The Greeks reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Greeks

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Table of contents
1 Greeks in Ancient History
2 Greeks as a modern ethnic group
3 See also

Greeks in Ancient History

In Latin literature, Græci (or Greeks, in English) is the name by which Hellenes are known.

Aristotle and Apollodorus first write about Græci, who seem to be the same people as Selle from Epirus. The name becomes known to Latins with the colonization of Italy from Greek settlers. While Greeks call themselves Hellenes, the Romans begin to call them Græci, the name of the specific Greek colonists.

During the Roman era the name Hellenes is not used anymore. The Greeks, along with the rest of the people from the Roman provinces, call themselves Romans.

After the fall of the West Roman Empire in 395 AD and the beginning of the Middle Ages in Western Europe the Latin term for the Greeks is used broadly. In East Roman Empire a change takes place. While in general the citizens of the Byzantine Empire are called Romans, the Greeks assume the name Græco to distinguish themselves from the rest of the Byzantines. After the Schism the name Græco meant orthodox and Latin meant Catholic. After a while the two terms assumed a national character as well.

After the independence of the modern Greek state from the Ottoman Empire the term Græco or Greek was abandoned totally by the Greeks themselves. The new country was officially named "Hellenic republic" (or Hellas) and the people "Hellenes". The rest of the world calls them Greeks nevertheless and their country Greece.

Greeks as a modern ethnic group

An ethnic Greek (usually simply called Greek) is someone who is considered by himself or others to be Greek. Characteristics are:

Ethnic Greeks form an important minority group in several Balkan nations, as well as in modern-day Turkey.

In particular, any persons living in what used to be the Byzantine Empire and/or around the Aegean and Ionian Seas can be identified as ethnic Greek if their origin predates the Seljuk Turk invasions that started around the 1400s.

See also