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Old 06-12-2019, 05:14 PM   #1
kajce
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Default Explaining Antiquity

Over the past several years I've been researching and learning as much about our history as I possibly can after finding this website and other resources. There are still some gaps to fill, but overall I feel like I've reached a point where I can comfortably identity with all facets of our history. For example, I am a believer in that we are the products of all indigenous and migrating groups in the region of Macedonia. The migrating Slavic/Turkic groups are our most recent ancestors, but obviously we have ancestors stretching all the way back to antiquity, who were assimilated into these migrating groups.

However, I am struggling with how to understand the Macedonian identity in antiquity. In my opinion (like others I've seen on here), all tribes living in Macedonia Proper were of a similar Thraco-Illyric mix that were assimilated together to form one political entity and identity (i.e. ancient Macedonians). The Paeonians, Enhelians, Dassaretae, and Brygians all lived in Upper Macedonia. Would these tribes/peoples be of the same Thraco-Illyric mix as those in Lower Macedonia? Seeing as my family is from the Struga/Western portion of Macedonia, would we be more "Illyric" in our descent from the Thraco-Illyric mix (i.e. the Enhelians were referred to as Illyric "eel-people")? Would those from Eastern Macedonia or Aegean be different? Perhaps more Thracian? Several of my relatives from Ohrid say that they prefer to use Illyrian/Brygian or Paeonian. How would this Thraco-Illyric mix and modern Macedonians relate to the Illyrian Movement for South Slavs? I've also seen other resources refer to Philip and his dynasty as coming from a Doric-Epirean stock (link: http://www.pollitecon.com/html/ebook...-Macedonia.pdf)

Sorry if this is a loaded question but I've been obsessing over this lately as I feel like this is the last piece of the puzzle I am missing before I can fully complete my beliefs/theories/viewpoints on our people and history. Thank you!
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:05 PM   #2
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Feel like it's pointless to even thret over these things. Your family would have had to have lived in Struga since antiquity to even question such things and I highly doubt they have.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kajce View Post
Over the past several years I've been researching and learning as much about our history as I possibly can after finding this website and other resources. There are still some gaps to fill, but overall I feel like I've reached a point where I can comfortably identity with all facets of our history. For example, I am a believer in that we are the products of all indigenous and migrating groups in the region of Macedonia. The migrating Slavic/Turkic groups are our most recent ancestors, but obviously we have ancestors stretching all the way back to antiquity, who were assimilated into these migrating groups.

However, I am struggling with how to understand the Macedonian identity in antiquity. In my opinion (like others I've seen on here), all tribes living in Macedonia Proper were of a similar Thraco-Illyric mix that were assimilated together to form one political entity and identity (i.e. ancient Macedonians). The Paeonians, Enhelians, Dassaretae, and Brygians all lived in Upper Macedonia. Would these tribes/peoples be of the same Thraco-Illyric mix as those in Lower Macedonia? Seeing as my family is from the Struga/Western portion of Macedonia, would we be more "Illyric" in our descent from the Thraco-Illyric mix (i.e. the Enhelians were referred to as Illyric "eel-people")? Would those from Eastern Macedonia or Aegean be different? Perhaps more Thracian? Several of my relatives from Ohrid say that they prefer to use Illyrian/Brygian or Paeonian. How would this Thraco-Illyric mix and modern Macedonians relate to the Illyrian Movement for South Slavs? I've also seen other resources refer to Philip and his dynasty as coming from a Doric-Epirean stock (link: http://www.pollitecon.com/html/ebook...-Macedonia.pdf)

Sorry if this is a loaded question but I've been obsessing over this lately as I feel like this is the last piece of the puzzle I am missing before I can fully complete my beliefs/theories/viewpoints on our people and history. Thank you!
I wouldn't overthink it.

Tribe, migrations, etc etc, make for good reading, and they are a part of our long history but in today's context most of it is irrelevant other than a sense of pride. Your ancestors could be from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, North Europe, who knows. Your ancestors or mine for that matter could have only come to the Macedonian region in the last century or two or maybe even less. What makes up an identity is much more than just DNA, and ancient tribes. Its much more personal, its also community. My family is from Ohrid, close to yours, but they may have come form anywhere To say I could be more of one ancient tribe or another doesn't really have much meaning in 2019. This is the absurdity of the Greek line of thinking. That you can draw a straight line from 3000 years ago until today.

