Since Dr. Čepreganov did not understand that it was only a rhetorical question, I offer Eugene Borza’s response to his own question: “ancient history is replete with examples of bona fide Greeks who fought constantly against one another.”[ii] I would love to send a copy of Borza’s paper to the good professor, although one can read Borza’s statement on the first page of JSTOR (second paragraph, fifth line) without a subscription.[iii]
Not a single historian outside the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and its diaspora that would give a different answer. Non-FYROM Slav historians respect themselves and their degrees. As for the FYROM “historians” and their diaspora, I would suggest that they take a good look and study very carefully the WHOLE book The Peloponnesian War authored by Thucydides, the first and foremost scientific historian ever, and the reasons behind the authorship of this book. The title could give them a hint! It would be useful, as well, for the same “historians” to read about the Melian Dialogue in the same book (Thucydides V, 84-116) and the result of that debate. I do not want to confuse these “historians” with offering information on other battles like the Battle of Helos that took place in circa 1213 BC, 20 years before the Trojan War (1193-1183 BC). Nevertheless, the Battle of Leuktra (371 BC), the two Battles of Mantineia (418 BC and 362 BC) could give them a clue.
Regarding the part “Why … enslave their own people?” I am referring the good professor to Pausanias who confirms:
I also know of the following rite which is performed here. By the sea was a city Helos, which Homer too has mentioned in his list of the Lacedaemonians: These had their home in Amyclae and in Helos the town by the seaside.” It was founded by Helius, the youngest of the sons of Perseus, and the Dorians afterward reduced it by siege. Its inhabitants became the first slaves of the Lacedaemonian state, and were the first to be called Helots, as in fact Helots they were. The slaves afterward acquired, although they were Dorians of Messenia, also came to be called Helots, just as the whole Greek race were called Hellenes from the region in Thessaly once called Hellas.[iv]
I must note that the Macedonians never “enslaved” anyone the way the Spartans did, but it seems Dr. Čepreganov had cut class the day his professor was teaching that chapter. Perhaps, the professor would like me to mention the Helot revolt which took place just after an earthquake in the hope that the devastation of Sparta would help them escape the horrendous slavery. The rebellion took place between 465 -462 BC where many Greek tribal states were fighting on one side or another.[v]
Nevertheless, how is it possible for someone who claims to be a professor and historian with a degree in History to read the book The Peloponnesian War and quote everything on ancient Macedonia and Macedonians, but misses the reasons why the author wrote the book? Who exactly was fighting against whom, professor? However, here is the end of the Peloponnesian War according to Xenophon (Xenophon, Hellenika Book II, chapter II, sections 19-20).
 “Now when Theramenes and the other ambassadors were at Sellasia and, on being asked with what proposals they had come, replied that they had full power to treat for peace, the ephors thereupon gave orders to summon them to Lacedaemon. When they arrived, the ephors called an assembly, at which the Corinthians and Thebans in particular, though many other Greeks agreed with them, opposed making a treaty with the Athenians and favored destroying their city.
 The Lacedaemonians, however, said that they would not enslave a Greek city which had done great service amid the greatest perils that had befallen Greece [i.e., the Persian wars] and they offered to make peace on these conditions: that the Athenians should destroy the long walls and the walls of Piraeus, surrender all their ships except twelve, allow their exiles to return, count the same people friends and enemies as the Lacedaemonians did, and follow the Lacedaemonians both by land and by sea wherever they should lead the way.
Therefore, although the Spartans were magnanimous, the others were not. Is the professor saying that the Corinthians, Thebans and all those cities who agreed with them in destroying Athens to the ground, were non-Greeks?
Nevertheless, the whole matter is as if one reads Lev Tolstoy’s book War and Peace quoting various parts and not knowing that the war and peace that Tolstoy wrote about was between France and Russia! Excellent reading comprehension, professor!
Even Badian (1982), an opponent of Macedonia's Hellenism, concluded that name- calling [by Demosthenes and others] might have been no more than invective by angry orators unrelated to historical facts.
Borza wrote concerning Demosthenes, "Only recently have we begun to clarify these muddy waters by realizing the Demosthenes corpus for what it is: oratory designed to sway public opinion in Athens and thereby to formulate public policy. The elusive creature, Truth, is everywhere subordinate to its expressive servant, Rhetoric" (Borza1990, 5). Demosthenes was using a political attack on his enemy and was not referring to the Macedonian speech.
In response to Demosthenes’ political accusations, Aeschines reminded the Pnyx, i.e. the Parliament of Athens, that Philip’s father, Amyntas, was invited as a Greek to sit at the Peace Conference of Greek States of 371 BC which took place in Sparta because as a Greek “he was entitled to a seat.” Amyntas participated through an ambassador and voted in favor of Athens. The relevant text is as follows:
For at a congress of the Lacedaemonian allies and the other Greeks, in which Amyntas, the father of Philip, being entitled to a seat, was represented by a delegate whose vote was entirely under his control, he joined the other Greeks in voting to help Athens to recover possession of Amphipolis. As proof of this, I presented from the public records the resolution of the Greek congress and the names of those who voted (Aeschines, On the Embassy, 32).
