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"Ancient Macedonians were Greeks"
Greek claim 2


In antiquity the two most antagonistic people were the ancient Macedonians and the ancient Greeks. Their animosity was racially motivated. Here are the proofs that the ancient Macedonians could not have been Greek:

[1] On p. 180 in Agnes Savil's book "Alexander the Great and his Time" we find: "For a time Hellenism revived when Demetrius of Bactria, half Macedonian, half Greek, tried in 187 B.C. to reclaim the Indian empire of Alexander."

Now, how do we deal with this quote? Should we assume that there is a such person who is half Greek and half Greek? Or better yet, do we assume that perhaps there is a such person who could be half Athenian and half Greek? Did they not equate the terms "Athenians", "Thessalians", "Macedonians" to mean one and the same? Common logic dictates that there is no such thing as ancient Greek-Macedonian. Ancient Macedonians were simply Macedonians and proud of it.

[2] Quintus Rufus "The History of Alexander" "Accordingly, one festive day, Alexander had a sumptuous banquet organized so that he could invite not only his principle friends among the Macedonians and Greeks but also the enemy nobility." [p.188]

Points of interest: ‘Macedonians and Greeks’. If ancient Macedonians were Greeks, then, one identifier would have been sufficient. As you can see, the ancient authors knew the difference between Greeks and Macedonians.

[3] Quintus Rufus "The History of Alexander" [Alexander speaks to his Macedonian troops] Where is that shout of yours that shows your enthusiasm? Where that characteristic look of my Macedonians?" [p.217]

[4] Arrian "The Compaigns of Alexander" "Gentlemen of Macedon, and you my friends and allies, this must not be. Stand firm; for well you know that hardship and danger are the price of glory, and that sweet is the savour of a life of courage and of deathless renown beyond the grave." [p.294]

An obvious question: If Macedonians were Greeks, and Macedonia was a Greek land, then, how can we reconcile with the fact that Alexander calls the Greeks "his allies" next to his Macedonians?

[5] Quintus Curtius Rufus "The History of Alexander" [The trial of Hermolaus]

"As for you Callisthenes, the only person to think you a man (because you are an assassin), I know why you want him brought forward. It is so that the insult which sometimes uttered against me and sometimes heard from him can be repeated by his lips before this gathering. Were he a Macedonian I would have introduced him here along with you - a teacher truly worth of his pupil. As it is, he is an Olynthian and does not enjoy the same rights." [p.195] [Since Callisthenes was a Greek Olynthian is clearly distinguished from the Macedonians.]

[6] Robert A. Hudley in his paper "Diodoros 18.60.1-3: "A Case of Remodeled Source Materials" dissects "Eumenes":

"We then come upon Eumenes' second observation that, being a foreigner, he has no right to exercise command over Macedonians. At no point, however, in Diodoros' prior narrative does Eumenes' Greek origin excite animosity among the Macedonians. More important, Eumenes does not see his foreign origin as an impediment to accepting the dynasty' offer of a supreme command in 18.58.4 and he proceeds to exercise that authority in 19.13.7 and 15.5 without any qualms on his part that he is not a Macedonian. Eumenes' foreign origin does become an issue at one point among the commanders of the Silver Shields."

One of the few Greeks that Alexander took with the Macedonian army - Eumenes had a foreign Greek origin among the Macedonians. He was a Greek and not a Macedonian. There is no need to elaborate this quote any further.

[7] Pierre Jouguet "Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World" Speaking of Eumenes:

"He knew from experience that in the eyes of the Macedonians he was still a Greek, a foreigner. Plutarch praised his charming and refined manners, which were very unlike the haughty airs of the noble Macedonian officer." [p.142]

[8] More on Eumenes: "But he was not a Macedonian, and the Macedonians did not look upon him as an equal. This may have been one reason for his tenacious loyalty to the cause of the Kings; his fortune was bound up with the Empire, and in the case of a partition he would not have received the support of the Macedonian troops in securing a portion for himself." Ibid, [p.129]

[9] On Isocrates: "At the end of his speech, Isocrates, summarizing the programme which he was proposing to Philip, advised him to be a benefactor to the Greeks, a king to the Macedonians, and to the barbarians not a master, but a chief." Ibid [p.106]

[10] [On Macedonians and Greeks] "It is sufficient for our purposes to note that the Hellenes and the Macedonians regarded themselves as different nations, and this feeling did not ceased to be the source of great difficulties for the union of Greece under Macedonian rule. When the union was achieved, it was only by policy of force." Ibid, [p.68]

