As always it´s highly amusing to read another one of Risto Stefov´s articles.
Starting from the opening statement, one notes the factual distortion present. For an individual who allegedly doesn´t care about what Greeks may claim about themselves; he certainly seems to waste much time and energy intentionally distorting texts and manipulating history in his articles and books, and distributing his propaganda.
Right after his first bout of hypocrisy, Stefov continues by distorting his very own claims. While he intentionally misinforms us by claiming that he´s never supported some twisted direct descendance from the ancient ´Makednoi´ theory; he conveniently forgets about his article: “Evidence of the Existence of Macedonians Throughout the Ages” in which in his opening statement in the introduction is: “This document was prepared in response to Greek allegations that Macedonians do not exist and have ceased to exist since the so called “Slav invasions” of the fifth and sixth centuries AD.
The logical question of why would any individual who allegedly doesn´t, nor has ever supported the “continuity theory” ever waste time to gather and intentionally distort sources to prove that the modern day population of the FYROM has every right to title themselves and claim heredity from the Makednoi?
Stefov’s opening statement which attempts to refute Greek allegations and the insinuation of providing proof that the Macedonians have existed, since Slavic invasions doesn´t do much for his case.
It is obvious that he is at the very least intentionally misinforming readers of his true objectives.
Stefov and his followers constantly insinuate that Greeks allegedly strive to present the FYROM population as Bulgarians (he should know the difference between Bulgars and Bulgarians) and Slavs.
While this is partially true, what Stefov intentionally neglects to mention is that Greeks are simply reproducing what his ancestors themselves had stated.
We could take for example the organization called BMARC (Bulgarian Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Revolutionary Committee) all members of which, today, are considered as fine FYROM patriots. It is this very organization, (their very own national heroes) which totally legitimize our reference to the true ethnicity which they detest.
In its 1896 statute BMARC states:
Art. 1. The goal of BMARC is to secure full political autonomy for the Macedonia and Adrianople regions.
Art. 2. To achieve this goal they [the committees] shall raise the awareness of self-defense in the Bulgarian population in the regions mentioned in Art. 1., disseminate revolutionary ideas – printed or verbal, and prepare and carry on a general uprising.
So the question asked must be, which is the population FYROM national heroes aimed to raise the awareness in and title Bulgarian; if not the forefathers of the population that today attempt to usurp a history and heritage which they have no connection to?
Stefov also accuses Greeks of titling the population of FYROM as Slavonic.
But what defines a Slav?
Slavs are an ethnic group connected by language, customs, traditions, beliefs.
We know beyond doubt that the population of FYROM does speak a Slavic language. We also know from their own authors like Tanas Vrazhinovski and Vladimir Karadzoski that FYROM folklore is predominantly Slavonic.
Both authors give numerous examples of worship of Slavonic deities and place names directly related to these deity´s names. Customs as any Bulgarian or Serb may confirm are also highly similar, if not identical.
So identical that we may safely conclude that the population of FYROM is indeed Slavonic and the attempt to present the use of the ethnonym ‘Slav’ as some form of insult, simply indicates the extent of propaganda aimed at (not to an international audience), but as its main target group has the FYROM youth. In some futile attempt to teach the FYROM population to hate their true origins and believe that their only true destiny is indissolubly connected upon usurping a history and culture which is totally alien to them is unacceptable.
Yet another fallacy promoted by Stefov for his audience is the case in which Philip of Macedon didn´t unite as so many true historians have accepted (see Thomas R. Martin, Lewis Vance Cummings, Richard Gabriel, Alan Fildes, Joann Fletcher, Robin Lane Fox…etc) but conquered. If that isn´t enough, he also resorts to fallaciously extending Philip´s empire further North to incorporate the lands of FYROM and by doing so legitimize his claims.
While it is true that these lands have seen various conquerors and settlers, what Stefov neglects to mention, is that while the above may have partially influenced the locals with their own culture, they never did manage to alienate them from their own. Something we clearly see in the alleged descendants of the Makednoi. Stefov and his believers have totally failed to provide a single logical explanation as to how any since trace of cultural connection to those they claim descendance from is non-existent.
During the last years the main FYROM offensive in the name debate is centralized on the following logic: “since we can´t prove a connection to the ancients, we´ll centralize on disproving yours”, which is exactly what we see Stefov doing today.
