ANCIENT MACEDONIANS: DID THEY HAVE A COMMON ORIGIN WITH THE VENETI?
Boris Kidric 15/11, Stip, Macedonia; E-mail: email@example.com
The Ancient Macedonians are among the most famous nations in the history. Probably the most famous of all in the row of renown ancient Macedonians is Alexander The Great of Macedon, who was driven by his idea of a World State where all the people will live together in equality. His father, Philip II of Macedon is also very well known. Aristotle,1) one of the greatest philosophers, was also a Macedonian (by father), and so was the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII (she was a distant grand-daughter of the Macedonian general Ptolemy, friend of Alexander The Great since their childhood).2) The members of the Seleucides and Ptolemais dynasties were also Macedonians, and a few of them are mentioned in the Bible.3) There are views within the scientific community that Macedonians were the Holy Evangelist Luke,4) as well a number of Byzantine Tzars.5) The contribution of ancient Macedonians to the world civilisation is large and of great importance.6)
What was the ethnic origin of the ancient Macedonians? Despite the views in some parts of scientific community today that the ancient Macedonians were part of the Hellenes, the idea that ancient Macedonians were a separate people is becoming increasingly accepted among the scientific circles around the world.7) The ancient Greek historians clearly stated that the Macedonians were a separate people from the Hellenes. The ancient Greek historian Arrian (I AD) even wrote that there was a "racial rivalry” between the ancient Macedonians and the Greeks.8)
There are a certain number of arguments and strong indications in support of the existence of (at least partial) ethno-cultural links between the ancient Macedonians and Veneti.
Before presenting some of these arguments, we need to affirm that the Veneti were among the oldest nations in Europe. Narratively the Veneti were initially mentioned as people from Asia Minor, and later on as Balkan people9) as well. Furthermore, there are number of testimonials and evidences that the ancient people Veneti were the ancestors of the Slavs.10) This practically means that the ancient Macedonians and the Slavs should have (at least partial) common ethno-cultural background. Following are only some of the arguments in support of this, since a wider elaboration is required to fully cover this topic and the space on this occasion is limited.
Let us start with the language. The ancient Macedonians used their own vernacular, Macedonian language. There are a number of testimonials from the ancient historians in support of this fact. For instance, the Greek historian Plutarch (I AD), describing a quarrel between Alexander The Great and one of his friends wrote that Alexander “jumped on his feet and in Macedonian called on his shield-bearers”.11)
In his biography of Marc Anthony, Plutarch mentioned that Macedonian was the mother tongue of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII and of her ancestors from the Macedonian dynasty Ptolemais.12)
The Latin historian Quintus Curtius Rufus (I AD) also testified that the ancient Macedonians spoke a separate, Macedonian language. He described the trial of the Macedonian Philotas for contriving a plot to murder Alexander The Great. The plot was discovered and Alexander publicly interrogated Philotas. Describing this event, Q. C. Rufus clearly stated that the Macedonians spoke separate language.13)
An evidence of the distinction of the Macedonian language was found on fragment of a papyrus, which was thought to be a part of the lost work “History of the successors” by the ancient Greek historian Arrian. In this papyrus (PSI XII.1284) an episode from the history of ancient Macedonia has been described where the distinction of Macedonian language has been clearly emphasized. In this text has been said that the secretary of Philip and Alexander of Macedon, Eumenes was: “…sending forth a man called Xennias who was Macedonian in speech…” to negotiate with the Macedonian army of Neoptolemeus. This event took place around 321 BC.14)
That the Macedonian was a distinct vernacular characteristic to the Macedonians speak the few anti-Macedonian speeches given by the great orator from Athens Demosthenes. In his work "Philippic" the Greek Demosthenes gave the following insulting remark about the Macedonian King Philip II of Macedon:
“That man Philip, not only he is not a Greek, but also he does not have anything in common with the Greeks. If only he would have been a barbarian from a decent country – but he is not even that. He is a scabby creature from Macedonia – a land that you can not even bring a slave that is worth something from”.15)
The question why Demosthenes named Philip a barbarian becomes imminent. Majority of the scientists believe that the term “barbarians” in the ancient period refereed mainly to people that spoke language that Greeks could not understand, usually accompanied by a dose of disregard towards the culture of the people speaking that language. It is well known that all the people that did not speak Greek were named “barbarians”, whereas the Greeks from the city-states used the word “xenoi” in referring to one-another.16)
