Ancient Greeks references to Macedonians as Greeks





How highly should we honour the Macedonians, who for the greater part of their lives never cease from fighting with the barbarians for the sake of the security of Greece? For who is not aware that Greece would have constantly stood in the greater danger, had we not been fenced by the Macedonians and the honourable ambition of their kings?

 [The Histories of Polybius, IX, 35, 2 (Loeb, W.R. Paton). ]

Speech of Lykiskos, the representative of Akarnania to the Lakedaimonians (Spartans):



Let what I have said on this head suffice, and let those who are disposed to be cautious pronounce my words to have no bearing on the present situation. I will now revert to what my adversaries themselves speak of as the main question. And this is that if matters are now in the same state as when you made an alliance with them, you should decide to maintain your original attitude, for that is a matter of principle, but if the situation has radically changed, you are justified now in discussing the requests made to you afresh. I ask you, therefore, Cleonicus and Chlaeneas, what allies had you when you first invited the Spartans to act with you? Had you not the whole of Greece? But who make common cause with you at present or what kind of alliance do you invite them to enter? Far from being similar, the circumstances are now the reverse of what they formerly were. Then your rivals in the struggle for supremacy and renown were the Achaeans and Macedonians, peoples of your OWN RACE, and Philip was their commander. But now Greece is threatened with a war against men of a foreign race who intend to enslave her, men whom you fancy you are calling in against Philip, but are calling in really against yourselves and the whole of Greece.

 [Polybius, Histories, IX, 37]




“Now I am not unaware that many of the Hellenes look upon the King’s power as invincible. Yet one may well marvel at them if they really believe that the power which was subdued to the will of a mere barbarian–an ill-bred barbarian at that–and collected in the cause of slavery, could not be scattered by A MAN OF THE BLOOD OF HELLAS, of ripe experience in warfare, in the cause of freedom–and that too although they know that while it is in all cases difficult to construct a thing, to destroy it is, comparatively, an easy task.Bear in mind that the men whom the world most admires and honors are those who unite in themselves the abilities of the statesman and the general. When, therefore, you see the renown which even in a single city is bestowed on men who possess these gifts, what manner of eulogies must you expect to hear spoken of you, when AMONG ALL THE HELLENES you shall stand forth as a statesman who has worked for the good of Hellas, and AS A GENERAL WHO HAS OVERTHROWN THE BARBARIANS?”

 [Isocrates, Speeches and Letters, “To Philip”, 5.139, 5.140]



“As I continued to say many things of this tenor, those who heard me were inspired with the hope that when my discourse should be published you and the Athenians would bring the war to an end, and, having conquered your pride, would adopt some policy for your mutual good. Whether indeed they were foolish or sensible in taking this view is a question for which they, and not I, may fairly be held to account; but in any case, while I was still occupied with this endeavour, you and Athens anticipated me by making peace before I had completed my discourse; and you were wise in doing so, for to conclude the peace, no matter how, was better than to continue to be oppressed by the evils engendered by the war. [8] But although I was in joyful accord with the resolutions which were adopted regarding the peace, and was convinced that they would be beneficial, not only to us, BUT ALSO TO YOU AND ALL THE OTHER HELLENES, I could not divorce my thought from the possibilities connected with this step, but found myself in a state of mind where I began at once to consider how the results which had been achieved might be made permanent for us, and how our city could be prevented from setting her heart upon further wars, after a short interval of peace.”

 [Isocrates, Speeches and Letters, “To Philip”, 5.8]



“And, now, is justly the barbarian <Xerxes> praised by the Athenians for capturing Hellenes? As for Alexander who is a Hellene and captured Hellenes, not only did he not imprison his opponents, but enlisted them and made them his allies instead of enemies… “

 <`Pseudo-Kallisthenes’ 2.4.5; Oration of Demosthenes>



No king of the Hellenes had ever conquered Egypt with the exception only of Alexander, and that he did without war…”

<`Pseudo-Kallisthenes’ 2.4.7-8; Oration of Demosthenes>



They recalled that at the start of his reign Darius had issued orders for the shape of the scabbard of the Persian scimitar to be altered to the shape used by the Greeks, and that the Chaldeans had immediately interpreted this as meaning that rule over the Persians would pass to those people whose arms Darius had copied.

