Recovering Macedonia 2 - Who were the Ancient People?

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Recovering Macedonia Expiration of the Bucharest Treaty of 1913

Part 2 - Who were the Ancient People?

By Risto Stefov

November, 2005


It is difficult for people to accept the idea that history, the way we know it today, is biased to serve the interests of those who are in control. It is also difficult for people to believe that what they have been taught in school may not be the truth.

Do you not agree that there are Macedonians living throughout this world today and do you not agree that people are still taught in school that Macedonians do not exist?

If you are a Macedonian why should you believe a history that denies your existence? If you are a Greek or Bulgarian why do you believe your State sponsored education that is teaching you to hate your neighbours and deny their existence?

You can believe what you like but if you truly seek the truth then you must make every effort to find it for yourself.

In this and the next chapter I will attempt to objectively analyze the makeup of the people who lived in the southern Balkans from prehistory to today. It is my intention to provide you with a general overview and give you an alternative look at the age old problem of who these people were. In my analysis, I will provide you with summaries only, obtained from the most current sources and from old models that no longer fit the modern political agenda. For details, you are encouraged to read the original material (most of which is available on the internet) for yourselves.

If you consult any standard history schoolbook on the southern Balkans it will tell you first that there were Greeks then Romans and then the Ottomans. Later came the modern Greeks, Bulgarians, Yugoslavians and Albanians, but no Modern Macedonians. There will be a bit of information about the Ancient Macedonians, mainly about Philip and Alexander, but only secondary to the Ancient Greeks. There will be a bit of information on the Byzantines but mainly on how Roman and Greek they were. There will be plenty of information on the Greeks, their god-like activities, their brilliance and the various inventions they discovered, and how they are a real gift to our modern world.

After reading your standard history schoolbook you get the impression that no one outside of the Greeks and Romans ever existed in ancient times. You get the impression that no activities ever took place outside of Greece: not to the north, not across the Aegean, or south of the Mediterranean. It is as if an ice sheet and thick fog covered those lands inhabited only by Barbarians, a kind of people who could neither think nor speak but barked words of unknown tongues.

Why did these authors come to this conclusion? Why are the Greeks and Romans so important to history and the Barbarians so unimportant? Were the Barbarians truly that uncivilized and contributed nothing worth mentioning?

How did the Greeks become so civilized and the Barbarians, living so close or even among them, so uncivilized? How can people living so close together be so far apart culturally?

Thanks to unbiased scientists and scholars and people with no political agendas, questions such as these are now being slowly answered and the answers might surprise you.

One such scientist and scholar is Professor Mario Alinei who has put forward a new theory called the "The Paleolithic Continuity Theory on Indo-European Origins"[1].

Basically what Professor Alinei says, and backs with archaeological, linguistic and genetic evidence, is that people have always been where they are today. In other words, the indigenous people of any given region in eastern Europe and the Balkans have always been where they are today. By always he means they have been there for more than ten thousand years and as long as thirty-thousand years, as far back at the great ice age.

If we accept Professor Alinei's assertions then we must also accept the idea that Macedonians, Serbians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, etc have always been where they are today. Naturally some things may have changed over time due to evolution and external influences, but the basic makeup or the under layer of people has remained the same.

Among other great scholars who have contributed immensely to the identification of the various ancient people living in the Balkans are Jozko Savli, Matej Bor, Ivan Tomazic [11], Florin Curta [9] and Anthony Ambrozic [2], [3], [4].

Jozko Savli, Matej Bor and Ivan Tomazic, independent of Professor Alinei's model, have discovered that most of the ancient toponyms in and around the Balkans bear the original names given to them by the Barbarian tribes which lived there many millennia ago. The real surprise about these discoveries is that the toponyms have Slavic names.

Also independent of Professor Alinei's model, Anthony Ambrozic has discovered that a vast part of Europe, particularly the Balkans and eastern Europe is covered with Barbarian artefacts that also bear inscriptions of Slavic origins. Ancient inscriptions found in south-eastern Europe, which scientists for years have been unable to translate, are in fact of Slavic origin. Ambozic has translated thousands of them including those found at Dura-Europos, which could only have been of ancient Macedonian origin. Dura-Europos was a frontier Macedonian city in Syria founded by one of Alexander the Greats' successors.

Attempts were made by French paleo-linguists, who even went to Asia and Africa looking for ancient languages, to translate the Dura-Europos inscriptions but without success. Too bad they didn't go to Macedonia or any part of the Balkans and consult with local Slav speakers. According to Ambrozic, "Anyone in Slovenia, even people on the streets could have translated the Dura-Europos inscriptions."

