History of the Macedonian People from Ancient times to the Present
Part 2 - The Rise of Macedonia
by Risto Stefov firstname.lastname@example.org
"History has often been referred to as a record of the winners. A more accurate definition might be, 'a record of how the winners wish to be seen.' Many governments, in a reptilian effort to justify their conduct, have distorted the past in order that it serve the present." (Michael Dimitri)
Weakened by the tribal wars, the small kingdom of Macedonia was vulnerable to outside attacks. The people, who for thousands of years knew nothing of war, after four centuries of it, had grown weary and apprehensive. Their long time kin, friends, and allies were now the enemies who had them surrounded. Too weak to stave them off by force, the Macedonians of the 10th century BC devoted their energies to diplomacy.
In the last article (Part 1), I provided some archeological and linguistic evidence which hints to the idea that the ancient Macedonian people, including those of the 4th century BC, were of non-Greek origins. As much as it is contrary to official history, this evidence can no longer be ignored.
Macedonians are not alone in their arduous task of setting the historical record straight. There are also Slovenes, Poles, Russians and even Italians and Americans who believe the European continent was settled by different groups of people than official history would have us believe.
My intention in this article is to provide more evidence that will dispute Greek claims on Ancient Macedonia and that will prove that not only were the ancient Macedonians not Greek, but that they were an ethnically unique people with a prehistoric Slav identity. My main focus, however, will be to analyze the factors and events from the 10th century BC onwards, which created the conditions that elevated Macedonia from a tribal kingdom to a Super Power.
Four centuries of war did not only bring death and destruction to the prehistoric tribal kingdoms, but also isolated them from each other. Forced to look for trade elsewhere and away from their traditional trading routes, the warring tribes were brought into contact with and exposed to new and different people. With new exploration came external influences and exposure to new ideas and new blood. Tribes closest to the sea began to traverse the waterways, crossing the Mediterranean which brought them into contact with much more advanced civilizations than they had ever encountered before. Besides trade, the primitive seafaring people began to acquire new skills and knowledge never before encountered.
Isolated from each other and influenced by external factors, in time, the warring tribes began to diverge ethnically and acquired varying linguistic and cultural characteristics.
Even though they may have shared a common ancestry in the past, isolation and cultural evolution made them unique and different from one another. The tribes closest to the Mediterranean Sea influenced by the more advanced middle-Eastern civilizations evolved into democratic city states with unique languages and cultures. The mainland people, on the other hand, influenced by their northern neighbours took on a different character, which will be the subject of this study.
For the sake of the Modern Macedonian Nation, which for political reasons has been exploited by the Great Powers and its allies, my interest here is to show that the Macedonian people living in geographical Macedonia today, contrary to official history, are the descendants of the Ancient and prehistoric Macedonians. The Macedonian lineage has survived and remained intact from prehistoric times to today. My arguments do not imply racial purity but rather cultural and linguistic continuity. It is well known that many outsiders have invaded Macedonia and there is no doubt that many have left their mark as well. However, in spite of all attempts to subdue it, the Macedonian character, over the ages, has survived.
Aided by the rough and impenetrable terrain the Macedonian village has become the bastion and saviour of the Macedonian language and culture. Invaders of cities and fertile lands rarely showed interest in villages that were poor, arid, secluded, and impossible to reach. Ironically, Macedonia's ethnic strength, in numbers, lies in its villages. Anyone wishing to conduct business in Macedonia has to learn "the ways of the village" including the village language and culture. This is as true today as it was in Homer's time.
In spite of great efforts by the Greek authorities in the last century to eradicate the Macedonian consciousness in the villages, the Macedonian language and culture have survived and in time, will flourish again.
Why do people still live in virtually inhospitable places? Such human behaviour defies logic. Those, myself included, who were born in such places, have an unexplainable "deep love" for them. In spite of all hardships, we demonstrate great admiration for "our piece of rock" but provide no logical explanation as to why that is.
My point here is that the preservation of the Macedonian language and culture over long periods of time has been due to the stubborn and unyielding nature of the Macedonian peasant whose way of life over the long years, has been bound to the land by age-old traditions.
Once the threat of the invader was gone, the Macedonian language and culture seemed to percolate right back, even from virtual extinction. This has certainly been proven true through the century old Greek occupation and the five-century old Ottoman occupation. The villages managed to survive because they posed no threat and offered no great benefits to the invaders. For the invaders to influence any change in the lifestyle of the self-supporting, soil dependent peasant, was simply a waste of time.
Mainstream history, outside of the exploits of the Great Macedonian Empire, offers very little in terms of Macedonian prehistory. In fact, Eugene Borza, the leading expert on ancient Macedonian history, is the first to admit that the construct of Macedonian prehistory does not exist. "Anyone interested in this early period would do well to remember Geyer's comment, made nearly half a century ago, that the 'time for Macedonian prehistory has not yet come'."
(Page 283, Eugene Borza, In the Shadow of Olympus, The Emergence of Macedon, New Jersey, 1990)
There are many historical sources, including Josef Gandeto's well-documented claims that the ancient Macedonians were non-Greeks. Unfortunately, as of yet, I don't know of anyone who has made any attempt to explain who the ancient Macedonians were and where they came from.
