Professor S. Hornblower: Were the Macedonians Greeks?

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Simon Hornblower is Grote Professor of Ancient History at University College London. He has published two volumes of a Thucydides Commentary on(1991, 1996) and is now working on the third and final volume.

His most recent books are Greek Personal Names: Their Value as Evidence (co-edited, 2000), Thucydides and Pindar: Historical Narrative and the World of Epinikian Poetry (2004), and Pindar’s Poetry, Patrons and Festivals: From Archaic Greece to the Roman Empire(co-edited, 2007).


The question “Were the Macedonians Greeks?” perhaps needs to be chopped up further.

The Macedonian kings emerge as Greeks by criterion one, namely shared blood, and personal names indicate that Macedonians generally moved North from Greece.

The kings, the elite, and the generality of the Macedonians were Greeks by criteria two and three, that is, religion and language.

Macedonian customs (criterion four) were in certain respects unlike those of a normal apart, perhaps, from the institutions which I have characterized as feudal.

The crude one-word answer to the question has to be “Yes.”

Source: “Hellenisms Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity from Antiquity to Modernity” Edited by

Katerina Zacharia

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