Modern historians about Macedonia – Eugene Borza



During medieval and modem times, Macedonia was known as a Balkan region inhabited by ethnic Greeks, Albanians, Vlachs, Serbs, Bulgarians, Jews, and Turks.


The emergence of a Macedonian nationality is an offshoot of the joint Macedonian and Bulgarian struggle against Hellenization. With the establishment of an independent Bulgarian state and church in the 1870s, however, the conflict took a new turn. Until this time the distinction between “Macedonian” and “Bulgarian” hardly existed beyond the dialect differences between standard “eastern” Bulgarian and that spoken in the region of Macedonia.


Modern Slavs, both Bulgarians and Macedonians, cannot establish a link with antiquity, as the Slavs entered the Balkans centuries after the demise of the ancient Macedonian kingdom. Only the most radical Slavic factions—mostly émi-grés in the United States, Canada, and Australia—even attempt to establish a connection to antiquity.


…the Macedonians are a newly emergent people in search of a past to help legitimize their precarious present as they attempt to establish their singular identity in a Slavic world dominated historically by Serbs and Bulgarians.


The twentieth-century development of a Macedonian ethnicity, and its recent evolution into independent statehood following the collapse of the Yugoslav state in 1991, has followed a rocky road. In order to survive the vicissitudes of Balkan history and politics, the Macedonians, who have had no history, need one. They reside in a territory once part of a famous ancient kingdom, which has borne the Macedonian name as a region ever since and was called ”Macedonia” for nearly half a century as part of Yugoslavia. And they speak a language now recognized by most linguists outside Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece as a south Slavic language separate from Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, and Bulgarian. Their own so-called Macedonian ethnicity had evolved for more than a century, and thus it seemed natural and appropriate for them to call the new nation “Macedonia” and to attempt to provide some cultural references to bolster ethnic survival.


It is difficult to know whether an independent Macedonian state would have come into existence had Tito not recognized and supported the development of Macedonian ethnicity as part of his ethnically organized Yugoslavia. He did this as a counter to Bulgaria, which for centuries had a historical claim on the area as far west as Lake Ohrid and the present border of Albania.

“Macedonia Redux”, Eugene N. Borza, The Eye Expanded: Life and the Arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Frances B. Titchener and Richard F. Moorton, Jr., editors


Only recently have we begun to clarify these muddy waters by
revealing the Demosthenean corpus for what it is: oratory designed to sway public opinion and thereby to formulate public policy. That elusive creature, Truth, is everywhere subordinate to Rhetoric; Demosthenes’ pronouncements are no more the true history of the period than are the public statements of politicians in any age.

[E.Borza, “On the shadows of Olympus…” pages 5-6]

This larger Macedon included lands from the crest of the Pindus range to the plain of Philippi and the Nestos River. Its northern border lay along a line formed by Pelagonia, the middle Axios valley and the western Rhodopi massif. Its southern border was the Haliac- mon basin, the Olympus range and the Aegean, with the Chalcidic peninsula as peripheral… We thus have a conception of Macedonia both more and less extensive than Hammonds’s -less in that IT REDUCES EMPHASIS ON THE north western LANDS that lie today WITHIN THE YUGOSLAV STATE, but more in that it takes into greater account the territory east of the Axios. It is a definition BASED on the political DEVELOPMENT of the MACEDONIAN STATE OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME,…”

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), pp.29-31 >


The macedonians themselves may have originated from the same population pool that produced other Greek peoples.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), page 84


but that the argive context is mythic, perhaps a bit of fifth-century BC propaganda.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 80


There is NO reason to deny the Macedonians’ own tradition about their early kings and the migrations of the Makedones.


The basic story as provided by Herodotus and Thucydides minus the interpolation of the Temenid connection, UNDOUBTEDLY reflects the Macedonians’ own traditions about their early history

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) Page 84


The memory of these early times may be preserved in a fragment of Hesiod; ” From the warloving king Hellen sprang Dorus and Xouthous [father of Ion] and Aeolus who took delight in horses”. Speakers of these various Greek dialects settled different parts of Greece at different times during the Middle Bronze Age, with one group, the “northwest” Greeks, developing their own dialect and peopling central Epirus. This was the origin of Molossian or Epirotic tribes.