In order to explain the origin of the Ancient Macedonians, one has to widen the scope of research and not "just endlessly analyze the Greeks".
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the majority of today's modern Macedonians speak a variation of the Slav language, enjoy a variation of the old Slav culture, and practice the Pravoslaven (Eastern Orthodox) religion. Also, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that Macedonia today is a multicultural nation with unique customs and social characteristics.
The identity, origins, and time of the arrival of the minorities living in Macedonia today can be easily traced back to past events. Five centuries of Ottoman occupation produced the Turkish and Albanian minority, four centuries of Roman occupation produced the Vlach minority, etc. As for the identity, origins, and time of arrival of the Macedonian majority, there are no straightforward answers. Most Macedonians including archeologists and linguists today do not trust the politically motivated mainstream history for answers and are thus dissatisfied with its explanations.
"The study of history developed a strongly nationalistic trend in the latter half of the last (19th) century. The goal of the field was no longer to document the development of culture and history through new and improved methods, but rather to create history that would assure cultural prestige and even superiority. Uncovering historical truths was of secondary importance.
These ideological foundations remain to the present day in the minds of many scholars and even entire schools of thought and method. Most studies on history and linguistics in Central Europe have been suffused with these nationalistic attitudes, with historians guided by predetermined aims. Their primary concern has often been to maintain the belief that the Slavs are not indigenous to Central Europe. With the tragic events in the region (Yugoslavia) since 1990, the debate has become increasingly polarized, with little hope of real progress in developing a true history of Central Europe that serves no agenda.
The principle aim of this work (the book Veneti, First Builders of European Community) is to draw attention to the need for a new attitude and a new vision of the early history of Central Europe, and hopefully to promote unbiased research methods. It is a plea for more openness and honesty, as well as recognition of the common heritage of the peoples of Central Europe regardless of nationality, language, and religion." (Page xi, Foreword by Professor Dr. Tareq Y. Ismael, University of Calgary Alberta, Canada, May 1996, Jozko Savli, Matej Bor, Ivan Tomazic, Veneti, First Builders of European Community, Tracing the History and Language of Early Ancestors of Slovenes)
Fortunately, today there is evidence emerging that promises to cast a new light on Macedonia's past as part of a new understanding of European prehistory.
At this point I will digress for a while in order to acquaint you with some of the new discoveries that not only provide hints as to who the prehistoric Macedonians were, but also challenge mainstream history on its accuracy in presenting the identity of the first Europeans.
The following is an essay written by Anthony Ambrozic, author of several books including the "Gordian Knot Unbound", "Journey Back to the Garumna", and "Adieu to Brittany", that deals with the translation of stone inscriptions found throughout Europe and dating back to prehistory. Here is what Anthony Ambrozic has to say.
[Widely accepted since the 19th century, the Kurgan Theory of Indo-European origins has since the 1970's come under severe attack and calls for reexamination. Its basic proposition has been that Indo-European beginnings were on the north shores of the Black Sea in what today is southern Ukraine. From there, the Indo-Europeans, primarily shepherding nomads, were to have expanded and, in the 4th millennium BC, to have subjugated, if not exterminated, the then peaceful agricultural society of Europe. As a result, the Indo-European Kurgan culture and language were imposed on the agricultural remnants of a subjugated continent.
What had persuaded archeologists and historians to adoption of this theory for such a long time were the artifacts found in excavated Kurgans since the 19th century. A Kurgan is a circular burial mound constructed over a pit grave and containing grave vessels, weapons, bodies of horses, and a single human body. The earliest Kurgans were found to have been in use in the Russian Steppes, but in the 3rd millennium BC spread into eastern, central, and northern Europe.
Supported by evolving research into linguistic similarity among the extant Indo-European languages, excavation of these Kurgans led scholars to presuppose a common origin for the Indo-European shepherding horsemen, all speaking a mutually-understood, undifferentiated language still in the 4th millennium BC.
As a regrettable ideological adjunct, the Kurgan Theory also spawned the hybrid myth of Aryan superiority, still quite widely acclaimed and practiced with unfortunate consequences into the first half of the 20th century.
From accumulating scrutiny and new developments in the last 30 years, however, the Kurgan Theory has been subjected with every passing year to more and more stress. As a result, it has lost much of its former credibility.
The main thrusts of this discomfiture come from three sources. The chief among them is the scientific advance in the C 14 carbon-dating measuring. Not far behind are the newest findings in the field of genetics. But of major significance is the discovery in the Near East during the last 30 years of over 10,000 inscription-bearing clay tablets.
Instigated by this new information, claims of archeologist Colin Renfrew already in the decade of the 1980's seriously cast doubt on the Kurgan Theory. The gist of Renfrew's assertions is that archeology simply does not support the conclusions of conflict and suppression of the pre-Indo-Europeans in the 4th millennium BC theretofore postulated by the Kurgan Theory. By extension, therefore, the hypothesis of a common Indo-European protolanguage still having been in existence as late as the 4th millennium BC was also put in doubt.
