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The Greeks are a people who appear first in history as separated in various small States, but bound together by a common language, religion and civilization, in the south of the Balkan Peninsula, the islands around, and the coast of Asia Minor opposite.
The flood of Islam sweeps over the lands she had moulded; instead of destroying her, this brings her to fresh conquests across the distant West.
They never called themselves Turks (a word that in the Balkans is still commonly used for Moslem ), nor thought of themselves as part of the Turkish State.
They were Greeks (which is what their name Hromaioi really meant), their land was Greece still, though unhappily held by a foreign tyrant, for whose removal they never ceased to pray.
The real danger to the ideal of Greater Greece covering all the Balkans was not, is not now, the Turk, who remains always only an unpleasant incident in the history of these lands; it is the presence of other Christian races, Slavs, who dispute the Greek ideal with their languages and national feeling.
Were it not for these Slavs we could count Greece as having absorbed Macedonia and Thrace by the time of Alexander, and as covering nearly all the Balkans to the Danube ever since.
To demand evidence of pure descent from one of the original Dorian, Ionian, or Aeolian tribes would be hopeless.
It has been the special mission of Hellas to impose her language and ideals, even the consciousness of being a Greek, on other races.
No doubt numbers of Greeks did apostatize, learn to speak Turkish and help to build up that artificial confusion of races which we call the Turks.
Greece will be treated in this article under the following heads: I. For nearly ten centuries again Greece reigns from Constantinople.
The great Roman Empire, having become too unwieldy, is divided, and Greece gradually swallows up the eastern half.
But the enormous majority kept their faith in spite of grievous disabilities.
They kept their language, too, and their consciousness of being Greeks.