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Topographical map of Macedonia

Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania and Serbia. It covers approximately 67,000 square kilometres (25,869 sq mi) and has a population of 4.76 million.

Its oldest known settlements date back approximately 9,000 years. From the middle of the 4th century BC, the Kingdom of Macedon became the dominant power in Greece and the neighbouring regions; since then Macedonia has had a diverse history.


Boundaries and definitions

The Roman Diocese of Macedonia ca. AD 400
The themata were administrative units of the medieval Byzantine Empire. Here the thema of Macedonia in 1045 CE is in present-day Bulgaria, while the thema of Bulgaria includes present-day Western Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo and parts of Serbia.
Borders of Macedonia according to different authors (1843–1927)

The definition of Macedonia has changed several times throughout history.

Prior to its expansion under Philip II, the ancient kingdom of Macedonia, to which the modern region owes its name, lay entirely within the current Greek province of Macedonia.[citation needed]

The Roman province of Macedonia consisted of what is today Northern and Central Greece, the geographical area of the present-day Republic of Macedonia and southeast Albania. Simply put, it covered a much larger area than ancient Macedon. In late Roman times, the provincial boundaries were reorganized to form the Diocese of Macedonia, consisting of most of modern mainland Greece plus Crete, southern Albania, and parts of modern-day Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia.[citation needed]

In the Byzantine Empire, a province under the name of Macedonia was carved out of the original Thema of Thrace, which was well east of the Struma River.[citation needed] This thema variously included parts of Northern Thrace and western Thrace and gave its name to the Macedonian dynasty. Hence, Byzantine documents of this era that mention Macedonia are most probably referring to the Macedonian thema. The region of Macedonia, on the other hand, which was ruled by the First Bulgarian Empire throughout the 9th and the 10th century, was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire in 1018 as the Thema of Bulgaria.

With the gradual conquest of southeastern Europe by the Ottomans in the late 14th century, the name of Macedonia disappeared as an administrative designation for several centuries and was rarely displayed on maps.[citation needed] The name was again revived to mean a distinct geographical region. In the late 19th century,[citation needed] it developed roughly the same borders that it has today.


During medieval and modern times, Macedonia has been known as a Balkan region inhabited by ethnic Greeks, Albanians, Vlachs, Serbs, Bulgarians, Jews, and Turks.[1] Today, as a frontier region where several very different cultures meet, Macedonia has an extremely diverse demographic profile.

Distribution of races in the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor in 1910 (Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, New York)
Distribution of races in the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor in 1918 (National Geographic)
  • Macedonian Greeks are ethnic Greeks who self-identify regionally as "Macedonians" (Greek: Μακεδόνες, Makedónes). They form the majority of the region's population (~51%). They number approximately 2,500,000 and live almost entirely in Greek Macedonia. The Greek Macedonian population is mixed, with indigenous and a large influx of Greek refugees descending from Asia Minor, Pontic Greeks, and East Thracian Greeks in the early 20th century. This is due to the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, during which over 1.2 million Christian refugees from Turkey were settled in Greece, 638,000 of whom were settled in Macedonia.[2] Smaller Greek minorities exist in Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia, although their numbers are difficult to ascertain. In official census results, only 86 persons declared themselves Greeks in Bulgarian Macedonia (Blagoevgrad Province) in 2001, out of a total of 3,408 in all Bulgaria; while 442 described themselves as Greeks in the 2002 census in the Republic of Macedonia.
  • Ethnic Macedonians self-identify as "Macedonians" (Macedonian: Македонци, Makedonci) in an ethnic sense as well as in the regional sense. They are the second largest ethnic group in the region. Because of their primarily Slavic origin they are also known as "Macedonian Slavs". They form the majority of the population in the Republic of Macedonia where according to the 2002 census, approximately 1,300,000 people declared themselves as Macedonians. According to the latest Bulgarian census held in 2001, there are 3,117 people declaring themselves ethnic Macedonians in the Blagoevgrad Province of Bulgaria (Pirin Macedonia). The official number of ethnic Macedonians in Bulgaria is 5,071. A relatively small number of ethnic Macedonians exist among the Slavic-speakers of Greek Macedonia. There hasn't been a census in Greece on the question of mother tongue since 1951, when the census recorded 41,017 Slavic-speakers, mostly in the West Macedonia periphery of Greece. The linguistic classification of the Slavic dialects spoken by these people can be either Bulgarian or Macedonian, although the people themselves call their language "Slavic". Most of these people declare themselves as ethnic Greeks (Slavophone Greeks), although there are small groups espousing ethnic Macedonian[3] and Bulgarian national identities. In the 1989 Albanian census, approximately 5,000 Albanian citizens declared themselves Macedonians.
  • Macedonian Bulgarians are ethnic Bulgarians who self-identify regionally as "Macedonians" (Bulgarian: Mакедонци, Makedontsi). They represent the bulk of the population of Bulgarian Macedonia (also known as "Pirin Macedonia"). They number approximately 370,000 in the Blagoevgrad Province where they are mainly situated. There are small Bulgarian-identifying groups in Albania, Greece and the Republic of Macedonia with an uncertain size. In the Republic of Macedonia, 1,417 people claimed a Bulgarian ethnic identity in the 2002 census. Paradoxically, during the last few years around 60,000 Macedonians have applied for Bulgarian citizenship and some 10,000 ethnic Macedonians have already obtained Bulgarian passports. Bulgaria's admission to the European Union is evidently a powerful motivation factor. In order to obtain it they must sign a statement proving they are Bulgarian by origin, effectively not recognising their rights as a minority.[4][5][6][7][8]
  • Albanians are another major ethnic group in the region. Ethnic Albanians make up the majority in certain northern and western parts of the Republic of Macedonia, and account for 25.2% of the total population of the Republic of Macedonia, according to the 2002 census.


Most present-day inhabitants of the region are Eastern Orthodox Christians, principally of the Greek Orthodox, Bulgarian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox Churches and Macedonian Orthodox Church. Notable Muslim minorities are present among the Albanian, Bulgarian (Pomaks), Macedonian (Torbeš), Bosniak, and Turkish populations.


Early Neolithic

While Macedonia shows signs of human habitation as old as the paleolithic period, the earliest known settlements, such as Nea Nikomedeia, date back 9,000 years.[9] The houses at Nea Nikomedeia were constructed—as were most structures throughout the Neolithic in northern Greece—of wattle and daub on a timber frame. The cultural assemblage includes well-made pottery in simple shapes with occasional decoration in white on a red background, clay female figurines of the 'rod-headed' type known from Thessaly to the Danube Valley, stone axes and adzes, chert blades, and ornaments of stone including curious 'nose plugs' of uncertain function. The assemblage of associated objects differs from one house to the next, suggesting some degree of craft specialisation had already been established from the beginning of the site's history. The farming economy was based on the cultivation of cereal crops such as wheat and barley and pulses and on the herding of sheep and goats, with some cattle and pigs. Hunting played a relatively minor role in the economy. Surviving from 7000 to 5500 BCE, this Early Neolithic settlement was occupied for over a thousand years.

Middle Neolithic

The Middle Neolithic period (c. 5500 to 4500 BC) is at present best represented at Servia in the Haliacmon Valley in western Macedonia, where the typical red-on-cream pottery in the Sesklo style emphasises the settlement's southern orientation. Pottery of this date has been found at a number of sites in Central and Eastern Macedonia but so far none has been extensively excavated.

Late Neolithic

The Late Neolithic period (c. 4500 to 3500 BC) is well represented by both excavated and unexcavated sites throughout the region (though it should be noted that in Eastern Macedonia levels of this period are still called Middle Neolithic according to the terminology used in the Balkans). Rapid changes in pottery styles, and the discovery of fragments of pottery showing trade with quite distant regions, indicate that society, economy and technology were all changing rapidly. Among the most important of these changes were the start of copper working, convincingly demonstrated by Renfrew to have been learnt from the cultural groups of Bulgaria and Roumania to the North.[10] Principal excavated settlements of this period include Makryialos[11] and Paliambela near the western shore of the Thermaic gulf, Thermi to the south of Thessaloniki and Sitagroi[12] and Dikili Tas in the Drama plain. Some of these sites were densly occupied and formed large mounds (known to the local inhabitants of the region today as 'toumbas'. Others were much less densely occupied and spread for as much as a kilometer (Makryialos). Both types are found at the same time in the same districts and it is presumed that differences in social organisiation are reflected by these differences in settlement organisation. Some communities were clearly concerned to preotect themselves with different kinds of defensive arrangements: ditches at Makryialos and concentric walls at Paliambela. The best preserved buildings were discovered at Dikili Tas, where long timber-framed structures had been organised in rows and some had been decorated with bulls' skulls fastened to the outside of the walls and plastered over with clay.

Remarkable evidence for cult activity has been found at Promachonas-Topolnica, which straddles the Greek Bulgarian border to the north of Serres. Here a deep pit appeared to have been roofed to make a subterranean room; in it were successive layers of debris including large numbers of figurines, bulls' skulls, and pottery, including several rare and unusual shapes.[13]

The farming economy of this period continued the practices established at the beginning of the Neolithic, although sheep and goats were less dominant among the animals than they had previously been, and the cultivation of vines (Vitis vinifera) is well attested.

Only a few burials have been discovered from the whole of the Neolithic period in northern Greece and no clear pattern can be deduced. Grave offerings, however, seem to have been very limited.

Ancient Macedonia (500 BC to 146 BC)

Expansion of Macedon in to a kingdom

In classical times, the region of Macedonia comprised parts of what at the time was known as Macedonia, Illyria and Thrace. Among others, in its lands were located the kingdoms of Paeonia, Dardania, Macedonia and Pelagonia, historical tribes like the Agrianes, and colonies of southern Greek city states. Prior to the Macedonian ascendancy, parts of southern Macedonia were populated by the Bryges,[14] a Thracian people, while western, (i.e., Upper) Macedonia, was inhabited by Macedonian and Illyrian tribes. Whilst numerous wars are later recorded between the Illyrian and Macedonian Kingdoms, the Bryges might have co-existed peacefully with the Macedonians.[15] In the time of Classical Greece, Paionia, whose exact boundaries are obscure, originally included the whole Axius River valley and the surrounding areas, in what is now the northern part of the Greek region of Macedonia, most of the Republic of Macedonia, and a small part of western Bulgaria.[16] By 500 BC, the ancient kingdom of Macedon was centered somewhere between the southern slopes of Lower Olympus and the lowest reach of the Haliakmon River.[17] During the Persian Wars, the kingdom of Macedonia was subject to the Persians but after the battle of Plataia regained its freedom. Under Philip II and Alexander the Great, the kingdom of Macedonia forcefully expanded, placing the whole of the region of Macedonia under their rule.

Alexander's conquests produced a lasting extension of Hellenistic culture and thought across the ancient Near East, but his empire broke up on his death. His generals divided the empire between them, founding their own states and dynasties. The kingdom of Macedon was taken by Cassander, who ruled it until his death in 297 BC. At the time, Macedonian control over the Thracoillyrian states of the region slowly waned, although the kingdom of Macedonia remained the most potent regional power. This period also saw several Celtic invasions into Macedonia. However, the Celts were each time successfully repelled by Cassander, and later Antigonus, leaving little overall influence on the region.[18]

Roman Macedonia

Roman Macedonia (illustrated here encompassing Paeonia & south Illyria) and environs, from Droysens Historical Atlas, 1886

Macedonian sovereignty in the region was brought to an end at the hands of the rising power of Rome in the 2nd century BC. Philip V of Macedon took his kingdom to war against the Romans in two wars during his reign (221 BC-179 BC). The First Macedonian War (215 BC-205 BC) was fairly successful for the Macedonians but Philip was decisively defeated in the Second Macedonian War in (200 BC-197 BC). Although he survived war with Rome, his successor Perseus of Macedon (reigned 179 BC-168 BC) did not; having taken Macedon into the Third Macedonian War in (171 BC-168 BC), he lost his kingdom when he was defeated. Macedonia was initially divided into four republics subject to Rome before finally being annexed in 146 BC as a Roman province. Around this time, vulgar Latin was introduced in the Balkans by Latin-speaking colonists and military personnel.

With the division of the Roman Empire into west and east in 298 AD, Macedonia came under the rule of Rome's Byzantine successors. The population of the entire region was, however, depleted by destructive invasions of various Gothic and Hun tribes c. 300 – 400s AD. Despite this, other parts of the Byzantine empire continued to flourish, in particular some coastal cities such as Thessaloniki became important trade and cultural centre. Despite the empire's power, from the beginning of the 6th century the Byzantine dominions were subject to frequent raids by various Slavic tribes which, in the course of centuries, eventually resulted in drastic demographic and cultural changes in the Empire's Balkan provinces. Although traditional scholarship attributes these changes to large-scale colonizations by Slavic-speaking groups, it has been proposed that a generalized dissipation of Roman identity might have commenced in the third century, especially amongst rural provincials who were crippled by harsh taxation and famines. Given this background, penetrations carried by successive waves of relatively small numbers of Slavic warriors and their families might have been capable of assimilating large numbers of indegenes into their cultural model, which was sometimes seen as a more attractive alternative. In this way and in the course of time, great parts of Macedonia came to be controlled by Slavic-speaking communities. Despite numerous attacks on Thessaloniki, the city held out, and Byzantine-Roman culture continued to flourish, although Slavic cultural influence steadily increased.

Sklaviniae in Medieval Macedonia c. 700 AD.

The Slavic settlements organized themselves along tribal and territorially based lines which were referred to by Byzantine Greek historians as "Sklaviniai". The Sklaviniai continued to intermittently assault the Byzantine Empire, either independently, or aided by Bulgar or Avar contingents. Around 680 AD a "Bulgar" group (which was largely composed of the descendants of former Roman Christians taken captive by the Avars), led by khan Kuber (theorized to have belonged to the same clan as the Danubian Bulgarian khan Asparukh), settled in the Pelagonian plain, and launched campaigns to the region of Thessaloniki. When the Empire could spare imperial troops, it attempted to regain control of its lost Balkan territories. By the time of Constans II a significant number of the Slavs of Macedonia were captured and transferred to central Asia Minor where they were forced to recognize the authority of the Byzantine emperor and serve in its ranks. In the late 7th century Justinian II organized again a massive expedition against the Sklaviniai and Bulgars of Macedonia. Launching from Constantinople, he subdued many Slavic tribes and established the Theme of Thrace in the hinterland of the Great City, and pushed on into Thessaloniki. However, on his return he was ambushed by the Slavo-Bulgars of Kuber, losing a great part of his army, booty, and subsequently, his throne.[19] Despite these temporary successes, rule in the region was far from stable since not all as the Sklaviniae were pacified, and those that were often rebelled. The emperors rather resorted to withdrawing their defensive line south along the Aegean coast, until the late 8th century. Although a new theme—that of "Macedonia"—was subsequently created, it did not correspond to today's geographic territory, but one farther east (centred on Adrianople), carved out of the already existing Thracian and Helladic themes.

Medieval Macedonia

There are no Byzantine records of "Sklaviniai" after 836/837 as they were absorbed into the expanding First Bulgarian Empire. Slavic influence in the region strengthened along with the rise of this state, which incorporated parts of the region to its domain in 837 AD. In the early 860s Saints Cyril and Methodius, Byzantines born in Thessaloniki, created the first Slavic Glagolitic alphabet in which the Old Church Slavonic language was first transcribed, and are thus are commonly referred to as the apostles-Christianizators of the Slavic world. Their cultural heritage was acquired and developed in medieval Bulgaria, where after 885 the region of Ohrid (present-day Republic of Macedonia) became a significant ecclesiastical center with the nomination of the Saint Clement of Ohrid for "first archbishop in Bulgarian language" with residence in this region. In conjunction with another disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Saint Naum, Clement created a flourishing Slavic cultural center around Ohrid, where pupils were taught theology in the Old Church Slavonic language and the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabet at what is now called Ohrid Literary School. The Bulgarian-Byzantine boundary in the beginning of 10th century passed approximately 20 km (12 mi) north of Thessaloniki according to the inscription of Narash. According to Byzantine author John Kameniat at that time the neighbouring settlements around Thessaloniki were inhabited by "Scythians" (Bulgarians) and the Slavic tribes of Druguvites and Sagudates in addition to Greeks.

At the end of the 10th century what is now the Republic of Macedonia became the political and cultural heartland of the First Bulgarian Empire after Byzantine emperors John I Tzimiskes and Basil II conquered the eastern part of the Bulgarian empire. The Bulgarian capital Preslav and the Bulgarian Tsar Boris II were captured in 972. A new capital was established at Ohrid, which also became the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchate. A new dynasty, that of Tsar Samuil and his successors, continued resistance against the Byzantines for several more decades, before also succumbing in 1018.[20] Basil II became known as the 'Bulgar slayer' after he captured and blinded 14,000 Bulgarian soldiers in 1014. The western part of Bulgaria including Macedonia was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire as the province of Bulgaria (Thema Bulgaria) and the Bulgarian Patriarchate was reduced in rank to an Archbishopric.

Intermittent Slavic uprisings continued to occur, often with the support of the Serbian princedoms to the north. Any temporary independence that might have been gained was usually crushed swiftly by the Byzantines. It was also was marked by periods of war between the Normans and Byzantium, who were bitter enemies. The Normans launched offensives from their lands acquired in southern Italy, and temporarily gained rule over small areas in the northwest coast.

From the 12th century, parts of Macedonia were concurred by the Serbian kingdom of Raska. The zenith of the Serbian empire was in the 14th century when it conquered all of Macedonia, northern and central Greece - excluding Thessaloniki, Athens and the Peloponessus. In 1346, King Stefan Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia was crowned Tsar (Emperor) of the Serbs and Greeks. His empire broke up shortly after his death in 1355.

At this time, the Ottoman threat was looming in the Balkans, as the Ottomans defeated the Christian coalition of Serbs, Bulgarians and Greeks. After the Ottoman victory in the Battle of Maritsa in 1371, most of Macedonia accepted vassalage to the Ottomans and by the end of the 14th century the Ottoman Empire fully annexed it. Macedonia remained a part of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 500 years, during which time it gained a substantial Turkish minority. Thessaloniki later become the home of a large Jewish population following the expulsions of Jews after 1492 from Spain.

