Modern Historians about Macedonia – Nicholas G. L. Hammond

 

0000001059 Modern Historians about Macedonia   Nicholas G. L. Hammond

Professor N.G.L Hammond

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The strand in his[Alexander] personality which needs to be emphasised in his religious faith. Since childhood he had worshipped Heracles Patrous, the son of Zeus and a mortal woman and through his mother he was descended from Achilles, son of the goddess Thetis and a mortal Peleus. In his mother’s veins there was also the blood of a son and a daughter of Priam, king of Troy. To Alexander, Heracles and Achilles were not fantasies of poetic imagination but real people, who expected their descendants to excel as warriors and as benefactors of mankind.

“The Genius of Alexander the Great” By Nicholas G Hammond, page 7

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There were two parts of the Greek-speaking world at this time which did not suffer from revolution and did not seek to impose rule over the city-states. In Epirus there were three clusters of tribal states, called Molossia, Thesprotia and Chaonia, and although a tribal state might move from one cluster to another cluster, each state remained a tight-knit community (a koinon as it was called).The strongest cluster in 356 was the Molossian state. Its monarchy had exceptional prestige because the royal family, it was believed, was descended from Neoptolemus, son of Achilles. These states held the frontier against the Illyrians, whose institutions were fairly similar. In the fourth century down to 360 they were outfought by a cluster of Illyrian states which formed around the Dardanians (in Kosovo and Metohija), whose king Bardylis developed a strong economy. In 385 the Molossians lost 15,000 men in battle and were saved from subjection only by a Spartan army. They suffered losses again in 360.The other part of the Greek-speaking world extended from Pelagonia in the north to Macedonia in the south. It was occupied by several tribal states, which were constantly at war against Ilyrians, Paeonians and Thracians. Each state had its own monarchy. Special prestige attached to the Lyncestae whose royal family, the Bacchiadaet claimed descent from Heracles, and to the Macedonians, whose royal family had a similar ancestry. Although these tribal states occasionally fought one another, each was close-knit and free from revolution (stasis). They suffered most from the Dardanians who raided far and wide, even reaching the Thermaic Gulf where they imposed a puppet-king on the Macedonians from 393 to 391. Thereafter Pelagonia and Lyncus were frequently overrun, and in 359 the Macedonian king Perdiccas and 4,000 Macedonians were killed in battle against the Dardanians.

In the opinion of the city-states these tribal states were backward and unworthy of the Greek name, ALTHOUGH THEY SPOKE DIALECTS OF THE GREEK LANGUAGE. According to Aristotle, monarchy was the mark of people too stupid to govern themselves. The city-states, on the other hand, with the exception of Sparta, had rid themselves of monarchy centuries ago. They governed themselves democratically or oligarchi-cally, and their citizens were highly individualistic. There were other great differences. The northern states lived largely by transhumant pastoralism, used barter more than currency, and had no basis of slaves, whereas the citv-state populations lived largely in cities, had capitalist economies and employed very large numbers of slaves, even in agriculture. Northerners herded their flocks, worked the land, and served as soldiers in person, whereas in the fourth century the most sophisticated southerners, the Atheneans, preferred to leave labour to slaves and foreigners and hied mercenaries for wars overseas.

The Balkan tribes beyond the Greek-speaking world were continually at war. For as Herodotus said of the Thracians, to live by war and rapine is the most honourable way oflife, and the agricultural worker is the least esteemed. The well-armed aristocrats of the Thracian tribes engaged in wide-ranging raids, such as that led by Sitalces, the king of the Thracian Odrysae, into Macedonia in 429. The Paeonians (in south¬east Yugoslavia) and the Illyrians (in Albania) were equally warlike, and they too engaged in rapine. In the raids they carried off men. women and children as well as goods and livestock. One Illyrian tribal group, the Ardiaei, boasted at this time that it had acquired 300.000 serfs.

N.G.L Hammond – The Genius of Alexander, Page 11

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In their place the Macedonians were elected members. The two votes of Phocis on the council were transferred to the Macedonian state.On the advice of Philip the council published regulations for the custody of the oracle and for everything else appertaining to religious practice, to common peace and to concord among the Greeks. Within Boeotia Thebes had a free hand; She destroyed three cities which had been forced to submit to the Phocians and sold their populations into slavery. She would have preferred to treat Phocis similarly.

N.G.L Hammond – The Genius of Alexander, Page 18

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He adviced Philip as the ruler of the strongest state in Europe to bring the city-states into concord, lead them against Persia, liberate the Greeks in Asia and found there new cities to absorb the surplus population of the Greek mainland.

N.G.L Hammond – The Genius of Alexander, Page 18-19
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Thebes was treated harsly as the violator of its oaths. Athens was treated generously. Alexander led a guard of honour which brought the ashes of Athenian dead to Athens – a unique tribute to a defeated enemy – and the 2,000 Athenian prisoners were liberated without ransom


N.G.L Hammond – The Genius of Alexander, Page 20

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The Balkan situation was far from secure, with the Odrysians and Scythians only recently defeated and with the TRiballi still defiant. Yet Philip was confident of success in the interest of the Greek-speaking world and OF MACEDONIA IN PARTICULAR

“The Genius of Alexander the Great” By Nicholas G Hammond, page 21

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His remark ‘if i were not Alexander, i would indeed be Diogenes’ carried the meaning ‘if i were not already King of Macedonia, President of Thessaly, the favourite of the Amphictyonic league and Hegemon of the Greek community’.

