Frequently Asked Questions on Macedonia

Frequently Asked Questions on Macedonia



Compiled by Alexandros Gerbessiotis

(c) Copyright 1992,1993 by Alexandros Gerbessiotis. All rights reserved.

This text may be freely reproduced and redistributed for educational and non-commercial purposes only, provided that no part of it, including this copyright notice, is to be removed from such a reproduction or redistribution. The material presented here is based on various sources. These sources are included at the end of this document or mentioned when first used.


In cases we need to write text in Greek the following transliteration of the greek alphabet will be used:

                abgdezhuiklmnjoprstyfxcv

ABGDEZHUIKLMNJOPRSTYFXCV

As an example AUHNAI is spelled A Theta Eta N A I

The term Macedonia is used to describe the geographic region that evolved into the area called Macedonia in modern Greece. This area seems to coincide with the area called Macedonia in ancient times.

Republic of Skopje (or Skopje in short) and Skopjans are the terms used to describe the ex-Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia and the various ethnic groups living there (especially the ones who call themselves “Macedonians”). With reference to ancient times the lands of the Republic of Skopje were divided among various tribes, the Dardanians in the north (including the area where the city of Skopje is presently located), the Paeonians in the south and the Illyrians in the west.


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    Ancient Macedonia

  1. What were the borders of ancient Macedonia?
  2. When did the first hellenic tribes reside in the area later called by them Macedonia?
  3. What is the meaning of the word ‘Macedon’? References.
  4. The Macedonian state until the end of the 6th century BC.
  5. What were the relations of Macedonia with the other two Greek Kingdoms of Thessaly and Epeiros?
  6. What were the relations between the Macedonians and the Illyrians?
  7. What was the Macedonian form of government?
  8. What did ancient Greek writers write about Macedonia?
  9. “Hellas” and “Macedonia”. When was the first time that the word Hellas was used to describe the country inhabited by people belonging to hellenic (greek) tribes?
  10. Was the Macedonian tongue a greek dialect or not?
  11. “ANEBOA MAKEDONISTI” ?
  12. There is a reference in a work by Pausanias that may give the impression that Macedonians, around 214-213BC, were speaking a non-Greek language.
  13. Did Demosthenes believe the Macedonians were barbarians?
  14. Is there any reference by Demosthenes to an incident that can lead us to conclude that he and his fellow Athenians believed that Macedonians indeed spoke a greek dialect?
  15. Is it possible [ignoring historic evidence that shows that this was not the case] that Macedonians had spoken a non-greek language before 340BC and within a 10-20 year period every Macedonian was fluent in the attic dialect?
  16. Who may have ‘hellenized’ ancient Macedonians, if we we assume, despite proof for the contrary, that they were not a greek tribe ?
  17. Isocrates used the phrases “ALOFYLON TO GENOS”, “OYX OMOFYLOY GENOYS”. Do they mean “of other tribe” or “of other race”?

    Medieval & Modern Macedonia

  18. Skopjans accuse us Macedonians in Greece of changing the names of our cities into Greek ones some time in the 20th century instead of using the slavic names assigned to these cities since “ancient” (sic) names. They claim that Edessa for example should not be called so but VODEN instead, and Thessaloniki should be called SOLUN.
  19. Skopjans claim that when Slavs descended to the Balkan peninsula, in the 7th century AD, Macedonians vanished and there was a kind of ‘slavicization’ of Macedonia which ‘gave birth’ to the “Slavic-Macedononians” as Skopjans claim they are (at least some of them), the supposedly deserved ancestors of ancient Macedonians. Are such claims true say up to 15th century AD?
  20. Do the Skopjans have desires on Macedonia, Greece?
  21. When did ‘Macedonians’ of the Skopjan type first appear?
  22. What was the population distribution of Macedonia, the Republic of Skopje, and parts of Bulgaria in the years of Ottoman rule?
  23. What is the nationality of the Vlachs?
  24. Skopjans claim that Greeks can only choose Greek names for their children
  25. Was the Bulgarian King Samuel of Skopjan nationality as some Skopjans claimed he was?
  26. What is the size of the Greek minority in the Republic of Skopje.
  27. Macedonia and the (Greek) War of Independence.
  28. When was the first time the word “Macedonia” was defined to include lands of the nowadays Rep. of Skopje?
  29. What were the views of the Bulgarian Exarchate on the population composition of Macedonia.
  30. Did all the Greeks in Macedonia speak Greek only in the late 19th century?
  31. What were the events that followed the Berlin Congress of 1878?
  32. The Neuilly treaty of 1920.
  33. Communism and Macedonia
  34. Bulgaria and Germany in World War II.
  35. What are the intentions of the Communists still ruling Skopje towards the region of modern-day Greece called Macedonia since ancient times?
  36. Skopjan claims on Greece (continued).
  37. Why Skopjans use the term “Aegean macedonia”
  38. What do some Skopjans claim that the population composition of Macedonia is?
  39. Bulgarian statements on Skopje in the late fifties [after the Tito-Stalin breakup].
  40. Skopjan minority claims.
  41. Are there any Slavs living in Greece? When the last few Slavs left Greece? Are there any Slavophone living in Greece? Where are they living? Who are they?
  42. A brief history of the Bulgarian-origin terrorist group IMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization ) founded one hundred years ago (1893).

Q1) What were the borders of ancient Macedonia?

Thucydides (II 99) defined ancient Macedonia as the area extending to the east as far as the lands of mountain Paggaion, east of river Strymon, to the south to the Thermaikos Bay, Chalcidice, river Pineios (the border with Thessaly) and the Kambounia mountains, to the north up to (including) the city of Pella, south of the lands of Paeonians, and to the west to the mountains (Pindos, Tymfe etc) that separate Macedonia from Epeiros and ancient Illyria (today’s Albania).

Macedonia, as defined by Thucydides, coincides with the region of Macedonia of modern Greece minus some lands of the Chalcidice prefecture.

In later dates the borders of the Macedonian State (that is, the lands ruled by the Macedonian Kings) varied and depending on the circumstances it extended westwards up to the Adriatic Sea, eastwards up to river Evros and beyond, and to the north up to the city of Lychnidon between the lakes of Brygies and Lyhnetis [the translation of some Greek names into English may seem weird. Blame me for this.]. References pointing to the borders of the Macedonian state can be found in Strabo, VII.

The terms Macedonia and Macedonian State may seem analogous to the terms Great Britain and British Empire.

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Q2) When did the first hellenic tribes reside in the area later called by them Macedonia?

 

The first hellenic tribes of Dorians and Achaeoi resided in Macedonia in prehistoric times, first in Emathia near mountain Vermion and later expanded northwards and eastwards to cover the lands outlined in Question 1. Herodotos mentioned that around the 9th century BC the Macedonian State had the city of Aegae as its capital and that either Caranos or Perdikkas was considered the founder of the Macedonian dynasty.

[ Note: The ancient royal city of Aegae is located in modern day Vergine in the Emathia prefecture of Greece. Excavations which began in 1976 by the late Professor Manolis Andronikos revealed that the site of the city was indeed located near Vergina and not near Edessa as many archaeologists, Professor Andronikos included, previously believed. It was Professor N. G. L. Hammond who in 1968 first suggested that Vergina was the place to look for Aegae, a belief peculiar even to himself at that time. The first royal tombs in Vergina were excavated in 1976-1977 and one of them is believed to belong to Philippos II, father of Alexander the Great. ]

According to Herodotos, the Makednoi (Macedonians) who crossed Doris and moved to Peloponnesos were later called Dorians. Since the term Dorians is much more well known than the term Makednoi we shall also use it to identify the latter people in the discussion to follow.

The Dorians who formed the Macedonian state came in contact with the local Pelasgic population whose size was much smaller than the one residing at the sea shores and the islands of Southern Greece. It is for this reason that German Historian K. Belloch considered the Macedonians the purest Greeks of any other part of Greece (Gr. Geschichte, I, 1a, p92). The Dorians(Makednoi) of Macedonia were larger in number than those who moved southwards. This is because those who moved southwards were reduced in number either due to attrition or to settlements in the areas they visited along their movement to Southern Greece.

Such a place of permanent residence for some Makednoi(Dorians) was Doris. When these Dorians (known until then as Makednoi only) moved to Peloponnesos they became known there as Dorians (that is, the people [coming] from Doris).

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Q3) What is the meaning of the word ‘Macedon’? References.

 

The word Macedon (Gk: Makedvn) is very likely to come from the greek word ‘makednos’ first mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey (Od. H106), and later by Herodotos, who called ‘Makednon eunos’ the various Doric tribes among which he included the Macedonians (Her. I.56, VIII.43).

The word ‘Makednos’ has the meaning of long, tall, and highlander. Some archaeologists believe that the Macedonians were called so because they were tall. Nowadays the meaning of ‘highlander’ is more prevalent. This is because Macedonians used to live early in prehistoric times in the mountains of Vermio in Greece.

The greek words Macetia (Gk: MAKETIA) and Macetae (Gk: MAKETAI) were also used in early times to identify Macedonia and the Macedonians.

The biblic Hettieim or Kitim and Kitiaioi originate from Maketia and Maketai.

Hesiod in Theogonia, written in the middles of 8th century BC, claimed that Makednos and Magnes who used to live in the lands around mountain Olympos and Pieria were sons of Zeus and Thyias, daughter of Deukalion. This suggests that the other Greeks of that time believed that the Macedonians and Magnetes belonged to the same tribe (a hellenic one).

Hellanikos, who lived at the time of Herodotos, considered Macedon son of Aeolos. Apollodoros considered Macedon son of Lykaon and thus grandson of the king of Argos Pelasgos and Lykaon king of Arcadians whose 50 sons became leaders of various greek tribes. On the other hand Aelianos considered Lykaon, King of Emathia and Pindos, son of Macedon.

Aeschylus, in Iketidai, had the king of Argos Pelasgos boasting that his family was ruling the lands beyond Pindos and Dodoni up to river Strymon (that is including Macedonia, the one part of modern day Greece).

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Q4) The Macedonian state until the end of the 6th century BC.

 

The Macedonians until the 6th century BC lived isolated from the other Greeks a pastoral life known as transhumant pastoralism moving their herds to the mountain pastures in the spring and to the lowland pastures in the winter (see N. G. L. Hammond).

Their language was affected by the way of their life and was not as linguistically developed as that of Athens. Macedonians built their houses on hilltop and well-protected areas and retained the lifestyle of the original Dorians possibly emphasized by the need of intermittent wars needed to preserve their own existence.

A German historian and linguist, O. Hoffmann, considered Macedonians a greek tribe that first lived in the mountains of Pindos then moved towards the lands of river Haliakmon and in some unknown time towards the valley of river Axios.

The first contact between the Macedonians and other Greeks (those of Chalcidice) occurred at the end of the 6th century BC when Amyntas I, father of Alexander I, conquered Anthemounta in Chalcidice. This contact terminates the isolationism of the Macedonian State and signifies a new era of participation in the events taking place in the hellenic world by forging alliances with various city-states, becoming an enemy of other ones, and switching sides, as fit to the interests of the State.

There are some people who advocate the thesis that the Macedonians were not Greek. An English archaeologist, St. Casson, observed that it was difficult to give a definition of what could be considered ‘hellenic’. If one, according to him, included in such a definition everything found north or south of the Korinthos bay (in Peloponnesos, Southern Greece) between the 10th and 8th century BC, then Macedonia should be considered greek. The people, according to Casson, living in Macedonia were using the same jewels with those living in Sparta, Olympia, Delphoi, Aegina, and Argos. This at least proves the close relations of the people living in these areas in the first centuries of the 1st millenium BC.

The recent excavations in Vergina confirm the conclusions of Casson for the remaining centuries.

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Q5) What were the relations of Macedonia with the other two Greek Kingdoms of Thessaly and Epeiros?

 

Epeiros, Macedonia and Thessaly were all inhabited by Greek tribes. Epeiros, Macedonia and Thessaly had more in common than any other Greek state. All three were kingdoms [monarchies], a form of government highly disliked by the Greeks in the South [Sparta being a sole exception had two kings]. For Epeiros and Macedonia monarchy was the result of the pastoral life which forced people to live in areas surrounded by mountains and be isolated from the other Greeks.

Despite references by Thucydides that the Epeirotians were not Greek, excavations in Epeiros in the 1950s proved such claims of Thucydides to be totally untrue, since it can now be proved that Molossians, Athamanians, Chaones and Thesprotians and other people living in Epeiros [known collectively as Epeirotians] were Greek, speaking Greek and writing in Greek throughout the lifetime of Thucydides and even before that according to the archaeological evidence found so far.

Ancient Greeks (Iliad P.234) believed that Dodoni in Epeiros was the center of the Hellenic world and that the names Hellas and Hellenes were first given to the people of Epeiros also called Graecoi, the root of the English word ‘Greek’. For more details we refer to Aristotle’s Meteorologica 352a, 34.

Macedonians were in close contacts with both the Thessalians and the Epeirotians. Marriages among the members of the royal families of the three kingdoms were common. Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great, was a Molossian princess. Molossians believed that the founder of their tribe was Neoptolemos son of homeric Achilles. Macedonians and Epeirotians were many times allies in wars against their common enemy, the Illyrians. Diodoros (XV 13) mentioned that in a single battle following an Illyrian invasion of Macedonia 15,000 Epeirotians were killed, a quite high number, by the Greek standards of that time.

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Q6) What were the relations between the Macedonians and the Illyrians?

 

The Illyrians were Indoeuropeans and used to live in nowadays Albania and the western-northwestern part of the Republic of Skopje. They were not a greek tribe. Nowadays Albanians can be considered descendants of the ancient Illyrians although many other people lived in Illyria in various times (such as Greeks, Latins, Germans, Slavs, and Turks). The modern albanian language seems to have greek elements but these elements were most probably introduced in the older illyrian language during the hellenistic and roman periods and later, in the byzantine times, when Illyrians appeared to be speaking Greek.

Various authors have supported the thesis that Illyrians and Macedonians belonged to the same (non-greek) tribe and spoke the same (non-greek) language. Given that it has been proved beyond any reasonable doubt (see following questions) that the language spoken by ancient Macedonians was a greek dialect such claims are not true. An ancient writer Polyvios (XXVII 8,9) wrote that Macedonians were using translators in their contacts with the Illyrians, which implies that they were not speaking the same language.

Illyrians used to live up to the hellenistic and roman years a primitive life raiding neighboring areas. Raids by Illyrians, whenever they were able to cross the mountain passes, in Macedonia and Epeiros were frequent [See also Question 5]. In the early 4th century BC, when the succession to the Macedonian throne was problematic Illyrians invaded Macedonia and occupied most of the lands of the Macedonian State. They were driven out of the State only with the combined efforts of Macedonians, Epeirotians, Thessalians and the settlers of Chalcidici.

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Q7) What was the Macedonian form of government?

 

It was mentioned in a previous question that the Macedonian State was a kingdom. The form of government reminded that found in Iliad and Odyssey. The rule of the Macedonian king was not absolute and his ‘hetairoi’, as the Macedonian soldiers were called, were consulting the king sometimes quite vociferously. It was not uncommon even for Alexander the Great to have to convince his Macedonian soldiers for his future actions and to request their approval. The institution of ‘hetairoi’ had its roots in Homer (Iliad D 204, 532, E 663, Z 170,260) where the Myrmidon soldiers of Achilles were called so.

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Q8) What did ancient Greek writers write about Macedonia?

