Friday, May 29, 2009

The speech of the ancient Macedonians, in the light of recent epigraphic discoveries

By Miltiades Hatzopoulos, VI International Symposion on Ancient Macedonia, 1999.

Modern discussion of the speech of the ancient Macedonians began in 1808, when F. G. Sturz published a small book entitled De dialecto macedonica liber (Leipzig 1808), intended to be a scientific enquiry into the position of Macedonian within Greek. However, after the publication of O. ller’s work Über die Wohnsitz, die Abstammung und die ältere Geschichte des makedonischen Volks (Berlin 1825), the discussion evolved into an acrimonious controversy -- initially scientific but soon political -- about the Greek or non-Greek nature of this tongue. Diverse theories were put forward:

I) Macedonian is a mixed language either of partly Illyrian origin -- such was the position of Müller himself, G. Kazaroff, M. Rostovtzeff, M. Budimir, H. Baric; or of partly Thracian origin, as it was maintained by D. Tzanoff.

II) Macedonian is a separate Indo-European language. This was the opinion of V. Pisani, I. Russu, G. Mihailov, P. Chantraine, I. Pudic, C. D. Buck, E. Schwyzer, V. Georgiev, W. W. Tarn and of O. Masson in his youth.

III) But according to most scholars Macedonian was a Greek dialect. This view has been expanded by F. G. Sturz, A. Fick, G. Hatzidakis, O. Hoffmann, F. Solmsen, V. Lesny, Andriotis, F. Geyer, N. G. L. Hammond, N. Kalleris, A. Toynbee, Ch. Edson and O. Masson in his mature years.

IV) Finally, a small number of scholars thought that the evidence available was not sufficient to form an opinion. Such was the view of A. Meillet and A. Momigliano.

Whatever the scientific merits of the above scholars, it was the nature of the evidence itself and, above all, its scarcity, which allowed the propounding of opinions so diverse and incompatible between themselves.

In fact, not one phrase of Macedonian, not one complete syntagm had come down to us in the literary tradition;

  • because Macedonian, like many other Greek dialects, was never promoted to the dignity of a literary vehicle;
  • because the Temenid kings, when they endowed their administration with a chancery worthy of the name, adopted the Attic koine, which in the middle of the fourth century was prevailing as the common administrative idiom around the shores of the Aegean basin.

Thus, the only available source for knowledge of Macedonian speech were the glosses, that is to say isolated words collected by lexicographers mainly from literary works because of their rarity or strangeness, and also personal names which, as we know, are formed from appellatives (Νικηφόρος< νίκη + φέρω).

The glosses, rare and strange words by definition, had the major defect of being liable to corruption, to alterations, in the course of transmission through the ages by copyists who could not recognise them.

As far as personal names are concerned, for want of scientific epigraphic corpora of the Macedonian regions, until very recently it was impossible to compile trustworthy lists.

On top of that, these two sources of information, far from leading to convergent conclusions, suggested conflicting orientations.

While the glosses included, besides words with a more or less clear Greek etymology (καρπαία· ὄρχησις μακεδονική [cf. καρπός]· κύνουπες· ἄρκτοι· Μακεδόνες [cf. κύνωψ]˙ ῥάματα· βοτρύδια, σταφυλίς· Μακεδόνες [cf. ῥάξ, gen. ῥαγός]), a significant number of terms hard to interpret as Greek ( γόδα˙ ἔντερα˙. Μακεδόνες; γοτάν˙ ὗν˙ Μακεδόνες; σκοῖδος˙ ἀρχή τις παρὰ Μακεδόσι [Hesychius]), the vast majority of personal names, not only were perfectly Greek (Φίλιππος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Παρμενίων, Ἀντίπατρος, Ἀντίοχος, Ἀρσινόη, Εὐρυδίκη) but also presented original traits excluding the possibility of their being borrowed from the Attic dialect, which was the official idiom of the kingdom (Ἀμύντας, Μαχάτας, Ἀλκέτας, Λάαγος), indeed from any other Greek dialect (Πτολεμαῖος, Κρατεύας, Βούπλαγος).

Until very recently it was hard to tell which set of evidence was more trustworthy.

During the last thirty years the situation has radically changed thanks to the publication of the epigraphic corpora of Thessalonike (1972) and Northern Macedonia (1999) by the Berlin Academy and of Upper Macedonia (1985) and Beroia (1998) by the Research Centre for Greek and Roman Antiquity (KERA). Meanwhile the latter centre has also published three important onomastic collections: of Beroia, of Edessa and of Macedonians attested outside their homeland.

This intense epigraphic activity fed by continuous archaeological discoveries has brought to light an abundance of documents, among which the first texts written in Macedonian. This new body of evidence renders to a large extent irrelevant the old controversies and requires an ab initio re-opening of the discussion on a different basis.

Old theories however, die hard and relics of obsolete erudition still encumber handbooks and scientific journals. I particularly have in mind R. A. Crossland’s chapter in the second edition of volume III 1 of the Cambridge Ancient History and E. N. Borza’s latest booklet Before Alexander. Constructions of Early Macedonia published respectively in 1982 and 1999.

One reason – perhaps the main one – for such resistance to the assimilation of new evidence and persistence of obsolete theories until these very last years is the way in which since the nineteenth century the scholarly discussion about Macedonian speech and its Greek or non-Greek character has focused on the sporadic presence in Macedonian glosses and proper names -- which otherwise looked perfectly Greek -- of the sign of the voiced stop (β, δ, γ) instead of the corresponding unvoiced, originally “aspirated” stop expected in Greek, as for instance in Βάλακρος and Βερενίκα instead of Φάλακρος and Φερενίκα.

Here I must open a parenthesis. The traditional English pronunciation of classical Greek presents an obstacle to the understanding of the problem. To make things simple, one may say that classical Greek originally possessed several series of occlusive consonants or stops, that is to say consonants obtained by the momentary occlusion of the respiratory ducts. These, according to the articulatory region, can be distinguished into labials, dentals and velars (the occlusion is respectively performed by the lips, the teeth or the velum of the palate) and, according to the articulatory mode, into unvoiced (/p/, /t/, /k/), voiced (/b/, /d/, /g/) and unvoiced “aspirates” – in fact “expirates”, that is to say, accompanied by a breathing – (/ph/, /th/, /kh/). These “aspirates”, in some dialects from the archaic period and in most by the Hellenistic age, had become spirants, that is to say they were no longer obtained by the complete occlusion of the respiratory ducts, but by their simple contraction and were accordingly pronounced as /f/, /θ/, /χ/. At the same time the voiced stops also might, according to the phonetic context, lose their occlusion and become spirants pronounced /v/, /δ/, /γ/. In fact, the chronology of the passage from the “classical” to the “Hellenistic” pronunciation varied according to dialect and to region.

The occlusive consonants of Greek are the heirs of an Indo-European system which differed from the Greek one in that it possessed an additional series of occlusive consonants pronounced with both the lips and the velum. This series survived until the Mycenaean period, but was subsequently eliminated from all Greek dialects in various ways. Moreover, in the Indo-European system of consonants the place of the Greek series of unvoiced “aspirate” stops was occupied by a series of voiced “aspirate” stops, that is to say voiced stops accompanied by a breathing. These last ones (/bh/, /dh/, /gh/, gwh/) survived to a large extent only in Sanskrit and in modern Indian dialects. Elsewhere, they either lost their breathing (such is the case of the Slavonic, Germanic, and Celtic languages), or their sonority (such is the case of the Greek and Italic languages, in which they evolved into (/ph/, /th/, /kh/, /khw/). Thus the root bher- is represented by the verb bharami in Sanskrit, bero in Old Slavonic, baira in Gothic, berim in ancient Irish, φέρω in Greek and fero in Latin.

The supporters of the non-Greek nature of Macedonian reasoned as follows: if, instead of the well known Greek personal names Φάλακρος (“the bald one”) or Φερενίκη (“she who brings victory”) with a phi, we read the names Βάλακρος or Βερενίκα with a beta on the inscriptions of Macedonia, this is because the Macedonian tongue has not participated in the same consonant mutations as prehistoric Greek -- already before the first Mycenaean documents in Linear B -- which had transformed the “aspirate” voiced stops of Indo-European (/bh/, /dh/, /gh/) into “aspirate” unvoiced stops (/ph/, /th/, /kh/). That is to say that, instead of the loss of sonority of Greek, in Macedonian we are dealing with the loss of “aspiration” in Macedonian, which classifies the latter along with the Slavonic, the Germanic and the Celtic languages.

But, if Macedonian was separated from Greek before the second millennium B.C., it cannot be considered a Greek dialect, even an aberrant one.

What the partisans of such theories have not always explicitly stated is that they all rely on the postulate that the sounds rendered by the signs β, δ, γ in Macedonian glosses and proper names are the direct heirs of the series of voiced “aspirate” stops of Indo-European and do not result from a secondary sonorisation, within Greek, of the series represented by the signs φ, θ, χ. However,one must be wary of short-cuts and simplifications in linguistics. For instance, the sound /t/ in the German word “Mutter” is not the direct heir of the same sound in the Indo-European word *mater, but has evolved from the common Germanic form *moδer, which was the reflex of Indo-European *mater.

