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Thread: Thracian origin of ancient Macedonians

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    Super Moderator Cincinnatus's Avatar
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    Thracian origin of ancient Macedonians

    Even though, the history of Macedonians has been scrutinized by scholars, their identity is not revealed adequately. Two prevailing views about their origin are the following:

    1. Illyrians (A cluster of Illyrian tribes who got Hellenized)
    2. Hellenes (a backward group of Hellenic tribes, who were separated from the rest ).

    A few scholars arouse a third hypothesis in regard with their origin. According to them, Macedonians were nothing but Thracians. How much credit deserve such a view?
    Last edited by Cincinnatus; 2012-03-18 at 06:15 PM.
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    Super Moderator Cincinnatus's Avatar
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    Re: Thracian origin of ancient Macedonians

    The best representative of this theory is to be found at Dr. N. Savescu's article:


    An argument for Romanians' and Moldovans' links to the ancient Dacians
    (Presented at the 44th International Congress on Medieval Studies Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo - 8 May, 2009)
    http://euroheritage.net/dacians.shtml

    (...)
    The identification of Macedonians as the southest Dacian/Thracians is also unquestionable, although the wording differs from author to author. Polybius calls the Thracians and the Macedonians homogenous i.e. people of the same nation, stock or race [19].

    Pliny speaks of Mysomacedonians in Asia Minor, who "get together (convenient) at Ephesus" [20].

    Appian calls the Sinti a Macedonian tribe; Strabo calls them Thracian [21]. Both are right, of course.

    Dio Chrysostom observed, at the beginning of the second century A.D., that the population of Nicomedia consisted of "leaders among both Greeks and Macedonians" [22] making a clear distinction between the two races.

    Nicomedia at that time was the greatest city of Bithynia. It was founded, says Pausanias, by Zipoetes "a Thracian by birth to judge from his name" [23].

    Strabo explains that "the Bithynians ... received this name from the Thracians ... who settled the country in question" and he refers to Nicomedes III as "the Bithynian" [24].

    Four centuries later Zosimos quoted an oracle in which Nicomedes II is considered to be the "Thracian King" [25], while Ioannes Malalas says that Nicomedes I was "of Macedonian" origin" [26].

    Of interest in this connection are a couple of facts: Euripides (Rhesus, 404) making Hector call the Thracian king Thesus, he considered the Trojans to be of the same stock or race as the Thracians from Macedonia. Another similar instance is provided by Conon. In his 46th Narration Conon speaking of Orpheus who "reigned over the Macedonians and the country of the Odrysians", he then refers to the "people of Thrace and Macedonia" and to "a crowd of Thracians getting together at Leibethra", where Orpheus is believed to have died at the hands of "the women of Thrace and Macedonia" [27].

    Euripides and Conon may have written for entertainment only, but Pausanias, a contemporary of Conon, gives an accurate description of Greece and its knowledge. To him, Orpheus was a Thracian from north aria of Danubiu [28], in fact Dacian, while five centuries later Ioannes Malalas calls Orpheus "the most famous lyric poet, an Odrysian from Thrace" [29].

    Eight centuries later, the identity of the Dacians and Macedonians is attested by Nicephorus Gregoras in a letter which he wrote in the year 1325 or 1326, describing his trip through Macedonia; we learn that the majority of the local people were "from the very beginning Moesians (Mysian) who lived and intermingled with our own people" [30].

    Gregoras rejects any nonsense about a subsequent arrival of Thracians (Mysians) in Macedonia. He does not tell us when the first Greek settlers arrived in Macedonia, but Pompeius Trogus says that they came under the leadership of Caranus, an event occurring around 810 B.C. Prior to that time, the whole of Macedonia was settled by Dacian/Thracians people [31].

    The origin of the name Macedonia also has some relevence to our topic. According to a legend - the Egyptian king Osiris, later promoted by the religious caste to the rank of god, had two sons, Anubis and Macedon. The second one was left by his father as a ruler of Macedonia, earlier named Emathia, and from him the country got its name [32].

    From figures supplied by Manetho, it is believed that Macedon was ruling in the year 2326 B.C. [33]. Hesoid, like a good Greek poet, endowed Macedon with a Greek ancestry: he make him the son of Zeus and Thyia, Deucalion's daughter [34]. Hellanicus believed Macedon to have been the son of Aeolus when Macedonians "inhabited the land together with the Mysians" [35].

    Regardless of the margin of error, the Macedonian name must have been familiar throughout the East at the time of the Trojan War. Why, then is there no mention of it in Homer?