Looking at the ancient puzzle from a different perspective, Odisej Belchevski, a student of Homer and of the Heroic Age, has also independently discovered words of Slavic origin in Homers poems and other works. [5]

Before I continue allow me to clarify what I mean by Slavic origin. The inscriptions, Homeric words, toponyms, names, etc., of which I mentioned above, are classified to be of Slavic origin because they are familiar only to Slav speakers. Modern Slav speakers by using the Slav language are able to read and decipher their meaning.

Naturally the question here is "How can that be?" Aren't we taught in school that the Slavs are newcomers to the Balkans? Aren't we taught that they started arriving in the Balkans around 600 AD? What were Slavs doing in the Balkans long, long before that?

Judging from the large numbers of Slav speakers in Europe today and the vast regions they occupy, it only makes perfect sense that they have been there for a long time. Conversely, it makes very little sense to think that a group of people so backwards, so disorganized and so late coming to the Balkans could be so successful and gain so much in such a short time.

It is no surprise that when we put Savli, Bor, Tomazic, Curta, Ambrozic and Belchevski's assertions together with Alinei's model that it makes perfect sense.

The Slavs have always been where they are today! By Slavs I mean the Slav speakers.

The many nationalities and ethnicities whom we today erroneously call "Slavs" are in fact "Slav speakers". And today we can say with some certainty that they were the first Europeans.

As far as history can tell us the word "Slav" became widely known for the first time during Emperor Justinian's reign around 500 AD. I believe Justinian was the first Emperor to try and classify the various tribes inside and outside of his empire [9]. He called them Slavs because they shared a similar/common language. In other words, they were called Slavs because they spoke a similar language not because they were ethnically related as mainstream historians would have us believe.

There are some today who believe that the Slavic language was an international language, just as English is today. The fact that various nationalities and ethnicities spoke the Slav language in such a vast region definitely qualifies it to be called international. Additionally, the Slavic language, because it was spoken by everyone, is truly a language of the people. That is precisely why it has survived for so many millennia and has maintained its integrity with little change over the ages.

It is not my intention here to debate the origin of all the Slav speakers but to give you a general overview only of those who lived in and around the southern Balkans.

Who were these ancient Slav speakers who qualify to be called the first Europeans?

If we carefully examine our history books we will find, as mentioned earlier, "Barbarians" occupying the vast plains of the Balkans before there were any "Greeks" or Romans. These Barbarians lived tribal lives not worthy of any mention by our modern historians. If, however, we do some more research we find that these Barbarians were separate and distinct people who lived in and occupied their own territories and, most importantly, had names.

The least known of these ancient peoples were the Lyncestian and Paeonian tribes who, relative to geographical Macedonia, lived in the northern part of central Macedonia in the region where the Republic of Macedonia is today. South of the Lyncestians and Paeonians and along the entire central Greek Peninsula lived the Aegean Pelasgian tribes. West of the Pelasgians, Lyncestians and Paeonians lived the massive Illyrian tribes. East of the Lyncestian, Paeonians and Pelasgians lived the massive Thracian tribes.

Phrygians once also lived in Macedonia in the lush Vardar Valley but most of them left Macedonia long ago for their ancestral homeland in Asia Minor.

What is interesting about these groups of people is that they shared a common language. According to Anthony Ambrozic, who translated inscriptions from artefacts from all of these groups, their language was Slavic. By Slavic I mean it could be understood by modern Slav speakers.

Who where the "ancient Greeks"?

Mainstream history tells us that the Pelasgians lived among the ancient Greeks and as I mentioned earlier, were indigenous to the region.

According to Bernal, the ancient Greek culture, as we know it today, did not develop on its own but rather was influenced from the outside [6].

Bernal also claims, with overwhelming evidence, that the indigenous people living in present day Peloponnesus were culturally and linguistically influenced, mostly by the more civilized Egyptians and Phoenicians. It was this cultural influence that transformed the indigenous people into what we today call the "ancient Greeks". In other words the so-called ancient Greeks have culturally evolved, among others, from the Pelasgians.

About three and a half millennia or so ago during and perhaps after the Mycenaean civilization collapsed, Egyptians and Phoenicians crossed over the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and colonized parts of the Peloponnesus. The more civilized Egyptians overwhelmed the indigenous population so dramatically that it was completely transformed. As the Egyptian civilization in Egypt declined and the Egyptian colonists became assimilated into the new cultural melting pot, the region took on an entirely new character

The Phoenicians, who were also assumed to have colonies in the Peloponnesus, gave Ancient Greeks the gift of writing. It is unclear whether the Phoenicians were colonists in the Peloponnesus or not but it is clear that the ancient Peloponnesians received their alphabet from the Phoenicians.

I want to mention at this point that it is not my intention to debate the origins, ethnicities and nationalities of the so-called "ancient Greeks" but to point out that the under layer of ancient Greek society was Pelasgian.

