Risto Stefov and the falsification of Ancient Macedonian History Part II

Australian Macedonian Advisory Council

A couple of days ago, in an article entitled ´Australian Macedonian Advisory Council and the falsification of Ancient Macedonian history Part 1″ signed by Risto Stefov http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/79623

, we had the opportunity to witness once more the same desperate attempts by the same author with compilations of isolated phrases from authors which in reality contradict his main claims, aimed to somehow assist the mythology disseminating by FYROM´s Slavonic people upon unsuspected readers.

In general, it is productive to cite as a supporting evidence someone who has specialized knowledge of the specific field in question, and even more if he appears to be one of the leading authorities. What is counter-productive though, is the selective quotation applied blatantly in the article of Mr. Stefov, while simultaneously it is omitted completely anything which doesn´t fit the author´s political agenda.

Apparently, since the works of Eugene Borza - the so-called “Macedonian specialist” are overwhelmingly accepted, promoted and invoked as quasi-sacred documents by the Slavs of modern FYROM, then I guess Mr. Stefov and his people should also accept Borza´s account which rebukes their self-made erroneous assumption/myth upon their own ´identity´. The clearest relevant statement is to be found by Prof. Borza in his “Macedonian Redux” [1] : “Modern Slavs, both Bulgarians and “Macedonians”, cannot establish a link with antiquity, as the Slavs entered the Balkans centuries after the demise of the ancient Macedonian kingdom. Only the most radical Slavic factions—mostly émi-grés in the United States, Canada, and Australia—even attempt to establish a connection to antiquity.”. Essentially the same authority used previously by Mr. Stefov, has managed to contradict and debunks his allegations in his own articles, attempting to link Slavic people with antiquity. At least now we meet a couple of people who belong to these “most radical Slavic Factions”!!

In another instance, Prof. Borza adds further ” During medieval and modem times, Macedonia was known as a Balkan region inhabited by ethnic Greeks, Albanians, Vlachs, Serbs, Bulgarians, Jews, and Turks.” Sadly there goes shot down the myth of “ethnic Macedonians” promoted by the Slavs of modern FYROM in Macedonia during medieval and modern times.”[2]

“the Macedonians are a newly emergent people in search of past to help legitimize their precarious present as they attempt to establish their singular identity in a Slavic world dominated historically by Serbs and Bulgarians.”[3]

From the same source we read: “The emergence of a Macedonian nationality is an offshoot of the joint Macedonian and Bulgarian struggle against Hellenization. With the establishment of an independent Bulgarian state and church in the 1870s, however, the conflict took a new turn. Until this time the distinction between “Macedonian” and “Bulgarian” hardly existed beyond the dialect differences between standard “eastern” Bulgarian and that spoken in the region of Macedonia.”[4] In essence Eugene Borza accepts the testimonies of the vast majority of contemporary scholars, travellers, diplomats and other eye-witnesses who identified the ancestors of FYROM´s Slavs plainly as Bulgarians.

Therefore, I shall limit myself to restate the American´s scholar main conclusions in regards to the Slavs of Modern FYROM:

1. Modern Slavs, both Bulgarians and “Macedonians”, CANNOT establish a link with antiquity.

2. During Medieval and Modern times, there were NOT any “ethnic Macedonians” but merely Macedonia was “a region inhabited by ethnic Greeks, Albanians, Vlachs, Serbs, Bulgarians, Jews, and Turks”.

3. The emergence of a Macedonian nationality is an OFFSHOOT of the joint Macedonian and Bulgarian struggle against Hellenization.

4. Until the 1870s, there was HARDLY any distinction between the terms “Macedonian” and “Bulgarian” beyond the dialect differences between standard “eastern” Bulgarian and that spoken in the region of Macedonia.”

How is it possible then that so many and superbly competent scholars verify along with the massive amount of testimonies by self-witnessing contemporary accounts the Bulgarian origins of Slavs from modern FYROM, but they shamefully insist on denying the reality?? Simply because all these accounts hit upon uncomfortable truths.