According to Renfrew, the Indo-Europeans were only the first agriculturalists in Europe. What we are witnessing, he states, is a latter Stone-Age revolution during which farming-cattle raising succeeded in replacing the economy based on hunting and gathering. And based on the evidence of the new clay-tablet discoveries, this revolution expanded from Anatolia to Western Europe. And further, what is most significant for the quest of Indo-European origins, he asserts that such expansion took place 3,000 years earlier than claimed by the Kurgan Theory.
So, what we are faced by are two fundamental departures from the Kurgan Theory. One, the Indo-European expansion into Western Europe had been peaceful and not accompanied by genocidal invasions; and two, it took place 3,000 years earlier.
Foremost in espousing the compelling force of these reasonings today is Mario Alinei. Now dean emeritus of the University of Utrecht, he is director of several linguistic reviews and president of the Advisory Council in related matters to UNESCO. As author of an 1,800-page examination of the historical aspects of the Indo-European beginnings, he concludes that Indo-Europeans have lived in Europe basically in the same territories they occupy today ever since the Stone Age. As the linchpin to his theory, Alinei deals especially with the Slavs (and specifically mentions the Slovenes) and concludes that they had since antiquity lived in the area of southeastern Europe and, further, that they had from there expanded northward and northeastward.
Arguing for an Indo-European dispersion to have taken place even a few millennia earlier than claimed by Renfrew, Alinei provides evidence for a continuity of settlement ever since then. Appropriately, his theory became known as the Theory of Continuity.
As evidence for the foregoing, Alinei reminds us that in Anatolia 4,000 years ago we already have three distinct Indo-European languages spoken by three different peoples (Hitites, Luwians, and Palaiks). And since we know that the speakers of these languages had come into Anatolia already 5,000 years ago, it is difficult to imagine that during the 4th millennium BC a common Indo-European language could still have existed. Such a hypothesis would necessitate the Indo-European to have so rapidly diffused itself into three separate languages in such a limited area in just a few centuries. This would run counter to every established linguistic observation.
The Theory of Continuity has shaken the foundation of the Kurgan Theory and exposed the sandy underpinning on which it rests. Mired with it in inextricable quicksand is the Aryan myth of an ancestral super warrior horseman's élan vital bursting with godlike energy upon a primitive pre-Indo-European and supplanting his genes, language, and culture on all who submit and eradicating those who do not.
The Theory of Continuity is in full alignment with the recent advance in the field of genetics. According to Joseph Skulj of Toronto, genetics points to the Balkans having been a place of refuge during the Ice Age and having had a relatively undisturbed history of indigenous settlement since then.
The Theory of Continuity is also a challenge especially to the Slovenes, the inheritors of a linguistic telescope into the misty past. It is a timely prod for them to cast aside the postulates of the dated Kurgan Theory and join the quest for a new perspective.
To this end, research has been undertaken on the Old Phrygian and Early Thracian inscriptions from Anatolia and Thrace. By placing Old Phrygian and Slovene words side by side, it has been demonstrated in my book "Gordian Knot Unbound" how very little the two have departed from each other in close to 3,000 years. In half the interval allotted by the Kurgan Theory for diffusion of the bedrock Indo-European into separate languages, the Old Slovene (i.e. Old Phrygian) has changed hardly at all. Especially in the dialectal forms, it still reverberates across 26 centuries, little altered in the speech, morphology or meaning, the syntax or sentence structure of the contemporary Slovene. It yet echoes in the diction of the Alpine redoubt of Slovenia 2,700 years after the empire of the legendary kings Midas and Gordius had crumbled under the Cimmerian onslaught.
The unyielding granite of the Slovene clinging stubbornly to its linguistic salient, buffeted through centuries by gales from the north and south, by itself is proof positive that Indo-European origins are shrouded in the recesses of a much more distant past than the 6,000 years the Kurgan Theory presumes to accord them.
In this respect, to fix a definitive focus on the Slavic perspective of the issue, a few poignant excerpts from Mario Alinei's Theory of Continuity are being quoted:
"I have to commence by clearing away one of the most absurd consequences of the traditional chronology, namely, that of the 'arrival' of the Slavs into the immense area in which they now live. The only logical conclusion can be that the southern branch of the Slavs is the oldest and that from it developed the Slavic western and eastern branches in a differing manner and perhaps at different times."
"Today only a minority of experts support the theory of a late migration for the Slavs... because none of the variant versions of such late settlement answers the question of what crucial factor could possibly have enabled the Slavs to have left their Bronze-Age firesides to become the dominant peoples of Europe. The southwestern portion of the Slavs had always bordered on the Italic people in Dalmatia, as well as in the areas of the eastern Alps and in the Po lowlands."
"The surmised 'Slavic migration' is full of inconsistencies. There is no 'northern Slavic language', it is rather only a variant of the southern Slavic... The first metallurgic cultures in the Balkans are Slavic... and connected with Anatolia... Slavic presence in the territory, nearly identical to the one occupied by them today, exists ever since the Stone Age... The Slavs have (together with the Greeks and other Balkan peoples developed agriculture... agriculturally mixed economy, typically European, which later enabled the birth of the Greek, Etruscan, and Latin urbanism. Germanic peoples adopted agriculture from the Slavs... The Balkans is one of the rare regions in which a real and true settlement of human groups coming from Anatolia is proven...]. This was a sobering analysis by Anthony Ambrozic.
