Thursday, December 20, 2007
Most commentators have concentrated on the status of communities named in Persian sources and little attention has been given to the nature of the terms used. The sequence of names is not regular at first, with what seem to be ad hoc epithets, consistent with the naming of recent acquisitions; subsequently more formal designations followed. The earlier documents contain references to various peoples living by or beyond a sea. The Apadana Foundation inscription (DPe) mentions Ionians(Yauna) of the mainland, Ionians-by-the-sea, and unspecified countries by and beyond the sea, while some inscriptions of Dareios at Susa (DSm, DSe) refer on the one hand to men of Skudra and petasos-wearing Yuana , on the other Skudra and Yauna across the sea.On the tomb of Dareios at Naksh-i-Rustem 'Skythians beyond the sea' and 'petasos-wearing Yuana' replaced the unspecified 'countries beyond the sea' of DPe. Skythians (Saka) appear in two separate groups.
The Saka Haumavarga (Hauma-drinking Skythians) and Saka Tigraxauda (Saka who wear the pointed hat) usually appear on the monuments between the east Iranian and Indian groups of peoples. A third group of Skythians, Saka Paradraya (beyond the sea), are named alongside Skudra and petasos-wearing Ionians beginning with Dareios' tomb inscription. In later official texts the eastern Saka continued to be listed in the usual place, but the western Saka disappeared. Thus there is no reference to them on Xerxes' 'Daiva' inscription (XPh), although 'Skudra' appear as a separate entry on the two Susa texts, on Dareios' tomb, in the 'Daiva' document, and among the throne-bearers on later royal tomb reliefs. The documents from Dareios' reign must antedate 486 BC and recent attempts to give more precision to their chronology would suggest that the sequence began no earlier than the 490s. Archaeological evidence indicates that there was very little settled occupation of the open steppe before the fifth century BC. This pattern seems to have changed quite rapidly over the course of the following century, although such settlement as there was continued to be scattered. Dareios' greatest problems are more likely to have stemmed from supplying his troops than from harrying at the hands of small, mobile bands. In this respect the campaign against the European Saka did present additional and far more intractable difficulties than those he would have faced in central Asia.
The later texts (DNa, XPh), seem to represent a coherent sequence: Ionians of the Asiatic mainland, followed by coastal Ionians,Yauna Takabara, , in other words, east Greeks, Hellespontine Greeks, north Aegean Greeks, and Skudra as Thracians .
Yauna Takabara seem in some cases, as at Susa, to correspond with earlier designations of coastal Ionians (Paradraya) and have conventionally been taken to mean Macedonians, because of the distinctive flat hats depicted on coins from the Macedonian region. But this is a misnomer. Coins pre-dating regal Macedonian issues which show large hats are difficult to locate geographically and are even harder to identify according to ethnic origin. They are neither strictly 'Thracian' nor 'Macedonian', because at the beginning of the fifth century these terms lacked definition. The Argead dynasty was just beginning to extend control over areas beyond the Thermaic Gulf. Even in the later fifth century, tribal designations are encountered more often than topographic names (Thuk. 2. 99).
If Yuana Takabara were considered by the Persians to correspond specifically to Macedonians, this should be taken to mean their diplomatic partners from 511 BC onwards, the Argeads, and Argead dependencies. Only in 492 did this relationship change from one of loose alliance, albeit on unequal terms, to one of close dependency (Hdt. 6. 44. 1). The Persian documents do not elaborate such niceties. Allies and subjects are listed in the same way, only the nomenclature changes. Thus at the time of DPe, no distinction is made amongst the inhabitants 'beyond the sea'. Thereafter Yauna Takabara is separated out and 'Skudra' likewise.
'Skudra' is the most elusive term. Although Xerxes' 'Daiva' inscription at Persepolis corresponds in other respects with Herodotos' muster roll at Doriskos (7. 61 ff.), the Greek historian has no equivalent for 'Skudra'. Xerxes did proceed to call up troops from amongst the native and Greek settlers along the coast as his army advanced westwards, and the term has most often be taken to apply to Thracians, or Thracians and Macedonians. The etymology of the word is obscure but suggests that the Persians may have used it in a more specialized way than simply to describe their dependencies in Europe as such. The Persepolis Fortification Tablets have numerous references to workers from Skudra and the most obvious candidates for Europeans working in some numbers deep within the Persian empire are the Paionians whom Herodotos makes so much of in his narrative (5. 1. 12-16, 98).
Why did Herodotos make so much of the Paionians?
Herodotos tells us that Megabazos was instructed, after Dareios' return from Skythia, to conquer the whole of Thrace, to bring every city and every people under Persian control (5. 2. 2). Later he seems to indicate that this was indeed carried out (6. 44. 1: 'all tribes on this side of the Makedones had already been made subject to him'). But tantalizingly, the historian tells us absolutely nothing about the campaign, except that Megabazos began by subduing Perinthos and every other city. A few paragraphs later he modifies this statement, intimating that it was the coastal parts of the wider region he was describing (tes chores tautes . . . ta parathalassia) which Megabazos was systematically bringing under his command (5. 10). It seems unwise to take any one of Herodotos' statements too literally.
Cambridge Ancient History Vol 4 mention
The existence of a satrapy in Europe, called 'Skudra', is known from Persian inscriptions (B44, 58f), 'Lands beyond the sea', that is beyond the waters of Asia Minor from the Persian point of view, were recorded in an inscription on the terrace-wall of Persepolis c. 513 B.C and a satrapy 'Skudra' was mentioned in a egyptian record of c.498-7 B.C and then on a list on Darius' tomb at Naqsh-i Rustam, c.486. The name 'Skudra' was probably Phrygian for the homeland, later called Thrace, which the Phrygians had left in migrating to Asia. The peoples of the satrapy were named c.492 B.C as three: 'Saka Paradraya', meaning 'Sacae (a general name for Scythian-type people) beyong the sea', probably the Getae, who resembled the Scythians in customsand equipment; the 'skudra' themselves, mainly Thracians; and 'Yauna Takabara' or Ionians [Viz. Greeks] with a shield-like hat' The last were mentioned also on glazed bricks at the palace at Susa. Some scholars have supposed that the Sacae 'beyond the sea' were Scythian peoples of the Crimea whom Darius had subjugated, but it seems improbable that Persia did hild that area, and that if she id it was assigned to 'Skudra' rather than to the territories in Georgia, centred on Tbilisi. Envoys from 'Skudra' bringing tribute carried two javelins, a long knife and a small round shield, which were characteristic of Thracian troops later (See Pls. Vol., p1,.40 XIX.
The Greek-speaking people with the shield-like hat were the Macedones, renowned for wearing the sun-hat, as Alexander I did on his fine coins from 478 B.C (look the picture). The Greek-speaking citizens of the colonial city states on the seaboard were not mentioned; nor did they wear a sun-hat.
- Ancient Cambringe History, Vol 2, Greek Edition, 2005
- Ancient Cambringe History, Vol 4, 2003
- The Odrysian kingdom of Thrace, Archbald, Oxford University,1998
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thucydides passage (II, 100) referring to the expulsion of the Eordaioi from Eordaia constitutes one of the earlier mentions of the name of this region. Unfortunately, the mythological evidence for this district remains almost non-existent.
As regards its name, the only safe suggestion is that it was named after the local tribe of Eordaioi.
In Strabo's description (VII, 323) of the route (from west to the east) of the Via Egnatia, Eordaia appeared before Edessa, therefore, it is assumed that Eordaia lay to the west of Emathia Mountain Bermion formed the eastern boundary as far as the plateau of Edessa that served as the northeastern border. A branch of Bermion was also the southern frontier. Finally, Mts. Vitsi and Boras designated the western and northern boundaries respectively.
As regards the pre-Macedonian ethnography of this area, Professors Maria Girtsi and Nicholas Hammond suggested that in the pre Macedonian period Pelasgoi, Paiones (a theory that coincides with Pliny's mention (IV, 10) that some Paiones lived once in Eordaia), Phryges (a theory that was combined with Herodotus'testimony (VIII, 138) that Midas' kingdom stretched around the foothills of Bermion), Illyrians etc. occupied for sometime some parts of Eordaia. However, among those tribes -that constituted in several periods minorities- there was a dominant local tribe, the Eordaioi (Thucydides II, 99).
Unfortunately, as regards their origin, there is no secure evidence, apart from some unreliable suggestions (e.g. Pelasgian or Paionian or Illyrian descent), that were not based on conclusive information.
Nevertheless, Macedonians according to Thucydides (II, 99) killed the majority of Eordaioi and forced the others to migrate to Physka. Those violent acts of the Macedones were justifiable by the fact that Eordaia was about to constitute the western frontier with the other U.M. districts and Illyria, and thus any danger of internal revolt (by the locals) had to be avoided.
