To the students of Ancient Macedonian History
By Gandeto, May 24, 2009
View also the Reply from the german author Uwe Walter on the letter from Miller (Article)
While taking subjective positioning on topics of ancient history dealing with events that have taken place thousands of years ago, shrouded in mystery and still under the veil of an inconclusive and controversial permanency, to a certain degree, is an acceptable act. Affirming your signature to a politically motivated petition, not only is not acceptable but it is also counterproductive, unethical and undermines the educational principles, the confidence and the trust inherent in the scholarly institutions and leaves a permanent stigma on the integrity of our educational system. Moreover, an act of such frivolousness, subjective and self-securing interest will not only erode the students´ morale, weaken their convictions but also chip away at the purity of their beliefs.
Listed below you will find a number of quotes regarding Ancient Macedonians and their relationship/discourse with the ancient Greeks. These quotes stand in star contrast to the position your immediate professor has assumed by signing a petition supporting Mr. Miller´s view of the ancient Macedonians.
By selecting any of these citations (written by prominent scholars) please, make your history lectures come to life by asking your professor to elaborate and explain his/her position as to why his/her beliefs are so different than the quoted text. Ask them if they believe that the ancient biographers were wrong to not assign any greekness to the Ancient Macedonians.
Ask them why Alexander dismissed his Greek allies in 330 BC; why the ancient Greeks cursed the race and the name of the ancient Macedonians and perhaps, you can probe further into why the ancient Greeks asked the ancient Macedonian kings to evacuate from Greece. If you encounter any satisfactory answer, perhaps you can push on for confirmation and pose this question: when Romans defeated the Macedonians in 168 BC., how come they liberated the Greeks?
Doesn´t your professor fall into contradiction by claiming that ancient Macedonians were Greeks by ignoring the writings of the ancient biographers? And if your professor maintains his/her assumed ground with imperfect firmness by avoiding confrontation, you can politely demand, how come he/she did not raise his/her objections before to so many quotes of a seemingly controversial nature that “litter” the pages of history. Wasn´t it their professional duty to “remedy” the incorrectness and injustices done to the interpretation of the ancient biographers´ text? Why raising his displeasures/voice at this time? Why attaching it to a controversial piece of paper with political inclinations?
Furthermore, ask your beloved teachers whether they are familiar with Greece´s treatment of the ethnic Macedonians living in Greece? Do they know that Greece does not recognize these people as such? Do they care if their signature is encouraging the Greek government to continue with its cultural and ethnic genocide of the ethnic Macedonians? Do they know that Greece obtained Macedonian territory for the first time in 1912 with the Balkan Wars? Please ask them, if by signing a petition, they care if they support and promote ethnic discrimination, racist policies and hatred?
Here are some of the quotes for your selection:
1. Here there is a relative abundance of information from Arrian, Plutarch (Alexander, Eumenes), Diodorus 17-20, Justin, Curtius Rufus, and Nepos (Eumenes), based upon Greek and Greek-derived Latin sources. It is clear that over a five-century span of writing in two languages representing a variety of historiographical and philosophical positions the ancient writers regarded the Greeks and Macedonians as two separate and distinct peoples whose relationship was marked by considerable antipathy, if not outright hostility.
2. “The conclusion is inescapable: there was a largely ethnic Macedonian imperial administration from beginning to end. Alexander used Greeks in court for cultural reasons, Greek troops (often under Macedonian commanders) for limited tasks and with some discomfort, and Greek commanders and officials for limited duties. Typically, a Greek will enter Alexander’s service from an Aegean or Asian city through the practice of some special activity: he could read and write, keep figures or sail, all of which skills the Macedonians required. Some Greeks may have moved on to military service as well. In other words, the role of Greeks in Alexander’s service was not much different from what their role had been in the services of Xerxes and the third Darius.”
3. “What ever the ethnic origins and identity of the Macedonians, they were generally perceived in their own time by Greeks and themselves not to be Greek.”
4. On Alexander’s I attempt to enter the Olympic games: “There were outraged protests from the other competitors, who rejected Alexander I as a barbarian — which proves at the least, that the Teminid descent and the royal genealogy had hitherto been an esoteric knowledge.” The Olympic Games were reserved for Greeks only. This is a known fact.
5. On Alexander the Great: “Characteristically for Alexander despite his thorough Greek education and obviously genuine interest in Greek literature, was nevertheless a Macedonian king.”
6. On Demosthenes’ tirades about Macedonians: “… we are concerned only with sentiment, which is itself historical fact and must be taken seriously as such. In these tirades we find not only the Hellenic descent of Macedonian people (which few seriously accepted) totally denied, but even that of the king.”
7. “Philip had not tried to pass off his Macedonians as Greeks”
8. Alexander never tried to impose Greek on his Macedonian infantry, or to integrate it with Greek ‘foreign’ individuals”.
9. On Demosthenes’ tirades about Macedonians: “… we are concerned only with sentiment, which is itself historical fact and must be taken seriously as such. In these tirades we find not only the Hellenic descent of Macedonian people (which few seriously accepted) totally denied, but even that of the king.”
“As Callisthenes was a Greek, there was no question of trying him by the Macedonian army.”
10. “Even in Philip’s day the Greeks saw in the Macedonians a non-Greek foreign people, and we must remember this if we are to understand the history of Philip and Alexander, and especially the resistance and obstacles which met them from the Greeks. The point is much more important than our modern conviction that Greeks and Macedonians were brethren, this was equally unknown to both, and therefore could have no political effect.”
