The Balkans Has Always Been Multicultural

By Victor Bivell

One of the reasons I am proud to be of Macedonian descent and would be embarrassed to be of Greek descent is that both ancient and modern Macedonia were and are unashamedly multicultural, and while ancient and modern Greece were and are also multicultural, modern Greece is not a multicultural country but still practices barbaric assimilation.

The multiculturalism of ancient Macedonia, Greece and Thrace is self evident from them being entry points for migration from Africa and Asia for hundreds of thousands of years, and is verified by modern DNA technology.

So talk of pure Greeks and pure Macedonians is just not correct. And Greek statements about the ancient Macedonians being Greek are shameless propaganda. Here is a quote from a modern Greek academic Miltiades B. Hatzopoulos from his book Ancient Macedonia. Note the final sentence "There remained the formidable task of transforming this mosaic of peoples and heterogeneous political units into a single people and a single state."

Unfortunately, even this meagre "mosaic of peoples" is as good as it gets from most Greek academics.

"When in 360, after the assassination of Alexander II in 368/7 and the death of Perdikkas III in battle against the Illyrians, Philip acceded to the Macedonian throne, the kingdom was in a shambolic state. The Illyrians were occupying Upper Macedonia, the Paionians were sweeping down the Axios Valley, Pausanias from Kalindoia threatened the eastern marches of the kingdom and claimed once again the Temenid throne with Thracian support, and, finally, Argaios, another pretender, marched to Aigeai with a mercenary force supplied by the Athenians. Philip played the only good card that he still retained, a Macedonian garrison introduced by his brother Perdikkas III into Amphipolis, which he removed as a good-will gesture to Athens and started the brilliant ‘reconquista' of his kingdom. He defeated Argaios, got rid of Pausanias and the Paionians, recovered Upper Macedonia from the Illyrians, recaptured Amphipolis, and tricked the Athenians out of Pydna. For the first time in a hundred years Macedonia had completely recovered the Strymon valley. However, he did not stop there. He occupied Krenides and founded a new city, Philippoi, naming it after himself, and thus regained possession of the mines of Mount Pangaion, which his ancestor Alexander I had lost a century before. Finally, he took Methone, an old Eretrian colony which had become an Athenian possession. Thus, in only six years he had fully restored the Macedonian realm at its greatest extent. It stretched from Lake Ochrid and the twin Lakes Prespa in Upper Macedonia to the valley of the Strymon, and from the Tempe pass to the Gorges of the Axios (Demir Kapija). The western coast of the Thermaic Gulf, from Herakleion to Therme and beyond, was exclusively Macedonian. Nevertheless, Philip did not hesitate to alienate momentarily Anthemous to obtain the favour and alliance of the Chalkidic League (Diod. 16.8.4–5; Dem. 6.20; Liban. Hypoth. Dem. 1.2). He was probably already planning to take it back. The opportunity arose in 349–348, when he defeated the Chalkidian League, and also conquered not only Anthemous, but also the whole of the Chalkidike peninsula. Macedonia proper (i.e. excluding the external dependencies) had practically acquired its definitive contour that would stay essentially unaltered until the Roman conquest. There remained the formidable task of transforming this mosaic of peoples and heterogeneous political units into a single people and a single state."

21 April 2022