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Old 12-03-2008, 09:17 AM   #1
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Default Strabo, Geography; Was Macedonia, Greek?

NO.

The works of Strabo have long been manipulated by narrow-minded Greeks of the modern era and their apologists, with the aim of gross and blatant fact-twisting to tailor certain texts to suit their nationalistic agenda. Take the below quote for example, one often parroted by these very people as 'evidence' of their deluded truth:
Quote:
The worship of this god was so prevalent among the Greeks that even the Macedonians, whose power already extended as far as the temple, in a way preserved its inviolability, and were afraid to drag away the suppliants who fled for refuge to Calauria………Book 8, Chapter 6, 14.
At first glance one would accept the narrow interpretation that Macedonians are 'Greeks', however, the topic is spoken of in the past tense, at a time when the Greeks were under the rule of the Macedonians. In this case, reference is made to a god so highly worshipped by the Greeks during Macedonian rule, that the latter, despite being the overlords of the region, preserved the god's temple out of respect and fear.
Quote:
However, they did not wholly yield even to the Macedonians, but, preserving their autonomy, always kept up a struggle for the primacy both with the rest of the Greeks and with the kings of the Macedonians. Book 8, Chapter 5, 5.
The above quote clearly demonstrates a distinction between Macedonian and Greek, the Macedonians are not the 'rest of the Greeks'. The next quote again, must be accepted in its proper context:
Quote:
However, for a very long time the Aetolians, together with the Acarnanians, stood firm, not only against the Macedonians and the other Greeks, but also finally against the Romans, when fighting for autonomy. Book 10, Chapter 2, 23.
With reference made to the Romans, it is clear that the 'other Greeks' cannot be inclusive of the Macedonians, as again, the topic (during the point in question) speaks of a time when the Greeks were under Macedonian rule. Therefore, the Aetolians and Acarnanians stood firm against the rulers (Macedonians) and the other Greeks, and then later (finally) the Romans. Apart from the purpose of maintaining a distinction, there is no other reason why the Macedonians would be mentioned in the above quote by Strabo. Following is a selective quote used often in Neohellenic propaganda, to be taken with an open mind, as clarity emergences further in the text.
Quote:
Of Europe, there remains Macedonia, and the parts of Thrace contiguous to it, extending to Byzantium, Greece also, and the adjacent islands: indeed, Macedonia is a part of Greece. Following, however, the natural character of the country and its form, we have determined to separate it from Greece, and to unite it with Thrace, which borders upon it. Fragments, 9.
However......................
Quote:
After having described as much of the western parts of Europe as is comprised within the interior and exterior seas, and surveyed all the barbarous nations which it contains, as far as the Don and a small part of Greece, [namely, Macedonia] we propose to give an account of the remainder of the Helladic geography. Book 8, Chapter 1, 1.
In that 'part of Greece', there be not Greeks, but Macedonian barbarian tribes. Strabo considers Macedonia to be a part of Greece, yet the borders of his Roman Macedonia, at the expense of land south of Lerin, Pella and Salonika, are altered and extended far to the west and east, territories which were absorbed or subjugated at various intervals during the reign of the Macedonian Empire. The reference to Macedonia as a 'part of Greece' is merely an example of geographic simplification used by some writers during the Roman period, indicating to European regions north of Greece where Hellenistic influence had been experienced. If the words of Strabo are interpreted in the narrow sense, then 'Greek' borders would, with unrealistic arrogance, extend well into the modern states of Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia.
Quote:
Macedonia is bounded on the west by the sea-coast of the Adriatic; on the east by a meridian line parallel to this coast, passing through the mouth of the river Hebrus (Maritsa river, Thrace, Republic of Bulgaria), and the city Cypsela on the north by an imaginary straight line passing through the mountains Bertiscus (Prokletije, Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo), Scardus (Shar, Republic of Macedonia and Albania), Orbelus (Pirin, Macedonia, Republic of Bulgaria), Rhodope (Rodopi, Thrace, Republic of Bulgaria) and Haemus (Stara Zagora, Balkan Mountains, Republic of Bulgaria). For these mountains extend in a straight line, beginning from the Adriatic, to the Euxine, forming towards the south a great peninsula, which comprehends Thrace, Macedonia, Epirus, and Achaia. On the south, Macedonia is bounded by the Egnatian Way, which goes from Dyrrachium eastwards to Thessalonica, and thus has very nearly the form of a parallelogram. Fragments, 10.
