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Old December 31st, 2017, 02:01 AM   #11

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Is there any historical basis for the modern Macedonian claims on Alexander's heritage and the kingdom of Macedon in general?
As far as I understand it, they say that today they are Slavs and speak a Slavic language but are supposed to be descendanta largely of the preexusting population genetically and in part also culturally as many pre-Slavic elements still remain alive in the rural areas or did so not long ago. It is from this that they claim a connection to the ancients with the same name.

It is also not easy being them when Bulgarians on a large claim them, as do to a lesser degree Serbs, at the same time they are being outbread by Albanians and the Greek deny their right to exist under their name, calling them Slavs in general and giving unhelpful name suggestions like "Vardarska". I believe their claim to ancient history is an attempt to distance themselves from all of their Balkanic neighbours.

I never understood why the Greeks have a problem with the country's name Macedonia. So what if a part of Macedonia is in Greece? There are many regions that are split between countries. Silesia, Styria, Carinthia, Istria, Banat etc. Hardly anyone denies the other to call their part of the region by the same name tho. FYROM was historically called Macedonia for a long time, noone is stealing anything from the Greeks just by using that name, imo.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 04:15 AM   #12

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I never understood why the Greeks have a problem with the country's name Macedonia. So what if a part of Macedonia is in Greece? There are many regions that are split between countries. Silesia, Styria, Carinthia, Istria, Banat etc. Hardly anyone denies the other to call their part of the region by the same name tho. FYROM was historically called Macedonia for a long time, noone is stealing anything from the Greeks just by using that name, imo.
There are maps circulating in FYR Macedonian ciricles, showing the whole Macedonia as a unified nation belonging to the FYR Macedonians. Not that Greece is afraid of an invasion from them to annex Greek Macedonia into their country, but this kind of nationalism is not a good basis for neighbouring relations. So, the term "Macedonia" belonging to them and all that this insinuates, aside from historically preposterous, is a very bad political stepping stone to further nationalistic claims.

Also, the appropriation of history is kind of infuriating. What is the greatest hero of Slovenia, one that had played a major role in your country's and civilisation's history? How would you feel if a neighbouring country called him one of their own, and not yours? Would you feel alright with it, that no one is stealing anything from you? And even as a neutral third-party observer, do you feel alright that a Slavic nation, which settled in the Balkans many, many centuries after the death of Alexander, and which has no cultural links with ancient Macedonians, claims that it descends from ancient Macedonians? And that it is the Greeks that are appropriating their history? I mean, how surreal is this? As if it is the Slavic civilisation, language and culture that Alexander the Great spread all the way to India...


PS: The irony of it all, is that Greeks are by far the most important investors in FYR Macedonia's economy, to a large degree supporting the stability of the country. There could have been very friendly relations between the two countries, if not for the silly naming dispute and the historical claiming nonsense behind it. FYR Macedonia could use an ally such as Greece, instead of alienating every single neighbouring country of theirs. At least Greece does not have any territorial, or any other kind of claims. But you can't build a national history based on a lie, especially if that lie offends your neighbour.

Last edited by Solidaire; December 31st, 2017 at 04:29 AM.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 04:58 AM   #13

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There are maps circulating in FYR Macedonian ciricles, showing the whole Macedonia as a unified nation belonging to the FYR Macedonians. Not that Greece is afraid of an invasion from them to annex Greek Macedonia into their country, but this kind of nationalism is not a good basis for neighbouring relations. So, the term "Macedonia" belonging to them and all that this insinuates, aside from historically preposterous, is a very bad political stepping stone to further nationalistic claims.

Also, the appropriation of history is kind of infuriating. What is the greatest hero of Slovenia, one that had played a major role in your country's and civilisation's history? How would you feel if a neighbouring country called him one of their own, and not yours? Would you feel alright with it, that no one is stealing anything from you? And even as a neutral third-party observer, do you feel alright that a Slavic nation, which settled in the Balkans many, many centuries after the death of Alexander, and which has no cultural links with ancient Macedonians, claims that it descends from ancient Macedonians? And that it is the Greeks that are appropriating their history? I mean, how surreal is this? As if it is the Slavic civilisation, language and culture that Alexander the Great spread all the way to India...


PS: The irony of it all, is that Greeks are by far the most important investors in FYR Macedonia's economy, to a large degree supporting the stability of the country. There could have been very friendly relations between the two countries, if not for the silly naming dispute and the historical claiming nonsense behind it. FYR Macedonia could use an ally such as Greece, instead of alienating every single neighbouring country of theirs. At least Greece does not have any territorial, or any other kind of claims. But you can't build a national history based on a lie, especially if that lie offends your neighbour.
This I didn't know. Of course such nationalism isn't productive when it comes to relations between neighbouring countries. It is also nothing unusual in the Balkans. Show me one country that doesnt have some Great this-and-that agenda or some crazy theory about their ancestors. It sure doesn't make it right though.