Emergence of a Macedonian region

Map of the region contested by Serbia and Bulgaria and subject to the arbitration of the Russian Tsar

After the revival of Greek, Serbian, and Bulgarian statehood in the 19th century, the Ottoman lands in Europe that became identified as "Macedonia", were contested by all three governments, leading to the creation in the 1890s and 1900s of rival armed groups who divided their efforts between fighting the Turks and one another.

The most important of these was the Bulgarian Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Committee (BMARC, SMARO from 1902) (an alternative version says that it consisted of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (MRO, TMORO from 1902)), under Gotse Delchev who in 1903 rebelled in the so-called Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising, fighting for an autonomous or independent Macedonian state (before 1902 only Bulgarians could join, but afterward, it invited "any Macedonian or Odrinian, irrespective of nationality, to join together"), and the Greek efforts from 1904 until 1908 (Greek Struggle for Macedonia). Diplomatic intervention by the European powers led to plans for an autonomous Macedonia under Ottoman rule.

It is often claimed that macédoine, the fruit or vegetable salad, was named after the area's very mixed population, however it seems more likely that it was inspired by the diversity of Alexander the Great's domains, as the term dates to France in the 18th century, when Macedonia's ethnic composition was not widely known.[21]

The birth of nationalism and of Macedonian identities

The nationalities of Southeastern Europe in the late 19th century represented in Pallas Nagy Lexikona, 1897:      Serbs      Serbs and Macedonians      Bulgarians      Albanians      Greeks      Osmans      Rumanians and Tsintsars      Albanians and Serbians      Greeks and Albanians      Greeks and Osmans      Bulgarians and Osmans

Over the centuries Macedonia had become a multicultural region. The historical references mention Greeks, Bulgarians, Turks, Albanian, Gypsies, Jews and Vlachs.[22].From the Middle Ages to 20th century the Slav-speaking population in Macedonia was identified mostly as Bulgarian or Greek and occasionally as Serbian.[23][24] During the period of Bulgarian National Revival many Bulgarians from these regions supported the struggle for creation of Bulgarian cultural educational and religious institutions, including Bulgarian Exarchate.[25] Eventually, in the 20th century, 'Bulgarians' came to be understood as synonymous with 'Macedonian Slavs' and, eventually, 'ethnic Macedonians'. Krste Misirkov, a philologist and publicist, mostly known for his work "On the Macedonian Matters" (1903), heralded by Macedonians as one of the “founders of the Macedonian nation”, stated:

Some will ask why I speak of breaking away from the Bulgarians when in the past we have even called ourselves Bulgarians and when it is generally accepted that unification creates strength, and not separation. And, anyway, what sort of new Macedonian nation can this be when we and our fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers have always been called Bulgarians?[26]
Evolution of the territory of Greece. The 'Macedonia' shown is the Greek province.

The restricted borders of the modern Greek state at its inception in 1830 disappointed the inhabitants of northern Greece (Epirus and Macedonia).[citation needed] Addressing these concerns in 1844, the Greek Prime Minister Kolettis addressed the constitutional assembly in Athens that "the kingdom of Greece is not Greece; it is only a part, the smallest and poorest, of Greece. The Greek is not only he who inhabits the kingdom, but also he who lives in Ioannina (Epirus), or Thessaloniki (Macedonia), or Serres (Macedonia), or Odrin (Thrace)" . He mentions cities and islands that were under Ottoman possession as composing the Great Idea (Greek: Μεγάλη Ιδέα) which meant the reconstruction of the classical Greek world or the revival of the Byzantine Empire. The important idea here is that for Greece, Macedonia was a region with large Greek populations expecting annexation to the new Greek state. At this time, the region which today is the Republic of Macedonia was known as the "fief (vilayet) of Skopje".[citation needed]

Ethnic composition of the Balkans according to the pro-Bulgarian[27] Atlas Général Vidal-Lablache, Librairie Armand Colin, Paris, 1898
Ethnic composition map of the Balkans by the pro-Greek English cartographer Edward Stanford, 1877.
Ethnic map of the Balkan Peninsula from 1877, by the pro-Greek [28] A. Synvet
Ethnic representation of Central Europe and the Balkans in 1918, French view

The 1878 Congress of Berlin changed the Balkan map again. The treaty restored Macedonia and Thrace to the Ottoman Empire. Serbia, Romania and Montenegro were granted full independence, and some territorial expansion at the expense of the Ottoman Empire. Russia would maintain military advisors in Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia until May 1879. Austria-Hungary was permitted to occupy Bosnia, Herzegovina and the Sanjak of Novi Pazar. The Congress of Berlin also forced Bulgaria, newly given autonomy by the 1878 Treaty of San Stefano, to return over half of its newly gained territory to the Ottoman Empire. This included Macedonia, a large part of which was given to Bulgaria, due to Russian pressure and the presence of significant numbers of Bulgarians and adherents to the Bulgarian Exarchate. The territorial losses dissatisfied Bulgaria; this fuelled the ambitions of many Bulgarian politicians for the following seventy years, who wanted to review the treaty - by peaceful or military means and to reunite all lands which they claimed had a Bulgarian majority. Besides, Serbia was now interested in the Macedonian lands, until then only Greece was Bulgaria's main contender, which after the addition of Thessaly to Greece in (1881) was bordering Macedonia. Thus, the Berlin Congress renewed the struggle for Turkey in Europe, including the so-called Macedonia region, rather than setting up a permanent regime. In the following years, all of the neighboring states struggled over Turkey in Europe; they were only kept at bay by their own restraints, the Ottoman Army and the territorial ambitions of the Great Powers in the region.

Serbian policy had a distinct anti-Bulgarian flavor, attempting to prevent the Bulgarian influencing the inhabitants of Macedonia. On the other hand, Bulgaria was using the power of its religious institutions (Bulgarian Exarchate established in 1870) to promote its language and make more people identify with Bulgaria. Greece, in addition, was in an advantageous position for protecting its interests through the influence of Patriarchate of Constantinople which traditionally sponsored Greek-language and Greek-culture schools also in villages with few Greeks. This put the Patriarchate in dispute with the Exarchate, which established schools with Bulgarian education. Indeed, belonging to one or another institution could define a person's national identity. Simply, if a person supported the Patriarchate they were regarded as Greek, whereas if they supported the Exarchate they were regarded as Bulgarian. Locally, however, villagers were not always able to express freely their association with one or the other institution as there were numerous armed groups trying to defend and/or expand the territory of each. Some were locally recruited and self-organized while others were sent and armed by the protecting states.

The aim of the adversaries, however, was not primarily to extend their influence over Macedonia but merely to prevent Macedonia succumbing to the influence of the other. This often violent attempt to persuade the people that they belonged to one ethnic group or another pushed some people to reject both. The severe pressure on the peaceful peasants of Macedonia worked against the plans of the Serbians and Bulgarians to make them adopt their ethnic idea and eventually a social divide became apparent. The British Ambassador in Belgrade in 1927 said: "At present the unfortunate Macedonian peasant is between the hammer and the anvil. One day 'comitadjis' come to his house and demand under threat lodging, food and money and the next day the gendarm hales him off to prison for having given them; the Macedonian is really a peaceable, fairly industrious agriculturist and if the (Serbian) government give him adequate protection, education, freedom from malaria and decent communications, there seems no reason why he should not become just as Serbian in sentiment as he was Bulgarian 10 years ago". As a result of this game of tug-of-war, the development of a distinct Macedonian national identity was impeded and delayed. Moreover, when the imperialistic plans of the surrounding states made possible the division of Macedonia, some Macedonian intellectuals such as Misirkov mentioned the necessity of creating a Macedonian national identity which would distinguish the Macedonian Slavs from Bulgarians, Serbians or Greeks.

Baptizing Macedonian Slavs as Serbian or Bulgarian aimed therefore to justify these countries' territorial claims over Macedonia. The Greek side, with the assistance of the Patriarchate that was responsible for the schools, could more easily maintain control, because they were spreading Greek identity. For the very same reason the Bulgarians, when preparing the Exarchate's government (1871) included Macedonians in the assembly as "brothers" to prevent any ethnic diversification. On the other hand, the Serbs, unable to establish Serbian-speaking schools, used propaganda. Their main concern was to prevent the Slavic-speaking Macedonians from acquiring Bulgarian identity through concentrating on the myth of the ancient origins of the Macedonians and simultaneously by the classification of Bulgarians as Tatars and not as Slavs, emphasizing their 'Macedonian' characteristics as an intermediate stage between Serbs and Bulgarians. To sum up the Serbian propaganda attempted to inspire the Macedonians with a separate ethnic identity to diminish the Bulgarian influence. This choice was the 'Macedonian ethnicity'. The Bulgarians never accepted an ethnic diversity from the Slav Macedonians, giving geographic meaning to the term. In 1893 they established the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO) aiming to confront the Serbian and Greek action in Macedonia. VMRO hoped to answer the Macedonian question through a revolutionary movement, and so they instigated the Ilinden Uprising (1903) to release some Ottoman territory. Bulgaria used this to internationalize the Macedonian question. Ilinden changed Greece's stance which decided to take Para-military action. In order to protect the Greek Macedonians and Greek interests, Greece sent officers to train guerrillas and organize militias (Macedonian Struggle), known as makedonomahi (Macedonian fighters), essentially to fight the Bulgarians. After that it was obvious that the Macedonian question could be answered only with a war.

The rise of the Albanian and the Turkish nationalism after 1908, however, prompted Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria to bury their differences with regard to Macedonia and to form a joint coalition against the Ottoman Empire in 1912. Disregarding public opinion in Bulgaria, which was in support of the establishment of an autonomous Macedonian province under a Christian governor, the Bulgarian government entered a pre-war treaty with Serbia which divided the region into two parts[citation needed]. The part of Macedonia west and north of the line of partition was contested by both Serbia and Bulgaria and was subject to the arbitration of the Russian Tsar after the war. Serbia formally renounced any claims to the part of Macedonia south and east of the line, which was declared to be within the Bulgarian sphere of interest. The pre-treaty between Greece and Bulgaria, however, did not include any agreement on the division of the conquered territories - evidently both countries hoped to occupy as much territory as possible having their sights primarily set on Thessaloniki.

Boundaries on the Balkans after the First and the Second Balkan War (1912–1913)

In the First Balkan War, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro occupied almost all Ottoman-held territories in Europe. Bulgaria bore the brunt of the war fighting on the Thracian front against the main Ottoman forces. Both her war expenditures and casualties in the First Balkan War were higher than those of Serbia, Greece and Montenegro combined. Macedonia itself was occupied by Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian forces. The Ottoman Empire in the Treaty of London in May 1913 assigned the whole of Macedonia to the Balkan League, without, specifying the division of the region, in order to promote problems between the allies. Dissatisfied with the creation of an autonomous Albanian state, which denied her access to the Adriatic, Serbia asked for the suspension of the pre-war division treaty and demanded from Bulgaria greater territorial concessions in Macedonia. Later in May the same year, Greece and Serbia signed a secret treaty in Thessaloniki stipulating the division of Macedonia according to the existing lines of control. Both Serbia and Greece, as well as Bulgaria, started to prepare for a final war of partition.

In June 1913, Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand, without consulting the government, and without any declaration of war, ordered Bulgarian troops to attack the Greek and Serbian troops in Macedonia, initiating the Second Balkan War. The Bulgarian army was in full retreat in all fronts. The Serbian army chose to stop its operations when achieved all its territorial goals and only then the Bulgarian army took a breath. During the last two days the Bulgarians managed to achieve a defensive victory against the advancing Greek army in the Kresna Gorge. However at the same time the Romanian army crossed the undefended northern border and easily advanced towards Sofia. Romania interfered in the war, in order to satisfy its territorial claims against Bulgaria. The Ottoman Empire also interfered, easily reassuming control of Eastern Thrace with Edirne. The Second Balkan War, also known as Inter-Ally War, left Bulgaria only with the Struma valley and a small part of Thrace with minor ports at the Aegean sea. Vardar Macedonia was incorporated into Serbia and thereafter referred to as South Serbia. Southern (Aegean) Macedonia was incorporated into Greece and thereafter was referred to as northern Greece. The region suffered heavily during the Second Balkan War. During its advance at the end of June, the Greek army set fire to the Bulgarian quarter of the town of Kilkis and over 160 villages around Kilkis and Serres driving some 50,000 refugees into Bulgaria proper. The Bulgarian army retaliated by burning the Greek quarter of Serres and by arming Muslims from the region of Drama which led to a massacre of Greek civilians.[citation needed]

Macedonia's division in 1913

In September 1915, the Greek government authorized the landing of the troops in Thessaloniki. In 1916 the pro-German King of Greece agreed with the Germans to allow military forces of the Central Powers to enter Greek Macedonia in order to attack Bulgarian forces in Thessaloniki. As a result, Bulgarian troops occupied the eastern part of Greek Macedonia, including the port of Kavala. The region was, however, restored to Greece following the victory of the Allies in 1918. After the destruction of the Greek Army in Asia Minor in 1922 Greece and Turkey exchanged most of Macedonia's Turkish minority and the Greek inhabitants of Thrace and Anatolia, as a result of which Aegean Macedonia experienced a large addition to its population and became overwhelmingly Greek in ethnic composition. Serbian-ruled Macedonia was incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) in 1918. Yugoslav Macedonia was subsequently subjected to an intense process of "Serbianization" during the 1920s and 1930s.

During World War II the boundaries of the region shifted yet again. When the German forces occupied the area, most of Yugoslav Macedonia and part of Aegean Macedonia were transferred for administration to Bulgaria. During the Bulgarian administration of Eastern Greek Macedonia, some 100,000 Bulgarian refugees from the region were resettled there and perhaps as many Greeks were deported or fled to Greece. Western Aegean Macedonia was occupied by Italy, with the western parts of Yugoslav Macedonia being annexed to Italian-occupied Albania. The remainder of Greek Macedonia (including all of the coast) was occupied by Nazi Germany. One of the worst episodes of the Holocaust happened here when 60,000 Jews from Thessaloniki were deported to extermination camps in occupied Poland. Only a few thousand survived.

Macedonia was liberated in 1944, when the Red Army's advance in the Balkan Peninsula forced the German forces to retreat. The pre-war borders were restored under U.S. and British pressure because the Bulgarian government was insisting to keep its military units on Greek soil. The Bulgarian Macedonia returned fairly rapidly to normality, but the Bulgarian patriots in Yugoslav Macedonia underwent a process of ethnic cleansing by the Belgrade authorities, and Greek Macedonia was ravaged by the Greek Civil War, which broke out in December 1944 and did not end until October 1949.

After this civil war, a large number of former ELAS fighters who took refuge in communist Bulgaria and Yugoslavia and described themselves as "ethnic Macedonians" were prohibited from reestablishing to their former estates by the Greek authorities. Most of them were accused in Greece for crimes committed during the period of the German occupation.

Macedonia in the Balkan Wars, World War I and II

The Balkan Wars

The imminent collapse of the Ottoman Empire was welcomed by the Balkan states, as it promised to restore their European territory. The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 proved a nationalistic movement thwarting the peoples' expectations of the empire's modernization and hastened the end of the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans. To this end, an alliance was struck among the Balkan states in Spring 1913. The First Balkan War, which lasted six weeks, commenced in August 1912, when Montenegro declared war on the Ottoman Empire, whose forces ultimately engaged four different wars in Thrace, Macedonia, Northern and Southern Albania and Kosovo. The Macedonian campaign was fought in atrocious conditions. The retreat of the Ottoman army from Macedonia succeeded the desperate effort of the Greek and Bulgarian forces to reach the city of Thessalonica, the "single prize of the first Balkan War" for whose status no prior agreements were done. In this case possession would be equal to acquisition. The Greek forces entered the city first liberating officially, a progress only positive for them. Glenny says: "for the Greeks it was a good war".

The first Balkan War managed to liberate Balkans from Turks and settled the major issues except Macedonia. In the spring 1913 the Serbs and Greeks begun the 'Serbianization' and the 'Hellenization' of the parts in Macedonia they already controlled, while Bulgarians faced some difficulties against the Jews[citation needed] and the Turkish populations. Moreover, the possession of Thessalonica was a living dream for the Bulgarians that were preparing for a new war. For this, the Bulgarian troops had a secret order in June 1913 to launch surprise attacks on the Serbs. Greece and Serbia signed a previous bilateral defensive agreement (May 1913). Consequently, Greece and Serbia decided to attack Bulgaria in its moment of maximum weakness, exhausted by its sacrifice the previous winter. Besides, they had to fight also the Romanians who were claim Bulgarian lands.

The Treaty of Bucharest (August 1913) took off most of the Bulgarian conquests of the previous years. Large part of Macedonia became Southern Serbia, including the territory of what today is the Republic of Macedonia and Aegean Macedonia became Northern Greece. Greece almost doubled its territory and population size and its northern frontiers remain today, more or less the same since the Balkan Wars. However, when Serbia acquired 'Vardarska Banovina' (the present-day Republic of Macedonia), it launched having expansionist views aiming to descend to the Aegean, with Thessalonica as the highest ambition. However, Greece after the population exchange with Bulgaria, soon after its victory in the Balkan wars, managed to give national homogeneity in the Aegean and any remaining Slavic-speakers were absorbed.

Many volunteers from Macedonia joined Bulgarian army and participated in the battles against Bulgarian enemies in these wars—on the strength of the Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps and other units.

World War I

After the World War I Macedonian Campaign the status quo of Macedonia remained the same. The establishment of the 'Kingdom of Serbians, Croats and Slovenes' in 1918, which in 1929 was renamed 'Yugoslavia' (South Slavia) predicted no special regime for Skopje neither recognized any Macedonian national identity. In fact, the claims to Macedonian identity remained silent at a propaganda level because, eventually, north Macedonia had been a Serbian conquest.

The situation in Serbian Macedonia changed after the Communist Revolution in Russia (1918–1919). According to Sfetas, Comintern was handling Macedonia as a matter of tactics, depending on the political circumstances. In the early 1920s it supported the position for a single and independent Macedonia in a Balkan Soviet Democracy. Actually, the Soviets desired a common front of the Bulgarian communist agriculturists and the Bulgarian-Macedonian societies in order to destabilize the Balkan Peninsula. The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), under the protection of Comintern, promoted the idea of an independent Macedonia in a Federation of Balkan states, unifying all Macedonians. However, the possible participation of Bulgaria in a new war, on the Axis side, ended the Soviet support some years later.

