|There have been certain fallacies circulating
for the past few years due to ignorance on the “Macedonian Issue”.
It is exacerbated by systematic propaganda emanating from AVNOJ,
or communist Yugoslavia and present-day FYROM, and their intransigent
The inhabitants of The former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia (The FYROM) are ethnic Macedonians, direct
descendants of, or related to the ancient Macedonians.
The inhabitants of The FYROM are mostly Slavs, Bulgarians and
Albanians. They have nothing in common with the ancient Macedonians.
Here are some testimonies from The FYROM’s officials:
a. The former President of The FYROM, Kiro Gligorov
said: “We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century
... we are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians" (Foreign
Information Service Daily Report, Eastern Europe, February 26,
1992, p. 35).
b. Also, Mr Gligorov declared: "We are Macedonians
but we are Slav Macedonians. That's who we are! We have no connection
to Alexander the Greek and his Macedonia… Our ancestors came here
in the 5th and 6th century" (Toronto Star, March 15,
c. On 22 January 1999, Ambassador of the FYROM to
USA, Ljubica Achevska gave a speech on the present situation in
the Balkans. In answering questions at the end of her speech Mrs.
Acevshka said: "We do not claim to be descendants of Alexander
the Great … Greece is Macedonia’s second largest trading partner,
and its number one investor. Instead of opting for war, we have
chosen the mediation of the United Nations, with talks on the
ambassadorial level under Mr. Vance and Mr. Nemitz." In reply
to another question about the ethnic origin of the people of FYROM,
Ambassador Achevska stated that "we are Slavs and
we speak a Slav language”.
d. On 24 February 1999, in an interview with the Ottawa
Citizen, Gyordan Veselinov, FYROM'S Ambassador to Canada, admitted,
"We are not related to the northern Greeks who produced leaders
like Philip and Alexander the Great. We are a Slav people and
our language is closely related to Bulgarian." He also commented,
“There is some confusion about the identity of the people of my
e. Moreover, the Foreign Minister of the FYROM, Slobodan
Casule, in an interview to Utrinski Vesnik of Skopje on December
29, 2001, said that he mentioned to the Foreign Minister of Bulgaria,
Solomon Pasi, that they "belong to the same Slav people.”
The Macedonian Greeks are of the same
ethnic group as the “Macedonians” of The FYROM.
The Macedonian Greeks are NOT of the same ethnic group as the
Macedonian Slavs of The FYROM. The Macedonian Greeks are just
that, Greeks who live in or originate from the geographic area
of Macedonia. They are the only people, that by inheritance, can
be called Macedonians.
Ancient Macedonians were a tribe similar
to the Greeks, but not Greek themselves.
Ancient Macedonians were one of more than the 230 Hellenic tribes,
sub-tribes, and families of the Hellenic Nation that spoke more
than 200 dialects. For more information see Herodotus, Thucydides,
Titus Livius, Strabo, Nevi'im, Ketuvim, Apocrypha (Macabees I,
1-2). It was not until 1945 that their Hellenism has been challenged
by the Slavs for expansionistic reasons.
Ancient Greece was a country, a legal
entity, as we understand it today.
No. Hellas (Greece) was first recognized as a nation state or
legal entity as we understand it today in 1830. From the beginning
until that time, the term Hellas was only a geographic term or
an administrative area whose borders were changing depending on
the needs of the Roman, Byzantine, or Ottoman Empires.
There was one ancient Greek language
and the ancient Macedonians spoke Macedonian, not Greek.
Linguistically, there is no real distinction between a dialect
and a language without a specific factor. People usually consider
the political factor to determine whether a certain kind of speech
is a language or a dialect. Since the Pan-Hellenic area consisted
of many small city- states (Attica, Lacedaemon, Corinth, etc.),
and larger states (Molossia, Thesprotia, Macedonia, Acarnania,
Aetolia, etc.), it was common knowledge at the time that the people
of all those states were speaking different languages, when in
fact they were all variations of the same language, Hellenic or
Greek. The most advanced of all Hellenic dialects was the dialect
of Attica (Athens) or Attic. When people state “ancient Greek
language” they mean the Attic dialect and any comparison of the
Macedonian dialect to ancient Greek is actually a comparison to
the Attic dialect. The difference between Macedonian and Attic
was like the difference between Low and High German. Nobody doubts
that both are Germanic languages, although they differ from one
another. Another good example of a multi-dialectal linguistic
regime is present-day Italy. The official language of Italy is
the Florentine, but common people still speak their own dialects.
