Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Recent Real Historical Tragedy - The Albanian Encyclopedia

January 14, 2010

Recently, Mr. Nijazi Muhamedi (President of the editorial board of the new 'fictional' Albanian Encyclopedia) stated: "The ancient warrior king Alexander the Great, was neither Greek, nor Macedonian, but Albanian" (http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/24745/). His book 'Albanian Macedonia', was launched in Tetovo, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) this week. Mr. Muhamedi said that he was not motivated nor supported by politicians, and that his approach was strictly scientific. How can such an approach be scientific, when historical evidence is well-known and clearly states otherwise?

The 'myth' stated by Mr. Muhamedi has been systemically produced from known Albanian centres that promote historical revisionism and extreme nationalism in the Balkans. Albanians are not universally acknowledged as the descendants of the Illyrians, as their origins are disputed by historians worldwide. This is confirmed from several studies and works such as ´Illyrians´ by John Wilkes; several works from an expert in Albanian history, Miranda Vickers; 'Albanian identities: myth and history' by Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers and Bernd Jürgen Fischer, and collective works from around the world such as the ancient, modern and medieval history from Cambridge and Oxford Universities.

Muhamedi's arguments are quite similar to the arguments raised in the similarly 'fictional' FYROM encyclopedia. Both encyclopedias lack historical merit, and attempt to change the reality that Alexander the Great was of Greek origin. This fact is supported by ......
most of the world's 'serious' historians, including Prof. Robin Lane Fox (Oxford University) and Prof. Paul Cartledge (Cambridge University), as well as thousands of historical works from many other historians such as Prof. Nicholas G.L. Hammond, Prof. Ian Worthington, Prof. A.B. Bosworth, Dr. Richard Stoneman, Dr. Ulrich Wilcken etc. They have all agreed that Alexander the Great was born in July 356 (Arr. 7.28.1, Plut. Alex. 3.5), was the son of Macedonian Philip´s fourth wife Olympias (daughter of Neoptolemus I, king of the Molossians, a principal Greek tribe in Epirus) (Nicholas G. L. Hammond, 'Philip of Macedon' Duckworth Publishing, February 1998). Olympias, was originally named 'Polyxena', as Plutarch mentions in his work 'Moralia', and changed her name to 'Myrtale' prior to her marriage to Philip II of Macedon, as part of her initiation to an unknown mystery cult ('Olympias, Mother of Alexander the Great' By Elizabeth Carney, New York and London: Routledge, 2006). The name 'Olympias' was the third of four names by which she was known by, taking it probably as a recognition of Philip's victory in the Olympic Games of 356 BC, which coincided with Alexander's birth (Heckel 2006, p. 181).

None of the historians aforementioned describe Alexander as Illyrian, and even more inaccurately - Albanian. A recent petition named Macedonia evidence, has been signed by 357 classical scholars (historians, archaeologists) who support the ´Greekness´ of the ancient Macedonians. Historians from all around the world have made it their duty to preserve the historic truth on Ancient Macedonia (http://www.macedonia-evidence.org/).

There is an Illyrian myth (now also found in the recent 'Albanian Macedonia' encyclopedia), with which Albanian culture has been flirting with for at least 150 years. There is also a very tentative Illyrian science, based mainly on archaeology, and on some data transmitted by Ancient Greek and Roman Historians. Historians who are ready to accept that Illyrians and Albanians were one people must analyze the Messapic inscriptions, in Puglia. These inscriptions show that the Illyrian question is an extremely complicated one, and that it isn't likely to be resolved anytime soon, unless fundamental epigraphic discoveries are made.
In the real world there are no examples of ancient Illyrian literature surviving (aside from the Messapian writings - and if they can even be considered Illyrian), it is difficult to clarify its place within the Indo-European language family. Albanians first appear in historical records in Byzantine sources in 'History' written in 1079-1080, by Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates. Very little evidence of pre-Christian Albanian culture survives, and Albanian mythology and folklore as it presents itself through the work of Mr. Muhamedi (in this case) is notoriously amalgamated.
One must wonder how certain Albanian scholars can suggest ancient Epirus (a north western Greek state of Doric origin) be conveniently passed as ancient Illyrian at all, let alone Albanian? In the earlier Greek period, Illyrians lived north of River Skubi and by the Classical Greek period, they had migrated southwards near North Epirus; only during the Roman period did they live in the same areas in which the Greek Molossians used to live.

