Byzantine sources about the greekness of Medieval Macedonia


“…these mountains [the Pindos Mountain-range near Kasto-
ria] were the limits between the [despotate of] `Old and
New Epeiros’, and our Hellenic lands.”

<Georgios Akropolitis, `Annales’, Patrologia
Graecae, vol.140 col: 1196a (80)>


“So, I am down here among Bulgarians, a true Constanti-
a foreign body, living like a Bulgarian…”

<Theophylactos of Ohrid, “To the Despoina Lady
Maria [Alani],” 58-59>

Constantine Poryphorgenitus:


The Slavs of the province of Peloponnesus revolted in the days of the emperor Theophilus and his son Michael, and became independent, and plundered and enslaved and pillaged and burnt and stole. And in the reign of Michael, the son of Theophilus, the protospatharius Theoctistus, surnamed Bryennius, was sent as military governor to the province of Peloponnesus with a great power and force, vis., of Thracians and Macedonians and the rest of the western provinces, to war upon and subdue them.”

De Administrando Imperial, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, 50

I love this one. Using Macedonians (and Thracians) to put down the Slavs.


The territory possessed by these Romani used to extend as far as the river Danube, and once on a time, being minded to cross the river and discover who dwelt beyond the river, they crossed it and came upon unarmed Slavonic nations, who were also called Avars
…and the Slavs on the far side of the river, who were also called Avars,…”

Slavs on the fars side of the river (across the Danube)


“…and, what is more, the nations of those parts, the Croats and Serbs and Zachlumites, Terbuniotes and Kanalites and Diocletians and the Pagani, shook off the reins of the empire of the Romans and became self-governing and independent, subject to none. Princes, as they say, these nations had none, but only ‘zupans’, elders, as is the rule in the other Slavonic regions.”

No ‘Macedonians’ in the Slavic regions.

More from Maurice’s Strategikon (5-6th century):


The nations of the Slavs and the Antes live in the same way and have the same customs…They live among nearly impenetrable forests, rivers, lakes, and marshes, and have made the exits from their settlements branch out in many directions because of the dangers they might face…They live like bandits and love to carry out attacks against their enemies in densely wooded, narrow, and steep places…They are completely faithless and have no regard for treaties, which they agree to more out of fear than by gifts.”

Maurice’s Strategikon, Book 11.4 , page 120

Hardly civilized Macedonians.


By means of such a rumor and the anxiety of their chiefs, each of whom will be worried about his own problems, they will not have the opportunity to get together and cause trouble for our army. Do not station these troops close to the Danube, for the enemy would find out how few they are and consider them unimportant. Nor whould they be very far away, so their will be no delay, it becomes necessary, to have them join the invading army. They should stay about a day’s march from the Danube. This army should cross over into enemy territory suddenly and make its invasion on clear and level ground.”

Book 11.4, 122-123

Slavs over the Danube yet again.

The Miracles of St. Demetrius, Anastasius the Librarian (8th century)

Miracle 9


Among the other miracles I wish to insert this one also, a miracle which the holy martyr Demetrius worked in our time. There was a certain bishop from the country of the Africans, Cyprian by name, who cared for the true priesthood and led a life most deserving of God. He arranged to journey to the queen of cities, Byzantium, on a pressing matter of necessity. And when they had sailed for many days and had already drawn near to the regions of Greece, he was captured by the most fierce Slavs together with all his [companions]. When they had divided these captives among themselves, the [Slavs] enslaved the aforementioned bishop together with his [companions]. When these things had been done in this way, they returned to their native places, and each barbarian placed the burden of slavery upon his captive according as he wished. Bishop Cyprian managed his lord’s stores and distributed his foodstuffs wisely and with foresight, and in praiseworthy fashion took comfort in prayers, vigils, and fasts. And he said to the Lord, “Although I am without any merit, you appointed me a shepherd of your flock; how have I now been brought to such a state that I have been demoted from such rank to the service of the barbarians ? But I call to mind that this has happened to me on account of my sins, and that it is for this reason that I am held ensnared by this affliction. Who will guide my sheep now that their shepherd has been captured by barbarian animals ?” While he was weeping about these and similar things, a beautiful young man, decorous in form, with a military bearing and appearance, said to him, “If you want to be freed from the slavery in which you are held and to be rescued from the barbarians, rise and follow me. Watch yourself, while we are walking, lest you say anything at all to me; but let us march each striving for quiet and praying to God in our minds.” Then the bishop replied to him, “Who are you and from where have you come here ?” The other said to him, “I am called Demetrius, and I am a soldier of the great emperor. My house stands in the middle of the city of Thessalonica, to which I will lead you without harm if you follow me.”

The contradiction between the barbarian Slavs and the civilized Thessaloniki with it’s loyal Saint, Demetrius, is obvious.


“These people (i.e. the barbarian invaders) have never enjoyed the
imperial benevolence, and have no Hellenic manners to behave…”

“The Administrator’s Report on the Crimean Peninsula.” (in 964?): #2


“Marianos, speaking in their language, advised the Latins… not to
fight against fellow-Christians. But one of the Latins hit him… with
his cross-bow… a weapon quite unknown to the Hellenes…”

Anna Komnini (in 1148-53).
“Alexiad”: 10.8.5-6


“Because we are Hellenes in terms of stock, as our language and ancestral education betray… And also, this land… Hellenes always have been inhabiting…”

Georgios Plithon Gemistos (in 1418)
“About the Matters in Peloponnisos”:


“…and one can not but bless himself for not being a barbarian but
having been born an Hellene. The same thing saying myself…”

Nikiforos Grigoras (in 1327).
“Epistle to Sir Andronikos Zaridis”:


“You push them back… and preserve… the freedom and faith of all
the Hellenes who live in Asia…”

Dimitrios Kydonis (in 1366).
“Advising the Romans”:


“The military punishments are to be pronounced before the divisions of soldiers both in Roman and Hellenic.”

Emperor Maurikios? (590-620?).
“On Strategy”: 1.8


“Because these words do not come from (the lips of) people who are unwise or ignorant of what is precise and commendable in the language
of Hellas

Arethas of Kaisaria (in 900s), “Public Anathematization of Polygamy”


“His pronunciation (i.e. of M.Psellos) was such as you would expect of a Latin who had come to our country as a young man and learnt the
Hellenic (language)
thoroughly, but was not quite clear in his articulation.”

Anna Komnini (in 1148-53), “Alexiad”: 5:8.8