 

Aeschylus (Iketidai, 250) and Herodotus (V 22) believed that Macedonians were Dorian Greeks. Herodotos claimed that the Macedonians (called at that time Makednoi) who moved to Peloponnesos from Doris were later called Dorians.

[The English translation of the works by Herodotus we use is due to A. D. Godley and published by Harvard University Press in the US, and Willian Heineman Ltd in Great Britain as part of the Loeb Classical Library]

In Herodotus Book I, 56 (page 53) it is mentioned

“These races, Ionian and Dorian, were the foremost in ancient time, the first a Pelasgian and the second an Hellenic people. The Pelasgian stock has never yet left its habitation, the Hellenic has wandered often and afar. For in the days of king Deucalion it inhabited the land of Phthia, then in the time of Dorus son of Hellen the country called Histiaean, under Ossa and Olympus; driven by the Cadmeans from this Histiaean country it settled about Pindus in the parts called Macednian; thence again it migrated to Dryopia, and at last came from Dryopia to Peloponnesos, where it took the name of Dorian”.

Elsewhere, VIII-43 (referring to the naval battle in Salamis) Herodotos wrote

“The Peloponnesians that were with the fleet were, firstly, the Lacedaemonians, with sixteen ships, and the Corinthians with the same number of ships as at Atemisium; the Sicyonians furnished fifteen, the Epidaurians ten, the Troezinians five, the people of Hermione three; all these, except the people of Hermione were of Dorian and Macedonian stock, and had last come from Erineus and Pindus and the Dryopian region. The people of Hermione are Dryopians, driven by Heracles and the Malians from the country now called Doris.”.

In another passage Herodotos described how the Macedonian state had been founded (VIII,136-138).

There is one passage in Thucydides that descries the Molossians and other Epeirotian tribes among the ‘barbarians’. It was proved following the excavations in Epeiros in 1950-1960 that the Molossians and other Epeirotian tribes were Greek, speaking Greek, and writing in Greek well before Thucydides’ time. Thus Thucydides was wrong for these tribes. He was also wrong if he claimed, as some translators allege, that Macedonians had not been a greek tribe. Thucydides had also accused the Eurytanes, another Greek tribe, of being barbarians for their bad and improper use of the greek language and their aboriginal customs. The misinterpreted passage of Thucydides is given below. In Thucydides IV,124,1 (Loeb edition by C.F. Smith) the following passage appeared. “The total hellenic force was about three thousand; the cavalry that went with them, Macedonians and Chalcidians, were all told a little less than one thousand, and there was besides a great multitude of barbarians”.

[In Gk: “MAKEDONVN JYN XALKIDEYSIN OLIGVN ES XILIOYS, KAI ALLOS OMILOS TVN BARBARVN POLYS”]

This passage is sometimes misinterpreted so that Macedonians and Chalcidians for that matter appear to be considered barbarians by Thucydides. That this is not so can follow from an analysis of this passage. First, no one ever considered the Chalcidians, whose number is added to that of Macedonians, barbarians. Second, Thucydides distinguishes Macedonians and Chalcidians on the one hand and barbarians on the other by using the adjective few (Gk: OLIGVN) for the former and many for the latter (Gk:POLY). These two adjective clearly indicate a contradistinction.

Euripides lived many years and died in Macedonia. Many of his tragedies were written and played while he was in Macedonia. This would have been impossible, had the Macedonians been ‘barbarians’ (non-Greek). This is because in one of these tragedies, ‘Iphigeneia in Aulis’, the Greek superiority over the barbarians is emphasized. The following epigram in memory of Euripides which is attributed by some authors to Thucydides may give us more light to the actual beliefs of the people of that time (and possibly Thucydides)

“MNHMA MEN ELLAS APAS’ EYRIPIDOU, OSTEA D’ ISXEI GH MAKEDVN, H GAR DEJATO TERMA BIOU”.

In brief, Macedonia, the land that holds the bones of Euripides is considered part of Greece.

Polyvios (VII 11,4, V 103,9, XVIII, XXXiV 7,13 , VII 9,1 IX 37,7) clearly stated his belief that Macedonia was greek, part of Greece, and considered Achaeans and Macedonians of the same race. The same beliefs were shared by Strabo as well as Titus Livius, to name a few other writers. It is also interesting to note that Polyvios describing the Balkan Peninsula he says that it includes Greece, Illyria and Thrace. One can thus deduce that he includes Macedonia in Greece. Had he not done so, he could have listed her separately.

Plutarchos(Flam. XI) describes Titus Contus Flamininus during the Isthmia celebrations claimed that Macedonia prevented barbarian barbarian attacks against Southern Greece.

Arrhianos‘ work is full of references to “Macedonia and the other Greece”.

Q9) “Hellas” and “Macedonia”. When was the first time that the word Hellas was used to describe the country inhabited by people belonging to hellenic (greek) tribes?

Although the words Hellas and Hellen (and the other two English equivalents Greece and Greek) have been used to describe the country and the people of modern day Greece, their use in ancient times differed in various periods of time.

The usage of these words to describe the various hellenic tribes as a whole was unknown to the people of the Homeric poems. In Iliad, the words Hellen (Gk: ELLHN) and Hellas (Gk: ELLAS) defined a small greek tribe and the land inhabited by them in Thessaly. (Iliad B’ 683)

“OI T’ EIXON FUIHN HD’ ELLADA KALLIGYNAIKA, MYRMIDONES DE KALEYNTO KAI ELLHNES KAI AXAIOI”.

At some earlier line (B’ 530) there is a reference to the word “PANELLHNVN”. This word since the time of Aristarchos has been considered to be absent in the original poem and was added at some later time.

Plutarchos (Lykourgos 6) wrote about the message brought from Delphoi to Sparta by Lykourgos “DIOS (S)ELLANIOU KAI AUHNAS (S)ELLANIAS IERON IDRYSAMENON…”. Because of this reference, it is believed that the words “Hellas” and “Hellen” became more widely used after the dispersion of the Dorians. It is also possible that they were sacred words possibly related to the (S)elles priests of the Dodonian Zeus.

[the parenthesized (S) is to mean that the S say in the word SELLANIOY was later dropped from use thus giving ELLANIOY.]

The words Hellas and Hellen became more widely used some time in the 8-7th century BC and in the 5th century BC we find the first references of them to describe the lands and the Greek people living south of river Peneios. In the 4th century BC and later they were also used to describe the various hellenic (greek) tribes as a whole. The passage from Herodotos (I,56), mentioned in a previous Question indicated another use of these words, that of distinguishing Ionian Greeks from Dorian Greek.

Since the Macedonians were pretty much isolated from the Greeks of Southern Greece up to the early 5th century BC, the words ‘Hellas’ and ‘Hellen’ were not used by them to describe collectively the lands of various hellenic tribes, as this was also true for all the other greek tribes until the 8-7th century BC.

Hence when the Macedonians initiated contacts with other Greek tribes they continued to use the word ‘Macedonian’ to describe themselves instead of the collective ‘Hellen(es)’. This is the reason various authors (such as Isocrates, Philippos 154) use the term “Hellenes” and “Macedonians” on the one hand and ‘barbarians” on the other to distinguish the greek tribes (of Macedonians and other Hellenes) from the non-greek ones (barbarians).

The intellectual Athenians of the 4th century gave yet another definition for the word “Hellen” (Isocrates, Panegyrikos 50), that of the person having an Athenian educational background, “… the name ‘Hellenes’ suggests no longer the people but an intelligence, and that the title ‘Hellenes’ is applied rather to those who share our [note: the ‘our’ refers to the Athenians] culture than to those who share a common blood”.

It is also believed (N.G.L. Hammond,page 6) that the distinction made by authors of Macedonians and Hellenes differentiates only the descendants of Hellen from the descendants of Thyia, as in the genealogy provided by Hesiod. According to Hesiod, Deucalion had a son Hellen and a daughter Thyia. The ancestors of Hellen were Dorus, Xouthus (whose son was Ion) and Aeolus. Thyia had two sons Magnes and Macedon. According to Hellanikos on the other hand, Macedon was a son of Aeolus.

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Q10) Was the Macedonian tongue a greek dialect or not?

 

Yes it was a greek (doric) dialect.

We shall break this discussion into two parts. The first one consists of evidence found prior to the excavations in Vergina by the late Professor Manolis Andronikos. The second one consists of evidence found mainly since then. This evidence leads beyond any doubt to the conclusion that the Macedonians spoke a greek dialect which was basically a doric one, it borrowed words and was influenced by the aeolic dialect spoken by the Thessalian neighbours of Macedonians, and also borrowed few words of Phrygic and Illyrian origin.

The Thessalian (aeolic) influence convinced some researchers that the genealogy of Makedon given by Hellanikos (see Question 3) was more accurate than that given by Hesiodos.

In the volume “Macedonia: 4000 years of Greek history and civilization” Professor M. Sakellariou examined the words known to be unique in the macedonian dialect of greek and related their root to the roots of words of other Greek dialects. Summarizing, many of the words that were previously considered of non-Greek origin were also in (rare) use in other parts of Greece.

There have been made various claims that the Macedonians up to some time in the 4th century BC used to speak a non-Greek language and at that time (around 340BC) were ‘hellenized’ by the Athenians and thus learned how to speak the attic dialect. These claims can be easily proved to be totally false even if one uses only pre-Vergina evidence.

Below we present various views on the topic.

  • Pre-Vergina evidence.

    Fr. Sturz (in “De Dialecto Macedonica et Alexandrina”, 1808) concluded that the Macedonian tongue was a greek doric dialect. August Flick, O. Hoffmann, Otto Abel, and Karl Belloch, as well as Georg Busolt, Fritz Geyer, Ulrich Wilcken, Helmuth Berve, Gustave Glotz, P. Roussel, P Pouquet, A Jarde, R Cohen, J. Bury, St. Casson, W. Heurtley, D. Hogarth, J. de Waele, just to name a few (non-Greek) historians and archaeologists, shared the same views.

    On the other hand, there were some historians and writers such as M. Vasmer (Revue du ministere d’ instruction publique de Russie, 1908), P Kretschmer and Bulgarians G. Kazarow and Vlad. Georgiev that rejected this thesis. Georgiev attempted to show that Macedonians were member of a Thracoillyrian nation thus speaking illyrian, a non-greek language. That this was not the case was shown in Question 6. G Weigand also shared the opinions of these authors. G. Hatzidakes rejected these theses in various texts and among them in “Zur Abstammung der alten Makedonier (eine ethnologische Studie)”. For more details we refer to Daskalakis (page 104).

    Coins found in Macedonia have inscriptions in greek and are dated from the early 5th BC century. Such found coins are the following ones.

    1. An octadrachm of Alexander I (circa 478BC).
    2. Coins from the reign of Archelaos (413-399BC) and Amyntas III (393-370BC).
    3. the ring of Sindos with the word Gk:’DVRON’ (Gift) dated around 480BC.

    These coins are dated well before 340BC, the time of the alleged “hellenization” of Macedonians.

    Macedonians had their own month names. If one accepts the thesis that Macedonian were ‘hellenized’ by the Athenians some time around 340BC hen one can safely assume that these names must be identical to those used by the Athenians. If not, they would show the linguistic roots of the Macedonians prior to their alleged who claimed that Dorians and Macedonians belonged to the same tribe (Herodotos claimed that the Macedonians who descended to southern Greece after crossing Doris became known as Dorians) and thus Macedonians were a Greek tribe, the month names of Macedonians were Greek and were different from the ones used by the Athenians. The list of these names used by the Macedonians and the list of month names of the Lacedaemonians (who were Dorians) have a common intersection, the names Artemisios and Apellaios.

    Persians when first occupied Macedonia during their conquests in Europe around 510-480BC described the people living in Macedonia as “The Greeks wearing a shield-like hat” and who were non other than the Macedonians themselves. This incident occurred long before the alleged “hellenization” of Macedonians.

    It is believed that the worship of the 12 Olympian Gods had started in Macedonia (as related to their place of “residence”. Mountain Olympos is located in Pieria and both these names are Greek. It is claimed the magnificent view of Mt. Olympos when viewed from Macedonia, while its view from the south (Thessaly) is hindered by other mountains, inspired the Macedonians and from the the other Greeks to consider this mountain the residence of their Gods.

    Athenian comedies used to make fun of the idioms and the dialects of other Greeks like those of Spartans, Boeoteans and of course Macedonians. Some time in the 5th century BC a comedy entitled “Pausanias or Macedonians?” written by the Athenian Strattis was played in Athens. In various parts of this comedy a Macedonian explains how various words of the attic dialect are called in the Macedonian dialect.

    It can be inferred from these references that Macedonians spoke a Doric greek dialect. In a work of the ancient writer Athenaios, one can find samples of the work of Strattis. In an article written by A. Koerte quoting Athenaios VII,323b we can find in that comedy of Strattis the following conversation:

    “STRATTIS GOYN EN MAKEDOSIN EROMENOU TINOS ATTIKOY VS AGNOOYNTOS TO ONOMA KAI LEGONTOS: H SFYRAINA D’ ESTI TIS;” FHSIN O ETEROS ” KESTRAN MEN YMMES VTTIKOI KIKLHSKETE”.

    In English (as it appeared in the article by M. Sakellariou) an Athenian asks “sledfish, what do you mean?” and a Macedonian replies “wha ye Attics ca’ a hammer-fush, ma freen” i.e. in my own words, which i hope do not change the meaning of this phrase “what you Attics call a hammer-fush, (we call a) freen”.

    One can appreciate the value of the Macedonian’s reply for the object under discussion if he does not forget that as is clear from many passages in Aristophanes the attic comedians made their non-Greeks speak broken Greek with an a mixture of barbarian words (some of them imaginary) while Lacedaemonians, Boeotians, Macedonians and other Greeks spoke their own dialects. The Macedonian’s reply is in good Greek with dialect (ymmes, sfyraina) and archaizing elements (kiklhskete). Both YMMES and SFYRAINA are not attic words but they are Greek. Therefore claims that Athenians “hellenized” Macedonians seem to be baseless. It is also noted that these words were used by the Macedonians some time in the 5th century BC that is at least 50 years before their alleged hellenization.

    An ambassador from Macedonia speaking to the Aetolians in 200BC observed that the Macedonians, the Aetolians and the Arkanians all spoke the same language.

    The expressions “aneboa makedonisti”, “makedonisti th fvnh” have been taken by opponents of the thesis that the Macedonians were Greeks as indicating that their language differed from Greek. One can claim that these formulation indicate a Greek dialect (cf [In Greek] “aiolizein th fvnh”, “attikizei”, “attikisti”, “boivtiazein”,”dvrizein” etc).

    To those who are more interested in the characteristics of the dialect of Greek spoken by the Macedonians the article by M. Sakellariou in “Macedonia: 4000 years of Greek history and civilization” is available on request. In general few words of non-greek origin were used in the Macedonian dialect of greek an most of these words were proper names. Some of them were names of Egyptian deities worshipped in Macedonia after the 3rd century BC. Even in the times of Herodotos (II 153, III 27, IV 155, VI 27) barbarian (non-greek) names were in use by Greeks. Strabo VII 7,1 (C321) also mentioned various names of non-greek origin such as KEKROPS (Greek: KEKROC) KODROS, AIKLOS (Gk: A.I.KLOS), KOTHOS (Gk: KOUOS), DRYMAS (Gk: DRYMAS) KRINAKOS (Gk: KRINAKOS).

