BIG Greek Lie 19

BIG Greek Lie 19 - 4,000 years of Greek Civilization

(Some modern Greeks believe in a 4,000 year existence of a so called "Greek Civilization")

By Risto Stefov

[NOTE: Our apologies to the Greek people if they find these articles offensive. Our objective here is NOT to create tension between the Macedonian and Greek people but rather to highlight the problem that exists within the Greek State and its institutions. As long as the Greek State denies our existence as Macedonians with rights and privileges, we will continue to publish these types of articles.]

4,000 year "Greek Civilization"? Very impressive! But, what is a "Greek Civilization"?

According to Oxford a civilization is "an advanced stage of social development" and civilized is "being brought out of barbarism, being made into a fully organized State, enlightened and refined". According to Webster a civilization is "a social organization of high order, marked by the development and use of a written language and by advances in the arts and science, government etc., the total culture of a particular people, nation, period, etc." and civilized is "to bring or come out of primitive or savage conditions and into a state of civilization, to improve in habits or manners."

So "4,000 years of Greek Civilization" must mean "an advanced stage of Greek social development marked by the development and use of a written language and by advances in the arts and sciences, government, etc., the total Greek culture and Greek nation spanning for 4,000 years".

4,000 years of "Greek" civilization? Indeed!

I have been accused (by Greeks of course) of "fabricating information", "not including sources", "telling lies", "speculating", "providing no conclusions", "not making footnotes", etc., etc., so for this article I will do my best not to fabricate information, include sources and refrain from doing all those things. In fact, in this article I will go one step further and provide you with direct quotes from Western authors.

"Although the Greek-speakers of Constantinople may have been beneficiaries of a rich cultural tradition associated with the Byzantine Empire, a position retained also through the church during Ottoman times, years before the concept of a Greek state (which was a product of Great power politics and a concerted effort to de-stabilize the Ottomans) ever existed, 'the Greeks did not know who they were'". (P. 26, "The Balkans, Nationalism, War and the Great Powers", by Misha Glenny) (1)

"The ethnic mix of the Greek-speakers of the Ottoman empire (Greek was often learned as a second language by wealthier non-Greek people) was as diverse as any in the Ottoman Empire, possibly more. 'The islands and the seafarers from the coastal regions were distinguished by their peculiar ethnicity, many were of mixed Albanian-Greek origin'. (P. 23 "The Balkans, Nationalism, War and the Great Powers" by Misha Glenny) (1)

"The Koundouriotes, for example, the most powerful maritime family on the island of Hydra, who led a substantial faction during the war (of independence), were of Albanian origin'. (P. 25 "The Balkans, Nationalism, War and the Great Powers" by Misha Glenny) (1)

"Although modern day Greek nationalists like to boast about how they never forgot their rich heritage and cultural icons, this next piece contradicts their theories. The 'Klephts' were the Greek equivalent of the Komiti or Hajduci, the warriors who championed the notion of a free nation. 'The 18th century Greek scholar, Koumas, tells of a visit to one of the most influential Klephts, Nikotsaras (possibly of part Slavic descent, Niko-'tsar'-as). In order to show respect, Koumas addressed the Klepht leader as Achilles. Nikotsaras retorted angrily: 'What rubbish are you talking about? Who is this Achilles? Handy with a musket was he?'." (P. 31 "The Balkans, Nationalism, War and the Great Powers" by Misha Glenny) (1)

"The philhellenes of America, Britain and Western Europe had called for a free Greek state in a romantic passionate attempt to bring to life the Hellenic culture of the past. Little did any of them know of what extreme changes had taken place in the region of what was once the Greek City States. 'Naturally, many travelers and philhellenes were shocked at the Greeks' lack of sophistication, and the ABSENCE OF A PHYSICAL RESEMBLANCE TO THE HELLENES of their classical imagination. All came expecting to find the Peloponnesus filled with Plutarch's men, and all returned thinking the inhabitants of Newgate more moral'." (P. 33 "The Balkans, Nationalism, War and the Great Powers" by Misha Glenny) (1)

"It was not only the resemblance, or lack of it but also the fact that 'politically speaking the Greeks were Asiatics, and all their oriental ideas, whether social or political, required to be corrected or eradicated, before they could be expected to form a civilized people upon civilized European principals'. (P. 32 "The Balkans, Nationalism, War and the Great Powers" by Misha Glenny) So much for the cradle of European civilization". (1)

"As it is clearly obvious the Greek nation had many divisions and diversities within that had to be addressed before they could start telling the world that they are the descendents of the ancient Hellenes. Unfortunate though it may be, the modern-day Greek has more in common genetically with the Albanians, the Latin speaking Vlachs and the Turks than with 'Plutarch's men'". (1)