Demosthenes was not alone in naming the Macedonians “barbarians”, ancient Greek historian Isocrates also called the Macedonians “barbarians”.17) The Greek Trasumachus, in his speech before the Larisians in V BC named the Macedonian king Archelaos “barbarian” in relation to the Greek Larisians.18)
However, it is a fact that the elites in power in ancient Macedonia at a certain stage of the development of Macedonia took up the Greek literary language and elements of the Hellenic culture (religion, onomastics etc). It needs to be said right away that this does not mean at all that the Macedonians were Hellenes. First thing to be said in relation to this is that the Greek literary language at the time was also used by many other nations that were not Hellenes: Thracians, Jews, Ilyrians, even the Romans, all these people at some stage in the ancient period wrote in old Greek language. Such examples can be witnessed even today: the Irish speak and write in English and are not English; Brazilians speak and write in Portuguese and are not Portuguese etc.
As far as adopting the Old Greek language by the Macedonian royalty is concerned, it is a fact that this occurred at a certain stage of development of the Macedonian state. In support of this acts is the reality of non-existence of not even a single inscription in Greek on the territory of Macedonia to be dated from and before V BC, which is the period prior to the partial adoption of the Greek culture in Macedonia. The fact that many of the inscriptions in Greek found (from a later date though) contain many grammatical errors, which by itself is also a proof in support of the truth, and that is that the Old Greek language was foreign to the Macedonians.
What was like the ancient Macedonian language? There are only a certain number of preserved words, and from the current knowledge the structure of the ancient Macedonian cannot be synthesised. Most of the ancient Macedonian words are different to the ancient Greek words, however there are a few that are similar. The words from the ancient Macedonian language that are similar to the ancient Greek language words are believed to be borrowed from Greek.19) In fact, this occurrence was and still is characteristic for all languages in the world. In the Macedonian language today are adopted terms from foreign languages mainly where there are no authentic terminology or analogy. For instance: antena (antenna); satelit (satellite); kompjuter (computer) etc. These foreign words are being adapted in accordance with the modern Macedonian phonetic system. This needs to be taken into account when analysing the ancient Macedonian language. The authenticity and the nature of a language cannot be possibly determined only by the words that language adopted from another language.
We should also stress that almost all the preserved ancient Macedonian words reached modern age through their Greek transcript, which makes it more difficult to identify their true meaning. It is important that the phenomenon “Interpretatio Graeca” is mentioned here, that is greekifying of all the foreign words: nouns, verbs, and especially names. A specific characteristic in this process is adding the suffix “os” or “s” to the foreign words, and this will be discussed later in this paper.
Despite all this, it is very interesting to note that many of the authentic ancient Macedonian words, according to their etymology and pronunciation, have a striking resemblance to the appropriate words used in the modern Macedonian language (and other Slav languages).
For instance, the word “tshelniku” meaning foremost is a very interesting case. The British historian Hammond mentioned its etymology and said that the word “tshelniku” in the ancient Macedonian language had a meaning of “leader of a group”. Hammond says that this word was translated into Greek only in the 14th century as “phylarchos”.20)
The word “tshelnik” with completely identical etymology and pronunciation has been registered in the old Slavic language in Macedonia as early as 11th century! Proof of this is the entry of Byzantine chronicle writer Kekavmen where he described the events surrounding the anti-byzantine uprising of Petar Deljan in 11th century. Here he said that in the language of the rebels “the strategist is called tshelnik”!21) It is known that Kekavmen was fluent in the “language of the Slavs” in Macedonia therefore he could translate the Greek word “strategist” as “tshelnik” (the strategist was a high military rank in Byzantine). It is even more interesting that the word “tshelnik” with identical etymology and pronunciation is being used today in other Slav languages! This cannot be a coincidence, especially considering the fact that there could be hundreds of thousands etymological meanings that a single word can represent, and in this instance there is an identical etymological meaning for a word that has also an identical pronunciation.