[11] The Ancient World Readings in Social and Cultural History by D. Brendan Nagle Stenley M. Burstein "Contemporary scholars hold a much less benign view of the nature Hellenistic society. Far from blending to form a new culture, Greek and native societies tended to co-exist with only limited contact between them in the new Macedonian - ruled kingdoms that were formed out of the wreckage of the Alexander's empire. In other words, the Macedonian kingdoms in Egypt and Asia were essentially colonial regimes in which ethnicity was the principal determinant of social and political position. Weather or not Alexander intended his empire to be governed by a mixed elite of Macedonians, Greeks, and natives, in Ptolemiac Egypt and Seleucid Asia only Macedonians and Greeks belonged to the governing elites." [p.149]

Macedonians and Greeks once again are clearly distinguished in the Macedonian ruled kingdoms.

[12] Wilcken's quotes from "Alexander the Great":

On p.22-23. "Even in Philip's day the Greeks saw in the Macedonians a non-Greek foreign people, and we must remember this if we are to understand the history of Philip and Alexander, and especially the resistance and obstacles which met them from the Greeks. The point is much more important than our modern conviction that Greeks and Macedonians were brethren, this was equally unknown to both, and therefore could have no political effect."

[13] On p.45 "The Greeks regarded the hegemony of Philip as, after all, a foreign domination; they did not look upon the Macedonians as Greeks."

[14] On p.26: "The dislike was reciprocal, for the Macedonians have grown into a proud masterful nation, which with highly developed national consciousness looked down upon the Hellenes with contempt. This fact too is of prime importance for the understanding of later history."

[15] Lycurgus: [after the battle of Chaeronea] "With the death was buried the freedom of Greece."

[16] Homer's Greeks are variously described as Danaoi, Argives, and Achaians, but never Hellene Jonathan M. Hall Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity [Macedonians are not included]

[17] In the Catalogue of Women, the eponymous founder of Makedonia, Makedon, was the son of Zeus and Deukalion's daughter Thuia. This line of descent excludes him from the Hellenic geneology - and hence, by implication, the Makedonians from the ranks of Hellenism." [ibid., p.64]

[18] "But by the fourth century, certainly, the rulers of Macedonian Lyncestis prided themselves on descent from the Corinthian Bacchiads - a royal dynasty fully comparable with the Temenid claims of their rivals at Aegae." Ernst Badian "Studies in the History of Art vol. 10: Macedonia and Greece In Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Times"

[Even if one is inclined to accept Macedon's genealogy for the "hellenic" descent of the Macedonians, one must be aware of the existence of other Macedonian tribes who did not trace their genealogy from Temenus.]

[19] Furthermore, the fact that Zeus is Makedon's father does not necessarily testify to his credentials as a "bona fide Hellene: after all, Sarpedon is the son of Zeus but he is Lykian not a Hellene." Jonathan Hall "Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity". p.64

[20] Lamian War 323-322 is also known as the "Hellenic War" by its protagonists. The Greeks, the Hellenes, were fighting the Macedonians led by Antipater at Lamia.

[21] [Referring to Arrian's separation of Macedonians and Greeks] "The same painstaking attention to details is evident in administrative matters. Appointments of governors are duly mentioned, and throughout his book Arrian is careful to give the father's name in the case of Macedonians, e.g. Ptolemy son of Lagus, and in the case of Greeks their city of origin." [p.25]

[Points of interest: Arrian pays close attention to clearly identify the Macedonians and the Greeks: father's name in the case of Macedonians and for the Greeks their city of origin.]

[22] Arrian "The Campaigns of Alexander" "The backbone of the infantry was the Macedonian heavy infantry, the 'Foot Companions', organized on territorial basis in six battalions (taxeis) of about 1,500 men each. In place of the nine-foot spear carried by the Greek hoplite, the Macedonian infantryman was armed with a pike or sarissa about 13 or 14 feet long, which required both hands to wield it. The light circular shield was slung on the left shoulder, and was smaller than that carried by the Greek hoplite which demanded the use of the left arm. Both, Greek and Macedonian infantry wore greaves and a helmet, but it is possible that the Macedonians did not wear a breastplate. The phalanx (a heavy infantry), like all the Macedonian troops had been brought by Philip to a remarkable standard of training and discipline." [p.35]

