Thursday, November 20, 2008

Risto Stefov and the falsification of Ancient Macedonia History Part III

The common definition of "taking text out of context" is to remove a passage from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its true meaning. In other words, a shorter extract or phrase is used purposedly in an attempt to represent the views of the person being quoted inaccurately. The latter certainly became an effective tool on the hands of the usual peddlers of false history; originating mainly from the "most radical Slavic groups" of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as Prof. Eugene Borza [1] correctly concluded. Since the overwhelming evidence was against their illusions de grandeur, they had to invent an effective way to present the facts distorted in their favour, and misinterpreting positions became a usual tactic.

If the source in question disagrees with their position, FYROM´s propagandists will try to diminish the validity of the source or instead they will present quotes which allegedly suggest that this source is supportive of their own position. Material that allegedly uphold this position is often taken out of context. Exposition that is at odds with the argument being made in the same text is excluded or otherwise obscured. In summary, we have a plain misrepresentation of the source´s position created by FYROM´s propaganda machine for the purpose of having a deliberate overstatement of the actual position to their own favour.

This common practise can be found on the series of articles signed by Risto Stefov in regards to the ancient Macedonian history. For instance, in one of his latest article ironically titled "Australian Macedonian Advisory Council and the falsification of Ancient Macedonian history Part 8" we are becoming witnesses to the quite amusing attempt of the author to provide deliberate misrepresentations from the writings of the Ancient Greek historian, Polybius. In essence his whole attempt is proved to be unsuccessful and quite comical.

In this article we will present a number of "mis-interpreted" ancient quotes to prove how the Slavs of FYROM exploit the ancient sources to dispute the Greek identity of the Ancient Macedonians.

1. "(Book XVIII. 5) Philip V from Macedon responds to the Greek and Roman demands:"

Firstly, note the intentional distortion of the truth committed by the author through the line " Philip V from Macedon responds to the Greek and Roman demands." Of course Polybius refers in the first case solely to the demands of the Romans' allies and not "the Greek" ones as the author´s wishful thinking. The Roman allies were namely the representative of Attalos, the Rodian, the Achaean and finally the Aitolians. Note also among the Roman Allies the presence of a representative of the…Attalid Macedonian Dynasty.

Philip V of Macedon

2. Furthermore, through the few quotes isolated, the author proves himself quite ignorant of Polybius works by emphasizing alleged differentiations between Macedonians and Southern Greeks. To understand any issue clearly, one must understand all the important factors that enable one to give a precise account of what is at stake. Obviously, the author 'accidentally' missed all the series of "differentiations" which Polybius appear to use a lot namely with Greek people as Mantineians [2], Epirotans [3], Eleans [4], Byzantines [5] , Spartans [6], Achaeans [7], or even Greek individuals as Eumenes [8], Gelon [9], Hieron [10], etc.

3. Another important point we have to deal more is the use of the term "Hellas" in Polybius. Contrarily to Risto Stefov´s allegations, Polybius account shows Macedonia was part of Hellas.

In the treaty of Alliance between the Macedonian King Philip V and Hannibal of Carthage we read:

in the presence of the Genius of Carthage; …and in the presence of all the gods who possess Carthage; and in the presence of ALL THE GODS who possess MACEDONIA AND THE REST OF HELLAS; and in the presence of all the gods of the army who preside over this oath." [11]

OR while describing the greatest mountains in Hellas:

"Polybios also in talking of the size and height of the Alps compares them the greatest mountains in HELLAS: Taugetos, Lykaion, Parnassos, OLYMPOS, Pilion, and Ossa; and Aimos, Rodopi and Dounax in Thrace." [12]

4. Certainly, the usual habit widely used by FYROM´s propaganda machine (which is to omit critical parts of an ancient source) could not possibly be absent from Risto Stefov's articles. An example of this is in this very same passage, which is deliberately taken out of context; even Philip V of Macedon verifies he is Greek [13]:

"Then, turning again to Alexander, "You ask me," he said, "Alexander, why I annexed Lysimachia. 6 It was in order that it should not, owing to your neglect, be depopulated by the Thracians, as has actually happened since I withdrew to serve in this war those of my troops who were acting not as you say as its garrison, but as its guardians. 7 As for the people of Cius, it was not I who made war on them, but when Prusias did so I helped him to exterminate them, and all through your fault. 8 For on many occasions when I AND THE OTHER GREEKS sent embassies to you begging you to remove from your statutes the law empowering you to get booty from booty, you replied that you would rather remove Aetolia from Aetolia than that law. "

And although it must be very frustrating for the Slavonic people from FYROM, the facts are that the Ancient Macedonians are indeed referring to themselves as Greek.

