Modern Greece and the Macedonian Heritage
by Risto Stefov
Part 1 – Introduction
There are some who say the 1903 Macedonian Ilinden Uprising was one of the greatest Rebellions Europe has witnessed since the French Revolution (Giorgio Nurigiani, „Macedonia Yesterday and Today“) yet there are others today who adamantly claim that Macedonians don´t exist.
If we are to take these people seriously we not only need to examine their claims but we need to understand their motives for making such claims.
Modern Greeks, who in 1912, 1913 acquired Macedonian territories by conquest and imperial means, claim not only that Macedonians don´t exist but that Macedonia is Greek for historic reasons.
For modern Greeks to make such claims they will need to provide evidence to (1) prove that Macedonia does not belong to the people that were living on it before Greece annexed it in 1913 and (2) prove that the modern Greeks are indeed the rightful heirs of Macedonian lands.
The purpose of this series of articles is to examine the legitimacy of the Modern Greek claim that „Macedonia is Greek“. To do that we will need to examine (1) who are the modern Greeks and (2) why is their claim, as they put it, „the only valid claim?“
When Greeks say that „Macedonia is Greek“ do they mean all of geographic and historic Macedonia or just the part that was annexed by Greece in 1913?
If they mean only the part of Macedonia that was annexed by Greece then we need to examine how Greece acquired it. There is plenty of historic evidence to highlight how Greece acquired Macedonian territories between Macedonia´s invasion in 1912 and the conclusion of the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest. Evidence shows that the Macedonian lands acquired by Greece were acquired by war and arbitrary means which has nothing to do with historic claims.
If however all of geographic and historic Macedonia is claimed to be Greek then Modern Greeks will have to show additional proof as to (1) why they did not register their claims during the signing of the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest and (2) why they willingly allowed Serbia and Bulgaria to take 49% of Macedonian territories.
The reality is that there were no definite plans on how to divide Macedonia since Macedonia never belonged to any of its neighbours. There were no national dividing lines to speak of other than the Patriarchist or Exarchist affiliated villages which existed all over Macedonia. So after the first Balkan War ended in 1912 arbitrary borders were set up more or less where the invading foreign armies stopped their advance.
Serbia was looking to gain access to the Adriatic Sea but Austria-Hungary and Italy prevented that by proposing the creation of Albania.
This loss of territory on the Serbian side lead to renewed conflict in the region sparking the second Balkan War involving Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania.
As a result of this, the original borders proposed after the first Balkan War were shifted and Macedonia was once again arbitrarily partitioned.
According to military historian Dr. Vanche Stojchev, author of the book „Military History of Macedonia“, while the Treaty of Bucharest was being drafted in 1913 the occupying armies were still fighting in Macedonia. Every time one side took a hill or a ridge from the others its military commander telegraphed his counterpart in Bucharest who in turn asked the commission to modify the maps to include the new gains.
Professor Dr. Vanche Stojchev uncovered various inconsistencies and anomalies in the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest which would be of interest and importance to the Macedonian people. For example not many people know that the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest was not ratified by Austro-Hungary. Austro-Hungary was the first Great Power in the Balkans. After the signing of the treaty both Russia and Austro-Hungary called for further revisions which were basically ignored. Russia only accepted the treaty because it was pressured by the other Great Powers, which in reality means the treaty may not even be valid.
„The reason why Macedonian institutions are not yet affirming the idea that Macedonian roots extend from the ancient times to today is because everything that was taught in Macedonia up to now had to be politically correct. We were taught a politicized history which catered less to reality and more to political aspects on how history should be viewed,“ says Professor Dr. Vanche Stojchev.
However, before Modern Greeks can answer questions like „Why is Macedonia Greek?“ they will need to answer the ultimate question and that is „What makes their claim legitimate?“ On what basis can Modern Greeks say that Macedonia belongs to them instead of to the people who were already living there before Greece annexed it?
Here Modern Greeks will need to prove their inheritance rights above and beyond those of the indigenous people already living in Macedonia. But in order to have such legitimate rights, that is above the rights of the indigenous people, Modern Greeks will have to show that they possess a continuous Greek lineage that extends beyond that of the indigenous people living in Macedonia.
To prove that this „continuous“ Greek lineage exists, we will need to examine historic evidence prior to and leading up to the creation of the Modern Greek state. In other words we need to know more about the Modern Greeks and their existence before the Greek state was created in 1829.
Modern Greeks have already registered their claims about Macedonia and the Macedonians. Their claims can basically be summarized as follows;
1. According to official Greece; Macedonians do not exist.
2. According to official Greece; Macedonia, particularly the Republic of Macedonia, is occupied by Slavs who came to Macedonia during the 6th century AD.
3. According to official Greece; the Modern Macedonian ethnicity is a modern creation, created by Tito.
4. Although they have not specified which part(s) of Macedonia, according to official Greece; Macedonia is Greek and has always been Greek.
If we analyze these claims then, based on Greek logic alone, we can conclude that the people living in Macedonia are Slavs who came to Macedonia during the 6th century AD. So in effect the Modern Macedonians, or „Slavs“ as the Greeks like to call them, according to Greek claims, have been living on Macedonian lands for say 1,500 years?
Now based on the above, Modern Greeks will have to show that they have legitimate claims to Macedonian lands that extend more than 1,500 years. That means that Modern Greeks will have to prove that their ancestors owned Macedonian lands prior to the 6th century AD. Naturally if they want to be taken seriously, modern Greeks will need to prove that they are the rightful heirs of those lands. I will be more than willing to accept continuity of the nation´s culture, traditions and language. In other words, did the Greeks of the 19th century prior to the creation of the Modern Greek state share a similar culture, similar traditions and a similar language with the Greeks of 1,500 years ago?
Let us begin by looking at the culture, tradition and language of the Modern Greeks of the 19th century.
Sir Charles Eliot in his book „Turkey in Europe“ on page 267 says: „It would be amazing if the people who are now called Greeks are of the physical types as what are styled Ancient Greeks, which generally means the inhabitants of Athens and Sparta. The Greeks have spread around the Aegean and Black Seas, and come into contact with the inhabitants of the littoral. The Macedonian Empire must have had a large non-Hellenic substratum. Constantinople and all Continental Greece were for centuries ruled by Romans, and during many subsequent centuries invaded and colonized by Slavs. The Crusades and Latin conquests brought a large influx of western Europeans, commonly called Franks; and in later times, extensive Albanian settlements were made in Greek districts. Clearly the Modern Greek must be of very mixed blood.“
Again Sir Charles Eliot in his book „Turkey in Europe“ on page 299 says: „It must be confessed that, though the Greeks showed more energy than any other Christian race, those who now remain in Turkey (except the islanders) are not remarkable for physical vigour or military capacity. This, is no doubt, partly due to the fact that the people who revolted against Mahmud were largely Hellenized Vlachs and Albanians, who, under the modern system would, not be regarded as Greeks. Nowadays the robust agricultural population is rarely Hellenic in its sympathies, for, as already mentioned, there are comparatively few parts where it is really Greek.“
So, what is Sir Charles Eliot trying to tell us about the Modern Greek towards the creation of the Modern Greek state?
