The name of the modern land-locked country north of Greece, with its capital at Skopje, has returned to the news. It is officially called FYROM, but embedded in that name is “Macedonia” which is a reflection of the longstanding attempt to take over the modern Greek province of Macedonia as reflected in maps used in many places, including schools.
It is clear that this naming implies territorial ambitions which have long been understood (http://macedonia-evidence.org/documentation.html). If that threat to the stability of the southern Balkans is to be stopped permanently, I suggest that the following must happen:
1) the country should be named Paionia (aka Paeonia) as it was 2500 years ago (see http://macedonia-evidence.org/).
The land in question, with its modern capital at Skopje, was called Paionia in antiquity. Mts. Barnous and Orbelos (which form today the northern limits of Greece) provide a natural barrier that separated, and separates, Macedonia from its northern neighbor. The only real connection is along the Axios/Vardar River and even this valley “does not form a line of communication because it is divided by gorges.”
The geographic situation is made clear by Livy’s account of the creation of the Roman province of Macedonia in 146 B.C. (Livy 45.29.7 and 45.29.12). The land north of Mt. Barnous and Mt. Orbelos was inhabited by Paionians. The natural barrier formed by these mountains must be acknowledged. Barnous (modern Voras or Kaimaktsalan) reaches a height of 2524 meters, while Orbelos (the whole range extending to east and west of the Strymon; the western ridge is the modern Beles or Kerkini with a height of 1474 meters) has a maximum height toward the east of 2211 meters.
Strabo (7. frag 4), writing a few years before the birth of Christ, is even more succinct in saying that Paionia was north of Macedonia and the only connection from one to the other was (and is today) through the narrow gorge of the Axios (or Vardar) River.
The ancient Paionians may or may not have been Greek, but they certainly became ‘Greekish’, and they were never Slavs. They were also not Macedonians. Ancient Paionia was a part of the Macedonian Empire. So were Ionia and Syria and Palestine and Egypt and Mesopotamia and Babylonia and Bactria and many more. They may thus have become “Macedonian” temporarily, but none was ever “Macedonia”. The theft of Philip and Alexander by a land that was never Macedonia, cannot be justified.
The traditions of ancient Paionia could be adopted by the current residents of that geographical area with considerable justification. But the extension of the geographic term “Macedonia” to cover southern Yugoslavia cannot. Even in the late 19th century, this misuse implied unhealthy territorial aspirations.
Unfortunately relatively little is known about the ancient Paionians, partly because “no Paionian Philip ever dominated Greece, and no Paionian Alexander ever conquered the known world” ( Irwin L. Merker, “The Ancient Kingdom of Paionia,” Balkan Studies 6 (1965) 35).
Nonetheless, they appear already in the Trojan War (albeit on the Trojan side; Homer, Iliad 2.848-850, 16.287-291, 17.348-351). Their confrontation with the Persians is recorded by Herodotus (5.1, 12-17). They fought against Philip who subdued them and with Alexander against the Persians, especially in the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 B.C. (Quintus Curtius, History of Alexander 4.9.24-25).
They enjoyed, even under the Macedonians, a certain degree of autonomy as is shown by their negotiations with Athens (IG II2 127), and the many coins minted under a series of Paionian kings, whose names are Greek and inscribed in Greek on the coins. See, for example, the following silver issue of Patraos, probably depicting the slaying of a Persian satrap by the Paionian Ariston, as told by Quintus Curtius (above).
Even more significantly for the assimilation of Paionia into the Greek world are the dedications of statues of Paionian kings made at Delphi and Olympia, and especially the bronze head of a Paionian bison, also at Delphi. See BCH 1950:22, Inschriften von Olympia 303; and Pausanias 10.13.1, respectively.
2) the flag with the Macedonian star must be replaced. That symbol is known only in ancient Greek contexts. Perhaps the symbol of Paionia could be the flower named for it: peony.
3) maps used in public places and schools must cease to show a unified “Macedonia” stretching southward to Mt. Olympus and including Thessaloniki.
This prohibition should include such irredentist maps such as that used in an 8th grade history book in 2005 (and perhaps still today), that shows parts of “Macedonia” occupied by Albania (yellow), Bulgaria (purple), and Greece (red).