    It should also be mentioned that many place-names in ancient Macedonia (and modern-day Macedonia of Greece) are of Greek origin and of use in other areas of Greece as well. Such names are: Argos (Gk: ARGOS), also found in Thessaly and Peloponnesos. Arnissa(Gk: ARNISSA) reminds of Arnen (Gk: ARNHN) of Thessaly and Boeotia. Arethoussa (Gk: AREUOYSSA) also found in Ithaca, Boeotia, Syracuses. Prasias a lake and a city name is also found in Athens as PRASIAI, and many other ones (such as Oedomenae, Petra, Fila, Gortynia, Pynda etc).

    Many other words of the Macedonian dialect are of ancient doric origin such as [the macedonian-doric and attic equivalent names are shown in Greek only]: santoria = svthria, zereuron = bereuron, barauron xarvn = xairvn arkon = argos dvraj = uvraj danon = uanon , uanatos kadaron = kauaron sarisa = dory (from the verb sairv, sarvnv) etc. Some other words of the macedonian dialect of greek can be traced back in the Homeric poems: amalos = apalos indea = meshmbrian ( indion hmar) leykanih = laimos lisson = omalon , leion (lygos = rabdos).

    Fore more details see the work of Geyer Fr., where he showed that the names of macedonian months and festivities although they could not be found anywhere in classic Greece were archaic Greek ones and showed the doric origin of the Macedonians.

    The fact that Macedonians participated in various celebrations like the Amphictyonies and the Phocica also show the belief of themselves and the other Greeks in their origin. It is for these reasons that Professor F. Papazoglou in “Historija Hellenizma”, Belgrade, 1967 claimed that Macedonians were Greeks, a claim also supported by Heinz Kreissing in “Povijest Hellenizma”, Zagreb, 1988.

    Prof. Arnold Toynbee in “The Greeks and their Heritages”, Oxford University Press, 1981 also claimed that ancient Macedonians were Greeks.

  • Post-Vergina evidence.

    The excavations in Vergina have brought to light many tombs that buried ancient Macedonians. There are inscription on these tombs with the names of the deceased person and those of his/her progenitors. All names found so far have been Greek. Given that some of these tombs are dated from the 350BC era, one can conclude that by some time in late 5th century Macedonians have been naming their children with Greek names. And since contacts with the Athenians were rare to non-existent at that time one can safely conclude that claims that Macedonians were not Greeks and were only ‘hellenized’ in the 4th century BC are false.

    Published information on the excavations in Vergina is mostly in the form of papers submitted to various conferences.

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Q11) “ANEBOA MAKEDONISTI” ?

 

Those who claim that the Macedonians were not a Greek tribe considered this expression as evidence that the language of the Macedonians was a non-greek one. Previous questions (Question 10) discussed the refutation of this thesis in more detail. A discussion of this phrase only will be dealt here. It is based on that of the book by Daskalakis (see references).

The expression “ANEBOA MAKEDONISTI” was first found in the works of Plutarchos (ALEXANDORS LI, 4) and that of the Latin Kurtius Rufus. The phrase is found in the following passage [ In Greek: ]

“TVN DE SVMATOFYLAKVN ENOS, ARISTOFANOYS, FUASANTOS YFELESUAI, KAI TVN ALLVN PERIEXONTVN KAI DEOMENVN, ANAPHDHSAS (cf Alexandros) ANEBOA MAKEDONISTI KALVN TOYS YPASPISTAS (TOYTO D’ HN SYMBOLO UORYBOU MEGALOU), KAI TON SALPIGKTHN EKELEYSE SAHMAINEIN, KAI PYJ EPAISEN, VS DIATRIBONTA KAI MH BOYLOMENON…”

On the other hand Arrhianos, whose sources included lost works of Alexander’s co-fighters and eye witnesses, describing this episode that resulted in the death of Kleitos used the following phrase: ” ALEJANDROS DE EBOA ANAKALVN TOYS YPASPISTAS”. No reference to MAKEDONISTI appeared in Arrhianos’ version of the episode. This may lead to the conclusion that the word “MAKEDONISTI” was somehow added at some later time, or the interpretation that has been given to it by some translators was not the one intended by Plutarchos. It is also noted that references to the expression “Macedonia and the other Greece” are numerous in his work.

In Plutarchos’ rendition of the episode the distinction between ANEBOA (called, shouted, roared) and KALVN (calling) is evident. Given the explanatory statement “TOYTO D’ HN SYMBOLO UORYBOY MEGALOY” (‘this was a sign of great noise’) it can be concluded that ANEBOA referred to some kind of password used by ALEXANDER the Great to call his YPASPISTAS (sort of bodyguards) in cases of emergencies only, that is why its use caused great disturbance.

The absence of MAKEDONISTI in Arrhianos’ rendition seems to agree with this interpretation. Let alone the fact that following this incident Alexander talked to his YPASPISTAS in attic greek. The expression “aneboa makedonisti”, if this indeed appeared in the original text, is no more different from other similar expression “aiolizein th fvnh”, “attikizei”, “attikisti”, “boivtiazein”,”dvrizein” which were used to denote various dialects of ancient greek.

A Latin writer Kurtius (other than the aforementioned Kurtius Rufus) gave a description of this episode similar to that of Arrhianos. No reference to MAKEDONISTI was made by him and he only wrote “that Alexander ordered via a trumpet call his soldiers to gather outside the royal tent”.

There is another passage in the work of Kurtius Rufus describing the trial of Filotas which is being used by proponents of the thesis that the Macedonians spoke a non-greek language. Allegedly Filotas during his trial used the attic dialect forcing Alexander to accuse him of not using his (Filotas’s) mother tongue (macedonian, supposedly a non-greek language). Subsequently, Alexander also accused Filotas of being unwilling to learn how to speak his mother tongue! This passage contains several contradictions notwithstanding the one that Filotas was not capable of speaking his mother tongue. Alexander on the other hand, allegedly accuses Filotas of detesting the macedonian dialect but according to Filotas’ reply this accusation is spelled by Alexander in the attic rather than the macedonian dialect! This fact alone, had this episode really happened, could have been used against Alexander himself as a counter argument and accusation. It is this reference to Alexander that made H. Bardon, publisher of Rufus’s works to wonder how it was possible for Alexander to fall in such a contradiction and to accuse others of something that he himself was fighting for.

Neither Arrhianos, who lived closer to the era this episode occurred, nor Plutarchos present this incident mentioned in the work of Kurtius Rufus. H. Bardon, French publisher of Rufus’s works (pub. Belles Lettres vol 1 page 201 note 1) commenting on the alleged speech of Filotas said that Kurtius Rufus was accustomed to rhetoric artifices and as a result historic truth suffered in that part of his work. All in all it can be safely concluded that this passage was more of a product of the rhetoric talents of Rufus thus attributing to Filotas a speech Filotas never gave rather than presenting the actual events. Writers who lived well before Rufus and close to the time of the incident were not aware of such a speech by Filotas.

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Q12) There is a reference in a work by Pausanias that may give the impression that Macedonians, around 214-213BC, were speaking a non-Greek language.

 

Advocates of the thesis that the Macedonian spoke a non-greek language claim that this language was spoken by them up to some time in mid 4th century BC. At that time Macedonians within few years were fully hellenized and since then they have been speaking Greek.

Long but relevant Parenthesis. Skip it if not interested: Some of these advocates accept a Skopjan point of view that all Macedonians perished and thus vanished when Slavs first appeared in the Balkan peninsula in the 7th century AD. All of a sudden these new Slavs became heir-apparents of the Macedonians, were granted presumably by Marshall Tito the exclusive right to be called ‘Macedonians’ and named the Bulgarian idiom also consisting of Greek, Turkish, and Albanian words formed at least 1000 years after their descent to the Balkans “the Macedonian language”.

Some of them, possibly all, claim that this Slavic origin language was the language spoken by the Macedonians before the the Cyrillic alphabet was introduced to these and other Slavs along with many greek words by two Macedonian (Greek) brothers, Kontantinos (later called Cyril) and Methodios from Thessaloniki. It is quite interesting to know how these Macedonian brothers escaped the fate of other fellow Macedonians and didn’t perish during the descent of Slavs in the Balkan peninsula, as the advocates of Skopjan claimed that it had happened.

According to Pausanias (Messenians IV 29, 1) the residents of Messene a night around 214-213BC first thought that the Lacedaemonians had attacked them. Later, by the arms and the voices, realized that those who attacked them were soldiers led by king Demetrios. Since at that time a Demetrios was King of Macedonia, it was assumed that the attackers were Macedonians. Some authors claimed that the ‘voices’ reference was to mean that the Macedonians (attackers) were speaking a non-greek language at that time, an argument not accepted for the Macedonians of that time by almost everyone.

Later on, it was realized that the Demetrios in question was not the king of Macedonia, son of Philippos E’, but Demetrios the Pharian, an Illyrian, who was later killed during this campaign against Messene.

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Q13) Did Demosthenes believe the Macedonians were barbarians?

 

No. Proponents of the thesis that Macedonians spoke a non-greek language accept (usually…) that the Macedonian kings were Greeks but were ruling non-Greek people. Given the evidence that has been found in the past years from archaeological excavations they have started claiming that the kings and the upper-class had been Greek-speakers but the lower class was not.

Now to explain the “NO”. One may claim that it should have been a “YES” and they would point to the “To Philippos” speech of the orator where he claimed that from these barbarian Macedonians one could not even buy slaves. I will let Professor A. Holm in his work “The history of Greece from its commencement to the close of the independence of the Greek nation”, translated from German, London New York, Macmillan, 1894-1898, Volume III, page 206 to explain this passage from the speech of Demosthenes:

“That the Greeks did not consider the Macedonians as barbarians is proved involuntarily by Demosthenes (To Philippos 3, 31) where he states that “OYD ANDRAPODON SPOYDAION HN PROTEROY” from Macedonia, which stripped of its rhetoric means the Macedonians did not provide the Greeks with slaves, the meaning of which of course was that the Macedonians were not considered barbarians, like the Thracians, Phrygians…”

Given this, the discussion below seems to be redundant.

Demosthenes, an Athenian orator and politician in various speeches of his and most notably in Olynthiakos G’ and later, when it was very clear to him that the power of Athens was fading away and Macedonia was the new power in the hellenic world, accused Philippos II of many things including that of being barbarian. This is not surprising for Demosthenes who spent his whole life advocating the superiority of Athens over the other hellenic states, even if that required that some Greek city-states were to be destroyed or to suffer for Athens to remain the leader of Greece [See, For the Megalopolitans,5].

In his Third Olynthiakos, 16, Demosthenes wrote

“Is he (Philippos) not our enemy? Are not our possessions in his hands? Is he not a barbarian? Is he not anything that you choose to call him? In God’s name, when we have let everything go, when we have all but put everything into his hands, shall we then inquire at large who is responsible for it all?”

There are no explicit accusations of Macedonians as a whole of being so (barbarians). Given that such an assertion against Philippos is shared by no one and given so many references in antiquity to his descent [Herodotos, Thucydides, Isocrates, Hesiodos, Hellanikos] in various texts any other discussion on this question seems pointless. In one translation of this speech by John Edwin Santys in “The first Philippic and the Olynthiacs of Demosthenes”, Macmillan and Co, the translator commented on this passage Argos [Herodotos VIII 137, IX 45, Thucydides II 99,2, V 80,2] and one of Philip’s ancestors, Alexander A’, had as a Greek been allowed to compete at the Olympic games [Herodotos V 22]. Demosthenes, however, in his hatred of Philip, never acknowledges his Greek descent. … of breath as he gasps out this final and comprehensive phrase of vituperation. In such a spasmodic utterance no one need be surprised either at the presence of hiatus or at the concurrence of several short syllables”. Those who believe that this phrase of Demosthenes is not a term of abuse but truth are those who believe that President-elect Clinton is indeed ‘Bozo’ as Presint Bush claimed, which I doubt that even President Bush believes.

There is also another reason that this accusation against Philippos on behalf of Demosthenes was more of a figure of speech than anything else.

Demosthenes’s mother (or his maternal grandmother) was a Skythian, a non-Greek and thus a non-Athenian. Had his accusation been taken seriously we could have been accused and for a good reason of being a barbarian himself.

In fact Aeschines (On the Embassy, 78) expressed this opinion by saying “…. KAI TAYTA, V DHMOSUENES, EK TVN NOMADVN SKYUVN TO PROS MHTROS VN GENOS”, that is, “you, Demosthenes, a descendant through your mother of the nomad Skythians” as well as (Against Ctesiphon, 172) “TA D’ APO THS MHTROS [DHMOSUENHS] SKYUHS, BARBAROS, ELLHNIZVN TH FVNH” that is, “and by his mother’s side [Demosthenes is] a Scythian, a Greek speaking Barbarian”, and earlier in that passage Aeschines accused Demothenes of being a slanderer “EJ’ HS YMIN O PERIERGOS KAI SYKOFANTHS [DEMOSTHENES] GEGENHTAI”. [Some authors believe that Kleovouli, mother of Demosthenes, was daughter of Gylon who settled in Crimaea and married a Scythian woman.]

Let alone the fact that Demosthenes, an ‘honorable’ Athenian citizen, was bribed later by the Persians (barbarians) to write speeches against Philippos and at the same time was also accusing Philippos of bribing Athenians and various Athenians of being bribed by Philippos. Demosthenes would also look very silly since another Athenian, Isocrates, in, To Philippos,108 wrote considered Philippos an Hellen and urged him to unite all Hellenes and lead them in a war against the Barbarians.

In one of his speeches, On the Embassy 305, Demosthenes in his effort to accuse orator Aeschines of inconsistent and possibly traitorous behavior accused Aeschines of calling Philippos ‘barbarian’ and ‘devil’. In his Third Philippic, 31, Demosthenes accused Philippos of being “he is a pestilent Macedonian, from whose country it used not to be possible to buy even a slave of any value” [There were no slaves in the Macedonian state as opposed to other greek city-states]. On the other hand in the Third Olynthiac Demosthenes commended the Athenians on extracting 10,000 talents from Macedonia and bringing them into the Acropolis many years earlier, in the fifth century BC.

Accusations by Aeschines on the past and present behavior of Demosthenes such as of inflicting wounds on himself and bringing suit for malicious assault, (in Against Ctesiphon, 212), of becoming a teacher in order to extract large amounts of money from his pupils (in Against Timarchus, 171), of taking money from his clients for writing speeches to be delivered in court and then revealing the contents of these speeches to their opponents (in On the Embassy, 165), of belittling young Alexander by claiming that he would prove incompetent and would never stir out of Macedonia (Against Ctesiphon 160), of later seeking favor from Alexander (same,162), of his insincerity and cowardice (against Ctesiphon 150-152), are omitted.

The following remark made by an ancient writer commenting on Demosthenes’s accusation of Philippos (Olynthiakos G’ 16) being a barbarian highlights the beliefs of all other Greeks as well as the real beliefs of Demosthenes:

“YBRISAI TOYTON (meaning FILIPPON DEMOSUENHS) BOYLOMENOS KALEIN BARBARON, EPEI TO ALHUES SKOPHSEI, EYRHSEI AYTON ELLHNAN ARGEION KAI APO HRAKLEOYS TO GENOS KATAGOMENON, VS PANTES OI ISTORIKOI MARTYROYSIN…”.

In short the accusation on behalf of Demosthenes was just a slander since every historian at that time knew that Philippos was Greek in descent.

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Q14) Is there any reference by Demosthenes to an incident that can lead us to conclude that he and his fellow Athenians believed that Macedonians indeed spoke a greek dialect?