The remark that the Macedonian Slavs of Petar Deljan borrowed this word from the language of ancient Macedonians and used it in 11th century is not valid. Assuming that it is so, becomes impossible to explain the fact that this word is present in the contemporary Croatian literary language. Have the Croats inherited this word from the ancient Macedonians as well? It is the same with the contemporary Serbian and Bulgarian literary languages where this word is also present with same pronunciation and etymology.
It is highly likely that through analysis of the word “tshelniku” some other characteristics of the ancient Macedonian language could be identified, considering the fact that in the contemporary Macedonian language this word is deducted from the noun “tshelo” (forehead) plus suffix "nik".
As mentioned previously, the ancient Greeks on as-heard basis recorded the non-Greek words without analysing the form of the word. Due to the fact the word “tshelniku” had been recorded inclusive of the vowel “u” at the end, it is anticipated that the ancient Greeks recorded “tshelniku” in its vocative form. The vocative form of the noun “tshelnik” in the contemporary Macedonian language is precisely “tshelniku”. Is it maybe that the Greeks used to hear the word “tshelniku” every time a Macedonian addressed the leader, therefore recorded this word without realising that they were recording its vocative form?
Another word that is also very interesting in this regard is the word “phoinikos”, which is related to the war.22) Indubitable this word is very much alike the contemporary Macedonian word “voinik” and the Slovenian word “voyak”, both meaning "soldier". There could be a little doubt that these are all words with a common origin. Why is this so? Firstly, one has to remember that in the ancient Greek the consonant “v” did not exist.23) The conclusion is imminent that the true pronunciation of the word “phoinikos” could be “voinikos” (“ph” replaced with “v”). In addition to this, as established earlier in this text, ancient Greeks added the suffix “os” to a lot of non-Greek words they recorded. If the word “phoinikos” had been subjected to the “Interpretato Graeca” phenomenon i.e. if the suffix “os” had been added to this non-Greek word, by taking out the Greek suffix we arrive at the contemporary Macedonian word “voinik” (soldier). Not only the pronunciation, but also the etymology of the word “voinik” is very similar to that of the word “phoinikos” and is located in the domain of warfare.
An abundance of water is described with the word “vodi” in contemporary Macedonian language. The appropriate ancient Macedonian word for this is the word “vedy”. The Greek archaeologist Aliki Stuyanaki in the periodical “Edesaika Hronika” (Edessa, may-august, 1972) advised that the Macedonian city of Voden, to which the Greeks gave the name Edessa, was originally a Brygian city and its old name was Vedy which means "abundance of water".24) Furthermore, St. Clement of Alexandria wrote that ancient Macedonians had a great respect towards the water (springs, wells, rivers) and they worshiped the Macedonian divinity they called Vedy.25) In this instance, as well, the similarity between pronunciation of a contemporary Macedonian and an ancient Macedonian word is undeniable, and again their etymology is identical.
The contemporary Macedonian verb “pesh” (walk) in ancient Macedonian would have been pronounced as “pez”.26)
“Pella”27) is another ancient Macedonian word. The etymology of this word is “a stone”. The corresponding word in contemporary Macedonian (as well as some other Slavic languages) is “spila”, which is similar in pronunciation with the ancient Macedonian word “pella”.
The ancient Macedonian word recorded through the Greek interpretation as “skoidos” bears the meaning of judges. In contemporary Macedonian this meaning has the word “sudii”.28)
There are a number of ancient Macedonian words with undetermined etymology which in their pronunciation undeniably resemble contemporary Macedonian words, as well as words from other Slavic languages.
A very good example is the word “arotos”
which had been used as an epithet to the hero Heracles.29) Its etymology
is undetermined to-date, however if the suffix “s” is deleted, this word is
practically identical with the adjective “aroto” – “the old one” (archaism to
a degree) from the present Macedonian language. According to a legend Heracles
was considered to be the oldest ascendant of the Macedonians. Can the answer
for the etymology of the word “arotos” be located in this legend, by referring
to Heracles as “the old one” or “arotos”?