It is depressing that the average citizen of FYROM is bombarded daily with such flagrant fairy tales of an alleged connection with ancient people, instead of tackling the most pressing problems of this state, namely unemployment, corruption, poverty, etc.

So, please, Mr. Stefov and others who frequently adopt and treat Prof. Borza´s work as having undisputed diachronic ´value´, at last make up your minds and stop your hypocrisy and double standards. Its you who always find it so easy to distribute ad naseum over and over Prof. Borza´s work as being essentially beyond any criticism because they originate from an “authority”, as commonly stated by the ‘Slavic internet warriors of FYROM’. You cannot simply selectively isolate and use only what fits your political agenda.

Furthermore, before we have an extensive analysis on the nature of ancient Macedonians, I have to highlight the striking inconsistencies in the specific text used by Risto Stefov. The claim in the beginning “From the surviving literary sources (Hesiod, Herodotus, and Thucydides) there is little information about Macedonian origins” is partly correct but appears a little misleading. The surviving literary sources points out ancient Macedonians being Greek. For instance, Professor NGL Hammond, an eminent historian, generally accepted as foremost authority in ancient Macedonian history, convincingly mentions about Hesiod: “Hesiod first mentioned ‘Makedon’, the eponym of the people and the country, as a son of Zeus, a grandson of Deukalion, and so a first cousin of Aeolus, Dorus, and Xuthus; in other words he considered the ‘Makedones’ to be an outlying branch of the Greek-speaking tribes, with a distinctive dialect of their own, ‘Macedonian’.” [5]

To say the least, it is quite comical indeed for Mr. Stefov to insist the promotion of the outdated – today - account of R.A. Crossland [1982] when in the meantime there is more certainty and the specialists classify Ancient Macedonian as a dialect of Greek; specifically North-West Greek, as already been attested by most recent accounts like of the eminent linguist’s Olivier Masson [6]. Obviously R.A. Crossland´s account lacked knowledge of the major recent archaeological discoveries like the Pella Katadesmos which shed more light among specialists to the Ancient Macedonian language question and force them to consider it now as a Greek dialect.

Essentially based on the literary available evidence we can conclude the following:

1. Alexander the Great was Greek

Alexander´s Greek descent, and in general Argead Greek lineage went unquestioned by ancient Greek and Roman writers, revealing a widely belief in ancient Greek and Roman world (including of course Macedonians themselves), the Argead royal house were Greeks descended from Argos of Peloponnese. The founder of their house belonged to the royal house of Argos, the “Temenidae”, descendants of Temenus, whose ancestor was Heracles, son of Zeus. (Diod. 17.1.5, 17.4.1; Plut, Alex 2.1-2, Fortuna 1.10 = Moratia 332a; Justin 11.4.5, 7.6.10-12, Theop. (FGTH US F3SS - Tzetzes, ad Lycophr 1439); Paus. ´Description of Greece´ 1.9.8, 7.8; Velleius Paterculus: “The Roman History” Book I.5; Isocrates: ´To Philip´ 32; Herod. 5.22.1-2, 8.43; Thuc. 2, 99, 3; Curt. 4.6.29)

2. Earliest accounts verify the earliest Macedonians as Greeks

The earliest literary accounts like Hesiodus (700 BCE) identified the earliest Macedonians as part of the greek world thus greek-speakers. Obviously if Macedonians werent Greeks but foreign people to Greeks, they wouldnt be part at all in Hesiodus´ account as Greek. After all its really irrational to have a supposedly ´non-greek´ people while migrating to rename existing foreign toponymies into Greek, like the renaming from the earliest Macedonians of the original Phrygian place-name ´Edessa´ to the Greek ´Aigae´.

