Being the cradle of civilisation it comes a s no surprise that Greece has enjoyed a particularly complicated, violent and lengthy history. They got off to an early start establishing the first 'city-states' and were soon pondering the meaning of life. In 507-508BC the reforming King Cleisthenon created democracy and utopia beckoned. Typically war followed and the defeat of the Athenians by the Spartans in 323BC proved that brawn can be mightier than brains. Alexander the Great's early death in the same year bought an end to Greek expansion, leaving the Romans to pick up the pieces.
This was the beginning of Greece 's history as an occupied country. The Goths bought their own brand of disorder, and after Byzantine rule the Crusaders stopped en-route to bashing the Moslems for a spot of recreational plundering. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 paved the way for Greece 's absorption into the Ottoman Empire. Eventually the Greeks decided enough was enough and rebelled. The war of independence that began in 1821, drew poets(admittedly of dubious military value) such as Shelley and Byron to its cause. By the mid-19 th century Greece was independent again, but chaotic.
The First World War Saw Greece allied with Britain and France, once again trying to hold back the Turks - something they continued after the armistice. Nazi occupation followed and on their withdrawal Greece became an unlikely Cold War hot spot. Instability resulted in an army coup in 1967. Now that Greece is a member of the European community such activities have been curtailed(save the odd spot of 'island-jacking' with the Turks) and democracy has returned, in a roundabout way, to its birthplace.