Two people from different areas of Italy cannot communicate if
both speak their respective dialect, and yet they both speak Italian.
Why should the Hellenic language be treated differently?
At that time, Greeks spoke more than 200 Hellenic
dialects or languages, as the ancient Greeks used to call them.
Some of the well-known dialects were Ionic, Attic, Doric, Aeolic,
Cypriot, Arcadic, Aetolic, Acarnanic, Macedonian and Locric. Moreover,
we know that the Romans considered the Macedonians as Hellenic
speaking peoples. Livy wrote, "…The Aetolians, the Acarnanians,
the Macedonians, men of the same speech, are united or disunited
by trivial causes that arise from time to time …" (Livy,
History of Rome, b. XXXI par. XXIX). The Aetolians and Acarnanians
were definitely Hellenic tribes. On another occasion Livy writes
"…[General Paulus] took his official seat surrounded
by the whole crowd of Macedonians … his announcement was translated
into Greek and repeated by Gnaeus Octavius the praetor…”. If the
crowd of Macedonians were not Greek speaking, why then did the
Romans need to translate Paulus' speech into Greek? (Livy,
History of Rome, b. XLV, para XXIX).
The Macedonian dialect was an Aeolic dialect of the
Western Greek language group (Hammond, The Macedonian State, p.
193). All those dialects differ from each other, but never in
a way that one person could not understand the other. The Military
Yugoslavian Encyclopedia of the 1974 edition (Letter M, page
219), a very anti-Hellenic biased publication, states, “…
u doba rimske invazije, njihov jezik bio grčki, ali se dva veka
ranije dosta razlikovao od njega, mada ne toliko da se ta dva
naroda nisu mogla sporazumevati.” (… at the time of the Roman
invasion their language was Hellenic, but two centuries before
it was different enough, but not as much as the two peoples could
not understand one another).
After the death of Alexander the Great, the situation
changed in the vast empire into a new reality. Ptolemy II, Philadelphos
(308-246 BC) the Pharaoh (king) of Egypt realized that the physical
unification of the Greeks and the almost limitless expansion of
the Empire required the standardization of the already widely
used common language or Koinē. Greek was already the lingua franca
of the vast Hellenistic world in all four kingdoms of the Diadochi
(Alexander's Successors). It was already spoken, but neither an
official alphabet nor grammar had yet been devised.
Alexandria, Egypt was already the Cultural Center
of the Empire in about 280 BC. Ptolemy II assigned Aristeas, an
Athenian scholar, to create the grammar of the new language, one
that not only all Greeks, but all inhabitants of the Empire would
be able to speak. Thus, Aristeas used the Attic dialect as basis
for the new language. Aristeas and the scholars who were assisting
him trimmed the language a little, eliminated the Attic idiosyncrasies
and added words as well as grammatical and syntactical rules mainly
from the Doric, Ionic, and Aeolic dialects. The Spartan Doric,
however, was excluded from it (see Tsakonian further down). So,
they standardized THE Hellenic language, called Koine or Common.
The language was far from perfect. Non-Greeks encountered
difficulties reading it since there was no way to separate words,
sentences and paragraphs. In addition, they were unable to express
their feelings and the right intonation. During that time, Greek
was a melodic language, even more melodic than Italian is today.
The system of paragraphs, sentences, and some symbols
like ~. ;`'! , were the result of continuous improvement and enhancement
of the language with the contribution of many Greek scholars from
all over the World.
There were a few alphabets employed by various Hellenic
cities or states, and these alphabets included letters specific
to the sounds of their particular dialect. There were two main
categories, the Eastern and the Western alphabets. The first official
alphabet omitted all letters not in use any longer (
known as stigma
in Greek numbering) and it presented a 24-letter alphabet for
the new Koinē language. However, the inclusion and use of small
letters took place over a period of many centuries after the standardization
After the new language was completed with its symbols,
the Jews of Egypt felt that it was an opportunity for them to
translate their sacred books into Greek since it was the language
that the Jews of Diaspora spoke. So on the island of Pharos, by
Alexandria's seaport, 72 Jewish rabbis were secluded and isolated
as they translated their sacred books (Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim,
etc.) from Aramaic and Hebrew to the Koinē Greek, the newly created
language. This is known as the Septuagint translation. The Koinē
evolved and in about two to three centuries it became the language
that Biblical scholars call Biblical Greek. In fact, only those
who have studied the Attic dialect can understand the difference
between the Septuagint Greek and the Greek of the New Testament.
