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Isocrates
Ancient Greek Writer
To Philip

[1] "The feeling of being peoples of nonkindred race existed on both side" referring to Isocrates' statement. Earnst Badian

[2] Isocrates’ letter to Philip II where he, Isocrates refers to Philip "as one who has been blessed with untrammeled freedom to consider Hellas your fatherland" Green calls this a "rhetorical hyperbole". "Indeed, taken as a whole the Address to Philip must have caused its recipient considerable sardonic amusement". [p. 49] "Its ethnic conceit was only equaled by its naivety" [p.49] Peter Green

[3] "And though Philip did not give a fig for Panhellenism as an idea, he at once saw how it could be turned into highly effective camouflage (a notion which his son subsequently took over ready-made). Isocrates had, unwittingly, supplied him with the propaganda-line he needed. From now on he merely had to clothe his Macedonian ambitions in a suitable Panhellenic dress." [p.50] Peter Green

[4] "This was the Panhellenic crusade preached by Isocrates, and as such the king’s propaganda section continued - for the time being - to present it. No one, so far as we know, was tactless enough to ask the obvious question: if this was a Panhellenic crusade, where were the Greek troops? [p. 157] Green

[5] "Isocrates never for an instant thought of a politically unified state under Philip's leadership. It is simply the internal unification of Hellas which he calls on Philip to bring about." [p.37] [Macedonia specifically excluded from Greece] Wilken

Note: Macedonians were not Hellene, and Macedonia was never a member of the Hellenic League, a league that encompassed and "united" all the Greek city-states. Isocrates expanded the term Hellene to include, no racial descent, but mode of thought, and those who partook of Attic culture, rather than those who had a common descent were called Hellene. He saw the true Hellene only in the Greek educated in the Attic model. He did not regard the barbarians of Attic education as Hellenes.

[6] "When Philip read the book, the insistence of his descent from Heracles must have been welcome to him; for in his policy he had to stress this mythical derivation, as the types of Heracles on his coins show. But on the other hand he must have smiled at the naivete shown by Isocrates." [p.36] Wilken

[7] Isocrates must have taken this strong realist for an idealist, such as he was himself, if he believed that Philip would draw his sword for the beaux yeux of the Greeks." [p.36] Wilken

[8] "When Isocrates in this treatise makes so much of Heracles as Philip's ancestor, this was meant not merely for Philip, but for the Greek public as well." [p.35] Wilken

[9] "At the end of his speech, Isocrates, summarizing the programme which he was proposing to Philip, advised him to be a benefector to the Greeks, a king to the Macedonians, and to the barbarians not a master, but a chief." [p.106] PIERRE JOUGUET Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World

[10] [On Macedonian ethnicity] So little do the Macedonians seem to have belonged to the Hellenic community at the beginning, that they did not take part in the great Games of Greece, and when the Kings of Macedon were admitted to them, it was not as Macedonians, but as Heraclids. Isocrates, in the 'Philip' praises them for not having imposed their kingship on the Hellenes, to whom the kingship is always oppressive, and for having gone among foreigners to establish it. He, therefore, did not regard the Macedonians as Greeks." [p.68] PIERRE JOUGUET Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World

[11] "In the Panegyricus he [Isocrates] had urged an understanding between Sparta and Athens, so that the Greeks might unite in a common expedition against the Persian empire. Nothing of that sort was any longer thinkable. But the policy of which he now had such high hopes offered a surprisingly simple solution for the distressing problem that lay heavily on all minds the problem of what was to be the ultimate relationship between Greece and the new power in the north (Macedonia)." [p.152] WERNER JAEGER Demosthenes

[12] "But for Isocrates that was no obstacle. He had long since come to recognize the impossibility of resisting Macedonia, and he was only trying to find the least humiliating way to express the unavoidable submission of all the Greeks to the will of Philip. Here again he found the solution in a scheme for Macedonian hegemony over Greece. For it seems as if Philip's appearance in this role would be most effective way to mitigate his becoming so dominant a factor in Greek history; moreover, it ought to silence all Greek prejudices against the culturally and ethnically alien character of the Macedonians." [p.153] WERNER JAEGER

[13] "With the help of the role that Isocrates had assigned to him, he had the astuteness to let his cold-blooded policy for the extension of Macedonian power take on the eyes of the Greeks the appearance of a work of liberation for Hellas. What he most needed at this moment was not force but shrewd propaganda; and nobody lent himself to this purpose so effectively as the old Isocrates, venerable and disinterested, who offered his services of his own free will." [p.155] WERNER JAEGER

