Modern Greece and the Macedonian Heritage – Part 6: On the way to Hellenism
By Risto Stefov (email@example.com)
February 8, 2009
„In 1821, the Greeks rose in revolt against the rule of Turkey and declared themselves an independent nation. Their goal was far more ambitious than freedom alone, for they proclaimed the resurrection of an ancient vision in which liberty was but a single component. That vision was Hellas-the achievements of the ancient Greeks in knowledge, morality, and art, summed up in one evocative word. What was more, the new Greek revolutionaries went one step further than their forebears had ever managed to do: they proposed to embody their entire vision in a unified, independent polity. This unique nation-state would represent the ultimate achievement of the Hellenic ideal and, as such, would lead all Europe to the highest levels of culture yet known.“ (Michael Herzfeld, „Ours Once More“, page 3)
What Herzfeld fails to mention above is that it was not the Greeks that rose in revolt against the rule of Turkey but rather the Philhellenes who instigated this so-called „rise“ whose origin was anything but Greek. And who were these Greeks anyway?
In this article we will provide the reader with further evidence to show that not only did the so-called „Greeks“ not exist but the architects of „Hellenism“ could not care less if they existed or not. Their aim was to bring back Hellenism at any cost because after all, as mentioned in a previous article, „Hellenization denotes the spread of Hellenic culture in non-Greek ‘barbarian‘ society and the process under which ‘barbarians‘ accept, adopt, and incorporate Hellenic culture.“ („Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece“ edited by Nigel Wilson, page 345)
The Philhellenes neither thought nor cared what Hellenism could do to the living and vibrant cultures that existed on those lands. Like the Borg in the fictional Star Trek movie series, the Philhellenes wanted to create a race of „perfect“ humans and model them in an image created of their own imagination. They did that not because they cared for the plight of the indigenous people whose cultures they destroyed but to achieve their own moral and political aims.
And how did the Modern Hellenes came to know of „Hellenism“? Was it passed on from generation to generation? Did they come to know it from their parents and grandparents? NO! It was taught to them by foreigners!
In the „Scottish Geographic Magazine“ Volume XIII published in 1897 on page 370 we read „The Turks who came in at the time of conquest, and were mostly landowners, have almost entirely disappeared since the Turkish yoke was thrown off. The Vlachs, on the contrary, descendants of the Romanized people of the Balkan Peninsula, live in considerable numbers in the mountains of north and central Greece. The number of these people, called by G. Weigand Aromunes, is at most 50,000. Formerly, the Aromunes of whom there are 150,000 in the south-western part of the Balkan Peninsula, were champions of the Greater Greece policy, but since the Bulgarians have obtained their freedom, the Aromunes have also fostered a national feeling. In Greece however, the well to do classes are opposed to the movement, and here, too, the government has made great efforts to win over these people, which probably will be attended with success. Lastly, Gypsies must be mentioned, who are numerous all over the country. They are to a large extent Hellenized, and their numbers therefore cannot be exactly ascertained.“
In the book „Greek Pictures“ by J. P. Mahaffy published in 1890, on pages 20 and 21 we read „…in the Middle Ages, these Albanian mountaineers have brought both war like spirit, bright costume and beauty of person, to refresh the Hellenic race. There are still, even in Attica, districts where Albanian is the common language; there are Albanian names famous in Greek annuals, especially in the great War of Independence (1821-1831), and among the sailors of Hydra, so famed for their commercial enterprise and their deeds of war, the chief families were Albanian in origin.“
Further down on page 21 we read „Before I return from the Albanian digression, I will say a word about the costume which has become the national dress of the Greeks. The most characteristic feature is the ‘fustanella‘, a white petticoat which like the Scottish kilt, gives its name to the whole attire. Wearing the fustanella in Greece is like ‘wearing the kilt‘ in Scotland. This petticoat is however, more troublesome and exacting than its Highland brother; and this is the reason that the king’s guard in Athens, who wear it as a uniform, look so straight and well drilled.“
In the book „History of the War of Independence in Greece“, by Thomas Keightley, Esq. on page 260 we read „Colocotronis was the son of the man, who, after giving the Turks most effectual aid against the Albanians after 1770, was put to death by them. Having with difficulty escaped from the murders of his father, he had served in the Greeks troops of the different powers who successively occupied the Seven Isles. He had frequently returned to Morea, and putting himself at the head of parties of Klefts, made the Turks tremble within the walls of Tripolitsa and purchased his departure with considerable sums of money. He had risen to the rank of Major in the Albanian regiment, in the pay of England when it was disbanded.“
We now turn to the „The Atlantic Monthly: A Magazine of Literature, Art and Politics“ volume XLIX, January 1882, to page 31 where we read „I have received an invitation to spend a September Sunday at Poros, a little island in the Aegean Sea, lying to the south east, and about five hours distant by steamer from the port of Peraeus. It is one of a group made famous in the Greek revolution of 1821 by bravery of its Albanian settlers, in defense of a country which they never adopted for their own until this moment of danger came. Some two centuries ago, Albanian fugitives, who had fled from their northern home on account of the oppression of their Turkish rulers, alighted like wild sea-birds on the rocky cliffs of Hydra, Speza and Poros. Here they built their nests high and secure above the reach of invasion, feeling themselves safe as long as they could keep control of the surrounding waters. Joined from time to time by small companies of their countrymen, they gradually increased in numbers, and formed themselves into a more stable community, with laws and habits of its own.“