The population composition of these so-called 'parts of Greece' was not as clinically inclusive as the geographic generalisation. Much of the people were undoubtedly non-Greek, or barbarians, as the below passage describes:
Quote:
Hecataeus of Miletus says of the Peloponnesus, that, before the time of the Greeks, it was inhabited by barbarians. Perhaps even the whole of Greece was, anciently, a settlement of barbarians, if we judge from former accounts. For Pelops brought colonists from Phrygia into the Peloponnesus, which took his name; Danaus brought colonists from Egypt; Dry- opes, Caucones, Pelasgi, Leleges, and other barbarous nations, partitioned among themselves the country on this side of the isthmus. The case was the same on the other side of the isthmus; for Thracians, under their leader Eumolpus, took possession of Attica; Tereus of Daulis in Phocaea; the Phoenicians, with their leader Cadmus, occupied the Cadmeian district; Aones, and Temmices, and Hyantes, Boeotia. Pindar says, `there was a time when the Boeotian people were called Syes.' Some names show their barbarous origin, as Cecrops, Codrus, Ceclus, Cothus, Drymas, and Crinacus. Thracians, Illyrians, and Epirotae are settled even at present on the sides of Greece. Formerly the territory they possessed was more extensive, although even now the barbarians possess a large part of the country, which, without dispute, is Greece. Macedonia is occupied by Thracians, as well as some parts of Thessaly; the country above Acarnania and Aetolia, by Thesproti, Cassopaei, Amphilochi, Molotti, and Athamanes, Epirotic tribes. Book 7, ch. 7, frg. 1.
So the population that occupies Macedonia and even further south in Thessaly, and at some point earlier possessed even more, is Thracian according to Strabo, significantly non-Greek. The Epirotes too, along with the population of Macedonia are considered non-Greek, as was the whole of Greece at one time. One must ponder, where exactly did the Greeks come from if everything from the Peloponnese to the Danube and beyond was non-Greek? With this in consideration the possibility of a Greek migration from the north heading south is virtually eliminated, leaving the more probable east (Asia) or south (Africa) as a place of origin.
Quote:
The country, from the commencement of the Macedonian and Paeonian mountains, as far as the river Strymon, is inhabited by Macedonians, and Pćones, and some of the Thracian mountain tribes. But all the country on the other side the Strymon, as far as the mouth of the Euxine Sea, and Mount Haemus, belong to the Thracians, except the coast, which is occupied by Greeks, some of whom are settled on the Propontis, others on the Hellespont and on the Gulf Melas, and others on the Aegean Sea. Book 7, ch. 7, frg. 4.
In the text above, despite the Thracian origins earlier suggested, Strabo makes a clear distinction between Macedonians, Thracians and Greeks. Furthermore, the Greeks are restricted to the coasts, and this still during Roman times.
Quote:
After the river Axius is the city Thessalonica, formerly called Therma. It was founded by Cassander, who called it after the name of his wife, a daughter of Philip Amyntas. He transferred to it the small surrounding cities, Chalastra, Ćnea, Cissus, and some others. Probably from this Cissus came Iphidamas, mentioned in Homer, `whose grandfather Cisseus educated him,' he says, `in Thrace,' which is now called Macedonia. Fragments, 24.
Yet another indication of the Thracians origins in Macedonia, a land that was also home to other tribes such as the Paeonians and Illyrians.
Quote:
Anciently, as at present, the Paeonians appear to have been masters of so much of what is now called Macedonia as to be able to besiege Perinthus, and subject to their power Crestonia, the whole of Mygdonia, and the territory of the Agrianes as far as Mount Pangaeus. Fragments, 41.
These people form the native history of Macedonian lands, not the Greek colonisers from the south who merely occupied segments of the coastline.
Quote:
The Paeonians, according to some, were a dependent colony of the Phrygians; according to others, they were an independent settlement. Paenonia, it is said, extended to Pelagonia and Pieria; Pelagonia is said to have been formerly called Orestia; and Asteropaeus, one of the chiefs from Paeonia who went to Troy, to have been called, with great probability, the son of Pelagon, and the Paeonians themselves to have been called Pelagones. Fragments, 38.