World War II

Bulgaria was forced to join the Axis powers in 1941, when German troops prepared to invade Greece from Romania reached the Bulgarian borders and demanded permission to pass through Bulgarian territory. Threatened by direct military confrontation, Tsar Boris III had no choice but to join the fascist block, which officially happened on 1 March 1941. There was little popular opposition, since the Soviet Union was in a non-aggression pact with Germany.

On April 6, 1941, despite having officially joined the Axis Powers, the Bulgarian government maintained a course of military passivity during the initial stages of the invasion of Yugoslavia and the Battle of Greece. As German, Italian, and Hungarian troops crushed Yugoslavia and Greece, the Bulgarians remained on the sidelines. The Yugoslav government surrendered on April 17. The Greek government was to hold out until April 30. On April 20, the period of Bulgarian passivity ended. The Bulgarian Army entered the Aegean region. The goal was to gain an Aegean Sea outlet in Thrace and Eastern Macedonia and much of eastern Serbia. The so-called Vardar Banovina was divided between Bulgaria and Italians which occupied West Macedonia. The Bulgarian occupation of Macedonia was viewed as oppressive by the inhabitants of the region, further distancing any previous affiliations between Macedonian and Bulgarians.

During the German occupation of Greece (1941–1944) the Greek Communist Party-KKE was the main resistance factor with its military branch EAM-ELAS (National Liberation Front). Although many members of EAM were Slavic-speaking, they had either Bulgarian, Greek or distinct Macedonian conscience. To take advantage of the situation KKE established SNOF with the cooperation of the Yugoslav leader Tito, who was ambitious enough to make plans for Greek Macedonia. For this he established the Anti-Fascistic Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) giving an actual liberating character to the whole region of Macedonia. Besides, KKE was very positive to the option of a greater Macedonia, including the Greek region, since it realized that a victory in the Greek Civil War was utopic. Later EAM and SNOF disagreed in issues of policy and they finally crashed and the latter was expelled from Greece (1944).

Post-World War II

The end of the War did not bring peace to Greece and a strenuous civil war between the Government forces and EAM broke out with about 50,000 casualties for both sides. The defeat of the Communists in 1949 forced their Slav-speaking members to either leave Greece or fully adopt Greek language and surnames. The slav minorities were discriminated against, and not even recognised as a minority. Since 1923 the only internationally recognized minority in Greece are the Muslims in Western Thrace.

Yugoslav Macedonia was the only region where Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito had not developed a Partisan movement because of the Bulgarian occupation of a large part of that area. To improve the situation, in 1943 the Communist Party of 'Macedonia' was established in Tetovo with the prospect that it would support the resistance against the Axis. In the meantime, the Bulgarians' violent repression led to loss of moral support from the civilian population. By the end of the war "a Macedonia national consciousness hardly existed beyond a general conviction, gained from bitter experience, that rule from Sofia was as unpalatable as that from Belgrade. But if there were no Macedonian nation there was a Communist Party of Macedonia, around which the People's Republic of Macedonia was built".

Tito thus separated Yugoslav Macedonia from Serbia after the war. It became a republic of the new federal Yugoslavia (as the Socialist Republic of Macedonia) in 1946, with its capital at Skopje. Tito also promoted the concept of a separate Macedonian nation, as a means of severing the ties of the Slav population of Yugoslav Macedonia with Bulgaria. Although the Macedonian language is very close to Bulgarian, the differences were deliberately emphasized and the region's historical figures were promoted as being uniquely Macedonian (rather than Serbian or Bulgarian).[citation needed] A separate Macedonian Orthodox Church was established, splitting off from the Serbian Orthodox Church, but it has not been recognized by any other Orthodox Church, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Communist Party sought to deter pro-Bulgarian sentiment, which was punished severely; convictions were still being handed down as late as 1991.

Tito had a number of reasons for doing this. First, as an ethnic Croat, he wanted to reduce Serbia's dominance in Yugoslavia; establishing a territory formerly considered Serbian as an equal to Serbia within Yugoslavia achieved this effect. Secondly, he wanted to sever the ties of the Macedonian Slav population with Bulgaria because recognition of that population as Bulgarian would have undermined the unity of the Yugoslav federation. Third of all, Tito sought to justify future Yugoslav claims towards the rest of Macedonia (Pirin and Aegean), in the name of the "liberation" of the region. The potential "Macedonian" state would remain as a constituent republic within Yugoslavia, and so Yugoslavia would manage to get access to the Aegean Sea.

Tito's designs on Macedonia were asserted as early as August, 1944, when in a proclamation he claimed that his goal was to reunify "all parts of Macedonia, divided in 1912 and 1913 by Balkan imperialists".[citation needed] To this end, he opened negotiations with Bulgaria for a new federal state, which would also probably have included Albania, and supported the Greek Communists in the Greek Civil War. The idea of reunification of all of Macedonia under Communist rule was abandoned as late as 1949 when the Greek Communists lost and Tito fell out with the Soviet Union and pro-Soviet Bulgaria.

Across the border in Greece, Slavophones were seen as a potentially disloyal "fifth column" within the Greek state by both the US and Greece, and their existence as a minority was officially denied. Greeks were resettled in the region many of whom emigrated (especially to Australia) along with many Greek-speaking natives, because of the hard economic conditions after the Second World War and the Greek Civil War. Although there was some liberalization between 1959 and 1967, the Greek military dictatorship re-imposed harsh restrictions. The situation gradually eased after Greece's return to democracy, although even as recently as the 1990s Greece has been criticised by international human rights activists for "harassing" Macedonian Slav political activists, who, nonetheless, are free to maintain their own political party (Rainbow). Elsewhere in Greek Macedonia, economic development after the war was brisk and the area rapidly became the most prosperous part of the region. The coast was heavily developed for tourism, particularly on the Halkidiki peninsula.

Under Georgi Dimitrov, Soviet loyalist and head of the Comintern, Bulgaria initially accepted the existence of a distinctive Macedonian identity. It had been agreed that Pirin Macedonia would join Yugoslav Macedonia and for this reason the population declared itself "Macedonian" in the 1946 census[citation needed]. This caused resentment and many people were imprisoned or interned in rural areas outside Macedonia. After Tito's split from the Soviet bloc this position was abandoned and the existence of a Macedonian nation or language was denied.

Attempts of Macedonian historians after the 1940s to claim a number of prominent figures of the 19th century Bulgarian cultural revival and armed resistance movement as Macedonians has caused ever since a bitter resentment in Sofia. Bulgaria has repeatedly accused the Republic of Macedonia of appropriating Bulgarian national heroes and symbols and of editing works of literature and historical documents so as to prove the existence of a Macedonian Slav consciousness before the 1940s. The publication in the Republic of Macedonia of the folk song collections 'Bulgarian Folk Songs' by the Miladinov Brothers and 'Songs of the Macedonian Bulgarians' by Serbian archaeologist Verkovic under the "politically correct" titles 'Collection' and 'Macedonian Folk Songs' are some of the examples quoted by the Bulgarians. The issue has soured the relations of Bulgaria with former Yugoslavia and later with the Republic of Macedonia for decades.

Foundation of the Republic of Macedonia as an independent state

Kiro Gligorov, the president of Yugoslav Macedonia, sought to keep his republic outside the fray of the Yugoslav wars in the early 1990s. Yugoslav Macedonia's very existence had depended on the active support of the Yugoslav state and Communist Party. As both began to collapse, the Macedonian authorities allowed and encouraged a stronger assertion of Macedonian Slav national identity than before. This included toleration of demands from Macedonian Slav nationalists for the reunification of Macedonia. The Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia were unhappy about an erosion of their national rights in the face of a more assertive Macedonian Slav nationalism. Some nationalist Serbs called for the republic's re-incorporation into Serbia, although in practice this was never a likely prospect, given Serbia's preoccupation with the wars in Bosnia and Croatia and the relatively small number of Serbs in the Republic of Macedonia compared to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As communism fell throughout Eastern Europe in the late 20th century, Macedonia followed its other federation partners and declared its independence from Yugoslavia in late 1991. In 1991, the (then Socialist) Republic of Macedonia held a referendum on independence which produced an overwhelming majority in favor of independence. The referendum was boycotted by the ethnic Albanians, although they did create ethnic political parties and actively contributed in the Macedonian government, parliament etc. The republic seceded peacefully from the Yugoslav federation, declaring its independence as the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Bulgaria was consequently the first country to officially recognize Republic of Macedonia's independence - as early as February 1992, followed by other countries as well. The new Macedonian constitution took effect November 20, 1991 and called for a system of government based on a parliamentary democracy. Kiro Gligorov became the first President of the new independent state, succeeded by Boris Trajkovski. In early January 2001 armed conflict took place between the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army (UÇK) militant group and the Republic of Macedonia's security forces. The conflict partially ended with the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement by the government of the Republic of Macedonia and Albanian representatives on August 13, 2001, which provided for greater rights for Macedonian Albanian population. In January 2002, the Macedonian conflict ended when the amnesty was announced to Albanian irregulars and rebels. Occasional unrest continued throughout 2002.

Controversy between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece

A controversy exists in regard to whether or not any parts of the historic region of Macedonia are incorporated in the present-day Republic of Macedonia, as very little if any of the ancient Macedonian kingdom is. There is also controversy, however, with regard to the Slavic peoples who are concentrated in less than half of the region. They first arrived in the late 6th and early 7th centuries AD when Slavic-speaking populations overturned Macedonia's Greek ethnic composition.[29] As a result, the appropriation by the "Republic of Macedonia" of what Greece held as its "Greek symbols", raised concerns in Greece as well as fuelling nationalist anger.[30] This anger was reinforced by the legacy of the Civil War and the view in some quarters, that members of Greece's Slavic-speaking minority were pro-Yugoslavian and presented a danger to its borders. The status of the Republic of Macedonia became a heated political issue in Greece where demonstrations took place in Athens while one million Macedonian Greeks took to the streets in Thessaloniki in 1992, under the slogan: "Macedonia is Greek", referring to the name and ancient history of the region, not posing a territorial claim against their northern neighbor. Initially, the Greek government objected formally to any use of the name Macedonia (including any derivative names) and also to the use of symbols such as the Vergina Sun. On the other hand, also in 1992, demonstrations by more than 100,000 ethnic Slav Macedonians took place in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, over the failure to receive recognition and supporting the constitutional name of the country.

The controversy was not just nationalist, but it also played out in Greece's internal politics. The two leading Greek political parties, the ruling conservative New Democracy under Constantine Mitsotakis and the socialist PASOK under Andreas Papandreou, sought to outbid each other in whipping up nationalist sentiment and the long-term (rather than immediate) threat posed by the apparent irredentist policies of Skopje. To complicate matters further, New Democracy itself was divided; the then prime minister, Mitsotakis, favored a compromise solution on the Macedonian question, while his foreign minister Adonis Samaras took a hard-line approach. The two eventually fell out and Samaras was sacked, with Mitsotakis reserving the foreign ministry for himself. He failed to reach an agreement on the Macedonian issue despite United Nations mediation; he fell from power in October 1993, largely as a result of Samaras causing the government's majority of one to fall in September 1993.

When Andreas Papandreou took power following the October 1993 elections, he established a "hard line" position on the issue. The United Nations recommended recognition of the "Republic of Macedonia" under the temporary name of the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (or FYROM for short), which would be used internationally while the country continued to use "Republic of Macedonia" as its constitutional name. The United States and European Union (therefore, including Greece) agreed to this proposal and duly recognized the Republic of Macedonia. This was followed by new, though smaller demonstrations in Greek cities against what was termed a "betrayal" by Greece's allies. Papandreou supported and encouraged the demonstrations, boosting his own popularity by taking the "hard line" against the Republic of Macedonia. In February 1994, he imposed a total trade embargo on the country, with the exception of food, medicines and humanitarian aid. The effect on the Republic of Macedonia's economy was limited, mainly because the real damage to its economy had been caused by the collapse of Yugoslavia and the loss of central European markets due to the war. Also, many Greeks broke the trade embargo by entering through Bulgaria. However, the embargo had bad impact on the Republic of Macedonia's economy as the country was cut-off from the port of Thessaloniki and became landlocked because of the UN embargo on Yugoslavia to the north, and the Greek embargo to the south. Later, the signing of the Interim accord between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia marked the increased cooperation between the two neighboring states. The blockade had a political cost for Greece, as there was little understanding or sympathy for the country's position, and exasperation over what was seen as Greek obstructionism from some of its European Union partners. Athens was criticized in some quarters for contributing to the rising tension in the Balkans, even though the wars in the former Yugoslavia were widely seen as having been triggered by the premature recognition of its successor republics, a move to which Greece had objected from the beginning.[citation needed] It later emerged that Greece had only agreed to the dissolution of Yugoslavia in return for EU solidarity on the Macedonian issue.[citation needed] In 1994, the European Commission took Greece to the European Court of Justice in an effort to overturn the embargo, but while the court provisionally ruled in Greece's favor, the embargo was lifted by Athens the following year before a final verdict was reached. This was for the "Republic of Macedonia" and Greece to enter into an "interim agreement" in which the Republic of Macedonia agreed to remove any implied territorial claims to the greater Macedonia region from its constitution and to drop the Vergina Sun from its flag. In return, Greece lifted the blockade.

Most of the countries have recognized the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name, notably the United States,[31] the People's Republic of China[32] and Russia,[33] and also its neighbours Bulgaria,[34] Serbia,[35] Croatia,[36] Slovenia,[37] Turkey[38] etc,[39] although as the country is referred in the UN only under the provisional reference the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", the constitutional name is generally used only in bilateral relations and in relations where a state not recognizing the constitutional name is not a party.

Discussions continue over the Greek objection regarding the country's name, but without any resolution so far.[40] The Greek government have linked progress on this issue to the Republic of Macedonia's accession to the European Union and NATO (for more on this, see Accession of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the European Union).

Republic of Macedonia, Croatia and Albania were qualified to join NATO and an invitation for those three countries was planned to be issued on the NATO summit in Bucharest (Romania), in April 2008.[41] Before the beginning of the summit, the American president Bush said that NATO would make a historic decision on the admission of three Balkan nations: Croatia, Albania and Macedonia; and that the United States strongly supported inviting these nations to join NATO.[42] However, during the summit NATO leaders decided not to extend a membership invitation to Macedonia because Greece vetoed the move after the dispute over the name issue. The Macedonian representative and negotiator with Greece in the name issue complained that the Republic of Macedonia was punished not because it had failed to fulfill NATO accession criteria, but because it had been trying to defend its national identity.[43] The NATO leaders agreed to extend a membership invitation for Macedonia as soon as the name issue with Greece is resolved, but until now no progress has been made in the negotiations between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece in order to resolve the name issue.

In November 2008, Republic of Macedonia filed a lawsuit against Greece before the International Court of Justice in The Hague accusing Athens that it violated the Interim Accord by blocking its NATO membership.[44]. In 1995, the two countries signed an agreement by which Macedonia agreed to use the provisional reference in international organizations, while Greece pledged not to block Macedonia's integration into the European Union and NATO.[45]

In March 2009 the European Parliament expressed support for the Republic of Macedonia’s EU candidacy and asked the EU to grant the country a date for the start of accession talks by the end of 2009, regretting that the country is waiting three years after the country was granted a candidate status, which makes a demoralizing effect on Macedonia and brings risks of destabilizing the whole region. The parliament also recommended a speedy lifting of the visa regime for the country citizens.[46]

Controversy between the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria

The number of ethnic Macedonians in Bulgaria is controversial as several Bulgarian censuses showed conflicting numbers of ethnic Macedonians living in that country. As the Bulgarian authorities did not publish the results of the 1946 census regarding the number of ethnic Macedonians in Bulgaria, Yugoslav sources claimed that some 252 000 people declared themselves as Macedonians in that census. Bulgarian embassy in London in 1991 stated that some 169 000 people were recorded as Macedonians on the same census.[47] The census in 1956 registered 187 789 ethnic Macedonians in Bulgaria.[48] During this period the Macedonian Language was to be the official language of Pirin Macedonia.[49] In 1992 the number of the ethnic Macedonians was 10,803[50] and in 2001 only 5,071 citizens declared as ethnic Macedonians. Bulgarian governments and public opinion throughout the period continued their policy of non-recognition of Macedonians as a distinct ethnic group. The recent Bulgarian view on the issue is that the Bulgarian policy after the Second World War regarding the Macedonians in Bulgaria was conducted despite the unwillingness of the local population to cooperate, in the conditions of the pressure and reprisals by the Bulgarian communists authorities against the Bulgarians in Pirin Macedonia.[51] After 1958 when the pressure from Moskow decreased, Sofia turned back to the view that the separate Macedonian language did not exist and that the Macedonians in Blagoevgrad province (Pirin Macedonia) were actually Bulgarians.

There are several ethnic Macedonian organizations in Bulgaria: "Traditional Macedonian Organization Ilinden", later renamed the "IMRO independent - Ilinden", registered in 1992 at the Sofia City Court. Later, in 1998, the organization was registered as a public NGO. The "United Macedonian Organization (UMO) - Ilinden" is another organization. In 1990, the Blagoevgrad District Court refused to register this organization as some parts of the organization statute weren't in accordance with the Bulgarian Constitution. In October 1994 this association split up on three different factions. Later two wings were unified under the "UMO Ilinden - PIRIN" organization. In 1998 the European Commission of Human Rights gave admissibility to two out of five complaints of Macedonians from Pirin Macedonia. After the Bulgarian Electoral Committee endorsed in 2001 the registration of a wing of UMO Ilinden, which had dropped separatist demands from its Charter, the mother organization became largely inactive. In 2007, the Sofia City Court refused registration of UMO Ilinden Pirin organization, despite an October 2005 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that a previous ban of the party violated rights to freedom of association and assembly. In November the European Parliament Rapporteur on Bulgaria and the Enlargement Commissioner of the European Commission urged the government to register the organization.[52]

There were repeated complaints of official harassment of ethnic Macedonian activists in the 1990s. Attempts of ethnic Macedonian organization UMO Ilinden to commemorate the grave of revolutionary Yane Sandanski throughout the 1990s were usually hampered by the Bulgarian police. Several incidents of mobbing of UMO Ilinden members by Bulgarian Macedonian organization IMRO activists were also reported.

There is a newspaper published by the Macedonian organizations in Bulgaria, Narodna Volja ("People's Will"), which is printed in 2,500 copies.[53]

Some cases of harassment of organizations of the Bulgarians in Republic of Macedonia and activists have been reported. In 2000 several teenagers threw smoke bombs at the conference of Bulgarian organization Radko in Skopje, causing panic and confusion among the delegates. The Macedonian Constitutional Court annulled the status and program of the organization (hence terminating its existence), as those documents question the constitutional establishment of Macedonia and creating national and religious hatred and intolerance.[54] Since then, apparently there are very little or not reported public activities of that organization.