N.G.L Hammond – The Genius of Alexander, Page 31

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Reports came from friends in Athens that Demosthenes was receiving subisdies from Persia and was in correspondece with Attalus, the commander of the Macedonian infantry in Asia, with whom he was very popular.

N.G.L Hammond – The Genius of Alexander, Page 31

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In late summer Alexander led his army southwards towards the land of the Agrianians (round Sofia) and the Paeonians (round skopje).

N.G.L Hammond – The Genius of Alexander, Page 36

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The first sentence of the actual Life of Alexander lives up to Plutarch’s warning words. ‘Alexander’s descent, as a Heraclid on his father’s side from Caranus, and as an Aeacid on his mother’s side from Neoptolemus, is one of the matters which have been completely trusted.While the Heraclid and Aeacid descent went UNQUESTIONED BY ANCIENT WRITERS, the citation of Caranus as the founding father in Macedonia and so analogous to Neoptolemus in Molossia was not only controversial but must have been known to be controversial by Plutarch. For he was conversant with the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides. which had looked to Perdiccas as the founding father in Macedonia. Caranus was inserted as a forerunner of Perdiccas in Macedonia only at the turn of the fifth century: he appeared as such in the works of fourth-century writers, such as Marsyas the Macedonian historian (FGrH 135/6 i- 14) who on my analysis was used by Pompeius Trogus (Prologue 7 ‘origines Macedonicae regesque a conditorc gentis Carano’). Thus the dogmatic statement of Plutarch, that Caranus was the forerunner, should have been qualified, if he had been writing scientific history. But because the statement conveyed a belief which Alexander certainlv held in his lifetime it was justified in the eyes of a biographer and in the eyes of those who were more concerned with biographical background than with historical facts. If Plutarch had been challenged, he would no doubt have claimed that his belief was based on his own wide reading of authors who had studied the origins of Macedonia and provided ‘completely trusted’ data.


“Sources for Alexander the Great: An Analysis of Plutarch’s ‘Life’ and Arrian’s ‘Anabasis Alexandrou’” by N.G.L Hammond, Page 5

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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 Hesiodus 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”, Clarendon
Press, Oxford, 1989, pp. 12-15
 

 

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As we have mentioned in Chapter I, Perdiccas and his brothers
came from Argos and Peloponnese
. They were members of the Royal house of Argos, the “Teminidae”, descendants of Temenus, whose ancestor was Heracles, son of Zeus; it was this Temenus who led the Dorian tribes into the Argolid and founded Dorian Argos late in the 12th century. Thus Perdiccas came to Macedonia with the aura of divine favor, and he could claim that the Temenidae and the Argeadae were both descended from Zeus and so were diogeneis. To Greeks of the classical period the Temenid name was well known. Thus the oracle which
was concerned post eventum with he following of the new capital, Aegeae, by Perdiccas began with the line “The noble Temenidae have royal rule over a wealth producing land. Herodotus made a special point of emphasizing that the royal house of Macedonia was Greek by descent, and Thucydides, who questioned much of what Herodotus said, concurred with him in calling the Macedonian kings “Temenidae from Argos”. Almost a century later Isocrates wrote to Philip II, saying “Argos is your fatherland”, and he asked Philip to emulate his father [Amyntas], the founder of the monarchy [Perdiccas], and the originator of the family (Heracles).

N.G.L Hammond: The Macedonian State: pg 18.

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The matter is of only academic interest to a few scholars today. NO ONE IN ANTIQUITY DOUBTED THE TRUTH OF THE CLAIM.

N.G.L Hammond: The Macedonian State, pg 19.

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It seems now that Alexander wanted from the Greek states a public and universal recognition of his benefactions, and that he wanted IT AS BEING HIMSELF A GREEK OF THE TEMENID FAMILY

N.G.L Hammond: The Macedonian State: pg 235

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Although the southern Greeks in the world of city-states were unaware of the fact, the MACEDONES were themselves an example of that Greek-speaking expansion which planted colonies at many places on the Mediteterranean coast… They had learnt much from their neighbours – Thracian, Phrygian, and Illyrian – and in 650 B.C. or so they put their lessons to good purpose… By expropriating and in some cases by destroying the previous inhabitants THEY created a solid block of GREEK-SPEAKING Macedonians in Pieria, Eordea, Almopia, and Bottiaea, which was… in time of trouble …the almost irreducible minimum of Macedonian strength.