 

Yes. Demosthenes in a speech of his (in Greek: PERI THS PARAPRESBEIAS[On the Embassy?] 197,229) described an incident in which Frynonas, an Athenian, while traveling to Olympia had his luggage taken by Macedonian soldiers. Frynonas acted later as an Athenian ambassador to Philippos II. Philippos II ordered his soldiers to return the taken property to Frynonans and apologized for his soldiers not knowing that that time was a period of religious festivities. Had the Macedonian soldiers not spoken a greek dialect Philippos II would have used that as an excuse, Demosthenes would have been very keen to pointing this out in his speech, and taken up with great delight, as we may guess, the opportunity to accuse not only Philippos but also his soldiers of barbarian behavior. Nevertheless, he didn’t do that because he knew that the Macedonians spoke a greek dialect.

No lack of understanding between the Macedonians and the Athenians at that time (at the time that the alleged “hellenization” of Macedonians was about to begin) has been reported in any ancient text.

Demosthenes, as an ambassador of Athens visited Macedonia twice. This happened before his now famous (or infamous) speeches against Philippos. During his two visits and afterwards never complained of Macedonians being “barbarians”, or speaking a non-greek language. On the contrary we was dazzled by the riches of the palace of Philippos in Pella.

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Q15) Is it possible [ignoring historic evidence that shows that this was not the case] that Macedonians had spoken a non-greek language before 340BC and within a 10-20 year period every Macedonian was fluent in the attic dialect?

 

The answer is no, unless one sites as an example the races in Star Trek: The Next Generation (Trademark by Paramount Pictures) who are all fluent in English no matter how alien or young or French for that matter are 🙂

Arrhianos presented many instances of Alexander the Great talking to his fellow Macedonian soldiers in greek(attic) and not say, in their supposedly non-greek mother tongue. Wouldn’t his soldiers feel more comfortable in their mother tongue (a supposedly non greek one)?

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Q16) Who may have ‘hellenized’ ancient Macedonians, if we we assume, despite proof for the contrary, that they were not a greek tribe ?

 

This is a question that noone could give an answer. Assuming that ancient Macedonians were not speaking Greek the large number of doric and thus non-attic words found in their spoken language, let alone place-names, month-names, attributes to Gods and Godesses, festival names etc seem to zero the probability that Athenians were the ones who hellenized them. The large number of archaic greek words not used by other Greeks of that time preclude any other greek city-state or kingdom of the classic times to be responsible for that alleged ‘hellenization’. Remembering the not so friendly relations between the Macedonians and the Athenians, the vastness of the Macedonian kingdom as opposed to that of the city state of Athens, and its population -Macedonians were able to form sizeable armies, by Greek standards- it is highly unlikely that any other Greek state or Athens could have undertaken such an enormous task and had it completed in a 10-20 year period.

On the other hand, Alexander A’ when he initiated his otherwise brief contacts with the Greeks in the South he was able to talk to them in Greek fluently. If Macedonians were to be hellenised in the 4th century BC there would have been no way for Alexander A’ to speak greek. If he and his family were the only Greek speakers in Macedonia it would have been highly unlikely that he and his family had retained the ability to speak Greek fluently.

One of the tragedies Euripides first presented in Macedonia was Iphigeneia in Aulis and Ekavi. In Iphigeneia (1400) and Ekavi (1199) “OYPOT’ AN FILON / TO BARBARON GENOIT’ AN ELLHSIN GENOS / OYD AN DYNAITO”, the greek superiority over the Barbarians was highlighted. It would have been be too dangerous for him to express such opinions to a non-greek audience (if Macedonians were not Greek and spoke a non-Greek language). Let alone the fact that the language of his tragedies was Greek.

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Q17) Isocrates used the phrases “ALOFYLON TO GENOS”, “OYX OMOFYLOY GENOYS”. Do they mean “of other tribe” or “of other race”?

 

We discussed in previous paragraphs the various interpretations of the word Hellen (Greek) in various times in antiquity. The word Hellen used to describe in homeric times the people living in some place (the Myrmidones in Thessaly) and later (possibly) those living in Epeiros if one believes that the Selloi of Epeiros, also called Graecoi, were later became known as Hellenes. Only in the 8-7th century BC was the word Hellen used to describe as a whole various Greek (hellenic) tribes. Since at that time Macedonians were in constant wars with the Illyrians and other non-greek tribes and had little contacts with the other Greek tribes in the South the term Hellenes with its new meaning was not familiar to them.

Thus distinction between Hellenes and Macedonians used by writers at that time (who nevertheless had no doubt of the Greekness of the Macedonians) shouldn’t be a source of false claims. The following excerpt of Isocrates’ speech highlights this.

(Isocrates. Philip. 154):

” HN GAR TAYTA PRATTHS, APANTES SOI XARIN EJOYSI, OI MEN ELLHNES YPER VN AN EY PASXVSI, MAKEDONES D’ HN BASILIKVS ALLA MH TYRANNIKVS AYTVN EPISTATHS, TO DE TVN ALLVN GENOS, HN DIA SE BARBARIKHS DESPOTEIAS APALLAGENTES ELLHNIKHS EPIMELEIAS TYXVSIN”

Although Isocrates distinguished Hellenes from Macedonians by including in the first term the at that time accepted interpretation of “the greek tribes living south of river Peneios”, he nevertheless believed that the the people who got rid of the “BARBARIKHS DESPOTEIAS” (barbarian rule) with the assistance of Macedonians are now ruled and taken care of (“ELLHNIKHS EPIMELEIAS TYXVSIN”) by people (Macedonians) belonging to Greek tribes.

Isocrates is well known for suggesting that Philippos II (In his speech: To Philippos) lead a panhellenic hegemony, consisting only of Greeks, that will unify all Hellenic tribes and lead them in a war against the barbarians [To Philippos, 115,80, 127-128,8,16]. A reference by him to Macedonians as “OYX OMOFYLOY GENOYS”(TO Philippos,108) there, has been interpreted by some to mean “of other race” rather than “of other tribe” thus earning him many supporters among the ones who claim that Macedonians were not Greek. It seems quite weird that Isocrates would like the leader of a “barbarian tribe” to unite all Hellenes, including his own “barbarians”.

The answer to this misinterpretation of the “OYX OMOFYLON GENOS” will become apparent shortly.

In the same text (To Philippos,32) Isocrates wrote “UHBAIOI DE TON ARXHGON TOY GENOYS YMVN TIMVSI” that is that Isocrates was aware of the Macedonian-Doric connection and/or the legend that the Macedonian kings were considered descendants of Heracles. The ‘founder of your tribe’ refers to Heracles. If ‘GENOYS'(of TRIBE) were to mean RACE (the hellenic one in particular) Isocrates would have used HMVN (that is, ‘founder of our tribe’) instead of YMVN (that is, ‘founder of your tribe’).

This meaning of the word GENOS (tribe rather than race) can also be found in Herodotos (I, 56, mentioned in Question 8) where the Lacedaemonians are of “DVRIKOU GENOUS’ (Doric, presumably, tribe) while the Athenians are of “IVNIKOY” (Ionian, presumably, tribe). Had GENOS meant race one must conclude that either Iones (say, Athenians) or Dorians (say Spartans) were not Greek. It is worth mentioning that in that same passage Herodotos used the word ‘EUNOS’ (nowadays it means ‘people’…) for the ancient Pelasgian and Hellenic people (‘EUNH’). Herodotos included the Ionians in the Pelasgian and Dorians in the Hellenic people, although both were hellenic (greek) tribes. So much for confusing terms…

In VIII,144, Herodotos distinguished Hellenic tribes from the Barbarians on the basis of ‘blood’ and ‘speech’ (OMAIMON and OMOGLVSSON) rather than of race or tribe which didn’t have very specific meanings at that time.

The following references in addition to the previous ones, show that the word “FYLON”, “GENOS” had at that time the meaning of the english word TRIBE rather than that of RACE, thus “ALOFYLON GENOS” and “OYX OMOFYLON GENOS” means “of other (not of the same) tribe”, as this was true for the Athenians (ionic tribe) and Macedonians (doric one). The interpretation “of other (not of the same) race” for “ALOFYLOY GENOS” and “OYX OMOFYLON” is thus incorrect.

  1. Thucydides (I, 141) : Pericles talking about the Peloponnesians said “PANTES TE ISOCHFIOI ONTES KAI OYX OMOFYLOI TO EF’ EAYTON EKASTOS SPEYDH” that is, he considered Peloponnesians not “OMOFYLOI” to the Athenians. Since everyone considered both Peloponnesians and Athenians to be Greek, ‘OMOFYLOI’ had thus the meaning of the ‘same tribe’ rather than of ‘same race’.
  2. Dicaiarchos : “FYLH DE KAI FYLETAI PROTERON VNOMASUHSAN EK THS EIS TAS POLEIS KAI TA KALOYMENA EUNH SYNODOY GENOMENHS; EKASTON GAR TVN SYNELUONTVN FYLON ELEGETO EINAI”. Same meaning as before.
  3. Herodotos (VIII, 144) distinguishes Hellenic tribes from Barbarians depending on the “OMAIMON” (same blood) and “OMOGLVSSON” (same tongue) but not of the “OMOFYLON” (same tribe).
  4. Euripides (Her. Main. 1200) agreed with Herodotos.
  5. Eustathios (93,3) assigned the meaning of tribe to ‘FYLON’.

It was known to Isocrates (as attested in the same speech) the tradition relating Macedonians and Dorians and the “ALOFYLOY” was pointing out this difference between the Athenians and Macedonians. Later in his speech Isocrates asked Philippos to unite the Hellenes and drive them against the barbarians. He also suggested that Philippos should lead only Greeks against the barbarians. Had Macedonians been considered barbarians the suggestions would have been at least absurd and offending rather than encouraging and flattering, as they were intended to be.

In another part of its speech/letter Isocrates mentions that Philippos rules people (Macedonians) of not his own tribe-race. Some claim that this is a proof of the non-Greekness of Macedonians in the sense that considering Philippos to be Greek (according to the legend of his family’s descent) the tribe-race is to mean that the people he ruled were not Greeks. The accurate meaning of this phrase can only be derived by reading the whole passage. Isocrates suggests to Philippos that the kind of rule (monarchy) that was so successful in Macedonia is not guaranteed to be successful in the city-states of Southern Greece. Thus, he should choose another form of government when he (Philippos) becomes hegemon of all Greece. In order to support this he cites the example of his ancestors who unable to rule Argos, since at that time monarchies were detested in Southern Greece and the trend was the establishment of city-states, were only successful in ruling another tribe, that of Macedonians.

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Q18) Skopjans accuse us Macedonians in Greece of changing the names of our cities into Greek ones some time in the 20th century instead of using the slavic names assigned to these cities since “ancient” (sic) names. They claim that Edessa for example should not be called so but VODEN instead, and Thessaloniki should be called SOLUN.

 

Cities in Macedonia, the ancient kingdom and the province of Greece, still have the names they had in antiquity, at least for the cities that existed at that time. The names of some of these cities may not be even of Greek origin, thus showing that Skopjan claims are not only false but at least silly or absurd.

The Skopjans claim that the Macedonian city of Edessa in the Pella prefecture of Macedonia, Greece, should not be called so but Voden instead. They also claim that we Macedonias changed the name of the city from the slavic one “VODEN” into the “greek” one EDESSA. The city of EDESSA has been called so since prehistoric times. It is amusing to point out that many believe the name Edessa is not of Greek, but possibly of phrygic origin denoting a place rich of waters. Edessa has always been famous of her waterfalls. Others may claim that the suffix “-dessa” may indicate ‘water’ in some prehistoric form of the greek word (GK:YDVR) for water. This connection of the name ‘EDESSA’ with ‘water’ had confused many historians until 1976. They used to believe that Edessa was ancient Aegae, the royal city of the Macedonian Kings. They thought that the word ‘Aegae’ was derived not from the word ‘aega’ (she-goat) as this is related with the myth of the creation of the Macedonian state by Karanos, but from the doric prefix Aeg- denoting ‘water’ (cf Edessa). In Doric, ‘aegae’ means ‘(water) waves’ (The ‘Aegean Sea’ is an obvious example). Given that both names Edessa and Aegae have to do with ‘waters’ archaelogists thought that Edessa=Aegae.

This argument was put in rest by Nicholas L. G. Hammond in 1968 when he suggested that Vergina and not Edessa was the ancient Aegae, a correct assertion as it was proved in 1976 by the excavations of M. Andronikos in Vergina. Though Vergina is not on the sea shore of Thermaikos Bay it is believed that in the BC centuries the present lands separating Vergina from the sea were wetlands.

It is noted that the slavic word VODEN also denotes ‘water’. It is also worth mentioning that the city of Skopje whose name is probably derives from the greek one ‘Skopia’, was invariably called ‘Uskub’, ‘Skupoi’, ‘Skup’, ‘Skopje’, and as of few years ago ‘Skoplje’.

Another Example is the city of Kastoria in Western Macedonia, Greece. Skopjans prefer to call it Kostur and suggest that Greeks should call it so. The name of the city ‘Kastoria’ comes from the mythical hero Kastor (Castor) brother of Polydeukes, son of Leda and Zeus.

Regarding Thessaloniki (called Salonica or Saloniki also in English) if one opens an ancient map he will realize that the name of the city has been Thessaloniki and not Solun (as Skopjan suggest that we should call the city) since ancient times.

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Q19) Skopjans claim that when Slavs descended to the Balkan peninsula, in the 7th century AD, Macedonians vanished and there was a kind of ‘slavicization’ of Macedonia which ‘gave birth’ to the “Slavic-Macedononians” as Skopjans claim they are (at least some of them), the supposedly deserved ancestors of ancient Macedonians. Are such claims true say up to 15th century AD?

 

The distinction between Macedonians, Thessalians, Athenians, Spartans and Lacaedemonians in antiquity which indicated among other things greek tribes of distinct customs, spoken dialects ceased to exist with the passage of time. As of the hellenistic period almost all Greeks were using the attic dialect for their communication while all the other dialects (of greek) were dropped from regular use. The rise of Christianity erased distinctions based in religious matters and the place of residence was then used distinguish say Thessalians from Macedonians and Athenians. Their common greek dialect (the attic one) though evolved differently in various regions thus giving the various dialects of modern greek.

To say that Macedonians vanished some time in the 7AD century is to claim that the Greeks (many of them ancestors of doric people called Macedonians, other possibly ancestor of other aeolic, doric or ionic people, others of mixed parentage) residing in Macedonia were all killed at that time, an absurdity.

Around 688, emperor Justinian B’, after the defeat of the Bulgars and Slavs in lower Moissia transferred all the Slavs in the northern european part of his empire (that is of Macedonia and Thrace of nowadays Greece and territories covering the Rep. of Skopje, Albania and parts of Bulgaria) to Asia Minor. These were estimated to be 80,000 but probably were more than that since two years later the emperor preparing for a war against the Arabs conscripted 30,000 men from this population to his army. These Slavs subsequently switched sides and supported the Arabs. The emperor for retribution killed all the remaining Slavs in Asia Minor.

About one hundred years later, in 773AD, the Bulgarian population in the Balkans was reduced after repeated defeats in battles with the Byzantine emperors. When the Bulgars decided to strengthen their army and find new recruits they marched to Thessaly, since there were no Slavs in Macedonia, to capture a small Slavic tribe living there. On their way there they were annihilated by the Byzantine forces. In the next century forced movements of Slavic populations from Greece to Asia Minor continued.