Front cover of Songs of the Macedonian Bulgarians by Stefan Verkovic, first edition (1860)

In 2001 Radko issued in Skopje the original version of the folk song collection Bulgarian Folk Songs by the Miladinov Brothers (issued under an edited name in the Republic of Macedonia and viewed as a collection of Slav Macedonian lyrics). The book triggered a wave of other publications, among which the memoirs of the Greek bishop of Kastoria, in which he talked about the Greek-Bulgarian church struggle at the beginning of the 20th century, as well the Report of the Carnegie Commission on the causes and conduct of the Balkan Wars from 1913. Neither of these addressed the ethnic Macedonian population of Macedonia as Macedonians but as Bulgarians. Being the first publications to question the official Macedonian position of the existence of a distinct Macedonian identity going back to the time of Alexander the Great (Macedonism), the books triggered a reaction of shock and disbelief in Macedonian public opinion. The scandal after the publication of Bulgarian Folk Songs resulted in the sacking of the Macedonian Minister of Culture, Dimitar Dimitrov.[55]

As of 2000, Bulgaria started to grant Bulgarian citizenship to members of the Bulgarian minorities in a number of countries, including the Republic of Macedonia. The vast majority of the applications have been from Macedonian citizens. As of May 2004, some 14,000 Macedonians had applied for a Bulgarian citizenship on the grounds of Bulgarian origin and 4,000 of them had already received their Bulgarian passports. According to the official Bulgarian sources, in the period between 2000 to 2006 some 30 000 Macedonian citizens applied for Bulgarian citizenship, attracted by the Bulgaria's recent positive development and the opportunity to get European Union passports after Bulgaria joined EU on the beginning of 2007.[56] In 2006 the former Macedonian Premier and chief of IMRO-DPMNE Ljubčo Georgievski became a Bulgarian citizen.[57][58][59]

The rules governing good neighbourly relations agreed between Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia were set in the Joint Declaration of February 22, 1999 reaffirmed by a joint memorandum signed on January 22, 2008 in Sofia.[60] There are regular contacts between the Macedonian and Bulgarian officials, confirming the relatively good relationships between the two neighboring countries.[61][62]

See also


  1. ^ “Macedonia Redux”, Eugene N. Borza, The Eye Expanded: Life and the Arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity
  2. ^ Educational Institute of Greece (in Greek)
  3. ^ "Northwestern Greece is home to an indeterminate number of citizens who speak a Slavic dialect at home, particularly in Florina province. Estimates ranged widely, from under 10,000 to 50,000. A small number identified themselves as belonging to a distinct ethnic group and asserted their right to "Macedonian" minority status" "2002 U.S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Greece". March 31, 2003. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ R.J. Rodden and K.A. Wardle, Nea Nikomedia: The Excavation of an Early Neolithic Village in Northern Greece 1961-1964, Vol I, The Excavation and the Ceramic Assemblage, British School at Athens Supplementary Volume 25, 1996
  10. ^ A.C. Renfrew, The autonomy of the south-east European Copper Age, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 35 1969: 12-47.
  11. ^ Stella G. Souvatzi, A Social Archaeology of Households in Neolithic Greece: An Anthropological Approach Series: Cambridge Studies in Archaeology, 2008, 166-178
  12. ^ Colin Renfrew, Marija Gimbutas and Ernestine S. Elster 1986. Excavations at Sitagroi, a prehistoric village in northeast Greece. Vol. 1. Los Angeles : Institute of Archaeology, University of California, 1986, Monumenta archaeologica 13; E. Elster and C. Renfrew, Prehistoric Sitagroi: Excavations in Northeast Greece, 1968-1970, vol. 2: The Final Report, Monumenta Archaeologica 20 (Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, 2003), ISBN 931745-03-X
  13. ^ Stella G. Souvatzi, A Social Archaeology of Households in Neolithic Greece: An Anthropological Approach Series: Cambridge Studies in Archaeology, 2008, 217-220
  14. ^ Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War,2.99.
  15. ^ Borza, Eugene N. In the Shadow of Olympus: the Emergence of Macedon. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1990, ISBN 0691008809, p. 65. "There is no record of conflict between the Bryges and the local population; they are described as synoikoi ("fellow inhabitant" or neighbors) of the Macedonians."
  16. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica online - Paeonia
  17. ^ N.G.L. Hammond, "Connotations of 'Macedonia' and of 'Macedones' Until 323 B. C.", The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 45, No. 1, (1995), p. 122
  18. ^ The Celts. A history. Daithi O Hogain. Boydell Press. ISBN 0 -85115-923-0
  19. ^ The Early Medieval Balkans. John Fine. Page 71: "In 688/89 the emperor Justinian II marched through Thrace where at least enough Byzantine rule had been restored for a theme administration to be established.... The purpose of the campaign was to punish the Bulgars and Slavs. Justinian successfully subdued many Slavs (taking many captives) and reached Thessaloniki. On his return toward Constantinople in 689 he was ambushed by the Bulgars who wiped out most of his army"
  20. ^ The Balkans: from Constantinople to Communism. Dennis P Hupchick. New York
  21. ^ see the Macedonia (food) article for bibliography
  22. ^ Fraser, John Foster. London, New York: Cassell and company, 1912, p. 5
  23. ^ Cousinéry, Esprit Marie. Voyage dans la Macédoine: contenant des recherches sur l'histoire, la géographie, les antiquités de ce pay, Paris, 1831, Vol. II, p. 15-17, one of the passages in English - [1], Engin Deniz Tanir, The Mid-Nineteenth century Ottoman Bulgaria from the viewpoints of the French Travelers, A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate School of Social Sciences of Middle East Technical University, 2005, p. 99, 142,Kaloudova, Yordanka. Documents on the situation of the population in the southwestern Bulgarian lands under Turkish rule, Военно-исторически сборник, 4, 1970, p. 72
  24. ^ Pulcherius, Receuil des historiens des Croisades. Historiens orientaux. III, p. 331 – a passage in English -
  25. ^ Journal Bulgarski knizhitsi, Constantinople, No. 10 May 1858, p. 19, in English - [2], From a letter of Georgi Gogov, Voden, to G.S. Rakovski, Belgrade, regarding the abuses perpetrated by the Greek bishop Nikodim and his persecution of Bulgarian patriots,Newspaper Makedonia, Constantinople, No. 26, May 27th, 1867, Vacalopulos, Konstandinos A. Modern history of Macedonia, Thessaloniki 1988, p. 52, 57, 64
  26. ^ Krste Petkov Misirkov, On the Macedonian Matters, Sofia 1903
  27. ^ Wilkinson Henry Robert. Maps and politics: a review of the ethnographic cartography of Macedonia. University Press, 1951, p. 132 "still subscribed to the view that Macedonia was Bulgarian territory. For example... the Vidal Lablache atlas, all contained pro-Bulgarian ethnographic maps of the Balkans"
  28. ^ Robert Shannan Peckham, Map mania: nationalism and the politics of place in Greece, 1870–1922, Political Geography, 2000, p.4: [3] "Other maps by amongst others the Frenchman F. Bianconi [1877], who was the chief architect and engineer of the Ottoman railways, A. Synvet [1877] and Karl Sax [1878], a former Austrian consul in Andrianople, were similarly favourable to the Greek cause."
  29. ^ Macedonia. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 16, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service: [4]
  30. ^ Floudas, Demetrius Andreas; ""A Name for a Conflict or a Conflict for a Name? An Analysis of Greece's Dispute with FYROM”". 24 (1996) Journal of Political and Military Sociology, 285. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  31. ^ Republican-controlled federal government: "Background Note: Macedonia". Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
       See also: Democratic-controlled Congress uses the designation "Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)": NATO "NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)". Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  32. ^ "People's daily". China, Macedonia Sign Joint Communique on Normalization of Relations. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  33. ^ "PM Gruevski signs Yeltsin book of condolence". Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  34. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Diplomatic Missions, Macedonia. Retrieved on 2007-01-25
  35. ^ "Embassy of the Republic of Serbia". Skopje Republic of Macedonia. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  36. ^ 23 29.03.1993 Odluka o osnivanju Veleposlanstva Republike Hrvatske u Republici Makedoniji, sa sjedištem u Skopju
  37. ^ Uradni list RS ­ 21/1992, Uredbeni del
  38. ^ "NATO Update - Week of 9–15 June 1999". Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  39. ^ "New Draft Resolution Won't Change US Position Towards Macedonia - Foreign Ministry", MIA news agency, Skopje. 9 August 2007
  40. ^ Floudas, Demetrius Andreas; ""Pardon? A Name for a Conflict? FYROM's Dispute with Greece Revisited”" (PDF). in: Kourvetaris et al. (eds.), The New Balkans, East European Monographs: Columbia University Press, 2002, p. 85. 
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ "Interim Accord". United Nations. 1995. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  46. ^
  47. ^ Poulton, Hugh (2000). Who are the Macedonians?. C. Hurst and co. Publishers, p.148. ISBN 1850655340.
  48. ^ Bates, Daniel. 1994. “What's in a Name: Minorities, Identity and Politics in Bulgaria,” Identities, Vol.1, No.2, May 1994
  49. ^ Poulton, Hugh (2000). Who are the Macedonians?. C. Hurst and co. Publishers, p.107. ISBN 1850655340.
  50. ^ Center for Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe - Southeast Europe, Macedonians of Bulgaria
  51. ^ Ангелов, Веселин. Хроника на едно национално предателство, София 1999, p. 298-302
  52. ^ Amnesty International Report 2007 - Bulgaria
  53. ^
  54. ^ MILS NEWS: Constitutional court abrogates registration of Radko association
  55. ^ Revision of the language and history of Macedonia, Christian Foss, published in "Kultura" newspaper, 8 ed., August, 2001
  56. ^ "The Sofia Echo: 82 000 Foreigners apply for Bulgarian citizenship". 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  57. ^ "Former Macedonian Prime Minister received a Bulgarian passport" (in Bulgarian). Trud. 2006-07-16. 
  58. ^ "Former Prime Minister of Macedonia became Bulgarian" (in Bulgarian). Monitor. 2006-07-16. Retrieved 2006-07-16. 
  59. ^ "Expremier-deputy of Macedonia Ljubcho Georgievski declared: "I'm Bulgarian" and received citizenship, passport and registration in Blagoevgrad, pulling down the pyramid of historical falsifications of Skopje" (in Bulgarian). Struma. 2006-07-14. Retrieved 2006-07-16. 
  60. ^ Bulgarian Policies on the Republic of Macedonia: Recommendations on the development of good neighbourly relations following Bulgaria's accession to the EU and in the context of NATO and EU enlargement in the Western Balkans. Sofia: Manfred Wörner Foundation, 2008. 80 pp. (Trilingual publication in Bulgarian, Macedonian and English) ISBN 978-954-92032-2-6
  61. ^ Macedonian Radio Television:PM Gruevski visits Bulgaria, November 2007
  62. ^ Macedonian Information Agency:Bulgarian Prime Minister Stanishev visits Macedonia, December 2008

External links

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe, comprising parts of five countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia (also known as the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" or FYROM), Bulgaria and smaller areas of Albania and Serbia.



On ancient Macedonian history

Ancient Sources


  • Afterwards they added races for chariots and pairs of foals, and for single foals with rider. It is said that the victors proclaimed were: for the chariot and pair, Belistiche, a woman from the seaboard of Macedonia; for the ridden race, Tlepolemus of Lycia. Tlepolemus, they say, won at the hundred and thirty-first Festival, and Belistiche at the third before this.
  • The Phocians were deprived of their share in the Delphic sanctuary and in the Greek assembly, and their votes were given by the Amphictyons to the Macedonians.
  • They say that Amphictyon himself summoned to the common assembly the following tribes of the Greek people:--Ionians, Dolopes, Thessalians, Aenianians, Magnesians, Malians, Phthiotians, Dorians, Phocians, Locrians who border on Phocis, living at the bottom of Mount Cnemis. But when the Phocians seized the sanctuary, and the war came to an end nine years afterwards, there came a change in the Amphictyonic League. The Macedonians managed to enter it, while the Phocian nation and a section of the Dorians, namely the Lacedaemonians, lost their membership, the Phocians because of their rash crime, the Lacedaemonians as a penalty for allying themselves with the Phocians.
  • There remain of Europe, first, Macedonia and the part of Thrace that are contiguous to it and extend as far as Byzantium; secondly, Greece; and thirdly, the Islands that are close by. Macedonia, of course, is a part of Greece, yet now, since I am following the nature and shape of the place geographically, I have decided to classify it apart from the rest of Greece and to join it with that part of Thrace...
    • Strabo, "Geography", VII, Frg. 9, Loeb
  • The Aegean sea washes Greece on two sides: first, the side that faces towards the east and stretches from Sunium, towards the north as far as the Thermaean Gulf and Thessaloniceia, a Macedonian city...; and secondly, the side that faces towards the south, I mean the Macedonian country, extending from Thessaloniceia as far as the Strymon.
    • Strabo, "Geography", 7.7.4-5
  • Three classes inhabited the city (Alexandria in Egypt): first the Aegyptian or native stock of people, who were quick-tempered and not inclined to civil life; and secondly the mercenary class, who were severe and numerous and intractable...; and, third, the tribe of the Alexandrians, who also were not distinctly inclined to civil life, and for the same reasons, but still they were better than those others, for even though they were a mixed people, still they were Greeks by origin and mindful of the customs common to the Greeks.
    • Strabo, "Geography", 17.1.12-13
  • What is now called Macedonia was in earlier times called Emathia. And it took its present name from Macedon, one of its early chieftains. And there was also a city emathia close to the sea. Now a part of this country was taken and held by certain of the Epeirotes and the Illyrians, but most of it by the Bottiaei and the Thracians. The Bottiaei came from Crete originally, so it is said, along with Botton as chieftain. As for the Thracians, the Pieres inhabited Pieria and the region about Olympus; the Paeones, the region on both sides of the Axius River, which on that account is called Amphaxitis; the Edoni and Bisaltae, the rest of the country as far as the Strymon. Of these two peoples the latter are called Bisaltae alone, whereas a part of the Edoni are called Mygdones, a part Edones, and a part Sithones. But of all these tribes the Argeadae, as they are called, established themselves as masters, and also the Chalcidians of Euboea; for the Chalcidians of Euboea also came over to the country of the Sithones and jointly peopled about thirty cities in it, although later on the majority of them were ejected and came together into one city, Olynthus; and they were named the Thracian Chalcidians.
    • Strabo, "Geography", book 7, Fragm 11


  • He also buried the Persian commanders and the Greek mercenaries who were killed fighting on the side of the enemy. But as many of them as he took prisoners he bound in fetters and sent them away to Macedonia to till the soil, because, though they were Greeks, they were fighting against Greece on behalf of the foreigners in opposition to the decrees which the Greeks had made in their federal council. To Athens also he sent 300 suits of Persian armour to be hung up in the Acropolis as a votive offering to Athena, and ordered this inscription to be fixed over them, "Alexander, son of Philip and all the Greeks except the Lacedaemonians", present this offering from the spoils taken from the foreigners inhabiting Asia".
  • 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 of 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!
  • Your ancestors came to Macedonia and the rest of Hellas and did us great harm, though we had done them no prior injury. I have been appointed leader of the Greeks, and wanting to punish the Persians I have come to Asia, which I took from you...
    • Alexander's letter to Persian king Darius in response to a truce plea. Arrian, "Anabasis Alexandri", II, 14, 4
  • He (King Philip) wanted as many Greeks as possible to take part in the festivities in honour of the gods, and so planned brilliant musical contests and lavish banquets for his friends and guests. Out of all Greece he summoned his personal guest-friends and ordered the members of his court to bring along as many as they could of their acquaintances from abroad.
  • Every seat in the theater was taken when Philip appeared wearing a white cloak and by his express orders his bodyguard held away from him and followed only at a distance, since he wanted to show publicly that he was protected by the goodwill of all the Greeks, and had no need of a guard of spearmen.
  • Such was the end of Philip (II, king of Macedonia) ...He had ruled 24 years. He is known to fame as one who with but the slenderest resources to support his claim to a throne won for himself the greatest empire among the Hellenes (Greeks), while the growth of his position was not due so much to his prowess in arms as to his adroitness and cordiality in diplomacy.
  • Now that these descendants of Perdiccas are Greeks, as they themselves say, I myself chance to know and will prove it in the later part of my history.
  • Alexander ( I of Macedon), however, proving himself to be an Argive, was judged to be a Greek. He accordingly competed in the furlong race and tied step for first place.
  • The following took part in the war: from the Peloponnese, the Lacedaemonians provided sixteen ships; the Corinthians the same number as at Artemisium; the Sicyonians furnished fifteen ships, the Epidaurians ten, the Troezenians five, the Hermioneans three. All of these except the Hermioneans are Dorian and Macedonian and had last come from Erineus and Pindus and the Dryopian region. The Hermioneans are Dryopians, driven out of the country now called Doris by Herakles and the Malians.
  • Men of Athens... In truth I would not tell it to you if I did not care so much for all Hellas (Greece); I myself am by ancient descent a Greek, and I would not willingly see Hellas change her freedom for slavery. I tell you, then, that Mardonius and his army cannot get omens to his liking from the sacrifices. Otherwise you would have fought long before this. Now, however, it is his purpose to pay no heed to the sacrifices, and to attack at the first glimmer of dawn, for he fears, as I surmise, that your numbers will become still greater. Therefore, I urge you to prepare, and if (as may be) Mardonius should delay and not attack, wait patiently where you are; for he has but a few days' provisions left. If, however, this war ends as you wish, then must you take thought how to save me too from slavery, who have done so desperate a deed as this for the sake of Hellas in my desire to declare to you Mardonius' intent so that the barbarians may not attack you suddenly before you yet expect them. I who speak am Alexander the Macedonian.
  • The Aitolians, the Akarnanians, the Macedonians, men of the same speech, are united or disunited by trivial causes that arise from time to time; with aliens, with barbarians, all Greeks wage and will wage eternal war; for they are enemies by the will of nature, which is eternal, and not from reasons that change from day to day...
  • Yet through Alexander (the Great) Bactria and the Caucasus learned to revere the gods of the Greeks ... Alexander established more than seventy cities among savage tribes, and sowed all Asia with Greek magistracies ... Egypt would not have its Alexandria, nor Mesopotamia its Seleucia, nor Sogdiana its Prophthasia, nor India its Bucephalia, nor the Caucasus a Greek city, for by the founding of cities in these places savagery was extinguished and the worse element, gaining familiarity with the better, changed under its influence.
  • If it were not my purpose to combine foreign things with things Greek, to traverse and civilize every continent, to search out the uttermost parts of land and sea, to push the bounds of Macedonia to the farthest Ocean, and to disseminate and shower the blessings of Greek justice and peace over every nation, I should not be content to sit quietly in the luxury of idle power, but I should emulate the frugality of Diogenes. But as things are, forgive me, Diogenes, that I imitate Heracles, and emulate Perseus, band follow in the footsteps of Dionysus, the divine author and progenitor of my family, and desire that victorious Greeks should dance again in India and revive the memory of the Bacchic revels among the savage mountain tribes beyond the Caucasus.
  • What spectator... would not exclaim... that through Fortune the foreign host was prevailing beyond its deserts, but through Virtue the Hellenes were holding out beyond their ability? And if the ones (i.e., the enemy) gains the upper hand, this will be the work of Fortune or of some jealous deity or of divine retribution; but if the others (i.e., the Greeks) prevail, it will be Virtue and daring, friendship and fidelity, that will win the guerdon of victory? These were, in fact, the only support that Alexander had with him at this time, since Forune had put a barrier between him and the rest of his forces and equipment, fleets, horse, and camp. Finally, the Macedonians routed the barbarians, and, when they had fallen, pulled down their city on their heads.
  • In the presence of Zeus, Hera, and Apollo: in the presence of the Genius of Carthage, of Heracles, and Iolaus: in the presence of Ares, Triton, and Poseidon: in the presence of the gods who battle for us and the Sun, Moon, and Earth; in the presence of Rivers, Lakes, and Waters: in the presence of all the gods who possess Macedonia and the rest of Greece: in the presence of all the gods of the army who preside over this oath.
    • Polybius, "Histories", VII, 9.2-3, Loeb
  • Surely it would have been much more dignified and fairer to include Philip's achievements in the history of Greece than to include the history of Greece in that of Philip.
    • Polybius, (Statement on Theopompus), "Histories", VIII, 11.4, Loeb
  • How highly should we honor the Macedonians, who for the greater part of their lives never cease from fighting with the barbarians for the sake of the security of Greece? For who is not aware that Greece would have constantly stood in the greater danger, had we not been fenced by the Macedonians and the honorable ambition of their kings?
  • Then your rivals in the struggle for supremacy and renown were the Achaeans and Macedonians, peoples of your own race, and Philip was their commander.
  • For in their anxiety to get the better of Philip and humiliate the Macedonians, they have without knowing it invoked such a cloud from the west as may, perhaps, at first only cast its shadow on Macedonia, but in time will be the cause of great evil to all Greece.
    • Polybius, "Histories", IX, 37.10, Loeb
  • Holy shadows of the dead, I'm not to blame for your cruel and bitter fate, but the accursed rivalry which brought sister nations and brother people, to fight one another. I do not feel happy for this victory of mine. On the contrary, I would be glad, brothers, if I had all of you standing here next to me, since we are united by the same language, the same blood and the same visions.
    • Alexander the Great addressing the dead Greeks of the battle of Chaeronia. Curtius Rufus, "Historia"
  • The country on the sea coast, now called Macedonia, was first acquired by Alexander (I), the father of Perdiccas, and his ancestors, originally Temenids from Argos.
    • Thucydides, " The Peloponnesian War", London, 2.99.3, J. M. Dent, New York, E. P. Dutton, 1910