For starters he is telling us that the so-called „Greek“ of the 19th century had very few to none of the traits of the ancient Greeks from 1,500 years ago. He is also telling us that the 19th century so-called Greeks were not really Greeks at all but Hellenized Albanians and Vlachs. In other words, they were Albanians and Vlachs made to feel like they were Greeks.
Lucy M. J. Garnett in her book „Greece of the Hellenes“ published in 1914 on page 31 says: „The height standard for the Greek army is nominally 5 feet 1 inch the average Hellene by no means being a tall man. Nor is this standard rigidly adhered to, for a recruit is not rejected on the score of height, if certified physically fit in other respects. Some of the hardiest soldiers are recruits among the Albanians and pastoral Koutso-Vlachs of Thessaly who form an important contingent.“
Lucy M. J. Garnett in her book „Greece of the Hellenes“ published in 1914 on page 33 speaking about the dress of the Greek Royal Guard says: „His feet are shod with Albanian red leather shoes the upturned, pointed toes of which are finished with woolen turfs.“
Lucy M. J. Garnett in her book „Greece of the Hellenes“ published in 1914 on page 33 and 34 also says: „All Greek soldiers are required to be able to read and write, and if a conscript on joining has not already acquired those rudiments of education, he is put to school. Not-withstanding the educational efforts of the Government as many as 30 percent proved fifteen years ago or so to be completely illiterate, which not more than 25 percent had advanced beyond the ´three R´s´. This may be partly accounted for by the fact that these conscripts include both Albanians from the settlements in Attica and other parts of the Kingdom and pastoral Koutso-Vlachs, all of whom habitually speak their own dialects, and learn Greek only as a foreign tongue.“
So what is Lucy M. J. Garnett telling us about the Greeks of the 19th century?
Here again Lucy M. J. Garnett is giving us evidence that the so-called Greeks of the 19th century were not really Greeks but Albanians and Vlachs. In other words, the immediate ancestors of today´s Greeks were not really Greeks at all!
My aim in this series of articles is to show that Modern Greeks are not only NOT entitled to the Macedonian heritage, but they should not even be entitled to be called Greeks. Underneath the highly polished „Modern Greek veneer“ hides an artificially created nation constructed from the bones and ashes of the Macedonian, Albanian, Vlach and Turkish cultures that once flourished on those lands.
Part 2 – Who are the Modern Greeks?
According to official Greece, Macedonia, particularly the Republic of Macedonia, is occupied by Slavs who came to Macedonia during the 6th century AD. Neither justified nor proven, this claim is used by Greece to negate the Macedonian identity and deny the Macedonian people their human rights. By this Greece is in violation of international norms and standards particularly in regards to the freedom of Macedonians to self identify.
If the Macedonians are „Slavs“ as Greeks claim then what are the Greeks, particularly in view that they both existed side by side as neighbours without borders for over 2,000 years?
How will the Modern Greek identity stack up to the Modern Macedonian identity if placed side by side?
Before answering the above questions however let´s examine „Who are the Modern Greeks?“
Edward Blaquiere Esq. author of the book „The Greek Revolution; Its Origin and Progress“ on page 21 says: „Among the numerous islands of the Aegean, arise several barren rocks, some of which are however gifted by nature with small and commodious heavens. Of this number are Hydra Spezzia and Ipsara, the two first close to the Eastern shore of the Peloponnesus, and the later not far from Scio, on the Asiatic coast. Tyranny and Want had driven some families, whose origin like that of nearly all the peasants, who inhabited proper Greece, was Albanian, to take refuge on the desolate crags, where they built villages, and sought a precarious existence by fishing.“
What is Edward Blaquiere trying to tell us in regards to the origins of the Modern Greeks, „whose origin like that of nearly all the peasants, who inhabited proper Greece, was Albanian“. By the words of Edward Blaquiere nearly all the peasants inhabiting „proper“ Greece were Albanian!
William St. Clair author of the book „That Greece Might Still Be Free“ on page 9 says: „The Roman Catholic Greeks, who lived in the islands which had been under Venetian or Genoese rule, regarded themselves as a separate community. The Albanians of Hydra and Spetsae, many of whom could not even speak Greek, regarded themselves as Greek because their allegiance was to the Orthodox Church.“
William St. Clair says „The Albanians of Hydra and Spetsae regarded themselves as Greek“ which implies that the Modern Greeks living in Hydra and Spetsae have Albanian origins.
Constantinos Papparigopolous in „History of the Hellenic Nation“ on page 73 says: „The concept of the ´Hellenic´ state as elaborated in Western Europe presupposed that this was to be the heir of the Ancient Greek (Hellenic) world. Since it occupied the same territory and this territory has been liberated after the uprising of the Christian populations claiming to be their descendants, it should -it was assumed- share the same culture and the same language as its ancient ancestors. Indeed, the newly born ´Hellenic´ state originally based its legitimacy on this heritage. However, it had to undertake a difficult struggle to convince European public opinion of the validity of its claims. Moreover, the German historian Jacob Philip Fallmerayer argued that the ancient Greeks had been annihilated during the Slavic invasions of the Greek lands and the creation of new settlements in the seventh century AD. By this account the so called Neo-Hellenes were nothing more than a mixture of Slavic and Albanian populations.“
Here again we have references that the Modern Greek or Neo-Hellenic population living in the region where the Peloponnesus is today was once a mixture of Slavs and Albanians.
Ironically and despite the 20th century adjustments of borders, Modern Greeks today do not hesitate to call their northern neighbours „Slavs“ but adamantly reject Jacob Philip Fallmerayer´s arguments which imply that they too are the descendants of Slavs.