“In the shadow of Olympus..” By Eugene Borza, page. 62


the western greek people (with affinities to the Epirotic tribes) in Orestis, Lyncus , and parts of Pelagonia;”

“In the shadow of Olympus..” By Eugene Borza, page 74


The wester mountains were peopled by the Molossians (the western Greeks of Epirus)

“In the shadow of Olympus..” By Eugene Borza, page 98


Whether it was a rude patois that was the dialect of farmers and hillsmen or a style of speaking (like “Laconic”) is impossible to know from this scant, late evidence. In any case we cannot tell if it was Greek.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 92


It is only to say that there is an insufficient sample of words to show exactly what the macedonian language was. It must also be emphasized that this is not to say that it was not Greek; It is only to suggest that, from the linguists’ point of view, it is as yet impossible to know

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990)page 93


although the thracians continued to produce coins well into the 470s and 460s and although they ADOPTED some of Alexander’s innovations (such as inscriptions in Greek), the obverse designs of their issues never achieved the quality of workmanship of their macedonian counterparts. They remain “Thracian” in style, whereas the Macedonian coinage is SIMILAR in its execution to the coins of the Greek world.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), pp.129 >\


The argead Macedonians were now in contact with some of the macedonians of the western mountains, who were FORCED to accept a vassalage with which they never were comfortable. It is clear that these tribes retained their own royal houses and considerable local autonomy…..But for at least the next century and a half, the links between lower and upper Macedonians were tenuous at best.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 124


Despite the fact that Thucydides ( could now call the whole area “Macedonia” the Argeads were NOT able to integrate their highland kinsmen into the kingdom until the reign of Philip II, and even then with only mixed success.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 124


Whatever the case, there is insufficient information to know whether the army of Alexander I, who was the first king tentively to ATTEMPT an unification fo the Macedonians

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 126


it becomes clear that the Argeadae were notoriously quarrelsome, and that any unity that the Macedonian kingdom might posses would have to depend upon the strenght that could be excercised from the throne.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 135


Philip managed to incorporate the cantons of western macedonia into the greater Macedonians kingdom on a permanent basis. These mountainous regions had been virtually independent – and OFTEN HOSTILE – until Philip’s reign, and it was among his first necessities to stabilize the frontier.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 135


As for the rivalries among Macedonian families, these are unclear until the time of Philip II, and even here most of the evidence points to a hostility between the houses of western Macedonia and the Argeadae.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 237


Their daughter, who would be the half-sister of Alexander the Great and, later the wife of Cassander, was appropriately named Thessalonike, to commemorate Philip’s victory in Thessaly. In 315 Cassander founded at or near the site of ancient Therme the great city that still bears her name.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 220


It is difficult to imagine that Philip’s policy toward Greece was an end in itself. Once his Balkan borders had been secured his general course seems to have been directed toward the establishment of stability in Greece, NOT CONQUEST.

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 230

Of course Macedonian Kings after Alexander were agents for the spread of the Greek culture and Institutions throuht the Eastern Mediterreanean

<E.N.Borza, “On the Shadows of Olympus” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) page 230

Related posts:

Want more of this? See these Posts:

  1. Modern historians about Macedonia – Others
  2. FYROM’s national MYTH and Eugene Borza
  3. Modern historians about Macedonia – P. M. Fraser
  4. Modern historians about Macedonia – D. G. Hogarth
  5. Modern Historians about Macedonia – M. C. Howatson
Edessa says:

Cant you people find any convincing argument rather than childish lines as : "My father/grandpa told me this so it must be true"

Think!!! for once in your lives use your brains (assuming you have in first place). If this line was true why All your greatgrandfathers identified themselves plainly as Bulgarians. Its because the fairy tale that you all somehow are descedants of Macedonians was invented in the end of the 19th century.

Whose stories you should believe…

From one side there is the World Academics and the History Books of the entire world which admit you are SlavoBulgarians in self-denial with NO LINK with ancient Macedonians and from the other side there are the fairy tales of your grandpas and your fascist government!! The right choice is easy!!!