Military commanders

  • Caesar judged that he must drop everything else and pursue Pompey where he had betaken himself after his flight, so that he should not be able to gather more forces and renew, and he advanced daily as far as he could go with the cavalry and ordered a legion to follow shorter stages. An edict had been published in Pompey's name that all the younger men in the province (Macedonia), both Greeks and Roman citizens, should assemble to take an oath.


  • For at a congress of the Lacedaemonian allies and the other Greeks, in which Amyntas, the father of Philip, being entitled to a seat, was represented by a delegate whose vote was absolutely under his control, he joined the other Greeks in voting to help Athens to recover possession of Amphipolis. As proof of this I presented from the public records the resolution of the Greek congress and the names of those who voted.
  • Argos is the land of your fathers.
  • Therefore, since the others are so lacking in spirit, I think it is opportune for you to head the war against the King; and, while it is only natural for the other descendants of Heracles, and for men who are under the bonds of their polities and laws, to cleave fondly to that state in which they happen to dwell, it is your privilege, as one who has been blessed with untrammeled freedom, to consider all Hellas (Greece) your fatherland, as did the founder of your race, and to be as ready to brave perils for her sake as for the things about which you are personally most concerned.
  • ... all men will be grateful to you: the Hellenes (Greeks) for your kindness to them and the rest of the nations, if by your hands they are delivered from barbaric despotism and are brought under the protection of Hellas.


  • And she conceived and bore to Zeus, who delights in the thunderbolt, two sons, Magnes and Macedon, rejoicing in horses, who dwell round about Pieria and Olympus.
    • Hesiod, "Catalogues of Women and Eoiae", 3, Loeb, H.G. Evelyn-White

Modern Sources


  • Greek epigraphic monuments created before definitive Roman domination of our area are to be found in modest quantity.
    • Vera Bitrakova Grozdanova, ethnic Macedonian archaeologist, "Hellenistic Monuments in S.R.Macedonia", Skopje, 1987,p. 130
  • Macedonia and Epirus were the buffers of Greece in Europe...
    • R. M. Cook, British archaeologist, "The Greeks until Alexander", 1962, p. 23
  • At the end of the Early Iron Age kings still reigned in Argos, Messenia, Epirus and Macedonia, and at Sparta there was the curious system of two co-regnant kings. But most Greek states were governed by aristocracies with annual magistrates of limited functions and a permanent council, whether hereditary or chosen...
    • R. M. Cook, British archaeologist, "The Greeks until Alexander", 1962, p. 65
  • Herodotus stated quite clearly that Perdiccas, the first recorded king of Macedonia, and his descendants were Greeks and there is no reason why we should not take the Father of History's word on this fundamental point..
    • John Crossland, British archaeologist and Diana Constance, "Macedonian Greece", p.16, W.W. Norton & Company (September 1982)
  • Tradition held the other element to be Hellenic, and no one in the fourth century seriously questioned its belief.
  • The king [of macedon] was chief in the first instance of a race of plain-dwellers, who held themselves to be, like him, of Hellenic stock.
  • From Alexander I, who rode to the Athenian pickets the night before Plataea and proclaimed himself to the generals their friend and a Greek, down to Amyntas, father of Philip, who joined forces with Lacedaemon in 382, the kings of Macedon bid for Greek support by being more Hellenic than the Hellenes[...] Archelaus patronized Athenian poets and Athenian drama and commissioned Euripides to dramatize the deeds of his Argive ancesto[...] "Macedonia" therefore, throughout historical times until the accession of Philip the Second, presents the spectacle of a nation that was no nation, but a group of discordant units, without community of race, religion, speech or sentiment, resultant from half-accomplished conquest and weak as the several sticks of the faggot in the fable.
  • We are not to be amazed that in the archaeological material of Pelagonia we have a rarely great wealth of reflections of all pronounced cultural events in the relations between middle-Danubian and Graeco-Aegean world [...] In a such great chronological distance in the life of ancient Pelagonia two stages are visible: development and existence in the frames of Hellenic culture and later the Roman one.
    • Ivan Mikulčić, ethnic Macedonian archaeologist, "Pelagonija", Skopje, 1966, p.2, p.4
  • The star of Vergina applies to the 3rd Century BC northern Greece - a very different situation, not related to the 21st Century AD. I think it's modern politics, and we're witnessing the use of an archaeological symbol for history that it's really not related to.
    • Bajana Mojsov, ethnic Macedonian archaeologist, "BBC News (2004), When archaeology gets bent, BBC World Service, 2004, The World Today programme", Accessed 12 October 2006
  • Here we notice that in acts the term "Hellenes" (or "Greeks") is used with noteworthy propriety: the people of Thessalonica, of Berea, of Ephesus, of Iconium. and of Syrian Antioch are spoken of as Hellenes. Those were all cities which had no claim to be Roman, except in the general way of being parts of the Roman provinces Macedonia, Galatia, and Syria. They were counted Greek cities, and reckoned themselves as such.
  • With the end of Iron Age III, i.e. with the total Hellenisation of material culture, the prehistory of Macedonia ends.
    • Vojislav Sanev, ethnic Macedonian archaeologist, "Prehistory of S.R. Macedonia", Skopje 1977, p.13


  • Soon after Athens had reached the height of its glory under Pericles in the Fifth Century, B. C., and had started on its decline, the rise of Macedon under Philip carried Greek influence into new regions. The glory of Athens had been based upon sea power, but the conquests of Macedon were the work of land armies— Philip invented the invincible phalanx. Upon Philip's death his son, Alexander the Great, set forth to conquer the whole of the then known world, and as that world in his day lay to the east, his marches were in that direction. In a few years he had overrun the fertile plains and opulent cities of Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia, and had carried his conquests to the gates of Delhi. In all the cities in the intervening countries he left large garrisons of Greek soldiers. In many of these countries he founded flourishing new cities. In every place his soldiers were followed by large colonies of Greek civilians. The result was that the whole of western Asia, and of what we call the Near East, including Asia Minor Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Persia, and northwestern India, was saturated with the Greek influence and with Greek colonies.
    • Henry Morgenthau, "I was sent to Athens", Doubleday, Doran & Company, inc (1929)
  • The imagination of these conquered peoples was dazzled by the introduction of Greek art, literature, philosophy, and public works. Though the successors of Alexander were unable to maintain the political control of the lands he conquered, and though successive waves of Roman, Arabian, and Tartar conquests swept over these lands in succeeding centuries, none of the later conquerors has been able wholly to eradicate the influence of Greek culture, nor to exterminate that element of population which was of Greek blood.
    • Henry Morgenthau, "I was sent to Athens", Doubleday, Doran & Company, inc (1929)


