Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Macedonian names and makeDonski pseudo-linguistics: The case of the name Pyrrias

by Miltiades Elia Bolaris

Balkan Illusion - phantasia archaica:

" is very interesting to note that many of the authentic ancient Macedonian words, according to their etymology and pronunciation, have a striking resemblance to the appropriate words used in the modern Macedonian language (and other so called "Slav"[sic] languages). "Pyri(as). The root of this name could be connected to the noun "pir" (merriment). The name Piri is present in todays' Macedonian onomasticon." Quote taken from: "Similarities between ancient Macedonian and today's' Macedonian Culture (Linguistics and Onomastics)" by Aleksandar Donski, celebrity historian from FYROM./ Πυρίας/Pyrrias/Πυρρίας

In his "Dictionary of Classical Mythology", Sorbonne professor Pierre Grimal gives us a beautiful story from the Greek Mythology. It is an ancient myth about a boatman, named Pyrias/

"Pyrias was a boatman from Ithaca who took pity on an old man captured by pirates. The old man was carrying vessels full, apparently of pitch. These jars later came into the possession of Pyrias who realized that under the pitch they contained jewels and treasures. In his gratitude Pyrias sacrificed an ox to his unknown benefactor. From this came the proverb : "Pyrias is the only man to have sacrificed an ox to his benefactor.""
 Pyrrias was not a very common Greek name, but at the same time it was not exclusive to any part of Greece either. We find this name from Peloponnesus to Macedonia and from Sicily to the Hellenistic East.

Pyrias of the aforementioned myth was from Ithaca, Ulysses' island, but a more flesh and bone Pyrrias appears in the historical record. It was in the year 401BC, right after the battle of Cunaxa. He was an Arcadian from central Peloponnese. He was stranded, like all the other myriad (10 thousand) Greek mercenaries, in the midst of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) then part of the huge and powerful Persian Empire. The Greek Mercenaries had been in the pay of Cyrus who had revolted against his brother, the king of Persia, Artaxarxes. In the Cunaxa battle Cyrus was killed, leaving his Greek mercenaries stranded deep inside enemy territory. When their military leaders from their Spartan general Clearchos down to the most junior officers were massacred in a treacherous banquet plot where king Artaxerxes had invited them the situation for the Greek rank and file hoplites became desperate.

In the midst of the night, with Persian arrows harassing them on top of the hill where they had gathered to defend themselves, they started to .....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009


by Ioannis Xydopoylos
abstract from the book "Communities in European history: representations, jurisdictions, conflicts", pages 7-9

In 2006  I published a study of the representation of the Macedonians and their country by the historian of die Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC)[23] In it I suggested that Thucydides references to the Macedonian people and their country have a clearly circumstantial character. Furthermore they arc informed by the Poteidaea incident (432/1), the intervention of the Thracian king Sitalkes (429) and the military operations the Spartan general Brasidas undertook in the area (424/3). Thucydides frames his representation of die Macedonians with the Spartan general Brasidas reference to them in the speech he made to his troops. In his harangue Brasidas clearly classified them as barbarians:” you should learn about these barbarians whom now you are afraid of, a part of them you have already fought against, the Macedonians among them, that, from my own estimate of them, and what 1 have heard from others, they arc notstrong”(IV,126.3)[24] Thucydides further establishes this view in his narrative of Brasidas and Perdikkas campaign in Lynkestis in 42V3 B.C. when he wrote that "the Chalkidians and Macedonian cavalry [came to] nearly a thousand, and there was also a large mass of barbarians[25]. These passages have provoked considerable discussion, especially during die late 20th century. Regarding the question of ethnicity, the question is: ..........

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Some intresting quotes from Plutarch regarding Demosthenes and his policy towards Macedonians and Persians.