The fact that you are terrified to face the truth speaks volumes!

Filip says:

This is nonsens.. How on earth my dead grandfather used to told me that they (his mother & father) were macedonians..
how they were facing with all kind of propaganda and assimilations by searbia, bulgaria and especially greece!

Now, my question is, who`s stories I`m supposed to belive in..??
My ancestors and all of my history classes are on one side.. and.. You, my dearest author are on the other?

btw in this nowadays people have rights to say their feelings.. not to mention the Bucurest 1913! ..Versailles!! Macedonia was splited beetwen their neigbours Serbia, Bulgaria, Greese and Albania (only small part) >> Why nobodey say this? Just curious..

Nick Hodges says:

It is a blasphemy to the sanctity of the Macedonian name to be associated with the South Slavonian slavs of former Yugoslavia. It is a sacrilige for those people to disrespect, misuse, abuse and, let say, use that name for themselves. It is an insult and an outrage to find or even hear slavic people above the Greek northern border of the province of Macedonia walking around claiming that they are Macedonian, when they know really well that they have nothing to do or in common with Macedonia or the Macedonians of northern Greece unless they are insane, paranoid or schisophrenic or simply a nation of psychopaths that has been Macedoniazed or jenissarized to be anti-Macedonian, mock-Macedonian or pseudo-Macedonian South Slavonian MAKEDOMANI who obviously think that their Macedonization has made possible for the South Slavonian catterpillars to evolve into Macedonian butterflies.
I personally believe that these South Slavonian Makedomani jenissaries have embarked on a holy campaign and they need to be stopped and defeated, otherwise we will be lamenting the holocaust of the Macedonian people of northern Greece and the demise of the Macedonian history,the Macedonian heritage and our Macedonian Hellenism. They are not just doing this on their own, they have help in the United States, namely the State Department that is always creating conflicts for us in order to keep us under control and their protection in case of possible military trouble with our northern or eastern neighbors who are always looking for something to get since they do not seem to be able to accomplish themselves.
Finally, Iwould like to conclude this by warning the Macedonian and all the other people of Greece to beware of possible CRUCIFICTION of Macedonia by the South Slavonian people of former Yugoslavia that could be done on the basis of lying, deception, identity theft, fraud and forgery and and then create an anti-Macedonia with a fraudulant Macedonian name that may displace ours and be accepted as the new Macedonia but with a SLAVIC AND NOT HELLENIC IDENTITY.
This may be the time of anti-CHRIST and may coicide with the time of anti-Macedonia, the fraudulant Macedonia of the Slavs north of our border.
Our strugle must continue and even intensify until we successfully prevent and defeat the holocaust, the demise and the crucifiction of OUR MACEDONIA, the one and only that we love so much.
Nick Hodges.


dear sir
please do you want to contact is very important to make conversation with you
my name is slobodan tomik .i am journalist and author of one best took show in macedonian state television in skopje
dear sirs i am so happy because you are very objectiv. i need to ask you do you want to be my gest in my took show tomorrow 18.4.2008 freday
only 5 minutes by phone to say something tru and macedonia/ you know that we have problem with greece.they not recognise our name
please send me your tel and mail
the god bless you and your familly
slobodan tomik
author of vox poppuly

macedonian television

email [email protected]
trel 38970401191

Flint says:

This post is inspiring, fresh and ultra awesome! You have a very progressive looks. Reading this blog is a great pleasure.

Nicholas says:

The most direct evidence that that the Macedonians were Greeks comes from the Persians: They called them Yauna takabara, which is ancient Persian for Greeks with the broad hat. The broad hat was, of course, the “kausia” the broad-rimmed hat worn ONLY by Macedonians.

Original21 says:

This tragic post of this dude “Macedonia” points out successfully the level of brainwashing these poor Slavs of FYROM carry. His English is sh*t, his arguments not better than his English and i really ask myself whether i must waste my time with this collection of gibberish.

Anyway here it is so everybody can witness the delutional west bulgarians of FYROM have absolutely no clue about history.

Claim “Until Macedonian had a huge kingdom, the Greek tributes had a little polis-state.”