As recorded by Arrian, Alexander himself is clearly distinguishes himself (a Greek) from Illyrian foreigners: "Our enemies are Medes and Persians, men who for centuries have lived soft and luxurious lives; we of Macedon for generations past have been trained in the hard school of danger and war. Above all, we are free men, and they are slaves. There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service — but how different is their cause from ours! They will be fighting for pay — and not much at that; we, on the contrary, shall fight for Greece, and our hearts will be in it. As for our foreign troops — Thracians, Paeonians, Illyrians, Agrianes — they are the best and stoutest soldiers in Europe, and they will find as their opponents the slackest and softest of the tribes of Asia. And what, finally, of the two men in supreme command? You have Alexander, they — Darius!" (Addressing his troops prior to the Battle of Issus, as quoted in Anabasis Alexandri by Arrian Book II, 7)

There isn´t much difference between historical revisionism and historical ignorance; and this concludes to the legitimate scholastic correction of existing knowledge about an historical event, or to the illegitimate distortion of historical records. This is why national encyclopedias such as the FYROM (http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n204267) and now Albanian (http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/24745/) encyclopedias do nothing more but ignite ethnic tension (http://rt.com/Top_News/2009-12-21/albanian-macedonian-conflict-encyclopedia.html) in an already volatile region, and have no place in a progressive Balkan region with a European vision.

Australian Macedonian Advisory Council (AMAC)

David Noel Freedman, 'The Anchor Bible Dictionary' Doubleday, 1992, pg 1093
Charles Edson 'Ancient Macedonian Studies in honor of Charles F. Edson' London, 1981, pgs 27-71
Robert Morkot, 'The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece' Penguin Publishing USA, January 1997
Nicholas G. L. Hammond, 'The Macedonian State: The Origins, Institutions and History'
Oxford University Press, Reprint Edition, July 1997; 4. The Language of the Macedonians, pgs 413, pgs12-14
A.B. Bosworth, 'Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great' Cambridge University Press, Reissue Edition, March 1993
Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, Book II, 7


  1. Who Alexander was is not at all important. It is what he did that matters. For the sake of argument, we can say that Alexander's mother was Brazilian and his father a Chinese Jew. The only important thing is what Alexander and the Macedonians did. He and they spread the Greek language and culture through a vast empire that eventually assured the survival of that language and culture through what is called the "Hellenistic" age and the "Byzantine" (eastern Roman) Empire. Both were invaluable continuities that led to the modern Greek state and the survival of the Greek language into the present age. His success also preserved and transmited the accomplishments of the ancient Greek world. Present-day Greece would not exist without Alexander's accomplishments. That is why the Greeks admire and respect him and claim him for their own. Historical truth is inviolable. Let the others claim what they like.

  2. Carol, this is for you:

    During the reign of Alexander the Great, the Macedonians spoke their own native language, as the native language language of Alexander the Great was not understood by the ancient Greeks (Quintus Curtius Rufus, VI, 9, 37 ). Similarly, Plutarch points out that Alexander spoke to his fellow countrymen in Macedonian: "he [Alexander] called out aloud to his guards in the Macedonian language, which was a certain sign of some great disturbance in him" (Plutarch, Alexander, 51). Still, Alexander spoke also Greek, loved Homer, and respected his tutor Aristotle. At the same time though, there is much evidence that generally he was not fond of the Greeks of his day. The chronicler Curtius, describing the atmosphere before a battle, gave a notion of the different attitudes of the great commander, who psychognostically applied the principle of identity to every ethnic group in his army. In respect to the various motives for taking part in that war, Curtius wrote:

    "Riding to the front line he [Alexander the Great] named the soldiers and they responded from spot to spot where they were lined up. The Macedonians, who had won so many battles in Europe and set off to invade Asia ... got encouragement from him - he reminded them of their permanent values. They were the world's liberators and one day they would pass the frontiers set by Hercules and Patter Liber. They would subdue all races on Earth. Bactrius and India would become Macedonian provinces. Getting closer to the Greeks, he reminded them that those were the people who provoked war with Greece, ... those were the people that burned their temples and cities ... As the Illirians and Trakians lived mainly from plunder, he told them to look at the enemy line glittering in gold ..."
    Q. C. Rufus, Alexander III, 10, 4-10

  3. True, Anonymous, the ancient Macedonians had their own language which was not at all Greek but was almost identical to Swedish. That's why the Macedonians spread the Swedish culture and the love of raw herring far and wide. Alexander's conquests were also aided by the fact that his horse, Bucephelus, had wings and flew easily over the landscape thus telling the army where to march. Alexander was also famous for bringing Pizza to New York where he openned a chain of "Alex's Pizza Pizza".