The example of Latin demonstrates that the evolution /bh/>/ph/>/f/>/v/>/b/, envisaged above, is perfectly possible. Thus, the form albus (“white”) in Latin does not come directly from Indo-European *albhos. In fact the stem albh- became first alph- and then alf- in Italic, and it was only secondarily that the resulting spirant sonorised into alv- which evolved into alb- in Latin (cf. alfu=albos in Umbrian and ἀλφούς˙ λευκούς in Greek). G. Hatzidakis (see especially Zur Abstammung der alten Makedonier [Athens 1897] 35-37) was the first – and for many years the only one – to stress the importance -- and at the same time the weakness -- of the implicit postulate of the partisans of the non-Greek character of Macedonian, to wit the alleged direct descent of the series represented by the signs of the voiced stops in the Macedonian glosses and personal names from the Indo-European series of “aspirate” voiced stops.

Since the middle of the eighties of the last century the acceleration of archaeological research in Macedonia and also the activities of the Macedonian Programme of the Research Centre for Greek and Roman Antiquity (KERA) mentioned above have occasioned numerous scholarly works exploiting the new evidence has been collected and allows us to go beyond the Gordian knot which since the nineteenth century had kept captive all discussion about the tongue of the ancient Macedonians (Cl. Brixhe, Anna Panayotou, O. Masson, L. Dubois, M. B. Hatzopoulos). It would not be an exaggeration to say that henceforward the obstacle hindering the identification of the language spoken by Philip and Alexander has been removed: ancient Macedonian, as we shall see, was really and truly a Greek dialect. On this point all linguists or philologists actively dealing with the problem are of the same opinion. It is equally true that they do not agree on everything. Two questions still raise serious contention:

a) How should be explained this sporadic presence in Macedonian glosses and proper names of the signs of voiced stops (β, δ, γ) instead of the corresponding originally “aspirate” unvoiced ones (φ, θ, χ) of the other Greek dialects?

b) What is the dialectal position of Macedonian within Greek?

The first question has been tackled several times in recent years, but with divergent conclusions by Cl. Brixhe and Anna Panayotou on the one hand and O. Masson, L. Dubois and the present speaker on the other.

On the question of the dialectal affinities of Macedonian within Greek, besides the above mentioned scholars, N. G. L. Hammond and E. Voutiras have also made significant contributions. As far as I am concerned I have been gradually convinced that the two questions are intimately linked, or rather, that the search for the affinities of the Macedonian dialect can provide a satisfactory explanation of this controversial particularity of its consonantal system.

A problematic mutation

Down to very recent years discussion on the topic on the Macedonian consonantal system was almost exclusively dependent on literary evidence.

The systematic collection of inscriptions from Macedonia in the Epigraphic Archive of KERA occasioned the publication of three articles exploiting this epigraphic material, the first two in 1987 and the third in 1988.

The first one, written by the present speaker had its starting point in a series of manumissions by consecration to Artemis from the territory of Aigeai (modern Vergina), who was qualified as Διγαία and Βλαγαν(ε)ῖτις, the latter derived from the place name at which she was venerated (ἐν Βλαγάνοις).

It was obvious to me that the first epiclesis was nothing else than the local form of the adjective δίκαιος, δικαία, δίκαιον (“the just one”).

As for the explanation of the less obvious epiclesis Blaganitis and of the place name Blaganoi, the clue was provided by Hesychius’ gloss βλαχάν˙ ὁ βάτραχος, which I connected with one of the manumission texts qualifying Artemis as the godess [τῶν β]ατράχων.

The two epicleseis of Artemis demonstrated that Macedonian might occasionally present voiced consonants – in the case in hand represented by the letter gamma — not only instead of unvoiced “aspirates” (in this case represented by the letter chi of βλαχάν) but also instead of simple unvoiced stops (in this case represented by the letter kappa of Δικαία).

This discovery had important implications, because it showed that the phenomenon under examination, of which I collected numerous examples, had nothing to do with a consonant mutation going back to Indo-European, which could concern only the voiced “aspirates” and would make a separate language of Macedonian, different from the other Greek dialects. In fact, it ought to be interpreted as a secondary and relatively recent change within Greek, which had only partially run its course, as becomes apparent from the coexistence of forms with voiced as well as unvoiced consonants also in the case of the simple unvoiced stop (cf. Κλεοπάτρα-Γλευπάτρα, Βάλακρος-Βάλαγρος, Κερτίμμας-Κερδίμμας, Κυδίας-Γυδίας, Κραστωνία-Γραστωνία, Γορτυνία-Γορδυνία), but also from the presence of “hypercorrect” forms (cf. ὑπρισθῆναι=ὑβρισθῆναι, κλυκυτάτῃ=γλυκυτάτῃ, τάκρυν=δάκρυν).

This tendency to voice the unvoiced consonants was undoubtedly impeded after the introduction of Attic koine as the administrative language of the Macedonian state and only accidentally and sporadically left traces in the written records, especially in the case of local terms and proper names which had no correspondents and, consequently, no model in the official idiom.

In the second article published the same year I collected examples of forms with voiced and unvoiced sounds inherited from Indo-European voiced “aspirates” and was able to identify the complete series of feminine proper names with a voiced labial formed on the stem of φίλος: Βίλα, Βιλίστα, Βιλιστίχη parallel to Φίλα, Φιλίστα, Φιλιστίχη.

These names presenting a voiced consonant, rendered by a beta, formed according to the rules of Greek, and the Greek etymology of which was beyond doubt, convinced me that the explanation of the phenomenon should be sought within that language.

The third article, written jointly by Cl. Brixhe and Anna Panayotou, who was then preparing a thesis on the Greek language of the inscriptions found in Macedonia on the basis of the epigraphic documentation collected at KERA, followed another orientation.

– Whereas new evidence did not leave them in any doubt that the Macedonian of historical times spoken by Philip II and Alexander the Great was a Greek dialect, they contended that, besides this Macedonian, there had formerly existed another language in which the Indo-European “aspirates” had become voiced stops and that this language had provided the proper names and the appellatives presenting voiced stops instead of the unvoiced stops of Greek, for instance Βερενίκα and Βάλακρος instead of Φερενίκα and Φάλακρος.

These ideas were later developed and completed in a chapter devoted to Macedonian and published in a collective volume. In this paper Cl. Brixhe and Anna Panayotou identified this other language that according to them had disappeared before the end of the fifth century B.C., not before playing “a not insignificant part in the genesis of the Macedonian entity”, with the language of the Brygians or Phrygians of Europe.

Such was the beginning of a long controversy in the form of articles, communications to congresses and also private correspondence, which, as far as I am concerned, was particularly enriching, because it gave me the opportunity to refine my arguments.

Their objection, at first sight reasonable, to wit that a form such as Βερενίκα cannot be the product of the voicing of the first phoneme of Φερενίκα, for the “aspirate’ stop /ph/ has no voiced correspondent in Greek, obliged me to examine their postulate on the conservative character of the pronunciation of the consonants and, in a more general way, of the Attic koine spoken in Macedonia.

With the help of documents such as the deeds of sale from Amphipolis and the Chalkidike and of the boundary ordinance from Mygdonia, I was able to show that by the middle of the fourth century in Northern Greece

the ancient “aspirate” stops written with the help of the signs φ,θ,χ had already lost their occlusion and had become spirants, that is to say they were formed by the simple contraction instead of the complete occlusion of the respiratory ducts;

the ancient voiced stops written with the help of the signs β, δ, γ were pronounced, without any phonological significance, as spirants as well as stops, according to the phonetic context, just like in modern Castillian (ἄνδρες-πόδες; cf. andar-querido).

This contention is proved by “errors” such as βεφαίως in a mid-fourth century B.C. deed of sale from Amphipolis, which cannot be explained unless phi, pronounced like an f, indicated the unvoiced correspondent of the phoneme pronounced like a v and written with the help of the letter beta.

On the other hand, I drew attention to a series of allegedly “Brygian” terms – since they are found in Macedonian proper names presenting voiced consonants as reflexes of Indo-European voiced “aspirates” – which, however, showed a suspicious likeness with Greek words not only in their stems, but also in their derivation and composition. Thus, if we accept the Brygian theory, the name of the fifth Macedonian month Ξανδικός presupposes the existence of a Brygian adjectif xandos parallel to Greek ξανθός; likewise the Macedonian personal name Γαιτέας a Brygian substantive gaita (mane) parallel to Greek χαίτα (χαίτη); the Macedonian personal name Βουλομάγα a Brygian substantive maga parallel to Greek μάχα (μάχη); the Macedonian personal name Σταδμέας a Brygian substantive stadmos parallel to Greek σταθμός; the Macedonian personal names Βίλος, Βίλα, Βίλιστος, Βιλίστα a Brygian stem bil- parallel to Greek phil- and also Brygian rules of derivation identical to the Greek ones responsible for the formation of the superlative φίλιστος, φιλίστα (φιλίστη) and of the corresponding personal names Φίλιστος, Φιλίστα (Φιλίστη); the compound Macedonian personal names Βερενίκα and Βουλομάγα not only the Brygian substantives nika, bulon, maga and the verb bero parallel to Greek νίκα, φῦλον, μάχα, φέρω, but on top of that rules of composition identical to the Greek ones responsible for the formation of the corresponding Greek personal names Φερενίκα and Φυλομάχη.

However, the Brygian language reconstituted in this manner is not credible, for it looks suspiciously like Greek in disguise.

Finally, a series of observations 1) on the names of the Macedonian months, 2) on the use of the patronymic adjective, and 3) on a neglected piece of evidence for the Macedonian speech, induced me to reconsider the connexion between Macedonian and the Thessalian dialects.

1) The Macedonian calendar plays a significant role in the Brygian theory, because according to the latter’s supporters it testified the “undeniable cultural influence” of the Phrygian people in the formation of the Macedonian ethnos. They particularly refer to the months Audnaios, Xandikos, Gorpiaios and Hyperberetaios, which according to them can find no explanation in Greek.