11. “The dislike was reciprocal, for the Macedonians have grown into a proud masterful nation, which with highly developed national consciousness looked down upon the Hellenes with contempt. This fact too is of prime importance for the understanding of later history.”
12. “In my view there is nothing at all surprising in the use of Macedonian. Alexander was calling his hypaspists, who were Macedonians, and he addressed them in their native language/dialect.”
13. “Alexander’s invitation to speak (Curt. 6. 9. 34) presupposes that the entire army spoke Macedonian.”
14. “Alexander’s challenge presupposes that all the army would understand an address in Macedonian.”
15. “He used Macedonian because the troops would instantly understand and (he expected) would react immediately. There is no need for more complicated explanation.”
16. “The turning-point in the evolution of Alexander’s army appears to have been the year 330. Until then the Macedonian component was progressively reinforced, reaching peaks before Issus and after the arrival of Amyntas’ great contingent late in 331. Alexander then thought it safe to divest himself of non-Macedonian troops.
17. “The forces from the Corinthian League, infantry and cavalry, were demobilised from Ecbetana in the spring of 330; [Arr. III.19.6-7; Plut. Al. 42.5; Diod. XVII.74.3-4; Curt. VI.2.17] even the Thessalian cavalry who re-enlisted were dismissed at the Oxus less than a year later (Arr. III.29.5) Alexander now relied on the Macedonian nucleus for front-line work and the mercenaries for support function.”
18. “The structure of command seems to have been parallel to that of the Macedonian cavalry, with regionally based ilai, but at the head was a Macedonian commander. The rest of the allied cavalry, predominantly from central Greece and the Peloponnese, was much less important and effective, fewer in number and less prominent in action. Like the Thessalian they were divided into ilai (Tod. GHI no 197.3) under the command of a Macedonian officer.”
19. “The infantry from the allied Greek states is more problematic. They formed a contingent numerically strong, 7,000 of them crossing the Hellespont in 334, and they were predominantly heavy-armed hoplites. But once in Asia they are mainly notable for their absence. There is no explicit record of them in any of the major battles.
20. “There was also the question of loyalty. Alexander might well have been reluctant to rely on men recently vanquished at Chaeronea to face the Hellenic mercenaries in Persian service. It was too much kin against kin, and his Greek allies naturally had less stomach for the task than his native Macedonians.”
21. “The mythical imagination was always fertile in Greece, and it would have found Greek ancestors for the Macedonian people as easily as it had done for the royal line”
22. “He knew from experience that in the eyes of the Macedonians he was still a Greek, a foreigner. Plutarch praised his charming and refined manners, which were very unlike the haughty airs of the noble Macedonian officer.”
23. “He knew from experience that in the eyes of the Macedonians he was still a Greek, a foreigner. Plutarch praised his charming and refined manners, which were very unlike the haughty airs of the noble Macedonian officer.”
24. “To endure and maintain a royal garrison must have been, for a city, one of the most certain signs of servitude. As a rule, except in the cases of strategical necessity, Alexander seems to have abstained as much as possible from inflicting the presence of his soldiers and the duty of maintaining them on Greek cities.”
25. “So Greece was in a peculiar situation. It was not properly incorporated in the Empire. It was attached to it by a treaty of alliance which consecrated the hegemony of one ally, without injuring the autonomy of the states. It was directed rather than ruled. But it did not resign itself readily to this secondary role, or to the menace which was always suspended over its liberties. And, indeed, while it was to be feared that Alexander could not be content with this hazardous limited authority, it might also be foreseen that the most serious obstacles to the accomplishments of his designs would come from Greece
26. “But there were more serious difficulties- the resentment of those defeated at Chaeronea, the political selfishness of each city, the historical past, binding the great states to their traditions, and an invincible repugnance for accepting national unity imposed by a foreign sovereign.”
27. On Macedonian ethnicity] So little do the Macedonians seem to have belonged to the Hellenic community at the beginning, that they did not take part in the great Games of Greece, and when the Kings of Macedon were admitted to them, it was not as Macedonians, but as Heraclids. Isocrates, in the ‘Philip’ praises them for not having imposed their kingship on the Hellenes, to whom the kingship is always oppressive, and for having gone among foreigners to establish it. He, therefore, did not regard the Macedonians as Greeks.”
28. “It is sufficient for our purposes to note that the Hellenes and the Macedonians regarded themselves as different nations, and this feeling did not ceased to be the source of great difficulties for the union of Greece under Macedonian rule. When the union was achieved, it was only by policy of force.”
29. “The architect was a King of Macedon, and he never forgot his origin, even when, after he had accumulated many crowns, his suspicious comrades accused him of denying it. Alexander always wore the insignias of his national kingship — the purple cloak, the Kausia, or great hat adorned with purple, and the Macedonian boots. With the insignia, he retained to the end of his life the simple, free manners of his forbears.”
30. “It was quite certain that Alexander would not be content. He had called himself the avenger of Greece, and had begun the war in the capacity of Strategos of all the Hellenes, but he meant the war chiefly to serve the greatness of Macedonia. That is why there were so few Greeks in the army, which was mainly Macedonian; the Macedonians alone were sufficiently attached to the royal house of their country to follow Alexander in an undertaking for which Asia Minor was already too small a prize.”
31. “Alexander had left Antipatros 12,000 foot and 1,500 horse, to protect Macedonia and to watch Greece.”
32. “The Colonels, as it happened, promoted Alexander as a great Greek hero, especially to army recruits: the Greeks of the fourth century BC, to whom Alexander was a half-Macedonian, half-Epirote barbarian conqueror, would have found this metamorphosis as ironic as I did.