I realize that I am taking you deeper and deeper into academia but I believe it is necessary in order to build a solid foundation for my arguments.
The following is an English translation of the last part of a talk given by Charles Bryant-Abram, PhD, FSO at the World Slovenian Congress at Ptuj Castle, near Maribor, Slovenia, on the 20/21 September 2001.
"But indeed I do suspect that history is about to be written, or rather rewritten. We stand on the threshold of a new world of insight into the prehistory of Europe and of the Mediterranean.
Parallel to the ongoing analysis of the Venetic inscriptions, a thorough search must be undertaken throughout the Balkan Peninsula for all extant lapidary evidence of its former presence there. Foremost - and I have called attention to this elsewhere - an investigation must be made of all inscriptions associated with the age of Philip of Macedon preceding the Hellenization of his son, Alexander, under the tutelage of Aristotle. The close collaboration of Macedonian and Greek scholars must be solicited and sustained for this effort. We are encouraged in this direction by the findings of Anton Ambrozic who has successfully demonstrated Venetic presence in the Hellenistic city, Dura-Europos, founded by Alexander in the Syrian Desert and destroyed by the Sassanids in AD 256, some 400 years before the supposed first penetration of Slavs into the Balkan Peninsula. These Venetic inscriptions from Dura-Europos lend weighty if still circumstantial evidence to my original conjecture that Alexander and his Macedonian people may very well have been Veneti. If this does prove to be the case, then the Macedonian people today will have every justifiable reason to reclaim their own linguistic patrimony." (Charles Bryant-Abram, PhD, FSO Linguistics, Medieval Castilian philology, Université de Montréal). The article in its entirety can be found at "http://www.niagara.com/~jezovnik/anthony_ambrozic.htm" under the sub-heading "Refinement and Future Directions in Venetic Scholarship".
I included the three quotations (above) to highlight the fact that:
1. Mainstream scholars are beginning to admit that mainstream ancient European history, including that of Macedonia, is politically motivated and does not provide a realistic interpretation of past events.
2. Mainstream theories of prehistory are being challenged and are losing ground to new and revolutionary ideas backed by archeological and linguistic evidence and by science.
3. Finally, there is archeological and linguistic evidence that provide clues to the true identity of the prehistoric and ancient Macedonians.
As indicated in Ambrozic's essay (above), mainstream history is not only being challenged over the identity of the prehistoric Balkan people but also over the identity of all Indo-European nations that occupied all of Central Europe during prehistoric times. Traditional thinking is that the ancestors of the present day Germans were the first people to settle Central Europe. With archeological, scientific, and linguistic evidence however, that thinking is being challenged and is losing ground. Supported by DNA, genetic, and archeological evidence, more and more scientists are convinced that the prehistoric Indo-European people of Central Europe, known by many names, were not proto-Germans but proto-Slavs. Contrary to mainstream beliefs that the Slavs migrated to the Balkans around the 6th century AD, this "new evidence" seems to lead us to the conclusion that the Slavs were always there and have always lived where they live today.
If you wish to learn more about the prehistoric identity of the Central Europeans or if you wish to study the translations of the various prehistoric inscriptions, please consult the works of Anthony Ambrozic, Jozko Savli, Matej Bor and Ivan Tomazic (see reference section for book names).
If you wish to learn more about Vasil Ilyov's work, Macedonian artifacts, ancient inscriptions, and translations, please go to the "Macedonian Civilization" website http://www.unet.com.mk/ancient-macedonians-part2/index.html.
With the emergence of more new evidence, there will be proof that the Macedonian continuity from prehistoric times to the present has never been broken. This will vindicate the Macedonian nation and expose all Greek falsifications for what they truly are. The Macedonian people have always known where their roots lay but never had the evidence to prove it. Now for the first time there is tangible evidence that will prove, without any doubt, that the modern Macedonians are the descendents of the ancient Macedonians and that the ancient Macedonians were never Greek.
We are on the verge of an historical revolution, poised to cast away the shackles of the 19th century's politically motivated and nationalistically energized, historical mentality. For the first time we have evidence to set the record straight.
During the fall of 2002 when I was thinking about writing these articles, I mentioned my idea to Vasil Bogov, the author of Macedonian Revelations, Historical Documents Rock and Shatter Modern Political Ideology. Thinking that I would be writing conventional "Classical History", his immediate reaction was to plead with me not to do it because it would promote the falsehood of classical history and further legitimize Greek claims to ancient Macedonia. To make a long story short, something that Vasil told me during that conversation stuck with me.
While doing research for his book, Vasil visited northern Italy to have a look around. On one of his guided trips, the tour guide took them on a diversion to a remote village. This was her ancestral village where her family was still living. In typical Italian fashion, the young woman's mother came out of her house and loudly greeted the tourists in Italian. But when she spoke to her daughter, she used a different language, a language that did not seem to belong to that region. To Vasil's surprise, he understood most of the words, which to him sounded like Macedonian words from the Kostur/Lerin region. Dying to find out, Vasil immediately inquired. Expecting the family to be Macedonian, to his surprise, the young woman told Vasil that the language they spoke was an old Italian dialect that existed before the Roman period and that many remote villages still used it.