  • Philip II, at least from the time of his victory over Phocis, Athens, and their allies in 346, prepared to proclaim himself the champion of a United Greece against the barbarians.
  • Our understanding of the Macedonians' emergence into history is confounded by two events: the establishment of the Macedonians as an identifiable ethnic group, and the foundation of their ruling house. The "highlanders" or "Makedones" of the mountainous regions of western Macedonia are derived from northwest Greek stock; they were akin both to those who at an earlier time may have migrated south to become the historical "Dorians", and to other Pindus tribes who were the ancestors of the Epirotes or Molossians. That is, we may suggest that northwest Greece provided a pool of Indo-European speakers of Proto-Greek from which were drawn the tribes who later were known by different names as they established their regional identities in separate parts of the country... First, the matter of the Hellenic origins of the Macedonians: Nicholas Hammond's general conclusion (though not the details of his arguments) that the origin of the Macedonians lies in the pool of proto-Greek speakers who migrated out of the Pindus mountains during the Iron Age, is acceptable.
  • Only recently have we begun to clarify these muddy waters by revealing the Demosthenean corpus for what it is: oratory designed to sway public opinion and thereby to formulate public policy. That elusive creature, Truth, is everywhere subordinate to Rhetoric; Demosthenes' pronouncements are no more the true history of the period than are the public statements of politicians in any age.
    • Eugene N. Borza, "In The Shadow of Olympus", pp. 5-6, Princeton University Press
  • There is no doubt that this tradition of a superimposed Greek house was widely believed by the Macedonians [...] There was a persistent, well attested tradition in antiquity that told of a group of Greeks from Argos -descendants of Temenus, kinsman of Heracles- who came to Macedonia and established their rule over the Makedones, unifying them and providing a royal house.
    • Eugene N. Borza, "In The Shadow of Olympus", p. 80, Princeton University Press
  • "There is no reason to deny the Macedonians' own traditions about their early kings and the migration of the Macedones[..] The basic story as provided by Herodotus and Thucydides, minus the interpolation of the Temenid connections, undoubtedly reflects the Macedonians' own traditions about their early history.
    • Eugene N. Borza, "In The Shadow of Olympus", p. 84, Princeton University Press
  • Their daughter, who would be the half-sister of Alexander the Great and, later the wife of Cassander, was appropriately named Thessalonike, to commemorate Philip's victory in Thessaly. In 315 Cassander founded at or near the site of ancient Therme the great city that still bears her name.
    • Eugene N. Borza, "In The Shadow of Olympus", p.220, Princeton University Press
  • Alexander ruled the world as his father had ruled Macedon, concentrating power in his own hands and office to his Companions. In nationality the Companions remained overwhelmingly Hellenic.
    • A.B. Bosworth, professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Western Australia, "Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great", Cambridge University Press, Reissue Edition, March 1993
  • It [Corinthian League] comprised states, which were each bound to Macedon by bilateral treaties; and it was perfectly natural that they should create a general alliance under the leadership of the Macedonian king, acting as the spiritual successors of the Hellenic League of 480 BC.
    • A.B. Bosworth, professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Western Australia, "Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great", Cambridge University Press, Reissue Edition, March 1993
  • The prime example of a change in status is the case of Aspendus in Pamphylia. The degree of hellenism there has been questioned in recent years, but Alexander certainly regarded the city as Greek, There seems to have been no doubt about the Aeolic origins of the harbariscd population of Side (cf. Air. 1.26.4). The Aspendians, who at least used a dialect, which was recognizably Greek, were granted citizen rights at Argos in the latter part of the fourth century, as kinsmen and (probably) colonists, and the people of Cilician Soli who also claimed Argive origins were given privileged access to the assembly. They were certainly regarded as Hellenic communities and Alexander will have treated them as such, as he did the people of Mallus, whose Argive origins inspired his generosity (Arr. 11.5.9)[...] Alexander himself seems to have made little distinction in his last years between Greeks of Europe or Asia, or even between Greeks and Barbarians.
    • A.B. Bosworth, professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Western Australia, "Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great", Cambridge University Press, Reissue Edition, March 1993
  • Macedonian kings were proud of their Greek blood, and it was only jaundiced opponents like Demosthenes the Athenian who ventured to call them "barbarians." They claimed descent from Hêrakles through the Dorian Kings of Argos, and they learned the tales of Troy and of Odysseus, and the songs of the Greek lyric poets, as they learned their letters. Fifty years before Alexander was born, a King of Macedon had been proud to give a home to the aged "modernist" playwright, Euripides, eighty years old and sick and tired of a democracy which had led Athens into defeat and revolution, and whose philistines accused Euripides of preaching atheism and immorality…
    • A. R. Burn, "Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Empire", Macmillan, 1948, p.4
  • Macedonia (or Macedon) was an ancient, somewhat backward kingdom in northern Greece. Its emergence as a Hellenic (Greek) power was due to a resourceful king, Philip II (359-336), whose career has been unjustly overshadowed by the deeds of his son, Alexander the Great.
    • Mortimer Chambers, Professor of History at the University of California at Los Angeles, "The Western Experience", p. 79, Mortimer Chambers et al, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2nd edition, 1997
  • Such a glorious ancestry was in the eyes of Greeks the hallmark of the Hellenic persona of the king of Macedon, who could, on the other hand, rely on fidelity of the people from which he had sprung. The Greek cities did not feel that they were allying with a barbarian, since for generations the Macedonian dynasty had been allowed, as Greeks, to take part in the Olympic games, where they won prizes[...]In Greece proper nevertheless, there remained a number of people like Demosthenes, who had in no way renounce their hatred of Macedon. They did not lack the means to take action: the new king of Persia, Darius III Codomannus, whose reign started in 336, anxious to war off the threat of a Macedonian invasion, liberally distributed among the Greeks funds that were to buy consciences and cover the expenses of war against Alexander.
    • Francois Chamoux, French historian, "Hellenistic Civilization", Blackwell Publishing Professional, 2002, p.8, 9’’
  • To a certain extent the Macedonian monarchy had already been a unifying element in Greek history, even before the conquests of Alexander.
  • We have for the first time a standard of Macedonian royal burial by which to judge other rich tombs. We have much new information on the military equipment of the era. We have a whole new chapter in the history of Greek tomb paintings, a fragmentary field but one which throws unique and contemporary light on the whole lost achievement of Greek free painting.
  • The king of the Macedonians was now a member of the Synhedrion, whose decrees had to be expressly ratified by the individual states. These Hellenistic Leagues, directed by Macedon, rounded off a process of which the general unity is unmistakable, quite apart from all that was conditioned by the time and the special circumstances of each case.
  • For the Greeks of the third century B.C., it is true, the Hellenistic world was only an extension of the earlier Greek world; that in itself is perhaps sufficient justification for including the present discussions under the one general title. There is more to add. It was Greeks who most strongly determined the general spirit and the cultural form of the Hellenistic age. It was the Greek spirit which, nourished and merged in the stream of Greek evolution, took over the local influences.
  • Alexander and the Macedonians carried Greek civilization into the East. It is, I believe, a historical fact that a command was issued by the king to the Greek states to worship him as a god; with this the monarchy took a new form, which went far beyond the Macedonian or Persian model, and which was destined to have immense importance in world history. How far Alexander deliberately tried to Hellenize the East remains uncertain; but the outcome certainly was that he opened up the world to a Greek.
  • Ancient allegations that the Macedonians were non-Greeks all had their origin in Athens at the time of the struggle with Philip II. Then as now, political struggle created the prejudice. The orator Aeschines once even found it necessary, in order to counteract the prejudice vigorously fomented by his opponents, to defend Philip on this issue and describe him at a meeting of the Athenian Popular Assembly as being 'Entirely Greek'. Demosthenes' allegations were lent on appearance of credibility by the fact, apparent to every observer, that the life-style of the Macedonians, being determined by specific geographical and historical conditions, was different from that of a Greek city-state. This alien way of life was, however, common to western Greeks of Epiros, Akarnania and Aitolia, as well as to the Macedonians, and their fundamental Greek nationality was never doubted. Only as a consequence of the political disagreement with Macedonia was the issue raised at all.
    • Malcolm Errington, "A History of Macedonia", University of California Press, February 1993
  • The Molossians were the strongest and, decisive for Macedonia, most easterly of the three most important Epirote tribes, which, like Macedonia but unlike the Thesprotians and the Chaonians, still retained their monarchy. They were Greeks, spoke a similar dialect to that of Macedonia, suffered just as much from the depredations of the Illyrians and were in principle the natural partners of the Macedonian king who wished to tackle the Illyrian problem at its roots.
    • Malcolm Errington, "A History of Macedonia", University of California Press, February 1993
  • …demonstrate that not even the forces of nature could thwart the advance of the Great King. The most northerly Greek state, the Kingdom of Macedon, had already submitted to Xerxes' envoys: Thessaly did not resist either.
    • Colin McEvedy, "The New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History: Revised Edition", p. 62
  • The Macedonian kings, who maintained that their Greek ancestry traced back to Zeus, had long given homes and patronage to Greece's most distinguished artists.
  • But Alexander was stressing his link with Achilles... Achilles was also a stirring Greek hero, useful for a Macedonian king whose Greek ancestry did not stop Greeks from calling him a barbarian.
  • No man, and only one hero, had been called invincible before him, and then only by a poet, but the hero was Heracles, ancestor of the Macedonian kings.
  • To his ancestors (to a Persian's ancestors) Macedonians were only known as 'yona takabara', the 'Greeks who wear shields on their heads', an allusion to their broad-brimmed hats.
  • As for the hired Greeks in Persian service, thousands of the dead were to be buried, but the prisoners were bound in fetters and sent to hard labour in Macedonia, because they had fought as Greeks against Greeks, on behalf of barbarians, contrary to the common decrees of the Greek allies.
  • Alexander son of Philip and the Greeks, except the Spartans..., as Sparta did not consider it to be her fathers' practice to follow, but to lead.
  • In spirit, Alexander made a gesture to the Lydians' sensitivities, though his Greek crusade owed them nothing as they were not Greeks.
  • Alexander was not the first Greek to be honoured as a god for political favour...
  • Macedonia as a whole was tended to remain in isolation from the rest of the Greeks...
  • ...for the first time he (Phillip) started to understand how Macedonia's outdated institutions of feudalism an aristocratic monarchy so despised by the rest of Greece.
  • The men of Lower Macedonia worshipped Greek gods; the royal family claimed descent from Heracles. ….The Molossian dynasty of Epirus, on the marches of Orestis and Elimiotis, claimed descent from Achilles, through his grandson Pyrrhus - a fact destined to have immeasurable influence on the young Alexander, whose mother Olympias was of Molossian stock...
    • Peter Green, "Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography"
  • In particular with the grim struggle for the succession still fresh in their minds, they urged - very reasonably - that before leaving Macedonia he should marry and beget an heir. However, the king rejected this motion out of hand, a decision which was to cause untold bloodshed and political chaos after his death. It would be shameful, he told them, for the captain - general of the Hellenes, with Philip's invincible army at his command, to idle his time away on matrimonial dalliance...
    • Peter Green, "Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography"
  • In less than four years he had transformed Macedonia from a backward and primitive kingdom to one of the most powerful states in the Greek world.
    • Peter Green, "Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography"
  • That the origin of this new population should be the supposed Dorian of northwest Greece seemed to be confirmed by the early appearance of cist graves at Kalbaki in Epeiros, Kozani, Vergina and Khaukhitsa in Makedonia.
    • Jonathan M. Hall, Professor of Ancient Greek History at the University of Chicago, "Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity", Cambridge University Press, 1998
  • At the end of the bronze age a residue of Greek tribes stayed behind in Southern Macedonia [...] one of these, the "Makedones" occupied Aegae and expanded into the coastal plain of lower Macedonia which became the Kingdom of Macedon; their descendants were the Macedonians proper of the classical period and they worshipped Greek gods. The other Greek tribes became intermingled in upper Macedonia with Illyrians, Paeonians and Thracians[...] in the early 5th century the royal house of Macedon, the Temenidae was recognized as Greek by the Presidents of the Olympic Games. Their verdict was and is decisive. It is certain that the Kings considered themselves to be of Greek descent from Heracles son of Zeus. "Macedonian" was a strong dialect of very early Greek which was not intelligible to contemporary Greeks.
  • Philip was born a Greek of the most aristocratic, indeed of divine, descent... Philip was both a Greek and a Macedonian, even as Demosthenes was a Greek and an Athenian...The Macedonians over whom Philip was to rule were an outlying family member of the Greek-speaking peoples.
  • As subjects of the king the Upper Macedonians were henceforth on the same footing as the original Macedonians, in that they could qualify for service in the King's Forces and thereby obtain the elite citizenship. At one bound the territory, the population and wealth of the kingdom were doubled. Moreover since the great majority of the new subjects were speakers of the West Greek dialect, the enlarged army was Greek-speaking throughout.
  • The terms for the Phocians were mild by Greek Standards (one Greek state proposed the execution of all the men) disarmament, division into village-settlements, payment of all indemnity to Apollo and expulsion from the Amphictiony. In their place the Macedonians were elected members. The two votes of Phocis on the council were transferred to the Macedonian state.
  • The Balkan situation was far from secure, with the Odrysians and Scythians only recently defeated and with the Triballi still defiant. Yet Philip was confident of success in the interest of the Greek-speaking world and of Macedonia in particular.
  • What Clearhos saw there was the familiar features of his Greek world far to the west: a Macedonian palace, Rhodian porticoes, coan funerary monuments, Athenian propylaea, Delian houses, Megarian bowls, Corinthin tiles, and Mediterranean amphorae. Traditionally Greek but cosmopolitan and eclectic this city provided a fitting home for the easternmost copy of the Delphic maxims.
    • Frank L. Holt, "Thundering Zeus: The Making of Hellenistic Bactria", p. 44
  • King Philip of the northern Greek kingdom of Macedon perfected this system, and his son, Alexander the Great, used it to conquer Greece and the Persian Empire.
    • Archer Jones, American historian, "The Art of War in Western World" (University of Illinois Press, 2000), p. 21
  • ...for with Alexander the stage of Greek influence spread across the world.
  • Hadrian... also founded a temple of `Zeus Panhellenios', and established Panhellenic games and an annual Panhellenic assembly of deputies from all the cities of Greece and all those outside which could prove their foundation from Greece;... The importance attached to Hadrian's institution is best illustrated by an early third-century inscription from Thessalonica honouring a local magnate, T.Aelius Geminius Macedo [Makedon] , who had not only held magistracies and provided timber for a basilica in his own city, and been Imperial `curator' of Apollonia, but had been archon of the Panhellenic congress in Athens, priest of the deified Hadrian and president of the eighteenth Panhellenic Games (199/200); the inscription mentions proudly that he was the first `archon' of the Panhellenic Congress from the city of Thessalonica. That was one side of the picture, the development of Greek civilization and the conscious celebration of its unity and prosperity. In the native populations of the East it produced mixed feelings, nowhere better exemplified than the conversation of three Rabbis of the second century,...
    • Fergus Millar, "The Roman Empire and its Neighbours," 2nd ed. (London: Duckworth, 1981), pp.205-206
  • For their part, the fifth-century Macedonian kings used their newfound wealth to pursue their twin goals of winning recognition for themselves as Greeks and Hellenizing the life of the royal court.
    • Sarah B. Pomeroy, Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Donlan , Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, "Ancient Greece. A Political, Social, and Cultural History", Oxford University Press, USA, 1998, p. 376
  • In its marginal status it [Macedonia] bore some resemblance to the less urbanized areas of Greece such as Achaea and Aetolia. It resembled them as well in the fact that it preserved earlier and less sophisticated political structures and like them it suffered from internal disunity. Both the land and its population had the potential under favorable conditions of developing a state whose power far exceeded other Greek powers[...] It [Macedonia] was a strategically important centre of routes leading northwards out of Greece towards the Danube.
    • Michael M. Sage, American historian, "Warfare in Ancient Greece", Routledge. p.162
  • Little is known of the Macedonian army before the reign of Philip II. Certainly, the area which the earlier Macedonian kings drew their recruits was limited only to lowland Macedonia. The only effective arm appears to have been cavalry. These horsemen, generally acknowledged as the best in Greece, were drawn from the local nobility[...]The only really effective infantry in this period appears to have been drawn from southern Greeks settled within Macedonia's borders who fought as hoplites.
    • Michael M. Sage, American historian, "Warfare in Ancient Greece", Routledge, pp.163-164
  • Philip first cut the ground from under it by uniting the nation in his Corinthian League[...]In this manner Philip united all Greeks (with the single exception of Sparta) into a League of states, and so for the first time in history created a Greek unified state.
  • When we take into account the political conditions, religion and morals of the Macedonians, our conviction is strengthened that they were a Greek race and akin to the Dorians. Having stayed behind in the extreme north, they were unable to participate in the progressive civilization of the tribes which went further south...
  • Long long ago, before the days of Islam, Sikander e Aazem came to India. The Two Horned one whom you British people call Alexander the Great. He conquered the world, and was a very great man, brave and dauntless and generous to his followers. When he left to go back to Greece, some of his men did not wish to go back with him but preferred to stay here. Their leader was a general called Shalakash (Seleucus). With some of his officers and men, he came to these valleys and they settled here and took local women, and here they stayed. We, the Kalash, the Black Kafir of the Hindu Kush, are the descendants of their children. Still some of our words are the same as theirs, our music and our dances, too; we worship the same gods. This is why we believe the Greeks are our first ancestors...
    • Michael Wood, (Statement made by a Kalash named Kazi Khushnawaz, "Footsteps of Alexander the Great", p.8)
      • (i.e.: Seleucus was one of the Generals of Alexander the Great. He was born in 358 or 354 BC in the town of Europos, Macedonia and died in August/September 281 BC near Lysimathia, Thrace.)
  • This was Macedonia in the strict sense, the land where settled immigrants of Greek stock later to be called Macedonians.
    • W. J. Woodhouse, Australian historian, "The tutorial history of Greece, to 323 B.C. : from the earliest times to the death of Demosthenes", p.216, University Tutorial Press, 1904, (reprinted 1944)


  • ...Certain proto-populations occupying distinct areas of the Balkans could be distinguished on the territories of the cultural groups: in western part of the Balkans the proto-Illyrians, in the east the proto Thracians, in the south the Hellenes (i.e: Greeks), in the northern part of the Balkans the proto Daco-Mysians and in the southwest of the Central Balkans the proto Bryges.
    • "Arheologija" magazine, No 1, Skopje 1995, "Bryges on the central Balkans in the 2nd and 1st millennium b.c." (summary)
  • The latest archaeological findings have confirmed that Macedonia took its name from a tribe of tall, Greek-speaking people, the Makednoi (ma(e)kos = length). They shared the same religious beliefs as the rest of the Hellenic world but up until the Classical period remained outside the cultural and political development of the southern city states[...] Yet "vulgar" Macedonians were not unanimously accepted by "refined" southern Greeks, especially by Athenians, as brethren. Occasionally they were classified as "barbarians". This was not due to some latent but still distinguishable Thracian and Paeonian cultural influences or to local linguistic peculiarities. To a certain extent Athenian reluctance could be attributed to the Macedonian’s rough manners, their monarchic government, and their delayed appearance on the scene. But the main source of antipathy was more than a century of conflict over eastern Macedonia, Thrace, the Chalcidice colonies, and, of course, the final victorious military involvement of Macedonia in southern affairs from 350 B.C. onwards which signaled the end of the Classical period.
    • "Encyclopaedia of Greece and Hellenic Tradition", Volume 2, Edited by Graham Speake, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000, pg 972
  • During the early archaic period at the Macedonian territory, the Dorian tribal groups came across over the Pindos mountain,to the area of today's North-Western Greece and parts of the southern Republic of Macedonia. They established several early principalities partially by chasing away the local Paeonian tribes. Those tribal groups were the ancient Macedonians.
    • "Macedonian Heritage" magazine, No 1, july 1996, p.5
  • Persian rule in Egypt was not to survive long, but its overthrow was not the work of Egyptians. In 336 BC a Greek army, led by Alexander III (Alexander the Great) king of Macedonia invaded the Persian empire[...] It would be easy to see in this, the formal establishment of Greek rule in Egypt, the logical culmination of three centuries of Greek influence and patronage. But, except in so far as the earlier involvement of Greeks in Egyptian affairs prepared the Egyptians psychologically to accept Greek rule.
    • "The Cambridge History of Africa" edited by J. D. Fage, pp. 105-106
  • By Demosthenes the interval was spent rallying Greek opinion against 'The barbarian', as he unjustly and inaccurately called the Macedonian (the near-Greekness of whose culture is now revealed in a clearer light by such archaeological finds as the painted frescoes at Vergina, uncovered in 1977). That Demosthenes propagandist and political efforts almost succeeded is shown by the closeness of Philips' final victory on the field at Chaeronea.
    • "The Oxford Illustrated History of Greece and the Hellenistic World" edited by John Boardman, Jasper Griffin, Oswyn Murray, p.148
  • In 350 BCE Philip of Macedonia united Greece under Macedonian rule. His son Alexander, surnamed the Great, in turn conquered the entire Persian empire uniting Greece with the Ancient Near east.
    • Steven Bayme, "Understanding Jewish History: Text and Commentaries", Ktav Publishing House (July 1997), p.50
  • The city-states of ancient Greece established colonies in almost every part of of their known world. Later Alexander of Macedonia through his conquests spread hellenic culture both east to Asia and south to Egypt. One of the lesser-known legacies of Alexander's excursions is the Greeks who stayed in northern India, ruling there for twenty generations.
    • Benjamin J. Broome, Professor of Communication, "Exploring the Greek Mosaic: A Guide to Intercultural Communication in Greece", p.27
  • The Macedonians were of Greek stock, as their traditions and remains of their language prove.
    • Thomas Kelly Cheyne, "Encyclopaedia biblica;: A critical dictionary of the literary; political and religious history, the archaeology, geography, and natural history of the Bible"
  • The idea of the city-state was first challenged by the ideal of pan-Hellenic unity supported by some writers and orators, among which the Athenian Isocrates (436338) became a leading proponent with his Panegyrics of 380 suggesting a Greek holy war against Persia. However, only the rise of Macedonia made the realization of panHellenic unity possible.
    • Vilho Harle, Professor of International Relations at University of Lapland in Finland, "Ideas of Social Order in the Ancient World", p. 24
  • Although the Macedonians, whose territory occupied the area around present-day Thessaloniki in northern Greece, considered themselves part of the Greek cultural sphere, many Greeks regarded them with contempt. In the eyes of the Greeks, the Macedonians were a mere offshoot of the original stock. They spoke a Greek dialect, to be sure, but they were led by a backward monarchy and their nobles.
    • Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Dutch author, researcher and clinical professor of leadership development, "Are Leaders born or Are they made?: The case of Alexander the Great", Karnac Books (June 2004)
  • Philip, on campaign in Thrace, got the news along with two other messages. His general, Parmenion, had soundly defeated the Illyrians in the west; and his racehorse had won at the Olympic Games. The right of Olympic entry was a prized inheritance of the kings of Macedon. The Games were only open to Greeks; and Macedonians were not recognized in the south as the offshoots of the original stock, which in fact they were. They were regarded as semi-barbarous (the actual term 'barbarian' was reserved for Persians) and the royal house had just scraped in on the strength of a remote Argive ancestry. For Philip, to whom acceptance in the Greek world was a lifelong dream, this news may have been the most welcome item of the three...
    • Mary Renault, English writer, "The Nature of Alexander", p. 28-29
  • The wedding plans were resplendent. High ranking guests and state envoys were invited from all over Greece, as befitted Philip's of pan Hellenic war leader. Festival games in honour of the twelve Olympian gods were to be dedicated at a ceremony in the theatre at Aegae, near modern Edessa, the ancient capital...
    • Mary Renault, English writer, "The Nature of Alexander", p. 61
  • The Greek leaders perceived the sudden resurgence of Persian power in the region as a new and significant challenge to their interests. To gain support for an activist policy, some attempted to redefine the nature of the Greek-Persian conflict from one of straightforward geopolitics to the more emotional issue of pan-Hellenism. For such proponents of a continuation of the struggle the issue was no longer merely the matter of the defense of the Greek city-states. The Persian challenge was now characterized as a conflict of principle, of Hellenic culture and civilization against Asiatic barbarism in an unrelenting struggle for survival. They advocated a crusade to be carried out by a unified Greek nation that was to include all that partook of Greek civilization. However, the traditional leadership of Athens and the other prominent city-states, exhausted by the long external and internal wars, were unable to mobilize the support necessary for an effective response to the Persian challenge. Nonetheless, the pan-Hellenic crusade was soon to be undertaken, but not by Athens. It was Macedonia that was to impose its own leadership on Greece and undertake the renewed struggle against Persia in the name of the Hellenes.
    • Martin Sicker, political scientist, "The Pre-Islamic Middle East", p.99, Praeger Publishers (April 30, 2000)
  • After successfully annexing Thessaly and Thrace, Philip was widely acknowledged as the natural leader of a Hellenic alliance. The venerable Isocrates saw Philip as the man that Greece needed to deal with a chronic demographic problem that menaced its future. He argued that Greece was plagued by overpopulation, which produced large numbers of men suitable for military service who wandered about, without loyalty to any city, selling their services to anyone who could pay for them and thereby posing a constant menace to the stability of the country. What was needed, he suggested, was a new country that might be colonized by Greece's surplus population. This new land would have to be conquered from Persia, and Philip of Macedon, who was already successfully challenging the Persians in a contest for control of the European shores of the Hellespont, was clearly the only one who might be able to annex all Anatolia to the Hellenic world.
    • Martin Sicker, political scientist, "The Pre-Islamic Middle East", p.100, Praeger Publishers (April 30, 2000)
  • Philip had no illusions about the stability of the Common Peace, given the turbulent history of the Greek city-states, their competitiveness, and their general reluctance to sacrifice their freedom of action even for the common good. Moreover, he was a Macedonian, from the backwater of the Greek world [...] A Persian offer of 300 talents was privately accepted by Demosthenes, who employed it for purposes compatible with mutual Athenian-Persian interests in thwarting Macedonian ascendancy.
    • Martin Sicker, political scientist, "The Pre-Islamic Middle East", p.102, Praeger Publishers (April 30, 2000)
  • Paeonians,a people who during the first millennia b.c inhabited border area between the three great paleobalkanic peoples-Illyrians, Thracians and Hellenes. (i.e:Greeks)
    • Fanica Veljanovska, FYROMian anthropologist, "An Attempt at Anthropological Definition of the Paeonians", Skopje, 1994

On ancient Macedonian language

Modern Sources


  • The first Greek-speaking people in the southern Balkan Peninsula arrived in Macedonia, Thessaly, and Epirus sometime after 2600 B.C. and developed, probably due to the extreme mountainous nature of the country, their several different dialects.


