Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Historical revisionism / negationism in the Balkans

Historical revisionism
........... is the attempt to change commonly held ideas about the past. In its legitimate form (see historical revisionism) it is the reexamination of historical facts, with an eye towards updating historical narratives with newly discovered, more accurate, or less biased information, acknowledging that history of an event, as it has been traditionally told, may not be entirely accurate.Historical revisionism can be used as a label to describe the views of self-taught historians who publish articles that deliberately misrepresent and manipulate historical evidence.

This usage has occurred because some authors who publish articles that deliberately misrepresent and manipulate historical evidence (such as David Irving, a proponent of Holocaust denial), have called themselves "historical revisionists.Examples of historical revisionism in Balkans are the Macedonism and Albanianism.

MACEDONISM is the political idea prevalent in the Republic of Macedonia advocates revising history in order to project an ethnic group that formed in the 20th century - ethnic Macedonians - in the context of the 19th century and even in the middle ages. For example, Bulgarian Tsar Samuil is denied the Bulgarian nature of his kingdom, despite overwhelming evidence supporting it, and is defined as a "Slavic" or "Macedonian" king. Further attempts are made to deny the Hellenic nature of the ancient kingdom of Macedon and to seek connections between present day ethnic Macedonians and the Ancient Macedonians.Fundamentally, history knows that the "Macedonianism" of Vardar Province's slavophone inhabitants and Albanians is exclusively based on the role played by external factors of paramount importance when in the early 1940s they were transformed into "Macedonians" for political reasons by communist dictators (Tito, Stalin, and Dimitrov) and infamous communist organizations (Comintern and the Balkan Communist Federation).'" In reality, it was not even a self-ascription or ascription by others and assignment of a cause, but a dictatorial order, a forceful conversion that preceded the FYROM Slavs' self-ascription as "Macedonians," resulting in an unorthodox and scandalous creation of a new artificial ethnicity in a manner similar to Byelorussia's formation by Lenin and Stalin.

As Danforth pointed out,
Given the common nationalist view of the immutability of identity, conversion from one identity to another [by ascription by others] is bound to raise serious questions of authenticity and legitimacy .

He also pointed out (p. 100) that

It is possible precisely because Greeks and Macedonians are not born, they are made. National identities, in other words, are not biologically given, they are socially constructed" (p. 87).

That is what happened to the Slavs of the People's Republic of Macedonia. They were not born ethnic Macedonians, their Macedonian ethnicity was constructed by the state in 1943-1945. In contrast, the Greek Macedonians, whose forebears always lived in Hellenic Macedonia, always spoke Greek, were not made Macedonians by a totalitarian communist system.......they were born Macedonians.

What characteristics (historical, cultural, ethnological, linguistic, or anthropological) does the FYROM population possess- besides inhabiting a section of the former Vardar Province - to be described by communists first, by anthropologists later, as "Macedonian"?

Why did the Slav "Macedonians" describe themselves as Bulgarians from 1870 to 1943 -and many do so today - waiting for almost seventy-five years to be transformed into "Macedonians" by the dictatorial powers of a communist state.

Something as about Danforth-Karakasidou-Borza and many favour modern and favour writers in FYROM diaspora.

Why dear writers-historians you forget to mention that the heroes of the 19th century-beggining of the 20th clearly identified themeselves as Bulgarians?

Why dear writers-historians you forget to mention that the Slavmacedonians heroes of the Greek civil war enjoyed the Bulgarian fashists forces(OHRANA) first before identified as "Macedonians" ?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Greeks or Hellenes ?

"Though the words 'Hellenism', 'Hellenic', 'Hellenes', 'Hellas' are less familiar than the words 'Greece' and 'Greek' to the English-speaking public, they have two advantages. They are not misleading; and they are the words which, in the Greek language, the Hellenes themselves used to designate their civilization, their world, and themselves. 'Hellas' seems originally to have been the name of the region round the head of the Maliac Gulf, on the border between Central and Northern Greece, which contained the shrine of Earth and Apollo at Delphi and the shrine of Artemis at Anthela near Thermopylae (the narrow passage between sea and mountain that has been the highway from Central Greece to Northern Greece and thence to the great Eurasian Continent into which Northern Greece merges). 'Hellenes', signifying 'inhabitants of Hellas', presumably acquired its broader meaning, signifying 'members of the Hellenic society', through being used as a corporate name for the association of local peoples, the Amphictyones ('neighbours'), which administered the shrines at Delfi and Thermopylae and organized the Pythian Festival that was connected with them."
[Arnold J. Toynbee: Hellenism, The History of a Civilization; Oxford University Press, 1959]