The conclusion is that the Byzantine emperors did everything possible to clear up the northern territories (including Macedonia and Thrace of modern day Greece) of their empire of Slavs.

Various non-Greek sources indicate that not only Macedonia of modern day Greece but also Rep. of Skopje (the latter, if not entirely, at least predominantly) were Greek till the late 15th century AD.

C. Jirecek, in “Geschichte der Serben” claimed that Macedonians were always Greek and all the area south of the line defined by the cities Achris-Skopje-Nissa-Sofia-Aimos-Messimbria was greek (an assertion also confirmed by other authors such as Th. Mommsen, A. Karnach).

Hertzberg (in “Geschichte Byzantinissen”) (Vol B, Book A, Chapter Gamma, page 184, 1906 edition). said that in 1282, the population below the line Euxinus Pontus-Aimos-Kustendil-Skopje-Skutari was Greek, in tongue, in customs and working for the greek interests.

One can then wonder when the Bulgarian idiom spoken by the Skopjans was in use say in the lands of nowadays Rep. of Skopje, let alone in antiquity [since Skopjans claim that the Slavic idiom spoken by the Slavs who descended to the Balkans in the 7th AD century was used by the ancient Macedonian 1000-1500 years earlier!].

The French historian Haumant, in “La formation de la Yugoslavie”, mentioned that in the 13th century the area from Prisreni to Nissa was empty of people. If there were no Slavs there, then how and when the “Macedonians” of Skopjan type appeared in Macedonia and the Republic of Skopje? This is the reason Albanians (70%?) occupy the region of Cossyphopedio (Kosovo).

Hertzberg, in “Geschichte Byzantinissen”, mentioned that when in the 14th century Dushan shared his kingdom with his son he kept the greek area south of Skopje and gave his son the northern Serbian areas (this is also confirmed by a Czech historian, Jirecek). All his orders were then written in Greek and not in any idiom like the onenow spoken in the Republic of Skopje. In 1350 when John Katakouzenos was in the city of Verhoia representatives of all big greek cities (Skopje included) visited him and asked for help. Jirecek mentioned in his book that at this time Skopje was a greek city inhabited mainly by Greeks despite being part of the Serbian kingdom for more than a century. Following Dushan’s death around 1355 his son’s empire began to collapse. Dushan’s brother, Symeon, proclaimed himself an emperor and accorded himself the surname of “Palaeologos” in an attempt to gain the favor of the Greek population of his kingdom(empire). He also wrote his orders in Greek (and not in any strange called slavic idioms).

Soon the Greeks gained the control of the garrisons of various greek cities (such as Verhoia, Edessa, and Skopje). Officials in Dushan’s empire quickly abandoned these greek cities and moved to Prisreni and later to Krusevach. The greek inhabitants remained in the areas they had been living for many centuries, if not millenia.

Since even in the years of Dushan, when the slavic influence and control in the areas of Macedonia(Greece), western part of Albania, Republic of Skopje and Yugoslavia (Serbia+Kosovo) was at its peak Macedonian Greeks were not “slavisized”, how was that possible under the Ottoman rule, when after the defeat of Serbia by the Ottomans circa 1459, the Slavs migrated to the north and the area south of the city of Skopje was inhabited by Greeks only? If the strong presence of Slavs at that time didn’t cause the Macedonians to vanish how was that possible to happen before? How come the vanished Macedonians of 7th AD survived as late as 15th AD? and later?

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Q20) Do the Skopjans have desires on Macedonia, Greece?

 

Greece claims that Skopjans, who are evidently non-Greeks, by using to identify themselves a hellenic (greek) name that still identifies a region in modern Greece, the people living in that region, and their thousands year old heritage, implies territorial claims on behalf of Skopje. Such opinions were shared by US officials when the late Marshall Tito, in 1944, created a (now former) Yugoslav Socialist Republic of “Macedonia”.

There are many Skopjan provocations supporting Greece’s position.

  1. The use of Slavic names for Greek cities instead of the Greek ones (they prefer to call Thessaloniki, Solun, to call Kastoria , Kostur, to call Florina, Lerin, to call Edessa, Voden etc), beyond the usual changes that the translation of various names from one language to another requires. The use of Slavic toponyms is intended to cast a doubt on the greekness of the various places in Macedonia. This is also confirmed by the fact that the Skopjans never use the term say “Greek Macedonia” but speak of the “Aegean Macedonia” (see discussion below).
  2. The use of the term “Aegean Macedonia” (a term invented and used by Skopjans and by people of similar desires) instead of say the more acceptable and less suspicious “Greek Macedonia” to identify Macedonia, Greece (that is the region called Macedonia in Greece). This can be interpreted as an attempt to present this part as a member of a whole (usually called “Greater Macedonia”) yet “unliberated”. The Bulgarian oriented (terrorist) organization called IMRO (founded in the beginning of the 20th century) and the current political party VMRO of the Republic of Skopje expressed and express such claims quite often.
  3. 3) [From [7]]: A calendar for the year 1981 was published in Skopje and circulated around the world that had on its cover the word “macedonija” written in the Slavic script. Under this word a warrior appeared, like the old Commitadjis [Bulgar terrorists who in the late 19th and early 20th century intended to include Macedonia and Thrace of Greece, Rep of Skopje as well as areas of nowadays Bulgaria to then Bulgaria], with the bayonet fastened on his rifle. Under him the well known Statue of Liberty (yes! the one in New York!) was depicted. This statue is supported on a map of the Balkan Peninsula and largely on Macedonia, Greeece. Under this picture it is written in english “Independent and Free Macedonia” (implying that Macedonia, Greece was not free at that time!!!).
  4. Maps depicting Macedonia, Greece, as part of the Republic of Skopje have been published recently (November 1992) in Skopje according to various reports.
  5. [From [7]]: In 1973 a large size picture book was circulated in many languages which shows “the immigrants” from the other two sectors of “Macedonia” (supposedly the “Aegean Macedonia” of Greece, as Macedonia is euphemistically called by the Skopjans, and the “Pirin Macedonia” as the southwestern part of Bulgaria is also called by the Skopjans) “who have not been liberated yet”, to “nostalgically” visit the “free” “Macedonia” of Skopje. This book, entitled MACEDONIAN VISTAS is still under circulation (at the time of the writing of reference [7], i.e. 1984) in the bookstores of Belgrade and Skopje.’
  6. More recently maps found in various Skopjan cultural centers around the world include various areas of Greece in their Skopjan state (Thessaly is included in some cases).
  7. In early 1992 a currency was printed in skopje depicting the White Tower a landmark of Thessaloniki, the capital of Macedonia, Greece.

    [NOTE: This was not an officially sanctioned banknote but a souvenir banknote printed by some Skopje company. Still it is interesting why these things would be popular enough to make and sell in Skopje. – ce107]

  8. This fall it was decided in Rep. of Skopje that the coat of arms of the Republic of Skopje would be the coats of arms of the royal family of Philippos II, father of Alexander the Great. The coat of arms, a sun, was depicted in a gold larnax found in the grave of Philippos II, in Vergina, Macedonia, Greece, by the late Professor Manolis Andronikos. There have been announcements recently in Greek newspapers by Greek archaelogists that the so-called Vergina-Star has also been found elsewhere in Greece (Attica) and these occurrences are dated around the early 5th century BC (470BC).

    It is open to the reader to decide what the Slavs of Skopje, who descended in the Balkans in the late 7AD century that is 1000 years after the death of Philippos II, have to do with a greek tribe, the coat of arms of their Greek Kings, and their greek heritage. It seems that the Skopjans will never stop claiming other people’s heritage.

    [The following are take from reference [8]].

  9. June 1951: A book is published entitled ‘”Slavomacedonian” fighters’. The hero of the Greek war of independence Markos Botsaris is referred to as “Marc Botsar” allegedly a “Macedonian” of the Skopjan type.
  10. September 2, 1951: The Interior Ministry (of Yugoslavia) gives a certificate to a person born in Agia Paraskevi, Macedonia, Greece. Macedonia is referred to as “People’s Republic of Aegean Macedonia.” (For your own information, Greece has never been a People’s Republic, as this term is used by Communists).
  11. November 1951: The Geography book for the third grade of High School for the students of the then Socialist Republic that is now Rep. of Skopje allegedly mentioned that “our borders with Greece are just physical and not national ones, since the Aegean Macedonia remains under the rule of Greece”.
  12. End of 1960: The Government in Belgrade adopted a law that officially recognised as time served to the Yugoslavian Armed Forces the time served by Greek Communist guerillas in Greek-communist organizations, other than EAM-ELAS, fighting against the Greek government during the greek civil war 1944-1949. Participation in EAM-ELAS (1941-1949) has been recognised since 1954.
  13. February 1961: The filming of a movie entitled something like “Revolutionaries in Thessaloniki” began at that time in Skopje. The topic of the movie was a Bulgarian terrorist act in Thessaloniki in April 1903, when the city was under Ottoman rule. The Bulgars are depicted in the film as “Macedonians” (of the skopjan type), and the terrorist event is depicted as part of the “fight of Macedonians for independence”.

This is just a small sample of the Skopjan provocations.

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Q21) When did ‘Macedonians’ of the Skopjan type first appear?

 

Tito by the end of the WWII created a Yugoslav Socialist Republic that he called “Macedonia”. The inhabitants of this new Republic were called “Macedonians”. The following figures of Yugoslavian censuses show this.

According to preliminary results of the 1921 Yugoslavian census [Yugoslavia was called then “Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes”], as these can be found in [8], the ethnic composition of Yugoslavia at that time was:

Ethnic   composition   (in  thousands)       (percentages)

Serbs+Croats                8,946                74.4

Slovenes                    1,024                 8.5

Other  Slavs                  174                 1.5

Germans                       513                 4.3

Hungarians                    472                 3.9

Albanians                     441                 3.7

Romanian                      229                 1.9

Italians                       12                 0.1

Others                        201                 1.7

  

The final results of this census, classified according to language spoken by these people where as follows:

              		(million)   (percentages)

YugoSlavs 		  9,931         83.0

other slavs        	    176          1.5

germans                     505          4.2

hungarians                  467          3.9

albanians                   439          3.7

romanians                   231          1.9

turks (albanians)           150          1.3

Italians                     12          0.1

Other                        69          0.6

  

According to their religion:

         	(million)   (percentages)

Orthodox    	  5,593        46.7

Catholics   	  4,708        39.3

Muslims     	  1,345        11.2

Protestants   	    229         1.9

Jews           	     64         0.5

Greek-catholics	     40         0.4

Other          	      3         0.01

  

As one can see, in 1921 there were no “Macedonians” and no “macedonian” language.

After the 1948 census the following figures were released. We have

	        (in   thousands)

Serbs   	     6,547

Croats       	     3,784

Slovenes             1,415

"Macedonians"          809

Mavrovounians          425

(Montenegrians)

Muslims                808

  

It is interesting that a new nationality of “Macedonians” appeared in this census with a population of 809,000 while 27 years ago no such nationality existed. It is also interesting to note that according to this census no Albanians lived in Yugoslavia in 1948 while the 1921 census indicated the existence of 441,000 Albanians. This albanian population is hidden under such terms (nationalities?) as “Macedonians”, Mavrovounians, and Muslims. One can thus conclude that this 1948 census not only created new imaginary nationalities, like “Macedonians”, but also erased existing ones. It seems creation and eradication of nationalities was a major hobby of the late Marshall Tito.

According to the religion of the people living in Yugoslavia one gets the following:

         	    (percentages)

Orthodox       	        49.53%

Catholics               36.77%

Muslims                 12.52%

Other Christians         1.14%

Jews                     0.04%

  
Minorities  (in thousands)

Albanians       750

Hungarians      496

Vlachs          102   (where did they come from? The Vlachs of

                       Macedonia that resided in Yugoslavia

                       after the Balkan Wars were  under 30,000.)

Turks            98

Slovaks          83

Italians         79

Gypsies          72

Bulgarians       61

Russenoi*        37

Germans          55

Romanians        64

Jews              6.8

Greeks            1.8

Czechs           39

  

* This is the translation of this term into English from Greek.

It is surprising that the Greek minority in Yugoslavia is only 1,800. We simply note that during the Greek civil of 1944-1949 Yugoslavia fully supported the Greek Communists and around 28,000 children were abducted and sent to Yugoslavia. Most of these children never returned to their parents. It is believed that the majority of them remained in Yugoslavia.

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Q22) What was the population distribution of Macedonia, the Republic of Skopje, and parts of Bulgaria in the years of Ottoman rule?

 

In 1912 Greeks and Bulgars living in the Ottoman Empire agreed on the number of members to the Ottoman Parliament each group would select. It was agreed that in each Vilaet (Regions of the Ottoman Empire) the number of Greek and Bulgarian representatives would be as follows.

 Vilaet of Adrianoypoli     	Greeks  8  Bulgarians 1

    "   of Thessaloniki and

           Monastirion      	Greeks 10  Bulgarians  5

    "   of Cossyphopedio    	Greeks  0  Bulgarians  2

           (Kosovo)

  

No references to other Slavs, nor any protests of any kind, were filed after the elections. It can thus be assumed that the Greek:Bulgar as well as Greek:Slav proportion of the population in these vilaets was reflected in this arrangement.

Other (mainly of non-greek origin) sources from which one can draw conclusions on the population of various ottoman ruled areas are:

An Italian, Amadore Virgilli, in “La questiona roma rumeliota” (1907, page 107) gave the following statistics for the population of the two vilaets of Thessaloniki and Monastirion.

Thess:Greeks 362,000, Turks 423,500, Bulgars 198,000, Serbs 1400

Monast:Greeks 280,000, Turks 223,000, Bulgars 143,000, Serbs 6070

A German General [Von Der Golt in “Balkanwirren und ihre grunde” (1904)] who served in Turkey and organised the Turkish Army claimed the following statistics for the two vilaets:

Muslims 730,000, Greeks 580,000, Bulgars 266,000, Serbs 19,000, Jews 60,000

Therefore a statement that Macedonia was predominantly “slavic” (with slavs like the ones residing in nowadays Skopje) seems to be incorrect. Nowadays Macedonia in Greece included parts of the two vilaets of Thessaloniki and Monasterio. Parts of the Monasterio vilaet today belong to Albania and Republic of SKopje. Parts of the Thessaloniki vilaet to Rep. of Skopje and Bulgaria. There was a third vilaet, that of Skopje extending north in today’s southern Serbia.

There are various other statistics that more or less agree with these figures.

There are also figures given by 4 writers that are quite strange.

    According to           There were:

    the following

    author:



  Goptchevitch  Greeks 201,140 Bulgar    57,600 Serbs 2,048,320

  V. Kantcheff  Greeks 225,152 Bulgar 1,184,036 Serbs       700

  M. Brancoff   Greeks 190,047 Bulgar 1,172,136 Serbs         -

  Zolotovich    Greeks       - Bulgar 1,334,583 Serbs         -

  

It is not very difficult to guess the nationalities of the 4 writers.

Other figures on the population of these two vialets (also extrapolated from the number of schools and pupilsa attending these schools) are the following ones (some of the authors counted only specific groups of people such as Bulgars and/or Greeks).