    Some famous Slav Macedonians:

    Albert Einstein, Elvis Presly, Mickey Mouse, Mozart and, of course, William Shakespeare who wrote great plays in the Slavic "Macedonian" language which wasn't really Slavic even though every Bulgarian child can understand it perfectly.

    You shouldn't be anonymous. Your stupidity is better than any stand-up comics routine, a product of "Mecedonian" education, no doubt.

  4. Carol, another one for you:

    The ancient Macedonians were a distinct nation, separate from their neighbors, the ancient Greeks, Illyrians, and Thracians. The ancient Greek and Roman historians tell us that the Macedonians spoke a separate Macedonian language and had their own customs, culture, and traditions. Archeological discoveries confirm that the material culture of the Macedonians also defer greatly from all their neighbors, and it is by far more superior in artistry (gold, paintings, weapons, mosaics) then anything found in contemporary Greece, Illyria, and Thrace. The texts of the ancient writers distinguish the Macedonians from the ancient Greeks, just like they distinguish the Romans and the Carthaginians. Yet, like the other non-Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Illyrians, and Thracians, the Macedonian high society also used the Greek language along with Macedonian. Greek was spoken by the nobility of many different ancient nations, just like French was spoken in the 19th century (at the German and Russian courts for example). Unfortunately there are only about 150 glosses that have survived of the ancient Macedonian language (most of them with no relation whatsoever with ancient Greek), and like ancient Carthaginian, Illyrian, and Thracian, it can not be reconstructed. There is no doubt nevertheless that the Illyrains, Thracians, and Macedonians were non-Greeks, or in the words of the ancient Greeks "barbarians" which literally means people who spoke other non-Greek languages.

  5. The relationship of the ancient Macedonians to the Greeks, Anonymous (and now I can see why you want to remain anonymous), is that the Macedonians spread and preserved the Greek language and culture. As I said in my first post, which obviously went over your elementary grasp, even if hypothetically they were not Greek in origin (which they were) their contribution to Greek culture outstrips even that of most Greek city states and certainly equals the Athenians, who were also not Greeks as far as you know. The ancient Macedonian language, including the "150 glosses" are recognised by no credible historian or linguist except the dunces who pass as "scholars" (like the idiot Stephen Ristov) in Northern Macedonia. It is pure gobboldy-gook. No one has given the remotest CREDIBLE (not imaginary) example of an ancient macedonian language that was not Greek. Let's try once more: Let's say Alexander's mother was from Skopje and spoke fluent Slavic. Let's say Alexander's father was from Tirana and spoke Albanian. This would not at all affect what the Macedonians DID which is to diseminate and preserve the Greek language and culture which led to the continuation and extension of the Greek people into the 19th century and the creation of the Greek state. That's why the Greeks honour Alex The Great. (Why do the Slavs honour him? What did he do for Skopje and the Slavs?) The historical examples of the Greekness of the Macedonians are abundant from the statement of Alexander the First to the fact that the Macedonians participated in the Olympic games where only Greeks were allowed to participate. AGAIN IT'S WHAT THE MACEDONIANS DID THAT'S IMPORTANT: THEY SPREAD AND PRESERVED THE GREEK LANGUAGE AND CULTURE AND MADE MODERN GREECE POSSIBLE. GOT IT YET? OK, let's try it this way: ALEXADER AND THE MACEDONIANS WERE PURE SLAVS WHO SPOKE PURE SLAVIC WHEN NOBODY ELSE WAS LISTENING, BUT IT'S WHAT THEY DID, TO SPREAD AND PRESERVE THE GREEK LANGUAGE AND CULTURE THAT'S THE POINT. A nation creates it's own culture and history but the Slav Macedonians want to take a shortcut and steal theirs from others; Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia etc. Your Religion is from Greece, your alphabet is from Greek Byzantium, the name of your capital is Greek and your revolutionary "heroes" are Bulgarian. WHETHER THE ANCIENT MACEDONIANS WERE GREEK OR NOT, NAME ONE REAL HISTORIAN THAT CONNECTS THE SLAVIC PEOPLE OF SKOPJE TO THE ANCIENT MACEDONIANS. EVEN BORZA WHO SAID THE ANCIENT MACEDONIANS WERE NOT GREEK (AND HE WAS WRONG) SAID THE SLAVS OF THE REPUBLIC HAVE NO CONNECTION WITH THE ANCIENT PEOPLE. why are you so ashamed to admit you are slavs with a slavic culture and a slavic language with no connection to the ancient world as your first President Gligorof (SP?, who took out Bulgarian citizenshi, said?

