Friday, July 6, 2007

Quintus Curtius Rufus

The History of Alexander

I have selected several passages from Rufus' book in order to provide the readers with documented evidence about the ancient Macedonians.

Modern Greeks claim that:
(a) Alexander the Great was Greek
(b) The ancient Macedonians were Greeks,
(c) The ancient Macedonians spoke Greek, i.e., there was no separate Macedonian language,
(d) Alexander's army was a Greek army.
(e) Philip II and Alexander the Great of Macedon united the Greek city states.

However, these claims are disputed by ancient accounts.

Quintus Curtius Rufus
The History of Alexander

"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) [p.20]

There are two important points of interest:
(1) "unrest in Greece" and
(2) "Thebans and Athenians into submission"

(1) The "unrest in Greece" encompasses all the city-states in Greece. These city-states were ready to throw off the Macedonian yoke. Here we have a clear delineation between Greek city-states, who were the conquered party, and Macedonia, the conqueror. This passage/quote in a very unambiguous way illustrates how pitiful and ridiculous is the Greeks' position when they claim, or equate, Macedonia as being one of, or the same as, the Greek city states. If Macedonia is regarded as part of Greece, then Greece, in this case, is being conquered by Greece itself. (In the Greeks' schemes of web-threading this contradiction, is not only overlooked, but readily promoted.)

(2) "Thebans and Athenians into submission" means one thing: There was no peaceful dialogue between the warring parties. There was no negotiation, no debate and no embassy deputation's. It was a battle with spears. It was a land won by the spear; it was a war of conquest. Therefore, Greeks' position that Alexander united the Greek city-states, rests on euphemistic foundation, and as such, has no validity with historical justice. Bottom line is, that there was no "unification" of the Greek states by Alexander or his father Philip II. When one "unifies" one does not force submission of the subjects, there is no "yoke" to be thrown off.

"It was decided to raze the city to the ground as a lesson to all Greek states which contemplated rebellion." [p.21]

Notes of interest:
"As a lesson to all Greek states". This statement indicates that Macedonia was not, and could not be included in Greece, for Macedonia was the one "giving" the lesson. Another example where the modern Greek position is untenable. Macedonia was never a part of Greece, and "Macedonia" cannot be used in a same breath with the Greek city states.

"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." [p.41]

Points of interest:
(1) "Philip, a conqueror of Athenians"

It would be redundant if I re-emphasize the fact that there was a "conquest" and not a "unification" of the Greek city-states by Philip from Macedon.

Alexander, in a letter, responds to Darius: "His Majesty Alexander to Darius: Greetings. The Darius whose name you have assumed wrought utter destruction upon the Greek inhabitants of the Hellespontine coast and upon the Greek colonies of Ionia, and then crossed the sea with a mighty army, bringing the war to Macedonia and Greece." [p.50-1]

"From here the Macedonians crossed to Mitylene which had been recently seized by the Athenian Chares, and was now held by him with a garrison of Persians, 2,000 strong. Unable to withstand the siege, Chares surrendered the city on condition that he be allowed to leave in safety, after which he made for Imbros. The Macedonians spared those who surrender." [p.63]

Points of interest:

"Athenian" Chares with 2,000 of Persian soldiers fighting against Alexander's Macedonians. Another example of Greeks fighting against Macedonia. If this was a war of revenge on Persia, Greeks have no business fighting with Persians against the Macedonians. The conclusion still remains the same: There was no Greek army with Alexander, and there was no Greek conquest.

"There is a report that, after the king had completed the Macedonian custom of marking out the circular boundary for the future city-walls with barley-meal, flocks of birds flew down and fed on the barley. Many regarded this as an unfavorable omen, but the verdict of the seers was that the city would have a large immigrant population and would provide the means of livelihood to many countries." [p.69]

"As it happened, Alexander had been sent from Macedonia a present of Macedonian clothes and a large quantity of purple material." [p.97]

Points of interest:

Macedonian clothes, and purple material. (Macedonian customs 2) Macedonians dressed differently than the Greeks. One very peculiar feature being the kautsia, the well known Macedonian hat.