33. “Macedonia was the first large territorial state with an effective centralized political, military and administrative structure to come into being on the continent of Europe.”
“No one had forgotten that Alexander I, known ironically as the philhellene, had been debarred from the Olympic Games until he manufactured a pedigree connecting the Argeads with the ancient Argive kings.”
34. “Isocrates’ letter to Philip II where he, Isocrates refers to Philip as one who has been blessed with untrammeled freedom to consider Hellas your fatherland Green calls this a rhetorical hyperbole. Indeed, taken as a whole the Address to Philip must have caused its recipient considerable sardonic amusement.”
35. “And though Philip did not give a fig for Panhellenism as an idea, he at once saw how it could be turned into highly effective camouflage (a notion which his son subsequently took over ready-made). Isocrates had, unwittingly, supplied him with the propaganda-line he needed. From now on he merely had to clothe his Macedonian ambitions in a suitable Panhellenic dress.”
36. “The Greeks had done a deal with Artaxerxes, (Persian commander), and if Philip did not move fast it would be they who invaded his territory, not he theirs. In the event, he moved faster than anyone could have predicted”.
37. “The Greek states retained no more than a pale shadow of their former freedom”.
38. “The dedication of the Philipeum was a salutary reminder that from now on, whatever democratic forms might be employed as a salve to the Greeks’ self-respect, it was Philip who led and they who followed.”
39. “Philip’s Panhellenism was no more than a convenient placebo to keep his allies quiet, a cloak for further Macedonian aggrandizement
40. “Most Greek statesmen recognized this only too well. To them, their self-styled hegemon was still a semi-barbarian autocrat, whose wishes had been imposed on them by right of conquest; and when Alexander succeeded Philip, he inherited the same bitter legacy of hatred and resentment – which his own policies did little to dispel.”
41. “The military contingent they supplied were, in reality, so many hostages for their good behavior. As we shall see, whenever they saw the slightest chance of throwing off the Macedonian yoke, they took it.”
42. “Some 15,000 Greek mercenaries, not to mention numerous doctors, technicians and professional diplomats, were already on the Persian payroll; twice as many men, in fact, as the league ultimately contributed for the supposedly Panhellenic crusade against Darius.”
43. “In the early spring of 336, an advance force of 10,000 men, including a thousand cavalry, crossed over to Asia Minor. Its task was to secure the Hellespont, to stockpile supplies, and in Philip’s pleasantly cynical phrase, to ‘liberate the Greek cities’.”
44. “Only the Spartans held aloof. The traditions of their country, they informed the king, did not allow them to serve under a foreign leader. (So much for Macedonia’s pretensions to Hellenism.) Alexander did not press the point…..”
45. “Darius reversed his earlier policy of non-intervention, and began to channel gold into Greece wherever he thought it would do most good. He did not, as yet, commit himself to anything more definite: clearly he hoped that the Greek revolt would solve his problem for him. But the mere thought of a Greeko-Persian coalition must have turned Alexander’s blood cold.”
46. “This was the Panhellenic crusade preached by Isocrates, and as such the king’s propaganda section continued – for the time being – to present it. No one, so far as we know, was tactless enough to ask the obvious question: if this was a Panhellenic crusade, where were the Greek troops?”
47. “Indeed, despite the league’s official veto, far more Greeks fought for the Great King – and remained loyal to the bitter end – than were ever conscripted by Alexander.”
48. “What is more, the league’s troops were never used in crucial battles (another significant pointer) but kept on garrison and line-of-communication duties. The sole reason for their presence, apart from propaganda purposes, was to serve as hostages for the good behavior of their friends and relatives in Greece. Alexander found them more of an embarrassment than an asset, and the moment he was in a position to do so, he got rid of them.”
49. “Alexander lost no time in getting rid of the league’s forces which accompanied him – another ironic gloss on his role as a leader of a Panhellenic crusade.”
50. “Their own crews, he pointed out, were still half-trained (the cities of the league must have been scraping the bottom of the barrel when they chose them); and – a revealing admission – a defeat at this point might well trigger off a general revolt of the Greek states. So much for the Panhellenic crusade. Alexander’s main fear, we need scarcely doubt, was that the league’s fleet might actually desert him if the chance presented itself.”
51. “The truth of the matter seems to have been that Alexander distrusted his Greek allies so profoundly – and with good reason – that he preferred to risk the collapse of his campaign in a spate of rebellion rather than entrust its safety to a Greek fleet.”
52. “The burning of Persopolis had written finis to the Hellenic crusade as such, and he used this excuse to pay off all his league’s troops, Parmenio’s Thessalians included. The crisis in Greece was over: he no longer needed these potential trouble makers as hostages.”
53. “But Greek public opinion was something of which Alexander took notice only when it suited him; and the league served him as a blanket excuse for various questionable or underhand actions, the destruction of Thebes being merely the most notorious.”
54. “It is significant that two native uprisings occured on the news of Alexander’s death, and both of these, as we shall see in a moment, involved Greeks; there were otherwise no inigenous revolts against the colonial government.”