In fact, the different variants of the first month (Αὐδωναῖος, Αὐδυναῖος, Αὐδναῖος, Ἀϊδωναῖος) leave no doubt that the original form is Fιδωναῖος, which derives from the name of Hades, “the invisible” (a-wid-) and followed two different evolutions: on the one hand Fιδωναῖος>Αὐδωναῖος>Αὐδυναῖος>Αὐδναῖος, with the disappearence of the closed vowel /i/ and the vocalisation of the semi-vowel /w/ and, later, with the closing of the long vowel /o:/ into /u/ (written υ-) and finally with the disappearence of this closed vowel, and, on the other hand Fιδωναῖος> Ἀϊδωναῖος, with the simple loss of intervocalic /w/.

The case of Xandikos is even clearer. It was felt as a simple dialectal variant within the Greek language, as is apparent from the form Ξανθικός attested both in literary texts and in inscriptions.

– Concerning Γορπιαῖος, Hofmann had already realised that it should be connected with καρπός, the word for fruit in Greek, which makes good sense for a month corresponding roughly to August (cf. the revolutionary month Fructidor). This intuition is confirmed today, on the one hand by the cult of Dionysos Κάρπιος attested in neighbouring Thessaly and, on the other hand, by the variant Γαρπιαῖος showing that we are dealing with a sonorisation of the unvoiced initial consonant, a banal phenomenon in Macedonia, and a double treatment of the semi-vowel /r/, of which there are other examples from both Macedonia and Thessaly.

– The name of the twelfth month Ὑπερβερεταῖος, the Greek etymology of which was put in doubt, orientates us too in the direction of Thessaly. In fact it is inseparable from the cult of Zeus Περφερέτας also attested in nearby Thessaly.

2) At the exhibition organised at Thessalonike in 1997 and entitled Ἐπιγραφὲς τῆς Μακεδονίας was presented an elegant funerary monument from the territory of Thessalonike of the first half of the third century B.C. bearing the inscription Πισταρέτα Θρασίππεια κόρα.

Κόρα as a dialectal form of Attic κόρη is also known from other inscriptions found in Macedonia. As for the use of the patronymic adjective instead of the genitive as a mark of filiation (Ἀλέξανδρος Φιλίππειος instead of Ἀλέξανδρος Φιλίππου), which is characteristic of Thessalian and more generally of the "Aeolic" dialects, it had been postulated by O. Hoffmann on the basis of names of cities founded by the Macedonians, such as Ἀλεξάνδρεια, Ἀντιγόνεια, Ἀντιόχεια, Σελεύκεια. Now it was for the first time directly attested in a text which could be qualified as dialectal.

– The confirmation that the patronymic adjective constitutes a local Macedonian characteristic and that the monument of Pistareta could not be dismissed as set up by some immigrant Thessalians was provided by a third century B.C. manumission from Beroia, which, although written in Attic koine,refers to the daughter of a certain Agelaos as τὴν θυγατέρα τὴν Ἀγελαείαν.

3) Finally, although it had been known for centuries, recent studies have ignored the sole direct attestation of Macedonian speech preserved in an ancient author. It is a verse in a non-Attic dialect that the fourth century Athenian poet Strattis in his comedy The Macedonians (Athen. VII, 323b) puts in the mouth of a character, presumably Macedonian, as an answer to the question of an Athenian ἡ σφύραινα δἐστὶ τίς; (“The sphyraena, what’s that?”): κέστραν μὲν ὔμμες, ὡτικκοί, κικλήσκετε (“It’s what ye in Attica dub cestra”).

Thus research on the Macedonian consonantal system has led to the question of the dialectal affinities of this speech, to which it is closely connected.

It was natural that the major controversy about the Greek or non-Greek character of Macedonian had relegated to a secondary position the question of its position within the Greek dialects. Nevertheless it had not suppressed it completely.

Already F. G. Sturz, following Herodotos, considered Macedonian a Doric dialect, whereas O. Abel was even more precise and placed it among the northern Doric dialects. He thought that Strabo and Plutarch provided the necessary arguments for maintaining that Macedonian did not differ from Epirote.

It was the fundamental work of O. Hoffmann that forcibly introduced the Aeolic thesis into the discussion, which is largely accepted in our days (Daskalakis, Toynbee, Goukowsky).

The Doric-north-western thesis made a strong come-back thanks to the authority of J. N. Kalleris followed by G. Babiniotis, O. Masson and other scholars with more delicately shaded opinions (A. Tsopanakis, A. I. Thavoris, M. B. Sakellariou and Brixhe).

Finally, N. G. L. Hammond held a more original position, arguing for the parallel existence of two Macedonian dialects: one in Upper Macedonia close to the north-western dialects and another in Lower Macedonia close to Thessalian.

But a new piece of evidence, the publication of a lengthy dialectal text from Macedonia, created a new situation. It is a curse tablet from Pella dating from the first half of the fourth century B.C. which was discovered in a grave at Pella.

[Θετί]μας καὶ Διονυσοφῶντος τὸ τέλος καὶ τὸν γάμον καταγράφω καὶ τᾶν ἀλλᾶν πασᾶν γυ-

[ναικ]ῶν καὶ χηρᾶν καὶ παρθένων, μάλιστα δὲ Θετίμας, καὶ παρκαττίθεμαι Μάκρωνι καὶ

[τοῖς] δαίμοσι· καὶ ὁπόκα ἐγὼ ταῦτα διελέξαιμι καὶ ἀναγνοίην πάλειν ἀνορόξασα,

[τόκα] γᾶμαι Διονυσοφῶντα, πρότερον δὲ μή· μὴ γὰρ λάβοι ἄλλαν γυναῖκα ἀλλἢ ἐμέ,

[ἐμὲ δ]ὲ συνκαταγηρᾶσαι Διονυσοφῶντι καὶ μηδεμίαν ἄλλαν. Ἱκέτις ὑμῶ(ν) γίνο-

[μαι· Φίλ?]αν οἰκτίρετε, δαίμονες φίλ[ο]ι, δαπινὰ γάρ

ἰμε φίλων πάντων καὶ ἐρήμα· ἀλλὰ

[ταῦτ]α φυλάσσετε ἐμὶν ὅπως μὴ γίνηται τα[ῦ]τα καὶ

κακὰ κακῶς Θετίμα ἀπόληται.

[----]ΑΛ[----]ΥΝΜ..ΕΣΠΛΗΝ ἐμός, ἐμὲ δὲ [ε][δ]αίμονα καὶ μακαρίαν γενέσται

[-----] ΤΟ[.].[----].[..]..Ε.Ε.ΕΩ[ ]Α.[.]Ε..ΜΕΓΕ[---]

“Of Thetima and Dinysophon the ritual wedding and the marriage I bind by a written spell, as well as (the marriage) of all other women (to him), both widows and maidens, but above all of Thetima; and I entrust (this spell) to Macron and the daimones. And were I ever to unfold and read these words again after digging (the tablet) up, only then should Dionysophon marry, not before; may he indeed not take another woman than myself, but let me alone grow old by the side of Dionysophon and no one else. I implore you: have pity for [Phila?], dear daimones, for I am indeed downcast and bereft of friends. But please keep this (piece of writing) for my sake so that these events do not happen and wretched Thetima perishes miserably. [---] but let me become happy and blessed. [---]” (translation by E. Voutiras, modified).

E. Voutiras, the editor of the tablet from Pella, was well aware of the linguistic traits that his text shared with the north-western Greek dialects: in particular the conservation of the long /a/ (or of its reflex: ἄλλαν), the contraction of /a/ and /o/ (short or long) into a long /a/ (or its reflex: ἀλλᾶν), the dative of the first person singular of the personal pronoun ἐμίν, the presence of temporal adverbs ending in –κα (ὁπόκα), the apocope of verbal prefixes (παρκαττίθεμαι), the dissimilation of consecutive spirants which betrays the use of the signs -στ- instead of -σθ-; but, on the other hand, he ignored, as if they were simple errors, the dialectal traits which did not conform to the purely north-western idea that he had of the dialect. These, as L. Dubois and I have pointed out, are in particular the forms διελέξαιμι, ἰμέ, ἀνορόξασα, δαπινά instead of διελίξαιμι, εἰμί, ἀνορύξασα, ταπεινά, which bear witness to phonetic phenomena having, in the first three cases, their correspondents both in dialectal Thessalian texts and in koine texts from Macedonia, whereas the fourth case presents the voicing of the unvoiced typical of the Macedonian dialect.

Cl. Brixhe returned to this text with a thorough analysis which confirmed and refined those of his predecessors. He pointed out the treatment of the group –sm-, with the elimination of the sibilant and the compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel, which is proper to north-western dialects but not Thessalian, the presence of the particle κα, expected in the north-western dialects as opposed to Thessalian κε, and the athematic form of the dative plural δαίμοσι, attested in the north-western dialects but not in Thessalian, where one would expect δαιμόνεσσι; he interpreted the graphic hesitation Ε/Ι, Ο/Υ (pronounced /u/) as resulting “from a tendency, in the Macedonian dialect and, later, in the koine of the region towards a closing of the vocales mediae e and o, respectively becoming i and u”, which indicated an affinity of Macedonian not with the north-western dialects but with Attic and even more with Boeotian and Thessalian and with the northern dialects of modern Greek; he adopted L. Dubois’ interpretation of δαπινά and admitted that the spirantisation of the “aspirates” and the voiced stops in Macedonian had already taken place in the classical period, but persisted in considering “more efficient” his interpretation of forms such as Βερενίκα as “Brygian” rather than Greek.

