Foreign Affairs; ‘Macedonia’ for Greece

November 22nd, 2008

Old one but a good one nonetheless………

June 12, 1992
Foreign Affairs; ‘Macedonia’ for Greece
What’s in a name? Ghosts or real historical demons. Perhaps war or peace. Nothing and everything.

The name in question is Macedonia, birthplace of Alexander the Great and Aristotle. Some 1.9 million souls who used to constitute a republic within Yugoslavia now insist they must have that name for their newly independent state. Greece, with its own province of Macedonia, says it will recognize the new state, with its capital of Skopje — but only if “Macedonia” appears nowhere in its name.

From the Balkan wars of 1913 to the Greek civil war of 1946 to 1949, when Greek and Macedonian Communists tried to unite the two Macedonias into Yugoslavia, tens of thousands have died over this obscure pinch of land. And over this issue today, Greece is united as it has rarely been throughout what Greeks here call their 2,500 years of democracy.

This history and situation would be quite unremarkable save for one very curious occurrence: Most West European nations and the U.S. are not supporting Greece in the matter. That fence-sitting is curious, even mysterious, because the West has every incentive to back reform-minded Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis — whose two-seat majority in Parliament surely will collapse unless he can bring the Macedonian issue to a successful conclusion.

The question of Western neutrality and even quiet opposition saturates newspapers, television and daily conversation in this low-slung, white city on the Aegean.

The conservative Mr. Mitsotakis is the most pro-American Greek leader in a very long time. He consummated a controversial naval base agreement with the U.S. He recognized Israel and got tough on terrorism. Surprisingly, he delivered Greek help for the war against Iraq. He has the full weight of the powerful Greek-American lobby behind him, a lobby with close ties to President Bush. Not least, the alternatives to Mr. Mitsotakis are the notoriously anti-American Socialists.

The 12-nation European Community, of which Greece is a member, also has strong reasons for helping Mr. Mitsotakis out. Greece has become the poorest E.C. nation, a basket case constantly in need of E.C. economic aid. And though E.C. leaders feel that this gentle Prime Minister has not gone far or fast enough in making reforms, they greatly prefer him to Andreas Papandreou, his old and bitter Socialist rival.

Mr. Mitsotakis does not have a good explanation for his plight either. “Perhaps Greece didn’t provide enough historical information soon enough to the West” before their positions were staked out, he said in an interview in his office, sitting behind his desk flanked by the Greek and E.C. flags with tables adorned by proud pictures of his extensive family.

He recalled that months ago he offered compromise names like Slav-Macedonia, only to be rebuffed by Skopje and Greek politicians and ignored by the West. Pressed for further explanations, he responded: “I would prefer not to explain.”

In the Balkans, answers are always elusive. Perhaps the West does not like the friendly relationship between Mr. Mitsotakis and President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia. Though the Greek fully supports E.C. sanctions against Serbia. Perhaps the West fears the two will divide Yugo-Macedonia between them. Though it is now known that Mr. Mitsotakis rejected just such a Milosevic offer. Perhaps the West thinks of Skopje as a democracy. Though it is run by a bunch of Communists who still look to Serbia. Perhaps the West reckons that independence for Skopje can work only if it has the name Macedonia. Though these “Macedonians” are mostly Slavs, and though Macedonia is largely a geographical expression and not a tribal reality. Perhaps Britain and Turkey are secretly conspiring against Greece, as many Greeks darkly suggest.

Or maybe the explanation for Western neutrality is tragically simple — Greece no longer counts. Once at the center of Western civilization, it now seems a backwater.

But such a judgment would be shortsighted. Greece is the one true democracy in the Balkans. And it is led by a man trying to rid the Greek economy of bureaucratic Socialism and who is also working with Turkey toward a solution of the long-festering Cyprus problem. These are not prospects to throw away over a name. Let the West tell Skopje to be “Skopje,” and let “Macedonia” be Greek.…55C0A964958260

Macedonia,Hellenism & Stefov

November 20th, 2008

Macedonia and Hellenism

by Theodoros Karakostas
November 11, 2008
The Hellenic Electronic Center (HEC) A Non-Profit Organization Registered in the US

with 37,000 Hellenes as members and 36 Hellenic associations in the US and abroad.

In his attack on the Austalian Macedonian Advisory Council (November 3) Risto Stefov continues behaving like a zealot. Attesting to the intellectually corrupt nature of his racist anti-Hellenic attacks are his very selective citations which he proceeds to list without any serious elaboration on his part. Mr. Stefov quite clearly cannot make an argument based on his own knowledge which is why in this most recent attack on the Australian Macedonian Advisory Council he puts fourth several statements as if they were factual without actually elaborating on them. The emotional tone of his writings over the past several weeks indicate the lack of thoughtful or objective analysis with regard to his attitude toward Greece and Greeks throughout the world.