"...but the king's conscience would not permit him to leave his men unburied, for by Macedonian convention there is hardly any duty in military life as binding as burial of one's dead." [p.100]

Inflamed with greed for kingship, Bessus and Nabarzanes now decided to carry out the plan they had long been hatching. (The plot to kill Darius the III.)

"If, as they feared, Alexander rejected their treacherous overtures, they would murder Darius and head for Bactria with the troops of their own people. However, open arrest of Darius was impossible because the Persians, many thousands strong would come to the aid of their king, and the loyalty of the Greeks also caused apprehension." [p.111]

Points of interest:
"Loyalty of the Greeks" serving and guarding Darius. Strangely enough, this is supposedly at a time when Alexander and his Macedonians were "avenging" Greece for the past wrongs done to her by the Persians.

The uncomfortable question still remains: What were these [over 50,000 strong] Greeks doing with Darius fighting the Macedonians when "Greece" was fighting Persia?

Patron, the Greek commander, speaks with Darius:
"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."[p.112-13]

Points of interest:
50,000 Greeks serving with Darius's army. Let us sift through this, rather obvious, knot: Alexander of Macedon is fighting Darius from Persia. Alexander crossed Hellespont into Asia with a force of 43,000 troops. (7,000 of these 43,000 were Greek allies, supplied by the league as per their arrangement. Most of these Greeks were dismissed and returned to the mainland.

Over 50,000 Greeks and over 100,000 Persians are fighting Alexander's Macedonians. The Greek loyalty and numerical superiority lies with Darius and his Persians, not with Alexander and his Macedonians.

Modern Greeks claim that Alexander's conquest was a Greek conquest to avenge Greece's wrongs done by Xerxes, a Persian commander. Do these numbers indicate a Greek conquest? Perhaps they indicate a Macedonian conquest and a Greco-Persian defeat.

As Peter Green puts it: "if this was a Greek conquest where were the Greek troops?"

"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." [p.121-22]

When one unites, one does not force submission of the conquered people.

"In capital cases it was a long-established Macedonian practice for the king to conduct the trial while the army (or the commons in peace-time) acted as jury, and the position of the king counted for nothing unless his influence had been substantial prior to the trial." [p.135]

Alexander speaks:
"The Macedonians are going to judge your case," he said. "Please state whether you will use your native language before them."

"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."

Then the king said:
"Do you see how offensive Philotas find even his native language? He alone feels an aversion to learning it. But let him speak as he pleases - only remember he as contemptuous of our way of life as he is of our language." [p.138]

Points of interest:
(a) "Your native language"
(b) "Macedonians are going to judge your case"
(c) "Contemptuous of our way of life"
(d) "Contemptuous of our language"

Alexander the Great speaks of his Macedonian language, His Macedonian way of life,
His Macedonian native language. In lieu of these facts isn't it a gross distortion of history to claim that the Macedonian language did not exist? Isn't it a colossal lie to claim that Macedonians were Greeks? Isn't this the king of the Macedonians claiming to have used his native language? Isn't this the king of Macedon, Alexander the Great, speaking of "our way of life"?

"The general feeling was that Philotas should be stoned to death according to Macedonian customs, but Hephaestion, Craterus, and Coenus declared that torture should be employed to force the truth out of him, and those who had advocated other punishment went over to their view." [p.142]

"What they feared was the Macedonian law which provided the death penalty also for relatives of people who had plotted against the king." [p.143]

"While Alexander was in stationary camp here, reports arrived from Greece of the insurrection of the Peloponnesians and the Laconians."

Points of interest:
Insurrection in Greece. Once again there is a compelling thought that needs to be addressed: If, in fact, Alexander's conquest of Asia was a "Greek conquest", and Alexander's army was a "Greek army", then, how is it possible for the Greeks to insurrect/rebel against their own king who leads them on a conquest of Asia to avenge Greece? Something smells rotten with modern Greek revisionism.

