Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 46

Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou





© Association Internationale d'Etudes du Sud-Est Europeen,
Comite Grec, Kaplanon 9,10680 Athenes, Gn~ce
ISBN 960-7260-01-5 (Ionian University)

Published by the Ionian University

Megaron Kapodistria, GR-491 00 Corfu
Deligiorgi 55-59, GR-10437 Athens

This work, which was first published in 1988, in Greek, by the

Greek Committee for Southeast European Studies, had two aims;
firstly to promulgate a broader awareness of the Macedonian Ques-
tion and secondly to help confront the intensifying propaganda of
Skopje, using scientifica11y based facts. At the conclusion of the work
it was then noted that "there was an urgent need to examine a11 mat-
ters relating to the Macedonian Question minutely and in detail, using
objective scientific criteria, in order to restore the historical truth. "
Since then, radical developments have made a second edition,
updated and supplemented with current facts, essential. This second
edition is published alongside English, French and German transla-
tions by the Ionian University.
I would like to thank the fo11owing for their contributions to this
publication: Professor E11y Yiotopoulou-Sicilianou and Professor
Linos Benakis, President and Vice President of the Ionian University,
Mr. Elias Kizirakos, Hans Schlumm and A.-G. Alexakis, members of
the Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting
of the Ionian University, who translated this work into English Ger-
man and French respectively. I would also like to thank Mrs. Mar-
garet Swanberg for her assistance and Mr. Ioannis Diamantopoulos,
who drew the maps.

Athens, June 1992 Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou

Professor at the University of Jannina
Member of the Administrative Committee
of the Ionian University

The "Macedonian Question" is a major and many-faceted issue
presenting· manifold political, national and historical problems. In
recent decades it has been rekindled and nowadays has acquired per-
ilous dimensions. This problem, however, is not only a concern of our
times: it dates back to the 19th c., right after the Greek War of Inde-
pendence of 1821.
This issue was initially raise~ by the Bulgarians; mainly by those
Bulgarians of the diaspora who, in attempting to achieve national
rehabilitation, made territorial claims on Macedonia. These Bulgarian
nationalistic feelings were considerably reinforced by the establish-
ment of the Bulgarian Exarchate (1870)', and in particular by the
Treaty of San Stefano (March 1878), according to which northern and
central Macedonia was annexed to Bulgaria. Of course, the Treaty of
Berlin (JunelJuly 1878) reinstated Ottoman domination in the
region 2 , but the temporary ceding of Macedonian areas to the Bulgar-

1. The institutional firman included a controversial stipulation; that in the

future, other provinces of the vilayets of Monastir and Thessaloniki could also be
placed under the jurisdiction of the Exarchate, if all the inhabitants or at least two-
thirds requested it. This clause, as a matter of course, later caused much friction
between Greeks and Bulgarians, as well as armed interventions by the Bulgarians,
because the clause became an instrument of political propaganda: For the establish-
ment of the Bulgarian Exarchate and its repercussions, see Maria Nystazopoulou-
Pelekidou: Ot BaAxavlIcoi J1aof. 'AnD njv roVpK1Krj KaniKT1JCf1J arrjv &(}V1Krj anoKa-
niCfTaCf1J, l4o~-190~ al. 2 (= The Balkan Peoples. From the Turkish Conquest to the
National Emancipation, 14th-19th c.) (Thessaloniki, 1991), pp. 213-222.
2. Re the Treaty of San Stefano, the Treaty of Berlin and their repercussions, see
among others M. Laskaris, To 'AvarolllKov ZfJT1JJ.la, 1800-1923 (= The Eastern.
Question, 1800-1923) (Thessaloniki, 1948), pp. 291-300. Maria Nystazopoulou-
Pelekidou, The Balkan Peoples, op. cit., pp. 262-272.

ians encouraged these claims, while the establishment of the Bulgarian
Principality (1878) and the annexation of Eastern Rume1ia to Bulgaria
(1885) created new centres of propaganda. By the end of the century
these had led to the formation of the Internal Macedonian Revolu-
tionary Organization (IMRO, 1893) and the Central Committee
(1985) which adopted systems of violence and armed intervention
often tolerated by the Ottoman authorities.
Serbia's claims to a free passage to the Aegean sea and its
attempts to win over the Slav-speaking population of NW Macedonia
by infiltrating the Church and Education, as well as Roumanian
claims on the Vlach-speaking Greeks, date back to the end of the 19th
c., while the claims of the Albanians at the end of the 19th c. included
the vi1ayets of Monastir and Thessa10niki in their autonomist pro-
gramme 3• It must be noted however that these situations never sup-
ported the existence of a separate Macedonian nationality. The crisis
deepened at the beginning of the 20th c. and led to the Macedonian
Struggle (1904-1908) and to the two Balkan Wars (1912-13) which
resulted in the liberation of Macedonia from the Turkish yoke and the
recognition of the predominance of Hellenism in the area through the
annexation of the largest part of Macedonia to Greece. Bulgarian
aspirations were pursued in other forms both during the inter-war
period and after World War II. Then a new, radically revised Yugo-
slavian policy was formulated with an intergrated programme aimed
at putting forward the existence of a separate Macedonian Nation.
Today, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the problem has become
more acute since the once autonomous Republic of Skopje now
demands to be recognized by the international community as an inde-
pendent state with the spurious name of Macedonia.
The present study cannot fully examine all the issues that have
been mentioned. However, there is a comprehensive bib1iographt in

3. Ibid., p. 287.
4. I note selectively: N. Vlachos, To MaIC£bovlICov ({Jam; mv 'AvamllzICov
ZrynjJlam;, 1878-1908 (= The Macedonian Question as a Phase of the Eastern Ques-
tion, 1878-1908) (Athens, 1953). L. S. Stavrianos, Balkan Federation. A H{storyof
the Movement toward Balkan Unity in Modern Time (Hamden-Connecticut, 1964),
and mainly ch. 6 "Macedonia versus Balkan Unity, 1878-1902", pp. 123-151, with the

spite of the fact that there has not yet been a systematic and objective
exploitation of all the records and other sources. This study is an
attempt to be as informative as possible and to provide an enlighten-
ing historical review of the problem as it appears from World War II
until today 5.

I. An expose of the question and the position of Skopje

After the end of World War I, in 1918, the Yugoslav peoples
were united into a'single state named "Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and
Slovenes" -and in 1931 this name was changed to "Kingdom of Yugo-
slavia." It should be noted that the creation of thjs state, which had
no ethnic homogeneity, and its later support was mainly the work of
France and French foreign policy: France, by supporting the estab-
lishment of a powerful allied state that would uphold its policy in this

bibliography. D. Djordjevic, Revolutions nationales des peuples Balkaniques, 1803-

1914 (Belgrade, 1965); in particular for Macedonia, see pp. 105-109, 146-150, 166-175,
194 et sq. D. Dakin, The Greek Struggle in Macedonia, 1897-1913 (Thessaloniki,
1966). K. Vacalopoulos, '0 {36pE:lOr; 'EAATJVlaJ-lOr; Kara riJv JT:pWIJ-lTJ rpaaTJ rou
MaKE:/iovllcou 'Arwva, 1878-1894 (= Northern Hellenism During the Early Phase of
the Macedonian Struggle, 1878-1894) (Thessaloniki, 1983). Idem, NE:wrE:PTJ 'Iaropia
rfjr; MaKE:Ooviar;, 1830-1912 (= Modern History of Macedonia, 1830-1912) (Thessalo-
niki, 1986). N. Martis, 'H JT:AaarorparpTJaTJ rfjr; 'Iaropiar; rfjr; MaKE:Ooviar;' (= The
Falsification of the History of Macedonia) (Athens, 1983) and, below, the notes 93
and 94. See also the related publications of the Society for Macedonian Studies, the
publications of the Institute of Balkan Studies, and the articles in the journals Make-
donika [= MUKEoovtK<l] and Balkan Studies. The related Bulgarian and Yugoslav
bibliography is most extensive: Specifically see the presentations, book reviews and
translations in the bibliographical publications of the Institute of Balkan Studies and
in the journal Balkan Studies.
5. The official position of Yugoslav "Macedonia" is expounded in the publica-
tions of the "Institute of National History" of Skopje and especially in the three-
volume work Istorija na Makedonskijot Narod (= History of the Macedonian Nation)
(Skopje, 1969). For a detailed survey on this subject, see Ev. Kofos, 'H MaKE:Oovia
ariJv rlOVrKoaAa{3IKiJ 'IaroplOrparpia (= Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historio-
graphy), Publication of the Society for Macedonian Studies, No 24 (Thessaloniki,
1974) from wich I drew useful elements. See also Ev. Kofos, '0 MaKE:OOVIKOr;
'Arwvar; ariJ rlOVrKoaAa{3IKiJ 'IaroplOrparpia (= The Macedonian Struggle in the
Yugoslav Historiography) (Thessaloniki, 1987).

sensitive area, initially intended to create a barrier against the expan-
sion of Austria and later to ward off German influence and
penetration6 •
At the end of World War II, whithin the framework of the reor-
ganization of the state of Yugoslavia into a Federal People's Republic,
six people's republics were established (Jan. 31, 1946), renamed later
socialist republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mon-
tenegro, Serbia and Macedonia?
In actual fact this division caused substantial damage to Serbia:
while Slovenia and Croatia retained their unity, Serbia was divided
into three socialist republics and in this way was considerably dimin-
ished8• It is most probable that this was Croatia's response to the
leading position which Serbia had held in the past9 , especially during
the inter-war period 1o - a position based both on historical tradition
and on the struggles of the Serbian people.

6. See M. Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou, 'E(}VlIClanKa cpalVOj1E:va Kai xmpzanKsq

Taaelq aTa BaJ.xavza. Ta z'aroplKa aina (= Nationalistic Phenomena and Separatist
Tendencies in the Balkans. The Historical Reasons), Publications of the Greek Com-
mittee for Southeastern European Studies (Athens, 1991), p. 28.
7. See generally E. Hosch, The Balkans. A Short History from Greek Times to
the Present Day (English translation, London, 1972), pp. 171 and 174. M. de Vos,
Histoire de la Yugoslavie 2 , "Que sais-je?" No 675 (Paris, 1965), p. III et sq; for the
renaming, see p. 126.
8. Apart from ·the autonomous republics which were detached from Serbia,
inside the limits of the Republic of Serbia the autonomous province of Vojvodina and
the autonomous region of Kossyphopedion (Kossovo) - Metohija were created. Since
then Serbia has owned an area of .88,361 square kilometres, i.e. 34,5% of the total
area of Yugoslavia, while in the inter-war period it exceeded 60%. Cf. also M. de Vos,
Histoire de la Yougoslavie 2 , p. 112.
9. After the Serbian Revolution (1804-1830) and the establishment of the Serbian
autonomous principality (1834), Serbia sought to playa leading role among the
Yugoslav Peoples as well as throughout the Balkans. This policy was expressed in the
Nacertanije, "The Plan", that Ilija Garasanin worked out in 1844 and which consti-
tuted the guideline for Serbian foreign policy during the entire 19th century. Cf. M.
Laskaris, The Eastern Question, op. cit., p. 200. M. Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou, The
Balkan Peoples, op. cit., p. 199 sq. Cf. also D. Djordjevic, Revolutions nationales, op.
cit. p. 73.
10. About the Serbian hegemonistic policy after World War I, see M. de Vos,
Histoire de la Yougoslavie 2, p. 97 sq.