  • Here we have seen that their early history is still largely an open question. They may have had Greek origins: Whatever process produced the Greek-speakers (of that is how one defines "Greek") who lived south of Olympus may have also produced the Makedones who wandered out of the western mountains to establish a home and a kingdom in Pieria.
    • Eugene N. Borza, "In The Shadow of Olympus", pp. 277-278, Princeton University Press
  • The Macedonian people and their kings were of Greek stock, as their traditions and the scanty remains of their language combine to testify.
    • John Bagnell Bury, "A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great", 2nd ed. (1913)
  • That the Macedonians and their kings did in fact speak a dialect of Greek and bore Greek names may be regarded nowadays as certain.
    • Malcolm Errington, "A History of Macedonia", University of California Press, February 1993
  • He was still in a world of Greek gods and sacrifices, of Greek plays and Greek language, though the natives might speak Greek with a northern accent which hardened 'ch' into 'g','th' into 'd' and pronounced King Philip as Bilip.
  • Cleopatra VII would have described herself as a Greek. Whatever the racial ingredients of her Macedonian ancestors, her language, like theirs (though they had spoken a dialect), was Greek and so was her whole education and culture.
    • Michael Grant, "From Alexander to Cleopatra: The Hellenistic World", Scribner Paper Fiction
  • That the Macedonians were of Greek stock seems certain. The claim made by the Argead dynasty to be of Argive descent may be no more than a generally accepted myth, but Macedonian proper names, such as Ptolemaios or Philippos, are good Greek names, and the names of the Macedonian months, although differed from those of Athens or Sparta, were also Greek. The language spoken by the Macedonians, which Greeks of the classical period found unintelligible, appears to have been a primitive northwest Greek dialect, much influenced by the languages of the neighboring barbarians.
    • J.R. Hamilton, Australian historian, "Alexander the Great", Hutchinson, London, 1973
  • Hesiod first mentioned 'Makedon', the eponym of the people and the country, as a son of Zeus, a grandson of Deukalion, and so a first cousin of Aeolus, Dorus, and Xuthus; in other words he considered the 'Makedones' to be an outlying branch of the Greek-speaking tribes, with a distinctive dialect of their own, "Macedonian".
  • All in all, the language of the Macedones was a distinct and particular form of Greek, resistant to outside influences and conservative in pronunciation. It remained so until the fourth century when it was almost totally submerged by the flood tide of standardized Greek.
  • There were two parts of the Greek-speaking world at this time which did not suffer from revolution and did not seek to impose rule over the city states. In Epirus there were three clusters of tribal states, called Molossia, Thesprotia and Chaonia[...]the other part of the Greek-speaking world extended from Pelagonia in the north to Macedonia in the south. It was occupied by several tribal states, which were constantly at war against Illyrians, Paeonians and Thracians.
  • Macedonians had their own language related to Greek, but the members that dominated Macedonian society routinely learned to speak Greek because they thought of themselves and indeed all Macedonians as Greek by blood.
    • Thomas R. Martin, "Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times", Yale University Press, p. 188
  • Certainly the Thracians and the Illyrians were non-Greek speakers, but in the northwest, the peoples of Molossis (Epirot province), Orestis and Lynkestis spoke West Greek. It is also accepted that the Macedonians spoke a dialect of Greek and although they absorbed other groups into their territory, they were essentially Greeks.
    • Robert Morkot, British historian, "The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece", Penguin Publishing USA, January 1997
  • ...despite ancient and modern controversies it seems clear that the Macedonians as a whole were Greek-speakers. While the elite naturally communicated with other elites in standard, probably Attic, the ordinary Macedonians appear to have spoken a dialect of Greek, albeit with load-words from Illyrian and thracian which gave ammunition to their denigrators[...] if proof needed of the sophistication of Macedonia at this time, one may bring forward the fragments of the earliest surviving Greek literary papyrus, a carbonized book-roll found in a tomb-group of c. 340-320 at Derveni near Thessaloniki. It preserves parts of a philosophical text on Presocratic and Orphic cosmology composed around 400, and surely had a religious significance for the man in whose funeral pyre it was placed. The Derveni roll provides evidence for a high level of culture among the aristocracy.
    • Graham Shipley, English historian, " The Greek World After Alexander", Routledge, p.111


  • Before the times of the national unity installed by the Macedonians around the middle of the 4th century BC, Greece was composed of many regions or city states[...] That they [Dorians] were related to the North-West Dialects (of Phocis, Locris, Aetolia, Acarnania and Epirus) was not perceived clearly by the ancients.
    • Sylvain Auroux, French linguist, "History of the Language Sciences: I. Approaches to Gender II. Manifestations", p.439
  • The nucleus of the Macedonian vocabulary consists of words which have exact correspondence in Greek. The importance of these words and the archaic phonological character of Macedonian lead to the conclusion that these are not borrowings but inherited words: this fact is confirmed by the genetic unity of Macedonian and Greek. Moreover, the numerous lexical and phonological isoglosses in Macedonian and the different Greek dialects confirm the supposition of genetic unity.
    • Vladimir Ivanov Georgiev, Bulgarian linguist, "Introduction to the History of the Indo-European Languages", Sofia 1981, p. 169
  • Whoever does not consider the Macedonians as Greeks must also conclude that by the 6th and 5th centuries BC the Macedonians had completely given up the original names of their nation - without any need to do so - and taken Greek names in order to demonstrate their admiration for Greek civilization. I think it not worth the trouble to demolish such a notion; for any hypothesis of historical linguists which is put forward without taking into account the actual life of a people, is condemned as it were out of its own mouth.
    • Otto Hoffmann, German linguist, "Die Makedonen, Ihre Sprache und Ihr Volkstum", Göttingen, 1906
  • And now after supervising the ancient Macedonian linguistic thesaurus we are posting the decisive question, if what is adding to the Macedonian language its character, are the hellenic or the barbarian elements of it, the response can not be of any doubts. From the 39 "languages" that according to Gustav Mayer their form was "completely alien" has been proven after this research of mine, that 10 of them are clearly Hellenic, with 4 more possibly dialectical forms of common hellenic words, so from the entire collection are remaining only 15 words appearing to be justifiable or at least suspected of anti-hellenic origins. Adding to those 15, few others which with regards their vocals could be hellenic, without till now being confirmed as such, then their number, in comparison to the number of pure hellenic ones in the Macedonian language, is so small that the general hellenic character of the Macedonian linguistic treasure can not be doubted.
    • Otto Hoffmann, German linguist, "Die Makedonen, Ihre Sprache und Ihr Volkstum", Göttingen, 1906
  • The names of the genuine Macedonians and those born of Macedonian parents, especially the names of the elit class and nobles, in their formation and phonology are purely Greek.
    • Otto Hoffmann, German linguist, "Die Makedonen, Ihre Sprache und Ihr Volkstum", Göttingen, 1906
  • For a long while Macedonian onomastics, which we know relatively well thanks to history, literary authors, and epigraphy, has played a considerable role in the discussion. In our view the Greek character of most names is obvious and it is difficult to think of a Hellenization due to wholesale borrowing. ‘Ptolemaios’ is attested as early as Homer, ‘Ale3avdros’ occurs next to Mycenaean feminine a-re-ka-sa-da-ra- ('Alexandra'), ‘Laagos’, then ‘Lagos’, matches the Cyprian 'Lawagos', etc. The small minority of names which do not look Greek, like ‘Arridaios’ or ‘Sabattaras’, may be due to a substratum or adstratum influences (as elsewhere in Greece). Macedonian may then be seen as a Greek dialect, characterized by its marginal position and by local pronunciations (like ‘Berenika’ for ‘Ferenika’, etc.). Yet in contrast with earlier views which made of it an Aeolic dialect (O.Hoffmann compared Thessalian) we must by now think of a link with North-West Greek (Locrian, Aetolian, Phocidian, Epirote). This view is supported by the recent discovery at Pella of a curse tablet (4th cent. BC) which may well be the first 'Macedonian' text attested (provisional publication by E.Voutyras; cf. the Bulletin Epigraphique in Rev.Et.Grec.1994, no.413); the text includes an adverb ‘opoka’ which is not Thessalian. We must wait for new discoveries, but we may tentatively conclude that Macedonian is a dialect related to North-West Greek.
    • Olivier Masson, French linguist, "Oxford Classical Dictionary:Macedonian Language", 1996
  • The problem of the nationality of the Macedonians has been studied a great deal. Otto Hoffman with linguistics as his starting point solved it correctly and decisively when he accepted that the Macedonians were Greeks.
    • F. Munzer, German linguist, "Die Politische Vernichtung des Griechentums", Leipzig 1925, p. 4
  • The Ancient Macedonian language:

The ancient language of the Macedonian kingdom in N. Greece and modern Macedonia during the later 1st millennium BC. Survived until the early 1st millennium AD. Not to be confused with the modern Macedonian language, which is a close relative of the Slavic Bulgarian.


  • The evidence for the language of the Macedonians has been reviewed and discussed by Kalleris and Hammond, Griffith, and many others, all contending that it was a dialect of Greek. The increasing volume of surviving public and private inscriptions makes it quite clear that there was no written language but Greek. There may be room for argument over spoken forms, or at least over local survivals of earlier occupancy, but it is hard to imagine what kind of authority might sustain that. There is no evidence for a different "Macedonian" language that cannot be as easily explained in terms of dialect or accent.
    • "Cambridge Ancient Histories", Cambridge Univ. Press, 1998
  • As a Macedonian [Philip] was looked down upon by the more refined Athenians, but they shared the same Hellenistic culture. How deep this went is evident in aesthetically the least spectacular, but politically the most explosive, of the finds in Vergina. In the Great Tumulus above Philip's tombs, which was raised by the invading Galatians in 274 BC, the archaeologists found fragments of no fewer than seventy-five funeral monuments, or “stelai”. The names on these were entirely Greek, save two, which appeared to be Hellenized versions of Thracian and Phoenician names. The implication is that Philip's Macedonia was thoroughly Hellenized, an outpost of classical Greek culture...
    • Robert Fox, journalist and a writer on defence issues, "The Inner Sea: The Mediterranean and its People", Sinclair- Stevenson, London 1991 (p 229-230)

On medieval Macedonian history

Medieval Sources

Roman Emperors

  • That much I can say, without endless talking and without becoming tiresome, that she [Eusebia] is of a family line that is pure Greek, from the purest of Greeks, and her city is the metropolis of Macedonia.
    • Julian, "Praise For The Empress Eusebia", p. 147'

Modern Sources


  • It was the Byzantine Empire, which was to realize Alexander's idea - Macedonian Panhellenism -in face of an Asia in revolt, and realize it for the Greeks.
  • The province of Thessalonica (Saloniki) had, together with Greece, been awarded to the warlike Marquis Boniface of Montferrat with the royal title. It comprised the greater part of ancient Macedonia and Boniface carried his victorious arms into Greece, where he everywhere divided the conquered territories among his knights; but having perished in a skirmish with the Bulgarians, in 1207, his kingdom was invaded by the Greek despot, Theodore of Epirus who was received with open arms by the Greeks, and crowned emperor at Thessalonica in 1222.
    • Adolphus Louis Koeppen, Danish historian, "The World in the Middle Ages: An Historical Geography, with Accounts of the Origin", Appleton, p.409

On modern Macedonian history

On the Republic of Macedonia’s History


  • Journalist: What is your opinion for the problem which Greece has to accept the name Macedonia which the Scopje Government (FYROM) is trying to implement?

    Henry Kissinger: Look, I believe that Greece is right to object and I agree with Athens. The reason is that I know history which is not the case with most of the others including most of the Government and Administration in Washington. The strength of the Greek case is that of the history which I must say that Athens have not used so far with success.

  • Every ethnic Macedonian who does not claim Albanian or Serbian origin has the right to declare a Bulgarian origin. This is an individual act in accordance with the historical reality of our common ethnic origin.
    • Stefan Nikolov, (Bulgarian diplomat - Agency for Bulgarians Abroad of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry in Sofia), AFP report, Sunday 13 August 2006
  • For Macedonia to be recognized as an independent state, it would be necessary to change its name [...] It is historically proven that the Yugoslavian Democracy of Macedonia was created by Stalin, Tito and Dimitrov, aiming at the stealthy removal of a large part of Northern Greece. This Democracy was used during the period 1944-1949 in order to destabilise Greece.
    • Thomas Niles, US Ambassador, statement on the 23rd June 1992 to the SubCommittee of US Congress, Eleutherotypia newspaper, June 24, 1992
  • Since the Bulgarian idea, as it is well known to all, is deeply rooted in Macedonia, I think it is almost impossible to shake it completely by opposing it merely with the Serbian idea. This idea, we fear, would be incapable, as opposition pure and simple, of suppressing the Bulgarian idea. That is why the Serbian idea will need an ally that could stand in direct opposition to the Bulgarianism and would contain in itself the elements which could attract the people and their feelings and thus sever them from Bulgarianism. This ally I see in the Macedonism or to a certain extent in our nursing the Macedonian dialect and Macedonian separatism.
    • Stoyan Novakovich, Serbian diplomat, Novakovich's dispatch to the Serbian Minister of Education in 1888
  • We are not related to the northern Greeks who produced leaders like Philip and Alexander the Great. We are Slavs and our language is closely related to Bulgarian. There is some confusion about our identity.
  • We do not claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great ...; Greece is Macedonia's second largest trading partner, and its number one investor. Instead of opting for war, we have chosen the mediation of the United Nations, with talks on the ambassadorial level under Mr. Vance and Mr. Nemitz... we are Slavs and we speak a Slav language.
    • Ljubica Achevska, FYROM Ambassador to the US, reply to a question about the ethnic origin of the people of FYROM, January 22, 1999


  • It is the national identity of these Slav Macedonians that has been the most violently contested aspect of the whole Macedonian dispute, and is still being contested today. There is no doubt that they are southern Slavs; they have a language, or a group of varying dialects, that is grammatically akin to Bulgarian but phonetically in some respects akin to Serbian, and which has certain quite distinctive features of its own... ...In regard to their own national feelings, all that can safely be said is that during the last eighty years many more Slav Macedonians seem to have considered themselves Bulgarian, or closely linked to Bulgaria, than have considered themselves Serbian, or closely linked to Serbia (or Yugoslavia). Only the people of the Skopje region, in the north west, have ever shown much tendency to regard themselves as Serbs. The feeling of being Macedonians, and nothing but Macedonians, seems to be a sentiment of fairly recent growth, and even today is not very deep-rooted.
    • Elisabeth Barker, "Macedonia, Its Place in Balkan Power Politics". Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. 1980. pp. p. 10. ISBN 0313225877.  
  • ...and Uskub, the great majority of the population is Slavic, [...] the middle ages until 1913 called themselves and were called by their neighbors Bulgarians.
  • Modern Slavs, both Bulgarians and Macedonians, cannot establish a link with antiquity, as the Slavs entered the Balkans centuries after the demise of the ancient Macedonian kingdom. Only the most radical Slavic factions—mostly émigrés in the United States, Canada, and Australia—even attempt to establish a connection to antiquity [...] The twentieth-century development of a Macedonian ethnicity, and its recent evolution into independent statehood following the collapse of the Yugoslav state in 1991, has followed a rocky road. In order to survive the vicissitudes of Balkan history and politics, the Macedonians, who have had no history, need one. They reside in a territory once part of a famous ancient kingdom, which has borne the Macedonian name as a region ever since and was called ”Macedonia” for nearly half a century as part of Yugoslavia. And they speak a language now recognized by most linguists outside Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece as a south Slavic language separate from Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, and Bulgarian. Their own so-called Macedonian ethnicity had evolved for more than a century, and thus it seemed natural and appropriate for them to call the new nation “Macedonia” and to attempt to provide some cultural references to bolster ethnic survival.
    • Eugene N. Borza, "Macedonia Redux", in "The Eye Expanded: life and the arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity", ed. Frances B Tichener & Richard F. Moorton, University of California Press, 1999
  • Macedonia was also an attempt at a multicultural society. Here the fragments are just about holding together, although the cement that binds them is an unreliable mixture of propaganda and myth. The Macedonian language has been created, some rather misty history involving Tsar Samuel, probably a Bulgarian, and Alexander the Great, almost certainly a Greek, has been invented, and the name Macedonia has been adopted. Do we destroy these myths or live with them? Apparently these “radical Slavic factions” decided to live with their myths and lies for the constant amusement of the rest of the world..."
    • T.J. Winnifrith, "Shattered Eagles, Balkan Fragments", Duckworth,1995.
  • The Macedonian nationalists quite simply stole all of Bulgarian historical argument concerning Macedonia, substituting Macedonian for Bulgarian ethnic tags in the story. Thus Kuber formed a Macedonian tribal alliance in the late seventh century; Kliment and Naum were Macedonians and not Bulgarians; the medieval archbishop-patriarchate of Ohrid, which Kliment led, was a Macedonian, not a Bulgarian independent church, as shown by the persistence of Glagolitic letters in the region in the face of the Cyrillic that were spawned in Bulgaria; and the renowned Samuil led a great Macedonian, rather than a western Bulgarian, state against Byzantium (giving Slav Macedonia its apex in the historical sun).
    • Dennis P. Hupchick, "Conflict and Chaos in Eastern Europe", Palgrave Macmillan, 1995.
  • The obviously plagiarized historical argument of the Macedonian nationalists for a separate Macedonian ethnicity could be supported only by linguistic reality, and that worked against them until the 1940s. Until a modern Macedonian literary language was mandated by the socialist-led partisan movement from Macedonia in 1944, most outside observers and linguists agreed with the Bulgarians in considering the vernacular spoken by the Macedonian Slavs as a western dialect of Bulgarian.
    • Dennis P. Hupchick, "Conflict and Chaos in Eastern Europe", Palgrave Macmillan, 1995.


