The Birth of a Clone State
By Georgios Gialtouridis
According to Herodotus’ The Histories, during the 8th century B.C. the Argeads (Αργεάδαι) migrated north from the Greek city of Argos in Peloponnesus to the region we now know as Macedonia. In addition, Thucydides in the History of the Peloponnesian War concurs that Perdiccas I was the first monarch of the Argead dynasty, better known as the ancient kingdom of Macedonia.
The name Macedonia (Μακεδονία) is rooted in Homeric Greek. A related form of the word first appears in the Odyssey, VII 106: ‘οιά τε φύλλα μακεδνης αιγείροιο’ whereas ‘μακεδνης’ in the form of an adjective means very high or tall, in this context referring to the size in height of a poplar tree. The first Macedonians spoke a proto-Hellenic dialect similar to that of Homer. They eventually adopted the Attic Greek dialect as did the other Greek city-states and finally the Koine Greek dialect during the Hellenistic period.
It is not the primary objective of this writer to argue whether the ancient Macedonians were a Greek tribe or not. Any serious historian will validate their Hellenic origin with scores of references as well as Greek inscriptions on countless ancient artifacts unearthed from all over the region. I would like to note, however, one important date in ancient history. In 168 B.C. the last Macedonian king, Perseus, surrendered to the Romans after his decisive defeat at the Battle of Pydna and thus Macedonia came under Roman rule.
For over 2000 years thereafter, there has not been even one documented reference claiming an ethnic Macedonian identity. During 2046 years of recorded history, i.e. from 168 B.C. up until 1878 A.D., there is no evidence of the existence of a Macedonian ethnic consciousness. There is no evidence of the existence of a Macedonian language. There is no evidence of the existence of a Macedonian alphabet. There is no evidence of the existence of a Macedonian Church. These indisputable facts raise a crucial question to FYROM’s fabricators of history. But first, let’s go over two significant events which transpired in the Balkan peninsula, one in 1870 and the other in 1878.
In the 19th century the entire region of Macedonia was still under Ottoman occupation. Numerous demographic studies had been conducted in the vilayets of Monastir and Thessaloniki as late as the 19th century by both Ottoman authorities and European institutions, covering the entire Macedonian region and beyond. Not even one of these ethnic surveys references the existence of a Macedonian ethnicity.
Through the Firman (decree) of 1870, Sultan Abdulaziz allowed the Bulgarian Exarchate to separate from the ecclesiastical authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. From a Turkish point of view, the decree was designed to divide the Christian populations of the decaying Ottoman Empire and define ethnicity in the Balkans by church affiliation. From a much more well-conceived Bulgarian perspective, the new autocephalous status of the Church would encourage Bulgarian nationalism. But there was another method to the madness. Russian influence had also encouraged the Bulgarian schism. Count Nikolai Pavlovich Ignatiev, Russian ambassador to the Ottoman Sublime Porte, upon orders from Tsar Alexander II was promoting a Pan-Slavic movement in the Balkans. This irredentist plan was heavily concentrated in and around the Macedonian region encompassing all the Slav elements with protagonists the Bulgarians and to a lesser extent the Serbs.
The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 ended with the Treaty of San Stefano signed on March 3, 1878. Russian forces had halted their advance at San Stefano (now Yesilkoy), a village on the Sea of Marmara seven miles west of Constantinople. The Pan-Slavist Ignatiev was a signatory of the Treaty. The Treaty of San Stefano forced Turkey to cede most of the region of Macedonia to Bulgaria and created a ‘Greater Bulgaria,’ a Bulgaria spanning from the Romanian border to the north all the way to the foothills of Mt. Olympus to the south, including the port city of Kavala to the east. This allowed Russia to have a Slav satellite in the Balkans where her influence could extend down to the Aegean Sea.
The European Great Powers, fearing this increased Russian influence in southeastern Europe and a possible threat to the trade congested Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits, objected to the terms of the Treaty. Four months following San Stefano, after long negotiations in Berlin mediated by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of Germany and de facto mediator Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli of Great Britain, the Treaty of Berlin revised the terms, giving the Macedonian region back to the Ottomans and allowing for a smaller Bulgaria. One significant side note here: Shortly before Berlin, a secret agreement to be disclosed later as the Cyprus Convention was reached between the British and Ottomans whereby control of Cyprus was granted to Great Britain in exchange for their support of the Ottomans in Berlin.
In the years immediately following the Treaty of Berlin an ideological concept was developed in the context of Bulgarian initiatives to regain the region of Macedonia. The Serbs, headed by politician Stojan Novakovic, who also coveted Macedonian real estate with views of the Aegean Archipelago, employed the same ideology as a means to counteract the Bulgarian influence in Macedonia, thereby promoting Serbian interests in the region. Alas, the conception of Macedonism, an ideology within the irredentist framework of Pan-Slavism.
Macedonism is structured on aggressive Slavic fundamentalism with irredentist political views based upon the notion of unbroken racial continuity between the self-proclaimed ethnic Macedonians of today and the ancient Macedonians.
Which leads to my question to FYROM’s fabricators of history: During 2046 years of recorded history, i.e. from 168 B.C. up until 1878 A.D., there is no documented evidence of the existence of a Macedonian ethnic identity. You base your argument on illusions of ancient Macedonian grandeur in your bloodlines. Can you therefore justify your prolonged 2,000-plus years state of hibernation whereby not one single document exists referencing a Macedonian ethnic consciousness?
Perhaps these self-proclaimed ethnic Macedonians living in FYROM and the Diaspora, along with FYROM’s current political leadership and their lobbyists in Washington, should consult FYROM’s previous leaders and diplomats who realize that usurpation of history is a tactic destined to fail:
“We are Slavs, who came to the region in the sixth century. We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians.”
-Kiro Gligorov, first President of FYROM, 1992,
“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. There is some confusion about the identity of the people of our country.”
-Gyordan Veselinov, FYROM’s Ambassador to Canada, 1999,
and the crème de la crème of testimonials:
“The idea that Alexander the Great belongs to us was at the mind of some outsider groups only. These groups were insignificant in the first years of our independence. But the big problem is that the old Balkan nations have been learned to legitimate themselves through their history. In the Balkans to be recognized as a nation you need to have history of 2,000 to 3,000 years old. Since you (Greece) forced us to invent a history, we did invent it.”
-Denko Maleski, Foreign Minister of FYROM from 1991 to 1993.
In my next segment I will dissect the 19th century Bulgarian terrorist organization VMRO, inspiration to FYROM’s ruling political party VMRO-DPMNE headed by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.
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