As regards the date of the annexation of Eordaia, that served as the starting point in the Macedonian history of this district, although there is no exact evidence, Alexander's I reign served as a «terminus ante quem» (Thucydides II, 99). Moreover, Eordaia was affected (either as a separate area, or as an already incorporated part of Macedonia) by the Persian presence, since Eordaioi were included in Xerxes' army troops (Herodotus VII, 185).
In Eordaia belonged at least the below mentioned sites: Arnissa, Kellai, Bokeria, Galadrai, Kranna, and Greia . Moreover, a list of unidentified archeological sites.
Thucydides (IV, 128) testified that Arnissa was the first site (to the west) of the Macedonian Kingdom -in the time of Perdikkas II. Therefore, according to our knowledge that the western district at this era was Eordaia, Arnissa should belong to it. Consequently, Ptolemy's (III, 13.20) mention of an Arnissa as a site of Taulantioi either concerned another homonymous site or constituted an error. Moreover, Leake placed it in the vale of Ostrovo, while Samsares located it near modern Arnissa (ex. Ostrovo) where some ancient remains have been come to light. Hammond on the other hand, relying on Thucydides' passage, placed it in modern Petres, which seems more plausible as the site of Kellai (as will be evident below). Evidently, there is still a lot more to be done, so as to secure the location and define the status of the site.
Hierocles («Synecdeme», 638.11) included in his account of the stations of the Via Egnatia, a site called «Kellai», the additional information by the Antonine itinerary, (319-320 and 330.3-7 ) Itinerary Burdigalense (605-606) that Kellai lay between Herakleia and Edessa, at a distance of 40metres and 30metres respectively, led to its location in the district of Eordaia. There are several suggestions like Demetsas as regards its exact location (e.g. modern Arnissa, modern Amyndaion etc.), however the most plausible one is that it was situated on modern Petres, a site that coincides with the distances given by the Itineraries. Moreover, at mound Gradista (500m northwest of Petres) has been discovered an ancient site, organised in terraces.
A milestone of a 4th-3rd century BC road, mentioning «from Bokeria 100 stadia», found recently in modern Kirli Derven, led to the assumption that a site called Bokeria could belong to Eordaia. Desdevises-du-Dezert Demetsas on the other hand, had earlier claimed that a site called Begora -being named after the lake Begoritis or vice versa- should have existed, although it was not mentioned by any ancient writer.
Lycophron (1342, 1444 ) mentioned that a Galadrai belonged to Eordaia, while Stephanos Byzantius identified it as a Pierian site. The lexicographer placed it at the south extremity of Eordaia; however, the controversy of the ancient sources, along with the lack of any other evidence, prevents any further discussion.
Professor Maria Girtsi state in his book that a Roman inscription (SEG 1, p.65.no.292) mentioning a man from Kranna of Eordaia, implied the existence of such a site, at least in the Roman era. The lack of any other evidence prevents any suggestion for its location or any further assumption.
Professor Maria Girtsi state in his book that a Hellenistic inscription found in the vicinity of Eordaia,(kanatsoulis p.2] )and referring to the site of Greia, attested the existence of such a site, at least in the late Hellenistic era. However, the lack of any supportive information does not allow the secure identification of its location or any further comment.
In Florina, Agios Panteleimon, Amyntaio, Kastro, Ammochorion, Beuve, Ano Kleinai, Palaistra and Kato Kleinai have find traces of late Classical-Hellenistic habitation architectural remains, houses, roads, pottery sherds, figurines and coins .
- Demitsas M, Ancient Geography of Macedonia,1879
- Nicholas Hammond, History of Macedonia Vol 1, 1972, Greek edition (1996)
- Sakellariou, Macedonia: 4000 Years of Greek History, 1982
- Nikolaos Martis, the Falsification of Macedonian History, 1984
- Eugene Borza, the Shadow of Olympus,1993
- Maria Girtzi, Historical topography of ancient Macedonia,2001
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The bones belong to the Ursus ingressus cave bear that is believed to have headed down to Greece from Northern Europe in search of warmer weather and food.
In digs that have been carried out since the early 1990s, experts have uncovered the bones believed to be the “first cousin” of the brown bear currently found in the region. Findings from the examination of the bones is expected to be formally made next year.
“By finding out what caused the disappearance of the Ursus ingressus, we can find out what may also have caused the extinction of other (animal) types today,” said paleontologist Evangelia Tsoukala.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Vergina is about 13km south-east of the district centre of Veroia and about 80km south-west of Thessaloniki, the capital of Greek Macedonia. The town has a population of about two thousand people and stands on the foothills of Mount Pieria, at an elevation of 120m (360 ft) above sea level.
Dion is an area at the foot of Mt Olympus. Nowadays it is known all over the world because archaeologists discovered a very important Macedonian city. Ancient kings of Macedonia had chosen Dion as their summer resort. There they created, centuries ago, a settlement in the ruins of which the parts of the ancient Macedonian civilization are evident. Archaeologists, with Professor D Pantermalis at the head of them, discovered an admirable civilization. Remains of an ancient theatre, market baths and palace. The findings of graves found in Dion area are also remarkable. Most royal tombs give away the existence of an eminent and thriving civilization. Today we can admire the ruins of that civilization in the archaeological site of Dion and the archaeological museum of Dion.
Pella (Greek: Πέλλα) was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedon. A common folk etymology is traditionally given for the name Pella ascribing it to a form akin to Doric Greek Apella, originally to have meant a ceremonial location where decisions were made.However, the local form of Greek was not Doric, and the word exactly matches standard Greek pélla "stone", undoubtedly referring to a famous landmark from the time of its foundation.
Site of the famous battle where the armies of Mark Antony and Octavius met and defeated the armies of Julius Ceasars assassins in 42BC. Brutas and Cassius committed suicide and the victors spent a fortune on Philippi, granting it the staus of Roman Colony, providing us with the impressive ruins, and artifacts which are now in the museum. In 49 AD Saint Paul came to preach to the inhabitants of Philippi and ended up in prison. Despite Paul's misfortune Phillipi was the first European city to accept Christianity, though the first two churches they built suffered some bad luck. The first was destroyed by an earthquake right after it was completed in the 5th century and the second collapsed before its dedication in the 6th Century because it was too top heavy.The remains can both be seen, as well as the ancient theatre built by Phillip II.
16 March 2007
Aiani is located approximately 20 km south of the city of Kozani, in western Macedonia. Aiani thus laid within the region of the ancient kingdom of Elimeia, which together with the other Greek kingdoms of Tymphaia, Orestis, Lyncestis, Eordaia and Pelagonia constituted the ancient Upper (i.e. mountainous) Macedonia. Systematic excavation research in Aiani, which began in 1983, has revealed the architectural remains of large and small buildings, rich in small finds, as well as groups of graves and organized cemeteries dating from the Prehistoric to the Late Hellenistic periods. The Late Bronze Age in Upper Macedonia is marked by the appearance of Mycenaean finds, together with the appearance and spread of matt-painted pottery.
Mycenaean finds have been unearthed in twenty-six sites near nineteen villages in the Kozani prefecture. Graves were recovered in eleven of the sites, the rest of the sites yielded just pottery, which in eleven cases came from habitation layers. Examples of the finds shown here are: the mouth of a pithos with linear painted decoration, and a cemetery with Mycenaean grave goods at Aiani; a Mycenaean figurine from Ano Komi; and similar cemeteries at Ano Komi, Rymnio, and Sparto in the riverine and lacustrine area around the middle reaches of the Aliakmon river and at Trigoniko. Excavations in recent years have produced growing evidence of Mycenaean presence in all of Macedonia. I have expressed the view that the numerous Mycenaean finds indicate that Mycenaeans had established settlements of some kind in this area, although the question will be the subject of future investigations and studies. This view may be upheld with regard to the area around Aiani and the middle reaches of the Aliakmon river in particular. This area is very close to Thessaly and would naturally have developed a network of mutual contacts and influences, as was the case in earlier periods from the Neolithic onwards (cp. prehistoric finds from Servia, for instance, known since 1909, and from Pondokomi slightly farther away, discovered during recent investigations) and also in later periods until the historical era. I realise that ‘Mycenaean presence’ is a complex phenomenon, and it is difficult to conclude that the prevalence of Mycenaean elements in an area is necessarily due to Mycenaean presence. On the other hand, I do not believe that simplifying the interpretation will bring us any closer to the truth and to what actually happened.