I knew Vasil well enough and trusted him not to be telling me stories, so I found myself puzzling over this "anomaly" for a long time. How could people so far back in time be speaking Macedonian? There had to be some mistake? We were led to believe that the Slavs came from north-eastern Europe during the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries AD, so what was a Slavic speaking people doing in northern Italy before 100 BC? I had never heard anything like this before. I could find no answers. In fact I could find no documentation to indicate that Slavs had ever settled northern Italy. Then, around the beginning of March 2003, after reading Anton Skerbinc's English translation of the Slovenian texts on the Veneti, it all started to make sense.
Macedonians are not alone in their quest for the truth. Other Slavic speaking people who have also been shackled and bound by the same politically motivated historical ideologies are also looking for answers. Leading the search are the Slovenes who have dared to challenge the old mindset and are now in the process of setting the record straight.
There are those who believe that the Slovenes are the closest relations and have the least disturbed links to the prehistoric Indo-Europeans. Nestled in the Alps, the Slovenes have survived many invasions and many attempts at assimilation. The Slovenes also believe, with ample evidence to prove it, that Central Europe, including Italy, were settled by the Proto-Slav Veneti long before the so-called 6th century AD Slav migrations. This agrees with independent findings in the Republic of Macedonia, which not only confirm, but reinforce the idea that the prehistoric Macedonians belonged to the same group of Slavic Veneti.
At this point, irrespective of exactly who the prehistoric Macedonians were (more on this later), there are two important facts that seem to emerge:
1. The prehistoric Macedonians were not Greek.
2. Like the modern Macedonians of today, the prehistoric Macedonians also spoke a Slavic language.
And now for the skeptics! Since I am a skeptic myself, there is no doubt that there are those who may find this a bit unbelievable.
That which was taught to us from youth and re-enforced by repeated exposure becomes familiar and comforting. Sometimes however, in view of new evidence, we must dispense with our comforts and start facing facts. I want to tell you that I carefully examined Anthony Ambrozic's translations and I must admit they are brilliantly well done. Ambrozic is a master of simplicity who uses a sound methodology to achieve his translation. I am convinced his work is genuine and I invite all skeptics to examine it for themselves. While they are at it, they should also examine the works of Vasil Ilyov, Jozko Savli, Matej Bor, Ivan Tomazic, and Anton Skerbinc to judge for themselves. (See the reference section for book titles and URLs).
By the 10th century BC, there was a small group of people living in the region between present day Kostur and Lerin who identified themselves as Macedonians. The great wars of the Bronze Age had devastated the region and the Macedonians felt themselves surrounded and squeezed by the larger tribes. Large disturbances in the East caused population shifts in the region, thus pushing invaders into Macedonian lands.
It would appear that the Macedonians became a nation after the great wars when they collectively began to work together for unity and for the defense of their small kingdom. Intimidated by the constant invasions, the small group of people collectively fought to repel their neighbours whom they no longer considered kin.
Who were the Macedonians before they became a nation? Here is what conventional mainstream history has to offer. "As an ethnic question it is best avoided, since the mainly modern political overtones tend to obscure the fact that it really is not a very important issue. That they may or may not have been Greek in whole or in part-while an interesting anthropological sidelight-is really not crucial to our understanding of their history." (Page 96,Eugene Borza, In the Shadow of Olympus, The Emergence of Macedon,) I have great respect for Eugene Borza's work, but I do not agree with his assessment.
Current theory is that the prehistoric Macedonians came from a mixture of people that occupied the small Macedonian prehistoric kingdom. Among these people were the Pelasgian, Illyrian, Thracian, and Phrygian tribes. The people that constituted the 10th century BC Macedonians, in earlier times, belonged to the Central European family of the proto-Slav Veneti.
I could not find much information about the Pelasgi beyond old sources like Herodotus who claims that they occupied parts of Macedonia and parts of Greece even before the Greeks came into existence. The Pelasgi were one of the indigenous groups of people from the Indo-European era that Herodotus called barbarians who spoke a barbarian language. Later, even though some Pelasgi lived among the Athenians, they were considered by the Athenians, to be non-Greek, a barbaric race indigenous to the region. (Herodotus: from The History, c. 430 BC, I.56-59). Given that they were non-Greek speakers, and the fact that they were seen as barbarians even though some lived in Athens, it is conceivable that the Pelasgi belonged to the larger family of Indo-Europeans, the proto-Slav Veneti.
Legend has it that the first Phrygians settled geographical Macedonia a long time ago (3rd millenium BC). The Phrygians (or Bryges as they were known to the Macedonians), lived and mingled with the Macedonian people for centuries before their migrations to Anatolia.
While living in Macedonia, it is believed that they established their capital at Voden (Edessa) and mixed culturally and linguistically with the local populations of the region.
By the 9th century BC, the Phrygians became a kingdom in Anatolia with its centers located at Gordium and Midus City.
"Old Phrygian comes to us from a small number of unfragmented rock inscriptions in a script which in several characters resembles those found also in the Pelasgic, Etruscan, and Venetic alphabets.
