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
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
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.
Modern 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.