"The inherent instability of the Balkan Peninsula-located as it is at the crossroads of invading Turks, migrating Slavs, and colonizing powers from western or central Europe (Venetians, Austro-Hungarians)-has bequeathed a bewildering amount of cultural confusion to Greece." (Britannica)

"One of the most vexing questions concerning the history of medieval Greece has been that of the extent to which the indigenous "Hellenic" population survived and brings with it the question whether this term can properly be used of anything other than a cultural (as opposed to ethnic or racial) identity. The archaeological data, certainly, can offer answers only in terms of cultural similarities and differences, so that the question, as it has been traditionally expressed, of a Hellenic ethnic survival, cannot be answered. The issue must be explored in the context of the influx of large numbers of Slavs during the later 6th-8th centuries as well as the migration across Greece of nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoral groups such as the Vlachs from the 10th or 11th century and the Albanians from the 13th century. Although the evidence of place-names suggests some lasting Slavic influence in parts of Greece, the evidence is qualified by the fact that the process of re-Hellenization that occurred from the later 8th century seems to have eradicated many traces of Slavic presence. Evidence of tribal names found in both the Peloponnesus and northern Greece suggests that there were probably extensive Slavic-speaking populations in many districts; and from the 10th century to the 15th century Slavic occupants of various parts of the Peloponnesus appear in the sources as brigands or as fiercely independent warriors. Whereas the Slavs of the south appear to have adopted Greek, those of Macedonia and Thessaly retained their original dialects, becoming only partially Hellenophone in certain districts." (Britannica) (1)

"For Christians of the early and middle Byzantine worlds, the terms Hellene and Hellenic generally (although not exclusively, since in certain literary contexts a classicizing style permitted a somewhat different usage) had a pejorative connotation, signifying pagan and non-Christian rather than 'Greek'" (Britannica)

"Canning (a British politician, 1812-1862) had planned to head off Russia's advance, not by direct opposition, but by associating her with England and France in a policy of emancipation, aimed at erecting national States out of the component parts of the Turkish Empire. Such States could be relied upon to withstand Russian encroachment on their independence, if once they were set free from the Turk.. The creation of the Kingdom of Greece was the immediate outcome of Canning's policy". (P. 372, Trevelyan, British History in the 19th Century). (1)

"To me, philhellenism is a love affair with a dream which envisions 'Greece' and the 'Greeks' not as an actual place or as real people but as symbols of some imagined perfection". (P. 12, Greece without Columns) (1)

"Further back still beyond the War of Independence, when the modern nation-state of Greece came into being for the first time, the whole concept of Greece as a geographical entity that begins to blur before our eyes, so many and various were its shapes and meanings. But if geography can offer us no stable idea of Greece, what can? Not race, certainly; for whatever the Greeks may once have been, ...., they can hardly have had much blood-relationship with the Greeks of the peninsula of today, Serbs and Bulgars, Romans, Franks and Venetians, Turks, Albanians,...,in one invasion after another have made the modern Greeks a decidedly mongrel race. Not politics either; for in spite of that tenacious western legend about Greece as the birthplace and natural home of democracy, the political record of the Greeks is one of a singular instability and confusion in which, throughout history, the poles of anarchy modulated freedom has very rarely appeared. Not religion; for while Byzantium was Christian, ancient Hellas was pagan." (P. 23 Greece without Columns). (1)

"The Greek nation-state was a product of western political intervention-'the fatal idea' as Arnold Toynbee once called it, of exclusive western nationalism impinging upon the multi-national traditions of the eastern world. By extension, therefore, at any rate in theory, it was a child of the Renaissance and of western rationalism..." (P. 28 Greece without Columns) (1)

"Its international use to describe the sovereign state that currently occupies that territory is merely a reflection of the fact that 'Greece' in this modern sense is literally a western invention" (P. 29 Greece without Columns) (1)

"Greek natural identity was not a 'natural development' or the extension of a 'high culture' over the region of Macedonia, although now it is frequently portrayed as so. The ideology of Hellenism imposed a homogeneity on the Macedonian region and its inhabitants". (P. 94, Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood) (1)

"Modern Greek identity is based on an unshakable conviction that the Greek State is ethnically homogenous. This belief ... has entailed repeated and official denial of the existence of minorities which are not of 'pure' Hellenic origin. The obsession with Greek racial identity involves the distortion of the history of the thousands of years when there was no such thing as a Greek nation state." (Simon McIllwaine) (1)

"A sharp and brutal revolution altered the whole character of Hellas... It also involved a steep decline of civilized life and an almost total rejection of former values... The most striking change affected the ethnic composition of the people and resulted from the mass migration of Slavs into the Balkans which began in the sixth Century." (N. Cheetham) (1)