55. “Alexander meanwhile dealt swiftly with the unrest in Greece – not only did the Athenians rejoice at Philip’s death, but the Aetolians, the Thebans, as well as Spartans and the Peloponnesians, were ready to throw off the Macedonian yoke. (Diod. 17.3.3-5) – and he marched south into Thessaly, demanding the loyalty of its people in the name of their common ancestors, Achilles (Justin 11.3.1-2; cf. Diod. 17.4.1). And with speed and diplomacy Alexander brought the Thebans and Athenians into submission (Diod. 17.4.4-6)
56. “It was decided to raze the city to the ground as a lesson to all Greek states which contemplated rebellion
57. “Alexander also referred to his father, Philip, conqueror of Athenians, and recalled to their minds the recent conquest of Boeotia and the annihilation of its best known city
58. “Your Majesty”, said Patron, ‘we few are all that remain of 50,000 Greeks. We were all with you in your more fortunate days, and in your present situation we remain as we were when you were prospering, ready to make for and to accept as our country and our home any lands you choose. We and you have been drawn together both by your prosperity and your adversity. By this inviolable loyalty of ours I beg and beseech you: pitch your tent in our area of the camp and let us be your bodyguards. We have left Greece behind; for us there is no Bactria; our hopes rest entirely in you – I wish that were true of the others also! Further talk serves no purpose. As a foreigner born of another race I should not be asking for the responsibility of guarding your person if I thought anyone else could do it.”
59. “Men! If you consider the scale of our achievements, your longing for peace and your weariness of brilliant campaigns are not at all surprising. Let me pass over the Illyrians, the Triballians, Boeotia, Thrace, Sparta, the Aecheans, the Peloponnese – all of them subdued under my direct leadership or by campaigns conducted under my orders of instructions.”
60. “Besides the Macedonians, there are many present who, I think, will find what I am going to say easier to understand if I use the language you yourself have been using, your purpose, I believe, being only to enable more people to understand you.”
61. “Starting with Macedonia, I now have power over Greece; I have brought Thrace and the Illyrians under my control; rule the Triballi and the Maedi. I have Asia in my possession from the Hellespont to the Red Sea.”
62. ” Hitherto the resentment of the Athenian community against Philip had been kept in check by fear; but now, with the hope of assistance ready at hand, they gave free rein to their anger. There is never any lack at Athenian tongues ready and willing to stir up the passion of the common people; this kind of oratory is nurtured by the applause of the mob in all free communities; but this is especially true of Athens, where eloquence has the greatest influence. The popular assembly immediately carried a proposal that all statues of Philip and all portraits of him, with their inscriptions, and also those of his ancestors of either sex, should be removed and destroyed; that all feast-days, rites, and priesthoods instituted in honour of Philip or his ancestors should be deprived of sanctity; that even the sites of any memorials or inscriptions in his honour should be held accursed, and that it should not be lawful thereafter to decide to set up or dedicate on those sites any of those things which might lawfully be set up or dedicated on an undefiled site; that whenever the priests of the people offered prayer on behalf of the Athenian people and their allies, their armies and navies, they should on every occasion heap curses and execrations on Philip, his family and his realm, his forces on land and sea, and the whole race and name of the Macedonians”
63. “There was appended to this decree a provision that if anyone afterwards should bring forward a proposal tending to bring on Philip disgrace or dishonour then the Athenian people would pass it in its entirety; whereas if anyone should by word or deed seek to counter his disgrace, or to enhance his honour, the killing of such a person would be lawful homicide. A final clause provided that all the decrees formerly passed against the Pisistratidae should be observed in regard to Philip. This was the Athenians’ war against Philip, a war of words, written or spoken, for that is where their only strength lies.”
64. “It is not until Demosthenes is fighting the “tyranny” of the Macedonian conqueror that the idea of liberty takes on its true color for him and becomes significant as a great national good.
Even then this watchword of “liberty” serves solely to promote his (Demosthenes’ foreign policy; but by that time it has really become an essential factor in his envisagement of the world about him, in which Greece and Macedonia are polar opposites, irreconcilable morally, spiritually, intellectually.”
65. “In the Panegyricus he [Isocrates] had urged an understanding between Sparta and Athens, so that the Greeks might unite in a common expedition against the Persian Empire. Nothing of that sort was any longer thinkable. But the policy of which he now had such high hopes offered a surprisingly simple solution for the distressing problem that lay heavily on all minds the problem of what was to be the ultimate relationship between Greece and the new power in the north.”
66. “If Philip was not to remain a permanent menace to the Greek world from outside, it was necessary to get him positively involved in the fate of Hellas; for he could not be eluded. Of course in the view of any of the Greek states of the period, this problem was comparable to that of squaring the circle.”
67. “But for Isocrates that was no obstacle. He had long since come to recognize the impossibility of resisting Macedonia, and he was only trying to find the least humiliating way to express the unavoidable submission of all the Greeks to the will of Philip. Here again he found the solution in a scheme for Macedonian hegemony over Greece. For it seems as if Philip’s appearance in this role would be most effective way to mitigate his becoming so dominant a factor in Greek history; moreover, it ought to silence all Greek prejudices against the culturally and ethnically alien character of the Macedonians.”
68. “With the help of the role that Isocrates had assigned to him, he had the astuteness to let his cold-blooded policy for the extension of Macedonian power take on the eyes of the Greeks the appearance of a work of liberation for Hellas. What he most needed at this moment was not force but shrewd propaganda; and nobody lent himself to this purpose so effectively as the old Isocrates, venerable and disinterested, who offered his services of his own free will.”
69. “When Demosthenes draws up his list of Philip’s transgressions, it includes his offense against the whole of Greece, not merely those against Athens; and Demosthenes’ charge of unbecoming remissness is aimed at all the Greeks equally- their irresolution, and their failure to perceive their common cause.”
