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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

Who is a Macedonian?

A note, by Elpenor

 

 

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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OHN BURY writes that "the Macedonian people and their kings were of Greek stock, as their traditions and the scanty remains of their language combine to testify" (A History of Greece to the death of Alexander the Great, N.Y., 19132).

The term Macedonia itself is Greek, the epithet Macednon meaning tall and high. Their names (Philip, Olympias, Alexander, Antigonus, Hephaestion, Polysperchon, Antipater, Parmenio, etc.) are all Greek.

As Errington writes (A History of Macedonia, UCLA, 1990), "ancient allegations that the Macedonians were non-Greeks all had their origin in Athens at the time of the struggle with Philip II". Demosthenes and his followers wanted to diminish Macedonians precisely because they were Greeks and in Greece they had followers of their politics. We can understand it better, remembering that the Spartans said the Athenians were of 'other race'. "Their (Macedonians') fundamental Greek nationality was never doubted. Only as a consequence of the political disagreement with Macedonia was the question raised at all" (ibid).

For similar reasons is raised today, not by historians, but by people who despise historians and history, when it remains common knowledge that Alexander had Aristotle for his teacher, he followed Homer, he honored Achilles and he taught Greek to the people in Asia. (Already about a century ago Euripides had stayed in Macedonia, in the court of king Archelaus, where he composed the Bacchantes, a tragedy in the Greek language and with a Greek themecf. Vernant, Mythe et tragédie en Grèce ancienne, Paris 1985).

The crucial question is not racial but cultural, as Greeks themselves knew, when narrow and inferior interests did not hinder their thinking: whoever honors the values Alexander honored, whether being racially Greek or not, is to be considered a Macedonian, while people ignoring Homer, Plato, Aristotle and all Greek culture, not even taking pride, as Alexander did, in being Greek, should not be considered Macedonian. To be a Macedonian is not a matter of geography - just as living in Constantinople doesn't make the Turks Byzantine...

 

Cf. When a people commits spiritual suicide

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/a-macedonian.asp