Scholars agree that the majority of the ancient Greeks found difficult to see beyond the horizon of the city-state or to overcome the limitations that slavery and other facts of their life imposed upon their sight. That is to say, the ancient Greeks did not reach the picture of a world-society in which not only those who enjoy Hellenic culture, not only the wise, but all peoples, or at any rate all civilized peoples, have a place. These research findings explain why many ancient Greeks called the ancient Macedonians uncivilized barbarians .

According Thucydides, Andriotis, Hatzidakis and Wilkes, in the eyes of many ancient Greeks, the Macedonians, the Epirotes, as well as the Boeotians and the Thessalians were barbarian, uncivilized Greek tribes. Thus, Andriotis also argues that the designation barbarian was attributed by ancient writers to other uncivilized Greek tribes, as well, such as the Epirote tribe of Chaones (Thuc. 2.80) . Chatzidakis agrees on this asserting that as was the case with Macedonians, some included Macedonia and Epirus in Greece, while others did not. Thucydides speaks of the barbarian Chaones in B.80, while in 81 it is mentioned that the Thesprotians and the Molossi were also barbarians, according to Thucydides .

Hatzidakis affirms that the term barbarian Macedonian is not used in an ethnological sense, but with a derogatory cultural meaning. Admitting that, for some ancient Greeks, the Macedonians were an uncivilized Greek tribe, Hatzidakis says that for that reason many excluded certain tribes from the national community, for they were considered to be inferior compared with the general national civilization .

Hatzidakis, Andriotis , Hammond also attempted to prove and defend the greekness of the ancient Macedonians. On the contrary, some scholars (Georgiev ,O. Muller) supported that the ancient Macedonians were not Greeksand some others(Borza,Green) that ancient Macedonians hellennized. However, the archaeological findings of the Greek archaeologist Andronikos in Vergina put an end to the scientific disagreement about the origin of the ancient Macedonians. Therefore, now it is certain that the ancient Macedonians were Greeks despite the fact that, in the eyes of many ancient Greeks, the Macedonians were a barbarian, uncivilized Greek tribe.
For nationalists like the Afroeccentrists (Bernal) or FYROMian(Stefou) , the ancient Macedonians were not Greeks, since they were barbarians, a fact which to their view makes the Greek Macedonia theirs.

But what is Greek and what is Hellene.

What is the derivation of the Hellene(Hellinas) ?
During the era of the Trojan war
, the Hellenes were a relatively small but vigorous tribe settled in Thessalic Phthia, centralized along the settlements of Alos,Trhine,Alope, and PelasgianArgos. Various etymologies have been proposed for the word Hellene, but none are widely accepted. These include Sal (to pray), ell (mountainous) and sel (illuminate). A more recent study traces the name to a city named Hellas next to the river Sperhious, still named that today. Hellenes in the wider meaning of the word appears in writing for the first time in an inscription byEkembrotus, dedicated to Heracles for his victory in the Amphictyonic games and refers to the 48th Olympiad Games (584 BC).

The modern English
word Greek is derived from Latin Greaecus, which in turn comes from Greek Γραικός(Graikos), the name of a Boetian tribe that migrated to Italy in the 8th century BC, and it is by that name the Hellenes were known in the West. Homer, while reciting the Boeotian forces in the Iliad's Catalogue od Ships, provides the first known reference to a Boeotian city named Grea, and Pausaniasmentions that Graea was the name of the ancient city of Tanagra.

There is and the term Hellenistic .Some say that the Hellenistic is not mean Greek or Hellenic!!!. The deriviyion came from the Greek word Έλλην Héllēn and was established by the German Historian
Johann Gustav Droysen to refer to the spreading of Hellenic Culture over the non-Hellenes peoples that were conquered by Alexander the Great. According to Droysen, the Hellenistic civilization was a fusion of Greek and Middle-Eastern culture that eventually gave Christianity the opportunity to flourish.

The term Hellenistic mentioned first in the book of Droysen Geschichte Alexanders des Grossen that published at 1833.Modern historians see the death of
Alexander the Great in 323 BC as the beginning of the Hellenistic period.