Although the Koinē was officially in use, common folk
in general continued to speak their own dialect and here and there
one can sense the insertion of elements of the Attic dialect in
various documents such as the New Testament. The Gospel according
to St. John and the Revelation are written in perfect Attic. The
other three Synoptic Gospels were written in Koinē with the insertion
of some Semitic grammatical concepts (i.e. the Hebrew genitive)
and invented words (i.e. epiousios).
The outcome is that today in Greece there are many
variations in speech; of course not to the point of people not
understanding each other, but still there is divergence in the
Greek spoken tongue. Today the Hellenic language accepts only
one dialect, the Tsakonian, which is a direct development of the
ancient Doric dialect of Sparta. The Demotic is a development
of mostly the Doric sound system, whereas the Katharevousa is
a made-up language based on the Classical Attic. Presently, the
speech in various areas of Greece somehow differs from each other
and sometimes an untrained ear might have difficulty understanding
the local speech. Pontic and Cypriot Greek are very good examples
to the unacquainted ear. Tsakonian dialect, the descendant of
the Spartan Doric, is almost impossible to understand if one is
not familiar with it.
Over the years, Macedonia had several names. At first
the Macedonians gave the land the name, Emathia, after their leader
Emathion. It derives from the word amathos, amathoeis meaning
sand or sandy. From now on, all of its names are Greek. Later
it was called Maketia or Makessa and finally Makedonia (Macedonia).
The latter names are derived from the Doric/Aeolic word “makos,”
(in Attic “mēkos) meaning length (see Homer, Odyssey, VII, 106),
thus Makednos means long or tall, but also a highlander or mountaineer.
(cf. Orestae, Hellenes).
In Opis, during the mutiny of the Macedonian Army,
Alexander the Great spoke to the whole Macedonian Army addressing
them in Greek (Arrian, Anabasis of Alexander, VII, 9,10). The
Macedonian soldiers listened to him and they were dumbfounded
by what they heard from their Commander-in-Chief. They were upset.
Immediately after Alexander left for the Palace, they demanded
that Alexander allow them to enter the palace so that they could
talk to him.
When this was reported to Alexander, he quickly came
out and saw their restrained disposition; he heard the majority
of his soldiers crying and lamenting, and was moved to tears.
He came forward to speak, but they remained there imploring him.
One of them, named Callines, whose age and command of the Companion
cavalry made him preeminent spoke as follows: “Sire, what grieves
the Macedonians is that you have already made some Persians your
‘kinsmen’, and the Persians are called ‘kinsmen’ of Alexander
and are allowed to kiss you, while not one of the Macedonians
has been granted this honor” (Arrian, Anabasis of Alexander,
The previous story clearly reveals that the Macedonians
were speaking Greek since they could understand their leader.
There were thousands of them, not just some selected few who happened
to speak Greek. It would be unrealistic for Alexander the Great
to speak to them in a language they supposedly did not speak.
It would be impossible to believe that the Macedonian soldiers
were emotionally moved to the point that all of them were lamenting
after listening to a language they did not understand. There is
no way for the Macedonians to have taken a crash course in Greek
in 20 minutes so that they would be able to understand the speech
simultaneously as Alexander was delivering it.
Furthermore, the Macedonians wore a distinctive hat,
the “kausia” (καυσία) (Polybius IV 4,5; Eustathius 1398; Arrian,
Anabasis of Alexander, VII 22; cf. Sturz, Macedonian Dialect,
41) from the Greek word for heat that separated them from the
rest of the Greeks. That is why the Persians called them “yauna
takabara,” which meant “Greeks wearing the hat”. The Macedonian
hat was very distinctive from the hats of the other Greeks, but
the Persians did not distinguished the Macedonians, because the
Macedonian speech was also Greek (Hammond, The Macedonian
State p. 13 cf. J.M. Balcer, Historia, 37  7).
On the mountainsides of
the Himalayas and the Indian Caucasus and under Pakistani and
Afghanistan jurisdiction lives a tribe whose people call themselves
Kalash. They claim to be the descendants of Alexander the Great’s
soldiers who for various reasons were left behind in the depths
of Asia and could not follow the Great General in his new conquests.
Having no contact with the outside world for almost 23 centuries,
they are quite different from any other neighboring nations. Light
complexioned, and blue eyed in the midst of dark skinned neighbors,
their language, even though it has been affected and influenced
by the many Muslim languages of nations that surround the Kalash
tribe, still incorporates vocabulary and has many elements of
the ancient Greek language. They greet their visitors with "ispanta"
from the Greek verb "ασπάζομαι" (greetings) and they
warn them about "heman" from the ancient Greek noun
"χειμών" (winter). These indigenous people still believe
in the twelve Olympian gods and their architecture resembles very
much the Macedonian architecture (National Herald, “A School in
the Tribe of Kalash by Greeks", October 11, 1996).