In the book „The Vlachs: The History of a Balkan People“, on pages 124 and 125, T. J. Winifrith says: „There are two other difficulties involved in the Turkish period. In tracing the movements of merchandise and men in the Balkan peninsula it is extremely difficult to differentiate the various races involved. Western travelers knew little, Turkish authorities cared less. Even the polyglot Vlachs themselves neither knew nor cared a great deal and until the rise of national consciousness at the end of the eighteenth century were probably happy with the label of Greek which was good enough for outside observers.“
In the book „The Vlachs: The History of a Balkan People“, on page 139, T. J. Winifrith says: „One of Greece´s first and best Prime Ministers was John Kolettis, a Vlach who dressed like a Turk and had been court physician to Ali Pasha.“
Speaking about 19th century migrations in the Balkans, in the book „The Vlachs: The History of a Balkan People“, on pages 119 and 120, T. J. Winifrith says: „Elsewhere there is a further source of confusion with massive immigration of Albanians into Greece.“
In telling the story of the Vlachs, T. J. Winifrith gives us important clues as to the true identity of Modern Greeks. In the days when Modern Greece was molded into a nation Vlachs, a Latin speaking people, and Albanians were the primary sources of raw materials for the „making“ of the Modern Greeks.
In the „Popular Science Monthly“ edited by J. McKeen Cattell, published in 1915 on pages 41 and 42 we read: „Most of the old Greek race has been swept away, and the country is now inhabited by persons of Slavonic descent. Indeed there is a strong ground for the statement that there was more of the heroic blood of Hellas in the Turkish army of Edhem Pasha than in the soldiers of King George.“
In the „Popular Science Monthly“ edited by J. McKeen Cattell, published in 1915 on page 42 we also read: „The Modern Greek has been called a ´Byzantine Slav.´ King George himself and Constantine his son are only aliens placed on the Grecian throne to suit the convenience of outer powers, being in fact descendants of tribes which to the ancient Greeks were merely Barbarians.“
Here we are told by Popular Science Monthly that not only have the ancient so-called Greeks disappeared and been replaced by persons of Slavonic descent but that even the rulers of Modern Greece are aliens.
In the „Encyclopedia Britannica“ published in 1910 on page 465 in the History of Greece section we read: „In 1715 the Ottomans with a large disciplined army set themselves to recover the Morea [later renamed the Peloponnesus], the Venetians were left without support from the Greeks. The peninsula was rapidly recaptured and by the Peace of Passarowitz (1718) again became a Turkish dependency. The gaps left about this time in the Greek population were largely made up by an immigration from Albania.“
I have been told by several Greeks to „read the encyclopedia“ and educate myself on the true history of Greece. So following their advice I looked up the 1910 version of Encyclopedia Britannica and lo and behold it corroborates the story that the early 19th century Modern Greek population is Albanian. It also tells us that old Greece, more commonly known as Morea, a Slav word for „ocean“, was occupied by the Venetians.
In „Greece of the Hellenes“ by Lucy M. J. Garnett on page 32 we read: „The Athenian women are neither beautiful nor well made; they have neither the physiognomy of French women, nor the full beauty of the Roman dames, nor the pale white delicacy of the Turkish women -one sees nothing in the town but ugly creatures with broad noses, flat feet and ill-formed waists. It is because Athens, twenty five years ago, was only an Albanian village. The Albanians formed and still form, almost the whole of the population of Attica; and within three leagues of the capital, villages are to be found where Greek is hardly understood. Athens has been rapidly peopled with men of all kinds and nations; that explains the ugliness of the Athenian type.“
Here Lucy M. J. Garnett comes out with it and spares us no details. Athens, at Modern Greece´s humble beginning, the seat of Modern and Ancient Greek-Dom, the pinnacle of Greek pride and glory in the 19th century was nothing more than an „Albanian village“.
Albanians, Vlachs, Slavs? Where are the so-called Greeks, descendants of the ancient Greeks, inheritors of the ancient Greek and Macedonian heritage?
We don´t need to look too far or scratch too deep from the surface to find irregularities with the Greek identity. Even with the scant evidence presented from only half a dozen sources we can see that the Modern Greek identity is not what it seems. So, how dare they [Modern Greeks] challenge our Macedonian identity when their [Modern Greek] identity is artificial at best?
Dear Macedonians, pay no attention to Modern Greek allegations because Modern Greeks are NOT really who they say they are. Modern Greeks are NOT the descendents of the so-called Ancient Greeks as they portray themselves to be. The so-called Ancient Greeks may have been who the world was told they were, which is yet to be proven, but they disappeared a long time ago. I can tell you with much certainty that the Modern Greeks are NOT their descendants. The Modern Greeks are nothing more than imposters and usurpers of the Ancient City State heritage. The only thing they have in common with the ancients is that they happened to live on the same lands.
Dear Macedonians do not „negotiate“ our sacred biblical name, our symbols and our Macedonian historical heritage with these usurpers and charlatans.
We would not have to resort to this had Greece done the right thing and recognized the Macedonian people as Macedonians and provided them their human rights as prescribed by International Law. But No, we have to do this the hard way by dredging up the ugly Greek past! It´s never too late however for Greece to do the right thing!
For those who are still not convinced that the Modern Greek identity is an artificial creation, please continue to read this series of articles.
Part 3 – Where did modern Greeks come from?
In part 2 of this series we established that prior to and during the creation of the Greek state in the early 1800´s the majority of the population living on Greek lands was predominantly of Albanian, Vlach and Slav origin, which leads to the question „Where from and when did these Albanians, Vlachs and Slavs come to Greece and what happened to the indigenous population living on those lands?“
Modern Greeks claim that they are the descendents of the so-called Ancient Greeks. Is this fact or fiction?
We will begin the investigation with the „Popular Science Monthly“ edited by J. McKeen Cattell, published in 1915. The Popular Science Monthly on page 41 reads: „Once Greece led the world in intellectual pursuits, in art, in poetry, in philosophy. A large and vital part of European culture is rooted directly in the language and thought of Athens. The most beautiful edifice in the world was the Peace Palace of the Parthenon, erected by Pericles, to celebrate the end of Greece´s suicidal wars. This endured 2,187 years to be wrecked at last (1687) in Turkish hands by the Christian bombs of the Venetian Republic.