In my opinion the presence of forms such as διελέξαιμι, ἰμέ, ἀνορόξασα, δαπινά, expected in Macedonia but alien to the north-western dialects, is a decisive confirmation of the local origin of the author of the text and allows the elimination of the unlikely hypothesis that it might have been the work of an Epirote resident alien living in Pella. But this is not all. The fact that the closing of the vocales mediae, of which the first three examples bear witness, is a phenomenon well attested in Thessalian confirms the coexistence of north-western and of Thessalian characteristics in Macedonian; it indicates the intermediate position of the latter dialect, and legitimises the attempt to verify whether the tendency to voice the unvoiced consonants was not shared with at least some Thessalian dialects.

Kalleris had already pointed out that the place names Βοίβη and Βοιβηίς and the personal names Δρεβέλαος and Βερέκκας, which were attested in Thessaly but were unknown in Macedonia, respectively corresponded to Φοίβη, Φοιβηίς, Τρεφέλεως and to a composite name, the first element of which was Φερε-. Nevertheless he did not draw the conclusion that the sonorisation phenomenon, far from being limited to Macedonia, was common to that area and to Thessaly, because he refused to admit its localisation in Macedonia and in nearby areas, as P. Kretschmer had suggested.

In previous papers I had added to these place names a third one, Ὀττώλοβος (Ὀκτώλοφος), and a series of personal names either unknown (then) in Macedonia: Βουλονόα (Φυλονόα) or attested in a different form: Σταδμείας (Σταθμείας), Παντορδάνας (Παντορθάνας). The publication of fascicule III.B of the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, which contains the onomastic material from Thessaly makes it now possible to add additional examples: Ἀμβίλογος, Βύλιππος, Βῦλος corresponding to Ἀμφίλοχος, Φύλιππος, Φῦλος, in the same manner that Βουλομάγα and Βουλονόα correspond to Φυλομάχη and Φυλονόη. Moreover, the frequent attestation of Κέββας in Thessaly does not allow us to consider it as an onomastic loan from Macedonia, where this personal name is attested only once.

Is it now possible to separate this hypocoristic from the family of personal names well represented in Thessaly and derived from the Greek appellative κεφαλή, one of which, namely Κεφαλῖνος, appears in Macedonia as Κεβαλῖνος? And if the purely Thessalian Ἀμβίλογος, Βύλιππος, Βῦλος, Βερέκκας or the both Thessalian and Macedonian Βουλομάγα, Βουλονόα, Κέββας find a perfect explication in Greek, what need is there to solicit the Phrygian language in order to explain the Macedonian form Βερενίκα, which is attested in Thessaly as Φερενίκα, since its case is strictly analogous to that of Κεβαλῖνος/Κεφαλῖνος?

If we now consider the geographic distribution of the forms with voiced consonants in Thessaly, we observe that they are concentrated in the northern part of the country, essentially in Pelasgiotis and Perrhaibia, with the greater concentration in the latter region. But in Macedonia also these forms are unequally distributed. They are to be found in significant numbers and variety – bearing witness to the authentic vitality of the phenomenon – in three cities or regions: Aigeai, Beroia and Pieria. Now all these three are situated in the extreme south-east of the country, in direct contact with Perrhaibia. I think that this geographical distribution provides the solution to the problem. We are dealing with a phonetic particularity of the Greek dialect spoken on either side of Mount Olympus, undoubtedly due to a substratum or an adstratum, possibly but not necessarily, Phrygian. If there remained any doubts regarding the Greek origin of the phenomenon, two personal names: Κεβαλῖνος and Βέτταλος should dispel it. It is well known that the first comes from the Indo-European stem *ghebh(e)l-. If, according to the “Brygian” hypothesis, the loss of sonority of the “aspirates” had not taken place before the dissimilation of the breathings, the form that the Greek dialect of Macedonia would have inherited would have been Γεβαλῖνος and not Κεβαλῖνος, which is the result first of the loss of sonority of the “aspirates’ and then of their dissimilation. Cl. Brixhe and Anna Panayotou, fully aware of the problem, elude it by supposing a “faux dialectisme”. Βέτταλος, on the other hand, is obviously a Macedonian form of the ethnic Θετταλός used as a personal name with a probable transfer of the accent. We also know that the opposition between Attic Θετταλός and Boeotian Φετταλός requires an initial *gwhe-. Given, on the one hand, that in Phrygian, contrary to Greek, the Indo-European labiovelars lost their velar appendix without conserving any trace thereof, the form that the Greek dialect of Macedonia should have inherited according to the “Brygian” hypothesis would have an initial *Γε-, which manifestly is not the case. On the other hand, the form Βέτταλος, which the Macedonians pronounced with a voiced initial consonant, is to be explained by a form of the continental Aeolic dialects, in which, as we know, the “aspirate” labio-velars followed by an /i/or an /e/ became simple voiced labials. The Aeolic form Φετταλός, lying behind Βετταλός, provides us with a terminus post quem for the voicing phenomenon. For, if we take into consideration the spelling of the Mycenaean tablets, which still preserve a distinct series of signs for the labiovelars, it is necessary to date this phenomenon at a post-Mycenaean period, well after the elimination of the labio-velars, that is to say at the end of the second millennium B.C. at the earliest, and obviously within the Greek world. It is manifest that in the case of Βέτταλος an ad hoc hypothesis of a “faux dialectisme” is inadmissible, for at the late date at which a hypothetical Macedonian patriot might have been tempted to resort to such a form the Thessalian ethnic had long since been replaced by the Attic koine form Θετταλός. Its remodelling into a more “Macedonian-sounding” Βετταλός would have demanded a level of linguistic scholarship attained only in the nineteenth century A.D.

Historical Interpretation

According to Macedonian tradition the original nucleus of the Temenid kingdom was the principality of Lebaia, whence, after crossing Illyria and Upper Macedonia, issued the three Argive brothers , Gauanes, Aeropos and Perdikkas, as they moved to conquer first the region of Beroia, then Aigeai and finally the rest of Macedonia.

It is highly probable that the royal Argive ancestry was a legend invented in order to create a distance and a hierarchy between common Macedonians and a foreign dynasty allegedly of divine descent. Might this legend nevetheless not retain, some authentic historical reminiscence?

In a previous paper, first read at Oxford some years ago, I attempted to show that Lebaia was a real place in the middle Haliakmon valley near the modern town of Velvendos, a region the economy of which was until very recently based on transhumant pastoralism. It is a likely hypothesis that during the Geometric and the Archaic period too the inhabitants of this region made their living tending their flocks between the mountain masses of Olympus and the Pierians and the plains of Thessaly, Pieria and Emathia, until under a new dynasty they took the decisive step of permanently settling on the fringe of the great Macedonian plain, at Aigeai.

What were the ethnic affinities of these transhumant shepherds? A fragment of the Hesiodic catalogue preserves a tradition according to which Makedon and Magnes were the sons of Zeus and of Thyia, Deukalion’s daughter, and lived around Pieria and Mount Olympus. The Magnetes, of whom Magnes was the eponymous hero, were one of the two major perioikic ethne of northern Thessaly, who originally spoke an Aeolic dialect.

The other one was the Perrhaibians. Although they were not mentioned in the Hesiodic fragment, we know by Strabo that even at a much later period they continued to practice transhumant pastoralism. Their close affinity with the Macedonians is evident not only from onomastic data, but also from their calendar. Half of the Perrhaibian months the names of which we know figure also in the Macedonian calendar. Thus, it is no coincidence that Hellenikos presents Makedon as the son of Aiolos.

The above data outline a vast area between the middle Peneios and the middle Haliakmon valleys, which in prehistoric times was haunted by groups of transhumant pastoralists who spoke closely related Greek dialects. Is it unreasonable to think that, just as in modern times the Vlachs of Vlacholivado, who frequented precisely the same regions, spoke, under the influence of the Greek adstratum, a peculiar neo-Latin dialect, their prehistoric predecessors had done the same (undoubtedly under the influence of another adstratum which remains to be defined) and that the tendency to voice the unvoiced consonants was one of these peculiarities?

As to the three Temenid brothers, according to Herodotos mythical founders of the Macedonian kingdom, already in antiquity there was a suspicion that they had not come from Peloponnesian Argos but from Argos Orestikon in Upper Macedonia, hence the name Argeadai given not only to the reigning dynasty but to the whole clan which had followed the three brothers in the adventure of the conquest of Lower Macedonia. Knowing that the Orestai belonged to the Molossian group, it is readily understandable how the prestigious elite of the new kingdom imposed its speech, and relegated to the status of a substratum patois the old Aeolic dialect, some traits of which, such as the tendency of closing the vocales mediae and the voicing of unvoiced consonants survived only in the form of traces, generally repressed, with the exception of certain place names, personal names and month names consecrated by tradition.

Select Bibliography

G. Babiniotis, “ Ancient Macedonia : the Place of Macedonian among the Greek Dialects “, Glossologia 7-8 (1988-1989) 53-69.

- “ The Question of Mediae in Ancient Macedonian Greek Reconsidered “, Historical Philology : Greek, Latin and Romance (“ Current Issues in Linguistic Theory ” 87; Amsterdam-Philadelphia 1992) 30-33.

Cl. Brixhe, “ Un nouveau champ de la dialectologie grecque : le macédonien “, KATA DIALEKTON, Atti del III Colloquio Internqzionale di Dialettologia Greca. A.I.O.N. 19 (1997) 41-71.

Cl. Brixhe - Anna Panayotou, “ L’atticisation de la Macédoine : l’une des sources de la koinè “, Verbum 11 (1988) 256.

- “ Le macédonien “, Langues indo-européennes (Paris 1994) 206-220.