5. Throughout this outrageous falsification of history, the author also 'missed' (possibly on purpose), Polybius's views about Ancient Macedonians. It is quite evident that Polybius indeed considered the Ancient Macedonians as Greeks:

"The 38th book contains the completion of the disaster of the HELLENES. For though both the WHOLE of Hellas AND her several PARTS had often met with mischance, yet to none of her former defeats can we more fittingly apply, the name of disaster with all it signifies than to the events of my own time. ...In the time I am speaking of a COMMON misfortune befell the Peloponnesians, the Boiotians, the Fokians, the Euboians, the Lokrians, some of the cities on the Ionian Gulf, and finally the MACEDONIANS. " [14]

6. Moreover, anyone who has read Polybius's account, would witness a constant differentation being made between Macedonians and Barbarians; revealing that another widely used blatant assertion of Risto Stefov, that is: "Macedonians were considered as Barbarians" is completely inaccurate. Macedonians are constantly juxtaposed to Barbarians.

In fact, through Polybius's work we note that Macedonians "never cease from fighting the Barbarians for the sake and security of Greece". Specifically, Polybius says [15]":

"While you have no defence to offer for any of these acts you pride yourselves on having resisted the attack of the barbarians on Delphi, and say that the Greeks ought to be grateful to you for this. But if thanks are due to the Aetolians for this single service, how highly should we honour the Macedonians, who for the greater part of their lives never cease from fighting with the barbarians for the sake of the security of Greece? For who is not aware that Greece would have constantly stood in the greatest danger, had we not been fenced by the Macedonians and the honourable ambition of their kings?"
Or even:

"Antiochus traversed the worst part of the road in the manner I have described, safely but very slowly and with difficulty, only just reaching the pass of Mount Labus on the eighth day. 2 The barbarians were collected there, convinced that they would prevent the enemy from crossing, and a fierce struggle now took place, in which the barbarians were forced back for the following reason. 3 Formed in a dense mass they fought desperately against the phalanx face to face, but while it was still night the light-armed troops had made a wide detour and occupied the heights in their rear, and the barbarians, the moment they noticed this, were panic-stricken and took to flight. 4 The king made every effort to restrain his men from continuing the pursuit, summoning them back by bugle-call, as he wanted his army to descend into Hyrcania unbroken and in good order. "

A thourough analysis of Polybius leads to the conclusion that Risto Stefov has made many erroneous assertions. It is blantantly obvious from the following excerpt from Polybius account where Lyciscus, the Acarnanian envoy is speaking about the Pan-Hellenic campaign of Alexander to enslave the barbarians where "he made Asia subject to Greece" [14]:

"…he (Alexander) inflicted punishment on the Persians for their outrages on all the Greeks, and how he delivered us all from the greatest evils by enslaving the barbarians and depriving them of the resources they used for the destruction of the Greeks, pitting now the Athenians and now the Thebans against the ancestors of these Spartans, how in a word he made Asia subject to Greece."