The effects of this cultural transformation were so profound that only in a few centuries the Peloponnesians became an entirely new and unique society with a unique language and alphabet and a new way of life. Its citizens mastered the arts and sciences, navigation and began to traverse the vast waterways and built self-governing cities.

Who were the ancient Macedonians?

Geographical Macedonia as we know it today was the center or the hub, where the great tribes came together. Macedonia was where the lines between Illyrian, Lyncestian, Paeonian, Thracian, Pelasgian, Phrygian and other tribes overlapped.

The ancient Macedonians were a mix of all the people who lived in geographical Macedonia as we know it today.

It is unclear exactly to which tribe the first Macedonians belonged but history tells us they originated in the Kostur region and by Herodotus's time (450 BC) they expanded eastward and occupied the lush western Vardar Valley. Macedonians were a mixture of all the nations and tribes that lived in Macedonia. By Philip II's time, when geographical Macedonia was consolidated under one king and under Macedonian control, all these people came to be known as Macedonians.

Was there any relationship between the ancient Greeks and the ancient Macedonians?

As mentioned earlier, the indigenous people of the Peloponnesus became Greeks under the cultural influence of the Egyptians and Phoenicians. The people of Macedonia became Macedonians under the influence of various Macedonian Royal dynasties.

As most of the Phrygians left Macedonia, the Macedonians continued their easterly expansion taking over Phrygian lands and filling the power vacuum the Phrygians left behind. By Philip II's time all tribes within Macedonia were conquered and came under Macedonian control.

Before Philip II conquered the ancient Peloponnesians (ancient Greeks) they where very protective of their culture. They treated outsiders with suspicion and disgust and those who did not share their values were labelled Barbarian and kept out of their affairs (Olympic games etc).

As the two communities grew and expanded they started to come in contact and began to trade. Being economically and militarily weaker the Macedonians for many years had to bend to the will of the more powerful Peloponnesians, but that eventually changed.

The only relationship Macedonians had with the Peloponnesians, at the time, was trade.

Culturally the two communities were worlds apart and to suggest that they were similar would be irrational.

Problems between the two communities began to develop when the Athenians started colonizing Macedonian lands at Chalcidice. Macedonians being militarily weaker used diplomacy to defend themselves. As foreign intrusions continued, however, the Macedonians had no choice but to build up their military strength and fight back, eventually defeating the Peloponnesians (except for Sparta) and placing them under Macedonian political and military control.

For those who believe the Macedonians were Greek, here are some facts to remember;

1. The so-called "ancient Greeks" or Peloponnesians as I referred to them above, outside of their colonies at Chalcidice and a few other places at the tip of southern Macedonia, had never set foot on Macedonian soil.

2. The Peloponnesians (ancient Greeks) were never united as a single state with a single government as the Macedonians were. Each of their cities operated as a stand alone state with its own independent government.

3. The allied Peloponnesian forces were defeated in battle at Chaeronea in 338 BC and subjugated by the Macedonians from which they never recovered. Their largest City States, including Athens, were occupied by Macedonian garrisons until 197 BC when they were freed and re-occupied by the Romans.

4. Since their defeat in 338 BC the ancient Peloponnesians, including Sparta, were politically subordinate to the Macedonians and for over 140 years were under Macedonian control.

Why did the ancient Macedonians speak "Greek" and not their Slavic language?

It is interesting to note that the so-called "Greek language" spoken in Macedonia before Philip II's time was not indigenous to Macedonia and, according to inscriptions found, was identical to the Attic language spoken in Athens. So whatever Greek the Macedonians spoke was acquired from education in schools, not from their mothers.

For the Greek language spoken in Macedonia to have been a "Greek dialect" as modern Greeks would have us believe, it would have had to have some divergence from the original Attic just like other dialects found in the Peloponnesus. The fact that the Greek language spoken in Macedonia was exactly the same as the attic, evidenced by the inscriptions found, can only mean that Macedonians acquired it through education in Athens or Athenian teachers taught it to Macedonians in Macedonia.

Another fact to remember, again as evidenced by inscriptions found, the Macedonians did not speak "Greek" until a later period. In other words the Greek language came to Macedonia from Athens, a fair distance outside of Macedonia, long after it was spoken for centuries in the Peloponnesus.

The common Macedonians, which included the lower ranks of the Macedonian military, did not speak "Greek" because they were not educated in "Greek". The common Macedonians spoke another language, a language indigenous to the region. We can now say with some certainty that that language was Macedonian, a Slavic dialect that belonged to one or more of the indigenous groups living in ancient Macedonia. We can also say with some certainty that the Slav language spoken by the ancient Macedonians is the root language of modern Macedonian spoken by the Macedonians today.