70. “Quite apart, however, from any theoretical doubts whether the nationalistic movement of modern times, which seeks to combine in a single state all the individuals of a single folk, can properly be compared with the Greek idea of Panhellenism, scholars have failed to notice that after the unfortunate Peace of Philocrates Demosthenes’ whole policy was an unparalleled fight for national unification. In this period he deliberately threw off the constrains of the politician concerned exclusively with Athenian interests, and devoted himself to a task more lofty than any Greek statesman before him had ever projected or indeed could have projected. In this respect he is quite comparable to Isocrates; but an important point of contrast still remains. The difference is simply that Demosthenes did not think of this “unification” as a more or less voluntary submission to the will of the conqueror; on the contrary, he demanded a unanimous uprising of all the Greeks against the Macedonian foe.”
71. “If the Persian leaves us in the lurch and anything should happen to us, nothing will hinder Philip from attacking the Persian king.”
72. “For historians of the old school, Greek history ended when the Greek states lost their political liberty; they looked upon it as a closed story, mounting to a heroic finish at Chaeronea.”
73. “For if any non-Greek power, whether Persian or Macedonian, were to achieve world dominion, the typical form of the Greek state would suffer death and destruction.”
74. “The first resolution passed by Synedrion at Corinth was the declaration of war against Persia. “The difference was that this war of conquest, which was passionately described as a war of vengeance, was not looked upon as a means of uniting the Greeks, as Isocrates would have had it, but was merely an instrument of Macedonian imperialism.”
75. “Outwardly, the “autonomous” city-states kept their relations with Macedonia on a fairly strict level of rectitude. Inwardly, the time was one of dull pressure and smoldering distrust, flaring up to a bright flame at the least sign of any tremor or weakness in Macedonia’s alien rule – for that is how her surveillance was generally regarded. This excruciating state of affairs continued as long as any hope remained. Only when the last ray of hope was extinguished and the last uprising had met disaster, did quiet finally settle down upon Greece — the quiet of the graveyard.”
76. “Then when Alexander suddenly died in the flower of his age, and Greece rose again for the last time, Demosthenes offered his services and returned to Athens. But after winning a few brilliant successes, the Greeks lost their admirable commander Leosthenes on the field of battle; and his successors was slain at Crannon on the anniversary of Chaeronea; the Athenians then capitulated, and, under pressure of threats from Macedonia, suffered themselves to condemn to death the leader of the “revolt”
77. “The dispute of modern scholars over the racial stock of the Macedonians have led to many interesting suggestions. This is especially true of the philological analysis of the remains of the Macedonian language by O. Hoffmann in his Makedonen etc. Cf. the latest general survey of the controversy in F. Geyer and his chapter on prehistory. But even if the Macedonians did have some Greek blood- as well as Illyrian- in their veins, whether originally or by later admixture, this would not justify us in considering them on a par with the Greeks in point of race or in using this as historical excuse for legitimizing the claims of this bellicose peasant folk to lord it over cousins in the south of the Balkan peninsula so far ahead of them in culture. It is likewise incorrect to assert that this is the only way in which we can understand the role of the Macedonian conquest in Hellenizing the Orient. But we can neglect this problem here, as our chief interest lies in discovering what the Greeks themselves felt and thought. And here we need not cite Demosthenes’ well-known statements; for Isocrates himself, the very man who heralds the idea of Macedonian leadership in Hellas, designates the people of Macedonia as members of an alien race in Phil.108. He purposely avoids the word barbaroi but this word is one that inevitably finds a place for itself in the Greek struggle for national independence and expresses the views of every true Hellene. Even Isocrates would not care to have the Greeks ruled by the Macedonian people: it is only the king of Macedonia, Philip, who is to be the new leader; and the orator tries to give ethnological proof of Philip’s qualifications for this task by the device of showing that he is no son of his people but, like the rest of his dynasty, a scion of Heracles, and therefore of Greek blood.”
78. “So far as we can tell, the belief that the “Macedonians” of the coast-planes and the men of the hills were distinct people with distinct traditions and claims was held not only in Greece but in Macedonia as well.”
79. “Philip demanded that the Lyncestian towns be surrendered at discretion and the Illyrian allies be sent away. The armies met, and Philip experimented for the first time in the new tactics, which were to crush Greece and conquer Asia.”
80. “Philip began enrolling his subjects according to their local and tribal divisions and assigned them to standing territorial regiments. These standing regiments were known each by its colonel’s name and quoted thus by Arrian. “All were called ‘Macedonians’; the only general distinction, made thereafter, is between Macedonians and Greeks, Thracians and Illyrians.”
81. “As Philip had extended the honourable title of ‘King’s Followers’ to all his native cavalry, so he took the corresponding term ‘pezshatairoi’, and applied it to all the Macedonian infantry, whether of his clan or no: thus distinguishing the new nation from the Greeks, as the clan had once distinguished itself from the feudatories.”
82. “During the winter he pressed the Thessalians to supply better support, and when he came south again in the spring of 352 he was able to take the field with more than twenty thousand foot and three thousand horse. A host of knights and mercenaries, superior to his own, was awaiting him, and in the plain of Volo Philip fought his first great battle on Greek soil.”
83. “While Philip was conquering (342) the western shores of the Black Sea, and the northern coast of the sea of Marmora, and all inland up to the Danube, the Greek states conspire against him forming a kind of anti-Macedonian League. “They sent envoys up to the Great King in Susa, to warn him of Philip’s panhellenic project, and induce him to assist Philip’s enemies.”
84. “The interest of the modern world in Philip, and his place in universal history, depend after all most on his relation to Greek civilization. Therefore, we must examine, in conclusion, the indictment so often repeated, that the Macedonian destroyed Hellenic liberty, and the measure of the wrong he did to civilization, if that indictment be true.”
85. “Alexander came, then, in this April of 334, to the shore of Dardanelles, with an ambition to possess all Persia as already he possessed all Greece.”