Not to mention people 3000 even 300 years ago, didn't really think of identity and ethnicity in the same way that we do today. A Macedonian 3000 years ago could have meant many things. In much the same way that a Bulgarian or a Greek, had very broad meanings during the Ottoman period. In antiquity much of the labeling came from the hand full of people who wrote things down. The average person in antiquity probably relied more on others to tell them who they were rather than having a fixed view of themselves like we do today.

The Balkans are one of the most diverse crossroads in world history. Everyone is everything if you really want to dig into it. We have been at the intersection of civilizations for thousands of years. The most important thing to remember is that our identity is many things but they all boil down to one thing, that we want to be and we feel like Macedonians, and yest that includes the various ancient tribes, and from then until now.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:30 PM   #4
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Just because your family is from Struga doesn't mean they always were. One should not forget about the internal migrations during the time of Ottoman Macedonia. For example, at least half of the Macedonians in the Lerin region are descended from migrants who came from Mariovo, Prilep, Kichevo Krushevo, Ohrid, Debar just to name a few from the top of my head.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:39 AM   #5
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Reading these responses I realize that I should have explained myself better. Like you've all pointed out, trying to identify/claim descent from individual tribes on the basis of geographic relation is both pointless and meaningless. I named those tribes as examples to try and explain the Thraco-Illyric idea that I had, not trying to claim direct descent from them. Just as you stated Niko777, even much of my own family migrated to Struga from Golo Brdo/other western parts (still working on figuring out the rest). Sorry about the confusion!
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:03 AM   #6
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The Macedonians were simply ethnic Macedonians in ancient times. The Macedonians were a distinct nation which is made evident through ancient works differentiating the Macedonians from their neighbouring peoples.

As to what the Macedonians were before 8th century BC is all myths and based on different beliefs. Nothing can be trusted as itís mythology from thousands of years ago. Main thing is that the Macedonians were a distinct nation in ancient times and Macedonians through generations and centuries are mentioned as Macedonians and for the most part have called themselves Macedonians, relating themselves to the ancient Macedonians.

Although there were dark spots in Macedonian history under foreign control, where Macedonians called themselves other names. The Macedonians never forgot their ancestry and heritage, claiming relation to the ancient Macedonians.
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Old 06-14-2019, 07:07 PM   #7
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I'm not really sure what my point is that I'm trying to make with this but I heard something interesting on TV recently which I think is worth something to ponder on - historians and anthropologists generally take a single 30 year period in time as constituting one human generation. When you consider and measure time in terms of human generations rather than years passed, it kind of puts things in a different light and adds a bit of perspective to things.

I'll explain what I mean. In the context of this thread, "Explaining Antiquity", it's easy to regard the Ancient Macedonians as something intangible and impossible to link to Modern Macedonians because, as has often been stressed, too many years have passed and, with all the migrations of people, wars and other factors that have occurred during that time, trying to associate ourselves with the Ancient Macedonians is a difficult, if not an impossible task. However, if you take the 2,300 year period that separates us from the time of Phillip and Alexander, and measure it in terms of human generations, then the number doesn't seem that daunting - 77 generations.

We can take this further and break up our recent history this way. Let's take the example of the 16th Century Macedonian Lexicon from Bogatsko which shows the incredible similarity between modern standard Macedonian and the non-codified Macedonian spoken from the 1500's that our ancestors spoke. Approximately 500 years separates us from the time the lexicon was written to today. That's a mere 16-17 generations.

One more example, the Ilinden Uprising from 1903. Here we are talking about approximately 4 generations, i.e. as recently as our Great-Grandfathers if we are currently in our 40's.
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Old 06-14-2019, 10:28 PM   #8
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I'm not really sure what my point is that I'm trying to make with this but I heard something interesting on TV recently which I think is worth something to ponder on - historians and anthropologists generally take a single 30 year period in time as constituting one human generation. When you consider and measure time in terms of human generations rather than years passed, it kind of puts things in a different light and adds a bit of perspective to things.

I'll explain what I mean. In the context of this thread, "Explaining Antiquity", it's easy to regard the Ancient Macedonians as something intangible and impossible to link to Modern Macedonians because, as has often been stressed, too many years have passed and, with all the migrations of people, wars and other factors that have occurred during that time, trying to associate ourselves with the Ancient Macedonians is a difficult, if not an impossible task. However, if you take the 2,300 year period that separates us from the time of Phillip and Alexander, and measure it in terms of human generations, then the number doesn't seem that daunting - 77 generations.