Unfortunately his attempts are caught either constantly celebrating ignorance or due to malicious intent, falsifying facts. Stefov claims that the name/term Greeks was ignored until after the Roman conquests which is when it was allegedly coined. Its puzzling how an alleged authority in history, who has published so many books about ancient history, could possibly ignore the reference of the eponym ‘Graikos’found in Hesiod´s Catalogue of Women or the village ‘Graia’ noted in Homer´s Catalogue of ships or even the later reference to the Graeci in Aristotle´s Meteorological. This is yet another well known quasi-historical attempts to approach the issue which Stefov is renowned for. Had he tried to tackle the issue on its factual basis, he wouldn´t centralize on the Latinization which has been passed down to the majority of language but the term which classicists acknowledge as the proper denomination and that is that of Hellenes (even though they have been used interchangeably). But even uttering the term ‘Hellenes’ is simply unthinkable for Stefov; for he would then have to deal with Hesiod´s reference to a ‘race of the Hellenes’ (works and days), a race of Hellenes which would disprove the very basis of his theory of various city-states alien to each other, not forming a single body of people.
While it is conveniently true that Greece wasn´t used by Ancient Greek geographers to describe the region in question, we know of several of them that use the term ‘Hellas’ (Agatharchides, Pausanias and Strabo being some of the more well known examples). If we were to look towards Roman writers with Pliny the Elder´s Natural History being one of the finest examples, we´d find that throughout his entire work and especially books 3-5 which are geography related, the term ‘Greece’ is constantly used to define the region.
One really has to wonder why Stefov tries to alienate an entire people from their heritage with such void argumentation. So the term ‘Rhomios’was used by the Greek population to define themselves, what does this actually prove?
While the term Rhomios may indeed be partly alien to their ancestors, one can´t neglect to note that it derives from the ‘Constitution Antoniniana of Caracalla’ which allowed all freemen of the Roman provinces to obtain Roman citizenship and that it is directly related to the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) which they were subjects. A term forged to represent their citizenship but also their Greek ancestry (see Andreas Osiander´s Before the State), hence why it (and not ‘Rhomaios’) was also used to strictly designate the subjects of Greek ancestry and them alone. It is also interesting to note the perception of some of the empire´s neighbors. Armenians, Russians, Georgians, Jews and even Ottomans titled the subjects ‘Graikoi’, Yunan, Yavani , or the authors Theodorus Studitus, Anna Komnene, George Gemistos Plethon, Michael Psellus and Theophanes Confessor all used the ethnonym Hellenes; terms directly linked to their ancestral roots which they recognized then, but today this author (Stefov) with some highly questionable arguments tries to refute the facts.
Stefov continues to unsuccessfully tackle the demographics of Greece. If under his logic the Slavic presence in the Balkans gives the Slavic population of FYROM some right to usurp a history; heritage and claim descendance from the ancient Makednoi (even through their very customs, traditions and folklore) prove them totally alien to it. Then how can someone even try and attempt to alienate the Vlachs from the Ancient Greeks?
While theories on their origin vary and one could argue their autochthonous origin, doesn´t their presence in the region which is dated prior to the time when the Slavs were nothing but mere invaders(Procopius) give them the right to claim ancestry?
Stefov makes reference to the total population of Greece upon its liberation while exaggerating and distorting possible population statistics. There is no accurate account of the possible ethnic makeup of the population, therefore any argument either for or against homogeneity would be ridiculous. One would notice that while Stefov doesn’t make any reference of Greeks as being a part of the population, he adds Turks; which as it is well documented, were non-existent since in their vast majority had fled upon the rebellion and Slavs. Then again such claims by Stefov who has previously promoted the totally outdated and disregarded ‘Fallmerayer theory´, anything seems possible.
Finally, there needs to be a mention of the Albanians. Since the only census which provides us with data is that of 1928 we must take that into consideration. In a 1928 census we find that the total amount of self-identified Albanian-speakers (and not ethnic Albanian origin) is approx. 19,000. A population of 19,000 in 1928 when Greece had liberated its lands and had a total population of some 6.2 million. Stefov claims that the Albanians were obviously the majority in the region in the early 1800´s; hence his reference to them and no reference to the Greeks. One must ask of what happened to the Albanians?
Well, we could take into account the statements of the Albano phone population itself, who in 1836 Christophoros Perraivos recorded their self-identification as purely Greek and were recognized as such by Alexandros Ypsilantes; who in his letter makes reference to their ancestors that fought in the battle of Marathon.
Finally, it must be noted that people like Risto Stefov, while providing an entertaining read, continue to distort Greek history (in a way similarly described above) and must not be taken seriously.
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