Epirus was a kingdom and it was Greek. Sparta was a kingdom and it was Greek., Arcadia between 1336 BC -- 676 BC was a kingdom. Athens until the time of Codros was a kingdom. Get a clue.

Claim “For Demosten Macedonians were just another barbarinas from unknown North”

Demosthenes had stated Aeschines and Aristogeiton were barbarians as well but they were Atheneans. Anyway none except the brainwashed west-bulgarians of FYROM give any credit to the…leader of anti-macedonian party because obviously he is…biased. Dont you ever use your brain there?

Claim “When Yugoslavia gones from the political map than the Greeks change the province -- Northern Greece into Macedonia and Trakia. ”

Everybod knows that the brainwashed West-Bulgarians of FYROM just parrot what they were told with no clue about history. Read and weep.

Claim: ” I ask them what are they? Greek or Macedonians??? ”

Ask them also what they are…Greek or Atheneans? Greek or Cretans?… For gods sake your idiocy meets no boundaries. Macedonian was a geographical term for more than 1 thousand years like Thessalian.

Claim: “I am Macedonian, I am not Greek! It very simple!”

You are a brainwashed Western Bulgarian therefore nothing to do with Macedonians who were Greek. Its very simple.

Claim: “The afraid about soon united territories in the EU, and than the still territory from Macedonia in the Balkas Wars might to united in one UNITED MACEDONIA.”

The typical brainwashed West Bulgarian fascist with no clue about history but only to parrot the idiocies he was fed with till his birth.

Claim: ” Ask teh amcedonians which living in Macedonia under the Greeks power.”

In Macedonia there are 2.500.000 Macedonians and they are all proud for being Greek. Maybe ask instead the Bulgarians who are living in FYROM under your fascist state.

Claim: “The EU knows this very well but it so mute! And if she mute the new war is near. Unfortunatelly!”

Yeah Moronovski. Its brainwashed people like you who are the reason for all this shit in Balkans. Maybe if you werent paralysed from the neck and up you would go in a serious library in US where you ll have al the time to find your real Bulgarian roots. So you fucked up retards are so brainwashed to talk about ‘War’ , you fascist bunch of Mongols. Anyway soon your sh*thole you call a…country will be province of Albania so no need to waste our time more with you brainwashed retards.

Macedonia says:

Macedonians and Greek are two diffrent worlds or planets. Firstly there are varoius rase coming from souteast in ancient age. Macedonians are ancient tributes late mixed with Slavs and other tibutes in th Balkans. Until Macedonian had a huge kingdom, the Greek tributes had a little polis-state. For Demosten Macedonians were just another barbarinas from unknown North. About present Macedonia everyone knows taht Macedonia were divided on three parts in Balkans Wars. Greeks gift as present of the Big Forces in the begening of the 20th (France, UK, Austro_Hungary, Russia). For Macedonians that Wars were a tragical, and for Greeks a new free money territory without victims on battle field. When Yugoslavia gones from the political map than the Greeks change the province -- Northern Greece into Macedonia and Trakia. Macedonias were kept jelouse in the two millenniums and more the name, and now the Greeks are so hysterical about that. I ask them what are they? Greek or Macedonians??? I am Macedonian, I am not Greek! It very simple! But behind teh name is hide something another! The afraid about soon united territories in the EU, and than the still territory from Macedonia in the Balkas Wars might to united in one UNITED MACEDONIA. Thats the story about Macedonia. They dont likes Macedonias, The Greeks likes only macedonian territory. Ask teh amcedonians which living in Macedonia under the Greeks power. Also I want to say teht Greece are multicultural country as many balkans countries,. Half ogf the poplations are Macedonias in teh ethnic frontiers of Macedonia, Turks and Muslims in Trakia, Albanians in Southern Epir, Vlahs, Bulgarians and so on. So if the Greek country ignore that minorities, teh wind of Balkans wars will turn in direction of the Greece.Sad but soon the Greek state will facing with that problem. No one nation country in the World especially in the Balkans. The EU knows this very well but it so mute! And if she mute the new war is near. Unfortunatelly!