The Pre-Slavic Period
The beginnings of recorded history in Macedonia trace back to mythical times. In the Iliad, Homer writes:
Lycomedes bestowed a lance that Apisaon struck
So sore that straight he strode the dusty center,
And did stick in that congealed blood that forms
The liver. Second man he was to all that stood
In names for arms amongst the troop that from Paeonia
Came, Asteropaeus being the first...
At that time Paeonia extended from the sea to the south, reaching the source of the River Strymon (Struma), running the entire course of the Axius River (Vardar) and spanning from the Rhodopes in the east to Pelagonia in the west. It was a territory inhabited by a number of tribes. "Pyraechmes did the Paeons rule, that crooked bows do bend; From broad-steamed Axius;" writes Homer, noting their leaders: Thersilochus, Mydon, Astypylus, Mnesus, Thrasius, Aenius and Ophelestes, Pyraeshmes, Hippias, Apisaon and Asteropaeus.
This is essentially the sum of what the blind poet wrote of the oldest inhabitants of this territory, the central region of which the Republic of Macedonia occupies today. Paeonia and the Paeons would not be mentioned again until the histories of Herodotus, Thucydides, Strabo and Livius and the dramas of Euripides and Aeschylus. But these works, although adding minor details, were not sufficient to create a complete picture of these ancient peoples. In the course of the last few decades, through comprehensive archaeological research, many gaps have been filled in the mosaic of Paeonia and the Paeons, giving us a better idea of the specific features of the cultural-historical identity of the peoples who lived on this territory and their religious, territorial and ethnic identity. Eleonora Petrova's work in summarizing the results of the latest excavations and research in the region of the present-day Republic of Macedonia about the life of Paeons is notable, and the latest archaeological information sheds new light on their way of life. It widens former findings about the level of development in particular periods of Paeonian history, relations between the Paeons, the Hellenic south and barbarian neighbors to the north, the degree of Hellenization, the adoption of Hellenic culture and greater understanding of its religious traditions, trade, currency and towns.
These paleo-Balkan inhabitants, among the oldest settlers of the region, were attributed by legend to be the descendants of the river god Axius and the nymph Periboea. The Paeons undoubtedly were considerably influenced by the Illyrians, Thracians and Greeks. Through cultural intermingling and influences exerted on Paeonian territory, the Paeons drew closer to the Illyrian, Thracian and Greek ethnic-cultural zones. On the basis of an anthropological analysis of about thirty skeletal remnants of Paeons discovered in Macedonia, Fanitsa Velyanovska defined their anthropological profile as being distinct from the profiles of other Balkan inhabitants of the Iron Age, proving thereby that the morphometric differences among them are of such a degree that hypotheses about Paeons being of Illyrian or Thracian ethnicity can be denied with certainty.
It is presumed that Pelagonia, the land of the Pelagonians, was located in the southwest of Paeonia, extending along both sides of the Erigon River (Crna Reka). There is little information about this people, and they are mainly identified with the Paeons. Homer wrote of Pelagon, after whom the region was named, as being the father of the Paeonian leader Asteropaeus, and Asteropaeus and his Paeons took part in the siege of Troy. Pelagon was the son of the river god Axius and Periboea, the daughter of Acesamenus of Paeonia.
By the middle of the seventh century B.C., a new and ominous danger threatened the Paeons and Pelagonians-the Macedonians.
According to mythical sources, the origin of the ancient Macedonians was as descendants of the gods. In the seventh century B.C. the poet Hesiod, in the first rural epic of ancient literature, Deeds and Days, narrated the myth about the origin of the Macedonians:
And she, Deucalion's daughter,
of Zeus, the thunderer,
bore two sons:
Magnet and Macedon-a cavalryman, a warrior...
The second Deucalion's daughter
bore two sons as well:
Graecian and Latin...
According to Hesiod, the Greeks and Latins were brothers and the Macedonians their cousins.