We can take this further and break up our recent history this way. Let's take the example of the 16th Century Macedonian Lexicon from Bogatsko which shows the incredible similarity between modern standard Macedonian and the non-codified Macedonian spoken from the 1500's that our ancestors spoke. Approximately 500 years separates us from the time the lexicon was written to today. That's a mere 16-17 generations.

One more example, the Ilinden Uprising from 1903. Here we are talking about approximately 4 generations, i.e. as recently as our Great-Grandfathers if we are currently in our 40's.
It does seem less daunting and not as far away when you condense it to 77 from 2300. I see what your getting at. The thing is most people probably don't know anyone in their family past 4 generations, if someone kept good documentation maybe 7, that leaves you with 70 people in your lineage. All it takes is for 1 of those 70 to move and it changes everything.

I live in the USA you live in Australia, our lineage going forward will be from those places and in 2 or 3 generations our decedents might not even know they were Macedonian. Intermarriage is another. If 1 person in 70 mated with another ethnicity, the entire lineage going forward has been reduced to 50%. I imagine how many out of 70 either moved or intermarried or both. In the span of 5 generations you can go from 100% Macedonian living in Macedonia to less than 10% and living anywhere.

Now the Ilinden uprising is a whole different matter. Like you said people who are alive today probably remember their family members who may have been a part of it, and yet think how distant that seems, especially with everything that has happened lately.

Also when I go through the raw numbers and calculations like I just did it really makes me want to punch a Greek in the face.
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Old 06-15-2019, 05:53 AM   #9
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It does seem less daunting and not as far away when you condense it to 77 from 2300. I see what your getting at. The thing is most people probably don't know anyone in their family past 4 generations, if someone kept good documentation maybe 7, that leaves you with 70 people in your lineage. All it takes is for 1 of those 70 to move and it changes everything.
I like the concept of generations, but just think how many individuals compose those generations. Going back only 7 generations, and assuming that no individuals appear twice in your ancestral tree on, there's 254 different individuals that compose your tree as direct ancestors. Going back 16 generations ( which we're now talking mid 1500s), there's 65,000 ancestors. Going to the late 1300s, you're at over 1.1 million ancestors. 77 generations ago and you're at:
1,250,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ancestors.

We know there are many duplicates in here, especially in the olden days when first cousins married each other and uncles married their nieces and etc. But the point being is that millions of ancestors compose your tree. In certain island populations, it's several hundred or a few thousand because there was a lot of intermarriage due to small and isolated populations, even in 77 generations. In Macedonia like the rest of the Balkans and most of the world, who knows where those millions came from.

Just in the past 120 years in my dad's village, they had several single men go to Montenegro to find brides after there was a lower female population; a Russian moved in escaping Russian communism; a Czech family moved in; and this is just what happened during non-war times.

Interesting to think about and mind-boggling to reason through unless everyone takes genetic tests and geneticists connect the dots.

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I live in the USA you live in Australia, our lineage going forward will be from those places and in 2 or 3 generations our decedents might not even know they were Macedonian. Intermarriage is another. If 1 person in 70 mated with another ethnicity, the entire lineage going forward has been reduced to 50%. I imagine how many out of 70 either moved or intermarried or both. In the span of 5 generations you can go from 100% Macedonian living in Macedonia to less than 10% and living anywhere.
It's funny you mention that because I thought the same thing. For my research I talked to several Macedonians who've been here for several generations. Two particular American men I talked to, (one who was 1/8 Macedonian and one who was 1/16), both knew and were proud of their Macedonian ancestor. Culturally, they weren't Macedonian; they only knew a little bit about their ancestors' life stories. I haven't talked to any American with Macedonian ancestry that didn't know of their Macedonian ancestor. I think technology and record-keeping has truly expanded how in touch people can be with their ancestry. Our immigration and census records in the US are really beneficial to that end.
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:26 PM   #10
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For example, at least half of the Macedonians in the Lerin region are descended from migrants who came from Mariovo, Prilep, Kichevo Krushevo, Ohrid, Debar just to name a few from the top of my head.
I've wondered this as well since my family comes from lerin region; does anyone have any tips on how I can trace my family back farther/figure out where they could of came from if they did migrate? I know only up to my great great grandparents on both sides of my family came from the same village, my baba doesn't seem to remember after that.
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