The Greek-Macedonia Issue : Macedonia Is Greek! Essay, Research Paper
In 1912, after the Balkan wars, the geographical territory known as Macedonia, in ancient times known as the Greek Kingdom at the northern end of Greece, was divided-up between Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece. The ownership of the territory, or more importantly, the identity of it, has been an important issue ever since. This is a deeply political and historical issue – an issue that is undoubtedly one of a very complex and often biased nature. The Issue, I believe, can be summed-up in the following queries:
1)Where does Macedonia lie?
2)Was Macedonia considered/regarded as Greek?
3)Who are the True inhabitants of Macedonia today?
And, of course, what is perhaps the core of the Greek argument -
4)Do the actions of FYROM (Former Yugoslav. Republic of Macedonia) constitute a thievery of an ancient culture and identity, to which they have no legal or ancestral rights?
There are two main groups at play in the ‘Macedonian issue’:
1)Greek Macedonians – those who are considered to have some sort of genetic/ancestral link to the Ancient Macedonians.
2)FYROM/non-Greek ‘Macedonians’ – a slavic nation attempting to adopt the history and culture of Ancient Macedonia as its own.
The most onvious problem the Greeks have with these non-Greeks claiming to be Macedonians, is the adoption of a Greek name for a non-greek people (Macedonia/ns). Macedonians were Greek, but these people are not. One only need look to the names of ancient Macedonians – they are Greek! For instance: Alexander (the Great). ‘alex’ = protects + ‘andros’ = man. (”he who protects men”) Or even Philip. ‘philo’ = friendly + ‘ippos’ = horse. (”he who is friendly to horses”).
Another problem, are the names of the region. The slavs often call them by different names – for instance Thessaloniki becomes ‘Solun’ and Edessa becomes ‘Voden’. Unfortunately for them, there is proof that these places were commonly known, many centuries ago, by their Greek names. One only need look to the New Testament to see Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians…
Naming a country after a neighbouring region is obviously a strategy to try to destabilize the region, in the hope that the country will absorb the neighbouring region. Even after the great exapnsion by Philip II and Alexander the Great in the 400’s, when Macedonia was the most powerful Greek state, it was only at very most 10% of the FYROM territory was originally part of the Greek Kingdom. Yet FYROM passports no longer even stamp-in travellers from Greek cities, as they claim they are all the same people…One individual, a non-Greek Macedonian, Ljupce Georgievski, takes the matter to an even higher political standing: “The Macedonia of Piriin, the Aegean and the Vardar is not Greater Macedonia. We shall be talking of Greater Macedonia when we claim Belgrade, Sofa, Thessaly, Valona and elsewhere.” [Borba, Nov7. 1990]
Yet even their language betrays them. It is more Bulgarian than Greek. It is here that non-Greek ‘Macedonians’ question the linguistics of the ancient Macedonians. In Arrhianos, there are instances showing Alexander speaking Greek to the soldiers – which suggests either a Mother Tongue, or a great familiarity with the language (to be using it in such an important matter, all of the soldiers would have to be close to fluent in it). A Greek dialect has even been found on artefacts and tombs in Macedonia. Historians, while claiming that they do not really know if the Ancient Macedonians were actually Greek or not, freely admit that by the Roman Period, Macedonia was fully homogenized with Hellenic culture. However FYROM currently teaches their youth the ‘new, revised’ history of Macedonia.
These non-ethnic Macedonians even adopt ancient Macedonian symbols which don’t belong to them. The Vergina Sun (which is featured on the Macedonian Flag), was Philip’s Dynastic emblem. It symbolized the birth of the Macedonian nation and the first time that the Greek mainland, with the same language and culture, was united. Excavations in Greece show this symbol to have been used throughout history, and prior to the slavic claims of Macedonian ethnicity, was unique to Greece. Now what is the reason for that? Could it possibly be that the non-Greeks have no right claiming the ancestry of the ancient Macedonians? FYROM’s first President, Kiro Gligorov, even pointed this out: “we are slavs who came to this country in the 6th century…we are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians.” Then why call themselves and the language “Macedonia/n”? Or use Macedonian symbols? Does the fact that they occupy a minute portion of ancient Macedonian territory give them the right to do these things? Of course they don’t.
They do, of course, attempt to answer such questions. They claim that Greece stole Macedonian history. The question we ask, is why. Greece has one of the most influential and widely-respected histories of any country in the world. Why would it need to steal history from another country, especially one that had been long Hellenized?!
And a truly stupid accusation often given for the lack of archaeological evidence supporting FYROM views, is that Greek archaeoligists destroy any evidence as soon as it is excavated, so as not to compromise the position of ‘Imperalist Greece’. One question: what about the evidence found that supports the greek position? Philip II tomb, for instance. Did the Greeks ‘doctor’ the symbols and inscriptions???
Overall, one can clearly see the reality of the issue at hand – Macedonia was Greek. Macedonia is Greek. Macedonia will be forever Greek.