But the glory of Greece had passed away long before the fall of the Parthenon. Its cause was the one cause of all such downfalls – the extinction of strong men by war. At the best, the civilization of Greece was built on slavery, one freeman to ten slaves. And when the freemen were destroyed, the slaves an original Mediterranean stock, overspread the territory of Hellas along with the Bulgarians, Albanians and Vlachs, barbarians crowding down from the north.“
So, what is the writer of the Popular Science Monthly from 1915 trying to tell us here? For one he or she is telling us that at the best of times; that would mean during the classics, Greece was predominantly populated by slaves and when the City States fell to the Romans the so-called ancient Greeks were numbering one freeman to ten slaves. So even before the turn of the new millennium the classical Greeks had vanished and were replaced by the slaves they once employed. Furthermore, the author is telling us that the glory of the so-called Ancient Greeks had passed away, died long before the Venetians occupied Greece in 1687. So where is the cultural and ancestral connection between the ancients and the moderns? Does it really exist?
Again looking at page 42 of the „Popular Science Monthly“ we read: „It is maintained that the Modern Greeks are in the main the descendants of the population that inhabited Greece in the earlier of Byzantine rule. Owing to the operations of various causes, historical, social and economic, that population was composed of many heterogeneous elements and represented in very limited degree the race which repulsed the Persians and built the Parthenon. The internecine conflicts in the Greek community, wars with foreign powers, and the deadly struggles of factions in the various cities had to a large extent obliterated the old race of free citizens by the beginning of the Roman period. The extermination of the Plateans by the Spartans and of the Melians by the Athenians during the Peloponnesian wars, the proscription of the Athenian citizens after the war, the massacre of the Corcyrean oligarchs by the democratic party, the slaughter of the Thebans by Alexander and of the Corinthians by Mummius are among the more familiar instances of the catastrophe which overtook the civil element in the Greek cities. The void can only have been filled from the ranks of the metics and resident aliens and of the descendants of the far more numerous slave population. In the classic period four-fifths of the population of Attica were slaves; of the remainder half were metics. In AD 100 only three thousand arm-bearing men were in Greece. (James Bourchier)“
James Bourchier here reaffirms the fact that the so-called Ancient Greeks disappeared a long time ago and the void was filled by the numerous slaves they employed which at the time consisted of 80% of the total population.
Looking further down on page 42 of the „Popular Science Monthly“ we read: „The constant little struggles of the Greeks among themselves made no great showing as to numbers compared to other wars, but they wiped out the most valuable people, the best blood the most promising heredity on earth. This cost the world more than the killing of millions of barbarians. In two centuries there were born under the shadow of the Parthenon more men of genius than the Roman Empire had in its whole existence. Yet this empire included all the civilized world, even Greece herself. (La Pouge)“
La Pouge here confirms what many others believed; the so-called Ancient Greeks were wiped out a long time ago.
At the bottom of page 42 of the „Popular Science Monthly“ we read: „The downfall of Greece, like that of Rome, has been ascribed by Schultz to the crossing of the Greeks by the barbaric races which flocked into Hellas from every side. These resident aliens, or metics, steadily increased in numbers as the free Greeks disappeared. Selected slaves or helots were then made free in order to furnish fighting men, and again as these fell their places were taken by immigrants.“
Here again Schultz validates the fact that the so-called Ancient Greeks disappeared a long time ago and were replaced by aliens, slaves and immigrants. But who were these immigrants and where did they come from?
To get some answers to these questions we will examine the book „Customs and Lore of Modern Greece“ by Rennell Rodd published in 1892. Rennell Rodd on page 17 writes: „Those who adopted the creed of their conquerors, in order to escape from these indignities, as did a large portion of the inhabitants of Euboea, and subsequently of Crete lost their national character, and, becoming Mussulman, practically ceased to be Greek; indeed, from the time of the Ottoman conquest the question of nationality is largely merged in the opposition of creeds. Sultan Mohammed II appears to have foreseen a safeguard against future insurrection in draining the resources of the country, and literally exhausting its population; and he re-peopled the vanquished Constantinople by transferring to the city the wealthiest inhabitants of the lands he subsequently reduced. Slavery awaited the Venetian subjects of Modon and Nauplia when they fell into his hands in 1463, and a similar fate befell a number of the natives of Euboea in 1470. The Ionian were called upon to yield their quota to the re-population of Constantinople, and a number of slaves were drawn from Rhodes in 1480. In the last year of the 15th century and the opening of the 16th, when the Morea was again the battle-field of Turk and Venetian, the occupants of the plains of Argos and of portions of Attica were practically exterminated, and Albanian colonists began to re-occupy the ruined lands. In the following century the Ottoman admiral, Barbarrosa, carried off the female inhabitants of Aegina into slavery, and massacred the males, leaving the island entirely depopulated until it was re-colonized by Albanians. He reduced the majority of the Aegean islands to subjection, expelled the Italian nobles and said to have carried off 30,000 Greeks into slavery.“
So what is Rennell Rodd telling us about the Modern Greeks and their true origins? Well, for one, he confirms what others are saying, that is, the original Greeks that inhabited the Greek islands and the mainland of Greece proper vanished a long time ago. Some converted to Islam and the rest were taken into slavery. He is also telling us that the vacant lands left behind were settled and colonized by Albanians.
It is interesting to note here that most of the Greek nobility was taken to Constantinople and no doubt Islamized to maintain loyalty. If that were the case and we have no reason to doubt it, then the question that begs to be asked is „Who is more Greek, the descendants of the Modern Turks of Constantinople or the Modern Greeks of Greece proper?“ It makes one wonder!
According to Rennell Rodd however, one thing is certain and that is that there is very little that connects the Modern Greeks with the Ancient so-called Greeks and plenty of evidence that connects the Modern Greeks with the Albanians!
Let us see what else Rennell Rodd has to say. On pages 18 and 19 of his book „Customs and Lore of Modern Greece“ published in 1892, Rennell Rodd goes on to say: „Meanwhile, the deserted lands were gradually occupied by Christian Albanians moving south before the wave of Turkish advance. Their earlier immigrants are lost in the silence of time, but the first recorded mention of their appearance in Peloponnesus occurs in the middle of the 14th century, when Manuel Kantacuzen brought Albanian mercenaries to Mistra, and later established colonies in the peninsula. Again, at the close of the 14th century in the reign of [Byzantine Emperor] John Paleologus, some 10,000 of them crossed the Isthmus, and in later days of the despots of the Morea they are found serving as mercenaries in their armies. The immigration continued through the 15th century, after the final reduction of Albania by the Turks. They occupied the greater part of Boetia, Attica and Megaris, portion of the Corinthian territory, of Argolis and Achaia, as well as small districts of in Phocis, Elis, and Archadia…“
Here again we find evidence of Albanians occupying deserted Greek lands as early as the 14th century. Even the Byzantine Emperors had a hand in re-colonizing Greece with Albanians. Then later during the Ottoman invasion of Albania we have even more Albanians invading and occupying Greek territories.