R. A. Crossland, "The Language of the Macedonians", Cambridge Ancient History III, 1 (1982) 843-47.

L. Dubois, “ Une tablette de malédiction de Pella : s’agit-il du premier texte macédonien ? “, REG 108 (1995) 190-97.

M. B. Hatzopoulos, “ Artémis, Digaia Blaganitis en Macédoine “, BCH 111 (1987) 398-412.

- “ Le macédonien : nouvelles données et théories nouvelles “, Ἀρχαία Μακεδονία VI (Thessalonique 1999) 225-39.

- “ L’histoire par les noms in Macedonia “, Greek Personal Names. Proceedings of the British Academy 104 (2000) 115-17.

- “La position dialectale du macédonien à la lumière des découvertes épigraphiques récentes“, (J. Hagnal ed.) Die altgriechischen Dialekte. Wesen und Werden (Innsbruck 2007) 157-76.

O. Hoffmann, Die Makedonen. Ihre Sprache und ihr Volkstum (Göttingen 1906).

J. N. Kalléris, Les anciens Macédoniens, v. I-II (Athens 1954-1976).

O. Masson, “ Macedonian Language “, The Oxford Classical Dictionary (Oxford-New York 1996) 905-906.

- “ Noms macédoniens “, ZPE 123 (1998) 117-20.

Em. Voutiras, Διονυσοφῶντοςγάμοι (Amsterdam 1998) 20-34.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

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

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)."

"Bere(s). The root of this name contains the verb "bere" (to pick up) that exists today in the Macedonian language and in other "Slavic"[sic] languages. Also in the present day Macedonian onomasticon there are names derived from verbs. The name "Bere" is present In todays' Macedonian onomasticon..."

From: "Similarities between ancient Macedonian and today's' Macedonian Culture (Linguistics and Onomastics)" by Aleksandar Donski, celebrity folk "historian" from FYROM.

Beres / Βερης

Aelius Herodianus/Αἴλιος Ἡρωδιανός who lived between 180 and 250 AD, was one of the best known grammarians of antiquity. He was from Alexandria, the old capital of the Ptolemies, in Egypt, the cultural capital of the ancient world, second in learning only to Athens itself. He had also lived in Rome, where he became a friend and acquaintance of the scholar-emperor Marcus Aurelius. Herodianos talked about a city in Macedonia, called Beroia.

Βέροιας πόλις Μακεδονίας, ήν Φέρωνα κτίσαι φασίν, αυτός δέ τό Φ εις Β μεταποιείν, ως Φάλακρον Βάλακρον καί Βίλιππον καἰ Κεβαλίνον. Αλλοι από Βέροιας τού Βέρητος τού Μακεδόνος. Εστί καί πόλις Συρίας.

Ηρωδιανός Γραμματικός, "Περί καθολικής προσοδείας"

Beroea is a city in Macedonia, which they say was built by Pheron, but they (the Macedonians) change Ph to B, as from Phalakros to Balakros and to Bilippos (from Phillipos)and Kebalinos (from Kephalinos). Others claim that Beroea is derived from Beres the Macedonian. There is also a city in Syria by the same name.

Herodianos the Grammatist, "Peri catholikes prosodeias"

This is how Herodianos describes the two most popular etymologies of the name of the city of Beroia. In the first version he considers the B a dialectical mis-pronunciation by the Macedonians who famously pronounced B in words where southern Greeks pronounced Ph/Φ. He notes among some other examples the name of the father of Alexander the Great, Phillip II: Philippos/Φιλιππος, which the Macedonians pronounced as Bilippos/Βιλιππος. We can also mention the name of the Ptolemaean queen of Egypt which other Greeks would have pronounced Pherenike/Φερενικη but the Macedonians pronounced as Berenike/Βερενικη, etc. In modern European languages this name now appears more in tune with the Macedonian pronunciation: Berenice, or Veronica. So, the name Pherenike (meaning : "the one who brings nike" [where phero/φέρω=to carry, to bring and nike/νίκη=victory] in the Northwestern Greek dialect that the Macedonian spoke was pronounced as Berenike/Berenike. Therefore, Herodianos continues, some had claimed that the original founder of the city was Pheron/Φερων (= the Carrier) whose name was pronounced in the Macedonian dialect as: Beron/Βερων.

Thus, according to this founding story, the city that Beron founded was named after him Beroia/Βεροια, instead of what he would have considered as more proper: Pheroia/Φεροια.

At this moment I will take the liberty of making a parenthesis and bring our attention to the point Herodianos just made: the dialectical differences between the more sophisticated Attic Greek, the dialect of Greek that all educated Greeks used for writing after the 5th century BC, and the Macedonian dialect which to southern Greeks seemed rough and uncultured, if not outright barbaric (the heavy and rough sounding Macedonian B instead of the softer Attic Ph, is only one example). It becomes obvious though, to anyone reading Herodianos's passage above, that he was indeed speaking of dialectical differences of pronunciation among different dialects within the same Greek language. There are still here and there some academics who have spent a lifetime trying to convince themselves and others that the language of the Macedonians was not Greek. Since the spectacular finds at the sites of ancient Aegae and Pella of the last 30 years, that have enriched the Epigraphical corpus, there seem to be fewer and less convincing apologists of the two separate languages theory. When considering the plethora of Greek inscriptions, the deafening absence of any inscription in ANY other language, and when we add to the mix the Pella catadesmos/κατάδεσμος Πέλλης, then the question seems to be passing itself to the hands of Balkan history revisionists and other nationalist groups, and away from the academia.

The Pella cadadesmos is an extensive lead leaf inscription, found in a tomb of a woman of low social status, in the ancient Macedonian capital Pella, and it is written in the Northwestern Greek dialect, akin and similar to Aeolic and Dorian. It is the only inscription found that is written in the local vernacular dialect found to date in Macedonia. Part of the problem of some historians, we must add, is their lack of training in the Greek language, which hinders their ability to read the sources from the original text, and to do research on original epigraphic material, relying instead on translations. The example of the revisionist American professor, at the 7th congress on ancient Macedonia organized by the University of Thessaloníki, who, when confronted with a passage from an original text in Greek proving her wrong, was unable to read it admitting to her lack of training in Greek, was most revealing and extremely humbling to her reputation as an "expert". But let us continue:

Stephanos Byzantios/Στέφανος Βυζάντιος from Constantinople, compiling his dictionary some centuries later gives us yet another version of a founding story for Beroia, and this one speaks not of Pheron but offers us another take on etymology:

Μιεζα; πολις Μακεδονιας; Στρυμονιον εκαλειτο απο Μιεζης θυγατρος Βερητος του Μακεδονος, ως Θεαγενης εν Μακεδονικοις. Βερης γαρ τρεις εγεννησεν, Μιεζαν, Βεροιαν, Ολγανον, εφ' ων ποταμος ομωνυμος και πολις Βεροια και τοπος Στρυμωνος.

Στέφανος Βυζάντιος Λεξικογράφος (6ος αι. μ.Χ.), Εθνικα.

Mieza; city in Macedonia which was also called Strymonion; from Mieza, the daughter of Beres the Macedonian, as Theagenes tells us in his Makedonica. Beres had three children, Mieza, Beroia and Olganos [incidentally, it is the personified river Olganos, son of Beres, whose statue we see at the beginning of this article], from whom we have a river by the same name and a city called Beroia and an area named Strymon.

Stephanos Byzantios Lexicographer (6th c AD), Ethnica.

What Stephanos Byzantios tells us above is that according to the local myth the founding of the city (or at least its naming) was attributed to the nymph Beroia, the daughter of the Macedonian Beres/Βερης.

The city of Beroea/Beroia/Berroia/Βερροια (I know the reader by now is getting confused by the multiple variations in the spelling of the city, but it is only in the Latin transliterations that the different spellings of this name occur: in Greek it remains the same, it is always Βέρροια, or Βέροια, with one "ρ"/"r") is well known to Christians because it was one of the first Greek cities that the Apostle Paul visited in Europe, having first passed through a few more Macedonian cities: Neapolis/Νεάπολις, Philipoi/Φίλιπποι, Amphipolis/Ἄμφίπολις, Apollonia/Ἄπολλωνία and Thessalonike/Θεσσαλονίκη. We know of the dream that came to Paul while he was asleep in Troad:

καὶ ὅραμα διὰ τῆς νυκτὸς ὤφθη τῷ Παύλῳ· ἀνήρ τις ἦν Μακεδὼν ἑστὼς, παρακαλῶν αὐτὸν καὶ λέγων· Διαβὰς εἰς Μακεδονίαν βοήθησον ἡμῖν. ΠΡΑΞΕΙΣ 16:9

And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. Acts 16:9

In Macedonia indeed he went, and by Macedonia we mean THE historic Macedonia, not the Makedonijan wannabe neighbor of Kossovo: Paul never put his foot on what is now FYROM. Not that this historic fact would be enough to dissuade the regime there from claiming an association between St. Paul's trip to Macedonia proper and "their" Makedonija. In fact they recently re-named the airport of Ochrid to St. Paul's legacy and his trip to Macedonia: Aerodrom "St. Paul" Ochrid/Аеродром „Св. Апостол Павле" Охрид (Skopje airport, FYROM's main international airport was also renamed, from Aerodrom Skopje/Аеродром Скопје to Aleksandar Veliki/Aлександар Вeлики. Who was Aleksandar Veliki/Aлександар Вeлики? The fabled Czar of the proto-Slavs, of course: yes we are indeed talking about Alexander the Great...Alexandros III/Αλέξανδρος Γ', son of Philip II!).