    Nobody so far has suggested a plausible explanation. Yet, faced with the fanatic zeal with which Greek writers strove to blot out some "barbaric" names we are glad to be able to make a correction. Homer may not have cared to admit that without the help of some Macedonians, the Greeks would have been destroyed before the walls of Troy. Thus, either he, or someone like him, may have thought of replacing the Macedonians with Myrmidones.

    And it just so happens that for Ioannes Malalas, the Homeric Myrmidons were identical with those whose home was once in Thessaly - a Macedonian district [36]. From the first century of our era a very important part in the history of Central and South-Eastern Europe is played by the Dacians/Getae people. Some writers have called the Dacians, Getae.

    [19] Book XXIX.6.2

    [20] N.H.,V.31;N.H.,V.120.

    [21] Appian, Mithr., 55. 224 (tebner, 1962, t. 1, p.567); Strabo, 12.3.20 and

    Frag. 45 (46) - Loeb., t.3, p.367.

    [22] 39th Discourse, 1. (Loeb, t.4, p. 97.)

    [23] 12.3.3 and 12.3.40. (Loeb, t.5, pp.375 and 449.)

    [24] 39th Discourse, 1. (Loeb, t.4, p. 97.)

    [25] Historia Nova, II.37. (Engl. Transl. By J.J. Buchanan and H.T.Davis,

    TrinityUniversity Press, San Antonio, Texas, 1967, p. 77.)

    [26] Cronographia, IX (0 285). (CSHB, p.221.)

    [27] In Photiusw, The Library,cod.186.(BL.,Paris,1962,t.3,p.33-34.)

    [28] Book VI (Elis II), XX.18. (Loeb, t.3, p. 129.)

    [29] Op. Cit., IV. (CSHB, p. 72)

    [30] Correspondance, BL, Paris, 1927, p.38

    [31] It is common knowledge that Eumolpus was a leader of the Thracians thatin Attica. Ancient Greek literature is replete with references to Thracians throughout the country, including the islands. The presence of Thracians in Phocis is evidenced by the "legend" about Tereus and Philomela. Prominent men, such as philosophers Antisthenes, Pittacis, Themistocles and Iphicrates, were half-Thracian. Menander was proud of his Thracian origin. Pompeius Trogus testifies that the oldest name of the Macedonians was Pelasgians. (Book VII.1, ed. Garnier, Paris, 1936, t.1, p. 155 of Justin's Epitome.) These Pelasgians occupied the whole of the Peloponnesus.

    It was not without some perfidy that, around 1528 B.C. (computed from Orosius, Book I.11), Danaus, fleeing from Egypt, came to the Peloponnesus and occupied the main city there (Argos), after which he ordered that the name of the country and the people be changed to his own name. Computations based on the chronologies of Manetho, Eusebius and Orosius, as well as on the Parian Marble, all converge to 16th century B.C. as the probable time of arrival of the first Greek colony from Egypt.

    [32] Diod. Sic., Book I.18.1-3

    [33] See the Loeb edition (1956), p.16

    [34] See the Loeb edition (1959), pp. 156-157.

    [35] Quoted by Constantinus Porphyrogenitus, De thematibus, 2.38.B. Another interesting detail: Livy (XXXI.XXX.15) says that Macedonians, Acarnanians and Aetolians used the same speech. On the other hand, the Acarnanians are identified with the Thracians in a roundabout but nonetheless very persuasive way. The mother of Themistocles, according to Cornelius Nepos, was an Acarnanian. When, later on, Plutarch wrote his biography of Themistocles, he called her a Thracian. This is not the only evidence. (...)

    [36] Op.cit. (CSHB, p. 97).)
    Last edited by Cincinnatus; 2012-03-18 at 06:16 PM.
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    Re: Thracian origin of ancient Macedonians

    N. Savescu's follow an interesting path on revealing the Thracian identity of Macedonians. If Livy's account hold any value, then Macedonians and Acarnanians were 'men of the same language'. The ethnic background of Acarnanians is pretty obscure: the instant sources are unable to say whether they were Greeks or not. I am more inclined to accept the second possibility.

    Themostocle's mother was known as Thracian by origin, although her homeland is not located yet:

    Themistocles' father was called Neocles. Some say he was a rich man who disinherited Themistocles because of Themistocles' loose living and neglect of the family property, other sources say he was a poor man. Themistocles' mother was not an Athenian but our sources do not agree where she was from; some say Acarnania in Western Greece, others say she came from what is now the west coast of Turkey.