Apparently, Hesiod only elaborated the mythical story about Deucalion, Prometheus' son, the sole survivor of the great flood besides his wife Pyrrha. Together they had three children: Thoas, Pandora, and Hellene. From the relationship between Thoas and Zeus, Macedon, founder of the Macedonians, and Magnet, discoverer of magnets were born. From the relationship between Zeus and Pandora, Deucalion's second daughter, Grekos and Latin were born, laying the foundations for the Greek and Latin races.
But if the legends are clear, the history of the beginning of the Macedonian state and the origin of the term Macedonians are shrouded deep in the darkness of the past. The first Macedonian kings were not recorded by history, and there remain only traditions about them. Accordingly, the first Macedonian king and the founder of the Macedonian royal dynasty was King Charan. Diodorus of Sicily claimed that Charan had become King of the Macedonians before the First Olympiad in 776 B.C.-reigning from 808 to 778 B.C..
Diodorus writes further: "When the Assyrian dynasty ceased to reign after the death of the last Assyrian Emperor, then began the era of the Macedonians." Charan, driven by the desire to establish a state, gathered an army from Argos and from other parts of Peloponnesus and undertook a campaign in the region of Macedonia prior to the First Olympiad. At that time, the King of the Oresteians, a people settled in the area around Gorna Bistritsa (present-day Kostur), waged war against the Aeordeians, his neighbors in the region of Ostrovo. The King of the Aeordeians asked Charan to help him and, in return, promised to give him the middle part of Oresteia. After the victory, the king kept his promise and Charan reigned for thirty years.
The mistake, or mystification as the case may be, is obvious: it is not a question of Argos on Peloponnesus, but of Argos Orestikon in Upper Macedonia. Herodotus stated that the three brothers Gauanus, Aeropus and Perdiccas, descendants of Heraclides Temenus and therefore called the Temenids, had fled from Argos in Upper Macedonia and arrived at the town of Lebaia. Herodotus does not say where Argos was located; however, the historian Apyanus asserts that it was Argos in Oresteide. The legendary origin of the Macedonians in Peloponnesus dates from and may even have been invented by King Alexander I Macedon (498-454 B.C.).
Alexander I had done a great favor for the Greeks prior to the Battle of Plataea in 479 B.C., and was therefore known as a philhellene, "admirer of the Greeks" or "friend of the Greeks." But it is obvious that Alexander could not have been a Greek, if he was called a "Greek friend" but not referred to as a Greek. When as a philhellene he wanted to take part in the Olympian games, he was rejected, since "the games are not meant for the barbarians, but only for the Hellenes."
The Macedonian king, for the sake of his own prestige and to fulfill his desire to take part in the Great Games, tried cunning: he stated that, according to tradition, his family originated from Argos on Peloponnesus and not from Western Macedonia. Consequently, he became the first Macedonian at the Olympic Games; but this is a questionable statement. There is no evidence that any Macedonian took part in the Olympic Games before Philip II. And the assertion that Alexander I Macedon won in some events should be completely rejected because his name is not included in the lists of the victors, the Olympionics. Herodotus and Thucydides confirmed this contrivance of Alexander I in their histories, and even asserted that, about 650 B.C., the Macedonians had been subordinated to a new and foreign royal line originating from the Timenid family of Peloponnesus. According to their arguments, it appears that the Macedonian dynasty originated from the Argeads in the south. A number of modern historians affirm that the Macedonian royal line originated not from Argos on Peloponnesus, but from Argos Orestikon in Macedonia.
Thucydides also left another written statement about the Macedonians: "They, the Macedonians, conquered other tribes too, and they ruled over them until the present day, as well as over Antemunt, Grestonia, Bysampia [areas in the north of Chalcidice, between Vardar and Struma rivers] and over a large part of the country of the true Macedonians. All that is called Macedonia."
