Historians Regarding the Greek Ethnicity of Ancient Macedonians

Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond (15 November 1907 – 24 March 2001), probably the foremost authority in ancient Macedonian History 


(1) A rare collection of sources verifying the Greekness of Ancient Macedonians

 Bury & Meiggs (1985) “A History of Greece”

      page 415

            “The Macedonian people and their kings were of Greek stock,

as  their traditions and the scanty remains of their   language combine

to testify.”


 *  H. Bengston  (1988) “A History of Greece: from the beginnings  to the Byzantine era”

      page 186.

Bengston makes the following statement pertaining to the origins of the Macedonians:

They should be included in the group of North-West Greek  tribes

On the same page he also states that :

the majority of modern historians have correctly argued for

the Hellenic   origin of  the Macedonians.


 * N.G.L Hammond (1986) “A History of Greece to 332 B.C.”

page 651. 

Greece and Macedon were akin in blood and culture.”

 * N.G.L Hammond (1992) “The Miracle that was Macedonia”

page 206.

Hammond states:

As members of the Greek race and speakers of the Greek language,

the Macedonians shared in the  ability to initiate

ideas and create political forms.”

 * M. Opperman (1996) “The Oxford Classical Dictionary 3rd ed.- Macedonia,Cults”

page 905.

In this prestigious source Opperman states:

Nowadays historians generally agree that the Macedonians ethnos

form part of the Greek ethnos; hence  they also  shared in the common  religious

and cultural features of the Hellenic world

 * U. Wilcken (1967) “Alexander the Great”

page 22

Wilcken states:

And yet when we take into account the political conditions,

religion and morals of the

Macedonians our conviction is strengthened that

They were a Greek race and akin to the Dorians”


* R. Malcolm Errington, (1993) ‘A History of Macedonia’,University of California Press, February ,

page 7

           Prof. Errington states:

           “Macedonian horsemen together with those  of their Thessalian neighbours were later regarded as the best in GREECE”   

Robin Lane Fox

The British Professor Robin Lane Fox. Another famous supporter of the Greekness of ancient Macedonia

* Robin Lane Fox‘Alexander the Great’,

page 104

Robin Lane Fox explains how ancient Macedonians were viewed:

“To his ancestors (to a Persian’s ancestors) Macedonians were only known

as ‘yona takabara’, the ‘Greeks who wear shields    on  their heads’, an allusion to their broad-brimmed hats”  

 * Richard Stoneman, ‘Alexander the Great’,

page 14

           Richard Stoneman writes:

In favour of the Greek identity of the Macedonians is what

              we know of their language: the place-names,  

              names of the months and many of the personal names,

              especially royal names, which are Greek in roots and form.

             ’ This suggests that they did not merely use Greek as a lingua

               franca, but spoke it as natives (though with  a local accent

              which turned Philip into Bilip, for example).  

 * Eugene.N.Borza (1990) “On the Shadows of Olympus”, Princeton: Princeton University Press,

page 84

Eugene Borza states:

“The macedonians themselves may have originated from the

     same population pool that produced other Greek  peoples.

 * Ernst Badian (1982)Studies in the history of art Vol 10: Macedonia and Greece in Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Times”

  “We have now become accustomed to regarding Macedonians

              as northern Greeks’ and, in extreme  cases, to hearing

             Alexander’s conquests described as in essence Greek Conquests. The former

              CERTAINLY became TRUE, in Greek consciousness in the course of the Hellenistic age.


* Charles Edson, Ancient Macedonian Studies in honor of Charles F. Edson’

               Important West Greek elements remained in the Pindos. These are

those whom Herodotus called ‘Makednon ethnos”

* Richard Billows ‘Antigonus the One-Eyed’

pages 18-20

   “The Macedonians, then, were probably a Greek people (though certainly

            with an admixture of Illyrians and Thracians) akin in language and culture

             to their neighbors to the south and west, the Thessalians and Epeirots”


* Jonathan M. Hall (1998) “Ethnic identity in Greek antiquity” Cambridge University Press

  That the origin of this new population should be the supposed
              Dorian of northwest Greece seemed to be confirmed by the early appearance of cist graves at Kalbaki in Epeiros, Kozani, Vergina and Khaukhitsa  in Makedonia.“  