86. “It is a small matter, but a straw on the stream of events. What had happened since the ‘Cavalry Battle’, to ease the conscience of the Captain–General? In effect enough to make Miletus a point clearly marked in the passing of the enthusiastic boy into the calculating man of affairs. For those two months had proved to demonstration nothing less than that the maritime states of Hellas, those that alone greatly mattered, were in their hearts not for Alexander, but for his enemies. The larger islands, Rhodes, Chios, and Lesbos, and nearly all the lesser, kept open ports to the Persian admirals, and the city of Athens had been at no pains to disguise her sympathies. Her continental position and twenty of her ships, held as hostages by the Macedonian, made her warn Pharnabazus off the Piraeus; but openly she sat within her walls watching for the first Macedonian reverse, and indeed had sent already, or was about to send soon, an envoy direct to Darius.”
87. “Therefore, at Miletus, the first sanguine hour of Alexander’s life has closed, and on the wreck of his exuberant illusions begins his rise a sterner purpose. Greece must be coerced if she will not be courted. Her command of the seas shall be broken by the capture of the coasts of the Levant, and her people be bent willy nilly to the panhellenic work.”
89. “In the face of present hostility, however, it was no longer worth while to maintain an offensive fleet; and, accordingly, he issued now his much canvassed decision to ‘burn his boats’ and leave himself stranded in Asia.”
90. “This early disillusionment, though it cooled the boy’s spirit all too soon, and when pressed home by much future trouble with Greeks, embittered him not a little, and forced him in the end to adapt a policy alien to modern sympathy, was in certain ways salutary.”
91. “Certain consequence of Issus, however, are of more importance to Alexander’s individual history than the battle itself; for through it, in two ways, illumination come to him, and a distinct change in his personal attitude ensues. In the first place, not only had he been placed by the capture of Darius’ baggage in possession of much correspondence between the Great King and Hellenic states, but also, for the first time, he had seized in flagrant fault the persons of Hellenic envoys sent up to the Persians.”
92. “He was officially both King of Macedon, and Federal Captain-General of the Hellenes; but neither the habitual attitude of his Macedonians towards his Greeks, nor of his Greeks towards his Macedonians, was consistent with the relation in which each stood to the general.”
93. “The attitude of the Hellenes in Greece had raised, as we have seen, a first difficulty; the attitude of the older Macedonians was now raising a second. The party which Parmenio led had no panhellenic ideals. They would have had Alexander even as Philip and his forefathers had been–feudal king of the Macedonians, conqueror of the Greeks if he would, and of the Persians if he could.”
94. “The Roman general replied that his duty dictated an answer which was both simple and clear. He demanded that Philip should withdraw from the whole of Greece, restore to each of the states the prisoners and deserters he was holding, hand over to the Romans the region of Illyria which he had seized after the treaty that had been made in Epirus, and so on….”
95. “But what is most outrageous of all is that they should attempt to put themselves on the same footing as the Romans and demand that the Macedonians should withdraw from the whole of Greece. To use such language is arrogant enough in the first place, but while we may endure this from the Romans, it is quite intolerable coming from the Aetolians. In any case,’ he continued, ‘what is this Greece which you demand that I should evacuate, and how do you define Greece? Certainly most of the Aetolians themselves are not Greeks! The countries of the Agraae, the Apodotea, and the Aphilochians cannot be regarded as Greek. So do you allow me to remain in those territories?”
96. “When he received the report that Alexander was moving forward to the attack, he sent some 30,000 mounted troops and 20,000 light infantry across the river Pinarus, to give himself a chance of getting the main body of his army into position without molestation. His dispositions were as follows: in the van of his heavy infantry were his 30,000 Greek mercenaries, facing the Macedonian infantry, with some 60,000 Persian heavy infantry- known as Kardakes.”
97. “Darius’ Greeks fought to thrust the Macedonians back into the water and save the day for their left wing, already in retreat, while the Macedonians, in their turn, with Alexander’s triumph plain before their eyes, were determined to equal his success and not forfeit the proud title of invincible, hitherto universally bestowed upon them. The fight was further embittered by the old racial rivalry of Greek and Macedonian.”
98. “In the spring of 334 Alexander set out from Macedonia, leaving Antipater with 12,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry to defend the homeland and to keep watch on the Greek states.”
99. “In the first place, it was to rush blindly into a naval engagement against greatly superior forces, and with an untrained fleet against highly trained Cyprian and Phoenician crews; the sea, moreover, was a tricky thing – one could not trust it, and he was not going to risk making a present to the Persians of all the skill and courage of his men; as to defeat, it would be very serious indeed and would affect profoundly the general attitude to the war in its early stages, above all by encouraging the Greeks to revolt the moment they got news of a Persian success at sea.”
100. “…But let me remind you: Through your courage and endurance you have gained possession of Ionia, the Hellespont, both Phrygias, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Lydia, Caria, Lycia, Pamphylia, Phoenicia and Egypt; the Greek part of Libya is now yours, together with much of Arabia, lowland Syria, Mesopotamia, Babylon, and Susia;………”
101. “Come, then; add the rest of Asia to what you already possess – a small addition to the great sum of your conquests. What great or noble work could we ourselves have achieved had we thought it enough, living at ease in Macedon, merely to guard our homes, excepting no burden beyond checking the encroachment of the Thracians on our borders, or the Illyrians and Triballians, or perhaps such Greeks as might prove a menace to our comfort.”
