Nationalists from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M) and her diaspora allege that there is a cultural, linguistic and genealogical continuity between the ancient Macedonians and the “modern Macedonian” nation. Until the recent past these claims were usually confined to radical nationalists circles in F.Y.R.O.M and her diaspora. With Gruevski’s administration now leading F.Y.R.O.M the claims involving a relationship between F.Y.R.O.M and ancient Macedonia are being promoted and encouraged at the official state level.
No credible and objective historian or social scientist relates the modern “Macedonian nation” to ancient Macedonia. Any credible authority on the history of the region knows how ridiculous the state sponsored myths involving relationships between F.Y.R.O.M and ancient Macedonia are.
Eugene Borza is one of the most frequently cited historians on F.Y.R.O.M nationalist websites (see historyofmacedonia.org as an example). His views on ancient Macedonia are quoted ad infinitum because Borza is skeptical of whether the ancient Macedonians of the 4th century BC could be classified as ancient Greeks. Nationalists from F.Y.R.O.M and her diaspora completely ignore Borza’s position that the ancient Macedonians were fully Hellenized by Roman times. They also completely disregard Borza’s assertion that “modern Macedonians” have no relationship to ancient Macedonia.
This is Borza’s position on F.Y.R.O.M’s modern history:
Note: Borza makes no mention of a “Macedonian” ethnicity in his description of Macedonia’s pre 20th century demograpics.
Note: Borza states that the region of Macedonia was an ethnic quagmire. This is a far cry from the F.Y.R.O.M nationalist claim that “Macedonia” was populated in the vast majority by “ethnic Macedonians”.
Note: Borza claims that only the most radical Slavic factions, mostly found in F.Y.R.O.M’s diaspora, make claims of a relationship to ancient Macedonia. Keep in mind that Borza wrote this article a few years before the Gruevski administration took power in F.Y.R.O.M. Even Borza, who is one of the favorite historians of F.Y.R.O.M nationalists, would classify Gruevski’s ideology as radical!
Note: Borza states that the “Macedonians” are a new ethno/national group that have no history and as a result must construct one.
In light of the fact that the modern “Macedonian” ethno/national identity is a mid to late 19th century construct, and in light of the fact that no credible historian or social scientist supports the notion of any cultural or genealogical lineage between ancient Macedonia and the modern “Macedonian” nation, it seems absurd and comical that the Gruevski government is claiming a relationship between the Slavs of F.Y.R.O.M and the ancient Macedonians.
Gruevski’s desperate attempts at promoting a relationship between the modern “Macedonian nation” and ancient Macedonia are evidenced by his bizarre and now ridiculed official state meeting with the leader of the Pakistani Hunza tribe. The Hunza claim that they are the remnants of Alexander’s ancient Macedonian army that traversed through Pakistan.
The following picture is of Gruevski meeting with what the F.Y.R.O.M government advertises as the long lost kin of the Slavic inhabitants of F.Y.R.O.M.
This visit was ridiculed and criticized by international media as is described by the following article from the Financial Times. The history being promoted by the Gruevski administration, and F.Y.R.O.M’s cultural institutions, in the context of the year 2008, makes his government look like amateur radicals promoting an 19th century nation building ideology based on ancient lineages. No credible and objective historian or social scientist substantiates this mythical relationship.
by Chris Philipou
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