In view of what we have read so far, we can see a clear pattern developing which indicates without a doubt that as the so-called Ancient Greeks disappeared from Greek lands, they were replaced by predominantly Albanian immigrants who no doubt are the ancestors of today´s modern Greeks.
I use the reference „so-called Ancient Greeks“ because as we earlier learned from „Popular Science Monthly“ edited by J. McKeen Cattell, published in 1915, the Greek population that survived the Roman invasions and occupation were predominantly the Slaves of the Ancient Greeks. So when we make reference to the so-called Ancient Greeks in the 14th century AD, we are talking about the descendents of the Slaves who served the Ancient Greeks. So you see the so-called Greek lineage was already watered down even before the Slav, Vlach and Albanian migrations into Greek lands.
Speaking of Vlachs and Slavs, let us see what T. J. Winnifrith has to say? On page 119 in his book „The Vlachs The History of a Balkan People“, T. J. Winnifrith writes: „In the area where Vlachs as opposed to Romanians now live there is no shortage of reference to Vlachs after the breakdown of Byzantine authority. Choniates describing the Bulgarian revolt mentions a Vlach Chrysos setting up an independent principality in near Strumitsa and calls Thessaly ´Great Vlachia´. [Byzantine Emperor] Andronicus I in an edict 1184 refers confusingly to Bulgars, Cumans and Vlachs in the Meglen with the Vlachs receiving preferential treatment. In 1221 the Bishop of Naupaktos, John Apokaukos, refers to the injuries suffered by Simeon Sgouropolos and his daughter at the hands of Avriolines Constantinos, a colonist of the Romans, whom people today call the Vlachs. This piece of evidence would seem to indicate a Vlach presence in Aetolia, especially as Constantinos with his Latin sounding first name (a corruption of Aurelian) had plenty of his race to support him. This evidence is sighted in an article by P. Nasturel which is a useful summary of Medieval Vlach history from the Romanian point of view. It is interesting that we have a definite indication that the Vlachs were seen as the descendants of the Romans, although it is just possible that Vlachs on the sea coast of Greece might be Dalmatian-speakers. Nasturel rather weakens his case by mentioning the people who call themselves Romans, cited by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who are certainly Dalmatians and by drawing attention to the reference in about 1165 by the priest of Dioclea to Morlachs, black Latins, who used to call themselves Romans. This may be a reference to Dalmatians, although the etymology of Morlachs, from Mavrovlachoi shows a greater contact with Greece than most Dalmatians would have had, and we must not forget the fondness of Modern Vlachs for black clothes.“
On pages 120 and 121 in his book „The Vlachs The History of a Balkan People“, T. J. Winnifrith also writes: „As in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when there was much Albanian activity at a time the Ottoman Empire was losing its authority, so in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the breakdown of Byzantine authority lead to movements by both Vlachs and Albanians into Greece. These movements parallel earlier waves of invasions by Slavs on the breakdown of East Roman authority in the seventh century and by Dorians or north-western Greeks in the twelfth century B.C. after the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization. The details of all four movements of populations are obscure. There was bound to be much intermingling between races. Some Byzantine verses at the end of the fourteenth century describe Momicila a Bulgaralbanotovlachos, and slightly later we hear of one Boncoes a Serbalbanitovulgarovlachos. Modern polyglot Vlachs had polyglot ancestors.
Throughout the fourteenth century Vlachs are hard to distinguish from Albanians. The first mention of the Albanian language is not until 1285. According to John Kantakouzenos some people who lived in no town but inaccessible places in the mountains of Thessaly submitted in 1334 to the [Byzantine] Emperor Andronicus III. They were Albanians with no King, called after their tribal chiefs, Malakasaii, Bouii and Masaritae. But these were probably Vlachs; there were in Pouqueville´s time Vlachs in the Pindus who called themselves Bovi, and there is still a village called Malakasi. Elsewhere we hear of the Albanian leader Peter Leosas, leading Malakasii of his own race, and this would seem to suggest two kinds of Malakasii. The name may derive from the coastal plain of Malekastir, a word of Latin origin, in central Albania. The theory that the Bouii came from the nearby highland pasture of the Bevaei is more conjectural. Together with the Albanians the Vlachs penetrated to central and Southern Greece. We hear of Vlachs in Attica, Kephallenia and Crete, although in these instances and in the place names with Vlach elements which can be found as far south as the Peloponnesus there maybe confusions between Vlachs or shepherds and Albanians.“
Even though there is much too much detail for my purpose, I decided to include T. J. Winnifrith´s above two quotes for those who maybe interested in further pursuing this study. T. J. Winnifrith does however answer the question „Where from and when did these Albanians, Vlachs and Slavs come to Greece?“ to a comfortable degree to reach another conclusion and that is not only are the Modern Greeks not the descendents of the Ancient Greeks but their origins can be traced in the Albanian and Vlach immigrants who were not even from Greece proper. So how does that make them the descendants of the Ancient Greeks? It does not!
After reading T. J. Winnifrith´s quotes above I am beginning to understand why Greeks throughout the Ottoman period right up to the time when Greece was created, correctly referred to themselves as „Romaoi“ (Romans). Being partially the descendents of the Vlachs who in turn are the descendents of the Romans, naturally made them feel like Romans, thus their name „Romaoi“. This understood, then why did the Modern Greeks opt for being called „Greeks“ and „Hellenes“ and tied themselves to the Ancient Greek Heritage when they are not Greeks at all? A subject for my next article!
For those who are still not convinced that the Modern Greek identity is an artificial creation, please continue to read this series of articles.
Part 4 – Why Greece and not Arvanitovlachia?
„This unique nation-state [Greece] 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)
In parts 2 and 3 of this series we established that prior to and during the creation of the Greek state in the early 1800´s the majority of the population living on Greek lands was predominantly immigrant, mostly of Albanian, Vlach and Slav origins, which had settled in Greece to fill the void created by the disappearance of the so-called ancient Greeks. This leads us to the question „Why was this region not called ´Arvanitovlachia´ which would have correctly represented the land´s demography? Why Greece, a Latin name, and not Arvanitovlachia an appropriate name to represent the two distinct ethnic identities which lived on those lands at that time?“
Although a difficult question to answer, in view of the Modern Greeks who have for the last 200 years tried to bury all evidence of their true past, the best response would be to say that ´the people living in Greece at the time of their independence were not given a choice to self identify´. When Greece was first created in the early 1800´s the population was neither asked nor involved in any kind of self-identification. Unlike the Macedonian people who in 1991 participated in a free referendum which enabled them to self identify and gain independence, the people of Greece were not given that choice! In essence the decision to call the newly created state „Greece“ solely rested with foreigners and academics who, instead of calling the new state by its true representative demographic, opted for calling it „Greece“ so that they could connect it with a world and culture that had died more than 2,000 years before.