N.G.L. Hammond, A History of Macedonia I (1972): <p.440>

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We must remember too that Philip and Alexander WERE GREEKS, descended from Heracles;they wished to be recognized by the Greeks as benefactors of the Greeks, even as Heracles had been

N.G L Hammond [1989] “Alexander The Great” page.257

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Before engaging at Gaugamela Alexander prayed in front of the army, raising his right hand towards the gods and saying, “If I am really descended from Zeus, protect and strengthen the Greeks.” That prayer, appearently, was answered

N.G L Hammond [1989] “Alexander The Great”, pg.260

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As a Greek Alexander was attempting to change the age old course of city state politics from imperialistic particularism and internecine warfare to a federal system and an expansion outwards in terms of influence, Settlement, and trade.

N.G L Hammond [1989] “Alexander The Great” , pg.259

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Disagreements over this issue have developed for various reasons. In the second half of the fifth century Thucydides regarded the semi-nomadic, armed northerners of Epirus and western Macedonia as “barbarians”, and he called them such in his history of events in 429 and 423. The word was understood by some scholars to mean “non-Greek-speakers” rather than “savages.” They WERE SHOWN TO BE MISTAKEN in 1956, when inscriptions of 370-68, containing lists of Greek personal names and recording in the Greek language some acts of the Molossians, were found at Dodona in Epirus. This discovery proved beyond dispute that one of Thucydides “barbarian” tribes” of Epirus, the Molossians, was speaking Greek AT THE TIME OF WHICH HE WAS WRITING. Demosthenes too called the Macedonians “barbarians” in the 340s. That this was merely a term of abuse has been PROVED recently by the discovery at Aegean (Vergina) of seventy-four Greek names and one Thracian name on funerary headstones inscribed in Greek letters.


“The Miracle that Was Macedonia” , N.G.L. Hammond, pages 5-6

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Herodotus THINKS of them as speaking the HELLENIC tongue and being neighbours of barbarian Pelasgi in Thessaly (Htd.1.57.1). They were driven out of Thessaly into the Pindus range. At that stage the tribe took its name from the locality in which it lived, just as at a later stage it took its name from Doris. ‘Makednia’ was certainly in North Pindus by the valley of the Haliacmon river; for it was from this region that the name ‘Macedonia’ was carried by the invaders into the country which had been called Emathia and was renamed Macedonia.

<N.G.L.Hammond, “Epirus” (1967), p.374>

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The Hellenes, as the Greeks of Classical times called themselves, traced their ancestors back to Thessaly, then ruled by Deucalion’s Descendants Hellen, the war-loving king, and his sons Dorus, Xuthus, and Aeolus’, and to southern MACEDONIA where Magnes and Macedon, delighting in horses, lived in the area of Olympus and Pieria’;… Extensive excavation has shown that the mainland experienced large-scale invasions c.2000-1700 B.C.;… The last wave of Greeks, those represented by the ancestor Dorus, entered Greece in the century c.1125 – c.1025, their dialects being Dorian and north-west Greek. As they came from the areas of Epirus and Western MACEDONIA, it seems likely that the reservoir of Greek-speaking peoples from which these waves of invasion spread was situated c.2000 B.C. in Albania and in WESTERN AND SOUTHERN MACEDONIA.

<Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2nd ed. (1970), s.v.”Greece,” by N.G.L.Hammond, p.478>

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Of the DORIAN PEOPLES some known as Macedni (Herodotus 1.56) came from south-west Macedonia; a remnant of these perhaps formed the NUCLEUS OF THE CLASSICAL MACEDONIANS.”

<Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2nd ed. (1970), s.v. “Macedonia,” by N.G.L.Hammond, p.633>

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The religion of the Makedones themselves was HELLENIC, as is proven by the names of the Macedonian months. Cults of most of the chief Greek deities are SUFFICIENTLY attested for the EARLY PERIOD.

<Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2nd ed.(1970), s.v. “Macedonia,” by N.G.L.Hammond, p.634>

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City-state life on the Athenian model became for the Greeks of the fourth century the hall- mark of Greek civilization, and the RACIALIST DISTINCTIONS of the past were now of comparatively little significance.
Isocrates made the point succinctly in 380: ‘The name “Greeks” suggests no longer a race but an outlook, and the title “Greeks” is given rather to those who share our culture than to those who share our blood.’
It thus came about that peoples who may have been racially of the same stock as the Greek-speaking peoples of central and southern Greece were regarded as non-Greek and so barbarian, because their outlook and their culture were from the Greek point of view retarded and un-Greek. This was particularly so if the political unit was the ethnos or TRIBAL system and the constitution was MONARCHICAL. The peoples of what we call northern Greece were at a trivial stage of development, and many of the tribes were still ruled by constitutional monarchies at the beginning of the fourth century.

<N.G.L.Hammond, “The Classical Age of Greece” (1975), p.241>

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Philip was born a Greek of the most aristocratic, indeed of divine, descent… Philip was both a Greek and a Macedonian, even as Demosthenes was a Greek and an AthenianThe Macedonians over whom Philip was to rule were an outlying family member of the Greek-speaking peoples.

Nicholas G. L. Hammond, ‘Philip of Macedon’ Duckworth Publishing, February 1998

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