The use of suggestive commercial devices such as bank notes with the White Tower of Thessaloniki, must be stopped.
The same should be enforced for materials such as coffee sold under the name of Pella – the capital of ancient Macedonia and birthplace of Alexander – with a sailing ship as its symbol. What is implied thereby for a country which has no seaport?
4) The modern statues of Alexander and Philip recently erected by the Skopjean government must be razed. They are an insult to history. Could Alexander have read the Slavic inscriptions on those statues?
Although there will certainly be those in Skopje who will resist such reforms, I believe that they are absolutely necessary if Greece and Paionia are to live in peace. I also believe that the natives of that land would feel a greater sense of security knowing that their identity was not stolen from another.
PS: There is another solution: Greece annexes Skopje.
Originally published on: 2018-01-10
About the author: Stephen G. Miller, Professor emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
Source: Greece Greek Reporter
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
The following text was written in the immediate wake of the 1999 NATO bombings of Yugoslavia and the invasion of Kosovo by NATO troops.
It is now well established that the war on Yugoslavia was waged on a fabricated humanitarian pretext and that extensive war crimes were committed by NATO and the US.
In retrospect, the war on Yugoslavia was a “dress rehearsal” for subsequent US-NATO sponsored humanitarian wars including Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), Syria (2011), Ukraine (2014).
Who are the war criminals? In a bitter irony, the so-called International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague is controlled ...
The Vlachs in Romania
The territory of Romania is considered by a significant number of the Balkan Vlachs as their real motherland (for the reason that it is the only state of the neo-Latin speakers in South-East Europe) or the national state of the Vlachs regardless on the fact that they are not originating from Romania. Outstandingly, the Romanian intellectuals (especially the linguists) and politicians expressed during the last century and a half a high level of attention to all neo-Latin speaking groups in South-East Europe claiming that all of them belong to the Romanian nationality. Accordingly, the leading theory about ...
Serbia organized an exhibition of cultural and historical heritage of Kosovo and Metohija in Paris, the headquarters of UNESCO, to serve as a reminder to the West of how they let it be destroyed since the 2000s.
There is a lot of Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija. Now, Kosovo is an independent state, partially recognized by Western countries. But the world was shocked by anti-Serbian riots organized by Albanians during the Kosovo unrest in 2004. Many Serbian monuments were damaged in the chaos.
Albanian extremists living in Kosovo, since the 2000s, have continued to raid and damage Serbian cultural heritage ...
The Ruling Class Reserve Tag
One of the many irritating things about the dominant United States corporate media is the way it repeatedly discovers anew things that are not remotely novel. Take its recent discovery that Donald Trump isn’t really the swamp-draining populist working class champion he pretended to be on the campaign trail.
The evidence for this “news” is solid enough. His cabinet and top advisor circle has been chock full of ruling class swamp creatures like former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn (top economic adviser), longtime top Goldman Sachs partner and top executive Steve Mnuchin (Secretary of the Treasury), and ...
Contemporary historiography and the Slavonic studies upon the question of the ethnolinguistic origin of the Croats and the Serbs more and more incline on the side of those authors who support the linguistic theory of the Indo-Sarmatian (the Iranian) origins of proto-Croats and proto-Serbs.
The Indo-European Iranian origin
According to this contemporary explanation, Croats and Serbs were the people of the Iranian (the Sarmatian) origin, who migrated into the Balkans in the 7th century and subjected the Slavs there. However, in the course of time, they became totally slavicized (like proto-Turkic Bulgars who were settled on the Balkans between the Danube River ...
Never had so many people been put in prison. The size of the Allied captures was unprecedented in all history. The Soviets took prisoner some 3.5 million Europeans, the Americans about 6.1 million, the British about 2.4 million, the Canadians about 300,000, the French around 200,000. Uncounted millions of Japanese entered American captivity in 1945, plus about 640,000 entering Soviet captivity.As soon as Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945, the American Military Governor, General Eisenhower, sent out an “urgent courier” throughout the huge area that he commanded, making it a crime punishable by death for German civilians to feed prisoners. ...