With the establishment of the autonomous republic of Macedo-
nia, which covers 10.5% of the total area of Yugoslavia and has a
population of 2,000,000 today, the Yugoslav government had two
objectives: a) The reinforcement of Southern Yugoslavia, to succeed
in effectively removing any Bulgarian influence or aspiration for this
region - because undoubtedly the Bulgarian presence in that area
was quite strong and pro-Bulgarian tendencies were powerfuP'. b) The
making of Macedonia as a whole - that is, not only the Yugoslav
part of it - a connecting link in establishing a Federation of (he
Balkan peoples. The latter had also been the aim of the Bulgarians
during the inter-war period. It is important to note that Hristo Tatar-
chev, President of the Central Committee of the Internal Macedonian
Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), writes in his memoirs (Sophia,
1928): "We thought that later an autonomous Macedonia should be
able to be joined more easily to Bulgaria, or, if this was unrealizable,
it should be able to become the uniting link in a federation of Balkan
Peoples"'2. After World War II, Stalin tried to create a Federation of
Balkan States and, by including Greece among them, to secure access
to the Aegean Sea - a Federation over which the Soviet Union would
have had complete control. Since Macedonia was the bone of conten-
tion and the cause of friction between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, he
tried (through the Stalin-Tito-Dimitrov plan) to use Macedonia as a
connecting link by detaching it from both countries which claimed it.
But after the split between Tito and the Soviet Union (1948), the
Yugoslav leader adopted the plan of Stalin for his own benefit, remov-
ing Bulgaria of course.

Yugoslav "Macedonia", 'formed in 1946, consisted of the area

11. See Ev. Kofos, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography, pp. 6-7 with the
12. Macedonia. Documents and Material (Sophia, 1978), pp. 661-662. Cf. Ev.
Kofos, The Macedonian Struggle, op. cit., pp. 22-23. It should be noted that neither
Chr. Tatarchev nor earlier the Communist Congress of 1924 mention a "Macedonian
Nation": see M. Papaconstantinou, 'H MaTce80via Jl~ra rov MaKe8ovl1co 'Armva
(= Macedonia after the Macedonian Struggle) (Athens, 1992), p. 35.


previously called "Southern Serbia" or "Vardarska Banovina"l3.
Since 1946 the Yugoslavs call it "Vardar Macedonia" (Vardarska
Makedonia), referring to Greek Macedonia as "Aegean Macedonia"
(Egeiska Makedonia) and to the small Bulgarian part as "Pirin Mace-
donia" (Pirinska Makedonia).
They wanted to give a separate political and national existence to
this newly-established socialist republic. As we know, the main char-
a~teristics of a nation are unity of country (with the meaning of com-
mon fatlrerland) and of political organisation, language, religion and
heritage, which are joined by a common past, common ambitions for
the future and most importantly by a common consciousness - char-
acteristics which alone are not enough or indeed necessary but which
in combination create the separate identity of a nation. They tried to
give these characteristics to the new "republic of Macedonia", They
wanted, in other words, to fabricate a nation. The means that they
used were the following l4 :
1. Separate state organization: All the local state organizations
which wer.e created, with Skopje as the centre, within the framework
of the federal government of Yugoslavia, were called "Macedonian":
"Macedonian government", "Macedonian Parliament", etc. Thus this
term acquired a new political and state dimension, which in the course
of time became established.
2. Separate language: The Yugoslav Constitution recognized a
local dialect as the official language; it was called "Macedonian" and
was considered equal to the Serbo-Croatian and the Slovenian lan-
guages l4a • This "Macedonian" dialect, which until then had only been

13. The name Vardarska Banovina is a result of the reorganization of 1931. At

that time the old names and administrative divisions were abolished and simulta-
neously with its renaming as Kingdom of Yugoslavia the state was organized into
nine banovinas, which took their names from the river which passed throught them.
In this way the new Constitution attempted to eradicate localism and the old divisions
into ethnic groups and at the same time to obliterate the interior boundaries: Cf. M.
de Vos, Histoire de la Yugoslavie 2, p. 100.
14. See Ev. Koros, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography, p. 8.
14a. See N. Andriotis, The Federative Republik of Skopje and its languag~
(Thessaloniki, 1966).

considered a dialect of the Bulgarian language, "was purged" of lin-
guistic elements which might create disputes in the future, became the
official language of the region, and has been taught in schools ever
since. Thus the children started using it and became accustomed to it,
whichever language or dialect they used at home. In this way the new
postwar generation of the region acquired a new linguistic instrument
which was imposed "from above", by state will and for political
3. Independent Church: Despite the fact that communist ideol-
ogy does not accept religion, religious sentiment was deeply rooted in
the inhabitants of the region and the Church was closely related to
their historical traditions. It is for this reason that the "Autocepha-
lous Macedonian Church" was founded in 1964, after communist
party intervention, with Ochrid as its seat, despite the strong reactions
of the Serbian Patriarchate. This emancipation was.a blatant violation
of the canon law of the Orthodox Church and was effected in order to
reinforce the autonomy of "Macedonia" vis-a-vis Serbia - an au-
tonomy which was expressed by the slogan "One State, one Church,
one Nation"15.
4. Separate nationality: In order that their political existence
could be consolidated and their general political aims strengthened, it
was essential that the population of the region became conscious of
Macedonia as a separate nation. For this reason they attempted to
create and propagate a "Macedonian" national consciousness
amongst the inhabitants of Southern Yugoslavia. In this endeavour it
was essential to project a separate historical past, t~ "fabricate" a
"Macedonian" history. Historians were mobilized and an "Institute
of National History" was founded in Skopje. It was instantly staffed
by many scholars who started conducting extensive research in li-
braries and archives, gathering a huge amount of materiaP6 and pub-

15. See H. Papastathis, "L'autocephalie de I'Eglise de la Macedoine Yougo-

slave", Balkan Studies 8 (1967), pp. 151-154.
16. In 1976 Ev. Kofos, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography(p. 13 et sq.),
had already observed: "Within a few years in Skopje they collected hundreds of thou-
sands of microtapes from state, private and ecclesiastic archives which referred, in
whatever way, to Macedonia. Without stinting themselves materially, they al~o pho-

lishing books, reviews and journals l7 at an impressive rate. By means
of their studies and publications they attempted to reconstruct and
re-interpret historical data in order to fulfil their objectives.
Their first aim was to cut off every link between the so-called
"Macedonians" and the Bulgarians, as well as the Serbs, and to con-
vince the people that they belonged to a separate Slavic nation, the
"Macedonian" one. Therefore the history of the region, as well as the
language, had to be "purged" of all Bulgarian and Serbian elements.
All the Bulgarian and Serbian historical data connected to that region
- historical events, people, activities and intellectual work - were
renam'ed "Macedonian"l8, so that they could be incorporated into the
new "Macedonian" history which was then being written, or, if they
did not fit into the new historical framework and guidelines, they were
denounced as hostile1 9 •
The second aim was to eliminate Greek character of Macedonia
and Macedonian history; and this would be achieved by minimizing
the Greek presence in this region and misinterpreting or falsifying
their role, specifically the cultural and intellectual contribution of Hel-
lenism, the orthodox Greek clergy and Greek schools.
The third aim was to search for, fabricate and project the histori-
cal development of the so-called "Macedonian people", so as to prove

tographed thousands of pages of old editions, books, pamphlets and newspapers". In

this way they created huge Archives relating to Macedonia, although, of course, this
material should not be able in any way to support the existence of a separate Mace-
donian nation.
17. For the first publications, see Ev. Kofos, Macedonia in the Yugoslav Histo-
riography, p. 9 and notes 1-2. From these publications the most basic is the Istorija
na Makedonskijot Narod which I have already mentioned (see above, note 5). A
second voluminous edition of this work is being prepared since the first one is consi-
dered out-of-date.
18. The examples are many; Characteristically, I mention the work of the
brothers Constantin and Dimitri Miladinov, Biilgarski Narodni Pesni [= Bulgarian
Popular Songs], which was published in Zagreb in 1861 and was widely disseminated;
it was republished recently in Skopje, but with its original title changed into Make-
donski Narodni Pesni[= Macedonian Popular Songs].
19. Ev. .Kofos, The Macedonian Struggle in the Yugoslav Historiography, p. 4
and note 7.

the separate national identity of the "Macedonians", as well as their
cohesion and continuity from ancient times until today. It should be
noted that this attempt was the reverse of normal methods: that is,
they studied modern history first and turned to the study of Antiquity
later2o •
The fourth aim was to create a Great Idea 2' , which would bring
awareness to the masses. So the historians of Skopje started declaring
that Macedonia, as a whole, was a Slavic country both in its historical
tradition and its ethnic composition. For this reason, it had to be
united and form a unified state. After World War II, only the Yugo-
slavian part was re-established nationally within the framework of the
Yugoslav Federation. The other two parts, Aegean Macedonia and
Pirin Macedonia would have to be restored, i.e. to be united with
Yugoslav Macedonia22 •
At this point there was a deliberate distortion not only of histori-
cal events but also of contemporary numerical data and statistics re-
ferring to the composition of the population of Greek Macedonia23 •
The historical contrivance which the historians of Skopje fabri-
cated and put forward is roughly as follows:
As the appearance and settlement of Slavs in the region took
place during the Middle Ages, the Slavs of Skopje could not present
ancient parchments confirming their presence in this area. On the
other hand, the history of Ancient Macedonia and the work of Alex-
ander the Great presented a major obstacle to their propaganda,
because both were universally known and had made a great impres-

20. Idem, Macedonia in the Yogoslav Historiography, p. 11.

21. For the term, see ibid., p. 11.
22. Ibid., pp. 11-12.
23. See E. Zografski, Egeiska Makedonia (Skopje, 1951), p. 50: So that the
Greek character of Greek Macedonia could be disputed, they fabricated a census for
the year 1941, in which it is stated that at that time the following ethnic groups lived
in Greek Macedonia: 258,000 "Macedonians", 250,000 Greeks, 210,000 Karamanlids
(that is, populations coming from Asia Minor by virtue of the exchange of popula-
tions), 80,000 Armenians, 74,000 Lazes and others. In these statistics the population
of Thessaloniki, Chalkidiki and of the prefecture of Kozani is not included, because
it would then have been more difficult to falsify the numbers (Cf. Ev. Kofos, Mace-
donia in the Yugoslav Historiography, p. 12).

sion24 • It was essential for them to cast doubt on the greek character
of Ancient Macedonia. So, they declared that the Ancient Macedo-
nians were not Greeks but an Illyrian tribe. Their kings were not
Greeks but merely "Philhellenes". The ruling class was hellenized in
the course of time, but the people remained "Macedonian", that is,
Illyrian, not Greek. Alexander was not a Greek, he did not dissemi-
nate Greek culture, but "the name of Macedonia". During the period
of his successor~, the hellenization of the region started gradually,
especially in the upper classes, because many Greeks had been slaves
and mercenary soldiers 25 •
In the Middle Ages the Slavs settled in Macedonia where, accord-
ing to Skopje, they exterminated a large number of the indigenous
population and assimilated the rest. Thus, within a few years Mace-
donia became Slavic. Because these indigenous populations were Illy-
rian and not Greek, the Slavs who settled in Macedonia were united
with that non-Greek element and thus acquired ancient roots, irre-
spective of any Greek presence. In this way, Skopje claims for itself
not only the history but also the achievements of the civilization con-
nected to this region.
At the same time, the historians of Skopje minimised the Bulgar-
ian presence claiming that the expansion of the First Bulgarian state
into Macedonian territory was temporary and superficial; thus this
Bulgarian expansion could not have bulgarized the "Macedonians"
who remained a separate slavic tribe. A characteristic case is the one
of Samuel who, by means of revolution, succeeded in setting up an
independent state with, initially, its centre as the inaccessible region of
NW Macedonia; he was declared "Tsar of the Bulgars" (977-1014)
and turned out to be a dangerous adversary of Byzantium and its