                 (figures are in thousands)

               Gr: Greeks Bu:Bulgars Se:Serbs

      Speliotopoulos  Gr 731  Bu     232

      Fokas            " 636   "     348

      Virgilli         " 642   "     341    Se 16.5

      Nikolaides       " 655   "     332     " 22.8

      Von der Golts    " 580   "     266     " 19

      V. Colocotroni   " 572   "     253

      Ecum. Patr *     " 650   "     332     " 12

      Hilmi Pasa **    " 664   "     391     " 30

  

* Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
** Hilmi Pasa, Turkish Governor(??) [yes – ce107].

After the population exchanges in the 1920s, 380,000 Turks left Greece and 538,253 Greeks came to Macedonia from Asia Minor. In 1919 in the treaty of Neuilly it was decided that the Bulgarian population residing in Greece would immigrate to Bulgaria and the Greek population living in Bulgaria would immigrate to Greece by 1924. The time limit was extended to 1932 after through an application of the Bulgarian Government which the then Greek Government accepted. Approximately 66,000 Bulgars left Greece at that time according to a report of the League of Nations (the precursor of the United Nations). About 52,000 Bulgars left Greece. Given that the 1928 Greek census gives for Macedonia a population of 1,412,477 this means that there were close to 850,000 Greeks in Macedonia before the arrival of the Greeks from Asia Minor. Considering the annual population increases one can conclude that an estimate of at least 660,000 for the Greeks in the two vilaets of Monasterio and Thessaloniki (and of Macedonia) is a quite accurate one.

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Q23) What is the nationality of the Vlachs?

 

Although this topic seems to be irrelevant it may not be so.

What exactly the nationality of Vlachs is, historically speaking, is an open question. The ones living in Greece consider themselves Greeks, and no one is going to object to what they believe for themselves. Among them one can count the national benefactors Averof and Tositsas.

In the beginning of this century there was a controversy of what the nationality of the Vlachs really was. Since the Vlachs used a Latin oriented language it was claimed that they were of Romanian nationality (that is, the nationality of the people living in Romania).

A Greek historian, N. Kazazes, early this century, wrote that a Romanian politician once said

The Romanian people had desires on the beautiful Transylvania, where so many Romanians were living. But this was impossible because our relations with the AustroHungarian empire would have been jeopardised. So the non-existent subject of the Romanians in Macedonia was invented.

(Source: “The Macedonian Problem” by N. Kazazes, 1907,page 105).

The “Romanian Vlachs” question was invented mainly by Gustav Weigand. According to him the Vlachs were considered Romanians (and not, say, Romans, of the Roman empire) because the Vlachs were using a greco-latin dialect.

Other historians of that time, such as Momsen, Krumwacher(sp?), and Korting dismissed such claims. Edward Stanford wrote in 1877 that Greek-Vlachs were to Greeks what Welsh were to English.

No matter how you call them (the Greek Vlachs) be it Romans or Romanians or Vlachs they call themselves Greeks.

An additional reason for the “romanisation” of the Vlachs was the desire of the Romanians to use them in their negotiations with the Bulgars related to the future of the area of Dobrucha. The Romanians would have favored the idea to ‘transfer’ their claims on the Vlachs to Bulgaria in exchange for Bulgars granting them rights on that region. This was mentioned by a Romanian Prince, Brancovan, in a book of his.

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Q24) Skopjans claim that Greeks can only choose Greek names for their children

 

I am not going to waste my time on this. Both the Macedonian President of the Hellenic Republic and the [ex – ce107] Prime Minister are called Constantine, a name of hardly greek origin.

The fact that a considerable number of the greek population is called Mihail (Michael) or Maria which are of Jewish origin may put such claims in rest.

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Q25) Was the Bulgarian King Samuel of Skopjan nationality as some Skopjans claimed he was?

 

Skopjans in order to by-pass the now established truths about the greekness of the ancient Macedonians and build a future for their so-called “macedonian nationality” and acquire historical rights to the Macedonian area claim that the infrastructure and population of the kingdom which Samuel established for a period of close to 18 years with the city of Achris as its capital was “Macedonian” (of the Skopjan type). They also claim that Samuel was also a “macedonian” (of the Skopjan type) even though certain historias today believe that he was an Armenian. They also claim that Samuel as a ruler of a state that also included Macedonia was himself a Macedonian and that the state he established was the first “Macedonian state” (of the Skopjan type). Regarding Samuel, he was a Bulgarian king and not a “Macedonian” one, and the state he founded was a Bulgarian one as well. It is for this reason that the emperor Vasileios II of the Byzantine empire, who defeated Samuel, is known in history as Vasileios the Bulgar-slayer and not as Vasileios the “macedonian”-slayer.

This fact is supported by historians such as Vasiliev and Levtchenko.

There is another piece of evidence which shows that the Skopjan claims that Samuel was a “Macedonian” are ridiculous. An inscription from the city of Monastirio dated 1017 has been preserved where John, nephew of Samuel and son of his elder brother Aaron is mentioned to be of Bulgarian descent. This inscription has been published in the book written by Gordana Tomovic “Morfologija Cirilickin Natpisa na Balkann”, Belgrade, 1974, page 33.

It is worth mentioning that the area of Achris ws inhabited in the Roman and Byzantine periods by Greeks. The book “The tombs of Trebenitse” by Keramopoullos (page 490) shows inscriptions from that period referring to persons with Greek names only. On one inscription the God of Lychnetis was Heracles Megistos.

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Q26) What is the size of the Greek minority in the Republic of Skopje.

 

The size of the Greek minority in the Republic of Skopje is officially estimated to be close to 1,000-2,000 people. This figure is so reliable that recently a German official has asked the Skopjans to perform a new census. It would’t be surprising that Skopjans hide Greeks under such names as Vlachs. It is also noted that during the Greek civil war of 1944-1949 close to 28,000 Greek children were abducted by communists (including Skopjan ones) and transferred to Southern Yugoslavia that is toaday’s Republic of Skopje. It is unknown under which label this population and their descendants are counted. Some Greek estimates raise the size of the Greek minority in Skopje to around 50,000.

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Q27) Macedonia and the (Greek) War of Independence.

 

Macedonia, while under the rule of the Ottoman empire, was mainly inhabited by Greeks, Turks and Bulgars. There was also a significant Jewish population in the city of Thessaloniki most of whom arrived there from Spain in the late 15th century.

Macedonians [to mean only the Greek-nationality population of Macedonia] expected to be liberated and join the then newly founded Greek state as a compensation for their sacrifices and contributions to the (Greek) War of Independence. They were led in this effort by the enthusiastic but inexperienced leadership of Emmanuel Pappas, a member of Phillike Etaereia. The Macedonians of Chalcidice revolted in May 1821 and for a brief moment threatened to throw the Turks out of the city of Thessaloniki. Due to their inexperience they were easily suppressed by the Turks by November 1821. The countryside was ravaged and the Greek population of Thessaloniki was massacred and forced to move out of the city.

The second round of the revolt began in February 1822 when the kleftae and armatoloi of mountains Olympos and Vermion along with the inhabitants of the city of Naoussa declared that city free (of the Ottoman rule). The Turks deployed troops brought to Greece from Asia Minor, and by April the revolt was subdued. Naoussa was destroyed, the men were killed, and the women and children were taken as slaves. After this, many Macedonian fighters fled to Southern Greece to continue fighting the Turks alongside the Peloponnesians and the other Greeks.

The failure of the Macedonian revolt is mainly attributable to the inexperience of the rebels and the proximity of the area to Constantinople. Although the revolt failed, it provided great help to the rebels of Southern Greece because it tied a number of Turkish forces in Macedonia. The price paid by the Macedonians was heavy. The previously flourishing greek community of Thessaloniki was destroyed and the Greek population of the city was reduced by around 70%. The Jews took over the leading role among the communities residing in the city.

Once more in their long history, Macedonians sacrificed them- selves for the common good of all Greeks.

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Q28) When was the first time the word “Macedonia” was defined to include lands of the nowadays Rep. of Skopje?

 

After the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 which ended with a Russian victory the two parties signed what became known as the treaty of San Stefano (1878).

The chief Russian negotiator was Count Ignatiev, the Panslavist Russian Ambassador at Constantinople between 1864-1877. The statistics used by Ignatiev during these negotiations, when he gave a new definition to the word “Macedonia”, were provided to him by a Bosnian, Kerkovic. The San Stedano treaty provided for the creation of “Greater Bulgaria” that would include the then Bulgarian state [The Bulgarian State was FORMED then – ce107], Eastern Rumelia, parts of today’s Albania as far to the west as the city of Koritsa, and “Macedonia” which was then first defined to include what is known nowadays as Republic of Skopje, the southwestern part of nowadays Bulgaria, and Macedonia (of Greece). It is interesting to note that the three Turkish vilaets covering this “Macedonia” were the vilaets of Thessaloniki, Monastirio and parts of the vilaet of Kossovo. The city of Skopje was in the vilaet of Kossovo.

Even the most extremist Bulgarian nationalists celebrated on the good news.

The other European powers objected to this settlement because they feared that it would give Russia the ability to seize easily Constantinople. One of these powers, Austria-Hungary, was displeased by the prospect of Bulgaria holding the port of Thessaloniki as this would have barred its own descent to this port through Bosnia.

In the Berlin Congress, held weeks later, in the summer of 1878, the arrangements of the San Stefan Treaty (regarding Bulgaria) were cancelled with the full agreement of Russia since Russia did not want to risk a war against the other European Powers.

The “Macedonia” of the San Stefano treaty thus remained under Ottoman rule divided into various vilaets and sandjaks. It is ironic that this new definition of “Macedonia”, invented for the purpose of delivering lands of the Ottoman empire to Bulgaria on the occasion of the San Stefano Treaty, outlived that Treaty and is still used by some people to define Macedonia.

The end result of the San Stefano treaty was that it gave Bul- garia the pretext to actively interfere in “Macedonia”, as it would become apparent from later events in the region.

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Q29) What were the views of the Bulgarian Exarchate on the population composition of Macedonia?

 

One of the main events that helped increase the Bulgarian influence in the part of the Ottoman empire to be called “San-Stefano Macedonia” eight years later was the creation of the Bulgarian Exarchate in 1870 which took over responsibility for the orthodox Bulgars living in the Ottoman empire.

The Greek War of Independence in the first half of the nineteenth century had its repercussions among the natives of Macedonia. Many Macedonians of joined their compatriots in Southern Greece in that War. Simultaneously a national awakening was observed among the Bulgars living at that time in Macedonia. It should be noted that the term “Bulgar” at that time was used to denote the labouring and illiterate masses living in Macedonia irrespective of ethnic origin. That awakening was mainly due to the Russian Panslavists. Russia supported the subsequent uprising of the Slavs against the Turks in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Around 1830, a scholar, Venelin explored Bulgaria and collected material but also invented other. He claimed that the Bulgars had taught the Russians the (Cyrillic) alphabet and were responsible for the conversion of Russians to christianity. One of his followers, Rakowski claimed in 1859 that Zeus (the ancient Olympian God), Demosthenes (yes, the Athenian orator), Alexander the Great, and the Souliot hero of the Greek War of Independence Markos Botsaris were all Bulgars. He also claimed that St. Paul preached Christianity to Bulgars first and not to Greeks. Such claims quickly spread among the Bulgars living in Macedonia and beyond. Verkovic who wrote an ethnography on Macedonia and became the top Russian expert on Macedonia claimed that he had “discovered” Bulgarian (ancient) songs about Alexander the Great. Krstovic claimed that Aristotle spoke Bulgarian but wrote in Greek in order to educate the southern barbarians [Note:Krstovic seemed to believe that Aristotle, a Bulgar to him, was civilized, while the southern barbarians, i.e. the Southern Greeks such as the Athenians were not during the classic period. Such claims were made despite the obvious fact that Bulgars first appeared in the Balkans sometime in the 7th century AD]. Krstovic also considered Bulgars Constantine the Great, Cyril and Methodios, the hero of the Greek War of Independence, Karaiskakes and many other Greek and Serbian national heros. Such ideas were believed not only in Russia (among the Bulgars they were a fact of life) but also in Western Europe, especially after the creation of the Bulgarian Exarchate in 1878 as it can be seen in the opinions expressed by various European politicians, scholars journalists and some scholars of that time also reflected in their belief that Macedonia was Bulgarian.

The Exarchate had the blessings of Count Ignatiev of Russia, who in 1878 would lead the Russians in their negotiations with the Turks leading to the San Stefano Treaty. The Bulgarian exarchate also became responsible for the education of the Bulgarian population and at the same time tried to strengthen the Bulgarian consciousness of those Bulgars living under the Ottoman rule. At the same time, through underground activities and the use of force, the Bulgars tried to force the Bulgar-speaking Greek population to declare themselves Bulgars and not Greeks.

In [9] the following excerpts appear from a report prepared in 1885 by the Secretary-General of the Bulgarian Exarchate describing the situation in Macedonia: [the writer of the report interprets Macedonia as the “Macedonia” of the San Stefano Treaty]

It is a sad fact but we must  admit that the  largest  part  of

the  Bulgarian  population of Macedonia does not have a Bulgarian

national conscience... If Europe were to demand  today  that  the

Macedonian people decide on their fate and say to which nationality

they belong, we are certain that the largest part of the

Macedonian  people and of Macedonia would slip away from our hands.

If we exclude two or three regions of Northern Macedonia, the

inhabitants of the other regions are ready to declare that they are

Greeks. If the Great Powers were to intervene and demand  a

plebiscite to solve the Macedonian problem the Greeks would come out

as winners.

  

[D. Missev-Obreikov “Report on the Present Situation of Bulgarism in Macedonia”]

The Bulgarians had thus realised that if they were to increase their influence in Macedonia they had to deal not with the Turkish or Serbian influence but with the Greeks. Many foreign travelers who journeyed Macedonia during the 19th century have attested the existence, not only of a Greek-speaking population but also a Slav-speaking (Slavophone) one which considered themselves Greek even though they did not speak Greek, except possibly a few words.

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Q30) Did all the Greeks in Macedonia speak Greek only in the late 19th century?

 

No. As we have mentioned in the previous question, a number of Greeks living in Macedonia as well as Bulgaria, and the lands of Rep. of Skopje (the San Stefano “Macedonia”) were Slav-speakers (Slavophones) speaking a Bulgarian idiom. Although this may seem strange, given the circumstances of that time was not. There were also a large number of Turking-speaking Greeks in Asia Minor at that time. Some of these Turkish-speaking Greeks were forced under the threat of death by the Turks to move to Russia (or better, ex-USSR) in the beginning of the 20th century.

These are nowadays Russian-speakers (i.e. Slav-speakers) living in Azerbaijan and other newly created republics. These Greeks have probably not spoken Greek for the past 5-6 centuries.

The existence of Bulgar speaking Greeks in Macedonia is attested in the book by James Baker “Die Turken in Europa”, Stuttgart 1878,pp19-20, quoted by Djoko Slijepcevic in “The Macedonian Question: The struggle for Southern Serbia”, Chicago, The American Institute for Balkan Affairs, 1958, pp87. According to Baker

I asked some Bulgarian peasants in Macedonia about their na- tionality, and they immediately replied ‘Rum’ which, indeed, is the name peculiar to the Greek population of Asia Minor. They in- sisted that they were Greeks. ‘If this is so’, i told them, ‘why do you speak Bulgarian at home?’ ‘Because our forefathers did so’, they replied. although we are Greeks’.

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Q31) What were the events that followed the Berlin Congress of 1878?

 

In early 1890’s various Bulgarian groups were organized in the Ottoman empire advocating a more revolutionary program in Macedonia that would result in the Bulgarization of the area. One such group was IMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization) which was organized around 1893 and whose members included Gotse Deltchev, Damjan Grujev, Pere Tochev, Petar Pop Arsov, and other Bulgarians from Bulgaria and San-Stefano “Macedonia”. This organization aimed at uniting “Macedonia”, by any possible means, into a single entity.