Since we are on the subject, let us also see how falsification of history by association is achieved by the pseudo-makedonists. We take the example of St. Luke the Evangelist. Professor Donski assures us that:

"The likelyhood[sic] that St. Luke was from a Macedonian origin is indicated even in the world renown encyclopaedia Microsoft Encarta 98 (Encyclopaedia Deluxe Edition, USA, 1998; "Luke Saint"). More detail on this topic can be found in the book "Jesus Christ and the Macedonians" by A. Donski (Centre for Cultural Initiative, Stip, FYROM, 2000."

Trying to double check my sources, I opened another encyclopaedia, which is published by an ecclesiastical organization that may possibly have a slightly deeper connection to biblical scholarship than Microsoft Corp, the Catholic Encyclopaedia. Here is what it says about St. Luke, St. Paul's associate:

"It is generally held that St. Luke was a native of Antioch. Eusebius (Church History III.4.6) has: Loukas de to men genos on ton ap Antiocheias, ten episteuen iatros, ta pleista suggegonos to Paulo, kai rots laipois de ou parergos ton apostolon homilnkos--"

and further down:"St. Luke was not a Jew. He is separated by St. Paul from those of the circumcision (Colossians 4:14), and his style proves that he was a Greek." and also: "His great command of Greek is shown by the richness of his vocabulary and the freedom of his constructions."

In Thessalonica (This is the Latin transliterated name for the city. The yugo-Slavs and Bulgarians call her Solun/Солун, while Greeks still use the original Macedonian name: Θεσσαλονίκη/Thessalonike) Paul was able to convert several of the locals:

καί τινες ἐξ αὐτῶν ἐπείσθησαν καὶ προσεκληρώθησαν τῷ Παύλῳ καὶ τῷ Σίλᾳ, τῶν τε σεβομένων Ἑλλήνων πολὺ πλῆθος γυναικῶν τε τῶν πρώτων οὐκ ὀλίγαι.ΠΡΑΞΕΙΣ 17:4

And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.Acts 17:4

After Thessalonica he went to Berroia, where:

10 Οι δε αδελφοι ευθέως δια της νυκτος εξέπεμψαν τόν τε Παυλον και τον Σίλαν εις Βέροιαν, οιτινες παραγενόμενοι εις την συναγωγην απηεσαν των Ιουδαίων. 11 ουτοι δε ησαν ευγενεστεροι των εν θεσσαλονικη οιτινες εδεξαντο τον λογον μετα πασης προθυμιας καθ ημεραν ανακρινοντες τας γραφας ει εχοι ταυτα ουτως 12 πολλοι μεν ουν εξ αυτων επίστευσαν, και των Ελληνίδων γυναικων των ευσχημόνων και ανδρων ουκ ολίγοι.

Πράξεις Aποστόλων 17:10,11,12

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.

Acts 17:10,11,12

Passages like this speak volumes about who the ancient Macedonians truly were and what language they spoke.

The bible mentions the small community of the Jews living in the city of Berroia at the time but it also tells us that "not a few" Greek women and men, indeed of high social standing, believed in his message. The same as we saw had happened earlier in Thessalonike. Now let us think about this:

Paul has been "invited" in his dream while in Troad by a Macedonian man who asked for his help to come to Macedonia. Paul goes to Macedonia, and to our surprise, no "Macedonian" is ever mentioned, anywhere. Some Jews, yes, small communities here and there, who are in personal contact with each other, so we know they were not too many of them: a rather small community. Then an occasional Roman official or guardsman, as the ones in Philippoi shows up in the text. Finally we hear of "multitudes" of Greeks, both men and women, who listen to Paul and accept his message, in Philippoi in Thessalonike and in Beroia.

So, then, we are left wondering: what happened to the OTHER Macedonians? Why do they not appear in the text? Where are the imaginary NON-GREEK Macedonians? Why is the Christian bible failing to mention ANY other, non-Greek Macedonians? If they existed, we must surely conclude that they must have been a rude bunch indeed, for having had "invited" St. Paul and then failing to ever show up in his speeches, or even to stop by and say hello! Well, that is rude! Surely the bible would have mentioned them, but then, the bible is not supposed to lie: it is not Utrinski Vesnik or Nova Makedonija or some politicaly inspired manifesto on pseudo-makedonism authored by the VMRO untra-nationalist party in Skopje!

When you lie, lies eventually catch up with you after a while. When you use other people's sacred books to promote your nationalistic agenda, that exposes your lies to a harsher light, for it betrays your cynicism. But would an administration such as that of prime minister Gruevski sweat twice for being accused of supporting what would some consider as sacrilegious lies to promote their regime's pseudo-makedonist agenda? "What's the big fuss about dragging St.Paul into our propaganda game?" they will be wondering...Tito's Stalinist government of Yugoslavia went as far as forcibly splitting the Serbian Orthodox Church in order to create a church for the Makedonci (the only instance of a nominally "atheist" and "socialist" state going to such a degree of "church building" initiative, in order to support the shaky identity of the newly created (since 1943) Slavo-"Makedonski" nation!

If this was in 19th century Thessalonica, or Berroia, we would have heard of not only Greeks and some Jews, but also Turks, and Serbs, Gypcies, Greco-Latin Vlachs and Bulgarians, but most of these (except the Vlachs) these would have to wait centuries yet to appear in Macedonia. For now in the 1st cAD, in Roman occupied Macedonia we hear the bible mention as inhabitants only Greeks, Jews and Roman administrators. Any differentiations in dialect or state allegiance that the Macedonians of the 4th cBC had as compared to the other Greeks further south have now melted away: They are all simply Greek now, as it is clearly shown in the scriptural quotes above.

The epigraphic record is full of mentions of the city of Berroia or of people from Beroia, and all show its Greek character and the names we encounter are all Hellenic.

On an inscription of Perinthos in Thrace, now part of Turkey, we read the following inscription:

Regions : Thrace and the Lower Danube (IG X) : Thrace and Moesia Inferior


Thrace — Perinthos-Herakleia (Marmara Ereğlisi) — 3rd c. AD

Πύθια ἐν Τρωάδι Ἀλε-

Pythian (games) in Troy Ale-

ξάνδρεια Ὀλύμπια ἐν Βεροίᾳ,

xandreian Olympics in Beroia

Ἁδριανὰ Ὀλύμπια ἐν Κυζίκῳ,

Adrianian Olympics in Kyzikos

Πύθια ἐν Καλχαδόνι κοινὰ

Pythian (games) in Kalchedon common

In other words, we have a part of a larger list of Athletic games, the typical Panhellenic games of the Greeks everywhere, sometimes called Olympic, for Zeus, somethimes Pythian for Apollo, and other. In Beroia they were called Ἀλεξάνδρεια Ὀλύμπια ἐν Βεροίᾳ/Alexandreia Olympia en Berroia: Olympics in Beroia, in honor of Alexander. This kind of games were not held by Skythians, Thracians, Illyrians or Roman, they were particular to the Greeks, nobody else, not until their re-refounding by Pierre de Coubertin in the late 19th century at least...

We also know that Beroia was operating as a typical Greek city, with its own elected city council (Boule/βουλή) and municipal government (Demos/Δήμος), hardly a barbarian mode of government, as the following inscription attests:

Regions : Northern Greece (IG X) : Macedonia

EKM 1. Beroia 111

Macedonia : Bottiaia: Beroia

Β]εροιαίων [ἡ βουλὴ]

κ]αὶ ὁ δῆμος [— — —]

the parliament of the Beroians

and the municipality

Sometime ago, I photographed a partial of a Greek statue at the Skopje Museum whose base has the following Greek inscription:


Adymos Evandrou Beroiaios Epoiei

Αdymos son of Evandros from Beroia Created this

It was found in the Yugoslav village of Marvinci, by Valandovo, in the ancient Amphaxitis. A very similar inscription, where the names share the same patronym has been found in Thessaly in Central Greece:

IG IX,2 601

Thessaly (IG IX,2) : Pelasgiotis: Larisa

Εὔανδρος Εὐάνδρου Βεροιαῖος ἐποίε[ι].

Evandros son of Evandros from Beroia created this.

This shows that a well known family of Greek sculptors was producing in a local marble sculpture studio in Beroia, right about the 1st c AD and their products were being commissioned by clients from and sold to clients as far as Thessaly and Paeonia.

Then, on a very long list of names inscribed around 230 to 220 BC, on an inscription from the Pan-Hellenic Oracle and sanctuary of Delphi, among literally hundreds of names of various Greek cities from all over the Hellenic world, we see some cities from Macedonia and we copy them. Next to the name of the city we read the names of the representatives o the Panhellenic congress or competition or religious event for which the inscription was dedicated:

Regions : Central Greece (IG VII-IX) : Delphi

BCH 1921:1

ἐν Δίωι Μέντωρ Ἀγαθοκλέους Πολυκλῆς

in Dion Mentor son of Agathocles, Polykles

ἐν Πύδναι Ἀρχίας Φίλιππος Διο[ν]υσογένης

in Pydna Archias Philippos Dionysogenes


son of Alkimachos

ἐν Βεροίαι Ἀντάνωρ Νεοπτολέμου

in Beroia Antanor son of Neoptolemos

Μένανδρος Ἀπελλᾶς Φιλώτα

Menandros son of Apellas of Philotas

ἐμ Μέζαι Νικωνίδας Νικάνωρ Μνασιγένεος

in Mezai Nikonidas Nikanor son of Mnasigenes

ἐν Ἐδέσσαι Μοσχίων Τριάκας Μόσχος

in Edessa Moschion Triakas Moschos

ἐν Πελλαῖ Ἀπολλωνίδης Δίφιλος Χάρης

in Pella Apollonides Diphylos Chares

These are all very typical Greek names: hardly the type of typical proto-Slavic names, in other words that would corroborate a non Hellenic, Slavic identity for the ancient Macedonians. The south Slavic tribes, if we remember, came into Macedonia from ukraine and Belorussia, not less than 800 years after this inscription was written. 