Michael Wood, the British scholar in his In the Footsteps
of Alexander the Great (p.8), quotes the following statement made
by a Kalash named Kazi Khushnawaz:
Long long ago, before the
days of Islam, Sikander e Aazem came to India. The Two Horned
one whom you British people call Alexander the Great. (sic) He
conquered the world, and was a very great man, brave and dauntless
and generous to his followers. When he left to go back to Greece,
some of his men did not wish to go back with him but preferred
to stay here. Their leader was a general called Shalakash [Seleucus].
With some of his officers and men, he came to these valleys and
they settled here and took local women, and here they stayed.
We, the Kalash, the Black Kafir of the Hindu Kush, are the descendants
of their children. Still some of our words are the same as theirs,
our music and our dances, too; we worship the same gods. This
is why we believe the Greeks are our first ancestors...
(Seleucus was one of the Generals of Alexander the
Great. He was born in 358 or 354 BC in the town of Europos, Macedonia
and died in August/September 281 BC near Lysimathia, Thrace.)
The Kalash today worship the ancient Greek gods and
especially Di Zau [Dias Zeus], the great sky god. Unfortunately,
their language died out only in Muslim times. This is further
evidence that Macedonians and Greeks spoke the same language,
had the same religion and the same customs.
Accusations of Macedonians being barbarians started
in Athens and they were the result of political fabrications based
on the Macedonian way of life and not on their ethnicity or language.
(Casson, Macedonia, Thrace and Illyria, p158, Errington, A
History of Macedonia, p 4). Demosthenes traveled to Macedonia
twice for a total of nine months. He knew very well what language
the Macedonians were speaking. We encountered similar behavior
with Thrasyboulos. He states that the Acarnanians were barbarians
only when the Athenians encountered a conflict of political interest
from the Acarnanians. The Macedonian way of life differed in many
ways from the southern Greek way of life, but that was very common
among the Western Greeks such as Chaones, Molossians, Thesprotians,
Acarnanians, Aetolians and Macedonians (Errington, A History
of Macedonia, p 4). Macedonian state institutions were similar
to those of the Mycenean and Spartan (Wilcken, Alexander the
Great, p 23). Regarding Demosthenes addressing Philip as
“barbarian” even Badian an opponent of the Greekness of Macedonians
states “It may have nothing to do with historical fact, any more
than the orators' tirades against their personal enemies usually
have.” (E. Badian, Studies in the History of Art Vol 10: Macedonia
And Greece in Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Times, Greeks
Ancient Macedonia was a nation state.
Before Phillip II, Macedonia was divided into small typical city-states
having adopted the same concept of internal civic structure as
the southern Greek city-states. Each Macedonian city-state or
area had its own main city and government. Philip II united the
Macedonian city-states by instituting and establishing a Homeric
style of a Kingdom, maintaining the infrastructure of the smaller
city-states with the various kings paying tribute to the king
of all Macedonia. We know this from the fact that at one time
the king of Lyncestis (present day Bitola - Florina) was Alexander.
The point that has to be made clear is that a man’s first loyalty
was to his city, not to the King of Macedonia (Hammond, The
Macedonian State, p. 9).
Over the years the ancient Macedonians
The ancient Macedonians, under the influence of the new common
language, the Koine, as developed over the years, were
amalgamated with the rest of the Hellenes, or Greeks.
If the ancient Macedonians were Greeks,
why then was Alexander I, the king of Macedonia, named Philhellene
(lover of Greece)? This title is bestowed only to foreigners.
The king of Macedonia, Alexander I, was named Philhellene by the
Theban poet Pindaros for the same reason Jason of Pherrai and
Euagoras of Cyprus were called Philhellenes (Isocrates 107A, 199A).
The title Philhellene in ancient times meant Philopatris (lover
of the homeland) or simply put “a patriot” (Plato, Politics,
470E; Xenophon, Agesilaus, 7, 4), which is why Alexander
the Great did not touch the traditional house of Pindaros when
he ordered his soldiers to burn Thebes.
The ancient Greeks had a Greek or Hellenic
national conscience and the Macedonians, by destroying Greek cities,
proved that they were not Greeks.