102. “We have already inferred from the incident at the Olympic Games c.500 that the Macedonians themselves, as opposed to their kings, were considered not to be Greeks. Herodotus said this clearly in four words, introducing Amyntas, who was king c.500, as ‘a Greek ruling over Macedonians’ (5.20. 4), and Thucydides described the Macedonians and other northern tribes as ‘barbarians’ in the sense of ‘non-Greeks’, despite the fact that they were Greek-speaking. (Thuc. 2. 80. 5-7; 2. 81. 6; 4. 124.1)
103. “These instances show us that even Philip II and Alexander III introduced very few Greeks into the Assembly of Macedones. They wanted the ‘Macedones’ to have their own esprit de corps; and those of them who came from Lower Macedonia continued to speak the Macedonian dialect among themselves and to address the king or a commander in that dialect as a sign of affection.” An ordinary soldier is represented as speaking in the Macedonian dialect to the dying Alexander in Ps-Callisthenes B 32. 14 (ed. Kroll), and the Macedonian soldiers greeted Eumenes in the Macedonian dialect when he came to command them (Plu. Eum. 14. 11).
104. “Alexander’s Macedonian advisers feared that a crisis was at hand and urged the young king to leave the Greek states to their own devices and refrain from using any force against them.”
105. “Thebans countered by demanding the surrender of Philotas and Antipater and appealing to all who wished to liberate Greece to range themselves on their side, and at this Alexander ordered his troops to prepare for battle.”
106. ‘”It was Asclepiades, the son of Hipparchus, who first brought the news of Alexander’s death to Athens. When it was made public, Demades urged the people not to believe it: If Alexander were really dead, he declared, the stench of the corpse would have filled the whole world long before.”
107. ‘If only your strength had been equal, Demosthenes, to your wisdom. Never would Greece have been ruled by a Macedonian Ares’
108. “While Demosthenes was still in exile, Alexander died in Babylon, and the Greek states combined yet again to form a league against Macedon. Demosthenes attached himself to the Athenian convoys, and threw all his energies into helping them incite the various states to attack the Macedonians and drive them out of Greece.”
109. “The news of Philip’s death reached Athens. Demosthenes appeared in public dressed in magnificent attire and wearing a garland on his head, although his daughter had died only six days before. Aeshines states: “For my part I cannot say that the Athenians did themselves any credit in putting on garlands and offering sacrifices to celebrate the death of a king who, when he was the conqueror and they the conquered had treated them with such tolerance and humanity. Far apart from provoking the anger of the gods, it was a contemptible action to make Philip a citizen of Athens and pay him honours while he was alive, and then, as soon as he has fallen by another’s hand, to be besides themselves with joy, trample on his body, and sing paeans of victory, as though they themselves have accomplished some great feat of arms.”
110. “The maladies and defects in the Greek scene of the fourth century BC were not hard to find. But its great and overriding merit is summed up in the word ‘freedom.’ With allowance made for the infinite variety promoted by so many independent governments, Greece was still broadly speaking a free country. This freedom was threatened and in the end extinguished by the coming of the Great Macedonians.”
111. “All Herodotus in fact says is that Alexander himself demonstrated his Argive ancestry (in itself a highly dubious genealogical claim), and was thus adjudged a Greek—against angry opposition, be it noted, from the stewards of the Games. Even if, with professor N.G.L. Hammond, we accept this ethnic certification at face value, it tells us, as he makes plain, nothing whatsoever about Macedonians generally. Alexander’s dynasty, if Greek, he writes, regarded itself as Macedonian only by right of rule, as a branch of the Hanoverian house has come to ‘regard itself as English’. On top of which, Philip II’s son Alexander had an Epirote mother, which compounds the problem from yet another ethnic angle.”
112. “We have no way of judging the authenticity of either the claim or the evidence that went with it, but it is clear that at the time the decision was not easy. There were outraged protests from the other competitors, who rejected Alexander I as a barbarian — which proves, at least, that the Temenid descent and the royal genealogy had hitherto been an isoteric item of knowledge. However, the Hellanodikai decided to accept it — whether moved by the evidence or by political considerations, we again cannot tell. In view of the time and circumstances in which the claim first appears and the objections it encountered, modern scholars have often suspected that it was largely spun out of fortuitous resemblance of the name of the Argead clan to city of Argos; with this given, the descent (of course) could not be less than royal, i.e., Temenid.”
113. “As a matter of fact, there is reason to think that at least some even among Alexander I’s friends and supporters had regarded the Olympic decision as political rather than factual — as a reward for services to the Hellenic cause rather than as prompted by genuine belief in the evidence he had adduced. We find him described in the lexicographers, who go back to fourth-century sources, as “Philhellene” — surely not an appellation that could be given to an actual Greek.”
114. “The loyalest of all the successors was Eumenes of Cardia, not a Macedonian but a Greek, which meant that even his first-rate generalship could not gain him the continued support of Macedonian soldiery.”
115. “Alexander’s various successors, to whom Greece was still the most coveted prize, held two conflicting opinions of the city-states (with many nuances in between): that they were still free allies (a view upheld ostensibly, and perhaps genuinely, by the philhellenic Antigonus I Monophtholmos), and, conversely, that they were little better than subjects (the attitude of Antipater and Cassander.”
116. “…the appropriation of Greek Kulturgescichte, and the use by non-Greeks for political purposes against Greeks, is less common, and even less well documented. Here I offer an example of highly effective Macedonian use of Greek cultural history to advance the propaganda aims of Philip II which had the double aim of blunting Greek criticism of his state-building while at the same time cloaking his work in the legitimizing terminology devised by Greeks for their own, often violent, colonizing and city founding activities.”
