FALLACIES AND FACTS
ON THE MACEDONIAN ISSUE ©2003
MARCUS A TEMPLAR
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 ultra-nationalist Diaspora.
of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (The FYROM) are ethnic
Macedonians, direct descendants of, or related to the ancient
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:
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).
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, 1992).
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.”
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 country."
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.”
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 were a tribe similar to the Greeks, but not Greek
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
was a country, a legal entity, as we understand it today.
(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
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
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
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 (
also 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 of
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
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
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, VII, 8-11).
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.
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
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.
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 and Macedonians).
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 disappeared.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
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.”
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
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
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 (The FYROM).
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.
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 the Macedonians.
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 of Thermopylae.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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, p.12-13).
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
Marcus A. Templar