IntroductionThe goals of this article are: 1) to investigate the role of the revived Patriarchate of Peć in Serbian and Balkan history?; and 2) to explore and present the results of investigation of the problems with respect to: a) the role of the Serbian Church during the first decades of the Ottoman occupation of Serbian lands in the process of the creation of a Serbian national identity; b) Serbian-Turkish relations in the second half of the 16th century; and c) the reasons for Serbian disloyalty towards the Ottoman government at the turn of the 17th century.The article addresses the reasons ...
The Kingdom of Belgium as a multilingual and multucultural society is today a federal type of the experimental laboratory of the European integration within the framework of the European Union (the EU). This is also a country in which the capital of the European Union is located and a country as one of the original six establishing countries of the present day the EU. The question of destiny of the Belgian multicultural federalism is of the crucial importance for the future process of European integration or disintegration.
The Belgian multicultural society: Long united and long divided
The population of the Kingdom of ...
Once again, U.S. air and naval forces are preparing strikes on Serbia’s army and police for refusing to stand down in Kosovo. And, once again, Americans are deeply ambivalent about intervention.“Either we get in there with a NATO force, or we get the hell out,” said an exasperated Sen. John Warner after Yugoslav strong man Slobodan Milosevic showed two NATO generals the door.Warner advocates intervention. But Americans sense that, despite our disgust at the latest massacre and Milosevic’s thuggery, no vital U.S. interest exists there. The Serbs do not threaten NATO; they have not attacked Americans; they are fighting to ...
America’s and its allies’ violation of the U.N. Charter, in regards to their recent actions to force a regime-change upon the sovereign nation of Venezuela, are baldly, and with unambiguous clarity, in violation of one of the seven founding “Principles” that are stated in the U.N. Charter.These violations are so severe as to demonstrate that the U.S. Government is an international rogue-regime — a blatant and unapologetic and repeated violator of the U.N. Charter, and of other major sources of international law.The U.N. Charter contains 19 “Chapters” or main divisions, and 111 “Articles” which include each subdivision within each “Chapter.” ...
Peace TV, an enterprise directed from India, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai by a fundamentalist Islamist preacher, Zakir Naik, has established a 12-hour daily program in Kosovo, a country 90% Muslim.
The entry into Kosovo of Naik’s Peace TV, broadcasting each day in Albanian from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., appears to be an element in a novel campaign by South Asian Islamists to establish a foothold among Europe’s indigenous Balkan Muslims. Peace TV’s message is hard-line Wahhabism, which insults, in aggressive terms, spiritual Sufis, Shia Muslims, non-fundamentalist Sunnis, Jews, Christians, and Hindus, among others. Radical Islamist interlopers and their financiers, mainly ...
Donald Trump entered military terra incognita on Thursday by launching an illegal Tomahawk missile strike on an air base in eastern Syria. Beyond the clear violation of international law, the practical results are likely to be disastrous, drawing the U.S. deeper into the Syrian quagmire.
But it would be a mistake to focus all the criticism on Trump. Not only are Democrats also at fault, but a good argument could be made that they bear even greater responsibility.
For years, near-total unanimity has reigned on Capitol Hill concerning America’s latest villains du jour, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Congressmen, senators, ...
Tito’s policy in the 1970s of the so-called “encourage and suppress” for the sake to struggle against politically undesirable and threatening ethnic nationalisms especially the Croat and the Serb ones appeared to be incoherent one. In another words, while some ethnic nationalisms and their ideologies were considered to be dangerous to the system and, therefore, were suppressed and their advocates were jailed or banned from employment[i] (the case, for instance, of the Serbian dissident professors from Belgrade University), other nationalisms, supposed to be non-dangerous for the regime were encouraged by the local Communist elites (for instance, the Albanian nationalism in ...
In its entire history, there has been very little time when the United States has been at peace. As it wages its many wars and ‘interventions’, the stated goal is always something few people could argue with: fostering democracy when a struggling people are resisting tyranny, removing threats to U.S. security, or punishing a cruel dictator for unspeakable misdeeds.
Yet on closer scrutiny, these reasons are seldom valid. They simply hide the true purposes of U.S. military involvement, which are power and wealth. Starting with the barbarous destruction of Native American culture in order to gain farmlands, right through to the ...