Greece is an area which lacking geographic continuity fostered
alienation of individual tribes not only in the general sense,
but also in a narrower sense. That explains why the ancient Greeks
did not have a common national conscience which is why they were
warring against each other. The Macedonians destroyed or burned
cities belonging to other Greek City States for the same reason
the Athenians, the Thebans, and the Spartans battled one another.
They knew that somehow they were related, but local
conscience was much stronger than a Pan- Hellenic one. Ancient
Greeks, of the Hellenic mainland, were united before an enemy
attack that could endanger the common freedom and welfare. This
fact was displayed anytime the Persians attacked the Hellenic
lands. Greeks from Ionia and Aeolia (present day Aegean shores
of Turkey), however, were mostly Persian allies in opposition
to the Mainland Greeks.
It was common practice for various Hellenic states
to form political/military alliances with each other and against
each other, but they did not develop ethnic partnerships. There
are plenty of such alliances in the ancient Hellenic world.
A few centuries went by until the Greeks began developing
a national conscience. The Greeks definitely achieved the completion
of a national conscience by the time Justinian was crowned the
Emperor of Byzantium. Very few ancient Greeks, such as Pericles,
Demosthenes and Phillip II of Macedonia had the vision of a united
country, but each one wanted to see his own state as the leading
force of such a union. Pericles dreamed of it, Demosthenes advocated
it, but Phillip II materialized it. Also, the Macedonians had
common religious practices and customs as the Spartans.
The ancient Macedonians were one of
the Illyrian tribes.
Although there is a lot of evidence (mostly indirect) regarding
the language of the ancient Macedonians, there is one piece of
evidence offered by Polybius in book XXVIII, paragraphs 8 and
9, where it states that the Macedonians were using translators
when they were communicating with the Illyrians. This means the
Macedonians and the Illyrians did not speak the same language.
For instance, Perseus, the Macedonian king, sent Adaeus of Berroia
(who spoke only Greek) and Pleuratus the Illyrian, as a translator
(because he spoke the Illyrian language) on a mission to the Illyrian
king Genthius (169 BC). Pleuratus was an exile living in Perseus'
court. Moreover there is evidence that the Illyrians and the Macedonians
were vicious enemies.
Many of the Greeks living in Greek Macedonia
are actually refugees that came to Macedonia during the First
World War and especially during the 1920's and 1930' from Turkey,
the Middle East, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria.
It is very true that a good number of the Greeks living in Greek
Macedonia are refugees from various Middle Eastern countries.
However, it is also true that these Greeks are descendants of
those ancient Greeks, including ancient Macedonians, who either
colonized various areas of what presently are Russia, Ukraine,
Georgia, Bulgaria, Turkey, the Middle East, or followed the greatest
General of all times, Alexander the Great. These Greeks simply
came home after at least two and one half millennia of spreading
the Greek spirit, culture, language and civilization. Mother Greece
made her lands available to her returning and thought to be lost
offspring. It was the least she could do. After all they had every
right to come home, just as the Jews did and they are still going
home to Israel.
Sts. Cyril and Methodius were Slavs
and that is the rationale why they are called “the Apostles of
the Slavs” and also “the Slav Apostles.”
The term “Slav Apostles” or the “Apostles of the Slavs” does not
mean that the two brothers were Slavs. St. Thomas is called “the
Indian Apostle,” but we all know that he was not an Indian. He
simply taught Christianity to the Indians. The Greek brothers
from Thessaloniki taught Christianity to the Slavs, they gave
them the alphabet (presently called Cyrillic), and they translated
the sacred and liturgical books of Christianity into the Old Church
Slavonic, otherwise known as Old Bulgarian.
Pope John Paul II in his Encyclical Epistles of December
31, 1980, and June 2, 1985, while he was commemorating the two
brothers, affirmed the fact that both were Greeks from Thessaloniki.
Professors Ivan Lazaroff, Plamen Pavloff, Ivan Tyutyundzijeff
and Milko Palangurski of the Faculty of History of Sts. Cyril
and Methodius University in Veliko Tŭrnovo, Bulgaria in their
book, Kratka istoriya na bŭlgarskiya narod (Short History of the
Bulgarian Nation, pp 36-38), state very explicitly that the two
brothers were Greeks from Thessaloniki. The late Oscar Halecki,
Professor of Eastern European History, in his book Borderlands
of Western Civilization, A History of East Central Europe (chapter
Moravian State and the Apostles of the Slavs) agrees with the
authors of Kratka istoriya na bŭlgarskiya narod.