It is inevitable that the Macedonian Phalanx is mentioned in this discussion. The strongest weapon of the phalanx was the long spear called “sarissa”. It is very interesting to analyse the etymology of the word “sarissa”. The first and obvious question is whether the first letter of this word the letter “s” is authentic, or perhaps there should be the letter “z” instead? It is well known that the name of the Brygian (ancient Macedonian) goddess was recorded as both “Semela” and “Zemela”. If this is applied to the word “sarissa” i.e. the letter “s” is replaced with the letter “z”, it will transform into the word “zarissa”. An exciting assumption emerges regarding the etymology of these words. The reflexive verb in its dialectical form “zari se” in the contemporary Macedonian is identical in pronunciation with the word “zarisa” (thrust itself in, pierce itself into). This is only an assumption, which has a solid base in the data presented in relation to the pronunciation and etymology of the words discussed previously.
It is worth mentioning that there were words in the ancient Macedonian language that (at least without a deeper analysis) have a little in common with the contemporary Macedonian language (and the other Slavic languages). However, the presence of these words does not deny the existence of words from the contemporary Macedonian language in the ancient Macedonian language.
We should also turn attention to a portion of the ancient Macedonian onomastics. At the same time it is necessary to keep in mind two things. First, there is no doubt that the ancient Macedonians (mainly those from the highest circles) accepted part of the Hellenic onomastics. But in fact a large number of Macedonian names were different than those in the Hellenic onomasticon, while a considerable number of these are reminiscent of the later Slavic onomasticon, or are derived from words of Slavic origin.
A second thing that needs to be kept in mind is the fact that ancient Macedonian personal names up to our own time mainly achieved written form through their Greek (and in a smaller number Latin as well) transcription. We can surmise that a considerable number of these names were given the added Greek suffixes "os" and "s", and more rarely "us". There are a lot of proofs for this, but here for lack of space we shall only mention that in our research we have noted over 350 personal names written by ancient Greek authors, which names belonged to various non-Greek peoples. The overwhelming number of these Persian, Thracian, Illyrian, Egyptian, Scythian, Brygian, Libyan, Indian, and other personal names (but also toponyms and other words) were artificially Hellenized by the old Greek authors, adding the Greek suffix "os", and where appropriate "s". Sometimes the old Greek authors went to such lengths that the foreign name was totally changed in the process. Thus, for example, the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu in Greek sources became written as CheopS (with the attached Greek suffix "s"). Later the Indian King Chandragupta was written by Greeks as SandroticOS, and so forth. Sometimes the only change to the name would be the Greek ending "os" or "s". Thus, for example, the name of the Egyptian King Psamtic was written by Greeks as PsametihOS. The Brygian name Ata, as well, became written as both Ata and AtaS (Hellenized by addition of the suffix "s"), etc.
We've said that we have identified hundreds of such examples of artificially Hellenized non-Greek names (but also other non-Greek words) by old Greek writers, which for lack of space here, will not be mentioned. According to such practices of that time it happened that peoples from quite disparate cultures, ethnic origins (and even races) such as the Persians, Egyptians, Illyrians, Arabians, Libyans, Thracians, Ethiopians, Scythians, Indians, Macedonians, and others, all had identical (Greek) endings on their names. This is so unlikely as to be unbelievable. Therefore, in the following discussion particular attention will be paid to the roots of personal names, given the extensive artificial use of the Greek suffixes "os" and "s" (as well as "us").