24. See VI. Wilcken, Alexandre Ie Grand (Paris, 1952), p. 15: "Alexander the
Great belongs to the small minority of men who initiated a new era in world History.
Perhaps, he may be the only one who sealed the world with the stamp of his personal
will, and with such strength that the progress of mankind remained under his influ-
ence for many centuries".
25. Cf. Istorija na Makedonskijot Narod, vol. I, ch. 20, especially p. 45. (Cf. the
book review by P. Charanis, Balkan Studies 13, 1972; pp. 166-168). Cf. Ev. Kofos,
Macedonia in the Yugoslav Historiography, pp. 15-16.

emperor Basil II Bulgaroctonus ("Bulgar Slayer"). According to the
historians of Skopje, Samuel's state was "Macedonian",since the
Slav-Macedonians were the dominant national element, and not
related to the Bulgarians. They also assert that Samuel, the son of a
Byzantine official, was a "Macedonian" since he was the leader of a
"Macedonian" state26 • Nevertheless, as the Bulgarians rightly note,
Basil II was given the epithet Bulgaroctonus ("Bulgar Slayer") and
not Macedonoctonus ("Macedonian Slayer")27.
The historians of Skopje also claim that Constantine-Cyril and
Methodius, the two Apostles of the Slavs, were "Macedonians" and
therefore Slavs since they were born in Thessaloniki, where at the time
"the indigenous population was Slavic and everybody spoke a purely
Slavic language"28. For this reason the two brothers based their
alphabet on the "Slavo-Macedonian" or "proto-Macedonian" lan-
guage. Consequently, modern Yugoslav-Macedonians are direct des-
cendants of these "Proto-Macedonians" who disseminated the
alphabet and culture throughout the Slavic world29 . It should be noted
that the terms "Slav-Macedonians" and "Proto-Macedonians" are an
invention of Skopje and are not attested to in any sources of that
time, nor have they been suggested by other writers.
As for the works of art, architecture and painting which were
created in this region, they are presented as works of a separate
"Macedonian" arCo, in spite of the fact that their style is distinctly
Byzantine. This "Macedonian" art should not be confused with the
so-called "Macedonian School", which they also misrepresented and

26. See Istorija na Makedonskijot Narod, vol. I, p. 117.

27. See Makedonskijat Viipros (Sophia, November 1968), Greek translation pub-
lished by the Institute of Balkan Studies, p. 9.
28. See P. Miljkovic-Pepek, "L'architecture chretienne chez les Slaves Macedo-
niens a partir d'avant la moitie du IXe siecle jusqu'a la fin du XIIIe siecle", The 17th
International Byzantine Congress. Major Papers (Washington D.C., August 3-8,
1986) (New York 1986), p. 483.
29. D. Vlahov, Makedonija. Momenti od Istorijata na Makedonskijot Narod
[= Macedonia. Moments from the History of the Macedonian People] (Skopje, 1950),
pp. 11-12 (Greek translation published by the Institute of Balkan Studies). '
30. Cf. P. Miljkovic-Pepek, "L'architecture chretienne", op. cit., pp. 483-496.

They claim that at the time of the Turkish domination, the histor-
ical memory of the "Slav-Macedonians" was wiped out, along with
their national conscience; this was due to political and social reasons
and particularly Ottoman empire policy - which classified its sub-
jects on the basis of religion and not national origins - and also
because of the privileges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the assi-
milative power of the Greek clergy. Since most privileges, were in the
hands of the Greeks, many "Slav-Macedonians" felt constrained to
present themselves as Greeks. During the period of the struggle for
independence and national rehabilitation, the "Slav-Macedonians"
fought alongside the Greeks. Furthermore, they do not hesitate to
claim for themselves famous heroes such as Markos Botsaris, whom
they present as "Macedonian" changing his name to Marko Botsvarot
of Prilep 31! !
According to the historians of Skopje the national awakening of
the "Macedonian people" started in the first decades of the 19th c.
and culminated at the end of the century in the establishment of the
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) in 1893
(which in reality was a bulgarian organisation) and in the armed
struggle at the beginning of the 20th c. At that time the Slav-
Macedonians were engaged in fights "on several fronts", not only
against the Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs and their respective neighbour-
ing states which wanted to integrate the Slav-Macedonia,ns into their
dominions, but also against the Ottoman empire and its social system.
This struggle was aimed at the creation of an independent Macedo-
nian state, but was unsuccessful then. Only in 1944 was a part of
Macedonia liberated, becoming an autonomous republic within the
framework of the Yugoslav Federation32 •
This outlines the scheme which the historians of Skopje put for-
ward. I have considered it essential to highlight it so that the distor-
tion of History, the falsification and the fabrication of historical data
should become obvious.

31. D. Vlahav, Macedomja..., ap. cit., p. 10. Cf. Ev. Kafas, Macedonia..., ap.
cit., pp. 20-21.
32. See in detail Ev. Kafas, The Macedonian Struggle, p. 9 sq. and pp. 15-16.

II. The evidence of the sources and the findings of
historical research
Before I attempt to demonstrate which is the historical reality
based on the evidence of the sources, I would like to emphasize that
the position of Skopje is based on two extremely serious methodologi-
cal errors.
The first one concerns the terms Macedonia and Macedonians,
which the historians of Skopje use in a national sense, even though
these terms are strictly geographical, just like the term Epirot or Pelo-
ponnesian 33 • In the works published in Skopje and mainly in the "His-
tory of the Macedonian Nation" they skilfully use the term Slav-
Macedonians and sometimes simply Macedonians, to create confusion
and finally have the terms Macedonia-Macedonians accepted as de-
noting a separate nation. However, as we have already mentioned,
these terms have never acquired any national meaning either in the
past or in recent years. In the sources, travellers' descriptions, diplo-
matic documents, censuses of the Ottoman empire 34 etc., the term

33. It should be noted that during the Byzantine era these terms also had an
administrative meaning. In the early Byzantine era the province of Macedonia, whose
seat was Thesssaloniki, belonged to the prefecture (praefectura) of Illyricum and
extended nearly to the geographical limits of "major" Macedonia: See Angeliki Kon-
stantakopoulou, 7aroplloj r£wyparpia rije; MaK£ooviae; (4oe;-6oe; al.) (= Historical
Geography ofMacedonia; 4th-6th c.) (Ioannina, 1984), pp. 19-26, with the older bib-
liography. In the Mid-Byzantine era, with the change of the administrative organiza-
tion and the generalization of the administration by themata, the Thema of Macedo-
nia, which is attested t6 for the first time in 802, was established and extended
eastwards of the Nestos river into a large section of Thrace, i.e. it was not identified
with the geographical boundaries of Macedonia. A little later the Thema of Thessalo-
niki was established, which extended to Central and West Macedonia, and the thema
of Strymon in Eastern Macedonia.
34. See the edition by Hr. Andonov-Po1ianski, Britanski Dokumenti za Istorijata
na Makedonskijot Narod [= British Documents regarding the History of the Macedo-
nian People], 1. 1797-l839(Skopje, 1968), in which, despite the efforts to misinterpret
names and events, the objective student should not be able to find even the slightest
indication of the existence of the "Macedonian People" in these documents of British
consuls, agents or travellers. Only Greeks, Turks, Bulgarians, Serbs and Albanians
are mentioned, as well as Macedonia as a geographical unity. Cf. the book review by
A. Angelopoulos, Balkan Studies 9 (1968), pp. 559-561. For the consuls' reports of

Macedonian always denoted the inhabitants of Macedonia - primar-
ily the Greek inhabitants - because the Bulgarian inhabitants of
Macedonia were usually called "Bulgaro-Macedonians", that is Bul-
garians of Macedonia, so that they could be distinguished from the
Bulgarians of Bulgaria and of the Bulgarian Principality. Besides, the
fact that the terms Bulgaro-Macedonians and Slavo-Macedonians are
used, while "Helleno-Macedonians" isn't, presupposes and at the
same time proves that Macedonia is Greek, because the term intrinsi-
cally conveys the Greek origin of the inhabitants of this region.
The second methodological error refers to the extension in place
and time of a specific and locally limited national group. That is,
starting with Yugoslav "Macedonia", the population of which is con-
sidered Slavic in its majority, the historians of Skopje extend this
given ethnic composition throughout all Macedonia and its centuries
of history, as if it were a stable unchanging element, unaffected by the
extremely important historical events which took place in this sensi-
tive area of the Balkan Peninsula.
Attention must also be drawn to the fact that during certain peri-
ods of History (the Hellenistic Age, Turkish domination etc.) the his-
torians of Skopje are compelled to accept, up to a point, the helleni-
zation of the region - hellenization which of course presupposes the
existence of a powerful Greek element -, and during the subsequent
period this Hellenic or hellenized population seems to disappear or be
reduced to a minimum and the non-Greek "Macedonians" predomi-
nate anew.
It should also be noted that the geographical and historical
boundaries of Macedonia do not coincide with the boundaries of
Macedonia as the historians of Skopje define it. Macedonia, the
"Major Macedonia" - as Prof. Ap. Vacalopoulos calls it - extends
beyond the borders of present day Greek Macedonia:
Southward: to the Chasia Mountains, the Kambounia Moun-
tains, Mount Olympus and the Aegean Sea,

the 19th C., see Ev. Kofos, Macedonia, op. cit., p. 6 note 1. See also the Turkish
census of 1906, where only muslims (Turks and Albanians), Bulgars and Greeks are
mentioned: St. Yerasimos, "Balkans: frontieres d'aujourd' hui, d'hier et de demain?",
Herodote 63/85 F (1991), p. 89.

Westward: to the Pindus Mountains,
Eastward: to the Nestos River, and
Northward: to Ochrid-Strumnitsa-Melenikon 35 •
Needless to say, in the long history of the region, the administra-
tive boundaries were not always the same, or immovable: they
expanded or contracted, according to the historical data of every
period. However, it should be noted that northward Macedonia never
went beyond the line of Ochrid, Babuna mountains36, Strumnitsa-
Nevrokop (see map N° 1). Therefore, the modern Socialist Republic of
«Macedonia» includes only a small part of Macedonia: the region of
Skopje did not belong to Macedonia but to the old Serbia, as the Serb
historical geographer J. Cvijif3 7 observed at the beginning of the cen-
tury (1907). The use of the geographical term "Macedonia" for the
more northern regions is thus contrary to historical reality. These
geographical boundaries show that about 70% of Macedonia is today
part of Greece and only a small part is located in Southern Yugosla-
via and in SW Bulgaria 38 •

35. See Ap. Vacalopoulos, History of Macedonia, 1354-1839 (Thessaloniki,

1969), p. 1.
36. Babuna mountain is the ancient Messapion.
37. J. Cvijic, Remarques sur l'ethnographie de 1a Macedoine 2 (Paris, 1907), p. 6
note 1.
38. In some strange way, the false information that, during the division of
Macedonia in 1913, Greece took 51.57% of the total Macedonian territory, Yugosla-
via 38.32% and Bulgaria 10.11%, in other words that 48.33% in total of Macedonia is
now situated in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, goes on being repeated unchecked. How-
ever, these percentages are not correct because they correspond to the area of Greek
Macedonia (34,603 km 2), the total area of the current Republic of Skopje (25,713
km ) and Macedonia of Pirin (6,789 km 2 ). They refer therefore to the state which was
formed after the end of World War II, overlooking the fact that the Republic of
Skopje, besides being a more recent creation, also contains Serbian territory: In fact
only the southern part, that is, much less than half the total area is geographically and
historically part of Macedonia (see Map 2). It should be noted that, in 1913, territory
of the Ottoman Empire was returned to the three Balkan States induding areas in
their northern parts which were not Macedonian (see Map 3). Therefore the percen-
tage of Macedonia which was returned to Greece is, in reality, much greater.