Quote:
The Asteropaeus in Homer, son of Pelegon, we are told, was of Paeonia in Macedonia: whence `Son of Pelegon;' for the Paeonians were called Pelagones. Fragments, 39.
Paeonians as Phrygians and Pelagonians (Once called Orestae), old inhabitants of Macedonia. Keeping in mind that the Epirote are not considered Greek, the following further demonstrates how fickle the Greek argument is when Strabo is used as the 'weapon' against the Macedonians.
Quote:
The Amphilochians are Epirotae, as also are those nations who inhabit a rugged country situated above and close to the Illyrian mountains, the Molotti, Athamanes, Aethices, Tymphaei, Orestae, Paroraei, and Atintanes, some of whom approach nearer to Macedonia, others to the Ionian Gulf. It is said that Orestes possessed the territory Orestias at the time of his flight, after the murder of his mother, and left the country bearing his name, where also he had built a city called Orestic Argos. With these people are intermixed Illyrian nations, some of whom are situated on the southern part of the mountainous district, and others above the Ionian Gulf. For above Epidamnus and Apollonia, as far as the Ceraunian mountains, live the Bulliones, Taulantii, Parthini, and Brygi...........................
Then come the Lyncestae, the territory Deuriopus, Pelagonia-Tripolitis, the Eordi, Elimia, and Eratyra. Formerly each of these nations was under its own prince. The chiefs of the Enchelii were descendants of Cadmus and Harmonia, and scenes of the fables respecting these persons are shown in the territory. This nation, therefore, was not governed by native princes. The Lyncestae were under Arrhabaeus, who was of the race of the Bacchiadae. Irra was his daughter, and his grand-daughter was Eurydice, the mother of Philip Amyntas. The Molotti also were Epirotae, and were subjects of Pyrrhus Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles, and of his descendants, who were Thessalians. The rest were governed by native princes. Some tribes were continually endeavouring to obtain the mastery over the others, but all were finally subdued by the Macedonians, except a few situated above the Ionian Gulf. They gave the name of Upper Macedonia to the country about Lyncestis, Pelagonia, Orestias, and Elimia. Later writers called it Macedonia the Free, and some extend the name of Macedonia to all the country as far as Corcyra, at the same time assigning as their reasons, the mode of cutting their hair, their language, the use of the chlamys, and similar things in which they resemble the Macedonians; some of them, however, speak two languages. On the dissolution of the Macedonian empire, they fell under the power of the Romans.........................
The Erigon (Tsrna Reka, Republic of Macedonia), after having received many streams which flow from the Illyrian mountains, and through the territories of Lyncestae, Brygi, Deuriopes, and Pelagonians, empties itself into the Axius. Book 7, ch. 7, frg. 8.
Like many other barbarian tribes in the vicinity, many Epirotes were governed by Hellenic or Hellenistic leaders, however, they are mentioned as sharing a language and culture with the Macedonians, who as previously mentioned are Thracian by origin. There is an obvious continuim of relation among the barbarians that lived north of the Greeks, with constant mention of mixture in relation to the various tribes, indicating at the very least a partial cultural-linguistic connection that was unfortunately ignored to a large degree by Greek and Roman writers.
Quote:
The country now called Macedonia was formerly called Emathia. It acquired this name from Macedon, one of its ancient princes. There was also a city Emathia near the sea. The country was occupied by some of the Epirotć and Illyrians, but the greatest part by Bottići and Thracians. The Bottići were of Cretan origin, and came under the command of Botton; the Pieres, who were Thracians, inhabited Pieria and the parts about Olympus; the Pćonians, the borders of the river Axius, from whence the region was called Amphaxitis; the Edoni and Bisalti, the rest of the country as far as the Strymon. The Bisalti retained their name, but the Edoni went under the various names of Mygdones, Edoni, Odones and Sithones. Fragments, 11.
These are the people (Thracians and Paeonians) who form the core nucleus of the ancient and native Macedonian population, the Cretan element is insignificant in the overall picture as there is no other historical connection and great proximity in distance, language and culture, particularly during the early ancient period. Macedonia does not have, and never did have, 'Greek' origins.

