Why are modern Greeks viewed this way

Are modern Greeks related to ancient Greeks?

The answer is pretty paradoxical ........ it's both yes and no.

Modern Greece was born in 1821 with the Greek War of Independence (1821 is for Greeks as 1776 is for Americans). The Greek nation-state was born around 1828 with its first capital on the island of Aegina (about 30 miles south of Athens and north of the Peloponnese). Initially, the modern Greek nation-state consisted mainly of mainland southern Greece, parts of the central mainland, Athens and the Cyclades (the archipelago next to mainland Greece). It would take 90 years (from the 1820s to the end of World War I) for today's modern Greek nation-state to emerge, that is, the inclusion of the northern mainland, Crete and many of the Aegean islands. Between 1919 and 1922 there was a brief return of the Ionian city of Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey), loosely linked to the modern Greek nation-state under the Treaty of Sevres. Other historical Greek territorial centers such as Constantinople (i.e. the "old town" or part of Istanbul, namely the European side of the city), the North Anatolian Black Sea coast, parts of the Turkish Aegean coast, and in particular the island of Cyprus, never achieved reunification with the modern Greek nation-state. Much of what was recorded geographically and historically has led to the current nation-state of Greece today.

There are 10 million ethnic Greeks living in Greece and about 800,000 ethnic Greeks living in the southern half of the island of Cyprus (the 800,000 include percentages of Greek Cypriots who once lived in the northern half of the island after the Turkish 1974 invasion expelled in Cyprus). There are tens of thousands (maybe even more) Greeks living in southern Albania (on the border with northwestern Greece) and roughly 4 million people of Greek descent living in various diaspora countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia. This is the contemporary historical and demographic reality of the modern Greek.

As for the genealogical or ancestral nature of the modern Greek, and whether or not the modern Greeks are anthropologically related to the ancient Greeks, this was an age-old question, and apparently it is still open to debate.

One must keep in mind that the country of Greece (as well as the centuries-old Greek diaspora country) has seen waves of conquerors, traders and settlers from ancient times to the present day. Minoan Cretans, Illyrians / (Albanians), Persians, Egyptians, Romans, Phoenicians, Mongolian-Huns, Jews, Armenians, Georgians, Arabs, Slavs, Romanian Vlachs, Frankish Crusaders, Germanic Goths, Venetian Italians as well as Seljuk and Ottoman Mongolian Turks all leave a partial impression in Greek history and in the Greeks themselves. Personally, I would be very surprised if there was a single Greek on this planet who could prove that he or she has a 100% unbroken Hellenic genetic line from the Mycenaean period (or earlier). This would be an almost genetic impossibility (due to the long and complex demographic history that has been discussed). However, I would be equally surprised if genetic testing showed that the majority of the Greeks living on this earth have very little or no genetic connection to the ancient Greeks. This would also be an almost genetic impossibility.

In the over 3500 year history of the Greeks there is absolutely NO evidence of the widespread disappearance of the Hellenic race. Even with the well-documented settlements and conquests that the Greeks endured over the millennia, there is no evidence of such widespread population disappearance. Those who make such intolerable claims are either very ignorant of Greek history, very anti-Hellenic, or a little bit of both.

However, there was one important and demonstrable exception. We know from history that many Greeks living in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) were forcibly integrated into the Turkish state and culture during the Ottoman Empire (through intermarriage, albeit in a different way). Many (though certainly not all) Asia Minor Greeks have been thoroughly Ottomanized over the centuries in terms of language, religion, and general self-identification (this was particularly true of the Janissare Corps). The Seljuk and Ottoman Mongol Turks purposely depopulated much of historic Greek Asia Minor, although the majority of the Hellenic population in Greece and Cyprus largely survived universal Ottomanization. In other words, much of ancient Greek Asia Minor actually disappeared with the Ottoman Empire, although there is little legitimate historical or genealogical evidence to show that modern Greek peoples (on a widespread basis) converted from Islam to Christianity, or originally other countries such as Albania or Slavic Europe descended from there. Again, those who make such unsubstantiated claims are fundamentally ignorant of Greek history. It is one thing to say that the majority of modern Greeks have a different percentage of mixed ethnicity (e.g. Albanian, Mongolian-Turkish, Slavic, or Italian heritage), but it is an entirely different thing to say that the majority of Modern Greeks Greeks have absolutely no genealogical continuity and connection to their ancient past without providing legitimate historical, anthropological, or genetic evidence.

Overall, it is plausible to assume that modern Greeks have some of the mixed ethnic heritage, but it is equally plausible to assume that modern Greeks have considerable (but not necessarily complete) connection to their distant ancient ancestry. The annals of history, combined with contemporary advances in archaeological and genetic technologies, can provide us with a wealth of evidence as we study and investigate this age-old complex question.