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Introduction

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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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Peloponnesian War.png

The Peloponnesian War (431 BC–404 BC) was an Ancient Greek military conflict fought between Athens and its empire and the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases. In the first, the Archidamian War, Sparta launched repeated invasions of Attica, while Athens took advantage of its naval supremacy to raid the coast of the Peloponnese while attempting to suppress signs of unrest in its empire. This period of the war was concluded in 421 BC, with the signing of the Peace of Nicias. That treaty, however, was soon undermined by renewed fighting in the Peloponnese. In 415 BC, Athens dispatched a massive expeditionary force to attack Syracuse in Sicily; the attack failed disastrously with the destruction of the entire force in 413 BC. This ushered in the final phase of the war, generally referred to either as the Decelean War or the Ionian War. In this phase, Sparta, now receiving support from Persia, supported rebellions in Athens' subject states in the Aegean Sea and Ionia, undermining Athens' empire and eventually depriving the city of naval supremacy. The destruction of Athens' fleet at Aegospotami effectively ended the war, and Athens surrendered in the following year. (Read more...)

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Siege of a city, medieval miniature.jpg

A painting depicting the Fall of Constantinople. Painted in 1499, Paris.

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Flavius Basiliscus (His full name is known only through the Fasti consulares; elsewhere, he is known simply as Basiliscus (Martindale). (d. 476/477) was a Byzantine Emperor of the House of Leo, who ruled briefly (9 January 475-August 476), when Emperor Zeno had been forced out of Constantinople by a revolt.

Basiliscus was the brother of Empress Aelia Verina, the wife of Emperor Leo I (457-474). His relationship with the emperor allowed him to pursue a military career that, after minor initial successes, ended in 468, when he led the disastrous Byzantine invasion of Vandal Africa, in one of the largest military operations of Late Antiquity.

Basiliscus succeeded in seizing power in 475, exploiting the unpopularity of Emperor Zeno, the "barbarian" successor to Leo, and a plot organized by Verina that had caused Zeno to flee Constantinople. However, during his short rule, Basiliscus alienated the fundamental support of the Church and the people of Constantinople, promoting the Monophysite christological position in opposition to the widely accepted Chalcedonian faith. Also, his policy of securing his power through the appointment of loyal men to key roles antagonized many important figures in the imperial court, including his sister Verina. So, when Zeno tried to regain his empire, he found virtually no opposition, triumphally entering Constantinople, and capturing and killing Basiliscus and his family.

The struggle between Basiliscus and Zeno impeded the intervention of the Eastern Empire in the fall of the Western Roman Empire, which happened in early September 476. When the chieftain of the Heruli, Odoacer, deposed Western Emperor Romulus Augustus, sending the imperial regalia to Constantinople, Zeno had just regained his throne, and he could only appoint Odoacer dux of Italy. So the Western Roman Empire ended. (Read more...)

Selected quotes

  • "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.

Topics

Events People
Archaic Greece
Greco-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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Military history of Greece(26 C, 7 P)
Military history of Athens(2 C, 8 P)
Military coups in Greece(1 C, 13 P)
Evzones(1 C, 2 P)
Greek War of Independence(8 C, 30 P)
Invasions of Greece(1 C, 7 P)
Macedonian Struggle(2 C, 12 P)
Naval history of Greece(4 C, 1 P)
Greek rebellions(4 C, 13 P)
Rebellions in Greece(1 C, 3 P)
Greek war crimes(7 P)
Wars involving Greece(19 C, 19 P)
Wars involving Mani(3 C, 4 P)
Greece in World War I(5 C, 20 P)

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