In this article we are going to discover the reasons why Greece was named Greece and not Arvanitovlachia or some other name that would have appropriately connected the land with the current people.
We so readily use the word „Ancient Greece“ and „Ancient Greeks“ to refer to a place and a people in the classical period (about 600 BC to 300 BC) without realizing that the terms „Greece“ and „Greeks“ are of Latin origin which probably came into use sometime after the 1st century BC and were popularized during the 19th century.
The reason I mention this is because today Greece, without any justification, objects to the Macedonian peoples´ use of the name Macedonia to refer to their country on the grounds that the name „Macedonia“, for historic reasons, belongs to the Greeks. To which Greeks does the name „Macedonia“ belong? Is it to the so-called Ancient Greeks whose very name is not only of non-Greek origin but given to those people by the Latins after they disappeared from the face of this earth? Or does the name „Macedonia“ belongs to the Arvanitovlachs, the immigrants who over the centuries came to live on those lands? Or does the name „Macedonia“ belong to the modern imposters who go by the name of „Greeks“?
Why Greece and not Arvanitovlachia? To find the answers to this questions we will first look at segments of William St. Clair´s book, „That Greece Might Still Be Free“ which appeared in my series of articles called „William St. Clair on 19th century Greece and the Modern Greeks“, at;
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/82531 and http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/82785
According to St. Clair „To be Greek was to be a drunkard, a lecher, and, especially, a cheat.“
But later by the seventeenth century, as more information was uncovered about a people who once lived on those lands, a new picture began to emerge. In time Europeans, without ever having been to Greece, came to believe that the Ancient and Modern Greeks were one and the same. As more information came out, especially after Lord Byron visited Greece in 1809 and 1810, and, on his return, published the first two cantos of Childe Harold´s Pilgrimage, the legend of a place called „Ancient Greece“ and a people called „Ancient Greeks“ began to grow and spread like wildfire. Besides experiencing Greece for himself, Byron had also read and drew on the many travel books in the works of dozens of earlier writers in prose and in verse which helped him compose some of his best work described as best-sellers. At least twelve editions of his poem were printed between 1812 and 1821 and it was translated into several European languages.
Byron´s work prompted more travellers to visit „Greece“ but very few were equipped to make more than superficial observations. That, however, did not stop them from making generalizations and expanding the myth surrounding these so-called „Greeks“. As the idea of a „Greece“ and „Greeks“ grew it was romanticized by more and more writers. Many without ever having visited „Greece“ shamelessly drew on the work of others and raised this mythical „Greece“ into legendary status.
By 1770 the legend became so real that the few writers who questioned it were dismissed as cranks.
Again according to St. Clair, „With the advent of Byron, literary philhellenism became a widespread European movement. Hosts of imitators copied his rhetorical verses, and travellers who visited Greece after the appearance of Childe Harold in 1812 were even more enthusiastic than their predecessors.
By the time of the Greek Revolution in 1821 the educated public in Europe had been deeply immersed in three attractive ideas;
1. That Ancient Greece had been a paradise inhabited by supermen;
2. That the Modern Greeks were the true descendants of the Ancient Greeks; and
3. That a war against the Turks could somehow ´regenerate´ the Modern Greeks and restore the former glories.“
So even before the so-called „Modern Greeks“ had a chance to discover who they truly were and to decide what to call themselves and their little country, the outside world had made that decision for them. They were going to be called „Greeks“, the embodiment of the „Ancient Greeks“ and their little country was going to be called „Greece“.
Not everyone however believed in these ideas but in Western Europe where philhellenism flourished the deed was done. But as St. Clair tells us, „The responsibility for turning philhellenism into a political programme belongs to the Greeks themselves.
The impetus came from the Greeks overseas.“
By late eighteenth century colonies of people who came from the region that later became known as „Greece“ and settled in Europe had become largely integrated into Western European culture. It was these people who naturally embraced the literary tradition of philhellenism and later built on it.
As Michael Herzfeld in his book „Ours Once More: Folklore, Ideology, and the making of Modern Greece“ on pages 4 and 5 tells us: „By the nineteenth century, Classical scholars had come to pride themselves on a remarkable degree of academic perfectionism, but their views were clearly as much a matter of intellectual fashion as ever. A frankly critical American observer of nineteenth-century European scholarship decried not only the English scholars‘ ´limp Grecism,´ as evidenced in the excessively ´scented, wholesale sweetness of the modern aesthetic school in England,´ but also the Germans‘ use of Greek‘ ´as a stalking-horse for Teutonic psychology´ and their grave concern with minutiae. Scholars of the two nations resembled each other, he thought, ´in but a single trait-the conviction that they understand Greece´ (Chapman 1915: 12-13). Nor was this acid commentator entirely free of any such conviction about himself, to judge from the tone of these remarks. And so, presumably, it will go on. New truths will yield to still newer truths about the same basic idea, the vision of Classical Greece-the source, in a commonly held view, of the very practice of historical writing itself.
Such changes in perception are of interest here for two reasons. First, they show that through all the divergent interpretations there runs a common theme: the idea of Hellas as the cultural exemplar of Europe. And, second, these same contrasts mark the progressive enhancement of that exemplar’s authority, not its dissolution (as we might expect) in the bickering of the ages. Whatever Greece is or was, the idea of Greece-like any symbol-could carry a wide range of possible meanings, and so it survived triumphantly. Similarly, the concept of European culture, so stable at the level of mere generality, has undergone many transformations through the centuries. ´Europe,´ like ´Hellas,´ was a generalized ideal, a symbol of cultural superiority which could and did survive innumerable changes in the moral and political order. It was to this European ideal, moreover, that Hellas was considered ancestral. Such is the malleable material of which ideologies are made.“
What the Europeans saw in Greece they saw in themselves and as David Holden puts it „philhellenism is a love affair with a dream which envisions ´Greece´ and the ´Greeks´ not as an actual place or real people but as a symbol of some imagined perfection.“ Whatever Greece is or was, the idea of Greece-like any symbol-could carry a wide range of possible meanings, ´Europe,´ like ´Hellas,´ was a generalized ideal, a symbol of cultural superiority. Europe needed a genuine noble European past, a source for its enlightenment and it found it in a mythical Greece, a Greece of its own creation.