3. Ancient Macedonians considered themselves as Greek

The surviving literary and archaeological evidence during Classical and Hellenistic Ages shows clearly that Macedonians considered themselves to be Greek, carriers to spread the Greek language and civilization to Asia while revenging Persians for their “crimes against Macedonia and the rest of Greece”.(Herod. 9.45; Diod. 16.93.1; Arrian 2.14.4, 3.18.11-12, I.16.10, “Indica” XXXIII; Plut- Alex. XXXIII, Moralia 332A; Curt. 5.6.1, 5.8.1; Joseph 11.8.5; Polyvius 7.9.4, 18.4.8; Liv. XXXI,29, 15; IG X,2 1 1031)

4. Ancient Greeks viewed Macedonians as Greeks

Ancient Greeks considered Macedonians as Greeks and specifically of Dorian stock. In fact ancient Greek accounts attributed some of the most patriotic Greek sentiments ever expressed to Macedonian rulers (Herodotos), described memories of the Greekness of the Makedones (Hesiodos, Hellanikos, Herodotos), mentioned their participations among Greek troops and folk, membership of Macedonia in the associations of the Greeks, namely the Delphic Amphictyony which had long been an important Panhellenic (Herodotos, Thucydides, Aichines). Hence they all verify the same conclusion. Greeks viewed Macedonians as Greeks.

(Polyb., IX.35.2 (Loeb, W.R. Paton), IX.37, 38.8; Isocr, “To Philip”, 5.139, 5.140, 5.8; Callisth. ´Oration of Demosthenes´ 2.3.4.-5, 2.4.5, 2.4.7-8 ; Curtius 3.3; Arrian ´Anab. Alex´ 2.14. 4, 3.27.4-5; Pausanias, ´Phocis´ VIII.4, Eleia VIII, 11 [Loeb]) ; Strab. VII.Frg. 9 [Loeb, H.L. Jones]), VII. Fr 7.1, 10.2.23; Herod. VIII.137. 1 [Loeb]), I.56.3 [Loeb, A.D. Godley]); Hesiod, Catalogues of Women and Eoiae 3 [Loeb, H.G. Evelyn-White])

5. Foreign nations considered Macedonians as Greeks

The ancient Roman, Persian, Indian, Jewish, Babylonian and Carthagenian testimonies are listing Macedonians among the other Hellenes, speaking the same language and in general Macedonians are portrayed as Hellenes fighting the Barbarians. (Curt. 3.3.6, 3.7.3, 3.12.27, 4.1.10, 4.5.11, 4.5.14, 4.6.29, 4.8. 13-14, 4.10.1, 5.6.1, 5.7.3, 5.7.11, 6.9.35, 7.5.36, 7.6.1, 7.6.35; Liv. XXXI.29.15, XLV, 32.22; Cicero Orations; Ceasar ´Civ. Wars´ 111.103.3; Vel. Patercul. ´Roman history´ I.5; Justinus Un. History 7.1, 11.3.6; Aelian ´Var Historia´ VII.8, 12.37(39); Pliny ´Natural history´; Tacitus ´Annals of Imperial Rome´ Chap. 8 pg 221; Persian inscr. of ca 513, Persian story of Zulqarneen, Bahram Yasht 3.34; Edicts of Ashoka V & XIII; Maccabees 1:10, 8:18, Megillah 11a, Dan 11:2, 10:20, Isiaiah chap. 19.20, 19.23, Joel Cahp 3.v6, Habacoum cap. 2.v5; Josephus ´Antiquities of the jews´ Book 11 par 337, 109, 148, 184, 286, Book 8 para. 61, 95, 100, 154, 213, Book 10 para. 273, Book 12 para. 322, 414, Philo of Alexandria, Maimonides; Babylonian Diaries Diary No -168. A14-15)