* Robin Osborne (2004) Greek History Book, Routledge,

page 127

             “Although Macedonians were accepted as Greek, after some discussion, <

              for the purposes of competing at the Olympic games, and although the

            language of the Macedonians appears most probably to have been a dialect of Greek related to

the dialects of north-west Greek, some Macedonian customs were distinct”

* M. C. Howatson (1989) The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature Book by  Oxford University Press,

page 339


             “Thus the kings were of largely Dorian Greek stock, they presumably  spoke a form of Dorian Greek and  their cultural tradition had Greek      features. Whether or not the Macedonian people spoke a Greek dialect or a foreign tongue  is still a matter of debate, but such evidence as exists suggests that they spoke a distinctive dialect of  Greek, perhaps related to Aeolic”


*Anthony E. David, ‘A Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt’

After Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 BC, the country was ruled by a line of Macedonian Greeks who descended from *Alexander’s general, Ptolemy

* George Cawkwell (1978) “Philip of Macedon,” Fellow of the University College, Oxford,

pp. 22-3, 

The Macedonians were Greeks. Their language was Greek, to judge by their personal names and by the names of the months of the calendar;

* David G. Hogarth, “Philip and Alexander of Macedon”

Page 8

The king [of macedon] was chief in the first instance of a race of plain-dwellers, who held themselves to be, like him, of Hellenic stock 

Page 80

It [Macedonia] was inhabited by sturdy gentry and peasantry and by agile highlanders, all composed of the same racial elements as the Greeks

Donald Kagan

Prof. Donald Kagan in a lecture about ancient Macedonians

* Donald Kagan (2007) Introduction to Ancient Greek History

 Macedonians were fundamentally Greeks, that is to say they were Greek-Speakers and Ethnically Greek.

* Walter M. Ellis (1994) Ptolemy of Egypt

Page X

I fear that I have not been wholly consistent in my use of the term “Macedonian.” For the record, let me state that I believe Macedonians, ancient and modern, are Greeks

* Eric Carlton (1992) Occupation: The Policies and Practices of Military Conquerors

Page 55

Scholars are now more or less agreed that they were one group of many Dorian tribes that had made their way into Greece from the Balkans in successive waves probably from as early as the eleventh century BC

* Alan Fildes , Alexander the Great, son of the gods,

 page 12

Although the Macedonians spoke a Greek dialect, worshipped Greek gods and traced their nation’s origins from Olympian gods, their customes and northern Doric accent were markedly different from those of the people of the rest of Greece, who saw the Macedonia as a largely insignificant, backward monarchy

* Theodor Mommsen, (1909) The Provinces of the Roman Empire, vol.1, translated by W. P. Dickson, from the 1909 edition (Chicago, Ares Publishers , 1974),


While the Macedonians proper on the lower course of the Haliacmon (Vistritza) and the Axius (Vardar), as far as the Strymon, were an ORIGINALLY Greek stock, 

* David Sacks (1995) “A Dictionary of the Ancient Greek World”, Oxford University


“Historians refer to this enlarged Greek society as the Hellenistic world. At the start of his reign, the 20 year old Alexander was the crowned king only of Macedon- a crude Greek nation northeast of mainland Greece-…. His mother Olympias, came from the ruling clan of the northwestern Greek region called Epirus…

* Martin Sicker (2000) ‘The Pre-Islamic Middle East’

page 102, 

Moreover, he was a Macedonian, from the backwater of the Greek world

* L.S. Stavrianos“The Balkans since 1453,

page 19,

Recent philological and archaeological research indicates that the ancient Macedonians were in fact Greeks

* Peter G Tsouras ,“Alexander: Invincible King of Macedonia” ,

 page 3, 

The macedonians were Greek in language and blood

* Philip Hughes ‘A History of the Church Volume 1

page 4 

The Macedonians, though the language they spoke was undoubtedly a Greek dialect, and though they were probably Greeks by blood

* R. M. Cook (1962), “The Greeks until Alexander”,

page. 23

Macedonia and Epirus were the buffers of Greece in Europe..

* Hermann Bengtson, History of Greece’University of Ottawa Press, 1988.

 pgs 185-186. 