Rivers of propaganda ink have been spent by the Skopje regime in FYROM and by its drum beating apologists in Canada and Australia to promote a fake pseudo-Makedonism for some of the citizens of FYROM (I say "some" because Greco-Latin Vlachs, Greeks, Albanians, Muslims, and increasingly more and more Slavs who identify with either Serbia or Bulgaria have consciously opted out of this "ancient glory" pseudo-makedonski circus). This fake identity is built as part and parcel of the parallel promotion of a venomous ethnic hatred against their Greek neighbors to their south. To achieve their usurpation of the identity of the ancient Macedonians (and hopefully, or so they wish, the land too, at some point), they first have to wrest it away from the cultural inheritors of the ancient Greeks of Macedonia. The modern Greeks, are (whether anyone likes it or not) the only people in the area who (without any special education in the classics) can still read and substantially understand, even now, these very inscriptions of the ancient Macedonians, in the original script and language they were written, because they still speak their ancestral language.

The right-wing irredentist nationalists from FYROM on the other hand (some of their mouthpieces regretfully continue to pollute on a weekly basis this progressive forum with venom of ethnic bigotry and hatred directed against Greeks) blatantly claim to be continuing an age-long hatred that the ancient Macedonians supposedly harbored against the other Greeks. What they in fact are doing is to project their own irredentist, land-grabbing, racist, and xenophobic agenda, clumsily dressed in colors of a folkloric dressed, fake antiquity.

Let us now try to experience through an example from the epigraphic record how the ancient Macedonians expressed their alleged burning hatred of Greece. An ancient Greek inscription from the Macedonian city of Pydna, reads as follows:

SEG 50:623

Macedonia : Pieria: Pydna

— — — —]όνου

Βεροιαῖος καὶ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ Ἑλλὰς καὶ ὁ υἱὸς αὐτῶν Μένανδρος.

first name missing — — son of— —]onos

Beroiaios (from Berroia) and his wife

Hellas and their son Menandros.

While we are missing in this inscription the name of the husband, we have the ending of his paternal name "-onos", we are also told that he is a Beroiaios, a Berroian, a man from Berroia. We are additionally given in the inscription the name of his son, Menandros, and the name of his wife: Hellas/Ἑλλὰς.

Hellas in the language of the Greeks means: Greece. Putting this in modern terms, I would say that it would be highly unlikely to find a Turk having a wife named Hellas or a Serb having a wife named Albania, or yet a Palestinian having a wife named Israelia. You always give names of something beloved and dear to you, not something which you hate. Έλληνας Μάριος/Hellenas Marios is a young modern Greek Cypriot poet who was born in Larnaca, Cyprus, in 1975, one year after the Turkinsh invation of Cyprus. I suppose the fact that his Greek Cypriot parents named their newborn boy Hellenas/Έλληνας meaning "Greek man", in 1975, had something to do with how they felt towards Greece. The same consideration, we must assume, held true with the parents of the baby girl named Hellas-Greece by her ancient Macedonian parents. The Macedonians felt antagonistic towards the southern Greeks, but they also admired their level of culture, and they always strove to catch up with them, especially that of Athens.

In every day Greek speech, modern Greeks and modern Cypriots speaking of each other may out of convenience say Hellenes kai Kyprioi/Greeks and Cypriots (as the ancients said Hellenes kai Makedones, Greeks and Macedonians), but at the end of the day they know that they are all part of the same ethnic community. Modern Italians of the north of Italy do make spiteful jokes about the Italian of the south, and some even advocate for the split between the north and south of Italy into two separate states, but the motives are economic, not ethnic: nobody disputes the basic Italian nature of each of the other side, despite speaking very different dialects and despite their vast economic differences. On a different note, we all refer to the Austrians and to the Germans as separate nations, and they consider themselves as such (but not during the WWII) yet the realization stands that, to the outsider at least, an Austrian is still basically a German of the "Eastern Kingdom": Österreich – Austria. Now go tell that to an Austrian...he will be as upset as telling an ancient Theban that he was the same as a Macedonian, especially after Alexander destroyed his city, or tell to an ancient Melian that he was the same as an Athenian, after Athens destroyed his city and sold him to slavery! It took Rome for the Greeks, and that includeded Macedonians, Aetolians, Peloponnesians, Epeirotans and Asian Greeks or the Greeks of Egypt to all feel in their skin their Hellenic commonality beyond Economic, dialectical, tribal or other city state considerations.

Back to Berroia again and five centuries earlier: Long before Christianity and St. Paul, the Athenian historian Thucydides mentions Beroia, in his Peloponnesian War:

1.61] Ἦλθε δὲ καὶ τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις εὐθὺς ἡ ἀγγελία τῶν πόλεων ὅτι ἀφεστᾶσι, καὶ πέμπουσιν, ὡς ᾔσθοντο καὶ τοὺς μετ' Ἀριστέως ἐπιπαριόντας, δισχιλίους ἑαυτῶν ὁπλίτας καὶ τεσσαράκοντα ναῦς πρὸς τὰ ἀφεστῶτα, καὶ Καλλίαν τὸν Καλλιάδου πέμπτον αὐτὸν στρατηγόν, οἲ ἀφικόμενοι ἐς Μακεδονίαν πρῶτον καταλαμβάνουσι τοὺς προτέρους χιλίους Θέρμην ἄρτι ᾑρηκότας καὶ Πύδναν πολιορκοῦντας. προσκαθεζόμενοι δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ τὴν Πύδναν ἐπολιόρκησαν μέν, ἔπειτα δὲ ξύμβασιν ποιησάμενοι καὶ ξυμμαχίαν ἀναγκαίαν πρὸς τὸν Περδίκκαν, ὡς αὐτοὺς κατήπειγεν ἡ Ποτείδαια καὶ ὁ Ἀριστεὺς παρεληλυθώς, ἀπανίστανται ἐκ τῆς Μακεδονίας, καὶ ἀφικόμενοι ἐς Βέροιαν κἀκεῖθεν ἐπὶ Στρέψαν καὶ πειράσαντες πρῶτον τοῦ χωρίου καὶ οὐχ ἑλόντες ἐπορεύοντο κατὰ γῆν πρὸς τὴν Ποτείδαιαν, τρισχιλίοις μὲν ὁπλίταις ἑαυτῶν, χωρὶς δὲ τῶν ξυμμάχων πολλοῖς, ἱππεῦσι δὲ ἑξακοσίοις Μακεδόνων τοῖς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Παυσανίου· ἅμα δὲ νῆες παρέπλεον ἑβδομήκοντα. κατ' ὀλίγον δὲ προϊόντες τριταῖοι ἀφίκοντο ἐς Γίγωνον καὶ ἐστρατοπεδεύσαντο.

Θουκιδιδης 1-61

The Athenians also immediately received the news of the revolt of the cities. On being informed that Aristaeus and his reinforcements were on their way, they sent two thousand heavy infantry of their own citizens and forty ships against the places in revolt, under the command of Callias, son of Calliades, and four colleagues. [2] They arrived in Macedonia first, and found the force of a thousand men that had been first sent out, just become masters of Therme and besieging Pydna. [3] Accordingly they also joined in the investment, and besieged Pydna for a while. Subsequently they came to terms and concluded a forced alliance with Perdicas, hastened by the calls of Potidaea, and by the arrival of Aristaus at that place. They withdrew from Macedonia, [4] going to Beroea and thence to Strepsa, and, after a futile attempt on the latter place, they pursued by land their march to Potidaea with three thousand heavy infantry of their own citizens, besides a number of their allies, and six hundred Macedonian horsemen, the followers of Philippos and Pausanias. With these sailed seventy ships along the coast. [5] Advancing by short marches, on the third day they arrived at Gigonus, where they encamped.

Thucydides 1-61

Reading this text by Thucydides, we are immediately struck by a geographic paradox. We have to look at a map to understand what is happening: The Athenian hoplites, the heavy infantry are leaving Pydna, which is a city in Pieria, and they go to Strepsa/Στρέψα, having first stopped at Beroea. We are fairly certain from archaeological identifications ( ) that ancient Strepsa was by the modern village of Basilica/Bασιλικἀ, just west of Thessaloniki, part of the Pylaia municipality (Demos Pylaias/Δήμος Πυλαίας). Marching to Potidaea, which was their destination, the heavily armed Athenian hoplites moved, we must assume, directly to their point of interest, and they did not wander around to go sight seeing, heavily clad in iron and bronze as they were. Now then here is the paradox: why would these Athenian hoplitae first go to Beroea, which is completely out of their way, being directly West / Northwest of Pydna? To go from Pydna to Potidaea, which is at the narrowest point of Pallene (now called Cassandreia, the first prong peninsula in Chalkidice), they should have headed North East, not North West, as they had left Pydna. Then, after crossing Axios they should head directly East, go around what is now Thessaloniki (but at that time was still Therme) towards Strepsa, and then proceed on to Potidaea. Something does not make sense here...why should they go to Beroea first?

We read Thucydides again, and now we notice that he has already given us the answer: ἀπανίστανται ἐκ τῆς Μακεδονίας, καὶ ἀφικόμενοι ἐς Βέροιαν κἀκεῖθεν ἐπὶ Στρέψαν :They withdrew from Macedonia, going to Beroea and thence to Strepsa. Therefore, this Beroea is not the Beroea we is not the Beroia in Macedonia! There was another Beroea/Βερροια!