1. Th~ geographicOlI bounderies of Macedo,niiil


I \
J '-
/ \
...--/ \
-_...... ...... - ./ \
\ \
\ ....... ~. K 0550 V 0 " r· ..... /
...... \ -METOHIJA "" i
\ \ (

\", /
/ \..
') ~

\ /"...1-.....'
....." ....... -
../ ,....'1;(
\ i/''/-'\,,/ \ .:::;,'"
) ' 0 \q,
j.,.../ SKOPJE "-
( "-.~
(' i
(.J \
" - I f. Ii~ . . ' :-'

2. Tha rC'Public 01 SkoojC' and the northC'st

gC'ographical bounderiC's of MacC'donia

o ", S E" A

3. The vila ets of the ottoman Em ire

·-·-bounderies of Balkan States(1g12l
.----new boun!Jeries after.the treaty of !3ucarest(1913)
:,,:,:,"::',:,:,,::,,:':' 9 e 0 9 rap hie a I b 0 u n d erie s 0 f Mac e don rOil

After pointing out these basic factors I shall attempt to present,
very briefly, the evidence of the sources and the findings of historical

1. Antiquity

The Ancient Macedonians were undoubtedly a Greek tribe; either

a north:-western tribe related to the Dorians and Epirots, or an Aeolic
one related to the Aeolians of Thessaly (before the north-western tribe
of the Thessalians settled there), -as scholars tend to accept today.
Nowadays it is not seriously doubted that they were Greeks 39 ,
although some opposing views have been expressed by certain modern
historians and linguists because the evidence of ancient writers has not
been interpreted correctly and the relatively limited linguistic material
preserved has not been evaluated correctly'lO.
The Ancient Macedonians initially settled in NW Macedonia.
Later they expanded into the fertile valley of the Haliakmon river,
where, after having driven back or subjugated the Illyrian and Thra-
cian tribes, they established the Macedonian state. During this time
the regions of NW Macedonia remained independent hegemonies.
Later on, the kingdom of Macedonia expanded up to the Strymon
river. Their relative isolation for centuries, in the country that bears
their name, greatly contributed to their developing autonomous unity,

39. Cf. VI. Wilcken, Alexandre Ie Grand, op. cit., p. 33: "It seems more and
more certain that the Macedonians were a Greek tribe related to the Dorians. How-
ever, as they stayed high up in the distant north, they could not participate in the
progress of civilization of the Greek peoples that migrated southward...". Also Her-
man Bengtson, Griechische Geschichte 4, Miinchen 1969, p. 305, points out that "the
majority of the new generation of historians but with the notable exception of Julius
Kaerst (Geschichte des Hellenismus, 1/3, 1927, p. 154 sq.) agree, and rightly so, that
the Macedonians were Greeks". See also K.J. Beloch, Griechische Geschichte/ IV/I,
pp. 1-9.
40. For the Ancient Macedonians there is a most extensive bibliography. I con-
fine myself to referring to the recent work of N.G.L. Hammond, The Macedonian
State: Origins, Institutions and History (Oxford, 1989). See also Macedonia, 4000
Years of Greek History and Civilization (published by "Ekdotike Athenon") (Athens,
1991) and mainly pp. 46-63 which include the chapter "The Nationality of Macedo-
nians" by M. Sakellariou.

both social and political, without being greatly influenced by other
Greeks and, therefore, without the cultural development of the south-
ern regions 41 .
Ancient sources affirm that the ancient Macedonians were
Greeks, and the linguistic conclusions, which are based on the study
of the Macedonian dialect, also attest to this.
Among the ancient historians, Herodotus is the first who refers
to the Macedonians whom he considers, without any hesitation,
Greeks: «"EAA:rlvas O£ ElVUt 'touwus wUs ano IIEpOiKKEffi yEyovo'tas,
Ka'ta nEp atHOt Aiyoucn, au'tos 'tE Othffi 'tuYXavffi £mO"'taI1EVOs Kat oil
Kai. EV Wlcn om0"8Ev AOy01cn anooEi~ffi ... » [= But that the descend-
ants of Perdiccas are, in fact, Greeks (as they themselves say), I
happen to know; and I will, moreover, prove that they are Greeks in
the latter part of my history]. (V, 22,1). The same historian presents
the king of the Macedonians Alexander I (ca. 495-450/440 B.c.), a
dominant figure of Macedonian history during the 5th c. B.C., saying
at the time of the Persian wars: «au'tos 'tE yap "EAA1]V yivo; &ipi
rdJpxaiov, Kat an' £Acu8iplls oEOOUAffil1EVllV OUK UV £8iAOl111 opav
'tilv 'EAAaoa» [= I am myself a Greek of ancient stock, and I would
not with my good will see Greece enslaved rather than free]. (IX,
45,1-2)42. Succeeding generations called Alexander I, and only him
among all the kings of Macedonia, "Philhellene", and they did so for
a specific reason: he effectively assisted the "Greek" alliance of
Corinth against the Persian43 .

41. H. Bengtson, Griechische Geschichte, op. cit., p. 305, observes that generally
the Macedonians were considered culturally inferior. Cf. also UI. Wi1cken, Alexandre
Ie Grand, op. cit., p. 33.
42. See also Herodotus, I, 56, 2-3 and V, 20-22. (English translation by David
Grene, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago-London 1987).
43. See commentary on Thucidides I, 57; commentary on Demosthenes, Olyn-
thiac III, 130; Dion Chrysostom II, 33; Harpocration, in entry Alexander, Anecd.
Graeca, 375, 20 Bekker. All the ·sources that mention the epithet "Philhellene" are
subsequent and we cannot be certain that they derive from sources contemporary to
Alexander I. The argument, however, that the epithet "Philhellene" confirms that
Alexander I was not a Greek is not at all convincing and is contradicted by Alexan-
der's own words, as they have been handed down to us by his contemporary Herodo-
tus (see the above quotation IX, 45, 1-2).

Thucydides 44, and later Arrian 45 , Polybius46 , Titus Livius 47 and
others also confirm, directly or indirectly, that the Macedonians were
Greeks. In ancient times, the nationality of the Macedonians was
never an issue, precisely because they were Greeks. The historians of
Skopje have greatly exploited the fact that Demosthenes calls Philip a
"barbarian", and regard this as proof of his non-Greek origin. How-
ever, the word "barbarian" meant at that time not only the foreigner,
i.e. the person who spoke a different language, but also the person
who was uncivilized48 • The Athenian Demosthenes considered the

44. Thucidides, II, 99, 3-6, who obviously uses Herodotus as a source, states that
the kings of the Macedonians are Temenids from Argos, which means that he agrees
that Macedonians were Greeks.
45. Cf. the well-known passage of Arrian, I, 16, 11, where it is stated that after
the battle of Granicus, Alexander offered as a votive offering of thanks to Pallas
Athena 300 Persian panoplies with the very eloquent inscription: ' AAE~uvopoC;
<I>tAlltltOU KUt Ot "EAAllVEC; ltAT]V AUKEOUqlOVlffiV, altO Tmv ~UP~UPffiV Tmv TT]V
, Acrluv KUTOtK01JV't"ffiV [= Alexander, son of Philip, and the Greeks, except the Lace-
daemonians, from the barbarian inhabitants in Asia], a characteristic inscription
which attests that both Alexander and the Macedonians soldiers were Greeks, because
the Macedonians were certainly included among the Greeks. Cf. also Arrian, I, 16, 10.
46. Polybius, XXVIII, 8, 9, preserves the following valuable information: in the
deputation that Perseus, King of Macedonia, sent to the King of Illyria, in order to
form an alliance with him against the Romans, a deputy of Illyrian descent also par-
ticipated: Ota TO TT]V OtUAEKWV dOEVat TT]V 'IAAuplou [= because he knew the Illyrian
language], which means that the Macedonians did not know the Illyrian language,
since in their conversations with the Illyrians they were compelled to use interpreters.
See also IX, 37,7: ltpOC; ,AxuwuC; KUt MUKEOOVUC; OILO({J1JAOVr; KUt TOV T01JTffiV TJyE-
JlOVU <I>lAt1tltOV [= To the Achaeans and the Macedonians belonging to the same race,
and to Philip, their leader]. Cf. also IV, 9 and VII 9,3.
47. Titus Livius, 31, 39, considers the Macedonians to speak the same language
as the Aetolians and the Acarnanians.
48. See Demosthenes, Against Meidias, 150. Cf. also all those that Thucidides
characteristically mentions, I, 5-6, for the barbarian customs that the Greeks had in
earlier times, and especially I, 6, 1: «... KUt ~UVl1ell TT]V olunuv JlEe' 01l:AffiVe1l:0tl1-
cruvw [Ot "EAAllVEC;] rocr1l:EP Ot ~uP~UPOt, crllJlElOV 0' ecrTt TUOTU Tfic; 'EAAUOOC; En
Othffi VEJlOJlEVU Tmv 1I:OTE KUt ec; 1I:uvmc; 0JlOlffiV OtatTllJlUTffiV» [= ... and this way of
living, to always be armed, was a custom to them, just as it is a custom to the barbar-
ians today. So the fact that in these areas of Greece they live in this way even today, is
proof that once all the Greeks lived in the same way] and I, 6, 6: <mOAAa 0' i'iv KUt

king of Macedonia to be culturally inferior. Moreover, we should not
forget the fanaticism and Attic nationalism of the orator who was
fighting against Philip in the belief that Philip would subjugate the
rest of Greece, as well as his own city-state; Demosthenes believed
that as a consequence Athens would not be able to playa leading role
in the new political scheme which the Macedonians would impose,
since this scheme would be quite foreign to the then prevailing view of
the city-state49 •
Certain doubts have been expressed about the Greek character of
the Ancient Macedonians' language, mainly because, up to now, no
texts or even complete phrases written in the Macedonian dialect have
been found. Today, however, after the comparative study of all
known linguistic material, linguists, as well as historians, accept the
Greek character of the Macedonian dialect So • The following elements
prove that Macedonian is a dialect of the Greek language:
The name of the Macedonians itself is Greek: the word j1aK&8vos
[makednosJ is already attested to in Homer (Odyssey, T] 106: olu '"CE
<jl1JAAU Ilunbvii<; uiyEipotO) [= like fluttering leaves of a tall poplar
tree] and means "high, tall and slender". That is, this ethnic name is

