Greek sources about the Macedonian history

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THE GREEK HISTORIAN, D. KANATSULIS

In his History of Macedonia until Constantine the Great published in Salonica in 1964, on page 67 D. Kanatsulis writes that the Dorian and the Macedonian were two different peoples, although both appear on territory of Macedonia at almost the same time. On page 12 of this publication we read: "On the descent of the Illyrians and some other peoples in the 12th and 11th centuries BC, the Dorians were forced to move further south and majority of them settled on the Pelloponnesos whereas the Macedonians stayed in Western Macedonia."

D. Kanatsulis emphasizes that the Macedonians had a strong feeling of constituting a separate ethnic group not only during the time of the independent Macedonian state, but also during the Roman era. "The Macedonians," he says, were primarily citizens of the state and only after that members of the municipality where they were born or where they lived. Thus, in the official documents in which all names were entered, the personal name was followed by the nationality - Macedonian, and then came the birthplace or the place of residence, for example: a Macedonian from Aegea, a Macedonian from Edessa, etc." (page 82).


PROF. PHOTIS PETSAS

Similarly ancient Macedonian historians and writers, though writing in the common language (a blend of ancient Greek and the local Macedonian when signing their names always added that they were Macedonian language); as, for example: Chrisogonis from Edessa, a Macedonian; Adaios the Macedonian; Antipatris the Macedonian. (Prof Photis Petsas: A Journey in Northern Greece, Elinikos voras, February 1976). Not one of them wrote that he was a Hellene.

Now, back to the name of Macedonia. Looking at Ilios, a Greek encyclopedia periodical, on page 801 we find the chapter entitled 'The History of Macedonia'. Its third Paragraph begins with the words: "The Macedonians or Macedons inhabited this territory and called it Macedonia...," which confirms that before the arrival of the Macedonians the territory had had other names (Imatia, Aeordea, Almopia and perhaps others) and that the Macedonian newcomers named it Macedonia. Another archeologist, Prof Photis Petsas, gives even a more detailed account: "Macedonia was so named after the Macedonian People in the year 700 BC, who used to inhabit the territory to the west of the Vermion Mountains. What interests us today;" says Prof Petsas, "is that the Macedonians gave their own name to the land, calling it Macedonia, and expanded it in the south to Mount Olympus, in the west to the Pindus Mountain, in the east to the river Nestos (the Mesta) and to the Erigon in the north." (Prof Photis Petsas: Macedonia and the Macedonians..., Elinikos voras, 12th February 1978).


KARAGATSIS


The modern Greek scholar, Karagatsis, makes his contribution to the clarification of the question whether the ancient Macedonians were Greek or not. The master work of this respected author, History of the Greek People, 1952, raised a great commotion in the camp of the nationalistically oriented intellectuals of Greece. Karagatsis, however, disregarded the burden of tradition and mythology and claimed that reality was different (p. 314). "It is the King of the Macedonians," he says, "who is the hegemon of the Greeks. The Congress is summoned by the hegemon, but is never chaired by him, because the hegemon is not Greek." (p. 340).

Many circles in Greece turned against Karagatsis. Thus Stefanos Hrisos, a critic, states the following in his article in the Salonica newspaper Makedonia: "I believe that it is a moral obligation of every Greek, particularly those in Northern Greece, to raise his voice and demand that this book by Karagatsis should not leave the boundaries of Greece or be translated into other languages, and, if possible, be withdrawn from the shops. We might have expected such bad language from our neighbors but never from a Greek writer..."


ANA PANAIOTU

Ana Panaiotou, for example, in the article 'The Language of Captions in Macedonia', says that "the Macedonians communicated among themselves in the Koine (common) language; the use of the Macedonian dialect was shrinking and became limited to conversations within a family or within small tribal circles. The last extant records on the Macedonian dialect," Panaiotou continues, "date from the first century BC" This author also informs us that the oldest facts on the Macedonian language date from the fifth century BC With the arrival of Alexander the Great that language stopped being the means of communication. "People used this language," Panaiotou says, "at moments of anger or great excitement and when only Macedonians were present" (p. 187). To support her statement, Ana Panaiotou turns to Plutarch, who claims that while killing Cleitus, at a moment of great distress, Alexander the Great "cried out in the Macedonian language" (Plutarch, Vii parallili, chapter 'Alexander the Great' - eighth installment in the periodical Ilios, 20th March 1954).

Ana Panaiotou also draws attention to the example of Eumenes, an officer in Alexander's army. He himself was not Macedonian, but once, after an illness, when walking among his Macedonian soldiers, he greeted them in the Macedonian language. She also mentions that Queen Cleopatra had lessons in Macedonian.


PROF. J. KALERIS In the same collected edition, Prof. J. Kaleris says that "the Macedonian language was often used with the purpose of winning the trust of the Macedonian people."