The issue of how the term "Macedonian" originated is dealt with by J. R. Ellis: "One of the significant sites which illustrates their presence [the presence of the Illyrian tribes] is the one in the vicinity of the neighboring villages Vergina [Kutlesh in Macedonian, in Aegean Macedonia] and Palatitsia, at the foot of the Pirin Range, which projects above the southwestern corner of the Emathia Plain, twenty kilometers from Methone on the land and seven or eight kilometers in the south from the coasts of the lower Haliacmon River. The archaeological picture there shows the presence of an Illyrian population from 800 B.C. until the middle of the seventh century. Further to the south, on the slopes of Mt. Titarion and the Pirin Mountains as well as the northern extensions of Mt. Olympus lived Macedons, who gave their name to the region Macedonia."
Ulrich Wilchen states that: "When the question is considered from a number of aspects, the conclusion is drawn that the ancient Macedonians were a people close to the Darians, as well as to the Illyrians and Thracians. During the Persian war, the Macedonians emerged on the horizon like the Greeks; but they did not appear as Greeks, but as barbarians."
On the other hand, H. G. Wells in his History of the World maintains the thesis that Macedonians were an Aryan people.
Ante Popovski agrees that the Macedonians gave their name to the country where they later lived. He bases his opinion both on the studies of Ellis, who in his Macedonian Imperialism stated that the ancient Macedonians held the name Macedonians long before their settlement in their new homeland, and on the viewpoint of Greek archeologist Photios Petsas that "Macedonia took its name from the Macedonians." Consequently, it follows that the name "Macedonian" was an ethnic name initially, only later becoming a geographical term.
The ancient Macedonians, over the course of time, became distinguished from other tribes in the region both by their drive for political power and in a psycho-physical respect: they were known as mountaineers, reputed to be brave and persistent, with a thirst for life. They were passionate hunters and fighters, who cultivated the land and raised cattle with equal skill. They were a simple and kind people, devoted to their families, but the Macedonian knew how to enjoy himself and drank a lot, developing a high tolerance for alcohol. The women, unlike Greek customs, took part in celebrations along with the men, and the Macedonians were known as good dancers.
Royal power in Macedonia was unlimited, but never turned into tyranny or despotism. The common Macedonian did not humiliate himself before the king-when he addressed him, it was sufficient to take off his helmet as a sign of respect. The historian Pausanius notes: "It seems that in ancient times the Thracian people had been more reasonable than the Macedonian in every respect, even more involved in religious matters."
The historian Quito considered that "when one says 'Macedonians' it should be understood as 'barbarians', who do not speak, think or live in a Greek way." For that reason, they were not allowed to take part in the Delphian Amphyctionic Council, the highest Hellenic body. When Philip defeated the Phocaeans, he had then succeeded in securing two votes on the Council. However, his two representatives, and later the representatives of Alexander of Macedon, were always addressed as "those of Philip" and "those of Alexander", while all others were addressed according to their tribal attributes or their towns or origin.
As written by Nade Proeva, the term "a barbarian" in Classical antiquity signifies "a man who does not speak Greek..." which suggests that the determinination of ethnicity took the element of Greek civilization into account. If the term "barbarian" was used solely in a political context, then why were the Spartans never called barbarians, even briefly, say, during the Peloponnesian war, she questions.
Pompey Trog wrote at the time: "As an opponent to him (to Onomarcus) the Thebans and Thessalians made as their leader not one of their co-citizens...but the Macedonian King Philip and thus, benevolently, gave authority over to a foreigner."
Concerning the takeover of the gold mines in the town of Philippi by Philip II, Diodorus of Sicily writes: "As he very rapidly accumulated great wealth from there, he brought the Macedonian empire to great fame through the abundance of money. He made gold coins called 'philippics' after himself, established a powerful army of mercenaries and by the use of philippics induced many Greeks to become traitors to their homeland."
When Phillip II came to the throne, a line of 21 kings had preceded him. As noted above, the first king of Ancient Macedonia was Charan, reigning from 808 to 778 B.C.. His successor to the throne was his son Koinos (778-750 B.C.). The Macedonian crown was then taken by Chyrimasus (750-707 B.C.). Legend tells that Perdiccas and his two brothers came to serve king Chyrimasus. However, following a quarrel with Chyrimasus, Perdiccas and his brothers left his service and settled in a neighboring region. Many years later, Perdiccas conquered all of Macedonia and ruled as King of Macedonia from 707 to 660 B.C.. He was succeeded by Argeus (659-645 B.C.), who cunningly foiled Illyrian raids on Macedonia and was the first to begin fortifying the cities.