I agree with you, I wouldn't be ok with some foreigners claiming our heritage and history, I am always on the baricades when it happens. I was amazed when I first heard of the Macedonian fascination with Aco Velikiot years ago. Erecting statues of him, even making frescos of him in churches and homes. It makes no sense. However, I would argue with you about the clear divide between the time and people before and after the arrival of the Slavs. It is obvious that Macedonians and many other nations in the Balkans are Slavic today, their language and culture are Slavic. But many of those people basically are the same as the ones 1500 years ago, they just switched to a Slavic language. A big amount of people in Bosnia, Macedonia and Bulgaria are probably descendants of people who lived there before, Thracians, Illyrians, even Greeks or whomever. Our ancestors absorbed the preexisting population as well. But that of course doesn't make Slovenes Celts and neither are today's Macedonians synonimous with ancient Macedonians.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 08:48 AM   #14

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Short answer no. Long answer: nooooooo.
They speak a bulgarian dialect, they are mostly slavs mixed with bulgars and illyrians/thracians. Basically the same ethnicity as bulgarians.

If there was some ancient macedonian heritage, it probably ended with the settlement of Kuber's bulgars:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuber

The modern state of macedonia was created by the russians with a Comintern resolution.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resolu...onian_Question

However with the arrival of the European Union, the Macedonian question will be probably resolved without any problems, and they will settle on some acceptable name, I always suggest MaceDonaldia

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Old December 31st, 2017, 09:07 AM   #15

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Originally Posted by Shtajerc View Post
This I didn't know. Of course such nationalism isn't productive when it comes to relations between neighbouring countries. It is also nothing unusual in the Balkans. Show me one country that doesnt have some Great this-and-that agenda or some crazy theory about their ancestors. It sure doesn't make it right though.

I agree with you, I wouldn't be ok with some foreigners claiming our heritage and history, I am always on the baricades when it happens. I was amazed when I first heard of the Macedonian fascination with Aco Velikiot years ago. Erecting statues of him, even making frescos of him in churches and homes. It makes no sense. However, I would argue with you about the clear divide between the time and people before and after the arrival of the Slavs. It is obvious that Macedonians and many other nations in the Balkans are Slavic today, their language and culture are Slavic. But many of those people basically are the same as the ones 1500 years ago, they just switched to a Slavic language. A big amount of people in Bosnia, Macedonia and Bulgaria are probably descendants of people who lived there before, Thracians, Illyrians, even Greeks or whomever. Our ancestors absorbed the preexisting population as well. But that of course doesn't make Slovenes Celts and neither are today's Macedonians synonimous with ancient Macedonians.
Agreed, however genetic heritage is a shaky ground, full of uncertainties and inconsistencies. Besides, it is a very long discussion how people can be identified, by genetic ancestry or by cultural heritage. We are all genetically mixed people anyway. Of course the descendants of ancient Macedonians mixed with the newcomers (Slavs) and of course many of modern Balkan people have some Macedonian blood in their veins. But to go to the extreme and claim that they, the Slavs of FYR Macedonia are the true descendants of the ancients is too much, as if all the Greeks suddenly disappeared from history, and were thus disinherited from Macedonian genetic ancestry.

Besides, as I said above, genetic ancestry matters little, if not accompanied by some degree of cultural continuation, which marks two groups in distant historical periods as relating to each other, the one being the evolution of the other. When there is a clear distinction between languages, cultures, and civilisation groups in general, we cannot speak of related peoples, even if some genetic crossbreeding has occurred.

FYR Macedonians claim that the descendants of ancient Macedonians mixed with their Slavic ancestors, that the original Greek-speaking inhabitants of Macedonia disappeared or were assimilated by Slavs, and that by the early 20th century Macedonia was inhabited by Slavs, their ancestors and descendants of the ancient Macedonians, who were driven out of their ancestral lands of the largest part of Macedonia by the victorious Greek armies of the Balkan Wars. They see Greece as an occupying force of the largest part of Macedonia, and of its largest city, Thessaloniki. I think this is the crux of the matter.