Also known as Macedonian matt-painted ware, north-western matt-painted ware, Doric ware or Boubousti ware (after the excavation site, now Platania near Voio, where Heurtley discovered it in 1927), pottery with matt-painted decoration is widespread in the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. Most of the find-spots are concentrated in Western Macedonia (45 in the Kozani prefecture alone), especially along the river Aliakmonas, spreading into Epiros and Albania as far as Korçë and sporadically into south-western Albania (the tumuli in the Drin valley), Pelagonia, Central Macedonia as far as the river Strymon, and south into Thessaly, Elasson, and Marmariani – a dissemination which is presumably due to the constant movement of pastoral populations. Scholars of both earlier and modern times believe that the pottery was manufactured by the north-western Greek tribes, Herodotus’ ‘widely roaming nation’ (1.56). Among these tribes he includes the Macedonians and the Dorians, who, he says, travelled from the south northwards and also settled in the Pindos mountains. The Spercheios valley is believed to have been a major halting-place in the migrations of the Macedonians and the other north-western Greek tribes; matt-painted ware of the Middle Helladic period has been found at Lianokladi near Lamia.
The earliest date for the appearance of this type of pottery is put at the end of Late Helladic IIIA (late 15th century bc). The latest finds from the archaeological site at Livadia not only confirm the early appearance of Late Bronze Age matt-painted ware (in the 15th century bc) in Upper Macedonia that is contemporaneous with that of Central Macedonia, but they also probably provide reliable evidence for an even earlier dating. The most widely accepted theory today is that this pottery evolved from the Middle Helladic matt-painted ware of southern Greece (19th–16th centuries bc), probably with the influence of some Mycenaean motifs, rather than that it developed out of local imitations of Mycenaean wares. Finds made in Aiani attest the existence of a pioneer workshop that produced large quantities of wares of outstanding quality, some of which have already been located in neighboring areas. Dozens of large and small items are decorated in a distinctive manner, which lends support to the argument that this pottery is directly connected with similar ware of the Middle Helladic period. It has a two-color decoration on a smoothed lustrous surface of brownish-red and brownish-black tin glaze applied before firing, and may be regarded as a survival of a similar type of Middle Helladic pottery. Owing to the contemporary Mycenaean pottery, this specific category of matt-painted ware from Aiani is probably earlier than that which has been found in Macedonia to date, and it supports the view that its origins should be sought in Upper Macedonia and that it spread from there. This theory is further strengthened by the density of the finds throughout all of Western Macedonia and also by the fact that they continue during the subsequent period. This stands in contrast to Central Macedonia, where data so far show that there was not a great deal of matt-painted ware there during the Early Iron Age.
The finds from Aiani finds leave no further room for doubt that the north-western matt-painted ware was brought from the south by people returning to the north and north-west (to Aiani in the 15th century bc), after having moved south at a much earlier date or having moved back and forth owing to their pastoral economy and their nomadic lifestyle. These people were none other than the Macedonians of the historical period, whom the literary tradition directly associates with the Dorians. Hence, the Aiani’s finds provide one more argument against the old (in any case untenable) theory of a massive Dorian invasion at the end of the second millennium.
Karamitrou – Mentesidi, G. 1999. Voion, Notia Orestis. Archeologiki erevna kai historiki topographia. Thessaloniki.Karamitrou – Mentesidi, G. 2003. "Mikinaika Aianis-Elimiotidas kai Ano Makedonias." Η Περιφέρεια του Μυκηναϊκού Κόσμου, Β΄ Διεθνές Συμπόσιο, Λαμία 26-29 Σεπτεμβρίου 1999, 167-190. Lamia.
For further reports see:
Γ. Καραμήτρου-Μεντεσίδη, ΑΔ 42, 1987, Χρον. Β2, 423, πίν. 246γ, της ίδιας, ΑΔ 43, 1988, Χρον. Β2, 399, πίν. 235α, της ίδιας, Αιανή Κοζάνης, Αρχαιολογικός Οδηγός, 1989, 63-64, 67-68, εικ. 33-34, της ίδιας, Αρχαία Μακεδονία, Μουσείο Βικτώριας, Μελβούρνη 1989, Αθήνα 1988, 42, 137, 163-164, της ίδιας, ΑΔ 44, 1989, Χρον. Β2, 365, πίν. 193γ, της ίδιας, ΑΕΜΘ 3, 1989, 49, εικ. 9, 10, 11, της ίδιας, ΑΔ 45, 1990, Χρον. Β2, 353, της ίδιας, ΑΕΜΘ 4, 1990, 76, εικ. 3, της ίδιας, Ελληνικός Πολιτισμός, Το βασίλειο του Μεγάλου Αλεξάνδρου, 1993, 117-118, 120-121, της ίδιας ΑΔ 46, 1991, Χρον. Β2, 304, της ίδιας, ΑΕΜΘ 10Α, 1996, 31, της ίδιας, Βόιον, Νότια Ορεστίς, Αρχαιολογική Έρευνα και Ιστορική Τοπογραφία, 1999, 120-141, με επισκόπηση της σχετικής έρευνας σε όλη τη Δυτική Μακεδονία, και για πιο πρόσφατα ευρήματα από όλο τον Νομό βλ. της ίδιας, ΑΕΜΘ 12, 1998, 439-464 (κυρίως 456-458), της ίδιας, ΑΕΜΘ 13, 1999, 348, 351, 355, της ίδιας (και Μ. Βατάλη), ΑΕΜΘ 13, 1999, 373-374, και της ίδιας, ΑΔ 51, 1996, Χρονικά, ΑΔ 52, 1997, Χρονικά, ΑΔ 53, 1998, Χρονικά, ΑΔ 54, 1999, Χρονικά, τυπώνονται, της ίδιας, Η Περιφέρεια του Μυκηναϊκού Κόσμου, Β΄ Διεθνές Διεπιστημονικό Συμπόσιο, Λαμία 1999, (2003), 167-190, της ίδιας, ΑΔ 54, 1999, Χρονικά, τυπώνεται, της ίδιας, ΑΔ 55, 2000, Χρονικά, τυπώνεται, της ίδιας, ΑΕΜΘ 14, 2000, 591-606.
Also go to the the below link that has as subject the Aiani.
Aiani archaelogical site
Sunday, December 09, 2007
The 'strategos' was appointed by the Emperor and exercised supreme military and political authority in the region of his jurisdiction. Each theme was divided into smaller administrative districts, and its troops were mainly recruited from the local peasantry. The first themes must have been created in the provinces of the East in the 2nd half of the 7th century, in order to deal more effectively with the various problems of defence there, since under the new system the 'strategos' in charge was invested with both military and political power.
By the 9th century the system of themes had been extended to the rest of the Empire, in an endeavour by the emperors to weaken the all-powerful governors of the earlier dioceses. However, the uniting of the two authorities in the person of one 'strategos' once again created all-powerful local lords who posed a threat to the central authority.
From the second half of the 11th century the emperors tried to face this danger through the separation of political from military authority and the continuous fragmentation of the large themes into smaller administrative districts ('katepanikia'). The 'strategoi' became simple commanders of army divisions and the term "theme" now denoted only geographical regions or small fiscal departments. After the capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders (1204) the theme organization collapsed.
The term thema was first applied to the Roman legion as George Finley quoted (page 12). The military districts, garrisoned by legions, were then called themata, and ultimately the word was used merely to indicate geographical administrative divisions.-- Ducange, Glossarium med. et inf. Graecitatis.
The number of themes varied at different periods.
The Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenituswriting about the middle of the 10th century, counts 16 in the Asiatic portion of the empire, and 12 in the European. 7 great themes are particularly prominent in Asia Minor, Optimaton, Opsikion, the Thrakesian, the Anatolic, the Bukellarian, the Kibyrraiot, and the Armeniac. In each of these a large military force was permanently maintained, under the command of a general of the province and in Opsikion, the Thrakesian, and the Kibyrraiot, a naval force was likewise stationed under its own officers.
The European provinces were divided into 8 continental and 5 insular or transmarine themes, until the loss of the exarchate of Ravenna reduced the number to twelve. Venice and Naples, though they acknowledged the suzerainty of the Eastern Empire, acted generally as independent cities. Sardinia was lost about the time of Leo's accession, and the circumstances attending its conquest by the Saracens are unknown.
The twelve European themes were--
- Longibardia (Calabria.)
The islands of the Archipelago, which formed the 16th Asiatic theme, were the usual station of the European naval squadron, under the command of a Drungarias. They are often called Dodekannesos, and their admiral was an officer of consideration at the end of the eighth century.--Theophanes,383 . The list of the themes given by Constantine Porphyrogenitus is a traditional, not an official document. Cyprus and Sicily had been conquered by the Arabs long before he wrote.
The Asiatic themes were--
- Anatolikon, including parts of Phrygia, Lycaonia, Isauria, Pamphylia, and Pisidia.
- The Armeniac, including Pontus and Cappadocia.
- The Thrakesian, part of Phrygia, Lydia, and Ionia.