The throne was then taken by Phillip I (644-640 B.C.), who was killed during a battle with the Illyrians. His son Aeronus ruled a full 65 years, from 639-574 B.C.. Little data is available about the next Macedonian king, Alxtatus, who ruled from 573 to 541 B.C.. His successor Amintas (540-498 B.C.) upheld contacts with Athens but also initiated contacts with the Persians and became their vassal. He in turn was succeeded by his son Alexander I Macedon (498-454 B.C.). Alexander united and established his authority over the Upper Macedonian tribes and centralized power in Macedonia. At that time, as stated by French historian Paul Clauche, Macedonia had about 400,000 inhabitants and extended over a territory of 30,000 square kilometers.
After Alexander's death, his eldest son Perdiccas II (451-414 B.C.) became king. According to Thucydides, Alexander Macedon's grandson, Archelaus I, did for Macedonia more than all the previous kings combined: he built fortifications and roads and improved the armament of his army's infantry and cavalry. He transferred his capital to Pella from Aegae. But his application to enter the Peloponnesian League was rejected, citing him as "a tyrant and barbarian" and thus implying that he was not a Greek. Archelaus was succeeded by his underage son Orestes-Orestes was killed by governor Aeronus, who then proclaimed himself king Archelaus II. His son Pausanius became king, but was in turn killed by Amintas II, son of Archelaus and brother of Orestes.
Amintas II (389-369 B.C.) was succeeded by his eldest son, Alexander II. Only a year later Alexander II was killed by his brother-in-law, Ptolomeus of Alor, who married Alexander's mother Eyridice and proclaimed himself heir to the throne. Alexander II's younger brother, Perdiccas, killed Ptolomeus in 365 B.C. and became King Perdiccas III. But the young king and 43,000 Macedonians were killed in a crushing defeat at the hands of the Dardans; Philip, who was 23 at the time and the youngest son of Amintas III, became regent to the heir Amintas IV, and shortly after was crowned as King Philip II.
In 359 B.C. Philip II ascended the throne, succeeding Amintas IV. Philip II reorganized the army and established the well-known Macedonian phalanx. He proceeded to defeat his northern neighbors, the Illyrians, who constantly endangered the borders of the Macedonian state. On the newly-conquered territory he laid the foundations of the town of Heraclea in the vicinity of present-day Bitola. He defeated aspirants to the Macedonian throne and continued to extend royal authority beyond the borders of Macedonia. Having spent time in Thebes as a hostage, he was quite familiar with the political circumstances in Greece, knowledge which stood him in good stead in his later wars against the Greek poleis, the small city-states. Victorious over the Thracians, he founded the town of Philippi and occupied part of Chalcidice. He took part in the Holy War of 352 B.C., defeating the Phocaeans and conquering Thessaly. In 348 he occupied Olynthus. To resist him, Corinth allied with Athens, which sent its fleet to prevent Phillip from occupying Byzant in 340 B.C.. In that same year, Philip defeated the Thracians for a second time and extended his territory as far as the Danube River. Victories followed one after the other: he defeated the Scythians, and at Chaeronea he defeated Athens and Thebes (338 B.C.) shattering their alliance against him. After the victory he made peace with Athens, passed into Peloponnesus and allied with Corinth for his war against the Persians. In 336, he sent 10,000 soldiers to Asia Minor to establish a bridgehead for a planned invasion. But the same year, he died of wounds inflicted upon him by assassins and did not have a chance to realize his plans. A talented general and exceptional diplomat, his wish to create a great and powerful Macedonian state in the Balkans was fulfilled even before his tragic, early death.