So the majority of modern historians, admittedly with the noteworthy exception of Julius Kaerst , have argued CORRECTLY for the Hellenic origin of the Macedonians. They should be included in the group of the North-West Greek tribes .

* Mortimer Chambers (1997) “The Western Experience”,

 page 79,

Macedonia (or Macedon) was an ancient, somewhat backward kingdom in northern Greece. Its emergence as a Hellenic (Greek) power was due to a resourceful king, Philip II (359-336) 

* Jacob Abbott , Alexander the Great 

Now Alexander was born the heir to the throne of one of the Grecian kingdoms. He possessed, in a very remarkable degree, the energy, and enterprise, and military skill so characteristic of the Greeks and Romans.

* John V.A. Fine (1983) ‘The Ancient Greeks: A Critical History’ Harvard University Press,

 pgs 605-608 

Modern scholarship, after many generations of argument, now almost unanimously recognises them as Greeks, a branch of the Dorians and ‘NorthWest Greeks’ who, after long residence in the north Pindus region, migrated eastwards 

* Rene Guerdan (1969), French Historian 

The Macedonians are and have always been Greeks, and the creation of a “Socialist Republic of Macedonia” with Skopje as capital is only a sad farce.

* David H. Levinson, Encyclopaedia of World Cultures

Page 239

It should be noted that there is no connection between the Macedonians of the time of Alexander the great who were related to other Hellenic tribes and the Macedonians of today, who are of Slavic Origin and related to the Bulgarians.

* Bim Sherman (1930)’The Century’

Page 527

“And yet the Hindus of the Punjab were simply old-fashioned Hindus, as the

Macedonians were old-fashioned Greeks. ”

* Ernest Barker “The European Inheritance”

The Macedonians were backward Greeks, with a good deal of Illyrian and other

admixture, a rustic dialect, and a native pantheon

* Archaeological Institute of America (1948)

The Macedonians were Greeks in contradistinction to Barbarians, but they lived

on the periphery of the Greek world, far removed in space and spirit from the rest of Greeks.

* Benjamin I. Wheeler, Alexander the Great: The Merging of East and West in Universal History  –

That the Macedonians were Greek by race there can be no longer any doubt.

They were the northernmost fragments of the race left stranded behind the barriers..”

* Norman Karol Gottwald  “The Politics of Ancient Israel” 

Although the Macedonians were Greek in language and culture, they were not primary carriers of Greek political democracy.

* Nigel Guy Wilson (2006) Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece

The latest archaeological findings have confirmed that Macedonia took it’s name from a tribe of tall , Greek-speaking people , the Makednoi ...”

* Mark Grossman “Biographical Dictionary of World Military Leaders”

When Alexander was just a child, his father was making Macedon (Now Macedonia in northern Greece) into one of the Greatest Greek city-states, as well as the dominant power in the Balkans.”

* Rober Morkot, The Penguin Historical Atlas of ancient Greece.

Page 70

in the northwest, the peoples of Molossis, Orestis and Lynkestis spoke west Greek and although they absorbed other groups into their territory, they were essentially “Greeks”. The main difference between Macedonia and the city states of the south was that it was ruled by a king and powerful nobility.

* J.J. Pollitt Art and Experience in Classical Greece

The Macedonians were ethnically related to the Greeks and spoke a dialect of Greek, but their loose feudal kingdom the northern border of the Greek world had always been regarded as culturally backward.

* Eric Carlton“Occupation – The policies and practices of Military Conquerors”

Page 55

Scholars are now more or less agreed that they were one group of many Dorian tribes that had made their way into Greece from the Balkans in successive waves probably from as early as the eleventh century BC.

* J.R. Hamilton “Alexander the Great”

That the Macedonians were of Greek stock seems certain.

* Joseph M. Bryant, Moral codes and social structure in ancient Greece,

 The Macedonians were of Greek stock, though for centuries they had remained outside the mainstream of Hellenic civilization.

* N. Jayapalan “comprehensive study of Aristotle”,

This was Macedonia in the strict sense the land where settled those immigrants of Greek stock afterwards called Macedonians.


* Kathryn A. Bard, Encyclopaedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt,

Page 460,

The Macedonians were originally one of several Greek tribes living on the northern frontier of the Hellenic world

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