The present day Emblem of the FYROM
is the lion. This lion is the same lion that Alexander the Great
is depicted wearing above his head imprinted on some old coins.
There is nothing in common between The FYROM’s lion and the lion's
skin that Alexander the Great wears in some coins. The FYROM’s
lion is actually the Bulgarian lion, which is depicted in the
Bulgarian Coat of Arms.
Alexander’s lion is the lion's skin that Heracles
killed in Nemea, which is one of the 12 deeds executed by the
mythological hero. The lion skin that Alexander the Great wears
signifies his ancestral relationship to Heracles (Hercules). There
is an unpublished inscription from Xanthos dating from the third
century BC (cf. Robert, Amyzon, 1,162, n 31) where the
Ptolemies refer to their Ancestors as “Herakleidas Argeadas” (Errington,
A History of Macedonia, p 265, n 6).
In other coins we see Alexander the
Great having two horns on his head and this signifies that he
was a very bad man.
In the Middle Eastern tradition a horned man meant that he was
powerful. Darius in his letters to Alexander the Great called
him, Zul-Al-Kurnain or Double Horned one. Thus the horns on Alexander’s
head means that he was recognized as most powerful.
After the battle of Granicus, Alexander
sent the Athenians 300 full suits of Persian armor as a present,
with the following inscription: "Alexander, son of Philip,
and the Greeks, except the Lacedaemonians, dedicate these spoils,
taken from the Persian who dwell in Asia.” J.R. Hamilton in a
note on this event states, “In view of the small part, which the
Greeks had played in the battle the inscription [with the omission
of any mention of the Macedonians] must be regarded as propaganda
designed for his Greek allies. Alexander does not fail to stress
the absence of the Spartans.”
J.R. Hamilton’s assumption is unconvincing. Alexander the Great
had no reason to please anyone because the troops from South Greece
were only 9,400, and as he admits, they only played a small part
in the battle. Being the master of the expeditionary force and
ignoring his Macedonians while exalting the “foreign Greeks”,
Alexander would have faced the same angry Macedonians that he
was confronted with in Opis when he appointed foreigners (Persians
and Medes) to high ranks and offices in his Army and administration.
However, none of the Macedonians complained about the inscription
after the battle of Granicus because they considered themselves
included in it.
The fact is that Alexander the Great considered himself
and his Macedonians, Greek. He claimed ancestry on his mother’s
side from Achilles and on his father’s side from Hercules (Heracles).
His ancestor, Alexander I, stated that he was Greek (Herodotus,
Histories, V, 20, 22; VIII, 137; IX, 45).
Macedonians themselves were Greek speaking peoples
(see: Papazoglu, Makedonski Gradovi, p 333 and
Central Balkan Tribes, p 135; Casson, Macedonia, Thrace and Illyria,
pp157-162; NGL Hammond, The Macedonian State, pp 12-15 and 193;
Cavaignac, Histoire de l’ antiquité, i, p 67; Hoffman, Die Makedonen,
p. 259; Errington, A History of Macedonia, p 3; Yugoslavian Military
Encyclopedia 1974 “Antička Makedonija”; Hogarth, Philip and Alexander,
p.5, n 4), Urlich Wilcken, Alexander the Great, II pp 23 and 24,
Botsford, Hellenic History, p 237).
Some of the scholars mentioned above initially were
not sure about the Greekness of the Macedonians (i.e. NGL Hammod).
Newly discovered artifacts and monuments that were excavated indicating
the Macedonians were actually Greek made them admit their previous
error. NGL Hammond explains the reason why scholars like Badian
do not consider the Macedonians Greeks in his book, The Macedonian
State (page 13, note 29). Hammond states that most recently
E. Badian in Barr-Sharrar (pp 33-51) disregarded the
evidence as explained in A History of Macedonia (NGL Hammond
and G. T. Griffith, 1979 pp 39-54). In Barr-Sharrar, Badian
holds the view that the Macedonians (whom he does not define)
spoke a language other than Greek. Badian keeps ignoring evidence
that is against his beliefs and convictions choosing only certain
proof and ignoring other relevant proof. That is exactly the pattern
others, like E. Borza, P. Green, etc. have chosen to follow.