The progress of Philip's armies and the successive occupation of the Greek poleis caused confusion in Athens, divided between a pro-Macedonian party considering Philip to be a savior of Athens and a chance for to recover its lost glory, while an anti-Macedonian faction considered Philip to be the city's greatest enemy. The latter were led by the famous orator Demosthenes.
His speeches against Philip, the "Philippics", continue to be classical examples of superb oratory, even in the present day. They are important for Macedonian history because they contain a great deal of information about Philip and Macedonia. In the third Philippic Demosthenes says: "Philip can not be a friend of the Greeks. It is something more than a fraud. He is not a Greek and is not in any kinship with the Greeks; he is not even a foreigner with a decent descendance. He is only a wretched Macedonian. And in Macedonia, as we are aware, it was not even possible to buy a solid slave at the time."
The Macedonian phalanx Makedonska falanga
The First Book of Maccabees in the Old Testament begins:
"1. Alexander of Macedon, son of Philip, came from the land of Hatayans and defeated Darius, king of Persia and India and got himself affirmed in his place in Hellas.
"2. He fought many wars, occupied many fortified cities and defeated many kings."
Alexander III of Macedon, or Alexander the Great, has an immortal place in the history of mankind. The son of Philip II and Olympias, daughter of an Epirote king, he was born in Pella in 356 B.C. and ascended to the Macedonian throne at the age of 20, after his father's assassination. He was highly educated, and his teachers included Aristotle. Upon assuming the throne, he strengthened his hold on power by crushing all remaining aspirants to the Macedonian crown. He then crushed a rebellion in Greece, destroying Thebes completely, and with 30,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry and 150 ships set off to conquer the Persia Empire. In 334 B.C., by the River Granicus in Asia Minor, he defeated the Persians and Asia Minor practically fell into his hands. At Issus in 333 he defeated Darius, going on to conquer Egypt in 332 and found the town of Alexandria. A year latter he was victorious in the decisive battle of Gaugamela, defeating Darius again and proclaiming Babylon the capital of his greatly increased empire. After strengthening his power over eastern Iran, he embarked on the invasion of India. In 327 B.C. he defeated King Pora, occupying the western regions of India and conquering the Punjab. He was preparing to advance to the Ganges River but the dissatisfaction of his army, its exhaustion and the adverse climate forced him to postpone further conquests and return. Although invasions of Africa, Italy and Spain were planned, he died suddenly in 325 B.C.. But even in death, his fame increased and he was afterwards known as a god and as a legend.
Alexander was not merely a Macedonian king, he was also Macedonian by birth and spoke Macedonian.
When describing the quarrel between Alexander and Clytus in his Comparative Biographies, Plutarch said: "However, he [Alexander] did not get embarrassed, but jumped to his feet and began to call for his shield bearers in Macedonian, which was a sign of great danger, and ordered his trumpeter to blow the trumpet."
Quntus Curtius Rufus, on the other hand, describing the trial for high treason of the Macedonian regimental commander Philotas, son of Parmenion, writes: "Then the king [Alexander of Macedon] looked at him [Philotas] and said: 'Macedonians will be your judges, and I ask you whether you will use their language before them?' Philotas replied: 'Besides Macedonians, there are many others here who, to my opinion, will understand what I am going to say, if I use the same language [Hellenic] you used, for no other reason except that, as I trust, my words are understood by the majority of those present.'
Then the king said: 'Do you see to what degree Philotas denies his father's language? He finds it repulsive to speak in that language! But, let him speak as his heart dictates him, but do not forget that he does not even respect his customs, or his own language.'"
Let us analyze the speech of Alexander preceding Philotas' trial. By accusing Philotas of disrespect for both the customs and the language of his fathers (the mother tongue), he attempted from the very beginning to divert the judges and audience against the accused, slandering him and claiming that he had degraded and denied the most sacred and most dear. It suggests that the Ancient Macedonians attached great importance to their Macedonian national feeling and they would not simply remain indifferent in that respect.