[23] Quintus Rufus "The History of Alexander" At a banquet prepared by Alexander for the ambassadors of certain tribes from India, among the invited guest present was the Macedonian Horratas and the Greek boxer named Dioxippus. Now at the feast the Macedonian Horratas who was already drunk, began to make insulting comments to Dioxippus and to challenge him, if he were a man, to fight a duel. Dioxippus agreed and the two men fought rather a short fight with Dioxippus emerging a victor. A huge crowd of soldiers, including the Greeks, supported Dioxippus. "The outcome of the show dismayed Alexander, as well as the Macedonian soldiers, especially since the barbarians had been present, for he feared that a mockery had been made of the celebrated Macedonian valour." [p.229]

Point of interest: Two fighters, one Macedonian, one Greek. Macedonian lost the fight. Alexander is dismayed. Why? How can a mockery be made of the Macedonian valour if in this fight the Greek won? If Alexander considered himself Greek, then, the outcome of the fight should have had no disturbing influence on him. But, as we see, he was dismayed. Peter Green says: "it was a matter of national prestige", and Bosworth states that the crowd was "ethnically polarized." This needs no further analysis. Ethnicity of the two fighters, and their affect on the polarized crowd, is not an option for consideration. It is a given.

[24] "Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World" By Pierre Jouguet [p.187]

"An Athenian decree, voted at his instigation [Chremonides] (266-265 or 265-264), declared an agreement between Athens and Sparta, always united against the enemies of the Hellenes" (Chremonidean War)

In this case, these "united Hellenes" were fighting against the Macedonian Antigonos. Here you have a clear delineation between Greeks Hellenes [Athenians and Spartans] and their common enemy - the Macedonians Why not accept the fate of the ancient authors and reconcile with the fact that ancient Macedonians were just that - Macedonians. There was nothing Hellenic about these loyal followers of their King, and there was nothing Greek with this hardy warriors of Macedon.

[25] The Rise of the Roman Empire Polybius [p 45] By combining and comparing various statements from the ancient authors we can arrive to the truest picture of the ancients themselves. Let them speak of themselves, and let their true sentiments flood the pages, uncorrupted and free of any biased and preconceived prejudices. Only then, can we assess the magnitude of their purity of soul, and the passion for their national aspirations.

[26] Polibius reports on the speech made by Agelaus of Naupactus at the first conference in the presence of the King and the allies. He spoke as follows: [A selected segment from his speech] "I therefore beg you all to be on your guard against this danger, and I appeal especially to King Philip. [Philip V] For you the safest policy, instead of wearing down the Greeks and making them an easy prey for the invader, is to take care of them as you would of your own body, and to protect every province of Greece as you would if it were a part of your own dominions. If you follow this policy, the Greeks will be your friends and your faithful allies in case of attack, and foreigners will be the less inclined to plot against your throne, because they will be discouraged by the loyalty of the Greeks towards you." ['The Rise of the Roman Empire' p .300.] (book 5.104)

"instead of wearing down the Greeks" "making them an easy prey for the invader" "to protect every province of Greece as you would if it were a part of your own dominions" Polibius clearly distinguished not only between Greeks and Macedonians in the above passage, but also between the lands of Greece and Macedonia.

[27] "while Craterus and Antipater collaborated under the command of the latter to suppress a Greek revolt (the so-called Lamian War ended in a crushing blow to the Greeks and especially Athens), Perdiccas took control of the kings........" The Hellenistic World by F.W. Wallbank p 49

Points of interest: ended in a crushing blow to the Greeks and especially Athens. Very clearly the Lamian war ended with a victory of the Macedonians over the Greeks (Athenians being part of that Greek force).

[28] "What did others say about Macedonians? Here there is a relative abundance of information", writes Borza, "from Arrian, Plutarch (Alexander, Eumenes), Diodorus 17-20, Justin, Curtius Rufus, and Nepos (Eumenes), based upon Greek and Greek-derived Latin sources. It is clear that over a five-century span of writing in two languages representing a variety of historiographical and philosophical positions the ancient writers regarded the Greeks and the Macedonians as two separate and distinct peoples whose relationship was marked by considerable antipathy, if not outright hostility." Eugine Borza

The conclusion is still the same - the Ancient Macedonians were not Greeks. If they were, they would have been called Greeks, not Macedonians, and they would not have been specifically distinguished from the Greeks by ancient authors (including ancient Greek authors). Nothing could be further from the truth than to claim that the ancient Macedonians and the ancient Greeks were brethren. There were simply two different nations.


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