Lastly, another passage from Polybius [15] where we have undoubted evidence on the Greek ethnicity of Ancient Macedonians, is the following excerpt where we find a clear distinction between the Romans, (who are called clearly a foreign race), and the Macedonians as Greeks, being from "the same Race of the Achaeans and Spartans":

"Far from being similar, the circumstances are now the reverse of what they formerly were. 7 Then your rivals in the struggle for supremacy and renown were the Achaeans and MACEDONIANS, PEOPLES OF YOUR OWN RACE, and Philip was their commander. But now Greece is threatened with a war against men of a FOREIGN RACE who intend to enslave her, 8 men whom you fancy you are calling in against Philip, but are calling in really against yourselves and the whole of Greece."
Alexander The Great King of all Hellenes

A shining example of the above is the fact that Macedonians were a part of the Hellenic Alliance or symmachia, a league consisting of Macedonians, Thessalians, Arcananians, Phocians, Epirotes and Beotians under the command of Antigonos as Polybius informs us.[16]

the Achaean magistrates refused the latter request on the ground that they were not empowered to receive additional members without consulting Philip and the rest of the allies. For the alliance was still in force which Antigonus had concluded during the Cleomenic war between the Achaeans, Epirots, Phocians, Macedonians, Boeotians, Acarnanians,ยบ and Thessalians. They, however, agreed to march out to their assistance on condition that the envoys deposited in Sparta their own sons as hostages, to ensure that the Messenians should not come to terms with the Aetolians without the consent of the Achaeans."

Polybius "The Histories", 4.9.4

Polybius also sheds more light in the religion of ancient Macedonians and he proves without doubt that ancient Macedonians shared the same religion with the rest of Greeks. [11]

"This is a sworn treaty made between us, Hannibal the general, Mago, Myrkan, Barmokar and all other Carthaginian senators present with him, and all Carthaginians serving under him, on the one side, and Xenophanes the Athenian, son of Kleomachos, the envoy whom King Philip, son of Demetrios, sent to us on behalf of himself, and the Macedonians and allies, on the other side. `In the presence of ZEUS, HERA and APOLLO; in the presence of the Genius of Carthage; …and in the presence of all the gods who possess Carthage; and in the presence of ALL THE GODS who possess Macedonia AND THE REST OF HELLAS; and in the presence of all the gods of the army who preside over this oath. Thus said Hannibal the general and all the Carthaginian senators along with him and the Carthaginian soldiers: ..That King Philip and the Macedonians AND the REST OF THE HELLENES who are their allies shall protect the Carthaginians,… King Philip and the Macedonians AND the OTHER HELLENES who are their allies shall be protected and guarded by the Carthaginians…"

In summary and contrary to Risto Stefov´s incredibly falsified version of ancient History in order to fit his political agenda, we can conclude from Polybius account:

1. Polybius verifies ancient Macedonians are Greek, sharing a common misfortune with the rest of Greeks

2. Polybius verifies ancient Macedonians viewed themselves as Greek which is explicit from the words of Philip V, king of Macedon.

3. Polybius verifies Ancient Greeks viewed Macedonians as being Greeks and particularly being part of the same Race with other Greek people like it is evidentially documented by the account of Lyciscus.

4. Polybius verifies ancient Macedonians are entirely differentiated with Barbarians, shattering the main argument of FYROM´s propaganda while he adds that "Macedonians never cease from fighting the Barbarians for the sake and security of Greece" and their king was the "Benefactor of Greece".

5. Polybius verifies Alexander´s campaign was a Pan-Hellenic campaign where in essence Alexander "made Asia subject to Hellas"

6. Polybius verifies ancient Macedonians shared the same religion as the rest of Greece as is explicitly shown even by treaties of ancient Macedonians themselves.

1] Eugene Borza, "Macedonian Redux"

2] Polybius "The Histories", 2.58.11

3] Polybius "The Histories", 2.7.4

4] Polybius "The Histories", 4.73-74

5] Polybius "The Histories", 4.38.6-10

6] Polybius "The Histories", 6.49.10

7] Polybius "The Histories", 28.6.1-2

8] Polybius "The Histories", 31.6.6

9] Polybius "The Histories", 12.26.1

10] Polybius "The Histories", 7.8.6

11] Polybius "The Histories", 7.9.1-7

12] Polybius "The Histories", 34.10

13] Polybius "The Histories", 18.4.8

14] Polybius "The Histories", 38.1.1-2.8

15] Polybius "The Histories", 9.37.6-8

16] Polybius "The Histories", 4.9.4

Written by Ptolemy, MOTW
Presented & produced by Truth Bearer & Makedonia25

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