If the good professor wants to offer a real service to himself and his compatriots, he should start working on their Slavic history, language, and heritage. Of course, if he still feels “Macedonian” he could author a scientific paper filled with scientific arguments using primary sources of the time on the imaginary amalgamation of the Slavic population of geographic Macedonia with the Greek speaking Macedonians, as Fanula Papazoglu determined on page 333 of her dissertation “Macedonian Cities during Roman Times.” Dr. Mikhail D. Petruševski was the editor of her dissertation that was written in Serbian, and the University of Skopje approved it in 1957. Perhaps professor Čepreganov would like to offer a catalog of about 1,500 ancient Macedonian monuments and inscriptions, of course, all Greek, hidden in the basements of museums in Skopje! The inscription of Oleveni would do it for starters.[vi]
However, the professor was also quoted as saying:
Ernst Badian (Harvard University – History Department) explains the last battle between Macedonians and Greeks: ‘After hearing and rejoicing on the news of Alexander’s death, Greek soldiers and mercenaries saw their chance to remove themselves from Macedonian despot rule and rebelled. However, a Macedonian army under Pithon did defeat the rebels. Pithon, no doubt recognizing their immense value for the empire as a whole, persuaded them to go back to their posts, assuring them personal safety in return. Yet, contrary to his oath, seventeen thousand Greeks were cut down, after surrendering their arms, by the enraged Macedonians, and Pithon could not stop them. The patent needs of the empire and the oath of their commander were swallowed up in the explosion of what we can only regard as the men’s irrational hatred for their Greek enemies.’
Since the good professor has no scientific argument on his own, I would like to respond to Dr. Badian’s argument, but why do I have the feeling that the good professor of Skopje was not interested in Badian’s whole statement. I do not doubt that Badian has read Polybius V, 108, 3, 7, 8 where he says that a few Macedonian cities had revolted against Philip, who eventually re- captured them. Here is the text,
3. He, therefore, set forth at once with his army to recover as soon as possible the revolted cities, … 7 as he was convinced that this was the only way by which he could recover his principality of Pharos. 8. Philip, then, advancing with his army recovered the cities I mentioned, took Creonium and Gerus in the Dassaretis, Enchelanae, Cerax, Sation, and Boei in the region of Lake Lychnis, Bantia in the district of the Caloecini and Orgyssus in that of the Pisantini. 9. After these operations, he dismissed his troops to winter quarters. This was the winter in which Hannibal after devastating the wealthiest part of Italy was going into winter quarters at Gerunium in Daunia, 10. and the Romans had just elected Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucius Aemilius Paulus to the consulate. [vii].
As the professor can see, not only “Greek” cities, as he put it, revolted against the Macedonian kings, but also Macedonian cities against their own king.
For the sake of the reputation of Skopje’s Academy of Sciences and Arts and all its members, one only hopes that Dr. Todor Čepreganov is neither a member nor a representative of the academic view of his country. If he were a member and a representative of the academic aspect of his country, the education in the Republic of Skopje has reached rock bottom in scientific thought and arguments equal to the level of the sixth graders those books were intended for. Indeed, the capital of a country can name the whole country, i.e., Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Rome, Byzantium to name a few.) I am leaving the Republic of Kruševo out of it in which Bulgarian socialist revolutionaries of Karev killed Greeks and Turks and then blamed the Greeks for their “revolt”.[viii] If in the end, the professor’s scientific findings convince historians of his part Slavic and part Greek Macedonian ancestry, then we might have something to talk about. Until then, I have news for the professor: he is a Slav!!!
There is reciprocity in all fair and balanced scientific arguments. The FYROM Slavs cannot demand from the Greeks to prove scientifically that the ancient Macedonians were Greeks and simultaneously demand from the world to take their word that they are “the Macedonians” through an amalgamation that never existed. Why should anyone take the word of the Slavs for their unproven “Macedonian” ancestry, but not the word of the ancient Macedonian kings that they were Greeks?
Whether the ancient Macedonians were Greeks or not is an unprofitable historical question. The Athenians were Pelasgians according to Herodotus, but the dear professor has not spent a minute trying to argue scientifically whether the ancient Athenians were Greeks or not. Since however, he insists that he is “Macedonian” and connects himself to the ancient Macedonian culture, I would recommend that instead of concentrating in de-Hellenizing the ancient Macedonians, the professor should try to connect his Slavic ancestry to the Greek Macedonians; scientifically, of course!
I wish the professor Good Luck in his efforts; he definitely needs it!
[ii] Eugene N. Borza, “Athenians, Macedonians, and the Origins of the Macedonian Royal House,” Hesperia Supplements (American School of Classical Studies at Athens),1982.
[iv] Homer Iliad 2.584; Pausanias III, 2.7; Pausanias III, 20.6.
[v] Thucydudes 1.101.2; Plutarch, Cimon 16.3 and 16. 4-17.2; Pausanias 1.29.8.
[vi] Fanula Papazoglu, Central Balkan Tribes in Pre-Roman Times (Amsterdam, Hakkert, 1978), 56. The plaque found at the town of Oleveni near Bitola is written in Greek.
[viii] Nikola Kirov-Majski, Ilinden (Sofia, 1923), passim.
About Marcus A. Templar
Professor Marcus A. Templar is a former U.S. Army Cryptologic Linguist (Language Analyst), Certified U.S. Army Instructor of Intelligence Courses, Certified Foreign Disclosures Officer, Certified Translator Interpreter of Serbo-Croatian, SIGINT / All-Source Intelligence Analyst. He is the Macedonian League's National Security Advisor.
To read all his papers, please click here.
About the Macedonian League
We are an international professional Hellenic advocacy group. Our primary purpose is to advance our interests to informed and responsive governments on issues concerning Greece's national security and territorial integrity.
The Macedonian League's main focus is on the “Macedonian name dispute”, as this dispute is a serious national security issue that threatens the territorial integrity of Greece.
The Macedonian League also focuses on exposing and combating anti-Hellenism and analyzing political developments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
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