  6. Incidentally, Anonymous, regarding your "150 glosses", there are many more than 150 English words used in modern Greek. Does that mean that the Greeks were really English or Americans? Greek, like all languages including the Slavic, contains words that are borrowed from others and have no relation to that language. A Greek knows what "computer" or "Supermarket" or "goal" or "penalty" or any one of hundreds more words mean and uses them normally in context. If the ancient Greek Macedonians used some non-Greek words, that would be normal. Even the central word "Athena" is not Greek in origin and bears no connection to Greek. The ancient Jews spoke Greek but their language, Hebrew, is still extant. Your examples of the French-speaking aristocracy of other nations is silly and unthinking. The nations whose aristocracy spoke French had their own language, each one of which never ceased to be spoken. Even the English-speaking Irish still speak celtic in certain parts of the country. They are not English in origin.
    Historically, loan words are normally taken from dominant cultures, like the inclusion of Greek and, today, English, in all literate languages. Where is this "dominant" non-Greek Macedonian culture? There is no trace, no whisper of it except in the insecure and disturbed fantasies of Slav "Macedonians".

  7. Ancient Macedonians were considered to be "Slavs" (Veneti) by a number of poets from Dubrovnik, and also a number of Russian historians: Butkov, Saveljev, Rostislavich and Chertkov, as well as archimandrites Leonid and Filrot. Mickevich from the Chair at the French College in Paris, in 1844 declared that the "Slavs are the oldest nation in Europe".
    The German scholar Kuno, as well as the scholars Lelev and Bjeloski, put forward their assertion that not only the Hellenes but also the "Slavs" always lived on the Balkan peninsula, together with the Hellenes. The same was maintained by the highly distinguished Pavle J. Shafranich (who published a few books on this subject), as well as the Russian consul in Bitola, Hitrov. This theory was represented by some Serbian activists at the time.
    Renown Croatian folklorist from Bosnia Stefan Verkovich during his extended visit to Macedonia in the 19th century recorded a large number of Macedonian folklore deeds and in his letter to the newspaper "Dragoljub" in Zagreb published in 1868 wrote: "The Slavs, and not the Greeks, are the forefathers of the civilisation".
    In his work "Veda Slovena" (1874) Verkovich wrote:"Our Slavs had a lively tradition even in the times of Alexander The Great".
    Bulgarian writer Stefan Zahariev claimed that the "Slavs" are the oldest inhabitants of the Balkans and their literacy dates prior to the brothers St. Cyril and St. Methodius.
    In an Albanian history book from the 19th century has been stated that the Macedonians are the indigenous people of the Balkans and that Alexander The Great was a "famous Macedonian-Slav tzar". These views were shared by renown Macedonian intelectuals from the 19th century: Isaija Mazhovski, Gjorgji Pulevski, Nikola D. Chuparov and others, who believed that the ancient Macedonians and the "Slavs" are in fact the same people.

  8. Yes, Anonymous (even your name is stolen from the Greeks), all kinds of poets, gypsies, banjo players, mule trainers and chicken pluckers can claim what they like, but real history affirms and proves that the Slavs descended into the southern peninsula in the 6th century AD some thousand years after Alexander died. Now try to understand this:

    I agree with you, that the ancient Macedonians were Slavs. But it doesn't matter. What matters is that the ancient Macedonians spread, affirmed and preserved the Greek language and culture so that the language and culture with all its works and achievemnts survived until today. If all Alexander did was murder his way to India and back, the Greeks wouldn't care a jolly fig about him, but he is the keystone of their language, culture and existence and without him Hellenism and all its works would have been decimated by the Roman and other imperial conquests and would today be no more than desicated bones in a dusty museum instead of a living, thriving force and the consciouness of over 15 million people in the world many of whom were once Albanian, Slavic, Turkish, Vlach or gypsy in consciousness but, either forcefully or voluntary, became "Greekafied" and today form a part of the Greek identity and nation.


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