In response to this, Macedonians, with financial help from their kinship in then Greece and also from abroad, organized themselves and tried to protect the Greek-speaking and Bulgar-speaking Greek-Macedonian, and especially those living small villages, from Bulgarian abuses. Wherever this was not possible and especially in areas where Bulgars were the majority, as it was the case in the north and central part of today’s Rep of Skopje, it was common to have a member of a family declaring himself a Bulgar and another one declaring himself a Greek. Whole Greek villages, when under pressure from Bulgars, used to declare themselves Bulgarian to avoid destruction from the Bulgars.

In the beginning of the 20th century, when the situation got worse, both sides (Greek and Bulgarian) went many times to extremes although one may observe that the Bulgarian side was mainly responsible for that. At the same time the consciousness of the few Serbs living in San-Stefano “Macedonia” (in today’s Republic of Skopje) was also awakened and Serbia got involved into these rivalries as well.

The Balkan Wars erupted because of these rivalries. The Bulgarian atrocities towards the Macedonians of Eastern Macedonia can be summarized in the following remark of Elizabeth Barker (“Macedonia: Its place in Balkan Power Politics”, London, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1950,pp19-20) cited in [9]

The Bulgarian occupation authorities in Greek eastern Macedonia has behaved towards the Greek population with brutality singularly inappropriate in supposed liberators. An Inter-Allied Commission in 1919 reported that 94 villages had been entirely demolished, that 30,000 people had died of hunger, blows, and disease during the occupation, that 42,000 had been deported to Bulgaria, and that 16,000 had fled to [my note: then] Greece”.

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Q32) The Neuilly treaty of 1920.

 

The treaty of Neuilly brought peace to the relations of Bulgaria with her adversaries. A convention between Greece and Bulgaria, known as the Neuilly Treaty, entering force on August 9, 1920 provided for the voluntary exchange of populations between Bulgaria and Greece in order to avoid mistreatment of the alien populations in the two countries.

IMRO, still active, objected to the implementation of the exchange of populations because this would eliminate the Bulgarian element in Greece and would eliminate Bulgaria’s claim on Macedonia. A number of Slavs who had expressed their desire to migrate to Bulgaria thus chose not to.

During the wars, prior to 1920, close to 16,000 Greeks and 30,000 Bulgars fled to their respective homelands and after the Neuilly Treaty the corresponding numbers were 30,000 and 53,000 [the figures were taken from [9]]. Still, some Bulgars, following IMRO’s suggestions remained in Greece. Some others who, due to intermarriage, were not sure of their allegiance to either country also did not leave. Their presence was not noticed due to the chaotic situation in Greece following the Greek defeat of 1922 by the Turks and the subsequent forced exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey. The only minority (since the Bulgars were supposed to go according to the Neuilly Treaty) left in Greece was a Moslem one in Thrace.

The situation in Southern Serbia was quite complicated since a large number of Bulgars were still residing there. These were to be named in the 1940s “Macedonians” by Tito in order to eliminate the Bulgarian influence on this territory of then Yugoslavia.

In September 1924 a Greco-Bulgarian agreement, to be known as the Kalfov-Politis Protocol, was concluded. This protocol provided for the treatment of Bulgars/Greeks who had not yet left their alien countries under the Neuilly Treaty. The then Greek government appeared to accept the view that the Bulgar-speaking Greeks and the Bulgar-speaking Bulgarians (who had not left) still living in Greece were Bulgarians. It was soon realized that this agreement was a mistake and the Bulgar-speaking Greeks protested the agreement. Serbia also protested this agreement because these people were recognized as Bulgarians and not Serbs. Subsequent protests by both Bulgaria and Serbia, for various reasons, convinced the then Greek government not to insist on calling these people Bulgarians. The League of Nations, on March 14, 1925 relieved Greece of any obligations under the Kalfov-Politis Protocol. Since then, Greece considered them Greeks (including the Bulgars still living in Greece at that time). The Metaxas’ dictatorship, who tried to force the abandonment of the Bulgarian idiom by these people, alienated some of them. The situtation was to be resolved only after World War II when the remaining Bulgars and possibly some alienated Bulgar-speaking Greeks (various sources estimated their number upwards 60,000) finally left Greece (see also following questions).

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Q33) Communism and Macedonia

 

Following the Balkan Wars and WWI, Bulgaria lobbied Soviet Union to support her position on the Macedonian problem that is the the political future of San-Stefano “Macedonia” in case of a communist victory in the Balkans.

Bulgarians did not and still do not accept the existence of a “macedonian nationality” (the way Skopjans do) but use the term “macedonian” population to refer to the population of the San-Stefano “Macedonia”, whose definition was only political and had nothing to do with the historic region of Macedonia. Thus, the resolution of the Sixth Communist Balkan Conference promised that

… In setting up the ideal of a workers’ and peasants’ government, the communist parties and the Communist federation of the Balkans will assure peace, independence and liberty of development of all the peoples of the Peninsula, that it will be a voluntary union of independent Balkan Republics, including the Republic of Macedonia and Thrace.

[This text is quoted in the book by Barker cited earlier, pp5-51, as quoted in [9].]

It is noted that this text indicates that Bulgaria wanted to see all Northern Greece taken away from Greece. Bulgaria had aspiration not only on Macedonia but also on Greek Thrace. This is in line with earlier Bulgarian claims (see question on Illyrians) that ancient Macedonians were Illyrians (or Thraco-Illyrians) and that they (Bulgarians) are ancestors of either the Illyrians or the Thracians. The Bulgarians realising that it was difficult for the lands of San-Stefano “Macedonia” to become parts of Bulgaria, rallied for an independent “Macedonia” to appease objections from the Communist parties of Yugoslavia and Greece and also gain the support of the Soviet Union.

Separately, Bulgarian communist representatives and IMRO, represented by Alexandrov, Protogerov and Chaoulev, signed a manifesto which also included the following (see [9])

IMRO declares that it is fighting and will fight with all the means permitted by the revolution:

  1. For the liberation and the reunion of the separated parts of Macedonia [My Note: that is the San-Stefano Russian defined “Ma- cedonia”] in a fully autonomous and independent political unit, within its natural geographical and ethnic frontiers.
  2. For the democratization of the States bordering on Macedonia [My Note: presumably Greece, and Yugoslavia-Serbia. Only com- munist countries were considered democratic!] and for their union in a Balkan federation which alone can guarantee the political existence of an independent Macedonia and the independence of the other Balkan peoples.”

That is, the existence of any “Macedonian” state would require the “democratization”, a la Hungary and Czechoslovakia, of at least Greece.

The Greek communist party lost support for its decision to support the Bulgarians. In 1927, Yannis Kordatos, editor of the Communist party newspaper “Rizospastes”, accused the party leadership by writing in Greek Macedonia, since the Greek bourgeoisie has already deported the Slav population [My Note: following the Neuilly treaty] and had settled greek refugees, the Communist party raised, nevertheless, the issue. This policy was the coup de grace (for the Party) which was dissolved not on account of the attacks of the Government but because it was DISAPPROVED BY THE WORKERS, since communism in Greece acted as the ally of BULGARIAN CHAUVINISM”. [Quoted from [9], capitalization as it ap- parently appeared in the original text.]

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Q34) Bulgaria and Germany in World War II.

 

After the Italian invasion of Greece through Albania and the subsequent war between the two countries, the Bulgarian Government began to think about joining the Axis. A member of the Bulgarian Parliament, Peter Doumanov, declared:

Two million [sic] Bulgarians are under foreign domination. Germany, with a population of 70 million shook the entire Europe for two million fellow nationals living in Czechoslovakia. We, Bulgarians, with a population of six million and with two million co-nationals as minorities, i.e. one third of our population, we dare not openly fight for our minorities in Macedonia and Thrace. Some may say that Bulgaria is not Germany; BULGARIA SHOULD BECOME FOR THE BALKANS WHAT GERMANY IS FOR EUROPE.

[Note: emphasis is mine. The term Thrace refers to the Greek Thrace. The term Macedonia probably refers to Macedonia although it may also refer to the lands of San-Stefano “Macedonia” that is Macedonia and the lands of the Rep. of Skopje.]

This speech raised protests in Yugoslavia (newspaper Politika, Dec 6,1940). Until that time Bulgaria avoided open provocations although she was secretly negotiating with the Germans for an exit to the Aegean Sea, through Greece [Macedonia and Thrace]. Germany accepted these terms on January 18, 1941. On February 8, German General Liszt and Bulgarian General Boider signed an agreement allowing Bulgaria to occupy the area of Greece stretching from river Evros to river Strymon, that is Greek Thrace and Eastern Macedonia.

Following the invasion and subsequent defeat of Greece by Germany in the spring of 1941, Bulgaria occupied or as some Bulgarians claimed, ‘liberated’ the Greek lands mentioned in Liszt-Boider agreement. Bulgarian Premier Filov in an interview with the German newspaper Borsen Zeitung on November 11, 1941 said:

in a few days we will begin with the colonization of the Aegean area… Thousands of Bulgarian families will be transported and settled in this area within the next weeks and months

[My Note: So much for Bulgarian claims about alleged Bulgarian minorities in neighboring countries, as far as Greece was concerned.]

At the end of WWII the feelings of the Greeks and especially of those living in the areas occupied by the Bulgarians toward their Bulgarian neighbors prompted a British [C.M. Woodhouse – ce107] to remark that “he only brotherly sentiment which Greek Macedonians felt towards the Bulgars was a disposition to raise Cain”.

Elizabeth Barker similarly wrote:

Although Greeks were relieved by the belated Bulgarian withdrawal, they were left with an overpowering hatred of all Bulgars, whether pro-German or Communist. In fact the average Greek probably detested and feared the Bulgarian communists, who represented the great Slav menace to Greece from the north, even more than he had hated their predecessors.

Among the Bulgars still living in Greece at that time, some of them sided with the pro-German Bulgars who occupied parts of Greece during WWII. These, at the end of WWII, naturally left Greece. Some other (pro-communist ones) joined various communist oriented guerilla groups. These groups were controlled by the Yugoslavs of Tito and after WWII sided with the Greek communist guerillas who turned in the meantime against the Greek Government. After the communist defeat in the subsequent greek civil war they finally left Greece, 28-29 years after the signing of the Neuilly Treaty that first provided for their departure from Greece.

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Q35) What are the intentions of the Communists still ruling Skopje towards the region of modern-day Greece called Macedonia since ancient times?

 

After the establishment of the People’s Republic of Macedonia, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of “Macedonia” issued the following declaration:

Macedonian people: In your three-year popular liberation struggle you achieved your unity and you established your own army and set the foundations of the federate Macedonian state. With the participation of the entire Macedonian people against the fascist [My note: that is, the non-communists] [probably meant the German and Bulgarian forces as they were still in control there – ce107] occupiers in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Greece you will achieve the union of all parts of Macedonia which the Balkan imperialists seized in 1913 and 1918.

As for the demand for the complete unification of the macedonian people, there are today on your side all the other peoples of Yugoslavia, the Anti-fascis People’s Liberation Council of Yugoslavia and the heroic People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia.

[in “Ten year from the Establishment of the P.R. of Macedonia”, Skopje 1954, as quoted in [9].]

Three months later Milovan Djilas in a speech at Kolarac declared that the “question of the unification is today before the Macedonian people who have the right to unite themselves wherever they may live”.

He further explained that the unification of “Macedonia” was not merely a theoretical question but one of vital interest to the security of Yugoslavia.

It is noted that the first ‘premier’ of the new republic of “Macedonia” was Dimitar Vlahov who had been an outspoken Bulgarian during the first decade of the 20th century, was an elected Bulgarian delegate to the Turkish Parliament, became leader of the “United” IMRO in 1925, and in the following years declared himself an “authentic Macedonian”…

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Q36) Skopjan claims on Greece (continued).

 

On August 2, 1945 general Vukmanovic declared in a speech in front of a crowd in Skopje (quoted in [9]):

Comrades, you know very well that there is a part of the Macedonian people which is still enslaved [sic]. We must openly state this case. We are not the only ones to do this; there are tens of thousands of Ma- cedonian men and women who suffer and mourn today under the yoke of the Greek monarcho-fascist bands.

[Bulletin (Skopje) Aug 10,1945]

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Q37) Why Skopjans use the term “Aegean macedonia”

 

The Skopjan intentions, when they use the term “Aegean Macedonia” are summarized in the following excerpts from an article that appeared in the newspaper Borba on August 26, 1946 entitled “Aegean Macedonia” which reads as follows (quoted in [9]).

Greek imperialists have no right to keep the Macedonians any longer under their yoke… extermination of our populations in Greece and to their right and request to opt and unite themselves with their breathren in Yugoslavia.

[Note: As a Macedonian myself, I don’t want to have anything to do with these Skopjans not now, not in the future, not any time.]

A month later, on Sept 22, the Premier of the PR Macedonia Dimitar Vlahov delivered a speech in Monastir published in Nova Macedonija on Sept 26, 1946 which referred to Macedonia as follows:

We openly declare that Greece has no right whatsoever over Aegean Macedonia…. The Macedonian people are struggling fot their union within the Macedonian People’s Republic which is is an integral part of the Federal People’s Republic of Macedonia.

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Q38) What do some Skopjans claim that the population composition of Macedonia is?

 

Hristo Antonofsky an extremist Skopjan gave the following ethnological composition of Macedonia, Greece [for the period around 1941]

"Macedonians"   (of the Skopjan type)    258,000

Greeks                                   250,000

"Caramanlides"                           210,000

Armenians                                 80,000

Lazi  and  other  caucasians...           74,000

Others                                    37,000

  

[source: Hristo Antonofksi: “Egejska Makedonija” (Skopje, Go na Zdruzhanieto na be Galcite od Eg. Makedonija, 1951),p50. ]

In addition to discovering new nationalities Antonofski excluded from the count the population of Thessaloniki, the Chalcidice peninsula, and the Kozani prefecture of Macedonia.

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Q39) Bulgarian statements on Skopje in the late fifties [after the Tito-Stalin breakup].

 

After the creation of the People’s Republic of “Macedonia”, Yugoslavs embarked in an attempt to change the Bulgarian idiom spoken by the Skopjans. They removed Bulgarian words and replaced them with Serbo-Croatian ones. Bulgars then claimed that the purpose of the creation of a new “macedonian’ language” was not to unite the Macedonian people or advance their culture but to suppress and supplant the Bulgarian language spoken and read by all Slav Macedonians. In addition, P Gevgeliev wrote in “Skopje revives macedonian spectre”, Free Bulgaria,pp229-230,

It is true that we have given up the teaching of “Macedonian history”, a high falutin term for the ravings of a handful of maniacs in Skopje who are so far gone in their nationalistic dementia and mental aberration as to claim that the present “Macedonian” people are descendants of Alexander the Great. These “historians” seem to overlook the fact that the Slav tribes came to this territory fully a thousand years after the death of Alexander the Macedon.”

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Q40) Skopjan minority claims.

 

How manu supposedly “Macedonians” of the Skopjan type are in Greece? Well, the Skopjans and their supporters cannot agree to a reasonable figure.

Once Radio Belgrade (Dec 14, 1950) claimed this number was 250,000. On August 28, 1953 Yugopress claimed it was 120,000.

