Ritsos as the main names. Several of their poems have been composed by world-renowned composers Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis. These composers were based on music form Rembetika, a metropolitan music associated with unemployment, crime and drug abuse. This music emerged in the 19th century among Greeks in Asia Minor (Turkey) and was passed on to Greece at the 1920s migration (see Population and Languages).

Rembetika gained wide spread throughout the film in the 1950s. Greek film was then heavily influenced by Italian neorealism, and the biggest international name was director Michael Cacoyannis (eg. Michalis Kakogiannis). From the 1980s, until his death in 2012, Theo Angelopoulos was one of Europe's foremost directors.

2014

December

New elections to Parliament are announced

New parliamentary elections are announced until January 25, 2015, after the government presidential candidate Stavros Dimas failed to gather enough support from the members of the legislative assembly.

The former finance minister is being prosecuted

Giorgos Papakonstantinou is charged with having deleted relatives' names from a list of Greeks with bank accounts in Switzerland. The purpose should have been to protect them from a tax raid. The minister is being prosecuted for document forgery and infidelity against the principal.

Dimas becomes the government's presidential candidate

The government appoints former EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas as its presidential candidate. Prime Minister Samaras appeals to Members of Parliament to support Dimas to avoid new elections and a national crisis. The European Commission's newly-elected President Jean-Claude Juncker draws attention by saying that he hopes the Greek people will not "vote wrong", that is, on Syriza, if it becomes the new parliament.

Early presidential elections are announced

Prime Minister Samara announces presidential elections until December 17 - two months earlier than expected. The elections are held in Parliament and are expected to take place in three rounds. If Samara's candidate is not elected, the prime minister must announce new elections to Parliament. According to opinion polls, it would result in a victory for Syriza. The presidential election is scheduled for a new election in February. In this way, a Syriza-led government would not be able to renegotiate the loan terms with the EU.

"Budget too optimistic"

Parliament adopts a budget for 2015 based on a forecast of some growth and reduced deficit. The EU finance ministers consider the budget to be overly optimistic and call for the internationally monitored austerity program to continue in 2015. An agreement on the budget is necessary for Greece to receive the final payment of the aid loans.

November

Negotiations on emergency loans are going on

Negotiations between the government and the EU and IMF lenders on the terms for continued loan payments are stranded. The government believes that the lenders' demands for savings of up to three billion euros in 2015 are greatly exaggerated. At the same time, society is paralyzed by a 24-hour union strike. Almost all communications are at a standstill and government offices are closed. The hospitals treat only acute cases.

September

Strict laws against racist violence

The maximum penalty for incitement against ethnic groups and racially motivated violence is increased from two to three years in prison. An individual convicted of these crimes can be sentenced to up to EUR 30,000 and an organization to EUR 100,000. The law makes it forbidden to deny the annihilation of Jews during World War II and to glorify the persecution of Jews. It has taken Parliament more than a year to agree on the new law, partly because New Democracy first wanted to give the Orthodox Church and the Defense Force prosecuted immunity for anti-Semitic and other racist statements. However, the rapid rise of golden dawn in public opinion has prompted Parliament to speed up its work.

May

Reimbursed wages for several occupational groups

Decides that the country's judges should return to the level of wages they had before their wages and pensions were reduced by 27 percent in 2012, due to savings requirements; Police, soldiers, firefighters and other state uniformed personnel are also expected to recover their old wages. According to media, retroactively restoring wages for all these professions will cost the state almost one billion euros.

EU skeptics are moving forward in the EU elections

In the elections to the European Parliament, parties on the right and left sides are successful. It is mainly parties that have opposed the austerity policy and who are EU-skeptical going forward. Syriza receives the most votes: 27 percent and 6 of Greece's 21 seats. New democracy comes in second place with 23 percent (5 seats). Golden dawn is moving forward, becoming the third largest party with 9 percent (3 seats). The new alliance Olive Tree, dominated by Pasok, gets 8 percent (2 seats), while the newly formed EU-friendly center-left party Rivers wins 7 percent (2 seats) and the Communist Party gets 6 percent (2 seats). The last mandate goes to Independent Greeks, who win 3.5 percent of the vote. The turnout is 60 percent.

April

Greece sells government bonds

When the country manages to sell government bonds for three billion euros, it is considered a first step back to the international financial market. It is four years since Greek government securities attracted international investors.

Five right-wing MPs are being prosecuted

Four MPs from Golden Dawn are indicted for membership in a criminal organization and a fifth is charged with unlawful weapons possession.

March

The government is weakening

Approves new savings that the government must make in order to get new money from the rescue package; A member of New Democracy is excluded after refusing to support the proposals. Thus, the government's majority in Parliament is only two mandates. Lenders say that payments should be made in April, June and July.

January

Reward is promised for tips on extremists

The state is announcing a € 4 million reward for tasks that could help the police arrest five wanted extremists. One million euros is offered for tips that could lead to the arrest of a member of the left-wing extremist November 17 movement and one million each for two members of anarchist Revolutionary struggle. One million euros is also offered for tasks leading to the arrest of two men who shot to death two members of Golden Dawn.

New Valallians are formed

The Social Democratic Pasok merges into an alliance with the newly formed Progressive Democratic Party ahead of the European Parliament elections in May.

Greece takes over the EU Presidency

Greece will become the country of the Union in the first half of 2014.

 

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