- Opsikion, Mysia, and part of Bithynia and Phrygia.
- Optimaton, the part of Bithynia towards the Bosphorus.
- Bukellarion, Galatia.
- Chaldia, the country about Trebizond.
- Mesopotamia, the trifling possessions of the empire on the Mesopotamian frontier.
- Koloneia, the country between Pontus and Armenia Minor, through which the Lycus flows, near Neocæsarea.
- Sebasteia, the second Armenia.--Scrip. post Theoph. 112.
- Lycandos, a theme formed by Leo VI. (the Wise) on the borders of Armenia.
- The Kibyrraiot, Caria, Lycia, and the coast of Cilicia.
- The Aegean. Cappadocia is mentioned as a theme.--Scrip. post. Theoph. 112; and Charsiania, Genesius, 46. They had formed part of the Armeniac theme.
George Ostrogorsky in (The Byzantine Background of the Moravian Mission, pages 6-7) mention as about the European Themes and more specific in the Macedonian geographical boundaries......
At one extremity the process embraced Greek territory. Probably by the end of the eighth century the new theme of the Peloponnesus was created alongside the existing one of Hellas. The theme of Cephalonia, including the Ionian Islands, was organized in the first years of the ninth century at the latest.' At the other extremity, between 789 and 802, the theme of Macedonia was established, more or less contemporaneously the Greek themes to the south.
The Macedonian theme, however, had nothing in common with either classical Macedonia or that of modern times: this point must be made clear, particularly because the question of Macedonia is of especial importance to our problem. The Byzantine theme of Macedonia consisted of western Thrace, with its center at Adrianople. The name "Macedonia" was attached to this territory precisely because actual Macedonia was lost to Byzantium, and was occupied by Slavs and formed a conglomeration of Sclaviniae.
In the first half of the ninth century-probably in its early years-the regions of Thessalonica and Dyrrachium were organized as themes. Both, along with the themes mentioned above, are cited in Uspenskij's Tacticon, compiled between 845 and 856. On the other hand, Dvornik has pointed out that the Life of St. Gregory Decapolites, which he edited, already mentions, about 836, the strategus of Thessalonica and his protocancellarius; from which Dvornik rightly concluded that the theme of Thessalonica originated at least before 836.
The establishment of a theme in the Dyrrachium region probably took place in the first quarter of the ninth century, as was recently shown by Jadran Ferluga, who relied on an item of information in the correspondence of Theodore the Studite.ll The institution of themes in the territories of Thessalonica and Dyrrachium was a particularly important step in strengthening the Byzantine position in the Balkans, since Dyrrachium was the main base of the Empire on the Adriatic coast, and Thessalonica was both the main stronghold on the Aegean Sea and, what is of particular importance in the present context, the Empire's principal gateway to the Slavic world. Hence, on the eve of the great mission of the brothers from Thessalonica, this city became the center of the most important theme of the Empire in the Balkans.
Then Thessalonica was connected with the Thracian themes of Macedonia and Thrace by the creation of the theme of Strymon: this theme followed the coast between the rivers Strymon and Nestos, and its center was Serres. At the other extremity, the formation of the Nicopolis theme, in Epirus, completed the network of the theme system on Greek territory.
Finally, at the beginning of the reign of Basil I, the former archontia Dalmatia, which included the coastal cities and the nearby islands, acquired greater importance and was raised to the status of a theme. This was a decisive moment in the expansion of Byzantine influence in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula and in the Christianization of the Serbian lands.
- George Ostrogorsky,The Byzantium State
- George Ostrogorsky,The Byzantine Background of the Moravian Mission)
- George Finley, History of the Byzantium
- Al Vasilyev, A History of the Byzantine Empire
If you observe in the given scanner photo you will see clearly that Mr Ambrozic forgets to mention two major thinks.
In the First line he forgot to alphabetized and transcript some letters such as the DY(first line, 3-4 letters) and one character in the second line that was the sampri (a Greek numerical letter)
In the inscription according the scanner photos you can see clearly the:
- There are the letters on the epigraph:-OD- E -OD- YMI8PANEΠOHCENZHNO8IOC -RKB- AIEIAEIBACIAPIBWLEOYCC (missing)TPATHΓOCTOΞOTWNETOYCΔEYTEPOY, and the two characters (one of them is the sampri)• The letters between the “-” can’t be recognised easily. The first and third letter don’t know whether is O or D. The 26th letter don’t know whether is R, K or B.
- In the second line you can read clearly “ΣΤΡΑΤΗΓΟΣ ΤΟΞΟΤΩΝ ΕΤΟΥΣ ΔΕΥΤΕΡΟΥ” or STRATEGOS TOXOTON ETOUS DEYTEROU
- In the first line you can see clearly the word ΙΑΡΙΒΩΛΕΟΥΣ from the Syrian God Yaribol.
- The sampri was the date of the 990. This mean that passed 990 years after the establishment of the Romans. If we estimate the Christian date of the 753 B.C.( establishment of the Romans) and the 990-753 will find clearly that the date of the inscription was the 237 A.D.
So the inscription says and we add the Greek letters that not showed very well in the scanned page
ΘΕΟY ΜΙΘΡΑΝ ΕΠΟΙΗΣΕΝ ΖΗΝΟΒΙΟΣ Ο ΚΑΙ ΕΙΑΣΙΒΑΣ ΙΑΡΙΒΩΛΕΟΥΣ (Σ)ΤΡΑΤΗΓΟΣ ΤΟΞΟΤΩΝ ΕΤΟΥΣ ΔΕΥΤΕΡΟΥ ΙΙΥ 990
(For the ) God Mithra built (constructed) by Zenobios and seated Iariboleous commander archers of the second year 990
We have to add also some critical points:
- Mithras, the Persian diety worshipped in many parts of the Roman Empire at the time. The god Mithras was also protector and patron of archers since he was himself the “divine archer”http://www.farvardyn.com/mithras1.php
- Zenobios Means “life of Zeus”, derived from Greek Ζηνο (Zeno), a prefix form of the name of Zeus, combined with βιος (bios) “life”. This was the name of Zenobia, a 3rd-century queen of Palmyrahttp://www.behindthename.com/php/search.php?terms=zenobia&nmd=n&gender=both&operator=or
- Iariboleous. This is the name of one of the dedicators of the inscription. His name is based on the Greek name of the Semitic Palmyrene god Hierobal or Yaribol or Iariboleous is a commander of archers, and therefore a worshipper of Mithras, the patron god of archers.http://www.archbase.com/berenike/UCstudentLA3.html
- The word “ΕΙΑΣΙΒΑΣ” is a Semitic Palmyrene word written in Greek form. The semitic word is “Yasiba”, which means “sitting, seated or enthroned”.In the engraved sculpture, Iariboleous can be clearly seen seated to the right of Mithras and the other figures.
Palmyrene is a language that used often specially in the Middle East (Egypt, Syria) and the characteristics was that was very close in the ancients Coptic and in Greek. But never deciphered in order to read and translate clearly the ancient inscription. The people that spoke this language have a god of archer the Yaribol.
The inscription is therefore written in the Greek language with the addition of Semitic Palmyrene word “Yasiba” (i.e. “ΕΙΑΣΙΒΑΣ” in the inscription).
Saturday, December 08, 2007
However, new excavations in the city of Aiani, brought to light the oldest piece of Greek pottery ever found. Some of the pottery dates back to the 14th century BC.Amongst the pottery, some of the oldest samples of writting were found.
Amongst them we have names inscribed like: Πλεόνα and Θέμιδα.
According to the video Video: Macedonia: Hellenism in Macedonia from Britannica Concise of the documentary, it is clear that these inscriptions prove that the society of Macedonia, spoke and wrote in Greek.
Innumerable archaelogical finds testify the strong Greek presence in Macedonia are found either in situ in Macedonia or in museums. The earliest Macedonian written documents contain only names. When more extensive Macedonian texts begin to appear, they are expressed in the Attic dialect. This fact furnishes one of the arguments used by those who deny that the Macedonians were Greeks and claim that the Macedonians were a people who spoke a different tongue and who became Hellenized. Those who support the view that the Macedonian were Greeks counter that their kings introduced the attic dialect into the court and the administration because the local dialect was undeveloped. Attic thus became widespread among the Macedonians as a means of expressing themselves in writing. Both these explanations are hypotheses that require proof.
After Pella Katadesmos curse tablet,now one more cat out of the bag has been appeared.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Thucydides (II, 99) offered the most ancient testimony preserved, related to Almopia, identifying it as the place from where the Macedones had driven out the Almopes. Unfortunately, the literary, historical and archaeological evidence for this region is scanty. As regards the name, there were suggestions that it derived from:
- Almops, a giant that was son of Poseidon and Elle (Stephanos Byzantius, s.v. Almopia)
- goddess Almopia
- a compound word, consisting of Â«Alma-Â» and Â«opsÂ» and referring to Almopia as a place inhabited by the Almopians (giants) with the well developed faces
- Almopians, the local pre-Macedonian tribe.