Even though the Old Phrygian and Greek alphabets share most of the letters, Old Phrygian contains half-a-dozen letter symbols not used by the Greek alphabet. It would appear, therefore, that the two alphabets drew their writing from a common source, each adapting the relevant symbols to the dictates of their phonetic needs." (Page 23, Anthony Ambrozic, Gordian Knot Unbound, Cythera Press: Toronto, 2002) In his analysis, Ambrozic, without much difficulty, manages to translate Old Phrygian scripts using the same methodology employed to translate proto-Slav Venetic scripts found in present day France. "Even though the language of the Old Phrygian appears to be of a somewhat earlier cast in the Old Early Slavic mold than the Slavenetic of Gaul, there are many words they have in common." (Page 4, Anthony Ambrozic, Gordian Knot Unbound )
"The Greek tradition that the Phrygian migration into Anatolia in the 12th century BC having originated in Macedonia and Thrace was based on another often-encountered claim, namely, that both of their northern neighbors spoke the same language." (Page 58, Anthony Ambrozic,Gordian Knot Unbound) In other words, according to the ancient Greeks, both the Phrygians and the Thracians spoke the same language which today is proving to have Slavic origins.
In his conclusion of the Gordian Knot Unbound, with regard to his findings on the Phrygians, Ambrozic leaves us (in part) with the following words. "They are enough to give us insight into the ethos of their culture and the spirituality which guided it. Above all, cast in stone, the passages give us an unadulterated imprint of an Old Early Slavic spoken on the Anatolian plateau 3,200 years ago. (Page 118, Anthony Ambrozic, Gordian Knot Unbound)
The Illyrians to the west and to the north of Macedonia were a tribal people governed by tribal chieftains. It is believed that they settled the Balkan Peninsula at the end of the Bronze Age around the middle to late second millennium BC.
The Illyrians were bearers of the Hallstatt culture - a period in history that denotes the transition from bronze to iron in Central and Western Europe.
Of the many explanations I encountered regarding the origins of the Illyrian name, I found this one most interesting; that they were named Illyrians because they worshiped Iliy, their sun god. (Page 56, July 15, 2000, number 578, Macedonian magazine)
"The ancient western movement of the Slavs (Veneti) and the later eastern movement of South Slavs met on the Balkan peninsula, resulting in the development of a new Slavic language group. Did this process include borrowing from the Illyrian and Thracian? If so, can we determine the extent of these borrowings? If the ancient Illyrians and Thracians had been Latinized and Greekocized, there would have been preserved in South Slavic (Macedonian) languages some of the Latin and Greek vocabulary; also, we cannot imagine that, as the Slavs advanced, both (Illyrian and Thracian) established ethnic groups collectively ran and took refuge behind the walls of the coastal (Greek) cities or disappeared in the 'sea' of Slavs. On the contrary, the native inhabitants remained in their places and merged with the newly-arrived Slavs. The fact that Thracian and Illyrian vocabularies are not clearly distinguishable in present South Slavic languages can be explained by the probability that Proto-Slavic as well as Thracian and Illyrian were still very close to Indo-European, which means they were related to each other." (Page 92, Anton Skerbinc, taken from the book "Veneti, First Builders of European Community" by Jazko Savli, Matej Bor and Ivan Tomazic).
Falmerayer's assertions seem to agree with Skerbinc's idea, which extends the hypothesis that the Slavs were a major presence in the Greek peninsula before and after the so-called Slav migrations to the south. Falmerayer wrote his assertions about 170 years ago, unfortunately, due to Greek protests his work has never been widely publicized.
"Falmerayer's work deals with proving that the ancient Greek races had totally vanished from the lands where they had once achieved great things. Falmerayer writes that these peoples underwent a natural extermination by consecutive waves of nomadic peoples and that, at the end of a 10-century period, what has come to be present-day Greece was inhabited by Slavs, Albanians, and Greek-speaking Byzantine populations that had moved there from Asia Minor. This substantive racial repudiation has always been difficult to doubt and is becoming more and more so. Falmerayer's fundamental adversaries, Zinkeisen, Kopitar and Paparrigopoloulos, attempt to refute him mainly by interpreting the scant historical documents available from that dark period of the Greek Middle Ages. However, they have never been capable of making a convincing response to his most crucial, most concrete argument - the almost exclusively Slavic and Albanian toponymy or place-names, especially the microtoponymy or names of uninhabited places such as fields and small places in the geographic region of Greece. To solve this problem, the Greek State developed a "science" of para-etymology. That is, it corrupted linguistic history and, to make it more effective, recruited ethnologists to change the entire main toponymy of the country. But these devices assuage only the average, parochial conscience - not that of the scholar. So official Greek ideology had to seek its last hideout in the continuity of culture, at the core of which stands the argument of the continuity of the Greek language.
According to Falmerayer, the modern Greek language is what the Byzantine administration taught its new populations through the Orthodox Church and through the transferred Greek-speaking Byzantine populations. The Orthodox Church also continued to play a hegemonic role in matters of culture during the years of Ottoman rule. However, Falmerayer has demonstrated that, in each period, Byzantine culture and the Byzantine Orthodox Church was not the continuation of ancient Greek culture - but its complete negation. In fact, this rejection was its most energetic enterprise for it meant the use of flame and sword and untold violence and coercion to uproot any surviving vestiges of ancient Greek culture on the peninsula." (The above quotation was taken in part from Info Zora - The Rainbow/Vinozhito Newsletter December 2002/January 2003 - No.9. The article in its entirety can be found at http://www.mhrmc.ca/reports/info9.html ). (More on this in future articles).
