Friday, July 6, 2007

The Macedonian Race

Livy

The Macedonian Race

Ancient Athenians regarded the ancient Macedonians as people of a different race than themselves.

The passage below is copied verbatim from Livy's book XXXI.44.

"Such were the activities of the Romans and of Philip on land during that summer. At the beginning of the same summer, the fleet, commanded by the legate Lucius Apustius, left Corcyra, rounded Cape Malea, and joined King Attalus of Scyllaeum, in the region of Hermoine. 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"

"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."

What is clear from this:
(a) The ancient Greeks regarded the ancient Macedonians as foreigners.
(b) They regarded the ancient Macedonians as people of different race.
(c) They regarded the ancient Macedonians as barbarians, as people who
enslaved the Greeks.
(d) This episode describes the situation in Athens around 200 BC
(e) It should constantly be borne in mind the intensity of hatred expressed towards the conqueror from the north -- the Macedonians.

If anyone as much as uttered a positive word for Philip of Macedon, then this person should be killed, and the killing of that person would be taken as a lawful homicide. The feelings were mutual.

Given the above remarks by Livy, the notion, held by some -- that the ancient Macedonians and ancient Greeks were the same people -- becomes rather incredulous. Obviously, the ancient Greeks did not consider the ancient Macedonians to be Greek.

The modern revisionist claim -- that ancient Macedonians were Greek -- is diametrically in conflict with the position of the ancient Greeks.

1 comment:

Peter said...

It is true that Athenians did not consider Macedonians the same race as themselves because they were not. Macedonians like Spartans were Dorian Greeks. It does not mean they are not Greek but just a different tribe of Greeks. If you don't believe me you should read Herodotus.