Strabo (VII, fr 8), in his account of the area, placed Almopia after Eordaia, near Lynkos and Derriopos, while Pliny (IV, 17) mentioned the Almopians after the Eordians and before the Pelagonians.
Those passages could imply that Almopia was adjacent to Eordaia, Lynkos, Derriopos and Pelagonia. Moreover, Pliny (IV, 35), in his reference to the sites of Almopia, mentioned a tributary of the Loudias (upper Loudias) running through it (maps 4,5). Evidently, Mts. Bora and Paikon formed the boundaries to the north and west the former and to the east the latter. Finally, the southern border was the physical plateau of Edessa. Consequently, Almopia bordered on Emathia and Bottiaia to the south and east respectively. Professor Demitsas (book 1, page 215) placing Almopia south of Pieria, on the frontiers between Macedonia and Thessaly.
As regards the pre-Macedonian ethnography of this area, Professor Maria Girtsi claim that apart from the general conception for the existence of Pelasgian, Paionians, Phrygians etcl a local tribe, the Almopes, occupied this area. The Almopes were of unidentified origin and according to Thucydides (II, 99) were expelled by Macedonians. There were several suggestions such as Demitsas that identified them as Pelasgians and Fanula Papazoglou that considered them as Paionians. However, neither of these identifications was based on conclusive evidence.
The sites of Almopia listed in the ancient sources were: Orma, Europos, and Apsalos
was listed as a site of Almopia only by Ptolemy (III, 13.24). Delacoulonche suggested that its name derived from the Greek word Â«ormeÂ» (=rush) and referred to the rush of the torrent that flowed through it and Demetsas located it at modern Orma (=ex. Tresino)
was as well mentioned by Ptolemy (III, 13.24) and Pliny ( IV, 35). Pliny located it near the river Loudias or Rhoedias, since it changed its name at this district. However, this single literary evidence combined with the absence of secure archaeological evidence led to a debate (Hammond, Demitsas, Dezert e.t.c.), as regards the place, that Europus had occupied.
was also recorded in Ptolemy' (III, 13.24) account of Almopian sites. Chrisostomou that its name meant a place that was adjacent to water. The only archaeological finds of the area were traces of fortifications to the south of the village modern Apsalso, some surface finds from the broader area of Apsalos and early-Christian buildings.
- Demitsas M, Ancient Geography of Macedonia,1879
- Nicholas Hammond, History of Macedonia Vol 1, 1972, Greek edition (1996)
- Sakellariou, Macedonia: 4000 Years of Greek History, 1982
- Nikolaos Martis, the Falsification of Macedonian History, 1984
- Eugene Borza, the Shadow of Olympus,1993
- Maria Girtzi, Historical topography of ancient Macedonia,2001
- Mygdon, son of Ares and Kalliope, brother of Edonos, Odomantos and Biston, and father of Krousis and Grastos (Apollodorus B', 519)
- a compound word consisting of «Mu» (=the letter that in the Phoenician alphabet stood for water) + «chthon» (=land), referring thus to the geophysical picture of the area
- Mygdones, the local tribe.
Herodotus (VII, 124) also mentioned that Echedoros ran through Mygdonia, but it had its sources in Krestonia, implying thus that Krestonia lay to the north of Mygdonia. Consequently, the sources or the river Echedoros along with prolongations of Mts. Chortiates and Vertiscos formed the northern boundaries. Pliny (IV, 41), ignoring the existence of Bisaltia claimed that Mygdonia extended to the east as far as the river Strymon
According to the ancient sources and the archaeological theories, the initial inhabitants of this region were Pelasgians, since the Pelasgian kingdom extended as far as the Strymon (Aeschylus, Iketides, 253)] and Paiones as implied by Strabo's testimony (VII, fr.41) that Paionians occupied Mygdonia, once in the old time and then later and the theory of the habitation of Paionians to the area east of Axios from the end of Late Neolithic Era and on. Hammond (Macedonia:4000 years of Greek History, page 67) and Borza (page 75, the Shadow in Olympus) in the 6th century BC Paiones, as a result of the consequences of the Kimmerian migration re-entered Mygdonia and either pushed Mygdones to the east or ruled over them [ relying on Strabo's testimony (VII, fr.41) that Paionians occupied Mygdonia later as well and the discovery of Paionian coins in Lete (site of Mygdonia).
The annexation of Mygdonia -which serves as the starting point in the Macedonian history of this district- evidently took place in two phases. Namely, although Amyntas occupied the southwestern part of Mygdonia since he was able to offer Anthemous (lying to the southwest of Mygdonia) to Hippias (Herodotus V, 94), the eastern part remained independent (since Lete for instance issued coins bearing its own name till 480 BC)329. However, the rest of Mygdonia was incorporated by Alexander I after the Persian retreat. In an earlier period, Mygdonia, because of its key-position, had served as the camp of Xerxes' army and the main port of his navy (Herodotus VII, 124,127).
Mygdonia was secured as an integral part of the Macedonian Kingdom after Philip II's enthronement. Alexander the Great, in order to honour his Mygdonian army troop, gave the name of Mygdonia to a place in Mesopotamia (Pliny VI, 16). Moreover, Kassander in 315 BC, founded there Thessalonike, a very important site. During the struggles among the successors, Mygdonia was separated from L.M. districts only in 287/6 BC, when Pyrrhos and Lysimachos divided between them the Macedonian Kingdom (Pausanias I, 10.2).
The combination of the literary, historical and archaeological evidence led to the assumption that Mygdonia included at least the below mentioned sites: Therme, Thessalonike, Sindos, Chalastra, Lete, Apollonia, Arethousa, Bormiskos, Kalindoia, Xylopolis, Terpyllos, Karabia, Assiros, Antigoneia, Physka, Bairos, Bolbe, Altos, and Phileros.
- Demitsas M, Ancient Geography of Macedonia,1879
- Nicholas Hammond, History of Macedonia Vol 1, 1972, Greek edition (1996)
- Sakellariou, Macedonia: 4000 Years of Greek History, 1982
- Nikolaos Martis, the Falsification of Macedonian History
- Maria Girtzi, Historical topography of ancient Macedonia,2001
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Where did Curtius find all this information, with all its details and melodrama?
Were records of the trial's proceedings available, which could have been used by Curtius' source(s) or Curtius himself ?
and I am explain
In Arrian (3.26.1-4), the Philotas-Parmenion affair is only 36 lines + 2 words long
Plutarch yields 86 LCL lines + 3 words to the Philotas-Parmenion affair
Curtius' account of the Philotas affair, on the other hand, amounts to 619 LCL lines + 81 words, or about 4537.8 words (6.7-1 1.40).
In any event, to comprehend as best as possible Curtius' account of the Philotas affair it becomes necessary to dissect its structure in a synoptic style. This will bring forth the steps involved in the construction of the details and dramatic techniques therein. One such dramatic technique is when Alexander, unexpectedly so-to-speak, asks Philotas whether hz (Philotas) was to defend himself in the putrius senno, because the Makedones were to pass judgement on him.
Curtius does not specify in what language Alexander addressed Philotas, but it has been inferred that it was in the koine. This is, of course, arbitrary inference, as Philotas, too, does not indicate in what language Alexander addressed him, although from the context neither of them was speaking in the pasrius senno of therein.
Alexander's question to Philotas whether the latter was to address the Makedones in the patrius senno (6.9.34) and Philotas' reply (below) to Alexander's accusation that he (Philotas) hated the putrius sem and did not learn it (ibid. 9.36) are in themselves contradictory. When Alexander asked Philotas about the patrius sem , Philotas responded that he was going to speak in the same language as Alexander, presumably the koine because, besides the Makedones, there were also many others present and because Alexander's language was understood a pluribus (ibid. 9.35).
This response by Philotas would imply that there was a putrius senno and that Philotas knew it, but he preferred to speak in the language Alexander had used for greater comprehension, unless this was a ploy on the part of Philotas to cover up his not knowing the putnus senno, as accused by Alexander and later by Bolon.
The contradiction in the pazrius senno motif shows up later, too, when Philotas in defending himself (6.10.23) says that the parrills sernlo had become obsolete because of the intercourse with other nations (lam pndem nativus ille sermo commercio aliarum gerzrium exolevit) , with the comment tam victoribus, quam victis peregrina lingua disceitda esr, which may be rendered into Greek as kathaper nikosin,osautos kai httimenoi xenis glossan mathitea.
How could Philotas state in the contio when the patrirrs sermo was no longer spoken, if it was still in vogue as suggested by Alexander's question?