On page 5 of his book Michael Herzfeld goes on to say: „It is as an ideological phenomenon that we shall treat the twin concepts of Hellas and Europe here. They provided the motivating rationale for one of the most explosive political adventures of the nineteenth century, an adventure which claimed thousands of lives and brought many more under the control of a nation-state that had never before existed as a sovereign entity. This adventure was the Greek struggle for independence of 1821 to 1833. Its eventual success was by no means certain in the early stages. The Great Powers were reluctant to commit themselves to the Greek cause until, forced by public opinion at home, by the Greeks‘ own successes, and by the fear of each other’s intentions, they began to take a more active part in bringing the Greek State into existence. That the Greeks did eventually prevail, despite the enormous Turkish armies with which they had to contend as well as their destructive internal squabbles, is some measure of the evocative power of the name of Hellas among their European supporters. To be a European was, in ideological terms, to be a Hellene.
Yet the Hellas which European intellectuals wished to reconstitute on Greek soil was very different from the Greek culture which they actually encountered there, despite all the western-educated Greek intellectuals‘ efforts to bridge the gap.“
If I interpret Herzfeld correctly, not only did Europeans invent and mold the concept of a „Greece“ and „Hellenism“ but by their instigation of the so-called „Greek Struggle for Independence“, with assistance from the Great Powers, they created a country where one never existed before! Yes you read it right! The Europeans instigated the so-called „Greek Struggle for Independence“ in order to bring back the mythical „Ancient Greeks“! Further, they helped create a country based on a myth and shaped the character of its population on a culture that had died more than 2,000 years ago. And all this at the expense of the real, living and vibrant cultures that lived and coexisted on those lands for centuries. This reminds me of what the Greeks did in Macedonia nine decades later when they invaded, occupied, annexed Macedonia, destroyed its living and vibrant culture and turned the Macedonian people into mythical Greeks!
Why Greece and not Arvanitovlachia? Because the Europeans, aliens to the so-called Greek lands, took it upon themselves to reshape the new country and its people into something artificial to suit their own desires. Which begs the question „Why did the Europeans need a Greece and how did the birth of Greece shape Europe?“ a subject for my next article.
Why give „Greece“ a Latin name? The obvious answer is because the „concept“ of a Greece was invented by the Modern Latins even before the „country“ Greece came into existence. Since the Latins invented Greece it was appropriate that they give it a Latin name?
Part 5 – Why did the Europeans need a Greece?
In the first four parts of this series we established that the people living in the southern region of today´s Greece in the early 19th century were predominantly Albanian, Vlach and Slav immigrants who had settled there over the centuries to replace the population void created by the disappearance of the so-called „Ancient Greeks“. Given the fact that this new population was predominantly not Greek, 18th century authorities decided to label it Greek anyway in an effort to connect it with a culture that once existed on those lands a long time ago. In this part we will explain why there was such a need to create a Greece and how it benefited Europe.
It is not my intention here to delve into the various details or the rational involved in creating a Greece so I will present the reader with only a general overview to show why 18th and 19th century Europeans needed a Greece and how they proceeded in creating one.
The reader must keep in mind that when 18th and 19th century authorities were contemplating the creation of Modern Greece and writing its history there were several overriding criteria that needed to be addressed. These were:
1. The belief that God created the world and that the world was no more than 5,000 years old.
2. The human race had descended from Noah´s Ark which was believed to have landed in the Caucasus after the great flood.
3. History began at the point when the world was created by God. No history was acceptable before that.
4. The history of a nation had to be based more or less on a „national myth“ designed to support the „nation“, its people and particularly its rulers.
5. The writing of a nation´s history was usually sponsored by those in authority who during the 18th century were predominantly monarchs.
So, as one can see, the history of a nation or of the world for that matter had to be written to fit the above criteria as well as to suit the desires and approvals of its sponsors.
In order to understand why Europeans chose „Ancient Greece“ after which to model their own culture, we need to examine Europe´s late 18th and early 19th century political, cultural and economic situation.
The first and foremost reason for Europeans choosing „Ancient Greece“ as their model to build on is because Ancient Greece was part of Europe. It was important for Europeans to show that the most „enlightened“ civilization in the world originated in Europe.
Europeans at the time were involved in all sorts of ventures including the occupation and colonization of various regions of Africa, Asia, Australia and America. They were also involved in enslaving people from Africa and Asia in order to obtain free labour for building their cities and transportation routes, operating their farms, serving as domestics, etc. All these „doings“ had to be justified as „moral“ and appropriate not only to the world but also to the European masses which supported the political systems and those in power.
One way to justify them was to show examples of other civilizations doing exactly that; that it was okay to take other peoples´ lands and enslave them for the benefit of this new European civilization. In order to convince the world, particularly their own people, the Europeans needed a practicing example which they found in the „Ancient Greeks“.
Europeans also needed precedence to show that they were not the first to condone imperialism and slavery and at the same time maintain the image that they were civilized. It was one thing to say that a „Greek“ civilization existed 2,500 years ago in a savage world full of Barbarians however it would have been more convincing if such a civilization existed today, in this world.
As mentioned in a previous article, certain Europeans, later referred to as Philhellenes, convinced that such a civilization could be re-created, decided to instigate an uprising against the Ottoman Empire. Believing that if the Greeks of today could be freed from the Ottoman yoke they would be politically and culturally capable of quickly progressing to the level of the so-called „Civilized Ancient Greeks“ of some 2,500 years ago.
Be it by chance or by design, once the Western European Public found out about the merits of this so-called „Ancient Greek Civilization“ it began to look up to it and accept it not only as a source of enlightenment but as a guiding light for Europe´s future.
As it happened, the first step in re-creating this old civilization was to popularize it abroad among intellectuals and academics, especially in Britain and France.
With the publication of the Childe Harold´s Pilgrimage and Lord Byron´s work, the British and French audience was quick to catch on and became very open to the idea of „bringing back the Ancient Greeks“.
Once popularized, a movement started forming giving the „idea of re-creating Ancient Greece“ life and impetus and later moral, financial and military support. The movement caught on much easier and faster in Western European countries than it did inside the Ottoman Occupied Greek Regions but with persistence from the Great Powers and British gold, Hellenism was reborn.