An inquiry by the EU has found “compelling indications” that ten Serb captives had their body organs harvested for illegal trafficking during the 1998-99 Kosovo war. However, it wasn’t widespread and there will be no trial, the lead investigator said.The chief prosecutor Clint Williamson, who led the investigation, said there was no evidence of widespread organ harvesting, but that the crime had occurred a number of times.“There are compelling indications that this practice did occur on a very limited scale and that a small number of individuals were killed for the purpose of extracting and trafficking their organs,” he told ...
There is very bad news for the US’ policymakers: Russia is back!After the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia, both weakened and isolated, was becoming a less popular area of studying and dealing with in comparison before the end of the Cold War. Global imperialists in Washington strongly believed that after 1991 Russia was simply “finished” or, better to say, they “finished” the game with Russia as Moscow was not anymore the capital of a Great Power state which had an important influence in global politics and international relations. In other words, the American warmongers in Washington thought ...
President Donald Trump appears sui generis. Other troublesome populists, like Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, hold power. But no other nation of great influence is governed by someone so little rooted in reality and so much dominated by personality.
However, the president has a historical soul mate who ruled a century ago. The similarities are striking, though their lives obviously differed in important ways. One wonders: was the German Empire’s Kaiser Wilhelm II reincarnated as President Trump?
Wilhelm II was born in 1859 in the house of Hohenzollern. A grandson of British queen Alexandrina Victoria, he grew up in a life of wealth ...
Americans are outraged by allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an intelligence service to hack email accounts of the Democratic National Committee. How inexpressibly heinous that one country, Russia, would try to influence elections in another sovereign country, in this case the United States! How unprecedented! How diabolical! How uniquely Russian!
In response, the Obama administration has expelled Russian diplomats, hinted at economic sanctions, and promised further retaliation using America’s “world-class arsenal of cyber weapons.” (NYT Dec. 16, 2016) Obama’s Republican opponents, for their part, have demanded “rocks” instead of Obama’s “pebbles.”
But does the USA meddle in the presidential elections ...
Ever since the end of World War II, the United States, rightly or wrongly, but most of the time, wrongly, has fancied itself as the «world’s policeman». Even a disastrous and costly military intervention in Southeast Asia did not deter the United States from acting as the chief arbiter of what governments were «in» and which were «out» as evidenced by Central Intelligence Agency interloping in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Haiti, and Colombia. Two military interventions in Iraq and a U.S.-led military campaign directed against Yugoslavia were not enough to pry the United States from its self-appointed role as the ...
Following the death of President Tito in 1980 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia slid towards chaos. In the 1990s the plunge accelerated into civil war and one of the regions most affected was Kosovo from which Serbia withdrew after a NATO bomb and rocket offensive from 24 March to 11 June 1999. That blitz involved over 1,000 mainly American aircraft conducting some 38,000 airstrikes on Yugoslavia that killed approximately 500 civilians and destroyed much of the economic and social infrastructure of the region.NATO said its air bombardment was essential to halt repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and justified the ...
NATO’s Reign of Terror in Kosovo & the Destruction of Yugoslavia
Europe’s Palmyra: How Kosovo’s Medieval Serbian Christian Culture was Demolished by Muslim Albanians
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
On the Origins of Proto-Croats and Proto-Serbs
A Holocaust was what the Americans Did to the Germans: Eisenhower’s Starvation Order
Serbian Patriarchate of Peć in the Ottoman Empire: The First Phase (1557−1594)
Belgium’s Multicultural Society of “Federalism Laboratory”
Blatant Violation, by U.S. & its Allies against the U.N. Charter
Islamic Extremists Establish Foothold in Kosovo and the Balkans
Luring Trump into Mideast Wars
The Collapsing of Yugoslavia (1981‒1990)
Book Review: Robert Fantina, “Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy”, 2013
Western Intelligence Operation “Kosovo Liberation Army” Harvested Serbs’ Organs – The EU’s inquiry
Importance of Russia in Global Politics
What Trump Has in Common with the Last German Emperor
US Meddling in 1996 Russian Elections in Support of Boris Yeltsin
The “World’s Policeman” Retires on Disability
From Kosovo to Crimea — Tales of Referendums