In the ancient Macedonian onomasticon we will include several Brygian names (found mainly in Macedonia) as well. This is for the simple reason that Brygians played a major role in the ethnogenesis of the ancient Macedonians.30) Practically speaking, through the ancient Macedonian onomasticon one can clearly see obvious cultural connections between the Brygians and the Veneti (Slavs). But to pass on to concrete instances. We will mention a portion of the ancient Macedonian names which are the same or very similar to later Macedonian names or words, as well as names and words of the other Slavic languages. Most of these names are present in todays' Macedonian onomasticon.31)
Ata(s) The root of this name contains the noun "at", which in the Old Slavic language meant "a horse". We note that the ancient Macedonians were great horsemen and horses were very important for them. Such names already exist in onomasticons of other peoples (for example Bulgarians have their popular name Asparuh, which means "speed horse" in Old Bulgarian language). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the same name "Ata".
Atarhi(as) The root of this name contains the noun "atar". This is a Macedonian archaism for the word "love". Names that contain the word "love" exist in a majority of lexicons.
Bere(s) The root of this name contains the verb "bere" (to pick up) that exists today in the Macedonian language and in other Slavic languages. Also in the present day Macedonian onomasticon there are names derived from verbs. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name "Bere".
Crater(us)32) The root of this name contains the word "krater" (crater), which exists in the present day Macedonian and other Slavic languages. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name "Krate".
Caran(us)33) This name might be connected to the present day Macedonian noun "kruna" (a crown). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name "Karanche" (deminutive form of Karan).
Dada The noun "dada" in the present day Macedonian language means "older sister". In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the same name "Dada".
Daron This is a name for the ancient Macedonian god of healing. Its etymology is known, and it means "he that gives health." This means that the name of this god contains the Macedonian noun "dar" (a gift). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon are present names: Darun, Dare, Dara and others.
Del(us) The verb "dela" (to work) exists in the Old Slavic language, as well as in several present day Slavic languages. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name "Dele".
Dimno(s) The adjective "dimno" exists in the present day Macedonian language and still means "steamy". In todays' Macedonian onomasticon are present the names: Dimna, Dimon, Dimnak and others.
Diplai(os)34) A name of an upper Macedonian (Payonian) ruler. In his name is the noun "dipla" that in dialectal form in the present day Macedonian language means a bouquet of flowers. The noun "dipla" is also used as a designation for a type of old Macedonian instrument.
Dita The noun exists in Slavic languages as "dite" or "dete", which means "a child". In 19th century Macedonian onomasticon was recordered the same name "Dita".
Dita(s) This is an obvious form of the preceding name Dita, but it has been Hellenized with the suffix "s".
Dud(es) The noun "dud" (a type of plant) exists in several Slavic languages. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon are present the names: Dude and Duda.
Glaukia(s)35) Could this name be derived from the noun "glava" (a head)? In 19th century Macedonia one finds the male name Glavko.36)
Kopria This name has possible connections to the noun "kopra" (a dill). It is a well-known practice to derive personal names from those of the plant world. In 16th century Macedonia one finds the female name Kopra.
Lasten This name may be connected to the noun "lastovica" (in Serbian: "lasta"), which means "a swallow". In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Laste.
Lyka This female Macedonian name, which exists in the present day language, is possibly derived from the noun "lika" (a face, pretty face). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Lika.
Milo This name was mentioned by Plutarch as a name of a Macedonian military leader in the Macedonian-Roman conflicts. This name exists to the present day in the Macedonian onomasticon. It has an obvious identification with the present day Macedonian adjective "milo" (dear), from which a number of names are (Milosh, Milko, Milka).
Mamina This name fully corresponds to the present day Macedonian adjective "mamina" (the one who belongs to her mother). In 18th and 19th century Macedonia one finds the female name Maminka.
Mama This is identical to the present day Macedonian noun "mama", which in any case exists in other languages, too. In 15th century Macedonia one finds the female name Mamica (deminutive for Mama).
Mama(s) It is obvious that this is a Hellenized variant on the previous name.
Manta The noun "mantija" that exists in the present day Macedonian language represents a type of long garment. In 19th century Macedonia one finds the same female name Manta.
Mantyes This is probably a variant of the previous name. The spoken form of this word (without the suffix "s") is still closer to the noun "mantija".
Med(es) The root of this name contains the noun "med" (honey), which exists in todays' Macedonian language as well in most other Slavic languages. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Mede.
