Category: History

Why are there so few forests on Crete island?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-04 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: History, Modern Greek

The forests of Crete were renowned, and were going strong even in Venetian times: Cretan Renaissance literature abounds with pastoral scenes, and tales of deer hunting. These are the kinds of mountains I grew up seeing in Eastern Crete: They do have shrubbery. But actual trees are long gone. The first time I saw trees […]

Why didn’t the Byzantine Empire have ethnic conflicts like the Ottoman Empire did?

By: | Post date: 2017-06-05 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: History, Mediaeval Greek

Do read this in conjunction with: Stefan Hill’s answer to Why didn’t the Byzantine Empire have ethnic conflicts like the Ottoman Empire did? Ethnicity was not important in the Medieval world. Common people did not have to communicate with the state. They were supposted to work and pay taxes. The best they could hope for […]

What other races have the Greeks absorbed?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-30 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, History, Mediaeval Greek, Modern Greek

Here’s a laundry list. Some to a greater extent, some to a lesser. Some as cultural assimilation, some as more straightforward displacement. Pelasgians (or whatever the pre-Hellenic population of Greece was) Minoans (who are presumably the same as the Eteocretans) Eteocypriots Lemnians (assuming that their language, which looks related to Etruscan, is not Pelasgian) The […]

Why are the taxes so high in Greece?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-30 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, History, Modern Greek

Excellent answer from Alket Cecaj, Alket Cecaj’s answer to Why are the taxes so high in Greece? Clientelism is how it started The government must provide; there isn’t a native notion of ground roots enterprise and small government. If the government must provide, well, that costs money. So far, as Alket argued, that’s no different […]

Why did Benjamin of Tudela write that the Vlachs in Greece were treating travellers of Jewish origin better? Why did the Vlachs tell him, “that’s because we are cousins”?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-28 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: History, Mediaeval Greek

Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish traveller from Spain, visited Greece around 1170, when the Jews of Greece were all Romaniotes (Greek-speaking). Benjamin’s fellow Sephardic Jews only moved to Greece when they were expelled from Spain, three hundred years later. So whatever was going on, it was not because of any linguistic kinship between the Vlachs’ […]

How did the Turkification of Byzantine empire take place?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-27 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: History, Mediaeval Greek

I’m wondering how the old Greeko-roman culture of Byzantine, perhaps the most sophisticated in the middle ages, just collapsed and replaced by language and culture of tribal immigrant Turks who hardly had any written tradition? For the specifics of what happened in Anatolia, see When and how did modern Turkish become the majority in Anatolia? […]

When and how did modern Turkish become the majority in Anatolia?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-27 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: History, Mediaeval Greek, Other Languages

I’ve put off answering this question for ages, and I’ve finally looked at the classic work on the topic, Vryonis: Decline of Medieval Hellinism in Asia Minor Here’s the quick summary. The Turks came from parts East, in several waves: first the Seljuk Empire, then the various emirates that ended up being incorporated into the […]

What was the relationship between Greece and the former Yugoslavia?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-25 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, History, Modern Greek

I was a child in Greece, 1979–1983, and maybe not the best informed source of information on attitudes toward the North at the time. I know that in socialist circles, the notion of “The Northern Threat” (ο εκ του Βορρά κίνδυνος) was often ridiculed—surely everyone knew the Turks were the real enemy, within NATO, and […]

If Alexander was Greek, why was he famous as Macedonian Alexander?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-03 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, History

Because to the Greeks, the people who spoke about him the most, and whose historical accounts influenced the West’s understanding of Alexander the most, saying he was Greek wouldn’t mean anything: they were Greek themselves, after all. But saying he was from Macedon meant a lot to Greeks: Macedon had a marginal presence in Classical […]

Is Greece a multicultural multiethnic country?

By: | Post date: 2017-04-23 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, History, Modern Greek

To expand on Fey Lepoura’s answer to Is Greece a multicultural multiethnic country? Historically, Greece contained a large number of ethnicities, and a large number of distinct cultures to go with those ethnicities: Greek Orthodox Catholic Muslim Turkish Arvanite Albanian (in the Northwest, mostly Muslim, but also Christian) Aromanian Megleno-Romanian Macedonian (Slavonic) Bulgarian Christian Muslim […]

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