ana 'tts anobEi~EU; 1:0 naAatOV 'EnTjVtKoV 0llot01:pOna 1:<P vuv ~ap~aptK<p btamO-
IlEVOV» [= and in many other ways one would be able to prove that the Greeks in the
old times lived in the same way as the barbarians of today].
49. Cf. 1. Kalleris, Les Anciens Macedoniens. Etude linguistique et historique,
vol. I (Athens, 1954), p. 15.
50. About the language of the Ancient Macedonians and the related theories, see
N. Andriotis, 'H YAO)(:Jaa mi ij &AAT/VlICorT/m rwv 'ApXaiwv MaKs80vwv [= The
language and the Greek Character of the Ancient Macedonians] (Thessaloniki, 1952).
Ap. Daskalakis, '0 'EUT/VlaW'X; rijr; 'Apxaiar; MaKs8oviar;. Kamywyr, mi.
yAwaaa rwv MaKs80vwv [= The Hellenism of Ancient Macedonia. Descent and Lan-
guage of the Macedonians] (Athens, 1960) (= L 'Hellenisme de l'Ancienne Macedoine)
(Thessaloniki, 1965). 1. Kalleris, Les Anciens Macedoniens. Etude linguistique et his~
torique, vols I-II (Athens, 1954-1975). Ant. Thavoris, 7a'fOpia rfjr; 'EAAT/V1Kfjr;
Tpacpijr; [= The History of Greek Writing] (Ioannina, 1983), pp. 31-48, with the bibli-
ography. Cf. P. Kretchmer, Einleitug in die Geschichte der Griechischen SpraFhe
(Gottingen, 1896), p. 283 et sq. and p. 415, who expressed the view that the Macedo-
nians· were a mixture of Greek and Illyrian populations, a view that is not accepted by
H. Bengtson, op. cit., p. 305. See also recently 'H yAwaaa rfjr; MU/cs8oviar; (= The
language of Macedonia), collective work ed. by G. Babiniotis (Athens, 1992).

one of those which denote the physical characteristics of a people.
Also the proper names of the Ancient Macedonians 51 , the names of
gods, months, etc., as well as most place-names are Greek, in Mace-
donian dialect, and bear no resemblance to Thracean-Illyrian names.
If the Macedonians started being hellenized in the 5th c. B.C., as the
historians of Skopje claim, how can it be explained that they retained
proper names, as well as the names of the months and place-names in
Macedonian dialect which are undisputedly Greek? How did the
Macedonians of the 5th and 4th c. B.c. acquire these Greek dialectal
names, which do not belong to the Attic dialect, if they did not inherit
them via a tradition which had always been· Greek?52
The same observations apply to lexical material. Relatively few
words of the Maeedonian dialect have been preserved: about 153 and
they are recorded by Athenaeus and in the Lexicon of Hesychios, who
drew them mainly from the work of the Macedonian lexicographer
Amerias 53 . It should be noted that ancient lexicographers did not
record all the words of a language or dialect, but only those that
presented a certain peculiarity or difficulty in comprehension. For this
reason foreign words and idioms are recorded, and thus the propor-
tion of foreign words is not representative of the total vocabulary of
the Macedonian dialect. Many of the words which have been trea-
sured as Macedonian occur in all Greek dialects, but in the Macedo-
nian dialect they had a specific meaning and they were recorded by
the ancient lexicographers, for example the word vJra(jJrwnj~ (adju-
tant). These words that were handed down as Macedonian' do not
bear any resemblance to the Thracian-Illyrian language. The Macedo-
nian linguistic material (proper names, place-names and common
nouns) testifies to the Greek character of the Macedonian dialect: The
etymology of the words is Greek; the features and vowel changes are
common in Greek; so are the inflections and endings. As for the few
words which are recorded as Macedonian in the Lexicon of Hesychios
and which are not considered by some to be Greek, it is most likely

51. The inscriptions found in Macedonia increased considerably the number and
variety of Macedonia proper names.
52. Cf. Ant. Thavoris, The History ofGreek Writing, pp. 44-45.
53. Ibid., pp. 35-36.

that they are loan-words, a phenomenon that is observed in all lan-
guages, and one which does not put their origin in doubt 54 •
The historians of Skopje use the quotation of Plutarch that Alex-
ander av£~6a J.1a1C&bOVwri KaAwv LOUe; t)'n:acr1ttmuc; [= called out in
Macedonian speech a summons to his corps of guards] (Plutarch's
Alexander, 51,4), as proof that the language which the Macedonian
soldiers spoke was not Greek. But here the word J.1a1C&bOvlO"ri means
the local dialect, as the respective terms oroplml, anlKlG1:1, lroVlO"11
etc. 55 attest, and not a separate non-Greek language. In fact, Alex-
ander and the Macedonians disseminated the Greek language
troughtout the world they conquered; Alexander gave an order that
the inscriptions which were in a foreign language were to be explained
in Greek, so that they would be comprehensible to his troops (Tllv oE
E1ttypaq>l1v avayvoue; EKEAEUcr£V EAAT]VlKOt:e; uITOxapu~m YPullllacrtv
[= After reading the inscription, he ordered it to be repeated below in
Greek letters]: Plutarch's Alexander, 69,2) and he also ordered that
the troop of Persians "should learn the Greek language and be trained
to use Macedonian weapons" (EKEAEU£ ypuIllla1u 1£ EAAT]VlKU llav8u-
V£lV Kat llaK£OOVlKOt:C; nITAOle; EV1pEq>£cr8m: Plutarch's Alexander,
The fact that no written documents in Macedonian dialect have
been preserved does not prove their non-Greek origin, as the histo-
rians of Skopje claim. Indeed, no dialectal inscriptions or even a
phrase of a dialectal Macedonian text have been found-. All the
inscriptions found in Macedonia date from after the 5th c. B.C., when

54. Cf. ibid., p. 37 et sq.

55. Cf. the characteristic quotation of Theocritus, Idyl1s, 15, 92, where the
Syracusian women, of Corinthian descent, say: «... Kop{v6wl ElIlE~ avro6Ev... IIdo-
1fovvaazari A.aA.EUIlE~. /Jmpia&l v ()' E~W1"l "tOt~ flroptEWcrt» [= We are Corinthian
women by extraction. What we talk's PeJoponnesian. I suppose Dorians may speak
Doric, mayn't they? (English translation by J. M. Edmonds, The Greek Bucolic
Poets, ed. Loeb., pp. 188-189). Cf. Ant. Thavoris, The History of Greek Writing, pp.
55a. English translation in the Loeb Classical Library ed. by E. Capps-T.E.
Page-W.H.O. Rome, London 1919.

the Macedonians used, at least in public life, the Attic dialect 56 . How-
ever, in other regions of Greece, undisputedly Greek, no preserved
written documents of the 7th or even of the 6th c. B.C. have been
found either. The cultural phenomenon of Athens cannot be regarded
as a means of comparison with other regions, especially in order to
draw conclusions concerning the national origin of their inhabitants.
It must be noted that the recent excavations at Vergina, in addi-
tion to other very important finds regarding the history of Macedonia,
have brought to light, a series of inscribed grave stelai which can be
dated with certainty to the second half of the 4th and the beginning of
the 3rd c. B.C. These inscriptions as we know from the description of
Prof. M. Andronikos present a very significant collection of common
Macedonian names, male and female, numbering 75. All these names
are Greek, such as ' AAK£La~, "AAKt'..lO~, ~puKaAo~, 2£voKP<iLll~,
TI£uK6Aao~, TIt£picov - except for one ('Af.l<i80KO~) which is Thra-
cian - and many of them are characteristically Macedonian and
unknown in Attica, attesting to their Macedonian origin. These names
refute the theory that only the ruling class had become hellenized,
because they do not belong to the royal family, or to the nobility, or
to the ruling class: they are the names of ordinary citizens and many
of them date back to the beginning of the 4th and the end of the 5th c.
B.C. Therefore, as Prof. M. Andronikos points out, we have "epigra-
phic evidence... that at the end of the 5th c. B.C., the Macedonians
who lived in the first capital of the Macedonian kingdom [in Aeges]. ..
had Greek names"57.

56. The introduction of the Attic dialect into wider use, beginning perhaps from
official documents and the royal court, must be the result of an age-old process,
which was completed in the time of Philip, and not the decision of a reformer King of
Macedonia; it should be placed in the more general context of the prevalence,
throughout the Greek world, of the Attic dialect, which evolved in the Hellenistic
koine [= common dialect]. Consequently, that which happened, and the extent to
which it happened in Macedonia, i.e. the substitution of the Macedonian dialect by
the Attic dialect, is not a phenomenon particularly Macedonian: throughout Greece,
at a quicker or slower pace, the Attic koine replaced the local dialects.
57. See M. Andronikos, Vergina. The Royal Tombs and the Ancient City
(Athens, 1991), pp. 83-84. It should also be noticed that the finds, which the recent

Consequently, both the evidence of the sources and the study of
the linguistic material, lead to the conclusion that the Ancient Maced-
onians were a Greek tribe. The theory that it was a non-Greek popu-
lation, whose ruling class became hellenized, has no basis in fact. The
people of Macedonia spoke Greek, a local Greek dialect and thus it
was easy for them to adopt the Attic dialect. Even after the Roman
conquest, the Greek language was still spoken in the region, despite
foreign domination and the strong presence of Latin-speaking soldiers
and other representatives of Rome. It is of primary importance that
the inscriptions of Roman and early Byzantine times, which were
found in Macedonia, are in Greek - except, of course, for the regions
where there were Roman colonies, for example at Philippi58 - , while
the inscriptions which were found in the more northern regions are in
Latin. The Greek language was deeply rooted since it was the lan-
guage of the Macedonian people, not only of the ruling class and the

2. Middle Ages

The 6th-7th c. A.D. were crucial for this regIon; at this time the
Slavs. settled in the Balkan Peninsula changing the national physiog-
nomy of its northern part which became gradually detached from the
Byzantine empire. However, in the more southern regions the Slavs
were not able to alter the ethnological composition of the Greek
regions, despite the permanent settlement of Slav groups in Greek
territory. In fact, in the late 6th and early 7th c. A.D., some Slavic
groups moved towards the southern areas and settled in the Greek
territories, where they formed Slavic enclaves - named "Sklavinies"
by Byzantine sources - especially in west Macedonia and Thessaly.
Being cultivators and cattle breeders, they settled mainly on mountain

excavations of Prof. D. Pantermalis at Dion as well as the excavations at Pella and

elsewhere, have brought to light, significantly promote our knowledge of the history
of ancient Macedonia.
58. See, for example, D. Samsaris, '0 &~5AA1]vlaJlIjs rfjs 0pa/(1]s /(ara rijv
&AA1]vlnj /(G!' pWj.lafn! dpxalOr1]Ta [= The Hellenization of Thrace during the Greek
and Roman Antiquity] (Thessaloniki, 1980), mainly p. 311.