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...rabo/10A*.html
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:26 PM   #2
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Excellent post SoM.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:05 AM   #3
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Great post SoM, and a brilliant thread.

An opportunity to look at what Strabo said about Macedonia (all of it) and the Macedonians.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:11 AM   #4
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Particularly important passage by Strabo:

They gave the name of Upper Macedonia to the country about Lyncestis, Pelagonia, Orestias, and Elimia. Later writers called it Macedonia the Free, and some extend the name of Macedonia to all the country as far as Corcyra, at the same time assigning as their reasons, the mode of cutting their hair, their language, the use of the chlamys, and similar things in which they resemble the Macedonians; some of them, however, speak two languages. On the dissolution of the Macedonian empire, they fell under the power of the Romans. [7, 7,8]

The Macedonians "speak two langauges", according to Strabo. Furthermore, he calls the position of the present day Macedonian Republic "Upper Macedonia" but what I find really interesting is that Strabo refers to "later writers" which were probably contemporaries of his time referring to the region of the present day Republic of Macedonia as "Free Macedonia".

What Strabo and others were observing in regards to "Free Macedonia" in ancient times, has a freakish resemblance to the situation today between Greek occupied Macedonia below the Via Egnatia and the Macedonian Republic.
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Old 12-04-2008, 05:50 AM   #5
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Pelister, I have created another thread to deal more specifically with that element, check:
http://www.macedoniantruth.org/forum...read.php?t=435


In the era of antiquity, the most common names designated for the natives of Macedonian regions (or what would become Macedonian) were Thracians, Phrygians and Paeonians, groups that are certain to have shared several cultural and linguistic links due to proximity and constant interaction over centuries. Strabo is quite clear about these origins, he even states that the "Paeonians, according to some, were a dependent colony of the Phrygians", which would compliment the details revealed during the Philotas incident cited by Curtius Rufus:
Quote:
Among the officers was a certain Bolon……Philotas had ridiculed men from the country, he continued, calling them Phrygians and Paphlagonians – this from a man who, Macedonian born, was not ashamed to use an interpreter to listen to men who spoke his own language.
Philotas, the Macedonian soldier of noble birth, arrogance stemming from his upbringing, position and classical education, who needed an interpreter to speak Macedonian which revealed the extent of betrayal to his native culture, called his Macedonian brothers by the old name of 'Phrygians' to ridicule them, which corroborates what other ancient writers said about the true native inhabitants of Macedonia.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:01 PM   #6
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Hmmm, the world's first "Hellenoman"
We should coin a new term with reference to Philotas.
"Sold out like a Philotas"
"Philotaman"
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Old 12-04-2008, 05:20 PM   #7
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Hehe, I like 'Philotaman'
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:13 AM   #8
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Bump.

So our newer MTO readers may become more familiar with yet another historical source from the Roman era that makes it abundantly clear - Macedonians are not Greek.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:05 AM   #9
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Default Strabo on Ancient Macedonia

Here are some quotes from Strabo which should lead us to question certain notions. I will simply cite his passages to illustrate my point, and use bold/U for emphasis.

1. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...trabo/7G*.html

"And even to the present day the Thracians, Illyrians, and Epeirotes live on the flanks of the Greeks (though this was still more the case formerly than now); indeed most of the country that at the present time is indisputably Greece is held by the barbariansMacedonia and certain parts of Thessaly by the Thracians, and the parts above Acarnania and p289Aetolia by the Thesproti, the Cassopaei, the Amphilochi, the Molossi, and the Athamanes — Epeirotic tribes."

Conclusion: Macedonia held entirely by THRACIANS, while 'only' certain parts of Thessaly were also held by Thracians. (Macedonia here likely refers to 'Lower Macedonia', as opposed to 'Upper Macedonia')

Note that Alexander's mother Olympia was a Molossian.

2.
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...trabo/9E*.html

"For both on account of the fame and of the predominance of the Thessalians and the Macedonians, the countries of those Epeirotes who were their nearest neighbours were made, some willingly and the others unwillingly, parts of Thessaly or Macedonia; for instance, the Athamanes, p417the Aethices, and the Talares were made parts of Thessaly, and the Orestae, the Pelagonians, and the Elimiotae of Macedonia."

Macedonian tribes of EPIROTE stock: Orestae, Pelagonians, and Elimiotae.

3.
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...trabo/7G*.html

8 The Amphilochians are Epeirotes; and so are the peoples who are situated above them and border on the Illyrian mountains, inhabiting a rugged country — I mean the Molossi, the Athamanes, the Aethices, the Tymphaei, the Orestae, and also the Paroraei and the Atintanes, some of them being nearer to the Macedonians and others to the Ionian Gulf. .... And in fact the regions about Lyncus, Pelagonia, Orestias, and Elimeia, used to be called Upper Macedonia, though later on they were by some also called Free Macedonia. But some go so far as to call the whole of the country Macedonia, as far as Corcyra, 327at the same time stating as their reason that in tonsure, language, short cloak, and other things of the kind, the usages of the inhabitants are similar,451 although, they add, some speak both languages.


I may be mistaken, and Strabo may have been hallucinating -- but it would seem that Ancient Macedonians were an amalgam of Thracians and Epirotes.
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