6. Ancient Macedonian names are Greek

In contrast with all their non-greek neighbours (Illyrians, Thracians, etc) ancient Macedonian names are either Greek or derive from Greek roots in a percentage of over 95%. According to the encyclopaedia Bolsaya Sovetskaya “In 200 names born from Macedonians born before the ascent of Philip II (359b.C.), hardly 5% are of non-greek origin. Non-Greek names in small numbers can also be found in other Greek tribes. We know some names of Gods and Heroes worshiped by the Macedonians. Among them, 39 are either pan-hellenic or worshiped by other Greek tribes, either purely macedonian, but with a Greek etymology [root]. 2 come from names of cities with a non-hellenic root but with a greek termination syllabe 3 are Thracian 1 is Egyptian All of the names of Macedonian Feasts that we know are Greek. Regarding the names of the months, 6 are common with other Greek calendars, and at least two more are also purely Greek. The idea that the Macedonians took the names of the months during their ´hellenisation´ is out of the question, as in that case they would have taken an integral Greek calendar instead of creating an amalgam of different greek calendars and, more important, they would never invent themselves two Greek names of months. ” All these of course are taking place at a time where the Illyrian and Thracian names have in their vast majority non-greek etymologies.

7. Ancient Macedonian was a Greek dialect

According to the eminent linquist, Olivier Masson, writing in 1996 for the “Oxford Classical Dictionary: ´Macedonian Language”. “For a long while Macedonian onomastics, which we know relatively well thanks to history, literary authors, and epigraphy, has played a considerable role in the discussion. In our view the Greek character of most names is obvious and it is difficult to think of a Hellenization due to wholesale borrowing. ´Ptolemaios´ is attested as early as Homer, ´Ale3avdros´ occurs next to Mycenaean feminine a-re-ka-sa-da-ra- (´Alexandra´), ´Laagos´, then ´Lagos´, matches the Cyprian ´Lawagos´, etc. The small minority of names which do not look Greek, like ´Arridaios´ or ´Sabattaras´, may be due to a substratum or adstatum influences (as elsewhere in Greece). Macedonian may then be seen as a Greek dialect, characterised by its marginal position and by local pronunciations (like ´Berenika´ for ´Ferenika´, etc.). Yet in contrast with earlier views which made of it an Aeolic dialect (O.Hoffmann compared Thessalian) we must by now think of a link with North-West Greek (Locrian, Aetolian, Phocidian, Epirote). This view is supported by the recent discovery at Pella of a curse tablet (4th cent. BC) which may well be the first ´Macedonian´ text attested (provisional publication by E.Voutyras; cf. the Bulletin Epigraphique in Rev.Et.Grec.1994, no.413); the text includes an adverb ´opoka´ which is not Thessalian. We must wait for new discoveries, but we may tentatively conclude that Macedonian is a dialect related to North-West Greek.”

(Pausanias Messeniaka XXIX.3; Strabo 7.7.8; Plutarch Pyrrhus II.1, XI.4; . Livius XXXI.29.15, XLV; Curtius VII.5.29, VII 9.25 - 11.7)

8. Alexander´s campaign Pan-Hellenic character

Alexander the Great launched a Pan-hellenic campaign against Persia and through his conquests spread Hellenism in a vast colonizing wave throughout the Near East and created economically and culturally, a single world stretching from Greece to the Punjab in India with Greek (koine) as lingua franca. He built a network of almost thirty Greek cities throughout the empire, a building program that was expanded by later Hellenistic rulers. These became enclaves of Greek culture. Here gymnasia, baths, and theaters were built. The upper classes spoke koine Greek, wore Greek dress, absorbed Greek learning, adopted Greek customs, and took part in Greek athletics. Ancient sources reports as such and the pan-hellenic character of his campaign were the definitive statements of the Macedonian royalty and nobility. (Aelian ´Varia Historia´ 13.11; Arrian I.16.7, I12.1-2, Plutarch Ages. 15.4, Moralia I, 328D, 329A, Alex. 15, 33, 37.6-7; Diod. 16.95.1-2, 17.67.1; Callisthenes 2.3.4-5, 2.4.5, 2.4.7-8, 3.1.2-4; Arrian “Indica” XXXIII, XXXVIII, XXIX, ´Anab.´ Arrian I.16.7, II, 14, 4, 3.18.11-12 ; Polybius IX.35.2, IX.34.3, 17.4.9; Curtius 3.3.6, 4.1.10-11, 4.5.11, 4.14.21, 5.6.1, 5.7.3, 5.7.11, 8.1.29)

9. Macedonians shared the same religion as the rest of Greeks

Nowadays historians agree that Macedonians had the religious and cultural features of the rest of the Hellenic world. Like other Greek regions, regional characteristics have also to be noted especially near the borders.