All names, whether members of the royal family or not, including
names of other simple Macedonian citizens, i.e. Kallinis (Arrian,
Anabasis of Alexander, VII par 11), Limnos from Chalastra
(Plutarch, Parallel Lives of Famous Greeks and Romans, chap. Alexander)
and all toponymies in the area of the Macedonian homeland were
Greek. The Macedonian homeland included the city-states of Imathia,
Pieria, Bottiea, Mygdonia, Crestonia, Bisaltia, Sintiki, Odomantis,
Edonis, Elimea, Orestis, Eordea, Almopia, Lyncestis, Pelagonia
and Macedonian Paeonia. Macedonian Paeonia is the part of Paeonia
which lies south of the narrow pass at the area of Demir Kapija
Fanula Papazoglu indirectly
agrees with the concept of the above borderlines stating, “… it
is often forgotten that ancient Macedonia occupied only a relatively
small part of the Yugoslav Macedonia” (Papazoglu, Central Balkan
Tribes, p. 268). Papazoglu’s two maps at the end of her doctoral
dissertation (Makedonski gradovi u rimsko doba, Skoplje, 1957)
portray only Macedonian territories under Roman rule.
Macedonia conquered the already Hellenized Paeonia
in 217 BC under King Philip V, 106 years after the death of Alexander
the Great. Any map that incorporates Paeonia into Macedonia before
that year is absolutely false.
All inscriptions and artifacts excavated, including
those in Trebenište and Oleveni near Bitola, are in pure Greek.
With a few exceptions, the only time one sees non-Greek names
and toponymies is in areas that constituted the expansion of Macedonia,
i.e. Paeonia, Thrace, etc. Any non-Greek names, words or toponymies
found in the Macedonian homeland are remnant of Thracians, Phrygians
or Paeonians that used to live there before their expulsion by
Participation in the Olympic Games was unequivocally
and definitely a function that only athletes of strictly Hellenic
origin could partake. Archelaus had won in the Olympic and Pythian
Games (Solinus 9, 16) and Alexander I had also won in
the Olympic Games (Herodotus, Histories, V, 22).
It is stated by Herodotus (Histories VIII, 43) that a
number of Peloponnesian cities inhabited by Lacedaemonians, Corinthians,
Sicyonians, Epidaurians, Troezinians, and Hermionians and that
with the exception of Hermionians all others were of Dorian and
Macedonian blood. The above people were living in cities located
in Peloponnesus, which makes the Macedonians as Greek as the Dorians.
The answer as to why Alexander sent the 300 full suits
of Persian armor to goddess Athena, goes back to the battle of
Thermopylae and all events that followed. But in order for one
to understand it better, one has to know the story of the battle
The Persian Army and Navy, headed by Xerxes, won the
battle against the 1300 Greeks (1000 from Phocis) lead by the
300 Spartans whose commander was Leonidas. It is important for
one to note that the Persians were victorious only when a local
Greek, Ephialtes, betrayed a secret passage to the enemy who came
from behind and thus surrounded the few Greeks. It is also important
to know that according to Lycourgos' laws, Spartans were not allowed
to leave the battlefield for any reason, nor they were allowed
to follow anyone in the battle. That’s why the Spartans did not
follow Alexander against the Persians.
Herodotus (Histories b. VIII, 114) tells us:
… the Spartans upon the urging of the
Oracle of Delphi sent a messenger to Xerxes demanding reparations
for the death of Leonidas. The man who obtained an interview with
Xerxes said to him: ‘My lord, King of the Medes, the Lacedaemonians
and the house of Heracles in Sparta demand satisfaction for blood,
because you killed their king while he was fighting in defense
of Greece.’ Xerxes laughed, and for a time did not answer…
The royal house of Sparta (Herodotus VII, 204),
and the royal house of Macedonia (cf. Fact #13) both
claimed descent from Heracles (Hercules).
Taking into consideration all of the above, we come
to the conclusion that Alexander the Great, being victorious at
the battle of Granicus, sent 300 full armor uniforms to goddess
Athena who was also the goddess of war, and in this way he AVENGED
the 300 Spartans who died defending Greece.
An abundance of information regarding the ancient
Greek past comes to us from the Greek Mythology. Unfortunately,
Mythology cannot be a dependable source since it cannot furnish
trustworthy information which would help us reconstruct the Hellenic
past. However, it does not mean it is completely useless either.
It elucidates through symbolism truths leading us to the right
path while searching for historical facts through written or unwritten
monuments. Such monuments are the only ones accepted by historians
in their attempt to unlock hidden elements that hold the key to
the reconstruction of the past of all Hellenic group of nations.
Countries are products of historical events, which
is why they are born and die. Nations do not. Nations are entities
that take a very arduous time to evolve. The same thing is true
for their appellation. Nations cannot be given birth and receive
names whenever politicians wish by legislation, as it is the case
of the FYROM.