    But, Plutarch furnishes us some interesting hints:

    In the case of Themistocles, his family was too obscure to further his reputation. His father was Neocles, — no very conspicuous man at Athens, — a Phrearrhian by deme, of the tribe Leontis; and on his mother's side he was an alien, as her epitaph testifies:—

    Abrotonon was I, and a woman of Thrace, yet I brought forth
    That great light of the Greeks, — know! 'twas Themistocles."

    Phanias, however, writes that the mother of Themistocles was not a Thracian, but a Carian woman, and that her name was not Abrotonon, but Euterpe. 112And Neanthes actually adds the name of her city in Caria, — Halicarnassus.
    Last edited by Cincinnatus; 2012-03-18 at 06:14 PM.
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    Re: Thracian origin of ancient Macedonians

    Here is the original text provided originally by Livy:

    Ab urbe condita [31.29.2]:

    Aetolos , Acarnanas , Macedonas , EIUSDEM LINGUAE HOMINES

    Aetolians , Acarnanians , Macedonians , MEN OF THE SAME LANGUAGE
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    Re: Thracian origin of ancient Macedonians

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoMacedon View Post
    The origin of Ancient Macedonians is well proven to be Greek. It was even accepted as the main opinion in Wikipedia:So is the origin of Alexander the Great
    That Herodotus story wasn\'t a tale is been confirmed even by Justin in Epitoma HistoriarumPost hunc Perdicca regnauit, cuius et uita inlustris et mortis postrema, ueluti ex oraculo, praecepta memorabilia fuere. 2 Siquidem senex moriens Argeo filio monstrauit locum quo condi uellet, ibique non sua tantum, sed et succedentium sibi in regnum ossa poni iussit, 3 praefatus, quoad ibi conditae posterorum reliquiae forent, regnum in familia mansurum ; 4 creduntque hac superstitione extinctam in Alexandro stirpem, quia locum sepulturae mutauerit. 5 Argeus, moderate et cum amore popularium administrato regno, successorem filium Philippum reliquit, qui, inmatura morte raptus, Aeropum, paruulum admodum, instituit heredem. 6 Sed Macedonibus adsidua certamina cum Thracibus et Illyriis fuere quorum armis, ueluti cotidiano exercitio, indurati, gloria bellicae laudis finitimos terrebant. 7 Igitur Illyrii infantiam regis pupilli contemnentes, bello Macedonas adgrediuntur. 8 Qui, proelio pulsi, rege suo in cunis prolato et pone aciem posito, acrius certamen repetiuere, 9 tamquam ideo uicti antea fuissent, quod bellantibus sibi regis sui auspicia defuissent, 10 futuri uel propterea uictores, quod ex superstitione animum uincendi ceperant ; 11 simul et miseratio eos infantis tenebat, quem, si uicti forent, captiuum de rege facturi uidebantur. 12 Conserto itaque proelio, magna caede Illyrios fudere, ostenderuntque hostibus suis priore bello regem Macedonibus, non uirtutem defuisse. 13 Huic Amyntas succedit et propria uirtute et Alexandri filii egregia indole insigniter clarus ; 14 cui Alexandro tanta omnium uirtutum naturae ornamenta extitere ut etiam Olympio certamine uario ludicrorum genere contenderet.

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    Re: Thracian origin of ancient Macedonians

    The origin of Ancient Macedonians is well proven to be Greek. It was even accepted as the main opinion in Wikipedia:

    The Macedonians (Greek: Μακεδόνες, Makedónes) originated from inhabitants of the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, in the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios. Generally described as an ancient Greek people.
    So is the origin of Alexander the Great

    Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great (Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας, Aléxandros o Mégasiii, was a Greek king of Macedon, a state in northern ancient Greece.

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    Re: Thracian origin of ancient Macedonians

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoMacedon View Post
    The origin of Ancient Macedonians is well proven to be Greek. It was even accepted as the main opinion in Wikipedia:


    So is the origin of Alexander the Great
    Wikipedia? What's that?

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    Re: Thracian origin of ancient Macedonians

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoMacedon View Post
    The origin of Ancient Macedonians is well proven to be Greek. It was even accepted as the main opinion in Wikipedia:


    So is the origin of Alexander the Great
    The following is a reliable source (not like Wikipedia)

    History of the Greek Revolution: in two Volumes, Volume 1

    George Finlay

    George Finlay (1799–1875) was a Scottish historian. (a philhellene)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails aleksandri.jpg  

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    Re: Thracian origin of ancient Macedonians

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoMacedon View Post
    The origin of Ancient Macedonians is well proven to be Greek. It was even accepted as the main opinion in Wikipedia:So is the origin of Alexander the Great
    Sorry Geomacedon I don't think we can have a healthy disscussion here by bringing as the primary reference quotes from Wikipedia.

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