While analyzing his discoveries, here is what Ambrozic has to say. "A tangible connection between the Old Phrygian and the Early Thracian on one side and the Pelasgic, Etruscan and Venetic on the other is established. This confluence brings into question the conventional wisdom that the source of early writing had its origins only in the Middle East. It insinuates the need for reexamining assumptions heretofore regrettably far too often taken for granted. If the Pelasgi, the ancient pre-Hellenic people, who occupied Greece before the 12th century BC, and who were said to have inhabited Thrace, Argos, Crete, and Chalcidice, had their own alphabet, it unquestionably predated the alleged import of the Greek from the Phoenician. And again to quote the Encyclopedia Britannica (Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 1, p. 624), if the Etruscan alphabet had been the prototype for the Greek, we can not look upon the Greek as having been the precursor of either the Early Thracian nor the Old Phrygian. Both of these appear to have too many home-grown elements.
Concrete evidence for such reevaluation comes from excavations of the Vincha culture sites in the Balkans itself. The archeological site at Banjica (near Belgrade), in particular, is of significance. According to the C-14 method, its artifacts have been assessed as dating no later than 3473 BC. This makes the script found there 373 years older than the Proto-Sumarian pictographic script. (See Radivoje and Vesna Pesic, Proceedings of the First International Conference, 'The Veneti within the Ethnogenesis of the Central-European Population,' Ljubljana, 2001, p. 66).
According to Pesic, it has been the sea-faring, merchant rivermen, the Veneti, who had disseminated the Vincha script to the Etruscans as early as the end of the second millenium BC. The Veneti at the time are attested to have existed not only on the great bend of the Danube, but also in the Morava, Timok, and Vardar (69). In fact, the etymology of several toponyms in the area points directly to them. They join a host of others named after them. Invariably found along the waterway turnpikes of the ancient world, these range from as far afield as Vannes on the Atlantic to Banassac on the Lot, and Venice on the Adriatic. We find them on the lower Tisza in Banat, down the Morava to the river banks of northern Thrace, where Herodotus records them in the 5th century BC (I,196)." (Pages 85-87, Anthony Ambrozic, Gordian Knot Unbound)
We have to give Vasil Ilyov and Anthony Ambrozic a lot of credit for the fantastic works they have done in translating the many prehistoric inscriptions found in Macedonia and all over Europe. While Ilyov has concentrated in the lower Balkans, Ambrozic's work includes translations from inscriptions found in Turkey, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Italy, and France but unfortunately, not from Macedonia. By Macedonia, I mean the Greek occupied part of Macedonia. "I (Ambrozic) have been trying to find non-Greek, pre-Hellenic-Age inscriptions from Macedonia. So far, unfortunately, in vain." (Page ii, Anthony Ambrozic, Gordian Knot Unbound) I wonder why that is?
Macedonia, the tiny tribal kingdom that exploded into a super power in a matter of a century and swallowed up the entire known world in a couple of decades has, according to the Greeks, no past. In spite of thousands of prehistoric relics and tens of thousands of inscriptions found and translated in the Republic of Macedonia in the last decade, "there are no non-Hellenic prehistoric inscriptions found in Greece". If we are to believe Greek sources, then I suppose we should also believe the Greek propaganda that the Macedonians had no alphabet, no writing ability, and not even a language, and, that they learned "everything" from the Greeks. I suppose the old Macedonians "grunted" their way around before they met and learned everything from the Greeks.
It seems that the Macedonians are not the only ones to owe everything to the Greeks. I have in my personal library a history book, left over from my high school years, entitled "The Foundations of the West" by D. Fishwick, B. Wilkinson and J. C. Cairns, 1963. I have enjoyed reading this book and kept it for years because, like many young minds interested in history, I was captivated by it. After reading it again however, impressed as I was with the authors' skills, confidence, and abilities to present the subject, the accuracy and bias of its contents left a bad taste in my mouth. Besides endlessly praising the Greeks for "knowing all", "telling all", and "civilizing all", the book distastefully denigrates the ancient Macedonians. It seems, according to this book, that the leaders of the empire that conquered the world, were mere "Greek puppets". The book has dedicated four chapters or 47 pages to the Greeks and one chapter or 11 pages to the Macedonians. The one chapter on Macedonia entitled, "Expansion and Dispersion" begins as follows; "The most significant event of the 4th century BC was the rise of Macedon to a position in Greek affairs." Even the chapter on Macedonia is about Greece. Is this is what our children are learning today?
I wonder, when the western authors were composing these texts, if they were even remotely aware of their actions and what this duplicity, in the hands of the Greeks, would unleash against the innocent Macedonians? I wonder if they were at all aware of the injustices they would bring to the Macedonian people?
Now that evidence is piling up against them, which in time will undoubtedly expose all Greek historical fabrications, I wonder what explanations the Greeks will have for this moral misconduct? How will they explain themselves to the world and to their own people, from whom they kept the truth and have lied to, for so many years?
There is one more piece of prehistoric evidence I would like to introduce before I continue with the main presentation.