His inability to elaborate demonstrates his own lack of knowledge and the manner and tone of his writings serve witness to the pattern of blatant anti-Greek bigotry. Mr. Stefov has continued to deny not only the proven Hellenism of Macedonia, but the very existence of the Greek people and their language throughout the collection of writings that he has posted on the American Chronicle’s forum. The fact remains the Greek Case for Macedonia is solid, and this can be seen by the international support that Greece has built based on the merits of historical evidence and documentation.

First, France, Italy, and others supported the Greek position when Athens blocked Skopje from entering the NATO alliance. Other countries such as Hungary and Germany expressed “understanding” for the Greek position. In 1995, the United States and United Nations pressured Skopje to remove the ancient Macedonian Sun of Vergina from its flag. Why would they have pressured Skopje to make this concession were it not for the fact that the evidence for Macedonia’s Hellenic heritage is beyond dispute?

Even critics of Greece’s opposition to Skopje’s membership in NATO do not question the substantive points raised by Greece in its opposition to Skopjan membership. The Skopjan cause owes its life only to the fact that its lobby has successfully misrepresented Skopje as a potential victim in the Balkans during the period of the Yugoslav wars during the 1990’s, thus leading a variety of western commentators to adopt a pro-Skopjan stance. Regardless of these public positions, few supporters of Skopje in any government or media organization has ever questioned the historical facts as put forward by the Greek government on the question of ancient Macedonia.

In fact when Slavs emanating from Skopje have been publicly pressed on the matter of Macedonia, they have made a clear departure from their own propaganda. Former President Gligorov denied any connection between the Slavs of Skopje and the ancient Macedonian Greeks. When asked by a prominent American film critic about Greece’s objection to the use of the name Macedonia by Skopje, filmmaker Milcho Manchevski (Before the Rain) did not deny the Hellenism of Macedonia, nor did he put forward any of the preposterous theories disseminated by Mr. Stefov. Indeed, prominent citizens of Skopje seem to have been very careful about disseminating their anti-Hellenic propaganda outside Skopje and in forums where their theories are bound to attract attention and raise serious questions. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has stated that he agrees with Greece on the issue of Macedonia. Journalists such as Christopher Hitchens (recently honored by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the top intellectuals in the World) have supported Greece on the issue of Macedonia. Even Misha Glenny, whom Mr, Stefov recently cited in one of his commentaries has expressed sharp criticism of the Skopjans in his book, “The Fall of Yugoslavia” by pointing out there were no Slavs in the Balkans during the time of Alexander the Great. In a later edition of the same book, Mr. Glenny expressed sympathy for the interim pact between Greece and Skopje in 1995 which saw the latter remove the Macedonian Sun of Vergina from its flag.

Mr. Stefov’s extremism can be seen by his overall denigration of historic Greek figures from Alexander the Great up to Saints Cyril and Methodios, and by his attempt to denigrate the Greek language which has been in continuous use from the classical period. It is this sort of ignorance and bigotry that has fueled the dispute between Greece and Skopje. Ordinary Greeks have shown a dignified respect for Skopje by investing in that country and supporting it economically. The Greek government opened diplomatic relations with Skopje, a profound gesture that demonstrates a desire for friendship on the part of the Greece.

Mr. Stefov and his writings contribute nothing to the advancement of friendship between the two countries, but continue to promote hatred and division.

Theodore G. Karakostas [email protected], Member of HEC Executive Council,

Risto Stefov and the falsification of Ancient Macedonian History Part II

November 11th, 2008

Australian Macedonian Advisory Council

November 08, 2008

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, 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 the 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


[email protected]

The Anatomy of a Big Lie: Nationalistic Ideology and FYROM

November 11th, 2008

Australian Macedonian Advisory Council

November 09, 2008

During times of crisis, from times immemorial, humans have sought to activate the traditionalistic qualities in form of “mythos” that serves as a building material for the new “ethos”, the least being contemporary to action in crisis.

In order to investigate the patterns of the Pseudomacedonian ideology, it is important to study FYROM’s economical and sociological background.

As of late 2008, the evidence of diachronic collapse of the pillars of society is multiplying itself at an ever exponential rate. Economical policies of Gruevski: defiscalization and patronage of private institutions for higher learning, for some time has a stabilizing role in local economy. The latter, however is virtually untouched by any substantial foreign investment.