The present-day Hellenic nation is the result of social,
civic and linguistic amalgamation
of more than 230 tribes speaking more than 200 dialects that
claimed descent from Hellen, son of Deukalion. The Hellenic nation
is blessed to espouse in its lengthy life great personalities
such as politicians, educators, soldiers, philosophers and authors.
They have all contributed in their own way to the molding of their
nation. They are the result of natural maturity and a consequence
of historical, social, civic, linguistic and political developments
that have taken place in the last 4,000 years.
“When we take into account the political conditions,
religion and morals of the Macedonians, our conviction is strengthened
that they were a Greek race and akin to the Dorians. Having stayed
behind in the extreme north, they were unable to participate in
the progressive civilization of the tribes which went further
south...” (Wilcken, Alexander the Great, p 22). Most
historians have assessed the Macedonian state of affairs in a
similar fashion. The Macedonians were a Hellenic group of tribes
belonging to the Western Greek ethnic group.
The Macedonians incorporated the territory of the
native people into Macedonia and forced the Pieres, a Thracian
tribe, out of the area to Mt. Pangaeum and the Bottiaiei from
Bottiaia. They further expelled the Eordi from Eordaia and the
Almopes from Almopia and they similarly expelled all tribes (Thracian,
Paeonian, Illyrian) they found in areas of Anthemus, Crestonia,
Bysaltia and other lands. The Macedonians absorbed the few inhabitants
of the above tribes that stayed behind. They established their
suzerainty over the land of Macedonia without losing their ethnicity,
language, or religion (Thucydides, II, 99). They also
incorporated the lands of the Elimeiotae, Orestae, Lyncestae,
Pelagones, and Deriopes all tribes living in Upper Macedonia who
were Greek speakers, but of a different (Molossian) dialect
from that spoken by the Macedonians (Hammond, The Macedonian
State, p. 390). Then, living with savage northern neighbors
such as Illyrians, Thracians, Paeonians and later Dardanians,
the Macedonians physically deflected their neighbors’ hordes forming
an impenetrable fence denying them the opportunity to attack the
Greek city-states of the south, which is why they are considered
the bastion of Hellenism.
N. G. L. Hammond states:
What language did these `Macedones'
speak? The name itself is Greek in root and in ethnic termination.
It probably means `highlanders', and it is comparable to Greek
tribal names such as `Orestai' and `Oreitai', meaning 'mountain-men'.
A reputedly earlier variant, `Maketai', has the same root, which
means `high', as in the Greek adjective makednos or the noun mekos.
The genealogy of eponymous ancestors which Hesiod recorded […]
has a bearing on the question of Greek speech. First, Hesiod made
Macedon a brother of Magnes; as we know from inscriptions that
the Magnetes spoke the Aeolic dialect of the Greek language, we
have a predisposition to suppose that the Macedones spoke the
Aeolic dialect. Secondly, Hesiod made Macedon and Magnes first
cousins of Hellen's three sons - Dorus, Xouthus, and Aeolus-who
were the founders of three dialects of Greek speech, namely Doric,
Ionic, and Aeolic. Hesiod would not have recorded this relationship,
unless he had believed, probably in the seventh century, that
the Macedones were a Greek speaking people. The next evidence
comes from Persia. At the turn of the sixth century the Persians
described the tribute-paying peoples of their province in Europe,
and one of them was the `yauna takabara', which meant `Greeks
wearing the hat'. There were Greeks in Greek city-states here
and there in the province, but they were of various origins and
not distinguished by a common hat. However, the Macedonians wore
a distinctive hat, the kausia. We conclude that the Persians believed
the Macedonians to be speakers of Greek. Finally, in the latter
part of the fifth century a Greek historian, Hellanicus, visited
Macedonia and modified Hesiod's genealogy by making Macedon not
a cousin, but a son of Aeolus, thus bringing Macedon and his descendants
firmly into the Aeolic branch of the Greek-speaking family. Hesiod,
Persia, and Hellanicus had no motive for making a false statement
about the language of the Macedonians, who were then an obscure
and not a powerful people. Their independent testimonies should
be accepted as conclusive (N.G.L. Hammond, The Macedonian State,
The evidence above shows that the ancient Macedonians
were one of the Hellenic groups of tribes speaking a Greek dialect
and having the same institutions as the Spartans and especially
the Greeks of the Western group of nations. Thus, the fallacies
emanated from the FYROM and its diaspora are strongly repudiated.
Marcus A. Templar