Rufus writes also of another episode; when a Macedonian soldier found Darius wounded on a battlefield, the Persian emperor begged him for help in Greek. However, the Macedonian, not being able to understand him, was forced to ask for an interpreter.
In relation to this episode, recall the words of Ferdinand de Sausier: "Those who do not understand each other, are said to speak different languages." Max Fosmer, one of the best experts on ancient Balkan languages, categorically states that the ancient Macedonian language was different from ancient Greek.
It is no secret that the Greeks possessed a written language long before the Macedonians and that Macedonian noblemen spoke Greek since the time of Alexander I. However, Macedonian was not forgotten: Ptolemy, the Macedonian regimental commander who was latter to become King of Egypt, asked the Macedonian linguist Amerinus to come to Alexandria to collect and describe specific Macedonian words (glosses) and idioms. Unfortunately, Amerinus' work was destroyed over the course of time, although some of it was preserved through transcriptions. Nade Proeva states that more than 100 glosses of the Macedonian language are preserved. The studies of these glosses prove that there are some words in this dialect which have Greek stems, mainly military and surgical terminology. By her classification, there is a second group which includes words which are similar to Greek, but conform neither in morphological or in phonetic respects to Greek linguistic rules. The third and most numerous group, according to Proeva, encompasses words which can not be Greek either in respect to their form or to their spoken characteristics.
Not a single text in Macedonian has been preserved, and all writings of the time concerning the Ancient Macedonians were written in the Attic dialect, considered the international language of the times. Alexander of Macedonia proclaimed this dialect the official language of his state not because he was a Greek but because the Hellenes used this dialect (also known as Ionian) in their communications with the Persians, where the ambitions of the King lay.
Dimitrios Kanatsulis writes that: "The ancient Macedonians had a very strong and pronounced ethnic feeling." That had been a characteristic both when Macedonia was a great empire and, later, when it was a mere indifferent Roman province. By the village of Bel Kamen (Leukopetra) near Ber, a sepulchral slab dated 253 A.D. was found with the following engraved epitaph: "...I, Desnius Comenius, made a present to the mother of gods by giving her a child named Kalocheron, at the age of 12, a Macedonian by birth." Alongside the personal name of the individual, their ethnic identity was often registered as well as the name of the town where they came from, i.e.: a Macedonian from Aegean, a Macedonian from Voden. Ethnic feelings remained high during the Roman period: in the 3rd century A.D., when Macedonia was a Roman province, the Macedonians requested that the leaders of their communes not be called archiereuses, but Macedoniarcheses.
The Ancient Macedonians had their own gods and cults. The cult of the dog and the cult of the wolf, for example, were unique to them and quite unknown to the Hellenes.
The chief god of the ancient Macedonians was Charon (a satyr). Initially Charon was merely a totem, in which the soul of the tribal leader lived after his death, protecting the members of the tribe. In his honor, the Macedonian kings wore goat-skins, and when it proved impractical to wear such during combat they substituted a ram's horn attached to the helmet. Daron was the god of health, who shared his power freely with the people. Dios or Diapater was the god of the heavens and the earth, his name originating from the words Dio (god) and pater (father), which would mean god-father. In Thessaloniki Gulf there was a large sanctuary dedicated to Diapater where celebrations and games took place annually in his honor, somewhat similar to the Greek Olympiad. Other ancient Macedonian gods were Gasoteris, god of hunting, Zeyron, goddess of love and beauty, Chanadaon, god of war, and Chandeval, "he who strangles dogs."