It has been said that about fifty thousand years ago Europe was covered by a thick sheet of ice. It has also been said that the Balkans were one of the first places in Europe to gradually thaw out from the prehistoric freeze and to harbour the first life on the European continent. It only makes sense then, at least in the last fifty millenium, that life started from the Balkans and progressed inward into Europe as the ice sheet melted. It also makes sense then to say that the Balkans were one of the first places in Europe to be settled by humans.
Even before humans were capable of writing or communicating by using written words, they had an uncanny ability to draw. On the rocks in caves they drew symbols of everyday objects like people, animals, etc. or they drew phenomena which represented major events in their lives.
What is most interesting about these rock carvings, more commonly known as "rock art", is that they are far more numerous and prevalent in Macedonia than anywhere else in the world. Macedonia seems to be a major source of rock art with over 460,000 pieces found in just over 10% of the Macedonian territory which has been explored. Some of the pieces seem to be over 40 thousand years old and hold a myriad of carvings from fertility symbols to stars in the sky. For a long time the meaning of these symbols seemed to be a riddle for science but Dr. Dusko Aleksovski, a Macedonian scientist, unraveled their mystery. Aleksovski published his finding in an article, which he presented at the Rock Symposium in Capo de Ponte, Northern Italy in 1977. By observing rock art from the Paleolithic period through the ages, scientists were able to record the evolution of the development of the written language from simple schematic forms to symbolic shapes and finally to geometric drawings and letters, the kind of we use today. If you wish to learn more about Rock Art click on http://www.unet.com.mk/rockart/angliski/prva.htm.
Just recently a World Rock Art Congress was held in Macedonia during which the World Rock Art Academy was launched to which Dr. Dushko Aleksovski, its founder, was elected President.
1,000 BC seems to be a crucial period in the development of the Macedonian nation. While still in its tribal stages, the Macedonian kingdom began to gain military strength and political influence in the region. Their desire to free themselves from their invading neighbours fostered unity and organization among the first Macedonians. Then, as their Phrygians neighbours (to the east) began to retreat to Anatolia, a power vacuum was created which in time the Macedonian kingdom began to fill. Also, the fertile lands abandoned by the retreating Phrygians were too much for the mountain dwelling Macedonians to resist, so in time the Macedonians too began to migrate eastward and occupy those lands. It took the Macedonian people about a century to build up their populations but by the 9th century BC they made their presence felt in Central Macedonia.
It is believed that the first known Macedonian center before the eastward migrations, was Rupishcha (Argos), located about eight kilometers south of Kostur. Over the years, as the Macedonian kingdom expanded, its center was moved to a new place called Aegae located near present day Voden. "Herodotus (8.183) wrote that '[Perdicus] came to another part of Macedonia and settled near the gardens named after Midas, son of Gordias...above the garden rises the mountain called Bermion, unassailable in winter'." (Page 65, Eugene Borza, In the Shadow of Olympus The Emergence of Macedon, New Jersey, 1990)
And now I will leave you with this.
It has been recorded that six proto Slav Venetic inscriptions have been found in Dura-Europos, a city founded by Alexander the Great in the Syrian desert. These inscriptions provide evidence that Alexander the Great and the ancient Macedonian people may very well have been Veneti. If this proves to be the case, then we the Modern Macedonian people have every justifiable reason to reclaim our own patrimony and our rightful place in the world.
SLAV INSCRIPTIONS IN ALEXANDER'S TIME? How is that possible? Will the truth set us free?
To be continued...
Michael Dimitri, The Radiance of Ancient Macedonia, 1992.
Josef S. G. Gandeto, Ancient Macedonians, Differences Between The Ancient Macedonians and The Ancient Greeks. New York:Writer's Showcase, 2002.
Eugene N. Borza, In the Shadow of Olympus The Emergence of Macedon. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
Jozko Šavli, Matej Bor, Ivan Tomazic, VENETI First Builders of European Community. Boswell B.C. 1996.
George Nakratzas, M.D., The Close Racial Kinship Between the Greeks, Bulgarians, and Turks, Macedonia and Thrace. Thessaloniki: Batavia Publications, 1999.
D. Fishwick, B. Wilkinson and J. C. Cairns, The Foundations of the West, Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1963.
Makedonija Magazine - July 15, 2000, number 578.
Anthony Ambrozic, Gordian Knot Unbound. Toronto: Cythera Press, 2002
Anthony Ambrozic, Adieu to Brittany. Toronto: Cythera Press, 1999.
Anthony Ambrozic, Journey Back to the Garumna. Toronto: Cythera Press, 2000.
Charles Bryant-Abram, PhD, FSO, Refinement and Future Directions in Venetic Scholarship, http://www.niagara.com/~jezovnik/anthony_ambrozic.htm.
Vasil Ilyov, Macedonian Artifacts, Ancient Inscriptions and their Translations, http://www.unet.com.mk/ancient-macedonians-part2/index.html.
Info Zora - The Rainbow/Vinozhito Newsletter December 2002/January 2003 - No.9, http://www.mhrmc.ca/reports/info9.html.
Macedonian Rock Art, http://www.unet.com.mk/rockart/angliski/prva.htmYou can contact the author at email@example.com