How could Alexander pose such a question if the patrius sem was no longer spoken as Philotas declared?
The above article basing in the essay of Professor Elias Kapetanopolos wih the title.....Alexander's Patrius Sermo in the Philotas Affair : Patrius Sermo/Philotas
Access in the web page of the Professor here
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Recently in the internet we have a contibution of research work of the two Slavmacedonian scientists Tentov and Bosheski and members of the FYROM MANU and MASA centers , that they have found a connection between the ancient Macedonian language and the modern Slavonic Macedonian language.
The key is that the second part of the Rosetta Stone is written in ancient Macedonian, a language that according of these FYROMacedonian scientists was and is Slavic.
The attempt of the Slavmacedonian pseudo-scientists (they are not have not a any single connection with the epigraphology or the linguistic) to connect the modern Slavonic Macedonian - a Slavic language related to Bulgarian - is rediculus.
These 2 university professors in electrical engineering from Skopje, operating under the auspices of the government funded Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Skopje and presented to the official FYROMacedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, are claiming that the "Demotic" script is, in fact, a text related to the "old Slavonic Macedonian language" and is Ancient Macedonian.
This contradicts all mainstream interpretations of the Stone and the mainstream scientific evidence that Ancient Macedonian was not a Slavic language and, not least, that Slavic speaking peoples did not reach the Balkan peninsula until the 6th Century CE.
This theory is also promoted by the authorities and church in Skopje as a "2,200 Years Old Script and Text in the Macedonian Language" and host in the web site of the Skopje University.
The Rosetta Stone is a stone with writing on it in two languages (Egyptian and Greek), using three scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek). Rosetta Stone is written in three scripts because when it was written, there were three scripts being used in Egypt.
The first was hieroglyphic which was the script used for important or religious documents.
The second was demotic which was the common script of Egypt.
The third was Greek which was the language of the rulers of Egypt at that time
The Rosetta Stone was written in all three scripts so that the priests, government officials and rulers of Egypt could read what it said.
Here is the last translation of Rosetta Stone that approve the above...
53. and each year; and in order to make those who are in Egypt to know [why it is that the Egyptians pay honour—as it is most right and proper to do—to the god who maketh himself beautiful, whose deeds are beautiful, the priests have decreed] that this DECREE shall [be inscribed] upon a stele of hard stone in the writing of the words of the gods, and the writing of the books, and in the writing of HAUI-NEBUI (i.e., Greeks), and it shall be set up in the sanctuaries in the temples which [are called] by his name, of the first, second, and third [class], near the statue of the HORUS, the King of the South and North Ptolemy, ever-living, beloved of Ptaḥ, the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful.
from... " The Nile, Notes for Travellers in Egypt, by E. A. Wallis Budge, 9th Edition, London, Thos. Cook and Son, , pp. 199-211."
This pseudo-essay from these "amazing professors" is a great example of the Macedonism, a political ultra-nationalistic moovement used to refer to a set of ideas regarded as characteristic of ethnic Slavmacedonian nationalism.
In my blog Modern-Macedonian-History I have already explain as about this nationalist ideology and you can read in the article....Macedonism, a ultra-Nationalilst ideology that spread from FYROM Worldwide
more information as about the history of the Rosetta Stone, including researches and the latest news from several academaic centers in
In this link there is is an excellent analysis of Tentov & Boshevski's far fetched theory which suggests that a form of Slavic, related to the language spoken in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is written on the Rosetta Stone. Even though NO qualified scholars have taken their theory seriously and even though their theory has not appeared in any peer reviewed publications nationalists from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M) persist in presenting the Tentov-Boshevski theory as historical fact. In the following article Mr. Bolaris shows how absurd the claims of Tentov and Boshevski are.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Sunday, September 02, 2007
But this was some centuries distant from the foundation of the state of Macedonia. During the centuries, poetic legends and traditions had arisen and given the classical Greeks a basis on which to account for and interpret Macedonia's historical past. Herodotus and Thucydides, the foremost historians of the 5th century, limit themselves to these traditions whenever they happen to speak of the Macedonians' past and the foundations of their realm, while Euripides makes of the Macedonian legend, as he does of others belonging to Greek prehistory, a subject for dramatic poetry. Historians, chroniclers and biographers from the middle of the 4th century on, caught up in the dazzle of events almost beyond human ken, which occurred during the reigns of Philip II and Alexander the Great, destined to change the fate of Greece and the whole course of her history, had but to collect, or on occasion to link in a more fascinating way, the legends and traditions concerning the founder of the glorious, and by then renowned Argaed dynasty, to the beginning of the state, for which so splendid a destiny has been reserved.
As was natural, modern historical research has been devoted since the last century to studying this question of the founding of the Macedonian kingdom and the origin of its royal house with the keenest interest, the more so for its close affinity with the whole ethnological subject of ancient Macedonia and its people.
Greek popular legends of antiquity, which reflect beliefs and in many cases facts whose historical root is lost in centuries past, attributed divine origins to the most prominent royal houses of the prehistoric and early historical period. Traditions developed from these myths placed the kingly house of Aegae (Vergina) in Macedonia among the Heracleid Temenids, thus linking it "warp and woof" with the full cycle of archaic Hellenism's sagas.
It can be considered certain that the kings of Macedonia did not shape these traditions of their descent from the Heracleids of Argos, drawing them from Greek literature of classical times, nor made them up to imitate the myths current in Greek cities about the divine descent of their most illustrious regal families, but had cherished them, handed down from one generation to another since time immemorial, as the Lares and Penates of their hearths and folk. In fact, when shortly before the Persian Wars the kings of Macedonia appeared on the Greek historical scene, they themselves announced their origin, proudly proclaiming the Argaead legends as their very own, unquestionably so on the ground of a family tradition centuries old.
Ancient Traditions about the First Argaead King
As the first written record of the Greek legend about the Macedonian Argaeads we may regard Aeschylus' lines in the play "The Suppliants," where the poet introduces Pelasgus, king of Argos, common ancestor of the Doric branch of Greeks, boasting that his race rules as far as the pure waters of the Strymon 1). On the basis of the age-long legend handed down by the Greeks from prehistorical times, Aeschylus indirectly proclaims the descent of the Macedonians from the Doric branch and directly tells us about their origin from the Argive Heracleids, as those who ruled "the land of the Perrhaibians," "beyond Pindus," "near the Paeonians," "in the Dodona mountains" and "all the territory through which the pure Strymon flows."
Because of the generally believed descent of these people from the Dorians, who claimed Pelasgus as their common ancestor and revered Heracles as their nonpareil national hero, Aeschylus with poetic elation somewhat broadens the legend about the Argaeads, to include the peoples of Thessaly and Epirus, whose royal families had their own traditions of descent from the gods. But it is clear that it chiefly concerns those living between Pindus, the Dodona mountains and the Strymon, in other words the Macedonians whose royal house traced its descent to the Argive Temenids. Thus, the poet who is the bearer par excellence of pan-Hellenic traditions and ideals, the fighter at Salamis and singer of the all-Greek surge against the invader from Asia, believes Macedonia to be a Greek land, and broadcasts its royal house's descent, according to Greek legend, from the Hellenic pantheon.
But Herodotus, the father of history, himself hands on to us the legend of Macedonia's Argaeo-Temenids in no uncertain way. What is more, he does not confine himself to one graphic vivid account, but repeats or alludes to this saga at many points of his work, in order to interpret historical facts or support the thread of his own narrative.
According to his version of the story, three brothers descended from the Heracleid Temenos, who founded the Heracleid dynasty of Argos, namely Gauanes, Aeropus and Perdiccas, left Argos and went to Illyria, whence they reached Upper Macedonia and were employed as shepherds by the king of the small city of Lebaea. This monarch, warned by divine portents of the future glory destined for the youngest brother Perdiccas - the bread baked for him by the queen swelled to double its size - sent them away, giving them in mockery the sun which came through the chimney hole as their wages. Young Perdiccas circumscribed the space occupied by the sun with a knife and with symbolic gestures put it three times in his pockets, clearly meaning that he was taking possession of the region. The king, realizing rather late what the youth had implied, sent horsemen after the fugitives to slay them. But the three brothers succeeded in crossing a river, which immediately after miraculously flooded, so that it became impassable to the horsemen. In this fashion the Temenids of Argos were saved and settled near the so-called "Gardens of Midas" beside Mount Bermion, where Perdiccas, the youngest, became founder of the Macedonian kingdom's dynasty, with Aegae for its capital (2).