Myrcin(us) This is the name of a king of an ancient Macedonian tribe Edoni, mentioned by Herodotus. If we remove the Greek "us", we get the name Myrcin (Mirkin). To the present day in the Macedonian language there is the female name "Mirka" (derived from the noun "mir", which means peace), while "Mirkin" is an adjective, which means "The one who belongs to Mirka". Among the Macedonians, right up to the 20th century, men frequently received names derived from their mother's name (Kanin: son of Kana; Mirkin: son of Mirka and etc.). Could that be the case with this name? In todays' Macedonian onomasticon are present names Mirkan, Mirin and so on.
Mucati The verb "mucati" exists in a number of the Slavic languages. In the Macedonian language the verb "mucna" means "to speak". Maybe this name can be connected to the noun "mucka" (snout). If we read "c" as "k", then maybe the root of this name can be connected to the noun "mukach" (which means a cry baby). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon are present names: Mucan, Muce, Mucko, Mukan, Muko.
Nana The noun "nana" in the Macedonian language today is used to signify an older female relative. In dialectal form "nana" takes the form of the verb, to sleep. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the same name Nana.
Pita The noun "pita" (a type of food) can be found in a number of Slavic languages. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Pito. There are other Macedonian names derived from the food: Piroshka, Pituluca and others.
Pittak(os) Could this be a variant of the previous name? The noun "pitach" exists in the present day Macedonian language, with the meaning, "one who begs". In todays' Macedonian onomasticon are present the names Pito and Pitako.
Plator The noun "plat" exists in the present day Macedonian language as a type of high quality cloth. The suffix "or" is encountered in other male personal names, which means that it is independent of the root "plat". In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Platin.
Pyri(as) The root of this name could be connected to the noun "pir" (merriment). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Piri.
Perustae The noun "perustija" in the present day Macedonian language means an iron spit for cooking meat over a fire, an item that had great significance in the preparation of food in the past. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Peruska.
Rumi37) A female name that could possibly be connected to the adjective "rumena" (ripe red). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon there is name "Rumi", which is short form of the name "Rumena" (ripe red).
Sita A name that is identical to the present day Macedonian adjective "sita" (eating to satisfaction). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the male name Sitko.
Sopol(is) This ancient Macedonian name is mentioned by the Greek historian Arrian as the name of a Macedonian officer in the army of Alexander the Great. It obviously contains the root "sopol" (a strong spring) from the Old Slavic language. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Sopol.
Stasanor This name contains the present day Macedonian adjective "stasan" (ripe). We've said that the suffix "or" can be found in other male names, which means that it is outside of the root "stasan". In todays' Macedonian onomasticon are present names: Stasin, Stase and Staso.
Silen(us) Name of a forest demon in Brygian mythology. The root of this name contains the present day Macedonian adjective "silen" (that which has spiritual or physical strength). In middle age Macedonia one finds the names: Silan, Silano and Silane.
Stamen(os)38) The root of this name contains the present day Macedonian adjective "stamen" (reliable, firm). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Stamen.
Sever(os) The root of this word contains the noun "sever" (north), which exists in a number of present day Slavic languages. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Sever.
Sipa In the Macedonian language there exists the noun "sipa" (a type of fish), which lives in Macedonian lake waters. It is a well-known practice to derive personal names from the names of animals. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Sipe.
Sipa(s) This is obviously a Hellenized variant of the previous name.
Scritia39) The adjective "skrita" (secret) is apparent in this name that exists in Slavic languages.
Tata, Tato, Tataia These are obvious variations of a name derived from the noun "tato" i "tata", which means "a father" and can be found in several Slavic languages. The name "Tataia" probably is a variant on these two names. In middle age Macedonia one find the names: Tato, Tate, Tatko, Tatka, Tatin.
Temen(os) The root of this name contains the present day Macedonian adjective "temen" (dark).
Traizina The root of this word may contain the present day Macedonian adjective "trazena" (expected, sought).
Vitel(is) The root of this name contains the noun "vitel", which is found in the present day Macedonian and still means (whirlpool). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Vitol.
