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Malcolm Errington - A History of Macedonia
Western Writer

 

Malcolm Errington is a typical western writer, follower of Droysen, which says that the "Macedonians were Greek", despite the overwhelming ancient and modern evidence which clearly proves the opposite. Errington on page 3 of his book writes:

"That the Macedonians and their kings did in fact speak a dialect of Greek and bore Greek names may be regarded nowadays as certain." (Malcolm Errington, A History of Macedonia, p.3)

This is simply not correct. Modern historiography nowadays does not regard the Macedonians as Greek speakers (Eugene Borza, Bosworth, Green, Badian). It is simply incorrect to claim that the "Macedonians spoke a dialect of Greek" when among the ancient evidence Alexander himself refers to the Macedonian language as "our native language", excluding it from Greek. We also explained as well that the "Greek names" are not a proof that the Macedonians were Greek. Errington uses the following words to back up his claim that the Macedonians were Greek:

"Ancient allegations that the Macedonians were non-Greek all had their origin in Athens at the time of the struggle with Philip II." (ibid, p.4)

This is completely wrong. The supposed "ancient allegations that the Macedonians were non-Greek," do not have "their origin in Athens" in the time of Philip II, but century ago, ever since we have written evidence about Macedonia. Errington avoids mentioning that Pseudo-Herodotus called the Macedonians non-Greeks (barbarians) in his Peri Politeias, in the fifth century B.C. The Macedonians were also called non-Greeks during the reigns of the Macedonian kings Alexander I and Archelaus, both cases date before the times of Philip II.

On page 4 of his book, Errington suggests that Demosthenes called Philip "not only no Greek, nor related to the Greeks" and "barbarian", only because of "a political struggle" which "created the prejudice". This position is easily debunked when we consider the following.† If the Macedonians were Greeks but nonetheless called "barbarians" and "nor related to the Greeks", why is then no other Greek tribe called "barbarians" and "nor related to the Greeks" because of "a political struggle" which "created the prejudice"? No Spartan, Athenian, Theban, had ever been called non-Greek or barbarian during any of the many "political struggles" among the Greeks states, which could have easily "created the prejudice". Not even once! Based on Errington's reasoning, even the Thracians and the Persians can be Greek tribes as well, but were called non-Greeks because of the "political struggle" with Greece, which "created the prejudice"? The truth is that the term barbarian comes from a linguistic sphere, not cultural. The ancient Greeks called barbarians those who spoke other, incomprehensible languages. Persians and Egyptians who were not at lower standard than Greeks were called barbarians while the Greek Dorians, who really were at a much lower cultural level than the Greek Achaeans and Ionians, were never called barbarians. The lesson is clear. The ancient Greeks called all non-Greeks barbarians, and Errington's argument simply does not make any sense.

Errington also wrongly concludes that Alexander I was a "Greek" who participated in the Olympic Games. However, Errington does not explain that Alexanderís participation in the Olympic Games is questionable since his name is not on the list of the victors of the race he supposedly won, among other things. Also, Errington is ignorant on the fact that Alexander Iís claim of Greek origin was only an invention, propaganda, directed towards the Greeks with a clear political goal (Borza, Badian, Green).

Errington fails not only to notify the reader of these facts, but also ignores the writings of all ancient Greek and Roman historians, geographers, and orators (Arrian, Diodorus, Plutarch, Polybius, Livius, Curtius Rufus, Justin, Demosthenes, Isocrates, Thracymachus, Thucydides, Herodotus, Pausanius, Strabo, Ephoros, Pseudo-Skylax, Dionysius son of Kaliphon, Dionisyus Periegetes) who did not consider the Macedonians to be Greeks. Nevertheless, he concludes based on not a single presented credible evidences whatsoever that the "Macedonians were Greek". It is indeed sad to see people like Errington, write books about the history of Macedonia based on false assumptions and incomplete (or biased) research.† Such people hardly deserve to be called historians.

 

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