It is quite interesting then, the fact that Macedonians also gave these deities the familiar Greek epithets, such as Agoraios, Basileus, Olympios, Hypsistos of Zeus, Basileia of Hera, Soter of Apollo, Hagemona and Soteira of Artemis, Boulaia of Hestia, etc. The worship of the twelve Olympian gods in Macedonia is undoubted; and it is shown explicitely in the treaty between Philip V and Hannibal of Carthage “`In the presence of ZEUS, HERA and APOLLO…and in the presence of ALL THE GODS who possess Macedonia AND THE REST OF HELLAS”. (Arrian I 11.1-2, I.11.6; Diod. 16.95.2, 16.91.5-6; Pausanias 6.18.3, 9.39.3; Ath. Deipnos. XII.537d-540a, XIII 572d-e; Diogenes Laert. 1.8; Curtius 3.7.3, 3.12.27, 4.13.15, 6.10.14, 8.2.32, 8.11.24, Plutarch ´Alexander´ 33; Polybius 7.9.1-7)

As it is evident through the surviving archaeological evidence and literary accounts, the Greek nature of ancient Macedonians is undoubted. Even if the vast majority of modern historians accept the latter as a fact, there may have been some modern historians who are still sceptical due to the scanty evidence available prior to Roman times, but there is no controversy later on. The entirety of historical community accepts as a fact that the Macedonians were indistinguishable from the other Greeks during Roman times. They also share the same notion that the Slavs of modern FYROM are totally unrelated to Ancient Macedonians. Unfortunately none shares the views of some extremist “radical Slavic factions” as Prof. Borza put it nicely, that quite comically think that if they can prove the non-Greekness of ancient Macedonians their mythical link to ancient Macedonia will be somehow validated. As one of their favourite writers which is quoted always selectively, namely T.J Winnifrith [7], states, “Macedonia was also an attempt at a multicultural society. Here the fragments are just about holding together, although the cement that binds themis an unreliable mixture of propaganda and myth. The Macedonian language has been created, some rather misty history involving Tsar Samuel, probably a Bulgarian, and Alexander the Great, almost certainly a Greek, has been invented, and the name Macedonia has been adopted. Do we destroy these myths or live with them?”. Apparently these “radical Slavic factions” decided to live with their myths and lies for the constant amusement of the rest of the world.


1] “Macedonia Redux”, Eugene N. Borza, The Eye Expanded: Life and the Arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Frances B. Titchener and Richard F. Moorton, Jr., editors, p. 255

2] “Macedonia Redux”, Eugene N. Borza, The Eye Expanded: Life and the Arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Frances B. Titchener and Richard F. Moorton, Jr., editors, p. 252

3] “Macedonia Redux”, Eugene N. Borza, The Eye Expanded: Life and the Arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Frances B. Titchener and Richard F. Moorton, Jr., editors, p. 259

4]”Macedonia Redux”, Eugene N. Borza, The Eye Expanded: Life and the Arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Frances B. Titchener and Richard F. Moorton, Jr., editors, p. 253

5] N.G.L.Hammond, “Oxford Classical Dictionary”, 3rd ed. (1996), pp.904,905

6] “Oxford Classical Dictionary,” 3rd ed. (1996), pp.905,906

7] T.J Winnifrith. Shattered Eagles Balkan Fragments, Duckworth 1995

by Ptolemy

info@macedonian.com.auAustralian Macedonian Advisory Council

Source: American Chronicle

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