 (Quintus Curtius Rufus 3.3)



Alexander… then reached the country of the Ariaspas [an ancient Iranian people]… and found out that these people did not handle their public affairs as the Barbarians of the region, but delivered justice in a fashion close to that of the best Greeks, so he left them free and gave them as much of the neighboring lands they asked”

 [Anabasis of Alexander, 3.27.4-5]



“They say that these were the clans collected by Amphictyon himself in the Greek assemblyThe Macedonians managed to join and the entire Phocian race… In my day there were thirty members: six each from Nikopolis, Macedonia, and Thessaly – and from the Boeotoi that were the first that departed from Thessalia and that’s when they were called Aioloi – two from each of the Phokeis and Delphi, one from the ancient Dorida, the Lokroi send one from the Ozoloi and one from the ones living beyond Evoia, one from the Evoeis. From the Peloponnesians, one from Argos, one from Sikion, one from Korinthos and Megara, one from Athens…”

 [Pausanias, Description of Greece, Phocis Book VIII, 4]



Even though Xerxes had a huge host with him, he was a barbarian and was defeated by the prudence of the Hellenes; whereas Alexander the Hellene has already engaged in 13 battles and has not been defeated once.”

<`Pseudo-Kallisthenes’ 2.3.4.-5; Oration of Demosthenes>



The 38th book contains the completion of the disaster of the Hellenes. For though both the whole of Hellas and her several parts had often met with mischance, yet to none of her former defeats can we more fittingly apply, the name of disaster with all it signifies than to the events of my own time. In the time I am speaking of a comon misfortune befell the Peloponnesians, the Boiotians, the Phokians, the Euboians, the Lokrians, some of the cities on the Ionians Gulf, and finally the Macedonians.”

[Polyvius 38.8]


“And Macedonia, of course, is a part of Greece.”

(Strab. VII, Frg. 9 [Loeb, H.L. Jones])


“Belistiche, a woman from the coast of Macedonia, won with the pair of foals … at the hundred

and twenty-ninth Olympics.”

(Paus. Eleia VIII, 11 [Loeb])


“Your ancestors invaded Macedonia and the rest of Greece and did us great harm, though we had done

them no prior injury; … (and) I have been appointed leader of the Greeks …”


(Arr., Anab. Alex. II, 14, 4)


Three brothers of the lineage of Temenos came as banished men from Argos to Illyria,

Gauanes and Aeropos and Perdiccas.” 

(Herod. VIII, 137, 1 [Loeb])


“For in the days of king Deucalion it (i.e. a Makednian tribe) inhabited the land of Phthiotis, then in the time

of Dorus, son of Hellen, the country called Histiaean, under Ossa and Olympus; driven by the Cadmeians

from this Histiaean country it settled about Pindus in the parts called Macedonian; thence again it migrated

to Dryopia, and at last came from Dryopia into Peloponnesus, where it took the name of Dorian.”


(Herod. I, 56, 3 [Loeb, A.D. Godley])


And she conceived and bore to Zeus, who delights in the thunderbolt, two sons, Magnes and Macedon,

rejoicing in horses, who dwell round about Pieria and Olympus.”

(Hesiod, Catalogues of Women and Eoiae 3 [Loeb, H.G. Evelyn-White])


  • “And even to the present day the Thracians, Illyrians, and Epeirotes live on the flanks of the Greeks (though this was still more the case formerly than now); indeed most of the country that at the present time is indisputably Greece is held by the barbarians — Macedonia and certain parts of Thessaly by the Thracians, and the parts above Acarnania and Aetolia by the Thesproti, the Cassopaei, the Amphilochi, the Molossi, and the Athamanes — Epeirotic tribes.” 

[Strabo, Geography,book 7,VII,1] 


 “The Acarnanians, and the Ætolians, like many other nations, are at present worn out, and exhausted by continual wars. The Ætolians however, in conjunction with the Acarnanians, during a long period withstood the Macedonians and the rest of Greeks “ 



(Strabo, Geography, Book 10, Chapter 2, 23) 





Callisthenes then turned to the other side of the picture and delivered a long list of home truths about the Macedonians, pointing out that the rise of Philip’s power had been brought about by the divisions among the rest of the Greeks,

(Plut. 7.53, page 311)



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