The Hellenistic period of the Greek history was the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the annexation of the Greek peninsula and islands by Rome at 146 BC. Although the establishment of Roman rule did not break the continuity of Hellenistic society and culture, which remained essentially unchanged until the advent of Christianity, it did mark the end of Greek political independence.

During the Hellenistic period the importance of "Hellenic proper" (that is, the territory of modern Hellas) within the Greek-speaking world declined sharply. The great centres of Hellenistic culture were Alexandria and Antioch, capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria respectively

So any other explainations such that the term Hellenistic is not mean Hellenic is un-accurate and of course propagandistic.The founder of this term was clear.

But Back in the definition of the modern Nation.

According to the current international thinking as Mr Michael Vakaoukas said there are two main models of nation:

(a) the territorial and civic model and
(b) the ethnic-genealogical model.

The theory of Renan belongs to the western civic model, as per which a historic territory, legal-political community, legal-political equality, and common civic culture and ideology are required for the formation of a nation. According to the alternative ethnic model, which is supported by one of the most prominent modern theorists of nationalism, Anthony Smith, nation as a community is based on the common predecessors, the common descent of the different ethnic groups and their native culture.

The question now is which model is the most appropriate for the Greek historical reality: the civic model of Renan, Gellner and Anderson or the ethnic model of Smith. In other words, which of the two types of nationalism (emanating from the two models) applies to the Greek nation:

the civic model or the ethnic model?

The nations with an ethnic or genealogical basis seek to expand so as to include the ethnically kin populations that are beyond the current borders of the ethnic nation, along with the territories where they live, or aim for the creation of a much larger ethic-national state, merging into other culturally and ethnically kin states. This is the case of the pan-nationalism of the unredeemed and all other kinds of pan-nationalisms .The characteristics of the genealogical nationalism of the unredeemed fit the Greek nation almost perfectly. Greeks will still talk about the "The Great Idea" and the unredeemed Hellenism (e.g. that of northern Epirus), even though these ideas have fortunately faded after the Asia Minor Catastrophe. However, what is happening today and what happened in the 19th cent, when the Greek nation was built on the basis of the unredeemed-ethnic-genealogical nationalism and much less on the vision of Renan , are two completely different things.A nation is defined by its ethno-culturalism, not by its geographical borders. Common Language and Heritage are what unite a people

In other words, the example of the Greek nation substantiates Smith's theory. That is to say, the modern Hellenic nation is not an entirely modern formation, for it is based on much older cultural groups (ethnies). Greek ethnies (like Arvanites, Vlachs, Slavophones etc.) present "permanent cultural attributes" such as memory, value, myths and symbolisms.

Hellenic ethnies present a common cultural origin descending from ancient Greece and Byzantium. For example, all Greek cultural groups believe in the myth of "Gorgona" who seeks to find Alexander the Great. That is to say, the modern Hellenic nation (in the beginning) was not "a community of citizens" but a "cultural" group. Thus, as Smith points out, "the challenge for scholars is to represent more accurately and convincingly the relationship of ethnic, cultural (Greek) past to modern Hellenic nation.

When the Greeks, in answer to the apparently plausible but entirely misleading ethnographical statistics of their rivals, contended that educational figures were a better indication of `nationality' within Macedonia, their contention was not at all ridiculous: far from it. The position of Greek education corresponded exactly to both the strength and the weakness of Hellenism in Macedonia.

Many in Western Europe doubted whether Hellenism existed at all in Macedonia, and regarded it solely as the invention of the Greek press. Such people were proved to be wrong. Hellenism, although nearly defeated by force and revolutionary upheaval, managed to survive as Dakin mentioned.

Greeks or Hellenes ?
Ancient Or Moderns ?
The answer is one ........Hellenism

1-N. Andriotis, On the language and the Greekness of the ancient Macedonians
2-Wilkes, The Illyrians, Odysseus, trs. in Greek
3-Hatzidakis, Macedonians
4-Michael Vakaoulas,Modern Greek Identity
5-Douglas Dakin,The Greek Struggle in Macedonia

Friday, December 22, 2006

The argument regarding the name ""Macedonians-Macedonia"".

We have seen that the name Macedonia was assigned to Southern Serbia, hose inhabitants had hitherto been called Bulgari by the Bulgarians and Bugari by the Serbs. This name was arbitrarily applied by Panslav propaganda with the devilish purpose of using it as an argument in support of the annexation of Greek Macedonia by the FYROM.