"What is the word for this obsessive Greek pseudo-relationship with their country's past (they even have a magazine, Ellenismos, devoted to the subject)? It is not quite pretentiousness. There is too much passion for that. No, the Greeks, the ancient ones, had a word for the modern Greek condition: paranoia. We must accept that Mr. Andreas Papandreou (Greek prime minister) and the current EC presidency are the sole legitimate heirs of Pericles, Demosthenes and Aristide the Just. The world must nod dumbly at the proposition that in the veins of the modern Greek ... there courses the blood of Achilles. And their paranoid nationalism is heightened by the tenuousness of that claim." (The Sunday Telegraph, London, March 27,1994) (1)

"The most usual ideological abuse of history is based on anachronism rather than lies. Greek nationalism refused Macedonia even the right to its name on the grounds that all Macedonia is essentially Greek and part of a Greek nation-State, presumably ever since the father of Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, became ruler of the Greek lands on the Balkan peninsula ... it takes a lot of courage for a Greek intellectual to say that, historically speaking, it is nonsense. There was no Greek nation-State or any other single political entity for the Greeks in the fourth century B.C.; the Macedonian empire was nothing like the Greek or any other modern nation-state, and in any case it is highly probable that the ancient Greeks regarded the Macedonian rulers, as they did their later Roman rulers, as barbarians and not as Greeks, though they were doubtless too polite or cautious to say so". (Eric Hobsbawn) (1)

"It is a striking fact that the leading defenders of Greek liberty at this time were largely Non-Greek. Koundouriotis was descended from the Albanian invaders of Greece in the 14th century, and spoke Greek only with difficulty. His principal colleague was John Kolettis, a Vlach who had been Ali Pasha's court doctor at Ioannina. One of the few leaders who maintained resistance far to the north of the Gulf of Corinth was the Souliote ,Marko Botsaris, whose followers were largely Albanian. By a strange chance, it happened that two of the Turkish commanders-in-chief during the war, Khurshid Pasha and Muhammad Rehid Pasha (known to the Greeks as Kiutahi), were by birth Orthodox Christians, who had been converted to Islam for the sake of career in the Sultans service." (C.M. Woodhouse) (1)

"Greece included considerably fewer than half of those who regarded themselves as Greeks by virtue of their language, their religion, and (less plausibly) their race. It was easy to stir up agitation in favour of enlarging Greece's frontiers by a progressive extension of 'enosis' (union)". (1)

"Greek demographic continuity was brutally interrupted in the late sixth to eighth centuries A.D. by massive influxes of Avar, Slav and later, Albanian immigrants......modern Greeks could hardly count as being of ancient Greek descent, even if this could never be ruled out." (Anthony Smith) (1)

"Basically, the current historical 'narrative' of modern Greece, removes all diversity from its pages. The young modern Greek State legitimized its existence, at least to the Great-Powers that supported it in the day, by claiming it represented ancient Greece, at a time when there weren't any 'Greeks' to be found anywhere, and the 'Greek' language between the Church and anything vaguely resembling it on the ground was unintelligible.

Any opportunity to influence public opinion in modern Greece and abroad, about the Greeks being 'pure' and 'homogenous'...etc is enthusiastically seized upon by the Greek State. It is not hard to work out that this kind of 'lie' would not really be well received if it could be shown that Greece had a lot of diverse ethnic groups still living there. The removal of Latin from the Vlach and Slavic from the Macedonian, among other things, is part in parcel of this censorship. The modern Greek State censors and abuses all its 'minorities'. The Greek historical 'narrative'' prospers only by hijacking different ethnic groups, removing their language, denying the 'differences', and literally inventing a complete new history for them. It's just plain crazy". (1)

"The Editor of The Sunday Telegraph argues that Greece has been ruthless in erasing traces of ethnic diversity, and suggests that the desperation of its actions, including the Greek claim to a monopoly of the classical past (in which all peoples of European origins have a share) can be explained by the fact that the Greeks today are a mixture of Slavs, Turks, Greeks, Bulgars, Albanians, Vlachs, Jews and Gypsies". (1)

"I watched the Koutsovlachi disappear in Thessaly over a period of twenty years. I remember the first time I went up there in 1957, I was stunned, it was another world--it was Rumania. Blond, blue-eyed women wearing incredibly beautiful costumes: white, with about twelve to fifteen inches of thick fringes at the bottom, in saffron, black, and ocher. And everywhere I went, there were ducks and geese, which I didn't see anywhere else in Greece. Ducks and geese and pigs--standard East and Central European farm culture. But I saw all of that disappear.