The core ideology of the leading political party among Slavs in FYROM – The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary (VMRO-DPMNE) is mirrored from the Western dichotomy of conservatism, traditionalism and economic libertarianism, thus replacing the early to mid-1990´s role of ethnic socialism and rigidly folkloresque symbolism. Today VMRO-DPMNE consolidated itself a Demo-Christian party, with slight inartistic tendencies in economy, but with stronger points of consolidation regarding the imported and applied ideology of “Macedonism” in every aspect of individual and social life, with a strongly anti-individualistic, collectivist stance.

Chief task of VMRO-DPMNE in recent months and years is creation of consistent nationalist myth, something which in case of normal development of Post-Communist culture, would have a justification as a basis for spiritual reconstruction of the young Balkan nation. However the process today represents an eclectic formulation which conceptually integrates the imaginary space of the “Macedonian people”, which is the 19th century definition of “Geographic Macedonia”, its history and its cultures into a distinct “Slavomacedonian” high culture, based on Ancient Macedon as a cornerstone of the projected national history. This nationalist ideology is best described as “Pseudomacedonism”, something that according to Ex-Minister Denko Maleski (now a professor in Skoplje) was imported by marginal groups and individuals from outside.

The ideology of Pseudomacedonism is based on faulty historiographic premises, the key of which are:

The distinct character of the Slavomacedonians, based on superior historical base and formed as preserved cultural lineage from the earliest consolidation of Ancient Macedonians. Consequently, the spirit of exceptionalism developed, whose adherents believe in inferiority of all neighboring countries based on fictionalized narratives of their genesis that contain anthropological features deemed dysfunctional.

Segregation from Bulgarians, meaning usurpation of the Bulgarian history and “Macedonisation” of any historical retrospective and nurture of chauvinism towards Bulgarian ethnic and linguistic characteristic, regardless of the very great similarity among both national vernaculars.

Labeling as “Macedonian” the entire sum of cultural heritage in opposition to the fact that historical sources do not label the local Slavic-speaking population as such.

The rise of Pseudomacedonian symbolism in recent years obviously represents low-complexity psychological operation whose authors seek to solidify the collectivist ethos. Major events in the “Macedonist” propaganda are:

The renaming of the Skopje and Ohrid airports “Alexander the Great” and “St. Paul”, respectively.

Decoration of the surroundings of Government´s offices with Hellenistic and Roman statues, creating highly visible symbolic links with claimed antiquity.

The staged and much-ridiculed visit of a delegation of Pakistani tribal leaders, mythically linked with the soldiers of Alexander the Great, presented to the public in FYROM as “part of our people”.

Erection of statues of Alexander the Great in Prilep, to be followed with a monument of Philip II in Bitola/Monastir and a giant, 50 ft. statue of Alexander the Great in Skopje.

The painfully absurd proposition held by MANU (”Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts”) from 2006 onwards that the famous epigraphic monument , the “Rosetta Stone” produced in Ptolemaic Egypt contains a text written in language almost identical to the current standardized Bulgarian idiom of FYROM.

Increased recent usage of the term “Macedonia” by officials in domestic context without observing the unwritten rule for more than a decade to use the qualifier “Republic of”.

All of these examples of irredentist behavior by official Skopje have a function to create a parallel universe of symbolism that sets a border between FYROM on one and Bulgaria and Serbia on another hand. The virtual creation of illustrious ancestry, rooted in antiquity provides a reference base for identity politics which seek to isolate FYROM from the currents of global academic centers.

The deficit of practical means for cultural production in the sphere of identity politics, coupled with the fact that the only alternative to “Ancient Macedonian” identity is the history of South Slavic medieval period together with the Ottoman era which shows strong Bulgarian and also to a certain level, Serbian character is one of the factor that the “continuity theory” rises almost unchallenged. For quite a time, any offer of different, truthful perspective is likely to cause great hardships for authors in minimum and consequently, no academic opposition which would challenge the dogmatic nature of the fabricated “Macedonian” identity.

The gigantic structure of historical revisionism in FYROM showed the weakness of historiography that is still based on obsolete and didactic Marxist theories sustained by a network of mostly senior academics. Sensationalism found its logical outlet in a society where the very identity is permanently challenged by historiographies of neighbors and other countries as well. The strong Graecophobia, latent for two centuries, was chief determinant for articulation of the Pseudomacedonian nationalism. In this sense, reliance on instant answers provided by the great number of amateur historians which produce fake narratives of local history, proved itself superior vis-a-vis the autodidactic approach that provides intellectual gratification only after long research, an enterprise which is technically beyond the means of the general population.

It remains to be seen where the designers of the Pseudomacedonian ideology will continue to fool the people for an extended period of time with local and isolated historiographical, anthropological and linguistic theories of the recent several years, the absurdity of which needs no further explanation. While the hope lies in the new generation of more responsible members of the intellectual class, the current conditions in education is unlikely to nurture such emergence. It is possible that following eventual higher, tectonic disturbances of the status quo, the young Balkan nation´s leadership will retreat from the loudly articulated pseudoscientific positions held today.