Once the European public was in support of such a venture, it was time to convince the people living on the lands where once the so-called „Ancient Greeks“ lived. Unfortunately, convincing the „locals“ became a harder task than convincing the European public but in the long run persistence paid off and today we have pure Greeks, descendants of the Ancient Greeks.
The primary reasons why Europe wanted a Greece can be summarized as follows;
1. Europeans needed to justify the use of slavery as a moral deed for the greater good of a superior and moral Modern European civilization. Because of its intellectual capacity, the so-called „Ancient Greek Civilization“ was considered both superior and moral which not only condoned slavery but practiced it. As I have shown in previous parts of this series of articles, more than half of Ancient Athens was populated by slaves who served the ruling elite.
2. Europeans needed precedence to justify their acts of colonization and imperial land grabs and found it in the so-called Ancient Greeks, particularly in the imperial ventures of Ancient Athens.
3. Besides 1 and 2 above, Europeans needed a „model“ on which to build their own civilization and to show that European „knowledge“ and „culture“ were genuinely European and not imported from any of the „other“ lands from which slaves were imported. They found this „model“ in Ancient Greece and took from it what they deemed appropriate and discarded the rest.
In other words, late 18th and early 19th century Europeans found in Ancient Greece a civilized people with a superior culture and intellect which at the same time practiced slavery, fought for booty and colonized other peoples´ lands; a behaviour worthy of emulation.
What is most interesting, little known and needs emphasis is the fact that the so-called „Greek Uprising of 1821“ was not at all a „Greek Uprising“ but an uprising instigated by non-Greek Europeans outside of Greece. Also, another little known fact is that this uprising was mostly financed by Great Britain and fought with the help of Western European volunteers.
The aim of this venture was not just to free the people from the Ottoman yoke but to turn them into something they were not. And thus the curse of Hellenism was born.
Hellenism may have been viewed as „something wonderful“ by outsiders who yearned to see the „Ancient Greek Civilization“ re-born but it was a nightmare for the people directly involved who were asked to give up their true identities for something alien, foreign and long dead; to which they never belonged. Ninety-two years later, the Macedonians of Greek occupied Macedonia were asked to do the same; become Hellenes, something foreign and alien. One-hundred and seventy years later we are re-living the curse of Hellenism as the Republic of Macedonia is attempting to assert its identity.
In the book „Entangled Identities Nations and Europe“ edited by Atsuko Ichijo and Willfried Spohn on page 109 we read „It should be strongly emphasized, however, that this new image of classical Greece was constructed in Europe and was imported to the new born Greek state (Tsoukalas 2002). Modern ideas touched the general Greek population only marginally, if at all.“
After the Greek state was created for the first time in 1829 it was incapable of governing itself and was placed under foreign rule and a foreign administration. On page 110 of the book „Entangled Identities Nations and Europe“ we read „Greece was governed by an imported young monarch, Prince Frederic Otto of Wittlesbach, the seventeen year old son of King Ludwig of Bavaria.“
„The three men regency council which in fact was to rule [Greece] was also Bavarian and protestant. What came to be called ´the protecting powers´ exercised such an influence on the newly-born state that the first political parties were named appropriately ´the English party´, ´the French party´ and ´the Russian party´. Supporters of these parties represented nascent class structures in Greek society but above all these parties represented corresponding foreign influences and interests.“
As we continue to read the book „Entangled Identities Nations and Europe“ on page 111 we find „The political parties which existed, as we mentioned earlier, reflected the interests and the antagonisms of foreign powers.“
„In reality, however, this utopian, irredentist idea [which the Greeks developed on their own] served as a smoke screen for corruption and severe socio-economic problems faced by the government and as an excuse for the even greater blatant intervention of the Great Powers in Greek affairs. (Clogg 1979: 76-79)“
In the book „The Greek Phoenix“ by Joseph Braddock on page 137 we read „Colonel Napier was seeing a lot of his celebrated guest, and paid him every attention, realizing that Byron, as a representative of the London Greek committee, might have considerable influence both in Greece and London in helping him obtain military command. So it was arranged that Napier should be given leave to go to London, furnished with a letter of introduction from Byron to the London Greek committee. He arrived in January 1824, carrying a letter written on the 10th of December 1823 in which Byron advised that a loan of 500,000 pounds should be raised to provide an army for Greece to be commanded by Napier. ´Of his military character it was superfluous to speak; of his personal, I can say from my own knowledge´ Byron wrote ´that it is excellent as his military -in short a better or a braver man is not easy to be found. He is our man to lead a regular force or to organize a national one for the Greeks. Ask the army; ask anybody! He is, besides, the personal friend of Mavrocordato, Colonel Stanhope and myself; and in such concord with all three that we should pull together, an indispensable as well as rare point, especially in Greece at present.´
Alas, the London committee was too preoccupied to welcome Napier´s services. At the moment they were busy devising acrimoniously the menu for their next public dinner, and were more interested in making plans for the cultural regeneration of Greece than in hearing about Napier´s military virtues.“
In the „Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece“ edited by Nigel Wilson, which so many Modern Greeks encouraged me to read so that I can „educate“ myself on page 345 we read „Hellenization denotes the spread of Hellenic culture in non-Greek ´barbarian´ society and the process under which ´barbarians´ accept, adopt, and incorporate Hellenic culture.“
„The first modern appearance of the concept of Hellenism and Hellenization occurs in Geschchite des Hellenismus, G. Droysen´s great three volume work published between 1833 and 1843“
Hellenism, whatever purpose it was intended to serve should have died a long time ago along with Fascism, Nazism and slavery but unfortunately it has not. Instead, nurtured by the Powers that created it, it has flourished and swallowed and destroyed nations of people including part of my own; the Macedonians in Greek occupied Macedonia who to this day are struggling to get free.
What is this phenomenon called „Hellenism“? Whatever it is, it has different interpretations to different people but as Macedonians that have been touched by it, while refusing to yield to it, for us it has been a nightmare. Greece, after invading, occupying and annexing 51% of the Macedonian territories in 1912, 1913, in the name of Hellenism tortured, murdered and expelled all Macedonians who refused to become „Hellenes“. It then changed all peoples´ and place names to „Hellenize“ them and make them Greek. If that was not enough, Greece then abolished the Macedonian language rendering it illegal to be spoken both in public and private, all this in the name of „Hellenism“. In other words, Hellenism for the Macedonians has been a relentless enemy whose aim has been to destroy what is real and replace it with something artificial which has no roots or a real past.
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.
Many thanks to TrueMacedonian from www.maknews.com for his contribution to this article.
To be Continued. ( Feb 6th, 2009)
You can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org