With the constant reference to this people in antiquity’s historical, literary, philosophical, and architectural involvement, it becomes interesting to know who the Greeks through a deeper look at their ethnic identity. Starting at their first reference to themselves as Greeks which sets them apart to other groups, it should be noted that their ethnic identity has evolved through the different historical events and transitions that they went through. Thus, this paper will look at Greek identity during the antiquity and the modern times.
In the eyes of a Westerner, the term Greek is used to refer to any speaker of the Greek language regardless of their origin. Thus, Greek refer to either Mycenaean, Byzantian, and modern Greek recognizing that all these groups speak the same language amidst their time of existence. However, Greeks are very much particular about their racial purity denying the existence of “ethnological adulteration.” This very strong sense of racial purity is important to all the Greeks and is repeatedly communicated to all the non-Greeks. According to Shea (1997), “the Greek insistence on ethnological purity for its people is not unusual among expressions of nationalism.” Starting from the ancient Greeks, there has been this awareness and insistence that Greeks are homogenous without the influence or presence of cultural minorities. It goes strongly with the assertion of the Greeks of their lofty heritage and their perception of other ethnicities as being inferior. Thus, ethnic awareness of Greeks is centered on their belief of racial purity. In fact “Modern Greek identity is based on an unshakable conviction that the Greek State is ethnically homogenous. This belief ... has entailed repeated and official denial of the existence of minorities which are not of pure Hellenic origin” (Shea 1997).
The origin of the Greeks can be