We need to understand that Macedonia at the 5th century stopped at the Axios river. Therefore, Thucydides is speaking of a different Beroia here, one that must be placed between the Axios river and Strepsa, probably between Chalastra / Χαλαστρα and Thessaloniki / Therme. Now, finally, the text makes sense: The geography falls in place. Gigonos is by modern Nea kallikrateia, Strepsa and Potidaea are all close to each other, and the Beroia which Thucydides mentions must be close by, not too far from Thessaloniki, but for sure East of the Axios river, in what was then part of geographic Thrace. What does this mean? It simply means that there is yet another Beroia in the prairies, east of Axios river, besides the one we all know and the bible mentions, in Macedonia next to the Bermion mountain. This one was located in what the 5th century Greeks considered part of Thrace.

Reading and searching further, we find yet another Beroia in what is now Bulgaria: the major modern Bulgarian city of Stara Zagora was also a Beroia, also mentioned as Beroe. Ian Worthington in his wonderful book "Philip II of Macedoni" (Yale University Press, 2008, page 124) mentions it as a foundation of the great Macedonian king, at the same approximate time as the building of the city Philippoupolis, further south. Whether he actually built it from zero and named it such, or used a previous settlement with the same name to further fortify it and re-populate with Macedonians as was typically the case for Philip and later Alexander, is not clear from the sources, but the name stands. During the Roman times it had been temporarily renamed Augusta Trajana, but when the Byzantine army under the emperor Ioannes II, Comnenos (Ιωάννης B' ο Κομνηνός) defeated the Petcheneg army in 1122, the battle passed into history as the battle of Beroia. This is still in the land of the ancient Thracians. We also know of another Beroia in Syria. It was established by the Hellenistic Greeks who gave the name of their city back in Macedonia, as they had with another Edessa in Syria, thus the Syrian Beroia does not pose for us any problem, it is explainable as a name loan.

The fact that there are at least three Beroias that we have seen up to now poses an obvious question. Maybe Beroia the name has a meaning. In other words, Beroia, the name of the city mentioned in the founding fables of the Macedonian Beroia that were passed on to later generations, were simply attempts to explain a name that the Greek speaking Macedonians themselves did not really understand. If the name is not Greek, then it is pre-Macedonian. Archeological digs in modern Beroia concluded that Beroia has been inhabited since at least the 10th century BC and probably before that. We also know that before the Macedonians it was the Thracians and the Phrygians that inhabited the land of Emathia where Beroia lies. In other words we must look to Phrygian and Thracian to understand the meaning of the name Beroia. Their languages are now extinct and hardly anything survives of them. But we are lucky. We have Strabo, the ancient geographer coming to our rescue:

καὶ Ὀδησσὸς Μιλησίων ἄποικος͵ καὶ Ναύλοχος Μεσημβριανῶν πολίχνιον· εἶτα τὸ Αἷμον ὄρος μέχρι τῆς δεῦρο θαλάττης διῆκον· εἶτα Μεσημβρία Μεγαρέων ἄποικος͵ πρότερον δὲ Μενεβρία͵ οἷον Μένα πόλις͵ τοῦ κτίσαντος Μένα καλουμένου͵ τῆς δὲ πόλεως βρίας καλουμένης θρᾳκιστί· ὡς καὶ ἡ τοῦ Σήλυος πόλις Σηλυμβρία προσηγόρευται͵ ἥ τε Αἶνος Πολτυμβρία ποτὲ ὠνομάζετο·

Γεωγραφία 7.6.1

and Odessus, a colony of the Milesians, and Naulochus, a small town of the Mesembrianoi. Then comes the Haemus Mountain, which reaches the sea here; then Mesembria, a colony of the Megarians, formerly called "Menebria" (that is, "city of Menas," because the name of its founder was Menas, while "bria" is the word for "city" in the Thracian language. In this way, also, the city of Selys is called Selybria and Aenus was once called Poltyobria).

Strabo Geographia 7.6.1

So, Strabo explains to us that Bria means "city" in Thracian. And indeed he tells us that the ending of many Thracian towns in "-bria" is just that, the equivalent to Greek polis i.e. Alexandroupolis, Philipoupolis, later to be extended to such American cities as Mineapolis and Anapolis, or Ukranian cities such as Sympheropolis/Симферополь, etc.

Strabo mentions Selymbria, Poltyobria, Menebria, and we also know from Herodotus of a Combreia / Κώμβρεια in Chalkidike:

7.123 [2] ἐκ τῶν προσεχέων πολίων τῇ Παλλήνῃ, ὁμουρεουσέων δὲ τῷ Θερμαίῳ κόλπῳ, τῇσι οὐνόματα ἐστὶ τάδε, Λίπαξος Κώμβρεια Αἷσα Γίγωνος Κάμψα Σμίλα Αἴνεια·

7.123 [2] from the cities which come next after Pallene and border upon the Thermaïc gulf; and the names of them are these,--Lipaxos, Combreia, Lisai, Gigonos, Campsa, Smila, Aineia;

From other sources we also know of Skelambria / Σκελαβρία, Mascombria / Μασκοβρία, Bolbambria / Βολβαβρία, Salambria / Σαλαμβρία, as well as town in Thrace called Brea / Βρέα, an area in Thrace called Briantice / Βριαντική, as well as Bra/βρα and Symbra/Συμβρα. Hesechios in his dictionary tells us that "bria meant a farmland town, as well as fort, a castre-protected area" (βρία εσήμαινε την επ´ αγροίς κώμην, ως και φρούριον, τόπον οχυρόν).

Looking in Asia Minor, we also find Phrygian cities called Garsavara of Cilicia/Γαρσάβαρα Κιλικίας, Atabyris/Ατάβυρις, Kibyra of Phrygia/Κίβυρα Φρυγίας as well as Bria/ Βρία, between Eumeneia and Sebaste, next to the Burgas Dagh mountain. Whose coins were epigraphed: ΒΡΙΑΝΩΝ.

When we look back at our Indo-European common language, we see that the original word was *bhergh which originally meant "high", and also "hill". The Greek word Boreas/ Βoρέας (originally the wind from the mountains, the northern wind) comes from this word. But the north Germanic word for mountain "berg" is also derived from it, as does the word Iceberg in English and the Russian word Bereg which means "high river bank". But since the primitive Indoeuropeans found protection on the high hills where they built their wall-protected towns, the original word *bhergh for high and hill eventually came to mean: "a castle on a high ground". In French it became "bourg" as in Luxembourg (=the luxurious, or full of light castle), in German it became "burg", as in Hamburg (Originaly named: Hammaburg: Riverside castle or Beechwood castle).

Bourg and burg are in turn also related lingusistically and semanically to the Greek word Pyrgos/Πυργος, meaning castle, as well as to the the Celtic word : "-briga". The Iberian peninsula is litterally dotted with untold Celtic toponyms ending in -briga,. In Portugal there is Londobris/Λονδοβρίς (*Lond-o-brig-s - wild fortress) just off the Lusitanian coast (if this toponym sounds related phonetically to the Londin of England it is because they are linguistically related, indeed). Then we encounter Talabriga/Ταλάβριγα (*tala + briga - fortres by the river Tala), but also Langobriga, Ierabriga, Caetobriga, Larcobriga etc. In Spain we find Λακόβριγα/Lacobrigenses (Pliny III 3 26); Langobriga (*Lak-o-briga: 'Lake Fortress'). Sarabriga or Salabriga or Salabris/Σαλαβρίς (almost an issogloss with the Thracian Sylibria, modern Silivi, in Eastern Thrace) (*Sara-brig-s: - the town/fort by the Sara River, now called in its Spanish translation: Torre del Sabre), between the provinces of Salamanca and Zamora. We also find in Spain cities such as Deobriga, Alpobriga, Nertobriga, Ardobriga, Colubriga, and numerous others, all Celtic toponymns.



In France we find Iliberis which rhymes with our Beres, but we also encounter th Franco-Latin Burgundia (the highlands), and in England we find "-bury": Bury, Salisbury, Bloomsbury, Norbury, Kingsbury, Canterbury, as well towns ending in "-borough": Thornborough, Thomborough, etc. The words brigand which means the man away from the law up on the mountains and of course the word "fort" and all the forts and the towns ending in "-fort", or "-furt" like Frankfurt are also related linguistically to the Macedonian Berroia.

In Phrygian and Thracian it became Bria / βρια. Once the Macedonians and the other Greeks took over these places, beginning after the collapse of the Mycenaeans, and for sure after the 10th c BC, they pronounced some of them Bria, others Brea and yet others Beroea/Berroia/Βέρροια.

The mythical name Beres, was a name by which the Greek speaking Macedonians attempted to rationalize the unknown to them name of the city Beroia, whose etymology they did not understand. Beroia, like Strymon and Mieza were names that were pre-existing in the area, they had encountered and adopted from the local Thracian and other populations whom they conquered. Through the ages, any and all of the autochthonous Thracian and other people remaining in Macedonia were linguistically assimilated by the Macedonians and the meaning of Beroia in the language of the old inhabitants was eventually forgotten.

The Greek speaking Macedonians created their own etymologies after a while, weaving myths with river gods like Strymon and Olganos and nymphs like Beroia, the daughter of Beres, the nymph who lent her name to the city. Beroia was now theirs, a Macedonian city, and so was her father, the mythical Beres. Beres himself in their myths was now identified as one of their very own too, a Macedonian hero, becoming nothing less than a son of the fabled progenitor of all Macedonians: the mythical Macedon/Μακεδών.