It's a pity because Greece has lost the Sarakatsani, it's lost the Vlachi, the Koutsovlachi, the Karagounidhes -- it's lost all these fascinating minority groups, and now people are getting up and trying to stop it, but they're about twenty years too late." (A Point of Contact: An Interview with Nikos Stavroulakis, by Peter Pappas in The Greek American (January 9, 1988)) (1)

"According to anthropologist Roger Just, most of the nineteenth-century "Greeks, 'who had so recently won their independence from the Turks, not only did not call themselves Hellenes (they learned this label later from the intellectual nationalists); they did not even speak Greek by preference, but rather Albanian, Slavonic, or Vlach dialects.'" (1)

"The obsession with Greek racial identity involves the distortion of the history of the thousands of years when there was no such thing as a Greek nation state. The early Slav invasions which reached far into the Peloponnesus and left Slav-speaking settlements well into the fifteenth century are conveniently ignored. So too is the fact that in the early nineteenth century the population of Athens was 24 per cent Albanian, 32 per cent Turkish and only 44 per cent Greek." (Simon Mcllwaine, The Strange Case of the Invisible Minorities, Institutional Racism in the Greek State, International Society for Human Rights, British Section, Dec 1993.) (1)

"No wonder the kodjabashis, the Peloponnesian notables, were disparagingly referred to as 'Christian Turks'. One hero of the war of independence, Photakos Kyrysanthopoulis, said that the only difference was one of names: instead of being called Hasan the Kodijabashi, he would be called Yanni: instead of praying in a mosque he would go to church." (P. 42, "A concise history Of Greece", Richard Clogg) (1)

"The Academy was built with bequest from Simon Sinas, the hugely wealthy son of Georgios Sinas, a Hellenized Vlach whose family came from Moschopolis in Southern Albania, who made his fortune in the Habsburg Empire and was himself the donor of Theophilos Hansen's observatory (1843-6). (P. 79, "A concise history Of Greece", Richard Clogg) (1)

And finally, some haunting final words for the Greeks:

In the 1830's an Austrian classicist called JJ Fallmereyer made a study of the South Slav migrations and concluded that "not only are the modern Greeks Slavs, but not a drop of pure Greek blood was to be found in the modern Greek State". In Athens needless to say, his name is not much. "Consequently the medieval and modern Greeks are not the descendants of the Greeks of Antiquity, and their Hellenism is artificial". (Robert Browning , Greece Old and New , edited by Tom Winnifrith and Penelope Murray, the Macmillan Press , London 1963.) (1)

"Slavic blood, Albanian heroes, Pontian Orthodox Turks, Latin speaking Vlach politicians, assimilated Macedonians and Albanians not to mention the dozen other ethnicities? Is any one truly Greek today?" (1)

In the presence of company it is not how one sees himself or herself it is how others see them that counts. So, I dedicate this article to those Greeks who love to ridicule Macedonians feeling very smug, secure and confident in their place and proud of their 4,000 years of Greek Civilization. What they really don't know is that they are standing on a rotten foundation ALL built on Greek lies.

You can believe the myths and fairytales your propagandists and government feed you or you can look at the evidence and start thinking for yourselves. You may be standing on what appear to be a solid foundation on the surface, but in reality you are standing on thin ice which with the slightest shock will crack and crumble before you.

Ask yourselves, why do so many people dispute your past? Are they all propagandists paid by rich Skopjans who have nothing better to do with their money but cause you trouble? Or are they in pursuit of finding the truth and telling you something that you should know? You can't say ALL these people are Skopjan propagandists or accuse me of "fabricating information". All the quotes given in this piece are written by western authors and I expect you will find them fair and impartial.

So, do you believe modern Greece is a unique nation that belongs to a 4,000 year old "Greek Civilization" like no other or do you believe your Government and benefactors have been feeding you a load of anachronisms (the representation of something as existing or occurring at other than it's proper time. Webster)?

THE TRUTH: (My conclusion)

The truth is Greece is a modern state created for the first time in 1929. Modern Greece just happens to be located where once upon a time a so called civilization existed for a brief period. The only reason we know about it is because the people preserved their thoughts by writing them on rocks. It would be naïve to think that it was the only civilization in existence or that it miraculously survived for over 4,000 years.

Modern Greece was created for a specific purpose, to act as a barrier to Russia and fulfill the political desires and agendas of the 19th century Western Great Powers. To believe anything different is foolish and to infer that there exists a 4,000 year old Greek Civilization is simply a BIG Greek Lie.


(1) Many thanks to Paul for his research for this piece. I also want to thank the "unknown author" for some of the commentary in this article.

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