Vasko Gligorijevi?

Skopje, FYROM


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Risto Stefov and Slav-Macedonism

November 11th, 2008

Australian Macedonian Advisory Council

November 10, 2008
With great surprise I read the article[1] by the Slav-Macedonian Risto Stefov (Chris Stefou) which attacked my response to a previous article of his, particularly in regards to the Carnegie Commission Report[2]. The Slav-Macedonian writer calls me as “anti-Macedonian internet warrior propagandist” and then attempts to justify this accusation by once again making use of historical revisionism[3]. Disregarding some of the tangents gone off on by Mr. Stefov, I will attempt here to respond to some of the relevant claims.

I will begin my analysis with the term “Macedonian” and its meaning:

A Macedonian according to several sources[4][5] is a native or inhabitant of the (Ancient or Modern) Macedonian region. I was born in Thessaloniki and my family’s origin can be traced from that city, as well as Eastern Macedonia 150 years ago.

So am I Macedonian according Risto Stefov’s historical revisionism process?

According to the known English dictionaries I am. How can I then be accused of being “anti-Macedonian”?

I’ll try to explain to you why Mr. Stefov has denied the fact that a Macedonian in our modern era is also a Greek, a Bulgarian, an Albanian and anyone that lived in the region known as Macedonia.

Also, Mr. Stefov said that he knows “exactly what the Carnegie Commission report said and can show us a dozen more reports that say: ‘No ethnic Macedonians existed anywhere in geographic Macedonia’”. Yet, he avoids answering the question completely. Why didn’t the Carnegie Commission report make any remark or in any way mention the so-called “Macedonian” nation, ethnicity or language? Why does this same report describe the Slavic population of Macedonia as Bulgarians, rather than “ethnic Macedonians”?

Of course I do not deny that the Slav-Macedonian national identity begins in the nineteenth century. However, why did most Slav-Macedonians describe themselves as Bulgarians from 1870 to 1943? Why do many still today identify as Bulgarians, having resisted being transformed into “Macedonians” by the dictatorial powers of a communist state for 75 years?

A.D. Smith wrote that “ethnic communities or ‘ethnies’ are constituted, not by lines of physical descent, but by the sense of continuity, shared memory and collective destiny, i.e. by lines of cultural affinity embodied in myths, memories, symbols and values retained by a given cultural unit of population.”

Stefov attempts to establish a link between the Slavonic nation FYROM with the famous ancient Greek tribe, the Macedonians. Many writers mention that the modern FYROM Macedonians are Slavs[7][8] and have no connection whatsoever with the ancient Macedonians, who were Greeks and became world-famous in the fourth century BC under Alexander The Great whose conquests of the East began the Hellenistic Age. Historian and Professor Eugene Borza who is credited as “Macedonian specialist” by the American Philological Association, and who has completed extensive studies regarding the ethnicity of the Ancient Macedonians, had also presented in-depth analysis that the Ancient Macedonians were not Slavs (or mixture of Slav)s or Romans as some Slav-Macedonists claim. In his article Macedonia Redux[9] Borza explains:

“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”.

Finally, the term “Slav-Macedonism” must be defined. Slav-Macedonism is the political idea prevailing in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) which utilises historical revisionism to establish links between an ethnic group that formed in the 20th century – ethnic ‘Macedonians’ – and historical events and figures of the 19th century and Middle Ages. For example, Bulgarian Tsar Samuil, despite the overwhelming evidence, is portrayed as a “Macedonian” king. Further attempts are made to deny the Hellenic nature of the ancient kingdom of Macedon and to seek connections between present day ethnic Macedonians and the Ancient Macedonians. Unfortunately for extremist Macedonists like Stefov, history bears witness to the fact that in the early 1940s the Bulgarian inhabitants of Vardar Macedonia were transformed into “Macedonians” for political reasons by communist dictators (Tito, Stalin, and Dimitrov) and infamous communist organizations (Comintern and the Balkan Communist Federation)[10,11].

by Akritas


1]- Modern Greeks like to Bend the truth to suit their Agenda, American chronicle (

2]- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, report of the international commission, to inquire into the causes and conduct of the Balkan wars, 1914




6]- [6]-A.D.Smith 1991, National Identity, pages 21 and 29.

7]- Igor Diakonoff,The Paths of History, page 229

8]- Elisabeth Barker, “Macedonia, its place in Balkan power politics, page 10

9]- The Eye Expanded Life and the Arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity, page 255

10]-Palmer and King, Yugolsav Communism and the Macedonian Question, page 199.

11]-Loring Danforth,The Macedonian Conflict, page 66.

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