Demosthenis letters in the Persian Royal Court.......
The fame of it also reached even to the court of Persia, and the king sent letters to his lieutenants commanding them to supply Demosthenes with money, and to pay every attention to him, as the only man of all the Grecians who was able to give Philip occupation and find employment for his forces near home, in the troubles of Greece. This, afterwards came to the knowledge of Alexander, by certain letters of Demosthenes which he found at Sardis, and by other papers of the Persian officers, stating the large sums which had been given him.
[Plutarch's Life of Demosthenis,20,4-5]

Arpalos money.......
[25].It was not long after that Harpalus fled from Alexander, and came to Athens out of Asia; knowing himself guilty of many misdeeds into which his love of luxury had led him, and fearing the king, who was now grown terrible even to his best friends. Yet this man had no sooner addressed himself to the people, and delivered up his goods, his ships, and himself to their disposal, but the other orators of the town had their eyes quickly fixed upon his money, and came in to his assistance, persuading the Athenians to receive and protect their suppliant. Demosthenes at first gave advice to chase him out of the country, and to beware lest they involved their city in a war upon an unnecessary and unjust occasion. But some few days after, as they were taking an account of the treasure, Harpalus, perceiving how much he was pleased with a cup of Persian manufacture, and how curiously he surveyed the sculpture and fashion of it, desired him to poise it in his hand, and consider the weight of the gold. Demosthenes, being amazed to feel how heavy it was, asked him what weight it came to. "To you," said Harpalus, smiling, "it shall come with twenty talents." And presently after, when night drew on, he sent him the cup with so many talents. Harpalus, it seems, was a person of singular skill to discern a man's covetousness by the air of his countenance, and the look and movements of his eyes. For Demosthenes could not resist the temptation, but admitting the present, like an armed garrison, into the citadel of his house, he surrendered himself up to the interest of Harpalus. The next day, he came into the assembly with his neck swathed about with wool and rollers, and when they called on him to rise up and speak, he made signs as if he had lost his voice. But the wits, turning the matter to ridicule, said that certainly the orator had been seized that night with no other than a silver quinsy. And soon after, the people, becoming aware of the bribery, grew angry, and would not suffer him to speak, or make any apology for himself, but ran him down with noise; and one man stood up, and cried out, "What, ye men of Athens, will you not hear the cup-bearer?" So at length they banished Harpalus out of the city; and fearing lest they should be called to account for the treasure which the orators had purloined, they made a strict inquiry, going from house to house; only Callicles, the son of Arrhenidas, who was newly married, they would not suffer to be searched, out of respects, as Theopompus writes, to the bride, who was within.

[26]. Demosthenes resisted the inquisition, and proposed a decree to refer the business to the court of Areopagus, and to punish those whom that court should find guilty. But being himself one of the first whom the court condemned, when he came to the bar, he was fined fifty talents, and committed to prison; where, out of shame of the crime for which he was condemned, and through the weakness of his body, growing incapable of supporting the confinement, he made his escape, by the carelessness of some and by the contrivance of others of the citizens. We are told, at least, that he had not fled far from the city when, finding that he was pursued by some of those who had been his adversaries, he endeavoured to hide himself. But when they called him by his name, and coming up nearer to him, desired he would accept from them some money which they had brought from home as a provision for his journey, and to that purpose only had followed him, when they entreated him to take courage, and to bear up against his misfortune, he burst out into much greater lamentation, saying, "But how is it possible to support myself under so heavy an affliction, since I leave a city in which I have such enemies, as in any other it is not easy to find friends." He did not show much fortitude in his banishment, spending his time for the most part in Aegina and Troezen, and, with tears in his eyes, looking towards the country of Attica. And there remain upon record some sayings of his, little resembling those sentiments of generosity and bravery which he used to express when he had the management of the commonwealth. For, as he was departing out of the city, it is reported, he lifted up his hands towards the Acropolis, and said, "O Lady Minerva, how is it that thou takest delight in three such fierce untractable beasts, the owl, the snake, and the people?" The young men that came to visit and converse with him, he deterred from meddling with state affairs, telling them, that if at first two ways had been proposed to him, the one leading to the speaker's stand and the assembly, the other going direct to destruction, and he could have foreseen the many evils which attend those who deal in public business, such as fears, envies, calumnies, and contentions, he would certainly have taken that which led straight on to his death.