J. KORDATOS In the periodical Mesiniaka, J. Kordatos, a historian and sociologist, undeniably declares that the ancient Macedonians spoke a language different from Greek. Greece manifested territorial aspirations towards Macedonia soon after it became an independent state. Various societies, such as the Association for the Promotion of Greek Literacy and, later, the armed gangs operating in Macedonia and fighting the so-called Macedonian war, had a sole purpose of converting the Macedonian population into Greek and if reeducation did not produce the expected results, they resorted to using arms. In this connection, Joannis Kordatos has written the following: "Bulgaria and Greece, as well as Serbia, sent soldiers to Macedonia in order to change the national affinity of the local population..."

"A large percentage of the farmers in Macedonia," Kordatos continues, "spoke a Slavonic dialect, using a lot of Greek and Turkish words; however, the essence of the dialect was Slavonic. The Slavo-Macedonian dialect was the dominant language in many areas in Macedonia. In a survey which Blunt, the British consul in Salonica, conducted in 1888 and printed in the following year in the English Blue Book, we find that the Greeks constituted the majority in the coastal belt, in Ber, Lagadin, Ser and Zihnen. But the inland areas of Macedonia were inhabited by Slavophones..."

"The wide masses of Macedonia," says Kordatos, "were oppressed not only by the pashas, beys and agas, but also by the local rich people and the Greek high church officials. Therefore, the majority of the Slavophone Macedonians decided to rise against the Turkish tyranny and the injustice of the Metropolitans, and in an autonomous and independent Macedonia to build political and national equality..." (loannis Kordatos, Istoria tis neas Ellados, vol.5, Athens 1955, pp. 41A2).


DIMITRIOS SOROS

The highly respectable periodical Makedonika, the publication of the Society of Macedonian Studies in Salonica, in volume 3 of 1976, pp. 114-145, carries the report of Dimitrios Soros, chief Greek school inspector in the Salonica area in 1906, which contains the names of the villages in this area where Macedonian was the predominant language. Outside the walls of Salonica the population speaks a Slavo-Macedonian language, the 'so-called Bulgarian dialect'." Using the term 'so-called Bulgarian dialect', the inspector undoubtedly points out that this language is distinct from Bulgarian, though people accepted the term without giving its meaning a second thought.


SPIROS MELAS

In his longer article 'The Epopee from 1912 to 1913', the Greek academician Spiros Melas expresses his astonishment that the Macedonian population did not extend a welcome to the Greek army when it marched through Macedonia, pretending to be 'the liberator' during the Balkan Wars. The 'poor' people had anticipated the kind of liberty planned for them. This is how S. Melas describes the reception the army met with: "Occasionally, all of a sudden a village woman would step out and start swearing in her own difficult Macedonian language..."

"Then," Melas goes on, "our soldiers would surround her and offering her money would demand bread, wine, brandy or oil. But what we invariably got in return was a stereotype word like the one the first Slavophone villager, his head bent down, whom we had met outside the village of Negus, had addressed to us. All the way to the outskirts of Salonica and further on, to the town of Lerin, wherever we went we heard the same melancholic answer to all our demands: No, we don't have any!" (Spiros Melas, 'The Epopee from 1912 to 1913', published in installments in the newspaper Acropolis in 1952).

A.AEGIDIS

Speaking about the composition of the population in the Aegean part of Macedonia prior to its Greek annexation, the Greek expert economist A. Aegidis states: "At the time when Greek sovereignty was established over Macedonia, it was estimated that 57,4% of its population were 'foreign elements' and that the Greeks constituted 42.6% of the inhabitants, which is probably exaggerated because in the survey of 1912, for obvious reasons, many inhabitants of Macedonia were entered as Greeks, even though they did not hold themselves as such... It should not be forgotten," Aegidis continues, "that the minority that 'weighed the heaviest on the ethnologic scales of Macedonia' was the Slavophone population." (A. Aegidis, I Ellas horis prosfiges, Athens 1930, pp. 168-169).


GEORGE ZANGALIS October, 1953

Greetings letter from the Greek Labour Union ‘Dimokritos’; To the National Union of Macedono-Australians in the state of Victoria

Dear friends, The Labour Union “Dimokritos” (Ergatikos Sindezmos Dimokritou) and all democratic Greeks in Australia congratulate your national day, Ilinden.

The freedom war of the Macedonian people for freedom from the Turks which reached its peak with the establishment of the Ilinden Uprising…….

The uprising of your people failed, it did not succeed to liberate Macedonia. After 9 years namely in 1912 the Turks were driven from Macedonia only for them to be replaced by new Turks, these are the Greek hosts, colonisers and exploiters and blood-suckers.

Our peoples’ today struggle under the slavery of the modern Turks, Monarcho-Fascist…… That is why brothers our nation leads a united war, a war that largely lies on the shoulders of the Greek and Slavic-Macedonian peoples for one true freedom and independence/autonomy, and now ….. of the National Revolutionary War of Freedom of our peoples’ started before 1941-49 and still isn’t finished.

Our strong conviction is that the unity of our two peoples will triumph over the tyranny of fascism which holds in bondage the whole of Greece and gives the people to the merciless American imperialists so they can suck their blood.

Our brothers who laid the groundwork for our unity and signed with their blood and their bones the agreements for our land……..

Long live our unity. Long live Ilinden!

George Zangalis, Secretar.