The current claim depends on the weather :-), the mood of the es- timator, and the outcome of some (probably highly biased) random number generator 🙂 :-).

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Q41) Are there any Slavs living in Greece? When the last few Slavs left Greece? Are there any Slavophone living in Greece? Where are they living? Who are they?

 

Excluding a number of Polish and Hungarian immigrant workers as well as few Yugoslav illegal workers residing in Greece particularly during the summer months, there are no other Slavs living in Greece.

Skopjans claim that there is a sizeable Slavic minority in the region Macedonia of Greece. One can easily find out that there is not such a minority.

The answer to the second part of the question has been given in various answers to previous Questions. The Neuilly Treaty arranged for the exchange of the Greek Population living in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian (Slavic) population living in Greece. Their departure was finally completed in the late 1940s (See questions 32 and 34 for more details).

There are various Slavophones living in Greece most of whom are of Greek nationality. These are:

  1. Few Bulgar-speaking Greeks living in Western Macedonia who may still speak this language. Their presence in Macedonia as well as their Greekness have been noted by many non-greek authors. For references to this check previous questions. Many of them fought against the Bulgars in the late 19th and early 20th century, like capetan Kottas from the village of Roulia, against the Germans and the Bulgarians during WWII and the Greek communists in the following greek civil war. As time passes the bulgarian language is dropped from usage just as this also happened with Turkish to the Turkish speaking Greeks who came in Greece from Asia Minor in 1922-1923.
  2. Russian-speaking Greeks (some known as Pontian-Greeks) who are coming to Greece following the disintegration of the former USSR. These Greeks used to live in northern Turkey before they were expelled from there. Some of them have not been Greek-speakers for centuries, being previously Turkish-speakers (the Greeks of Azerbaidjan and Kazahktsan fall in this category).
  3. The Muslim Pomaks living in Greek Thrace and who are governed by the Lausanne Peace Treaty signed (among others) by Greece and Turkey which provided for the treatment of the Greek minority in Constantinople (nowadays Istanbul) and the muslim minority in Greek Thrace (Western Thrace). Turks like to consider Pomaks as Turks, and Bulgars as Bulgarians. Pomaks were forcefully bulgarised by the Bulgars – that’s why they are not so friendly to them and until some time in the 15-17th century were Christians when they became Muslims under the threat of death by the Turks. In the past years Turkey has been trying to convince Pomaks to abandon their language and start speaking Turkish. Due to this connection of the Pomaks and the Bulgars it is not much of a surprise that the Pomakian language looks like the one spoken by the Skopjans (sans the Serbo-Croatian words added to the Skopjan “Macedonian” idiom after 1945 to differentiate it from Bulgarian and some extra archaic greek and turkish influences found in the Pomakian idiom).

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Q42) A brief history of the Bulgarian-origin terrorist group IMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization) founded one hundred years ago (1893)

 

[This discussion contains excerpts from previous questions so that it can become as self-contained as possible. Despite this, reading of questions Q27Q41 is still advised.] One of the main events that helped increase the Bulgarian influence in the part of the Ottoman empire to be called San-Stefano “Macedonia” in 1878 was the creation of the Bulgarian Exarchate in 1870 which took over responsibility for the orthodox Bulgars living in the Ottoman empire.

In early 1890’s various Bulgarian groups were organized in the Ottoman empire advocating a more revolutionary program in Macedonia that would result in the Bulgarization of the area. One such group was IMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization) which was organized around 1893 and whose founders included Gotse Deltchev, Damjan Grujev, Pere Tochev, Petar Pop Arsov, and other Bulgarians from Bulgaria and San-Stefano “Macedonia”. Since it was clear that European powers would never accept to Macedonia being part of Bulgaria, IMRO was aiming at uniting “Macedonia”, by any possible (even violent) revolutionary means into a single entity and thus declaring a Macedonian state, which in the beginning would co-exist with Bulgaria then uniting with Bulgaria when the conditions in Europe would be favorable to such a union (although IMRO did not openly declare this intention). IMRO was theoretically open to all people living in “San Stefano Macedonia” be them Bulgars, Serbs, Greeks, Jews etc. Except for few Bulgar-speaking Greeks who joined IMRO on the belief that they were to fight the Turks and not fight for Bulgaria, no other non-Bulgars joined it. Even these Greeks, when it became clear to them what the intentions of IMRO really were departed and fought against it (such as capetan Kottas from the village of Roulia). Thus, after 1900 the only members of IMRO were Bulgars living in the Ottoman empire as well as others from Bulgaria.

IMRO within a year from its creation came under Bulgarian-state control and financed mainly by the Bulgars in Sofia. The creation in 1894, of the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization organization was to this direction. The “Adrianople” of this definition was referring to the then turkish vilaet of Adrianople which included the whole of nowadays Greek Thrace. The Bulgars since that time had eyes not only on Macedonia but also on Thrace (as the occupation during WWII of both these areas of Greece also suggests). IMRO thus began to be under the control of the Supreme (Macedonian) Committee located in Sofia, Bulgaria. Relations between IMRO and the Supreme Commitee and between IMRO and the Bulgarian Exarchate were not without tensions. Besides leadership ambitions between the leaders of IMRO and SC, the two organization wanted to achieve the same objectives (Bulgarian control over Macedonia) differently. IMRO favored the creation of a separate Bulgarian state that of Macedonia. SC wanted the union of Macedonia to Bulgaria as the articles of the San-Stefano Treaty dictated. On the other hand the Bulgarian Exarchate objected to IMRO’s revolutionary (and violent) means of achieving its target. It preferred more peaceful means that would involve the creation of schools educating the Bulgar-speaking population regardless of nationality and possibly providing monetary support to this population. The members of the SC were called Supremists (Vrhovists), while the IMRO members of the terrorist bands in Macedonia were called comitadjis. In 1898, the Supreme Committee, under the leadership of Sarafov, prevailed and IMRO thus came under full Bulgarian control. By that time it was clear to every non-Bulgarian member of IMRO the intentions of that organization. A terrorist campaign against the Greek population of Macedonia which began in 1893 intensified at that time. One reason for this was the inaction of the Greek Government mainly following the Greek defeat by the Turks in 1897. Because of this, the Turks tolerated the Bulgarian actions against the Greek population of Macedonia. This was to change only in the period of 1904-1908 when the first Greek bands with full support from Greece began to organize themselves and supplemented the few ones present in Macedonia since 1900 (whose organization was due to the efforts of the Bishop of Kastoria Germanos Karavaggelis and the monetary support of Macedonians living in Europe). Serbian bands were also active in “San Stefano Macedonia” at that time, but their presence and activity was mostly limited in the lands of nowadays Rep. of Skopje. The Balkan wars of the 1912-1920s erupted from these rivalries of Bulgars, Greeks, Serbs and Turks.

One member of IMRO in the perior 1903-1908 was Dimitar Vlahov who was also elected as a Bulgar representative in the Ottoman Parliament. After the Balkan wars and the defeat of the Greeks by the Turks in 1922 the situation in Macedonia clarified with the forced population exchanges between Turkey and Greece and the voluntary exchanges between Greece and Bulgaria. Because of these population exchanges all Turks left Macedonia (or the Greek part of “San Stefano Macedonia”, if one follows the alternative definition of the term “Macedonia” ), and almost all Bulgars left Greece. The Neuilly Treaty was to bring peace in the relations of Bulgaria with her adversaries. A convention between Greece and Bulgaria, known as the Neuilly Treaty, entering force on August 9, 1920 provided for the voluntary exchange of populations between Bulgaria and Greece in order to avoid mistreatment of the alien populations in the two countries.

IMRO, still active, objected to the implementation of the exchange of populations because this would eliminate the Bulgarian element in Greece and would eliminate Bulgaria’s claim on Macedonia. A number of Slavs who had expressed their desire to migrate to Bulgaria thus chose not to do so due to pressures from IMRO.

During the wars, prior to 1920, close to 16,000 Greeks and 30,000 Bulgars fled to their respective homelands and after the Neuilly Treaty the corresponding numbers were 30,000 and 53,000. Still, some Bulgars, following IMRO’s suggestions remained in Greece. Some others who due to intermarriage were not sure of their allegiance to either country also did not leave. Their presence was left noticed due to the chaotic situation in Greece following the Greek defeat of 1922 by the Turks and the subsequent forced exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey. The only minority (since the Bulgars were supposed to go following the Neuilly Treaty) left in Greece was a Moslem one in Thrace.

The situation in Southern Serbia was quite complicated since a large number of Bulgars were still residing there. These were to be named in the 1940s “Macedonians” by Tito in order to eliminate the Bulgarian influence on this territory of then Yugoslavia.

Around 1921, IMRO was ruled by Protogerov and Alexandrov, both ex-“Supremists” (Vrhovists) who advocated a nationalistic Bulgarian policy. The “Centralists” advocated, just like the old IMRO, that an independent Macedonia was the only way towards a Bulgarian Macedonia. This latter faction within IMRO included as members Athanasov, Panitsa, Dimitar Vlahov kai Hadji-Dimov who in 1921 formed a new group inside IMRO. All four of them were leftists, either communists (like Hadji-Dimov) or socialists who were to become communist at a later time (such as Vlahov). By 1924 these two groups murdered the leaders of each other. First Alexandrov, then Hadji-Dimov and later Panitsa were murdered. In 1925 the surviving leaders Protogerov and Vlahov splitted and Vlahov founded United-IMRO. Although United-IMRO did not have as many followers as IMRO itself, it was nevertheless followed by socialists who had not yet declared themselves communists. In 1936 Vlahov dissolved United-IMRO and went to Moscow. He returned to Yugoslavia in 1943 after being invited by Tito and became Prime Minister of the then newly formed, by Tito, People’s Republic of Macedonia. A revisionist history of IMRO by Vlahov interpreted the fight of IMRO from 1893-1920 as a fight of “Macedonian” (of the Skopjan type) and not Bulgarian poor peasants of low classes against the Turkish land owners. He also attacked the Supremists and accused them of (which was naturally true since all IMRO members were then Bulgars) being under the guidance of the Bulgarians in Sofia and thus being indifferent to the independent “Macedonian” movement for independence. All these were being told by a person who was elected as a Bulgar in the Ottoman Parliament.

Following the Balkan Wars and WWI, Bulgaria lobbied Soviet Union to support her position on the Macedonian problem that is the the political future of San-Stefano “Macedonia” in case of a communist victory in the Balkans.

Bulgarians did not and still do not accept the existence of a “macedonian nationality” (the way Skopjans do) but use the term “macedonian” population to refer to the population of the San-Stefano “Macedonia”, whose definition was only political and had nothing to do with the historic region of Macedonia. Thus, the resolution of the Sixth Communist Balkan Conference promised that

… In setting up the ideal of a workers’ and peasants’ government, the communist parties and the Communist federation of the Balkans will assure peace, independence and liberty of development of all the peoples of the Peninsula, that it will be a voluntary union of independent Balkan Republics, including the Republic of Macedonia and Thrace.

It is noted that this text indicates that Bulgaria wanted to see all Northern Greece taken away from Greece. Bulgaria had aspirations not only on Macedonia but also on Greek Thrace. This is in line with earlier Bulgarian claims that ancient Macedonians were Illyrians (or Thraco-Illyrians) and that they (Bulgarians) are ancestors of either the Illyrians or the Thracians. The Bulgarians realising that it was difficult for the lands of San-Stefano “Macedonia” to become parts of Bulgaria, rallied for an independent “Macedonia” to eliminate objection from the Communist parties of Yugoslavia and Greece and also gain the support of the Soviet Union.

Separately, Bulgarian communist representatives and IMRO, represented by Alexandrov (before his murder), Protogerov and Chaoulev, signed a manifesto which also included the following (see [9])

IMRO declares that it is fighting and will fight with all the means permitted by the revolution:

  1. For the liberation and the reunion of the separated parts of Macedonia [My Note: that is the San-Stefano Russian defined “Macedonia”. The two three pieces are “Macedonia” (Skopje) and what the Skopjans call Pirin Macedonia and Aegean Macedonia (what we Macedonians in Greece call simply Macedonia)] in a fully autonomous and independent political unit, within its natural geographical and ethnic frontiers.
  2. For the democratization of the States bordering on Macedonia [My Note: presumably Greece, and Yugoslavia-Serbia. Only communist states were considered democratic by the two signatories.] and for their union in a Balkan federation which alone can guarantee the political existence of an independent Macedonia and the independence of the other Balkan peoples.

During WWII, Bulgars sided with the Germans and their reward for that was the occupation of Macedonia and Thrace of Greece.

At the end of WWII the feelings of the Greeks and especially of those living in the areas occupied by the Bulgarians toward their Bulgarian neighbors prompted a British [C.M. Woodhouse – ce107] to remark that “the only brotherly sentiment which Greek Macedonians felt towards the Bulgars was a disposition to raise Cain”.

Elizabeth Barker similarly wrote:

Although Greeks were relieved by the belated Bulgarian withdrawal, they were left with an overpowering hatred of all Bulgars, whether pro-German or Communist. In fact the average Greek probably detested and feared the Bulgarian communists, who represented the great Slav menace to Greece from the north, even more than he had hated their predecessors.

Among the Bulgars still living in Greece at that time, some of them sided with the pro-German Bulgars who occupied parts of Greece during WWII. These, at the end of WWII, naturally left Greece. Some other (pro-communist ones) joined various communist oriented guerilla groups. These groups were controlled by the Yugoslavs of Tito and after WWII sided with the Greek communist guerillas who turned in the meantime against the Greek Government. After the communist defeat in the subsequent greek civil war they finally left Greece, 28-29 years after the signing of the Neuilly Treaty that first provided for their departure from Greece.

It is noted that the first ‘premier’ of the new republic of “Macedonia” was Dimitar Vlahov, who had been an outspoken Bulgarian during the first decade of the 20th century, was an elected Bulgarian delegate to the Turkish Parliament, became leader of the “United” IMRO in 1925, and in the following years declared himself an “authentic Macedonian”.

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GENERAL REFERENCES

  • Ap. B. Daskalakis. “The hellenism of Ancient Macedonia”, (In Greek) Athens 1960.
    [This text has also been translated into English. The english edition was published around 1964.]
  • Geyer Fr. “Makedonien bis zur Thronbesteigung Philipps II”, Muenchen 1930.
  • O. Hoffmann “Die Makedonen, ihre Sprache und ihr Volkstum”, Goettingen 1906.
  • M. Sakellariou, a chapter on the Macedonian dialect of Greek in “Macedonia: 4000 years of Greek history and civilization” edited by M. Sakellariou, EKDOTIKI ATHINON.
  • N. Martis “The falsification of Macedonian History”. Ikaros Publications, Athens 1984.
  • D. Zagles “To Makedoniko Problhma kai oi Notioslayoi” (in Greek), Athens.
  • Evangelos Kofos “Nationalism and Communism in Macedonia” Institute for Balkan Studies (ETAIREIA MAKEDONIKON SPOYDON – IDRYMA MELETON HERSONISOY TOY AIMOY), THESSALONIKI, 1964.
  • Hammond, N. G. L. (Nicholas Geoffrey Lampriere). “The miracle that was Macedonia”, Sidgwick & Jackson great civilization series. London: Sidgwick and Jackson; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.
  • P. Hidiroglou “The Pomaks in Greece and their relations with Turkey” (In Greek), Herodotos Publications, 1989
  •   St. Casson. “Macedonia, Thrace and Illyria”, Oxford 1926.

     

     

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