But that the Slavs should Give themselves the name ""Macedonians"", that they should call their newly founded state ""Macedonia"" is no less inappropriate and historically unacceptable, than if the Turks who now inhabit the lands of anvient Ionia and Aeolia, decided to call themselves Ionians and Aeolians respectively and on the strength of those names endeavoured to establish a claim on anygeorgraphical extension of the ancient Ionians and Aeolians into Greek territory.

And yet it is on the basis of this argument that the FYROMacedonians claim as their national heritage the entire geographical region of Macedonia, the so-called ""Aegean Macedonia"", which has been peopled since remotest antiquity, through the middle Ages to this very day by an uninterrupted succession of Greek generations.

The Slavs choose to ignore the fact that in those remote times when the genuine Greek names «Macedonian, Macedonia, Aegean Sea», what they now so fondly call «Egejska Makedonija», came into use, their own ancestors lived in some unknown Russian steppe.

This habit to appropriate foreign names for political purposes, is by no means new. In an attempt to unite the Yugoslavs, from 1830 to 1850, the Croats assumed the name «Jllyrian» and fought for political and national ends under this foreign, pre-slavic appellation. FYROMacedonians to-day are doing exactly the same with the pre-slavic name «Macedonian».

If the historical and national rights of peoples are decided in this fashion, then who could deny the Greeks the right to reverse the argument of the Slays and to argue with equal logic, that since the Greeks have saved the southern part of Macedonia from Slavisation and kept it ethnologically and inguistically Greek, indeed a trustee of Greek civilization, just as the ancient Macedonians were trustees, members and promoters of Greek civilisation the world over, and since furthermore the inhabitants of Greek Macedonia are historically and ethnologically the heirs and successors of ancient Macedonians, it is to this Greek Macedonia that its northern, Yugoslav, extension should be annexed whether or not it is inhabited to day by many Greeks; and it is in fact inhabited by approximately two millions of pure and nationally conscious Greeks.
The Greeks nevertheless have accepted the present ethnological reality in the Balkan peninsula and respect the new rights which history has created de facto in this part of the world. They make no claims on the northern, Slavophone parts of Macedonia, and recognise as an accomplished fact the situation which history has created to their disadvantage.
They ask no more than that their northern neighbours should themselves realise that the extent of provocation for which they have been responsible has reached the limit. «There are limits which ought to be respected "" or else who could ever put an end to this vicious circle of mutual malice?

The Greeks and all sensible and objective people, whatever their nationality, regard the fate of Macedonia as decided once and for all.

Macedonia has been divided by the sword of history ethnologically, linguistically and politically into two zones:
A) the Slavic zone which to-day is contained in the State of Skopje and the Pirin region in the south-western part of Bulgaria and
B) the Greek zone which forms part of the Hellenic State. The latter is inhabited solely by Greeks. It has resisted Slavic penetration. The former can no longer claim a substantial Greek population. It is inhabited chiefly by Slavs whose right it is to attribute any name they like to themselves, if only a greater respect for their racial origins taught them to refrain from using a name so doubtlessly Greek and so closely bound up with the glorious past of Greece, as is the name of Macedonia.

The Macedonians, as is well known, spoke Greek at least from the 5th century B.C. onwards even if we accept for a moment that their language was not, originally, some older Hellenic dialect as indeed we now know for sure that it was. The Macedonians clung to Hellenic culture and according to Polybius (9,35), the ancient historian, «they never ceased fighting in defense of the security of the Greeks». Their names are well-known to us, they are all pure Greek and none is Thracio-Illyrian or Slavic. How, then, could the people who from the time they first set foot on Greek lands and throughout the Middle Ages and the period of Turkish rule were linguistically, culturally and politically Slavs, who ignored completely the geographical name Macedonia, who before the Balkan wars sent Bulgarian representatives to the Turkish Parliament, how could these people become Macedonians overnight?

How can they reconcile their new Greek name with either their Slavic language or their fanatical hatred of everything Greek?

But this is not all; the western region of the FYROM is inhabited by 600.000 Albanians who consider themselves both linguistically and in every other respect part of the Albanian nation.

Are these Macedonians too?
If so why not call by the same name the 200.000 Turcophones, the Gypsies and the Armenians?