Zaika This name may represent a female form of the present day Macedonian noun "zajak" (rabbit). In any case, there are numerous examples of names taken from names of animals. In todays' Macedonian onomasticon are present the names Zaia (Zaja) and Zaiko (Zajko).
The present day Macedonian language contains the adjective "zemjina"
(in dialectal form
which means "the one who belongs
to Earth". There
is also the adjective "zimna"
(the one who belongs to the winter"). In todays' Macedonian onomasticon
is present the name Zemko.
We would also add to this list the name of the well-known Brygian goddess Zemela, who was goddess of the earth. There is an obvious similarity to the Macedonian noun "zemja" (in dialectal form: "zemla"), which is similar in other Slavic languages.
We would also mention the name of a Brygian tribe, the "Mushki", who lived in the 9th century BC. Their name is identical to the noun "mushki" (men), which exists in other Slavic languages. Their king was called Mita, a name, which remains unchanged in a number of Slavic omonasticons.
There are other personal names of ancient Macedonians, which in their spoken form have associations with present day Macedonian words, but only some of the more obvious examples have been mentioned.
Regarding the above-mentioned names, few things require some explanation. Although it is obvious that in their spoken form they are completely or to a great extent analogous to the Macedonian words that we have cited, as well as those from a number of other Slavic languages, the question remains: is this merely a chance and is the etymology of these names consistent enough to satisfy logic? For example, is it possible that someone really would name their child "Perustija" (an iron tool for a hearth fire)? In order to answer this question we can say that the criterion, which was used in earlier times to create personal names is not quite the same as the present day criteria (at least in regard to the Macedonian onomasticon, and certainly in others as well). Concretely, for names derived from household items we can say that in 19th century Macedonia there is evidence of the female name "Masa" (a table) as well a male name "Lambe" (a lamp). This means that even in the near past there existed personal names connected to items for household use that may justify the claim that the female name "Perustae" was derived from the noun "perustija" (an iron tool for a hearth).
Concerning the names that we have dealt with those ones that are derived from verbs, we can say that there also exist today Macedonian names connected to specific activities that are names derived from verbs. Thus, for example, there is the name "Gone" (to hunt, to chase).
Regarding the names derived from nouns describing relations (Tato-father, Mama-mother, Dada-older sister, and so on), it was shown previously that such names existed in the middle age and modern age Macedonian onomasticon.
Regarding the names connected to various items (mantija, plat and etc.) we can say that in the 19th century there is documentation for the name "Vuna" (dialectal form of the wool), which means that names connected to items existed even in the recent past.. Although some of these names appears quite strange to present generations, that doesn't deny the fact that our ancestors sometimes created personal names based on different criteria than we use today, and that fact must be taken into account when discussing their etymology.
There are number of ancient, middle age and modern age narrative evidence concerning the analogy between the culture of the ancient Macedonians and the culture of the Veneti (ancestors of the Slavs).
The Latin historian Q. C. Rufus in his biography of Alexander The Great wrote that the Veneti from Asia Minor region of Paphlagonia took part in the army of Alexander The Great. Quintus Curtius Rufus mentioned an interesting piece of information. He wrote that a greekified Macedonian called Philotas, teased his fellow Macedonians by calling them “Phrygians or Paphlagonians”.40) Macedonians were unhappy about this and complained to Alexander The Great, said Q.C. Rufus. Philotas equated the terms Phrygians and Paphlagonians. It is well known that the Phrygians (while living in the Balkans known as Brygians) became the constitutional ethno-cultural core of the ancient Macedonians, whereas the term Paphlagonians represents a geographic name for Veneti, i.e. for the ancestors of the Slavs. What this means actually is that Philotas equated the ancient Macedonians and the Veneti, and that was before IV BC.
