Historian and Professor Eugene Borza who is credited as “Macedonian specialist” by the American Philological Association, and who have done extensive studies regarding the ethnicity of the ancient Macedonians, had also presented in-depth analysis on the modern Greek position which claims that the ancient Macedonians “were Greek”. In his In the Shadow of Olympus (p.91-92) Borza writes:
“Thus, long before there was a sufficient ancient evidence to argue about the ethnic identity–as revealed by language–of the ancient Macedonians, there emerged a “Greek” position claiming that the Macedonian language was Greek, and that thus the inhabitants were Greek.”
The modern Greeks have therefore, developed a position that the Macedonians were Greek, long before there was sufficient ancient evidence to argue about their ethnicity. Yet although modern historiography had long abandoned this prematurely established “Greek” position, modern Greeks are still its most zealous defenders despite the overwhelming evidence available today, which overwhelmingly shows that the Macedonians were not Greeks but a distinct nation. Borza continues:
“For example, recent work describes the funerary stelae found in the tumulus covering the royal tombs at Vergina. These stelae date from the fourth and early third centuries, and the preponderance of names are Greek… The excavator of Vergina, Manolis Andronikos, in a useful summary of the epigraphic evidence, writes: “In the most unambivalent way this evidence confirms the opinion of those historians who maintain that the Macedonians were a Greek tribe, like all the others who lived on Greek territory, and shows that the theory that they were of Illyrian or Thracian descent and were hellenized by Philip and Alexander rests on no objective criteria.” Manolis Andronikos Vergina:The Royal Tombs, 83-85.”
Here is Borza’s answer to the Greek archeologist Manolis Andronikos:
“This argument is true enough only as far as it goes. It neglects that the hellenization of the Macedonians might have occurred earlier then the age of Philip and Alexander, and can not therefore serve as a means of proving the Macedonians were a Greek tribe.”
Indeed, not only Andronakis was obviously wrong to conclude that the Macedonians were Greek, but also notice how the Greek archeologist does not point that the Macedonians might have been a separate nation. Instead he prefers to call it if not Greek, either Illyrian or Thracian, two ancient nations that can not be associated with the Balkans politics surrounding Greece, resulted from the 1913 partition of Macedonia (see below). Also notice how Andronikos used the term “like all the others who lived on Greek territory”. It’s like he wants to convince the reader that Macedonia has always been a “Greek territory”, which is exactly what he uses as a base for his inaccurate conclusion.
Another Greek writer, Michael Sakellariou, in his Macedonia 4000 years of Greek History, 44-63 (quite questionable of accuracy title to begin with), “proves” that the “Macedonians were Greek” although he purposely avoided all evidence that does not suit such conclusion. Borza has a line for him as well:
“It is indicative of the strength of Badian’s case that his critics have succeeded only in nit-picking: e.g., Sakellariou, Macedonia, 534-35 nn. 52.53″ (Borza, In the Shadow of Olympus p.96.)
Borza is talking about Ernst Badian from Harvard University who in his extensive research Greeks and Macedonians presented all evidence and soundly concluded that the Macedonians were distinct nation from the Greeks, which neither considered themselves to be Greeks nor were considered by the Greeks to be Greek. That is precisely what the Greek writer Sakellariou had completely and purposely avoided, and lacking any base for a well-balanced criticism, choused instead to nit-pick Badian’s argument.
We can see a trend among the Greek scholars (Andronicos, Martis, Daskalakis, Kallaris, and Sakellariou) who desperately want to show the world that the Macedonians “were Greeks”, though unsuccessfully. Martis’ Falsification of Macedonian History was handed out to the foreign journalists in Greece and translated into many languages. Sakellariou’s Macedonia 4000 years of Greek History was even donated for free to the libraries throughout the United States. This exposes a well-developed propaganda strategy, to influence all those unaware that the “Macedonians were Greek.” Yet the Greeks are showing the world that the “Macedonians were Greek” by avoiding all ancient and modern evidence that does not suit their purpose, and in that process they try to pass books so full of historical errors and distortions:
“The fullest statement of the “Greek” position, and also the most detailed study of the Macedonian language, is by Kallaris, Les anciens Macidoniens, esp. 2: 488-531, in which alleged Greek elements in the Macedonian language are examined exhaustively. A more chauvinistic (and less persuasive) point of view can be found in Daskalakis, Hellenism, esp. pts. 2. and 3. The most blatant account is that of Martis (The Falsification of Macedonian History). This book, written by a former Minister for Northern Greece, is an polemical anti-Yugoslav tract so full of historical errors and distortions that the prize awarded it by the Academy of Athens serves only to reduce confidence in the scientific judgment of that venerable society of scholars. The most sensible and scholarly Greek position is that laid out by Sakellariou, in Macedonia, 44-63. Lest it seem, however, that the “Greek” position is held only by modem Greeks” – (Borza, In the Shadow of Olympus p.91)
It is ironical that the book of the former Greek politician Nicolas Martis is named The Falsification of Macedonian History, when in fact he is the one who is falsifying the history of Macedonia with his historical errors and distortions. It is worrisome that the students of the countries who have nothing to do with the modern Greek politics, must be exposed to the Greek historical fabrications against one of the most dynamic powers of the ancient times – the Macedonians. But why is Greece doing this, what is behind it, why do they steal the history of the ancient Macedonians, and attempt to appropriate it as theirs?
The answer lays in the year of 1913 when Macedonia was partitioned after the Balkan wars and Greece swallowed the biggest part – 51%. There was nothing in Macedonia then that connected that land with Greece, apart from the small 10% Greek minority scattered in southern Macedonia among the overwhelming majority of Macedonians who lived throughout the country (for complete statistical evidence see the “Macedonian-Greek Conflict”). Since in 1913 it acquired foreign territory populated by non-Greeks, Greece had to provide a link that would justify its claim on that half of Macedonia. That is exactly why the Greeks claim that the ancient Macedonians “were Greek”, so that if in ancient times there was a Greek tribe (Macedonians) living in Macedonia, then that land therefore is Greek (just like Andronikos points above). What is not disputable however, is that since 1913 till today, the modern Greek state continues to oppress the ethnic Macedonians who now find themselves living in Greece (see Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International evidenced in the “Macedonians in Greece”). The other northern part of Macedonia, today’s Republic of Macedonia, broke out of Yugoslavia and became independent in 1991. That brought addition fuel to the Greek nationalists who are afraid now that one part of the ethnic Macedonian nation is independent, the partition of 1913 can be seen as illegal, which could lead to eventual loss of their Greek Macedonian part and subsequent reunification of one Macedonia. That is exactly why they claim that there is no modern Macedonian nation, not in Greece not anywhere, and continue to deny the basic human rights of their Macedonian minority through politics filled with paranoia, politics which without the revision of the ancient history could not breathe.
1. Michael Sakellariou, Macedonia 4000 years of Greek History
2. Nikolaos Martis, The Falsification of Macedonian History Nicolaos Martis
3. Kallaris, Les anciens Macidoniens
4. Daskalakis, Hellenism
5. Manolis Andronikos, Vergina:The Royal Tombs
6. Eugene Borza, In the Shadow of Olympus