Why not attribute this national name to the Vlachs?
But then we should first have to fashion a new definition of historical and ethnological concepts.

Source :
Giannis Babiniotis,The language of the Macedonia,Olkos, 1992, page 235-237(article from N.P.Adriotis)

I have change the given figures regarding the FYROM population

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Etymology of the Macedonian name

Is generally accepted that the today observers agree that there is more than one variant of Macedonians. Ironically, all these variants are usually defined in foreign languages (major English) by the same name: Macedonians, Macedoniens, Macedoni etc..

Of course with the notable exception of the Germans, who use two names: “Makedonen” for the Ancient Macedonians, and “Mazedonier” for the various contemporary brands of Macedonians).Let explain one by one the various brands of Macedonians.

The Macedonian (Makedon) derives from the ancient Greek adjective makednos (μακεδνός). The latter was formed by the stem of the noun makos=mekos (this mean length) with the suffix –d-(delta) and the ending –nos.This came from the Homer (Od h-106).

From the Greek name "Makedon", there are many derivative names, such as the Greek "Makedonianos","Makedonios", "Makedonas" and of course the Slavonic terms such as "Makedonci" and "Makedonjia".



A tribe of Greek culture and language The etymology of their name is further proof of their greek identity as I explained previous. They gave their name to the land and self-identified themselves in their Greek vernacular as , [pronounced ‘makethnΙ’ (a as in about, e as in bet, Ι as ea in eat’)]. Under Alexander the Great they united the Greeks and spread the Greek language and Greek civilisation to the known limits of the world.


For centuries, in Byzantine and Ottoman times, Greek-speakers of the wider and usually ill-defined Macedonian regions identified themselves as Macedonians in the regional as well as in a cultural sense. Particularly after the revival of Greek cultural heritage, educated Makethones also compounded their Greek identity with elements of the ancient Macedonian heritage and proud references to the Kings Alexander and Philip and their generals such as Philotas, Krateros, etc. It is interesting to notice that such names were given only by the Greeks of Macedonia to their children, not by the Slavs of Macedonia, who opted for names of the medieval Bulgarian tradition (Boris, Ivan). How popular the Macedonian name is among the Greeks of Macedonia, is attested by its widespread use. Since the 19th century, and especially during the 20th until today, numerous Greek firms, shops, associations, schools (both private and state institutions) have used the adjective “Macedonian” as part of their trade markToday the name Makedonia is the name of a provivance of the Hellenic republic.



At the time of the Bulgarian renaissance of the 19th century, and during the national liberation struggles, the Bulgarians, like the Greeks, used regional names, in addition to their ethnic Bulgarian name, to identify themselves. Thus the name Makedonc(ts)i was used to differentiate the Bulgarians of Macedonia from the Dunavtsi, Trakiitsi etc. The name Makedonc(ts)I gained more prominence after the establishment of the Bulgarian state (1878) and during the Bulgarian armed fighting in Macedonia in the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th. It was used to describe the Bulgarians of Macedonia and distinguish them from those of the Bulgarian Principality. The term is still being used in this sense by Bulgarian Macedonians in Bulgaria and the diaspora.



According theirs scholars derives from the Makedonjia that mean mother land. Nationalists and scholars continue their debate over their diametrically opposing views concerning the origins of the name Makedontsi as an ethnic term. It is still a controversial issue. It is true, however, that at the beginning of the 20th century, certain Slav- (Bulgarian-) speaking intellectuals and nationalists from Macedonia sought to define themselves, through the Macedonian name, as a separate national group from the Bulgarians. But the main impetus came during the 1930s when the Comintern and the communist parties of the Balkan states, motivated by political reasons, adopted the term not only as a regional but as an ethnic one. It was on this basis, that during the Second World War and after the Liberation, the Yugoslav communists accepted and sanctioned the Macedonian name as the ethnic and national name of a separate people within the Yugoslav federation.This is also today the name of the citizens of the UN recognized state of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). By this name, the state recognizes not only the ethnic Slav Macedonians, but also the Albanians, the Vlachs, the Serbs and other citizens of the country. The constitutional name is Republic of Makedonja.

-History of the Name Macedonia,Nikolaos Adriotis,Thessaloniki 1960
-Macedonia and Macedonians,C Antonovski,Skopje 1974
-The Macedonian Question ,Dimiter Minchev, Ph.D.,Sofia, 2002