  • The history of the construction of a Macedonian national identity does not begin with Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C. or with Saints Cyril and Methodius in the ninth century A.D. as Macedonian nationalist historians often claim.
    • Loring Danforth, "The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World", Princeton Univ Press, (December 1995), p.56
  • Finally, Krste Misirkov, who had clearly developed a strong sense of his own personal national identity as a Macedonian and who outspokenly and unambiguously called for Macedonian linguistic and national separatism, acknowledged that a Macedonian national identity was a relatively recent historical development.
    • Loring Danforth, "The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World", Princeton Univ Press, (December 1995), p.63
  • The political and military leaders of the Slavs of Macedonia at the turn of the century seem not to have heard Misirkov's call for a separate Macedonian national identity; they continued to identify themselves in a national sense as Bulgarians rather than Macedonians.
    • Loring Danforth, "The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World", Princeton Univ Press, (December 1995), p.64
  • Whether a Macedonian nation existed at the time or not, it is perfectly clear that the communist party of Yugoslavia had important political reasons for declaring that one did exist and for fostering its development through a concerted process of nation building, employing all the means at the disposal of the Yugoslav state.
    • Loring Danforth, "The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World", Princeton Univ Press, (December 1995), p.66
  • I have even met people who believe there is a special race which they call 'Macedonian', whose 'cause' they wish to aid. The truth is, that in a district which has no official frontiers, and never has had any stable ones, there are people of six races, who, as we have seen, all have causes to be considered [...] I shall speak only of the part I have stayed in- the districts of Lakes Ochrida and Prespa. Here there are Greeks, Slavs, Albanians, and Vlahs. Of Turks, except officials and such of the army as may be quartered on the spot, there are few. The Albanians, I believe, are all Moslem. Should there be any Christians they would be officially classed as Greeks. A large part of the land near Lake Prespa is owned by Moslem Albanians as "chiftliks" (farms).
  • Some will ask why I speak of breaking away from the Bulgarians when in the past we have even called ourselves Bulgarians and when it is generally accepted that unification creates strength, and not separation.
    • Krste Misirkov, "On Macedonian Matters", Macedonian Review Editions 1974, (Sofia 1903)
  • We are Bulgarians, more Bulgarians than the Bulgarians in Bulgaria themselves.
    • Krste Misirkov, "On Macedonian Matters", Macedonian Review Editions 1974, (Sofia 1903)
  • And, anyway, what sort of new Macedonian nation can this be when we and our fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers have always been called Bulgarians?
    • Krste Misirkov, "On Macedonian Matters", Macedonian Review Editions 1974, (Sofia 1903)
  • In Macedonia there are Greeks, Bulgarians and Turks.
    • Petko Karavelov, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, in the Greek newspaper "Empros", in the paper of 19th December of 1897.
  • But even stranger is the name Macedonians, which was imposed on us only 10 to 15 years ago by outsiders, and not as something by our own intellectuals... Yet the people in Macedonia know nothing of that ancient name, reintroduced today with a cunning aim on the one hand and a stupid one on the other. They know the older word: "Bugari", although mispronounced: they have even adopted it as peculiarly theirs, inapplicable to other Bulgarians. You can find more about this in the introduction to the booklets I am sending you. They call their own Macedono-Bulgarian dialect the "Bugarski language", while the rest of the Bulgarian dialects they refer to as the "Shopski language".
    • Kuzman Shapkarev, in a letter to Prof. Marin Drinov of May 25, 1888 (Makedonski pregled, IX, 2, 1934, p. 55; the original letter is kept in the Marin Drinov Museum in Sofia, and it is available for examination and study)
  • While the Greek government is sleeping and uses proclamations as cure for the situation, Hellenism runs down the greatest danger in Macedonia because except Bulgarians, there were added more impudent enemies, Serbs. Like we learn from our Vienna's letter, thousands of Serb peasants in Skopje, rebelled against the Greek Metropolitan bishop, surrounded the Greek school, raided the church, burned the Greek books and raised the Serb flag, instigated without doubt by Serb and Pan-slavist komitates and commiting all these shames while one newspaper of St. Petersburg wrote according to yesterday's letter that "Macedonian question" will be solved between Serbs and Bulgarians.
    • EMPROS Newspaper, Monday 25th November, 1896, article "Mutiny in Macedonia"
  • [...]But the Bulgarians, from the palace down to the meanest hut, have always been animated by that racial and national idea. The annexation of Eastern Roumelia in 1885 was a great step in the direction of its realization. And it was to carry that programme to completion that Bulgaria made war against Turkey in 1912. Her primary object was the liberation of the Bulgarians in Macedonia and their incorporation in a Great Bulgaria. And the Treaty of Partition with Servia seemed, in the event of victory over Turkey, to afford a guarantee of the accomplishment of her long-cherished purpose. It was a strange irony of fate that while as a result of the geographical situation of the belligerents Bulgaria, at the close of the war with Turkey, found herself in actual occupation of all European Turkey from the Black Sea up to the River Struma and beyond,--that is, all Thrace to Chataldja as well as Eastern Macedonia--her allies (Bulgaria's) were in possession of the bulk of Macedonia, including the entire triangle she had planned to inject between the frontiers of New Servia and New Greece!
  • For three weeks the Partisan National Liberation Committee had been busy creating, on paper, the new Yugoslavia. Twice Tito had flown to Moscow, conferred with Stalin and the Peoples' Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vlacheslav M. Molotov [...] The new power at once began to expand. Yugoslav Macedonians insisted that Yugoslavia's new Macedonian district should include not only Bulgarian Macedonia but Greek Macedonia.
    • TIME Magazine, December 4, 1944
  • Though once the heart of the empire of Alexander the Great, (Macedonia) has been for centuries a geographical expression rather than a political entity, and is today inhabited by an inextricable medley of people, among whom the Serbs, now Yugoslavs, are certainly the least numerous. But a "Federal Macedonia" has been projected as an integral part of Tito's plan for a federated Balkans...taking Greek Macedonia for an outlet to the Aegean Sea through Salonica.
    • THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 10, 1946
  • During the occupation[...]a combined effort was made to wrest Macedonia from Greece[...]an effort that allegedly continues, although in altered form[...] The main conspirational activity in Macedonia today appears to be directed from Skopje.
    • THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 16, 1946
  • The possible creation of a Macedonian free state within Greece to amalgamate with Marshal Tito's Federated Macedonia State, with is capital in Skopje[...]would fulfill the Slavic objectives of re-uniting the...province of Macedonia under Slavic rule, giving access of the sea to Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.
    • THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 26, 1946
  • According to most reliable information, a secret meeting was held yesterday at Comi in southern Bulgaria[...] to draw up plans for a general rising in Greek Macedonia, with the ultimate object of incorporating that region with Salonica in an autonomous Macedonia under Yugoslav hegemony.
    • THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 19, 1946
  • The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic and Consular Officers

    The following is for your information and general guidance, but not for any positive action at this time.

    The Department has noted with considerable apprehension increasing propaganda rumors and semi-official statements in favor of an autonomous Macedonia, emanating principally from Bulgaria, but also from Yugoslav Partisan and other sources, with the implication that Greek territory would be included in the projected state. This Government considers talk of Macedonian "nation", Macedonian "Fatherland", or Macedonia "national consciousness" to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece.

    The approved policy of this Government is to oppose any revival of the Macedonian issue as related to Greece. The Greek section of Macedonia is largely inhabited by Greeks, and the Greek people are almost unanimously opposed to the creation of a Macedonian state. Allegations of serious Greek participation in any such agitation can be assumed to be false. This Government would regard as responsible any Government or group of Governments tolerating or encouraging menacing or aggressive acts of "Macedonian Forces" against Greece.

    The Department would appreciate any information pertinent to this subject which may come to your attention.

    Department of State

    • U.S STATE DEPARTMENT Foreign Relations Vol. VIII Washington D.C. Circular Airgram (868.014/26 Dec. 1944)
  • [...]well, the news that Bulgarian Hitar Petar would get a Macedonian passport is somehow more realistic. The former Minister of Macedonia(FYROM) got a Bulgarian passport, so why not Bulgarian Hitar Petar get a Macedonian one?
    It means that he will have two Bulgarian passports.
  • [...]but about Alexander the Great, the Macedonians(FYROM) are right. He was a total Macedonian. They called him "Sashe Velikiot". Sashe Velikiot was a famous Macedonian ruler from VMRO who expanded Macedonia up to India! Even, Macedonian Brothers, write because now I will tell you one unique fact from your "Macedonian" history! When he went to India, Sashe Velikiot was not alone. He took with him the Saint Brothers of the Macedonian Alphabet- Cyrrill and Methodius, who taught the Indian elephants to speak in a Macedonian Language. Now, some people in Macedonia will say: "There aren't any speaking elephants"... ..well there is not also a "Macedonian" language. ...when it appears, the Indian elephants will learn it right away.
  • On November 4, 2004, two days after the re-election of President George W. Bush, his administration unilaterally recognized the “Republic of Macedonia”. This action not only abrogated geographic and historic fact, but it also has unleashed a dangerous epidemic of historical revisionism, of which the most obvious symptom is the misappropriation by the government in Skopje of the most famous of Macedonians, Alexander the Great [...] We do not understand how the modern inhabitants of ancient Paionia (FYROM), who speak Slavic – a language introduced into the Balkans about a millennium after the death of Alexander – can claim him as their national hero. Alexander the Great was thoroughly and indisputably Greek. His great-great-great grandfather, Alexander I, competed in the Olympic Games where participation was limited to Greeks [...] We call upon you, Mr. President, to help - in whatever ways you deem appropriate - the government in Skopje to understand that it cannot build a national identity at the expense of historic truth. Our common international society cannot survive when history is ignored, much less when history is fabricated.
  • A Slavic-speaking people, todays ethnic Macedonians, are descendants of Slavs who settled in the Balkans during the seventh century AD.
    • Karen Dawisha, Bruce Parrott, "Politics, Power and the Struggle for Democracy in South-East Europe (Democratization and Authoritarianism in Post-Communist Societies)", Cambridge University Press, 1997


  • We belong to the same Slav people.
    • Slobodan Casule, (born 1945), Foreign Minister of FYROM, to the Foreign Minister of Bulgaria Solomon Pasi, in an interview to "Utrinski Vesnik" of Skopje on December 29,2001.
  • We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century (AD)... we are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians.
    • Kiro Gligorov, (first democraticaly elected president of FYROM, referring to the citizens of his country), Foreign Information Service Daily Report, Eastern Europe, February 26, 1992
  • We are Macedonians but we are Slav Macedonians. That's who we are! We have no connection to Alexander the Greek and his Macedonia. The ancient Macedonians no longer exist, they had disappeared from history long time ago. Our ancestors came here in the 5th and 6th century (AD).
    • Kiro Gligorov, (first democratically elected president of FYROM, referring to the citizens of his country), Toronto Star, March 15, 1992
  • The idea that Alexander the Great was something that belonged to our history was in the minds of some extremist political groups only! These groups were insignificant the first years of our independence, but the big problem is that the old Balkan Nations have been used to be legitimized through their history. In the Balkans, if you want to be recognized as a Nation, you need to have history 3000 years old. So since you made us invent a history, we invented it! (…) You forced us to the arms of the extreme nationalists who today claim that we are direct descendants of Alexander the Great!
    • Denko Maleski, first Minister of foreign affairs of FYROM (1991 to 1993) and ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997, in an interview to Greek TV channel Mega, November 2006
  • Why are we ashamed and flee from the truth that whole positive Macedonian revolutionary tradition comes exactly from exarchist part of Macedonian people? We shall not say a new truth if we mention the fact that everyone, Gotse Delchev, Dame Gruev, Gjorche Petrov, Pere Toshev - must I list and count all of them - were teachers of the Bulgarian Exarchate in Macedonia.
    • former Prime Minister and Vice President of FYROM, Ljubčo Georgievski, 2007, in his book "С лице към истината" ("Facing the truth").
  • For many years, since the decade of the '90s, we have been making efforts so that the name 'Republic of Macedonia' (FYROM) is not recognized, because no nation should steal the history and symbols of another nation.
    • Australian politician, Mike Rann, Eleftherotypia newspaper, May 05, 2007
  • We are not stating by accident that Josip Broz Tito is Jesus Christ for Macedonia, a father and a mother for Macedonia. Because we have, in that time, after NOB, for the first time created a Macedonian alphabet, a Macedonian television, a Macedonian state, a language, a passport, an identity card, a university for the first time, a Macedonian academy for the first time. We, communists, have created the Macedonian Orthodox church.
    • Slobodan Ugrinovski (Слободан Угриновски), politician of the FYROM and the current leader of the left-wing political party Union of Tito's Left Forces, "Tito e Isus Hristos za Makedonija" ("Tito is Jesus Christ for Macedonia"), A1 TV, FYROM May 04 2009.

On Macedonia (Greece) History


  • The Greek War of Independence, which came to a successful conclusion in 1832, affected less than one half of the Greeks in the Turkish Empire. It did not bring freedom to the Greeks of Macedonia and Thrace, of Crete and the Aegean Islands, nor to the more than two million Greeks in Asia Minor and Constantinople.
    • Henry Morgenthau, "I was sent to Athens", Doubleday, Doran & Company, inc (1929)
  • When the Turks and the Bulgarians left, Macedonia remained a purely Greek region.
    • Henry Morgenthau, "I was sent to Athens", Doubleday, Doran & Company, inc (1929)


  • The borders between Greece and Serbia were defined in 1913 on the basis of the advances of the armies of the two nations during the first Balkan war. The border between Greece and Bulgaria was defined at the Treaty of Bucharest. Since then, the borders of the three nations had remained the same. Macedonia, a region mostly of Greece since ancient times, was divided into three perhaps even four parts, with Greece keeping the largest portion of about 50%, then-Yugoslavia receiving about 35%, Bulgaria about 10% and a small percentage eventually ending in Albania. The Greek people on the portion of the Macedonia part in Greece have been there since time immemorial -- over more than forty centuries before the Slavs arrived. The language spoken in the Greek region since antiquity is Greek, whereas the language of the former-Yugoslavia portion is a Slavic dialect of Bulgarian (Marline Simons, The New York Times, February 3, 1992). As a matter of fact, the portion of Macedonia in then-Yugoslavia was part of the Eastern Branch of the Roman Empire. The people who ruled over Serbia spoke Greek. Constantinople was their headquarters. Their main trade was to the South and East...
    • Joseph C. Harsch, American journalist, "The Christian Science Monitor", January 29, 1992
  • Journalist: Do you believe that the uprising in Macedonia will be suppressed soon? Stournaras: There is no uprising in Macedonia. Noone from the inhabitants has rebelled against the rulers of the region. There is an incursion of Bulgarian gunmen and other brigands and nothing more. Do you believe that these low-numbered Bulgarians will be able to conquer Macedonia or force the inhabitants to rebel? [...] In one clash in Panitze, outside of Serres, a few months ago where the notorious Delchev was murdered and 52 Bulgarians were arrested, only 2 Bulgarians managed to escape and the rest were killed. This of course has no meaning anymore, because through the fuss they managed to create, many believe now in Europe that Macedonian question is actually Bulgarian question.
    • Interview of Greek consul in Serres, Stournaras, in the Greek newspaper "Empros" in the paper of 21 August of 1903. (Stournaras was an eye-witness of Ilinden uprising and he is talking here about the uprising.)


  • For all of us who love History, and know History, Macedonia is as Greek as the Acropolis.
    • Mike Rann, Eleftherotypia newspaper, May 05, 2007

On modern Macedonian language


  • The (modern) Macedonian language is actually an artifact produced for primarily political reasons.
    • Vittore Pisani (1899-1990), Italian linguist, "Il Macedonico, Paideia, Rivista Letteraria di informazione bibliografica", vol. 12, p. 250 (1957)
  • Macedonian national conscience and from that conscientious promotion of Macedonian as a written language, first appears just in the beginning of our century and is strengthened particularly during in the years between the two world wars.
    • Friedrich Scholz, "Slavische Etymologie", 1966, p.61


  • Macedonian is similar to Bulgarian and is sometimes been regarded as a variety of that language.
    • "Encyclopedia of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education", Colin Baker, Sylvia Prys Jones, p. 415
  • From a strictly linguistic point of view Macedonian can be called a Bulgarian dialect, as structurally it is most similar to Bulgarian.
    • "Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics", Keith Brown, 1994
  • I call these songs Bulgarian and not Slavic, because if someone today should ask the Macedonian Slav "what are you?" he would be immediately be told: "I am Bulgarian" and would call his language "Bulgarian".
    • Stefan Verkovich, Bosnian folklorist, "Folk Songs of the Macedonian Bulgarian", Vol. 1, 1860

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Simple English

Location of the region of Macedonia.

Macedonia (from greek: Μακεδονία Makedonίa) is a region in the southeastern Europe, in Balkans. In ancient times it was a greek kingdom and its greatest leader was Alexander The Great. Today, its borders have changed and it has been separated in three countries: Greece with the region of Macedonia or Greek Macedonia, the country Macedonia or Vardar Macedonia and Bulgaria with Macedonia of Pirin (Blagoevgrad province).



Greece and the Republic of Macedonia have been arguing over the name Macedonia ever since the indipendence of the Macedonia. The Republic of Macedonia had to choose a temporary name in order to be recognized by the United Nations. The two countries have been discussing a solution for a new name that both find acceptable.[1] Bulgaria hasn't taken part in the dispute but has some disagreements with Macedonia. Even though Bulgaria was the first country to recognize Macedonia with its name, it doesn't support the Macedonian ethnicity and language, but claim it's all Bulgarian.


Macedonia, Greece

Macedonia (Greek: Μακεδονία - Makedonia) is a historical and geographical region in northern Greece. It is the second most populous region of Greece and usually it is refered as Northern Greece with Thrace. It is situated between the Pindus Mountains and river Nestos and it borders west with Epirus and Thessaly, northwestern with Albania, north with the Republic of Macedonia, northeastern with Bulgaria and east with Thrace. Its south coasts are washed by the Aegean Sea.

Republic of Macedonia

Republic of Macedonia (Macedonian: Република Македонија - Republika Makedonija) is an independent state on the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. The country borders Serbia to the north, Albania to the west, Greece to the south, and Bulgaria to the east. The country's currency is the Macedonian Denar (MKD).

Blagoevgrad Province, Bulgaria

Blagoevgrad Province (Bulgarian: област Благоевград, oblast Blagoevgrad or Благоевградска област, Blagoevgradska oblast), also known as Pirin Macedonia (Bulgarian: Пиринска Македония, Pirinska Makedoniya), is a province (oblast) of southwestern Bulgaria. To the north and east it borders with four other Bulgarian provinces, to the south with Greece and the west with the Republic of Macedonia.


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