slopes, less often in the plains and very rarely near the sea, as can be
ascertained from toponymic materiaP9.
But these Slavs did not settle in vacant areas, as has been con-
tended; they came across an indigenous Greek population, who, due
to attacks and upheavals, had gathered mainly in city centres. Slav
settlers soon came into contact, with that Greek element, much supe-
rior culturally and politically, developed relations with them and were
strongly influenced by them 6o •
Prudent and realistic policies by Byzantine emperors also con-
tributed decisively to the integration of Slav settlers into the Byzantine
system, thereby assimilating and hellenising them. To this end, they
used various means depending on the circumstances; military, whe-
never they had to put down a revolt or reinstate imperial authority or
put under their control a rebellious Slavic group. Or frequently peace-
ful: administrative and ecclesiastic, demographic and economic. Sources
mention military expeditions by Byzantine emperors against the Slavs
in the Greek area, which started from the mid-7th c. Initially, these
expeditions were carried out in Northern Greece and resulted in the
gradual reestablishment of Byzantine authority.
Military operations, though, were not the only means of subju-
gating the new settlers. A basic policy of the Byzantine administration
was a demographic measure, the forcible transfer of populations. By

59. For slavic toponyms, see the basic work by M. Vasmer, Die Slaven in Grie-
chenland, Berlin 1941, pp. 176-229 (about Macedonia). For remarks and reservations
made on this work, see G. Georgakas, Byz. Zeitschrift 41 (1941), pp. 351-381 and 42
(1942), pp. 76-90. Also, the very important work of D.A. Zakythinos, Ot D..rifJOI tv
'BAAriOI. I:vpfJoAai eft; rTjv 'Iuropiav TOO MEUalOJVIKOU 'BAATJVIUPOU, (= The Slavs
in Greece. Contributions to the History of the Medieval Hellenism), Athens, J945, .
mainly pp. 67-86. See, also, recently: Fr. Brunet, "Sur l'hellenisation des toponymes
slaves en Macedoine byzantine", Travaux et Memoires 9 (1985), pp. 235-265. From a
statistical search, I attempted, based on M. Vasmer's register, it appears in all Greece
there are 2123 Slavic macrotoponyms (i.e. toponyms that represent inhabited places)
and of these, 730 are found in Macedonia; the number is indeed very small in a total
of many thousands of greek toponyms.
60. See, e.g. Saint Demetrius' Miracles for the second half of the 7th c.: P.
Lemerle, Les plus anCiens recueils des Miracles de Saint Demetrius. I. Le Texte (Paris,
1979), p. 214, 11.11-13, II. Le Commentaire(Paris, 1981), p. 135 et sq.

transferring Slavic populations to Asia Minor, the Byzantine empire
achieved two things: on one hand the Slavic element in the Hellenic
area was arithmetically weakened, and on the other hand assimilation
was facilitated, since Slavs who were transferred to Asia Minor found
themselves amidst a flourishing and numerous Greek population. But
this demographic measure was even applied vice-versa, that is, Greek
populations from Asia Minor were transplanted into Slavic popula-
tions (<<btl. 1:ae; LKAU~llviue;») in order to reinforce the Greek element
in these areas. Thus we learn, for example, that emperor Nicephorus
(802-811) established in the northern Greek area populations which he
transferred from all administrative district (<<EK 1tuvn)e; 8EJlUWe;») of
Asia Minor61 •
Furthermore a new administrative organization of 8iJLara (the-
mata, i.e. administrative districts with a general at the head) that was
generally put into practice during this critical period, reinforced impe-
rial rule and made control of Slavic groups more effective; Between
680 and 685 the "thema of Thrace" (<<0pUKqlOV 8EIlU») was estab-
lished and in 695 for the first time the "thema of Greece" (<<0EJlU
, EAAU80e;») is mentioned. In the 9th c. reorganization was further
reinforced by a division into smaller administrative units - a general
tendency of the era: the "thema of Macedonia" (<<0EJlU MUKE80viue;»)
with Andrinople as capital (mentioned for the first time in 802); the
"thema of Strymon" (<<0EJlU L1:pUJlOVoe;») and the "thema of Thessa-
loniki" (<<0EJlU 0EcrcruAoviKlle;») were established at that time.
We find out, therefore, that the Byzantine state followed a realis-
tic and consistent policy in order to cope with the problem of Slav
settlers, a policy that led to the control and integration of Slavic races
by the empire. In this way the Byzantine state contributed decisively
to their assimilation by the indigenous population and to their
The almost total lack of remnants of Slavic civilization (burial

61. See Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou, "Les Slaves dans l'Empire Byzantin",

The 17th International Byzantine Congress. Major Papers (Washington D.C., August
3-8, 1986), New York 1986, pp. 345-367, with the bibliography and the quotation of
the sources; for the policy of Byzantium, see p. 355.

customs, dwellings, techniques and types of ceramics)62 testifies to this
assimilation, which of course, could never have been achieved without
the presence of an indigenous Greek ·population.
In the work of assimilation an essential role was also played by
the Church, which had, by then, been reorganized and administra-
tively reinforced in order that Slav settlers could be integrated into it.
Thus, by the end of 7th c. at the VIth Synod (680/681) and at the
Synod in Dome (BV TpouAAQ)) (692) five dioceses are mentioned in
Macedonia: those of Thessaloniki, Philippi, Amphipolis, Edessa and
Stobi. The number is significant, especially when compared to other
areas of the empire, and it must be stressed that the seats of these
dioceses are found at vital points in the area. Thus, the establishment
of Amphipolis's diocese at the mouth of the Strymon was apparently
aimed at reinforcing the Byzantine presence towards Strymonite Slavs
and the reestablishment of Stobi's diocese in NW Macedonia, at sup-
porting - in cooperation with the diocese of Edessa - the policy of

62. The main characteristics of the material culture of the Slavs during the first
period of their settlement in the Balkan Peninsula are: a) the burning of the dead, b)
hand-made ceramics with certain shapes and decorations, and c) half-underground
hut for dwelling. However, except for two rare exceptions (15 urns containing the
ashes of the dead in Olympia and some vases in Argos), no indisputably Slavic objects
have been found on Greek soil. No traces of the typically Slav dwelling have been
found either -only a mention in the Miracles of Saint Demetrius, see P. Lemefle, Les
plus anciens recueils des Miracles de Saint Demetrius, vol. I, p. 220 11. 26 and 29 and
p. 229 1. 13. For the archeological finds in general, see VI. Popovic, "Les temoins
archeologiques des invasions avaroslaves dans l'Illyricum byzantin", M61anges d'Ar-
cheologie et d'Histoire de J'Ecole Fram;aise de Rome 87 (1975), pp. 445-504 and espe-
cially p. 457. For the Slavic dwelling, see Vi. Popovic, "Note sur l'habitat paleoslave",
in P. Lemerle, Miracles, op. cit., vol. II, pp. 235-241. Cf. Maria Nystazopoulou-
Pelekidou, O{ BaAxavlI<:oi )..aoi Kanl mut; Mtaovt; XPOVOVt; [= The Balkan Peoples
during the Middle Ages] (Ioannina, 1986), pp. 34-36 and 81 sq. with the bibliography.
For attributing to Slavs certain ceramic shells found in Argos and their chronology to
585, see: P. Aupert, "Ceramique Slave it Argos (585 ap.J.C.) "Etudes Argiennes
(BCH Suppl. 6) (Paris., 1980), pp. 372-394 and P.A. Yannopoulos, "La penetration
slave en Argolide", In the same, pp. 323-371. See, also, critique and reservations by F.
Malingoudis, I:)..afJOl arT] M£aalOJvlKr'j B)"A-aoa. (= Slavs in Medieval Greece), Thes-
saloniki 1988, pp. 16 sq.

Byzantium towards Slavs Drogoubites and maybe even at achieving
their eventual Christianisation63 •
The Christianising of Slavs in Hellenic territory took place grad-
ually in different localities even before the official Christianising of
the Slavic world outside the Byzantine Empire by Cyril and
Regarding the work of Constantin-Cyril and Methodius, the two
Thessalonian brothers, the whole argument of Skopje does not stand
up to the slightest scrutiny. There is such an extensive bibliography64
about the two Apostles of the Slavs, their work and their ethnic
origin, that any repetition is superfluous. However I must emph;:tsize
that the two brothers were pre-eminent representatives of the Byzan-
tine spirit, of the Greek and Christian civilization which had been
reborn after the Iconoclastic period65 • They had an extraordinary
Greek education and were polyglots. Undoubtedly, they expressed
Byzantine policy and they were fully conscious that they were
Greeks 66 • They had undertaken other missions to the Arabs and the

63. See M. Pelekidou, Les Slaves dans l'Empire byzantin, op. cit., pp. 356-357.
64. See the Cyril-Methodius bibliography of only 25 years (1940-1965), which
was compiled by Henriette Ozanne, Kvpi),J.. cp Kai MeBoOicp Topor; 'Eoprzor; £lei Tfj
XZALOOTfj Kaz' 6KaTOuTfj hrypibz [= Cyril and Methodius, Volume in Celebration of
the one thousand and one hundredth Anniversary], vol. II (Thessaloniki, 1968), pp.
65. For this first renaissance in Byzantium, see the basic work of P. Lemerle, Le
Premier Humanisme Byzantin (Paris, 1971), especially chapters V-VII.
66. Constantine-Cyril appears in the Slavic texts to be conscious of belonging to
Byzantine society and of his Greek descent: in his dialogue with the Mohammedans
he points out that «E~ T]/lrov 1tpofjA90v 1tucrat at E1tt<J1:fj/lat» [= all the sciences orig-
inqted from us] and of course he means the Byzantine and Greek culture. During the
Khazar Mission, when the Kagan of the Khazars asked him what present he wanted
from him, Constantine answered: «t<..o~ /lOt ocrou~ "EnT]va~ aiX/laA.O:)'rou~ EXEt~
Ev'taii9a. Ou'tOt a~i.I~ou<Jt Ot' E/lE 1tEptcrcrO'tEPOV OtoUOT]1tO'tE ompom> [= Give me as
many Greek captives as you have here. For me they are worth,more than any other
present]: see «Blo~ Kmvcr'tuv'tivou», EAA. EKO. '1m. 'Avacr'tacrlou, 'E7ClcrT. 'E7CeT.
eEiOAOr. IxoAfjr; IIave7C. eWuaAov[K1]r; 12 (1968) [= "Constantine's Life", Greek
edition by I. Anastasiou, Scientific Year-book of the Faculty of Theology at the Uni-
versity of Thessaloniki 12 (1968)], pp. 126 and 138.