Unlike later authors who have preserved traditions about the first Argaeads, Herodotus does not speak of warlike operations or other exploits of the first Argaead king of Macedonia. He says nothing of Aegae, the capital of the newly founded kingdom, as having been captured by assault, but rather leaves it implied that they themselves built it in that flowery region of the "gardens of Midas." The three Argaead brothers were being led to their lofty destiny by the gods and the foundation of the Macedonian state by Perdiccas, the youngest of them, appears not as a military achievement but as the work of divine providence. Thus the tradition kept for us by Herodotus, a local Macedonian one in all respects (Herodotus himself interposes "as the Macedonians say" in his story; this shows it was a local tradition), does not try to give a down to earth interpretation of the realm's origins and of its Argaead dynasty, but cloaks the whole matter with the glamour of supernatural power, as an act of the gods' will.
Even though Herodotus does not precisely mention Aegae, or that the region which the Argaeads either captured or settled was in Emathia, the admirable description of the gardens - where sixty-petal roses of rare fragrance grew wild - leaves us in no doubt that he referred to that area, which to this day the abundant waters pouring in headlong torrents turn into a park abloom with flowers and fruit-trees, an earthly paradise. In addition, Herodotus' statement that "a mountain called Bermion overhangs the gardens and is impassable during the winter," tallies with this region which does indeed lie under snow-covered Vermion (its name now).
No stranger to Greek tradition is Midas of Gordion, the figure found in Herodotus either as lord of the region or former occupant of the wondrous gardens which bore his name, also mentioned by the historian Justin as having been evicted by the Argaeads (3). He is a personage half way between legend and reality, and evoked the admiration of the Greeks who included him in their national mythology though he was a Phrygian. Herodotus sets the legend of Silenus' capture by Midas in these gardens of Emathia, while Xenophon and Pausanias refer to Thymbrium in Asia Minor as the scene of the event (4). Herodotus also tells us that Midas had presented to Delphi the famous royal throne on which he sat to dispense justice (5).
Thus preserved by Herodotus out of local tradition, the name of that mythical Phrygian king, who won the admiration of the Greeks for his wealth and wisdom, is tied up with that of the founder of the Macedonian dynasty, as is that of the equally revered king Pheidon of Argos through other legends.
Herodotus affirms in the same account that even in his day the members of the Argaead royal family went to sacrifice beside the river which had saved their ancestors the Heracleids, founders of their dynasty, when they came from Argos. This means that the tradition had long been deep-rooted in Macedonia, interwoven with the whole national growth of the Macedonians for centuries already. It must not be forgotten that in Herodotus' time and even more so during that of Alexander I the Philhellene, and of the Persian Wars, when this tradition concerning the kings of Macedonia was first officially brought to the fore, there was no close cultural contact between Athens and that country, nor had the Macedonian court yet become a center for men of letters and artists, as it did in the time of Archelaus later on.
Consequently we must reject the theory that this legend was invented by the "hellenizing" kings of Macedonia who worshipped Greek letters and legends. It is unquestionably a local tradition, comparable to that existing in Greece, perhaps some folk-ballad garnished with the miraculous saving of the three brothers. Herodotus, while including the legend of the royal Macedonian house's origin, culled as is his wont from local sources, at the same time believes in its historical ground and cites it in many parts of his history as proof that the Macedonian kings were Hellenes (6). Thucydides, limiting himself as usual to recognized historical data, when speaking of the Macedonian kings, simply records their descent from the Argive Temenids as something historically accepted in his day (7).
The tradition concerning the migration of the Temenids from Argos to Macedonia first recorded by Herodotus appears often in the works of later authors, particularly those of the Alexandrine and later periods, i.e. since the illustrious house of Aegae had become the pride of the whole Hellenic nation through the exploits of its last scion, Alexander the Great.
Nevertheless, the legends concerning the origin of the Macedonian kings recorded by later writers merit special attention , since they themselves did not invent them, but based them on earlier historical, poetical or chronicle sources, which in most instances have not come down to us. Considering that each of these authors could draw on data or rely on legends immortalized in poetry, and that each writer could draw on different ones to those used by another author of the same or some later period, it stands to reason that we have a great variety of accounts, all of which however stem from the same root - the migration of the Temenids or of a Temenid from Argos, to found the Macedonian state and the Macedonian dynasty of Aegae.
Unlike the tradition drawn from local Macedonian legends by Herodotus, later Greek authors relied on stories which had already become common property to the whole of Greece, recording another Temenid as migrating to Macedonia and telling other stories of his adventures, before he founded the state of Macedonia. Thus Theopompus of Chios, a pupil of Isocrates, recounts how Caranus the Temenid, the brother of Pheidon the king of Argos, emigrated to Macedonia and settled at Aegae which he had conquered (8). This tradition, also to be found in its basic lines in Diodorus, was adopted by George Syncellus, the Byzantine chronicler, with a wealth of added detail (9). He represents Caranus as being the seventh in descent from Temenos and the eleventh from Heracles. In this author's view (he is regarded as reliable since he took his facts from a large number of ancient sources), this Caranus did not arrive in Macedonia as a humble and much traveled refugee, but sallied forth from the Peloponnese at the head of a paid army with the object of conquest and to found a kingdom of his own, just like the medieval knights who went out to the East during the Crusades. Following favorable prognostications from the Delphic Oracle, he reached the mountain chain of Pindus, thus arriving at the Macedonian kingdoms of Lyncestis and Orestis. He came there at a fortunate moment since the king of Orestis was making war on the king of Eordaea and Caranus agreed to aid him in return for half his enemy's kingdom, in order to found his own. In fact, according to this tale, after Caranus and the king of Orestis defeated the king of Eordaea, the former received the lands on which he built the kingdom of the Temenids, making Aegae his capital (10).
In its general lines this story is repeated by the Roman historian Justin, whose work is mainly an epitome of the lost Macedonian history written by Pompeius Trogus on the basis of earlier versions and on facts diligently collected. The tradition saved by Justin is embellished with great detail. He tells us that after Apollo's oracle had told him to settle in Macedonia, Caranus, coming to Emathia with a great mass of Greeks, followed a flock of goats hastening to seek shelter in the town of Edessa from a violent rainstorm and mist. The inhabitants of Edessa resisted him, but Caranus, evidently aided by the rain and mist, and led by the goats as the oracle had predicted, succeeded in entering with his army and taking the town, which he made capital of his newly founded kingdom. In memory of the godsent sign of the goats, which from then on he was in the habit of putting at the head of his army to lead it in the field, he gave Edessa the name of Aegae (goats).
Afterwards Justin says that Caranus, evicting Midas, who owned part of Macedonia, and dethroning some other kings, united the kingdoms of Macedonia into a single realm and laid firm foundations for his expanding power (11). Though Justin makes Caranus founder of the dynasty, not Perdiccas as Herodotus claims, he is the only later writer who brings in the name of Midas. The difference between them is that whereas Herodotus simply tells us that the Macedonian kingdom was founded in the district of the mythically beautiful Gardens of Midas. Justin either drawing on another tradition, or else very freely adopting what Pompeius Trogus had taken more accurately from Herodotus, speaks of Midas as the ruler of the district, who was driven out by the Temenid founder of the Macedonian dynasty.
This tradition, doubtless closely knit with the legends (later subjected to much literary elaboration), concerning a movement of Greek tribes from the Peloponnese does not differ substantially from the local Macedonian tradition preserved by Herodotus. The essentials which interest us here are to be found in both, namely that it was believed both in Macedonia and by the Greeks in general that the royal house of Aegae was Greek and traced its descent from the Heracleid Temenids of Argos. In the main, independent of the poetic adornments about an expedition from the south, distribution or conquest of Macedonian territory, assault on Edessa and so on, in which as we shall show later some historical significance can be found, the difference lies in the fact that Caranus instead of Perdiccas, whom Herodotus records, emigrated from Argos and founded the Macedonian dynasty.
The name Perdiccas is purely Macedonian. This alone would provide the historical clue that here we have a local tradition so deeply rooted in the country, that many later kings of Macedonia, to say nothing of princes and generals, were given this name in honor of their mythical ancestor and founder of the dynasty.
It is a name which does not occur in the works of Greek poets who drew on tradition or adopted the Greek legends, nor does it appear to have been used in the Greek city-states during classical times. On the contrary, the name Caranus is derived from very ancient Greek traditions; Spartans are mentioned as called either Caranus or Carenus (12). It is doubtless of Doric origin and the Heracleids among whom the kings of Macedonia were included by tradition were regarded as the chief representatives of the Doric branch of the Greek race. It was therefore natural that the poets, instead of using the name Perdiccas, which was unusual to them, when adapting ancient tradition should provide the Heracleid Temenids of Argos, ancestors of the Macedonian dynasty, with the genuine Doric name of Caranus (13).
Besides, the name Caranus is obviously very closely related to the most archaic Greek word "koiranos" or in the Doric dialect "karanos" (ruler) (14).