Closer to Philip II's time when Macedonia became involved in trade and commerce with its neighbours, it began to more frequently use the Attic language, commonly known as the Koine or common language. By the time Koine began to make its way into Macedonia it was already in use throughout the eastern Mediterranean.

Koine was made famous by Alexander the Great after taking it around the world and making it his international language. Koine unfortunately did not take root with the people and as such always remained a language of trade and commerce.

Before disappearing altogether the Koine language resurfaced again the late 19th century when it was adopted by the modern Greek State as the language of its people.

By then Koine had evolved so much and had acquired so many foreign elements that it had completely drifted apart from its Attic roots.

If the ancient Macedonians spoke a Slavic language then why did they not leave any evidence of it?

This is a question frequently asked by modern Greeks who refuse to accept the idea that Alexander the Great spoke anything but Greek.

This is a valid question, however I believe it should be reworded as follows;

We know from history that the ancient Macedonians spoke another language besides Koine. What we don't know is what that language was. So the question should be;

Why haven't the Greeks made any effort to identify this other language Macedonians spoke?

Contrary to popular belief there is overwhelming evidence left behind by the ancients. The problem is finding accredited scholars to verify it and admit to its existence. Most historians, paleo-linguists, philologists and archaeologists prescribe to the "Slav Migration Theory" and believe the Slavs arrived in the Balkans no earlier than the 6th century AD. They refuse to recognize a Slav existence in the Balkans before that. To them, these writings are of unknown origin.

Some of these inscriptions were found centuries ago and were believed (labelled) to be of unknown origin.

Many of these inscriptions are now being slowly translated by a new group of scholars who are dedicated to pursuing the truth, not just accepting the status quo. Among these dedicated individuals is our own Macedonian paleo-linguist and pioneer Vasil Ilyov (also spelled Iliov) [10].

Ilyov has translated a number of these inscriptions (some are displayed on his website) [10] and has independently concluded that they are indeed of Slavic origin.

The myth that no Slavs existed in the Balkans prior to the 6th century AD was invented by the 19th century Great Powers and propagated by the modern Greeks. More on this in future articles.

Modern Greeks maintain that "if such inscriptions existed" Greek archaeologists would have found some by now.

At the risk of being ridiculed, I can say that I am certain Greek archaeologists have found such artefacts and have translated them. The problem of making such evidence known would have contradicted their political agenda so it was hidden from public view.

It is well known that Macedonia was the cradle of Slavonic Civilization yet the Greeks have not disclosed a single artefact that bears Macedonian Cyrillic writing?

It is also well known that every Church in Greek occupied Macedonia had at least one Slavonic Bible and dozens of icons with Slavonic writing. Every cemetery had headstones with Macedonian Cyrillic inscriptions. Where are they now? Why is there not a single shred of evidence, not even in a museum, that proves Slav speaking Macedonians ever existed in Greek occupied Macedonia? Is it because these artefacts don't exist or is it because Greek authorities have systematically removed them and hidden them from public view?

If Greek authorities have lied to us about the existence of Slavonic (modern Macedonian) artefacts that we know existed, what makes you think they will admit to the existence of even more damaging evidence like very ancient Slav artefacts?

How can these artefacts (with very ancient Slav inscriptions) exist in abundance in the Republic of Macedonia just north of the Macedonian-Greek border and as far north as the Danube River and not exist in Greece?

But then again, since when is the Greek State known for telling the truth about Macedonia's past anyway?

To be Continued...


1. Alinei, Mario.The Paleolithic Continuity Theory on Indo-European Origins.

2. Ambrozic, Anthony. Adieu to Brittany: a transcription and translation of Venetic passages and toponyms. Toronto: Cythera Press, 1999.

3. Ambrozic, Anthony. Gordian Knot Unbound. Toronto: Cythera Press, 2002.

4. Ambrozic, Anthony. Journey Back to the Garumna. Toronto: Cythera Press, 2000.

5. Belchevski, Odisej. Classical Mythology Explained with use of Macedonian Vocabulary and Musings on the Macedonian Language.

6. Bernal, Martin. BLACK ATHENA The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization Volume 1: The Fabrication of Ancient Greece 1785-1985. New Branswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987.

7. Bogov, Vasil. Macedonian Revelation, Historical Documents Rock and Shatter Modern Political Ideology. Western Australia, 1998.

8. Borza, Eugene N. In the Shadow of Olympus The Emergence of Macedon. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.

9. Curta, Florin. The Making of the Slavs, History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region c. 500 - 700. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

10. Ilyov, Vasil. Macedonian Artifacts, Ancient Inscriptions and their Translations.

11. Šavli, Jozko; Bor, Matej; and Tomazic, Ivan. VENETI First Builders of European Community. Boswell B.C., 1996.

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