As with most national myths, there is degree of truth in all of these, inflated by nationalism, wishful thinking and gross exaggeration. There were many Slavs living in the Macedonian province of the Ottoman empire, many of whom came to live under the expanded Greek state. But there were also many Greeks, Turks, Jews (the majority of Thessaloniki's inhabitants), Bulgars, and many other ethnicities. The Slavic minority within the Greek state was indeed, to my knowledge, oppressed and discouraged from retaining its cultural heritage. 20th century was a savage one in many aspects, respect of ethnic minorities being one of the most wanting ones, especially in the Balkans where such issues almost always led to armed conflicts and heated disputes. By no means do I try to justify this; I'm very sorry and not at all proud about several deeds of the Greek state. But to claim that Macedonia is theirs alone, that they are the true Macedonians and inheritors of the ancient ones and of their history is too much, way too much. I find it so surreal that at times I cannot even take it seriously. Sadly, this amazing nationalistic myth has been blown out of proportions by petty politicians on both sides of the border, seeking to fanaticise their people with inflated historical pride and make them flock to their banners. In the end, it is them, the people who suffer from this historical travesty the most, especially those of the smaller and weaker of the two states.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 09:46 AM   #16
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Regarding territorial claims after the war in 1945 there were talks between Churchill and Stalin about possibility of joining the three 'separate parts of Macedonia' (!),one included in Yugoslavia, the second in Greece, the third in Bulgaria, as they were under Ottomans - Monastir vilayet (Monastir is today Bitola). The idea was this new state to align with the other balkan countries and to become a member of the balkan federation envisioned by Tito - 1945 was before their split, Tito and Stalin were first buddies back then. Soviets favoured balkan federation idea, whilst GB opposed it.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 10:03 AM   #17
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Macedonians often quote Demosthenes and his speeches against Philip II of Macedon, especially this part of 3rd Philippic:



Other ancient Greek orators and authors like Pausanias and his remark about the Battle of Chaeronea and the plight of defeated Greeks, Thrasymachus with Greeks being slaves to Macedonian king (Archelaus), list continues..

Their point is because the ancient Greeks called all non-Greeks barbarians, they did not consider neither the Macedonian king nor his subjects to be Greek, but foreigners to the ancient Greek world.
I mostly take the Greek point of view in these debates. I don't support what the Slavic-Macedonians are claiming. I was just giving an explanation for why they claim Alexander and Philip despite them being outside of FYROM's territory, not that I agree with it,

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EDIT: It's worth to mention that when Kingdom of Yugoslavia was formed what is today Republic of Macedonia was one of the 9 provinces of this kingdom. The very name Macedonia was prohibited in Yugoslavia so it was named Vardarska banovina. Banovina = province, Vardarska after the Vardar river, the mayor river in this part of the balkans.
This is a very misleading statement. The reason why the name Vardar Banovina was given was because the Yugoslav government wanted to suppress the ethnic identity of the people of Yugoslavia (Serbs, Croats, Macedonians, etc) and replace their ethnic identity with a regional identity. That way their only identity would be 'Yugoslav' and 'Vardarian' (in the case of Slav-Macedonians). The former would function as their new ethnic identity and the latter as their regional identity. This was done to weaken separatism and strengthen Yugoslav nationalism. It eventually didn't work and the system of banovinas was scrapped in 1939 after being introduced for only 10 years.

Keep in mind that Vardar Banovina included parts of southern Serbia so it wasn't simply a name change for FYROM. Besides Vardar Banovina, other banovinas were Zeta, Drina, Vrbas, etc. These banovinas were all created to suppress the ethnic identity of Yugoslav's inhabitants. None of the banovinas were called 'Croat Banovina' for example. Just like how Vardar Banovina had no ethnic name, neither did any of the others. It had nothing to do with the Yugoslav government being against the name Macedonia.

See this map of the banovinas of Yugoslavia:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 10:06 AM   #18

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Originally Posted by At Each Kilometer View Post
Regarding territorial claims after the war in 1945 there were talks between Churchill and Stalin about possibility of joining the three 'separate parts of Macedonia' (!),one included in Yugoslavia, the second in Greece, the third in Bulgaria, as they were under Ottomans - Monastir vilayet (Monastir is today Bitola). The idea was this new state to align with the other balkan countries and to become a member of the balkan federation envisioned by Tito - 1945 was before their split, Tito and Stalin were first buddies back then. Soviets favoured balkan federation idea, whilst GB opposed it.
I'm not very good in 20th century history, but wouldn't it be more logical to join Macedonia according to the borders of the Vilayet of Selanik (Thessaloniki)?
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Old December 31st, 2017, 10:12 AM   #19
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I'm not very good in 20th century history, but wouldn't it be more logical to join Macedonia according to the borders of the Vilayet of Selanik (Thessaloniki)?
Sorry. Forgot eastern one - Salonika vilayet and access to aegean and mediterranean sea for the newborn second world.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 10:52 AM   #20
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@Dzmeka I merely pointing out the arguments they use in debates and how they try to detach modern day Greeks from their ancient heritage.

Regarding Vardarska banovina, thanks for info. I see here and there Greeks using Vardarska when trying to infuriate their opponents.
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