It is certainly possible to identify these two words, as they both stem from the same root "kara" meaning head, hence leader, royal master. The word "koiranos" already had the meaning of ruler or king in Homer (15). Thus in the Doric dialect the word "karanos," from its meaning as an epithet (leader, ruler) and as a substantive (king), came to be used as the proper name of a person with, at least in the first period, the same attributes.
According to this, we can regard the two traditions of Perdiccas and Caranus as one, given the fact that according to Macedonian local legends the Heracleid coming from Argos migrated to Macedonia and founded the royal house of Aegae, while at the same time he was "koiranos" in the Homeric sense of the word, which became Caranus, king of the Doric branch to which the Macedonians also belonged. Perhaps it will not be too hazardous if we reason that the mention of the two names in Justin's account of the tradition, first Caranus and then Perdiccas, leads us to the solution of the problem (16). In other words, they were one and the same person and the Perdiccas of Herodotus' story, at the time when the ancient Doric word "karanos" was still in use with its Homeric meaning of lord, would have been known as "Lord Perdiccas" or "Lord," if the first king had been called something other than Perdiccas. In later times, when the ancient Doric word :karanos" lost its original meaning, the remembrance of it may have survived with reference to the first king and have been isolated into being used as a proper name. In other words, the first Heracleid king and "karanos" of Macedonia might have been divided by tradition into two personalities. This is only an attempt at the logical solution of the question arising from the differences in traditions known to us from much later sources. The lack of clear historical data requires critical study leading to sure facts.
The legend of Caranus' goats contributed to the belief that the name of the Macedonian capital Aegae was thus derived. Nowadays it is generally admitted that the name Aegae is due to its situation with abundant water pouring headlong down to the plain in scenic waterfalls. Actually the root "aig-" in ancient Greek meant a spring of water or simply water.
All the same, it may be regarded as very probable that the myth of Caranus' goats, having a basic start in later misunderstanding as to the name of the capital of Macedonia's first kings, is supported by the most ancient Doric traditions which Greek Dorians brought with them where they settled.
Actually Pausanias records a tradition surviving at Sparta in his day, according to which the Lacedaimonians alone among the Greeks were allowed to sacrifice goats to Hera, who on that account was called "aigosphagos" (the goat-eater). The Lacedaimonians attributed this to the legend that Heracles founded the temple of Hera in Sparta and first sacrificed goats in it to the goddess, grateful because she had not opposed his fight against Hippocoon and his children. He sacrificed goats then, because he had nothing else to slaughter for the sacrifice (17). The Lacedaimonians were the main representatives of the Dorian world and the Macedonians adhered reverently to the same religious traditions which they had adopted before they departed to their centuries of isolation beyond Olympus and Pindus. Besides, Heracles who first sacrificed goats and was worshipped by the Dorian branch of Greeks, was the principal national hero of the Macedonians, claimed as the ancestor of their Argaeo-Temenid kings. A different tradition is to be found in the surviving fragments of Euphorion, a writer of the 3rd century B.C. Here Caranus, led by the oracle, came into Macedonia neither as an unknown shepherd boy nor as leader of a conquering army, but at the head of Greek colonists with whom he built a city and was proclaimed king of Macedonia (18). The city is not named but at all events it was not Aegae, as he later states that the town of Edessa, which he says was formerly inhabited by Phrygians and Lydians brought into Europe by Midas, was then renamed Aegae by Caranus (19).
Evidently by giving first place in the foundation of Macedonia to the prophecy of the oracle, Euphorion follows the legend which Euripides used in his drama, although the latter names the ancestor of the dynasty Archelaus, while the former remains faithful to the tradition of Caranus handed down in the Greek world.
Pausanias mentions a tradition that takes in many of the mixed details found in the stories we have enumerated. According to him, Caranus the first king defeated Cisseus, ruler of a neighboring country, in battle. In honor of his victory he erected a trophy in accordance with the laws of Argos, but this was overthrown and destroyed by a lion which came down from Olympus. Caranus was then convinced that it was not right to perpetuate his enmity with the surrounding tribes by erecting a trophy. From then on neither he nor the later Macedonian kings ever erected trophies. The tradition was also respected by Alexander the Great, who did not do so in Asia (20). It is noteworthy that while Pausanias calls the first Macedonian king Caranus, with Syncellus and Justin following him, he gives the name of Cisseus to the ruler of a neighboring country in Macedonia. This name occurs only in poetic legend known from Euripides' work.
Long after this, the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, also a writer who undoubtedly took his material from older sources, stated that the kingdom of Macedonia began with Caranus (Karanos), regarded as the third son of Heracles. He adds that the kings of Macedonia called themselves descendants of Heracles and that instead of a crown and royal purple they wore the pelt of a lion's head, regarding this a crown and adornment better than any precious stone or pearl (21).
- Aesch. Suppl. 250 ff.
- Herod. Hist. VIII, 137-139.
- The well-known tradition from Euphorion [fr. 15] says simply that Edessa - the Phrygian predecessor of Aegae - "was inhabited in the old days" by the Phrygians who were brought into Europe by Midas, without saying whether Midas was a contemporary of the first Argaead, who expelled him.
- Herod. VIII, 138; also, Xen. Anab. I, 2, 13, and Paus. I, 4, 5.
- Herod. I, 14.
- Herod. V, 22.
- Thuc. Pelop. II, 99.
- Theop. in F.H.G. fr. 30, 1, 283.
- See Jacoby, F. Gr. Hist. vol. II, 2, p. 615 [Geo. Syncell. p. 499, 5] and Diod. VII. frag. 15.
- Geo. Syncell. p. 373 ; this tradition is found as taken from Diodorus, in the surviving section translated into Latin in Eusebius' Chronicle [Euseb. Chron. I, p. 227, ed. Schoene. See also Diod. fr., bk. VII, No. 15-17, ed. Vogel, vol. II, p. 144 etc.
- Justini, Historiae Philippicae, VII, 1, 7-12.
- This very ancient Doric name is also met with in Sparta during the 6th cent. B.C. It is mentioned by Herodotus (VII, 173) as Karenos (Ionic form of Karanos) father of Euanetus, the Lacedaemonian general on the Tempe expedition during the Persian Wars).
- The name Caranus is not met with in the royal house of Aegae until the time of Philip II, who having already been made commander-in-chief of the Greeks and evidently influenced by the tradition that the Temenid Caranus had founded the royal house, gave it to his newly born son shortly before his death.
- The Doric forms Caranus, "karenon" (or "karanon") and "karano," are often met with and always with the same meaning of ruler, commander. The exact meaning of the word "kara" is head and thus highest point, summit of a mountain, etc. and "karano" means take to the top. Hence metaphorically the word comes to mean the man at the head, ruler, etc. [Xen. Hell. I, 4, 3]. It is true that according to Hesychius the Cretans called the goat "karano" and the word "karnos" meant a sheep or horn or horned beast. But the attempt to identify the meaning of the words with the name of the first king Caranus as coming from the age of animal worship when Caranus was adored as a goat god is not convincing. The zoolatric tradition had long ceased to influence the Hellenes when Macedonia was founded and the words "karanos" and "koiranos" had definitely taken on the meaning given them in our text. Besides, there is no record of an ancient Macedonian tradition or later reference to words in the Macedonian dialect to support this theory. Thraco-Phrygian animal worship traditions cannot in any circumstance be identified with basic notions in the beginnings of Macedonian history. The tradition about the goats which according to the oracle's prophecy led the first king may be correlated with Aegae and perhaps with primeval Dorian tradition, but not with Caranus.
- Hom. Od. I, 247; the verb "koirano" means I am the leader, I rule.
- Note the tradition handed down by the Roman historian Solinus, according to which Perdiccas was the son and heir of Caranus, but was also the first to be styled king of Macedonia (C. Julii Solini, Polyistor. IX, 10).
- Paus. III, 15, 9.
- See article by E. Pandermali-Poulaki "Olympus and the Macedonians" for substantiation of the theory that Mycenaean colonists settled on Olympus and blended with the Macedonians - listed on Pan-Macedonian Network History selections.
- Euphor. frag. 30.
- Paus. IX, 40, 8. Pausanias' interpolation "It is said by the Macedonians" indicates that he did not take this tradition from the earlier writers on whom he drew but collected it on the spot during his travels in Macedonia. According to Pausanias, the sacred rule against erecting trophies existed in pre-classical times among the Peloponnesian Dorians, coupling this common law with Herodotus' information about a Doric and "Makednon" race which lived north of Pindus before emigrating to the Peloponnese.
- Const. Porphyr. Peri Thematon [ed. Bonn], p. 48.
Excerpt from "The Hellenism of the Ancient Macedonians"Apostolos Dascalakis, Professor, University of Athens(Institute for Balkan Studies, Thessalonike, 1965)
for fair use only