117. “That it has continued to confuse interpreters is testament to the hegemonic power of Greek cultural history and the adroitness of the Macedonians in using this powerful tool of self-identification against its devisers.”
118. “On the matter of language, and despite attempts to make Macedonian a dialect of Greek, one must accept the conclusion of linguist R.A.Crossland in the recent CAH, that an insufficient amount of Macedonian has survived to know what language it was.”
119. “The designation of Macedonia as part of Greece has intrigued modern critics. This, according to Schachermeyr, is enough to ‘take one’s breath away’. He went so far as to suggest that, however brief, it encapsulates a whole and bold strategy: to counter the Great King’s strategy of attempting to exploit the age-old distinction between Macedonians and Hellenes. The reason for including Macedonia as part of a larger Hellas was designed to justify Macedonian participation in the so-called war of revenge. Whatever the truth on this point, on the basis of what we know happened in Macedonia in 480, Alexander had no more grounds for carrying out a war of revenge on behalf of Macedonia than he had on behalf of Athens or Sparta. Of course, Macedonians never regarded their territory as forming part of Greece, and certainly the Greek poleis did not regard Macedonia as being another Greek polis. The reason why Alexander here includes Macedonia as being part of Greece may be an attempt to paper over the glaring anomaly between what Philip and he had just done to ‘the rest of Greece’ and what he is in the process of doing to the Persian empire. The Persians had never done anything significant against the Macedonians. It is noteworthy that Herodotus, although he provides considerable information on Xerxes’ activities when he passed through Macedonia in 480, does not record any acts of destruction— scarcely surprising if Xerxes was instrumental in Macedonia gaining control of Upper Macedonia.”
120. “What is more important is the that Chaeronea, Thebes, and Agis make a complete mockery of attempting in this context to suggest that the Greeks in Hellas regarded themselves as willing subjects under legitimate Macedonian kings (Philip and Alexander) or- that the inhabitants of the regions he had just conquered did so entirely of their own will.”
121. “Relationship with Macedonia was as loaded a question in the third and second centuries BC as it had been in the fourth. The Macedonian policy of controlling Greece was up against the Greek passion for freedom and autonomy”.
122. “The war ended in disaster for the Greeks, and in 261 BC Athens had to surrender. Areus of Sparta was killed fighting near Corinth, and for about ten years Antigonus’ control of Greece was unchallenged”.
123. “I deliberately refrain from adopting any position on the linguistic status of ancient Macedonians. It has little significance outside the nationalistic propaganda of the contemporary Balkan states, in which prejudice and dogma do duty for rational thought. What matters for the present argument is the fact, explicit in Curtius, that Macedonian was largely unintelligible to non-Macedonians. Macedonians might understand Greek, and some Greeks (like Eumenes) with experience of Macedon might speak Macedonian. However, even Eumenes took care that a vital message was conveyed to the phalangites of Neoptholemus by a man fluent in Macedonian.”
124. “Of the nearly 850 persons listed by Berve, 275 are either certainly or probably ethnic Greeks. Of this number, 126 persons are not associated with Alexander’s train, and thus outside present concerns. Of the 149 which remain, 69– nearly half– are court figures not associated with administration. They include sophists, physicians, actors, athletes, musicians, jugglers, and other entertainers, and a variety of hangers-on. 89 names remain. Of these three are of uncertain ethnic origin. 24 Greeks serve the king in variety of administrative tasks: some are envoys, some are clerks, some financial officers, and some act as the king’s agents in local places. They pop in and out of the historical record as Alexander sees the need to employ them. The remaining 53 Greeks serve specific military functions.
125. “Out of these 53 persons, 22 names are attached to a single unit (the allies from Orchomenos), who, by the way, are dismissed along with the other Greek allies in 330 BC (Only a few short years into the expedition). Fourteen other Greeks hold naval appointments, either as ship commanders in the Hydaspes fleet, or in conjunction with Nearchus’ ocean voyage. Four Greeks are in charge of mercenary units, and 9 others have unspecified, low-level military assignments. Seven have duties that did not take them beyond Egypt.
In summary, of the 149 known Greeks with official connections to the king, only 35 to 40 held positions of rank- some as officers, some as administrators, but only a handful in top positions.”
126. “It is necessary, in any assessment of the role of Macedonia in the Hellenistic world to bear in mind that although our sources naturally, being Greek or based on Greek writers, lay their emphasis on Macedonian policy towards Greece, Macedonia was in fact equally a Balkan power for which the northern, western and north-eastern frontiers were always vital and for which strong defenses and periodic punitive expeditions over the border were fundamental policy.” “…. Macedonians were an essential bulwark to the north of Greece”.
127. “As for you Callisthenes, the only person to think you a man (because you are an assassin), I know why you want him brought forward. It is so that the insult which sometimes uttered against me and sometimes heard from him can be repeated by his lips before this gathering. Were he a Macedonian I would have introduced him here along with you – a teacher truly worth of his pupil. As it is, he is an Olynthian [Greek] and does not enjoy the same rights.”
128. “We then come upon Eumenes’ second observation that, being a foreigner, he has no right to exercise command over Macedonians. At no point, however, in Diodoros’ prior narrative does Eumenes’ Greek origin excite animosity among the Macedonians. More important, Eumenes does not see his foreign origin as an impediment to accepting the dynasty’ offer of a supreme command in 18.58.4 and he proceeds to exercise that authority in 19.13.7 and 15.5 without any qualms on his part that he is not a Macedonian. Eumenes’ foreign origin does become an issue at one point among the commanders of the Silver Shields.”
(Mr. Miller, I would like to debate you on national TV).
Until next time…