[14] "Looking far beyond the actualities of the Greek world, hopelessly split asunder as it was, he (Isocrates) had envisaged a united nation led by the Macedonian king." [p.172] WERNER JAEGER

[15] "Quite apart, however, from any theoretical doubts whether the nationalistic movement of modern times, which seeks to combine in a single state all the individuals of a single folk, can properly be compared with the Greek idea of Panhellenism, scholars have failed to notice that after the unfortunate Peace of Philocrates Demosthenes' whole policy was an unparalleled fight for national unification. In this period he deliberately threw off the constrains of the politician concerned exclusively with Athenian interests, and devoted himself to a task more lofty than any Greek statesman before him had ever projected or indeed could have projected. In this respect he is quite comparable to Isocrates; but an important point of contrast still remains. The difference is simply that Demosthenes did not think of this "unification" as a more or less voluntary submission to the will of the conqueror; on the contrary, he demanded a unanimous uprising of all the Greeks against the Macedonian foe." [p.172] WERNER JAEGER

[16] "His Panhellenism was the outgrowth of a resolute will for national self-assertiveness, deliberately opposed to the national self-surrender called for by Isocrates - for that was what Isocrates' program had really meant, despite its being expressed romantically as a plan for a Persian war under Macedonian leadership." [p.172-3] WERNER JAEGER

[17] The first resolution passed by Synedrion at Corinth was the declaration of war against Persia. "The difference was that this war of conquest, which was passionately described as a war of vengeance, was not looked upon as a means of uniting the Greeks, as Isocrates would have had it, but was merely an instrument of Macedonian imperialism." [p.192] WERNER JAEGER

[18] "For the six years or more that follow, Philip's life, alas! is withdrawn, except at rare intervals, from our knowledge. Alas, indeed! for these are the years in which his men at arms marched, the first foreigners since history has begun, into the Peloponnese, and he himself besieged and took cities on the Adriatic, and led his spearmen up to, or even beyond, the Danube; years, too, in which his final ambition took shape, 'for it was coming to be his desire to be designated Captain- General of Hellas, and to wage the War against the Persians'." (p.97) David Hogarth

[Please visit "Green" and "Isocrates' Letter to Philip" (345), for further enlightenment] Notice also the usage of quotes by David Hogarth, regarding Philip's desire to be Captain-General of Hellas.]

[19] "The dispute of modern scholars over the racial stock of the Macedonians have led to many interesting suggestions. This is especially true of the philological analysis of the remains of the Macedonian language by O. Hoffmann in his Makedonen etc. Cf. the latest general survey of the controversy in F. Geyer and his chapter on prehistory. But even if the Macedonians did have some Greek blood- as well as Illyrian- in their veins, whether originally or by later admixture, this would not justify us in considering them on a par with the Greeks in point of race or in using this as historical excuse for legitimizing the claims of this bellicose peasant folk to lord it over cousins in the south of the Balkan peninsula so far ahead of them in culture. It is likewise incorrect to assertthat this is the only way in which we can understand the role of the Macedonian conquest in Hellenizing the Orient. But we can neglect this problem here, as our chief interest lies in discovering what the Greeks themselves felt and thought. And here we need not cite Demosthenes' well-known statements; for Isocrates himself, the very man who heralds the idea of Macedonian leadership in Hellas, designates the people of Macedonia as members of an alien race in Phil.108. He purposely avoids the word barbaroibut this word is one that inevitably finds a place for itself in the Greek struggle for national independence and expresses the views of every true Hellene. Even Isocrates would not care to have the Greeks ruled by the Macedonian people: it is only the king of Macedonia, Philip, who is to be the new leader; and the orator tries to give ethnological proof of Philip's qualifications for this task by the device of showing that he is no son of his people but, like the rest of his dynasty, a scion of Heracles, and therefore of Greek blood." [p.249] WERNER JAEGER

[Point of Interest]

(a) Macedonians cannot be considered as Greeks even if they had some Greek blood in their veins.

(b) Macedonia's conquest of the Orient should not be contingent upon Greek culture.

(c) Isocrates places the Macedonians with alien races and hitherto, outside the Hellenic world.

(d) Isocrates takes care of this "alien race" not to be seen as leaders of Greece. He isolates their king Philip as not of the same race as the people over which he governs.

Note: The speech On the Chersonese was, to be sure, delivered in a specifically Athenian emergency; but the interest of the Greeks as a whole is never left out of sight. The Third Philippic is entirely dedicated to the danger that threatens all Greece. Similarly, when the past and future are compared, it is the whole of Hellas that is considered, not Athens alone.

 

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