The death of Alexander the Great signaled the end of the Macedonian empire. The empire had encompassed the Balkans, the Aegean Islands, Egypt, Asia Minor, and the Middle East from modern-day Israel to Iran, as well as portions of western India (modern Afghanistan and Pakistan). But the empire was divided by the emperor's generals. Initially, the adolescent stepbrother of Alexander, Philip III Arrhidaeus and Alexander's son by his wife Roxanne, Alexander IV, were his heirs. Cratelus and Perdiccas, close friends and comrades in arms of the emperor, were entrusted as regents, and positions of power throughout the empire were granted to other close associates: Antipater was governor of Peloponnesus, Attica and Epirus; Lysimachus was governor of Thrace and northwestern Asia Minor; Antigonus I Cyclops was satrap of Greater Phrygia, Lycia and Pamphylia; Ptolemy Lagus was governor of Egypt; Seleucus ruled the empire's Asian possessions; Eumenes ruled Cappadocia; Cassandar, son of Antipater, married the emperor's sister, Thessalonika, and became King of Hellas and Macedonia. The lack of a strong heir created a power vacuum, which quickly led to a division of the empire into zones of influence. The escalation of ambitions led to conflicts, and those who had been friends and comrades in arms soon had divided the empire into new states and kingdoms, displacing Alexander's chosen heirs. Antigonus I Cyclops, for example, founded the Antigonid dynasty: Ptolemy Lagus founded the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt; and Seleucus founded the Seleucid kingdom.
In the First Book of Maccabees of the Old Testament it is written:
7. Thus, after reigning for 12 years,
8. And his noblemen ruled each in his own region...
9. After his death they all became kings, crowned their heads, and their sons after them. For many years they multiplied the evil done.
While the empire of Alexander the Great writhed in constant agony, a world power in the form of Rome increasingly directed its attention towards the Balkans and the east in general. In the course of the three Macedonian-Roman wars (215-205 B.C., 200-197 B.C. and 171-168 B.C.) the power of Macedonia was crushed. The battle of Pydna on June 22, 168 B.C. saw the last Macedonian king, Perseus, decisively defeated, marking the end of the Macedonian empire and state. A year later at the Amphipolis Council, Roman Consul Paulus Aemylius announced the decision by which "Macedonians will continue to be free, they will have the same towns and territory as before, they will use their own laws and will elect their magistrates each year." But at the same meeting a decision was made to divide Macedonia into four regions. Macedonia Primus was constituted by the territories between the rivers Strymon (Struma) and Nestus (Mesta) with Amphipolis as its capital; Macedonia Secundus was comprised of the region between Strymon and Axius (Vardar) and over a part of Paeonia in the east from Axius, with its capital at Thessaloniki (Solun); Macedonia Teritus encompassed the territory between the Axius and Peneus rivers and a part of Paeonia in the west of Axius, with Pella as its capital; and Macedonia Quatrus included the western parts of Upper Macedonia, Aeordeia, Linkestide and Pelagonia, some Illyrian regions and a part of Paeonia, with the town of Pelagonia as its capital. Following such a division, the historian Livius usually referred to Macedonia as "partitioned Macedonia", as any cooperation whatsoever or ingreation of any of the four parts was forbidden. In 149 B.C., after crushing a rebellion of Macedonians led by the False Philip, the Romans abolished the guaranteed freedoms of Macedonia and in 148 B.C. transformed it into a Roman province.
Rome ruled over Macedonia for nearly 900 years-until the 7th century A.D. It is true that the Macedonians never succeeded in reestablishing their own state: however, it is also true that Rome never tried to draw Macedonia into the Roman cultural sphere. According to Fanula Papazoglou, "...The Romanization of Macedonia was never a priority of Roman rulers." The borders of Macedonia changed, certainly, over the course of time: but its ethnic and cultural identity was never impaired. Extinguished as a state, Macedonia ceased to attract the attention of history, but the Macedonian people never disappeared. They continued to live within the borders of the new political community-the Roman state-while retaining their own ethnicity, language, religion and customs. Transformed from an coastal Empire into a landlocked Roman province, Macedonia was now part of an extensive and complex civilization, with fewer possibilities to express its individuality in the field of culture. Nevertheless, Macedonians made their own contribution to Roman civilization and the study of the Ancient Macedonians, argues Papazoglou, can facilitate a deeper understanding of the Roman Empire.
The strongest illustration that the Macedonian people had not disappeared is an epitaph from the 3rd century A.D.: "the two-month old Nikai was of Macedonian race." These engraved words prove that the ethnic feeling of the Macedonians, their self-awareness of being an individual ethnos, had not vanished with the fall of the Macedonian state.