Khazars too apart from that to the Slavic world. Nowadays, even
foreign scientists of Slavic descent consider them_to be Greek67 •
As for the language, on which the Slavic alphabet was based and
in which the two brothers preached Christianity, it could certainly not
be a "Macedonian" dialect, that is a Slavic dialect of Macedonia. It is
noteworthy that the Bulgarians maintain that the two apostles taught
the new religion in Bulgarian68 • Apart from the fact that at that time
Slavic "daughter" languages had not yet evolved far enough to form
the basis for a new written language69 , the basic fact that Cyril and
Methodius worked in distant Moravia should be stressed. Experienced
missionaries as they were, they could not have used a dialect foreign
to the Moravians, but a language comprehensible to the people of
Moravia otherwise they would not have been so well received, made
soon an impact or had the success that they had in: their work: they
taught the new religion in the Old Slavic mother language, which at
that time was common among all the Slavs, and for this reason their

67. The nationality of the Apostles of the Slavs has been treated thoroughly with
a quotation from the sources by Prof. Ant.-Aem. Tahiaos, «' H E8vtKo-tTJC; KupiAAOU
Kal' Md}ooiov Kara ra~ aAaf31Ka~ (aroplKa~ 1f1]ra~ Kai J1aprvpia~», KvpiUrp Kat'
Me()ooirp T6J1o~ •E6prLO~ [= "The nationality of Cyril and Methodius according to
the Slavic historical sources and evidences", Cyril and Methodius, Festive Volume],
vol. II, pp. 83-132. See also D.A. Zakythinos, «Krovcr'tuVLlvoC; 0 <I>tAOcrOq>OC; KUt 1']
OtUIlOPq>rocrtC; 'twv crAU~tKWV yArocrcrWV», IIpaKTlKa rfj~ 'AKao1]J1ia~ 'A()1]vmv 45,
1970 [= "Constantine the Philosopher and the Formation of the Slavic languages",
Proceedings of the Academy of Athens 45 (1970)], pp. 59-77. Cf. I. Karayannopoulos,
«To icr'tOptKOV 1tAuicrtOv 'tOj) EPYOU 'tWV U1tOcr'tOAroV 'tWV }2M~rov», KvpiUrp Kat'
Me()ooirp T6J1o~ 'E6pTlo~ [= "The Historical Framework of the Work of the Apos-
tles of the Slavs", Cyril and Methodius, Festive Volume], vol. I, pp. 139-151.
68. See my remarks on the report of the Bulgarian historians Vasilka Tiipkova-
Zaimova and Simeon Damjanov, "Les territoires bulgares-foyer des civilisations
antiques et nouvelles", Actes du XVe Congres International des Sciences Historiques,
Bucarest 1980, Bucarest 1982, vol. IV/I, pp. 109-110.
69. As the Slavist A. Vaillant observes in his Manuel du vieux-slave, I. Gram-
maire (Paris, 1948), pp. 11 and 13, Old Slavic was the common language of all the
Slavs until the 9th-10th c. After the "fragmentation and the expansion of the Slavic
world, the local dialects had already begun to form in 7th-8th c., however the Old
Slavic mother-language continued to be used and comprehensible to all the Slavs~ The
separate Slavic languages were formed very late, only in the 11th century.

work spread very rapidly throughout the Slavic world. The first trans-
lations of the Holy Scriptures and of legal texts etc. from Greek into
the Slavic language were made in this Old Slavic mother language and
not in "Macedonian" or another dialect.
To sum up, we observe that during the Middle Ages Slavs settled
in Macedonia, as well as in other Greek regions, but they did not alter
the ethnic physiognomy of the region. The "Tactics" of Leon VI the
Wise, in the beginning of the 10th c., report characteristically: "My
late father and emperor Basil had persuaded the Slavic tribes to
change their ancient customs, and hellenised them, and subjected
them following the roman system, liberated them from their leaders,
honoured them by the baptism and trained them to fight against peo-
ples at war with the Romans (= the Byzantines)"?o. As Paul Lemerle
writes, "Byzantium christianized, civilized and assimilated these Slavs,
making them Greeks. And this is one of the most impressive victories
of the Greek genius"?!.
It should also be noted that at the time when the Medieval Ser-
bian State was flourishing (mid-13th - mid-14th c.) and especially at
the time of Stefan Dusan (1331-1354), the Serbs expanded their domi-
nation into Macedonia and in particular into Northern Greek terri-
tory. However, no source mentions that the conquered population
was Slavic: the Serbian expansion is mentioned in contemporary sources,
as a conquest of Greek regions. The Serbian domination was charac-
terized as "illegal and tyrannical" and considered· to be an alien
domination72 •
It is also remarkable that a few years later, during the first siege
of Thessaloniki by the Turks (1383-1387), King Manuel Palaeologus,
in his speech "Admonition to the people of Thessaloniki", urges the
inhabitants to fight to death, for this is what their historical tradition
decrees: «on 'P(O~aiot Ecr~EV, on 'Ii <I>tAimtou Kat ' AAE~av8pou 'Ii~~v

70. Patrologia Graeca, vol. 107, col. 969.

71. P. Lemerle, "La Chronique improprement dite de Monemvasie: Ie commen-
taire historique et Iegendaire", Revue des Etudes Byzantines 21 (1963), p. 49. Cf. M.
Pelekidou, Les Slaves dans l'Empire Byzantin, op. cit., pp. 359-361.
72. See Ap. Vacalopoulos, History of Macedonia, p. 11 sq., with the

Um:lPXEl rru1:pic;» [because we are Roman (= Byzantine, Greek) and
our country is the one of Philip and Alexander]. This means that he,
as well as the inhabitants, were conscious of the historical continuity
of Hellenism and of their Greek origin which had its roots in ancient
times 73 •

3. Turkish Domination

The historians of Skopje commit a grave historical error, as I

have already noted, when they present the ethnic composition and the
demographic situation of Macedonia as being static and unchanging.
This becomes even more evident at the time of the Turkish domina-
tion, which lasted almost 500 years, during which major reclassifica-
tions and population74 movements took place. I will refer to them very
Immediately after the conquest of Macedonia, towards the end of
the 14th c. A.D., Turkish groups, mainly great landowners, farmers
and stock-breeders, settled in Macedonia, where they were attracted
by the fertile plains 7s •
At the same time, however, we observe a flight of Greek inhabit-
ants from Macedonia, in two directions. The first wave moved
towards the Greek regions which were still free or under ~rankish
domination, towards Italy and generally to the West. Among them,
were many eponymous Macedonian scholars, such as Theodoros
Gazis, Andronikos Kallistos, and others, who worked towards the
dissemination of Greek literature76 • A second wave headed for the
mountainous and secluded parts of the interior, where, far from the

73. See B. Laourdas, '0 «LUJl~OuA€UnKOe; npoe; 'toue; 0ecrouAOVtKEie;» 'tOU

MuvouT]A KOJlvTlvOU [= Manuel Komnenos' speech "Admonition to the people of
Thessaloniki"), Macedonika 3 (1953-55), p. 297, 21-22; Cf. also p. 291, 1.
74. See fully documented Ap. Vacalopoulos, History of Macedonia; for the
movements of populations and the composition of every town, village and district, see
especially chapters IV, V and VII.
75. Ibid., pp. 7 and 49 sq. The descendants of these Turkish populations
returned to Turkey by virtue of the exchange of the populations in 1923.
76. Ibid., p. 99 sq.


control of the conqueror, they would be able to survive. This second
wave was larger and more important; thus it caused real uprooting of
Christian populations. That is why, according to Ottoman documents,
the Muslim population outnumbers the Christian in many towns dur-
ing the first centuries of the Turkish domination. These Greek fugi-
tives inhabited certain villages in Western Macedonia and Chalkidike,
where large wooded areas, far from arterial roads, offered a natural
refuge. This flight to the interior of the country was of enormous
ethnic importance, because it prevented migration, ensured the purity
of the Greek people and favoured the growth of the Greek population
during the first and most difficult centuries of slavery. Certain of the
villages, which were inhabited at that time, such as Siatista, Naousa
and Kozani, succeeded in developing into important centres 77 •.
However, from the end of the 16th c. a reverse movement started
- a phenomenon which appeared in other regions of Greece as well,
for example in Epirus78 - and which lasted throughout the 17th c.
Thus, we have a migration of Greek populations from their remote
havens towards several old or new centres of trade79 • This migration
was parallel to the development of trade, the decline of the Ottoman
empire and the general development of Hellenism.
In the 17th c. the general economic and cultural prosperity
brought about a second migration of Greeks, this time northwards.
Many Macedonians settled in Serbia, Bulgaria and in the Danubian
Principalities, as well as in Austria and Hungary, where they formed
powerful and flourishing Greek communities and greatly contributed
to the development of commerce and the bourgeois class. Especially
in the Balkans, the Greeks formed an "inter-Balkan bourgeois
class"80, which contributed not only to the economic development of

77. Ibid., p. 100.

78. Cf. M. Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou, 'H "HJr£IPO; ara xpovza Tfj; TOVpKO-
Kparia; Kai ii tevlKT] dvayivv1]a1] [= Epirus during the Turkish domination and the
national revival] (Ioannina, 1982), p. II.
79. Cf. Ap. Vacalopoulos, op. cit., p. 139 sq.
80. N. Svoronos, 'EmaKoJr1]a1] Tij; NW&AA1]V1Kij; 'Iaropia; [= A Survey of
Modern Greek History] (Athens, 1976), pp. 58-59.

these areas, but also to the dissemination of Greekculture 8I • Due to
these mouvements the role of the Macedonians of the diaspora was
significant: Almost one and a half million Greeks from Macedonia
emigrated to the northern Balkan peninsula and to Central Europe.
This number alone is sufficient to refute the assertion of Skopje that
the population of Macedonia was not Greek. In their new country
these emigrant Macedonians became upholders of Greek cultural heri-
tage; simultaneously, through their own economic development, they
contributed substantially to the progress of their homeland from
which they had never been cut of[82.
While many Greeks headed northwards in search of better living
conditions, Slavs of the Balkans, mainly Bulgarians, went in the
opposite direction southwards. The natural routes of this migration
were the valley of the Strymon and Nestos rivers and the narrow
passes through the mountains. These Slavs were initially seasonal
workers, craftsmen and farmers, who were attracted by the potential
for economic development and the comparatively better living condi-
tions in the Greek regions, where they finally settled 83 • This stream of
Slavs increased in the 19th c., after the Greek War ofIndependence of
1821, because the Ottoman empire, in its effort to prevent Macedonia
and the other still enslaved Greek regions from uniting with the free
Greek State, favoured and, in some cases, incited the settlement of
Slav populations, so as to alter the ethnic composition, that is, the
Greek character of Macedonia. These Slavs were, as we have already
mentioned, mainly Bulgarians who were gradually mixed with the
small number of Serbs 84 • According to the Serbian historical geo-
grapher J. CvijiCS 5 , this mixture created an "amorphous mass" which
retained few traces of Serbian traditions and generally lacked a

81. For the economic and intellectual activities of the Greeks and especially of
the Macedonians of the diaspora, see Ap. Vacalopoulos, History of Macedonia, pp.
82. Ibid.
83. Ibid., p. 145 sq.
84. Ibid., p. 245.
85. J. Cvijic, La peninsu1e ba1kanique. Geographie humaine (Paris, 1918), p.
313. Idem, Remarques sur 1'ethnographie de 1a MacMoine, p. 5 sq.

national consciousness: J. Cvijic states this at a time of intense
nationalism (1907, 1918). However, this "amorphous mass" had
begun acquiring Bulgarian consciousness by the end of the Turkish
domination. For this reason, when the population exchanges took
place, they declared that they were Bulgarians and preferred to be
united with the defeated Bulgaria and not with the then victorious and
developing Yugoslavia86 . It is noteworthy that according to the Treaty
of Neuilly (November 14/27, 1919) 92,000 Bulgarians emigrated from
Greece (Mac~donia and Thrace) to Bulgaria (in addition to some
thousands who left Macedonia during the period 1912-1918), while
50,000 Greeks came from Bulgaria to Greece87 .
From the above, it becomes obvious that during the Turkish
domination great mobility and demographic realignment took place.
The demographic situation and the national composition of every
town, village or region was not stable and immutable during this long
period of slavery. The example of Monastir (Bitola) is characteristic;
up to the mid-17th c. this town was inhabited by Bulgarians. How-
ever, during the 18th c., and especially after the destruction of
Moschopolis (1769), many Greeks took refuge there. This influx of
Greek populations, mainly from the area of Florina, continued until
much later and as the Bulgarian population gradually declined the
ethnic composition of the town was radically altered. Monastir
became a Greek centre, whose brilliance spread to the surrounding
towns and villages, where there were Greek communities (as in Mega-
rovo, Tirnovo, Kroussovo and elsewhere)88.

