With Greece entering its fifth year of recession and dealing with harsh austerity measures imposed as part of a eurozone bailout deal to save it from default, its society is in upheaval. Opinion polls suggest the old political system is collapsing, and extremist parties are gaining popularity ahead of spring elections.
At a recent protest in Athens, a large bronze bell tolled as thousands of policemen in full uniform marched solemnly through the streets. They ominously waved their handcuffs at Parliament, shouting, "Take your bailout plan and get out of here."
The entrance to the Museum of the Olympic Games in Olympia, Greece, is cordoned off last month, after two hooded thieves broke into the museum and made away with more than 70 ancient objects. The stolen loot included chariots, horses and a gold ring that was more than 3,000 years old. Greeks say such sites are vulnerable because of cutbacks that have reduced the number of guards.
People walk past the Bank of Greece headquarters in Athens. Greece toughened its stance to push creditors to accept a debt swap and take heavy losses, just one day before the Thursday deadline for completion of the deal to avert default.
Stock prices rebounded somewhat Wednesday, one day after their biggest sell-off of the year. What caused prices to plunge Tuesday was an all-too-familiar problem: the Greek debt crisis.
European officials have cobbled together a deal to keep Greece from defaulting, and investors all over the world who hold Greek bonds are weighing their options. They're worried about what could happen if they reject the deal.
Europe is still a continent that looks over its shoulder at a long and sometimes dark past. That extends even to the protracted Greek bailout negotiations, where Germany's dominant role has scratched at some historical wounds.
Germany occupied Greece during World War II, committing atrocities that some older Greeks can't forget. This history defines the pretty village of Distomo in central Greece, where Nazi soldiers killed 218 men, women and children in June 1944.
In Athens on Tuesday, Greek pensioners marched in protest against new austerity cuts. The eurozone insists Greece must stick to hugely unpopular austerity measures agreed to in return for a 130 billion euro debt bailout.
Greece is broke. But there's no blueprint for a country to declare bankruptcy, so Greece's creditors are sort of making things up as they go along.
"You're taking some sort of loss," Hans Humes of Greylock Capital Management told me. "But it's like, how much of a loss do you take? There's this thing called sovereign immunity. You can't go in and take the Acropolis."