Papazoglou, regarding the Roman presence on the territory of Macedonia, states that: "The numerous Roman names in the inscriptions dating from the time of Imperial rule in Macedonia do not represent proof of true Romanization." If this is true, then by what logic would Greek names and Greek inscriptions be a proof of Hellenization of geographic Macedonian? Ironically, Macedonia is usually studied as a subsect of Greek studies, although it has never been part of Greece, even during the Roman period. According to Kun, urban organization of Greek type can only be found in the coastal regions and in Lower Macedonia before the Roman conquest, while Upper Macedonia retained a tribal framework not completely replaced before the end of the Classical era.
The German historian Gustav Dreusen (1808-1884), in his 1826 three-volume History of Hellenism for the first time introduced the erroneous theory that the entire period of the Macedonian state is encompassed in the term "Hellenism" and "Hellenistic culture". Vasil Iljov disputed such a theory as inappropriate and unacceptable, as "all the events taking place at that time were directly connected with Macedonia, the Macedonian Empire, the Macedonians and their delicate interrelations. The rulers themselves, their descent and the royal dynasties founded by them were of Macedonian origin. The Macedonian context of this cultural transformation was a new, Macedonian way of urban life, and an original Macedonian 'urban' policy of defense and development was established...".
The defeat at Pydna was fatal for the Macedonians: dispersed throughout the Roman Empire with no point to rally around, they were gradually politically assimilated over the course of time. Not all Macedonians succumbed to Romanization, however. Nade Proeva, interpreting the enigma of a group of monuments of anthropomorphic form found in the periphery of Pelagonia, theorizes that the local population retreated before the Roman conquerors to more inaccessible areas, where they preserved their distinctive style of monuments, recognized since the Classical Period, and a considerable number of autochthonous names.
In his preface to the Illiad, Milan Budimir says that not a single Hellene was called Homer and that the epic is written in a mixture of the Ionian, Aeolic and Attic dialects, a language not spoken by any Hellene. Budimir suggests that "we have a barbarian Iliad in the language of the Indo-European Phrygians or Brygians."
The Thracians are labeled by Vergil in a similar manner. Both peoples originated in the Balkans, where the Phrygians at one time occupied its entire territory from the Illyrian Adriatic to the Thracian Pontus.
According to some evidence, the Phrygians came from Macedonia and descended from the Brygians settled near Prilep, as indicated in the 1974 archeological map of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Budimir suggests that Achilles was not addressing the Olympic Zeus, but the Zeus of Epirote Dodone, Zeus of the Indo-European Pelasgians. Milan Gjurich in his History of Hellenic Ethics is categorical that the Pelasgians were a Macedonian tribe, ancient inhabitants in the Balkans, and Homer was a Pelasgian.
On the other hand, Engels, whose doctoral studies focused on Heraclitus and the philosophic ideas of that time, asserted that the Hellenes inherited from the barbarians the following twelve key technologies: sophisticated iron tools, the blacksmith's bellows, the hand mill, the pottery wheel, the processing of oil and wine, advanced metal working, the cart, the war chariot, building ships from logs and boards, the beginnings of architecture as art, fortified cities with towers, Homer's epic and the Hellenic mythology.
The establishment of the ancient Macedonian state and its distinct features of Macedonian culture, was an indigenous, continuing process. Even Herodotus spoke of Macedonia, Macedonians, Macedonian land, Upper and Lower Macedonia, of "the entirity of Macedonia", and of a state of the Macedonians-the Macedonian kingdom of the Macedonian people. All that had been created over centuries could not, of course, vanish completely, quickly and finally, nor would the remaining people who lived on Macedonian territory. The writings of Theodorite Kirski, who lived in the first half of the 5th century A.D., are suggestive: despite the fact that Emperor Theodosius I massacred the Macedonian population of Thessaloniki, Kirski speaks about this city as "a large and densely populated city, which belonged to the Macedonian people."