"Roxane's father was transported with unexpected delight when he heard Alexander's words, and the king, in the heat of passion, ordered bread to be brought, in accordance with their traditions, for this was the most sacred symbol of betrothal among the Macedonians." [p.187]

(Alexander attempts to appropriate divine honours to himself)
"He wished to be believed, not just called, the son of Jupiter, as if it were possible for him to have as much control over men's minds as their tongues, and to give orders for the Macedonians to follow the Persian customs in doing homage to him by prostrating themselves on the ground. To feed this desire of his there was no lack of pernicious flattery - over the course of royalty, whose power is often subverted by adulation than by an enemy. Nor were the Macedonians to blame for this, for none of them could bear the slightest deviation from tradition; rather it was the Greeks, whose corrupt ways had also debased the profession of the liberal arts." [p.187-8]

"Accordingly, one festive day, Alexander had a sumptuous banquet organized
so that he could invite not only his principle friends among the Macedonians
and Greeks but also the enemy nobility." [p.188]

Points of interest:
"Macedonians and Greeks".
If ancient Macedonians were Greeks, then, one identifier would have been sufficient. As you can see, the ancient authors knew the difference between Greeks and Macedonians.

(The trial of Hermolaus)
"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 and does not enjoy the same rights." [p.195]

Points of interest:
Were he a Macedonian [Callisthenes]?
Is there a difference between Greeks (Olynthian) and Macedonian? Calisthenes could not be brought in front of the army (the jury), because he was a Greek and not a Macedonian. Callisthenes' ethnicity is of primary significance here. (Similarly, Eumenes' ethnicity was the primary determining factor in the final outcome. It is also suggested in Plutarch Eum. 3.1, where Eumenes expresses his belief that, being a foreigner, he had no right to take sides in the dispute which broke out among the Macedonians over the succession to Alexander after the latter's death. Furthermore, in Diodoros' narrative 19.13.1 Seleucos urges Eumenes' officers and men to desert him because he is a foreigner, who, furthermore, has killed many Macedonians.) The wealth of evidence supporting the fact that ancient Macedonians were a separate ethnos from the Greeks is overwhelming. Eumenes and Callisthenes, being foreigners - Greeks - did not stand a chance among the Macedonians. At the end, their Greek ethnicity cost them their lives.

(Alexander speaks to his Macedonians)
"Where is that shout of yours that shows your enthusiasm? Where that characteristic look of my Macedonians?" [p.217]

Points of interest:
"My Macedonians" not my Greeks.

"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." [p.227]

Points of interest:
Simply, Alexander does not say that he united Greece. He shows no distinction between Thrace, Maedi, or Greece. He has control over all of them. They are all conquered lands.

At a banquet prepared by Alexander for the ambassadors of certain tribes from India, among the invited guest present was the Macedonian Horratas and the Greek boxer named Dioxippus. Now at the feast the Macedonian Horratas who was already drunk, began to make insulting comments to Dioxippus and to challenge him, if he were a man, to fight a duel. Dioxippus agreed and the two men fought rather short fight with Dioxippus emerging a victor. A huge crowd of soldiers, including the Greeks, supported Dioxippus. "The outcome of the show dismayed Alexander, as well as the Macedonian soldiers, especially since the barbarians had been present, for he feared that a mockery had been made of the celebrated Macedonian valour." [p.229]

Point of interest:
Two fighters, one Macedonian, one Greek. Macedonian lost the fight. Alexander is dismayed. Why?
How can a mockery be made of the Macedonian valour if in this fight the Greek won? Weren't the Macedonians Greeks? Again, the Greek claim that ancient Macedonians were Greeks, bristles with distortions and rests on a liquid foundation. If Alexander the Great felt that Macedonians were Greeks, then, the outcome of the battle, between these two fighters, should not have dismayed him at all. As Peter Green stated, "it was a matter of national prestige". The truth is, that Alexander never considered his Macedonians to be Greeks.

"But destiny was already bringing civil war upon the Macedonian nation." [p.254]

Point of interest:
How can you have a nation (Macedonian) within another nation (Greece)?

"The customary purification of the soldiers by the Macedonian kings involved cutting a bitch in two and throwing down her entrails on the left and right at the far end of the plain into which the army was to be led. Then all the soldiers would stand within that area, cavalry in one spot, phalanx in another." [p.255]

The difference between ancient Macedonians and the ancient Greeks is obvious. It is not a matter for debate. Language, customs, traditions and the every-day soldier's behavior, all point to two distinct and separate ethnicities. In short, the ancient Macedonians were, simply Macedonians and the Greeks, to them, were a foreign people.

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