Later on the same page we read „At the time of the revolution, these Albanian settlements had developed into a colony of rich and imperious merchants, who lived in their island homes with a rude, barbaric luxury.“
Further down the same page we read „Albanian Captains, Albanian ships, and Albanian gold became the strength of the Greek and the dread of the Turk. The successful close of the revolution found them as firmly allied with the Greek nationality as they had previously been alien to it, and there are now no names more honoured and beloved in Athens, no families more influential in its polite circles, than those of the Albanian leaders of 1821, the Tombazis, the Miaulis, the Coundouriottis.“
In „The New Monthly Magazine“ edited by W. Harrison Ainsworth, Esq. Volume 88 on page 480 we read „It is a singular fact that the Vlachs call themselves, in their own patois, Romans. Their total number in the provinces of European Turkey is supposedly to exceed half a million; and, during the Greek revolution, they furnished at least ten thousand armed men, under Zongas. This leader was formerly the protopalicar, or lieutenant, of their famous chief Catz Antoni who was put to death in the most cruel manner by Ali Pasha, for numberless acts of brigandage.“
In the book „Race or Mongrel“ by Alfred P. Schultz on page 90 we read „About this time the Avars came from Asia to Europe. Bajan-Chan, their leader, incited the Slavs to invade Greece in 578[AD]. They crossed the Danube, a hundred thousand men strong, invaded Greece, and extended their incursions as far south as the Peloponnesus. Manander states that Hellas was torn to pieces by the Slavs. A few years later Bajan Chan was at war with the Emperor and at his instigation other hordes of Slavs and Avars poured into Greece. Evagrius writes that in 578 and in 593 the Avars conquered all of Greece and devastated it with fire and sword. After these invasions the Slavs and Avars did not again leave Greece. They remained as the lords of the lands with Huns and Bulgarians.
When peaceful conditions were again established, a great number of the inhabitants were Slavs, who retained their customs, religion and language for a long time. Cities, villages, brooks, mountains now have Slavic names. Marathon is Vrana; Salamis, Kiluri; Platea, Kochla; Olympia, Miraka; Delphi, Kastri; and other places are named Goritza, Vostiza, Kaminitza, Pirnatsha, Chlumutzi, Slavitza. Names similar to these are found in Gelicia, Poland, and other Slavic countries. Hellenic they are not.“
Avars, Slavs, Albanians, Vlachs, Gypsies? Where are the Greeks?
On page 91 of the same book we read „In 1204, Venice, having a German-Frankish army at her command declared war on the Eastern Empire and took Constantinople. A Frankish army landed at Patras (Morea), and many of the knights received latifundia in the Peloponnesus and subsequently remained in Greece. In the 14th century the Albanians invaded Greece, and settled there. The influx of Albanians continued for a considerable time. In 1407, we are told, Theodore Paleologus settled ten thousand Albanians with their wives and children, in the Peloponnesus. Mazari, writing in 1446, states that the Greeks of this time were not a race but a debris of other races.“
Then on page 351 of the same book we read „That environment is of little importance to the development of a race is clearly demonstrated by the fact that when Hellenes lived in Greece, Greece was great. Since their mongrelization, Greece has produced nothing.“
Here I have given the reader evidence from half a dozen writers and authors who have published their work more than a century ago, writers and authors who lived much closer to the time when Greece became a country for the first time, to the time when Hellenism was invented and unleashed on the people of the Balkans.
Who are the Modern Greeks? A fair and reasonable question indeed! A question that needs to be asked! Modern Greeks have placed the Macedonians in a precarious position regarding the Macedonian ethnic identity. Modern Greeks have systematically and relentlessly denied the Macedonian ethnic identity robbing both the Modern and Ancient Macedonians of their heritage. If that is fair then let us equally be fair in answering the question „Who are the Modern Greeks?“
The best answer I can give you at this moment is that they are NOT who they say they are! I have been accused on several occasions of being a „liar“ when it comes to answering such questions so I will use Mazari’s words;
„Mazari, writing in 1446, states that the Greeks of this time were not a race but a debris of other races.“
If the Greeks of 1446 were a debris of other races, then what are the Modern Greeks of today? 98% pure Greeks and 2% Muslim Greeks? I think not!
The question that then begs to be asked is „What right do these imposters and charlatans have to meddle in Macedonian affairs and to question the Macedonian identity when their own identity is fabricated, false and fake?“
To be fair then the world too should deny the Modern Greeks the right to self identify because after all, unlike the Macedonians, the Modern Greeks are NOT really who they claim to be!
And now I leave you with this. „Is Hellenization a term that reflects the reality of an ancient society, or a term and concept created by modern scholars in the course of their study? Is it a tool, useful shorthand or a phantom? According to G. Bowersock ‘Hellenization is… a modern idea reflecting modern forms of cultural domination‘.“ („Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece“, edited by Nigel Wilson, page 345.)
For those who are still not convinced that the Modern Greek identity is an artificial creation, please continue to read this series of articles.
Dear Macedonians, one way to defend ourselves from the Greek onslaught and gain back our identity and dignity is to fight back to the level to which the Greeks have reduced us; that is to attack their identity as they have attacked ours. We need prove nothing to them except to expose them as the artificial identity they truly are and to uncover their design to wipe us out in order to usurp our Macedonian heritage.
To be Continued. (Read the first five parts)
Many thanks to TrueMacedonian from www.maknews.com for his contribution to this article.