86. Cf. Ap. Vacalopoulos, History ofMacedonia, p. 7.

87. See St. Nestor, "Greek Macedonia and the Convention of Neuilly", Balkan
Studies 3 (1962), pp. 169-184; St. Ladas, The Exchange of Minorities. Bulgaria,
Greece and Turkey, New York 1932. Cf. also Sp. Loukatos, «IIoAt"tEto'YpalptKli @Ecr-
craAovtK"'~, VOllOU Kat nOA..,'.;, cr"tu JlEcra Tfj~ 8EKaE"tta~ "tOU 1910», IIpaK"ttKu LUJlnO-
crtOU 'H eeCJCJaAov{KT! }.le1"a 1"6 1912 [= "The Demography of Thessaloniki, the pre-
fecture and city, in the middle of the decade 1900-1910", Proceedings of the
Symposium, Thessa10niki after 1912] (Thessaloniki, 1986), especially pp. IIl-1l2 and
note 22, with significant data illustrating the strength of the Greek population of that
area in 1916, i.e. before the exchange of the populations.
88. See Ap. Vacalopoulos, History ofMacedonia, pp. 444-453; cf. also p. 642.

Apart from the Greeks and the Turks who inhabited Macedonia,
of course there were also Slav or Slav-speaking populations, Vlachs,
that is Vlach-speaking Greeks, and Jews. These Slavic populations
spoke a dialect which resulted from the mixture of Slav settlers in
different areas and had many elements in common with the two Slavic
languages Serbian and Bulgarian, Bulgarian being the most prevalent.
It should also be noted, however, that many of these Slav-speaking
inhabitants undoubtedly had a Greek consciousness; they fought for
the freedom of Greece and participated with the Greeks in the Mac-
edonian struggle89 •
The existence of other ethnic elements is also natural in a remote
area such as Macedonia at a time when there were neither ethnic bor-
ders, nor ethnic clashes. On the contrary, their common resistance
against the conqueror as well as their common religion and faith united
Greeks and Slavs. Thus, despite the existence of other ethnic groups
the Greek population was the dominant element in Macedonia and a
separate Macedonian (Slav) nationality never existed90 • Such a
nationality is beyond historical reality. This is confirmed by the fol-
lowing facts: I) Travellers who visited Macedonia during the Turkish
domination referred to the inhabitants as Greeks, Jews, Bulgarians or
Serbs and never as a separate nation, Macedonian91 • 2) The whole
culture and artistic production of the area was purely Greek and
greatly influenced SE Europe during the years of the Turkish domina-
tion. The brilliance of this civilization would not have been possible,
of course, without the existence of a powerful Greek element, which
upheld this intellectual tradition. The power and activities of the
Church alone - which were undoubtedly great - would not have
been sufficient to explain this brilliance, unless they had been sup-

89. See the list of the Slav-speaking Macedonian, who participated in the
Macedonian Struggle: M. Papaconstantinou, Macedonia after the Macedonian Strug-
gle, op. cit., p. 71 sq.
90. It is noteworthy that, when contemporary historians attempt to rewrite the·
History of the "Macedonians" as a separate nationality, they feel constrained to refer
to events from Bulgarian or Serbian History that are only geographically related to
Macedonia: see, for example, M. de Vos, Histoire de la Yougoslavie, p. 67.
91. See above, note 34.

ported by a powerful and large Greek population. 3) The role and the
activities of the Macedonians of the diaspora are indisputable evi-
dence of their Greek origin. The communities, which they formed in
the Balkans and in Eastern and Central Europe, were centres of
Greek culture. Since that time the presence and activities of the
Greeks have been preserved in the place-names of Austria and Hun-
gary up to the present day. 4) The historical folksong, a product of
spontaneous popular creativity, also confirms that the Macedonian
land was Greek and its inhabitants Greeks 92 • 5) The argument by the
historians of Skopje that, for various historical reasons, the Slav
"Macedonians" lost their ethnic consciousness as well as their histori-
cal memory during the Turkish domination, cannot be seriously
upheld: Peoples do not lose their historical memory. Under the same
circumstances, the Serbs retained both their historical memory and
their ethnic consciousness, because they constituted a separate
nationality with historical traditions and a historical past. For the
same reasons, the Bulgarians, despite their intellectual silence in the
first centuries of slavery and the total lack of Bulgarian schools, did
not lose their national identity.
Moreover, the Macedonians, in their struggle for freedon, fought
hard and made great sacrifices so as to be united with the free Greek
State93 • At no time did they want to be united with a Slav state, i.e.
Serbia, which had also won its freedom after a hard struggle. The
various claims which were expressed by the revolutionary Committees
at the end of the 19th c., were propagated by foreign centres and did
not express the will of the majority of the inhabitants of Macedonia.
In addition, during the Macedonian Struggle (1904-1908) the par-
ticipation of the indigenous population was widespread; not only
teachers, clergy and intellectual leaders generally, but also merchants,

92. Cr., for example, Ap. Vacalopoulos, History of Macedonia, pp. 103, 257,
296,474, 596 et aI., with the bibliography.
93. Cr. Ev. Kofos, <H' E7ravaamau; rfj; Mma:8ovia; Kara r6 1878 [= The
Revolution of Macedonia in 1978] (Thessa1oniki, 1969). St. Papadopoulos, Or' 87ra-
Vaaraalil; rou 1854 Kai 1878 an] MaTCli80via [= The Revolutions of 1854 and 1878 in
Macedonia], publications of the Society for Macedonian Studies, No 22 (Thessa1o-
niki, 1970).

craftsmen and farmers contributed substantially and supported the
armed fight. The struggle of the Greek armed· forces would have been
impossible without this participation by the people94 •

To sum up, we see that although Slavic populations settled on

Greek territory during the Middle Ages and the period of Turkish
occupation they were not able to break the historical continuity of
Hellenism. The early Slavs who settled in Greece, mainly during the
7th century, were finally assimilated by the indigenous population and
most of them were hellenised. And during the period of Turkish
occupation. (mainly the 17th century) the Greeks remained the pre-
dominant national and cultural element despite the settlement of
Serbs and mostly Bulgarians on Macedonian land. Moreover it must
be emphasized that during the same period the Greeks created signifi-
cant colonies in neighbouring Balkan countries. As already stated,
this mixing of national elements in the Balkans was due to the lack of
national borders during the Turkish occupation.
However, apart from the historical dimension of the problem and
indisputable historical evidence of Hellenism in this area, it is essential
in order to confront the propaganda of Skopje properly, to take into
account the current national composition of both Greek Macedonia
and the Republic of Skopje. Such an examination totally confirms the
Greek position as to the Greek status of Macedonia, because what-
ever mixing of national elements existed until World War I this was
reduced to a minimum by the exchange of populations.
In fact, with this exchange of populations (the withdrawal of
Bulgarians and the return of Greeks from Bulgaria under the Treaty

~4. See the bibliography mentioned above note 4. See also < 0 MaI(s8oV1ICO~
'Aymva~. LUWfoalO, 28 'OICr.-2 NosJ.l. 1984 [= The Macedonian Struggle. Symposi-
um]. Publications of the Institute for Balkan Studies, No 211- Museum of the Mace-
donian Struggle, (Thessalonih 1987). K. Vacalopoulos, <0 MaICs8ovllCO~ 'Aymva~,
1904-1908. <H lV01fA1] rpaa1] [= The Macedonian Struggle, 1904~1908. The armed
Phase], (Thessalonih 1987). See also M. Papakonstantinou, <H MaICs8ov{a J.lsra rov
MaICs8ovlICO 'Aymva [= Macedonia after the Macedonian Struggle], (Athens 1992),
pp. 91-93, where a rich bibliography. K. Vacalopoulos, '[arapia raiJ BOPSIOU
<EAA 1] vlaJ.l0iJ. MaICs80via (= History of the Northern Hellenism. Macedonia), Thes-
saloniki 1991.


of Neuilly 1919, the withdrawa~ of Turks and the settlement of more
than 600,000 Greeks from Asia Minor under the Treaty of Lausanne
1923) the Greek element in Macedonia was significantly strengthened
while at the same time the foreign national element was decisively
reduced. The great predominance of Hellenism over a greatly reduced
Slavic population can be ascertained from statistics published by the
League of Nations in 1926. Greeks numbered 1,341,000 (88.8%), Bul-
garians 77,000 (5.1%), various other nationalities (mainly Jews)
91,000 (6.0%) and Turks 2,000 (0.1%)95. As foreign specialist
researchers 96 also confirm, Greece - and of course Macedonia too -
has today the greatest national homogeneity in the Balkans. In con-
trast, in the Republic of Skopje there is no national homogeneity.
More than 600,000 Albanians (who, indeed, have recently founded an
"autonomous democracy" with the name "Illyrida"), 150,000 Turks
and 100,000 Gypsies, as well as Greeks and Greek-Vlachs and, of
course, Bulgarians and Serbs live there, even though the regime has
tried, directly or indirectly, to compel nationals particularly of Greek,
Serb or Bulgarian origin to declare themselves "Macedonian" and not
to refer to their real national origin if they want troublefree lives and
careers for themselves and their children. Of course, a very small per-
centage of Serbs, Bulgarians and even Greeks appears in their cen-
suses to make their falsification of this statistical data appear genuine.
It is therefore clear that the appropriation of the name Macedo-
nia by Skopje, on which they have based all their propaganda and
even their national existence, does not even correspond to
their own
false national identity since their artificially created state does not

95. The League of Nations also provides figures from an earlier Turkish census,
dating from before the Turks departure. This census raises the percentage of Greeks
to 42.6%, of Muslims (Turks mainly and Albanians) to 39.4% and of Slavs (Serbs and
Bulgarians) to 9.9%; see League of Nations: Greek Refugee Settlement, Annex, Ge-
neva 1926. It must be noted that this census does not only refer to the greek Macedonia
of today, but also to Southern Yugoslavia, since it contains the vilayet of Monastir,
and to districts of today's Bulgaria, viz. to more northern areas, where the Slavic
element was proportionately higher.
96. See A. Blanc, Geographie des Balkans, "Que sais - jeT' No 1154 (Paris,
1965), pp. 44 and 48.

have any national homogeneity. This appropriation of the name goes
against e:very principle of justice and conceals other expediencies
which directly insult Hellenism as shows the unchanging nature of
their continuous propaganda97 •

97. From recent declarations and comments made by officials in Skopje which
contain clear expansionist aims and messages of "enslaved brothers" I confine myself
to noting only the case of the extreme nationalist party, VMRO (Internal Macedonian
Revolutionary Organisation) which very characteristically bears the same name as the
known Bulgarian organisation of the end of the 19th century. In the Manifesto of this
party, which came first party in the Parliamentary elections of November, 1990, it is
stated that its aim is "the intellectual, political and economic union of the divided
Macedonian people and state within the framework of the future union of the Bal-
kans and a United Europe", and that "elements of the Macedonian nation which live
under occupational rule in Greece, Bulgaria and Albania do not form an ethnic
minority but just occupied and enslaved parts of the Macedonian Nation". I also note
that the appropriation of Greek history continues since they even use on their flag the
emblem of ancient Macedonian kIngs, the sun of Vergina...