Even earlier than this, Herodotus wrote that Phrygians (ancient Macedonians) and Paphlagonians (ancestors of the Slavs) wore very similar clothes.41)
There is narrative evidence regarding the analogy between the Slav and ancient Macedonian culture from a later period as well. The Byzantine historian and writer Nichephore Gregoras during his visit to the Macedonian town of Strumica in 1326, recorded that there he heard a number of Macedonian folk songs. He affirms that, although he did not understand the language of the local population, the folk songs from Strumica definitely resembled the - Phrygian folk songs!42)
In the later periods as well, a lot of foreign and Macedonian activists declared that the Slavs were the same people as the ancient Macedonians!
Mauro Orbini, in his book “The Kingdom of the Slavs” (1601), wrote about the presence of the Slavs during the period of Alexander The Great, even as a part of his army. In this book, Orbini published a document, which represents a Charter, that was sent to the Slavs from Alexander The Great as a gesture of gratitude for their taking part in Alexander’s battles.43) It is important to note that Alexander’s ancient biographer Q. C. Rufus also wrote that the Veneti were a part of the Macedonian army.
The renowned Croatian historian from 16th century Vinko Pribichevich, in his book “About the Origin and the Adventures of Slavs” (Venice, 1532) asserts that ancient Macedonians are Slavs. Middle-age Croatian reformists H. Lucich, D. Zlatarich, I. Gundulich, J. Palmotich and others, also shared this belief, all considered Alexander The Great to be a Slav. Matijan Alberti of Split (1561-1623) also supported this theory.
Ancient Macedonians were considered to be Slavs by a number of poets from Dubrovnik, and also a number of Russian historians: Butkov, Saveljev, Rostislavich and Chertkov, as well as archimandrites Leonid and Filrot. Mickevich from the Chair at the French College in Paris, in 1844 declared that the Slavs are the oldest nation in Europe.44)
The German scholar Kuno, as well as the scholars Lelev and Bjeloski, put forward their assertion that not only the Hellenes but also the Slavs always lived on the Balkan Peninsula together with the Hellenes. The same was maintained by the highly distinguished Pavle J. Shafranik (who published a few books on this subject), as well as the Russian consul in Bitola, Hitrov. Some Serbian activists represented this theory at the time.45)
Renown Croatian folklorist from Bosnia Stefan Verkovich during his extended visit to Macedonia in the 19th century recorded a large number of Macedonian folklore deeds and in his letter to the newspaper “Dragoljub” in Zagreb published in 1868 wrote: “The Slavs, and not the Greeks, are the forefathers of the civilisation”.46)
In his work “Veda Slovena” (1874) Verkovich wrote: “Our Slavs had a lively tradition even in the times of Alexander The Great”.
Bulgarian writer Stefan Zahariev claimed that the Slavs are the oldest inhabitants of the Balkans and the literacy of the Slavs dates prior to the brothers St. Cyril and St. Methodius.47)
In an Albanian history book from the 19th century stated that the Macedonians are the indigenous people of the Balkans and that Alexander The Great was a “famous Macedonian-Slav tzar”. These views were shared by renown Macedonian intelectuals from the 19th and 20th century: Isaija Mazhovski, Gjorgji Pulevski, Nikola D. Chuparov and others, who believed that the ancient Macedonians and the Slavs are in fact the same people.48)
Although the official Macedonian historiography (especially during the totalitarian regime) mainly considered such articulations as national-romanticism, the future research will show whether there is any truth to the above claims.
According to the ethno-cultural similarity between the ancient Macedonians and the Slavs, turns out the Slavs that came to Macedonia and the Balkans in the 6th century AD, found their old compatriots – ancient Macedonians, later mingled with them, in which way to a great extent the ethno-genesis of the contemporary Macedonian nation was formed. As already mentioned, there are other indications in support of this theory that will be addressed at the next opportunity.
References and Notes
1) Aristotles mother was born in the Macedonian city of Stagira, however this city at the time was a Greek (Athenian) colony. This is why it is believed that she was Greek. However his father, Nicomachus was most probably a Macedonian. He was a personal doctor of the Macedonian tzar Philip II (the father of Alexander The Great). It is known that both Philip and his son Alexander always appointed Macedonians in their immediate vicinity, especially in very sensitive positions such as doctors, trusted generals, bodyguards etc. This fact leads to a conclusion that Aristotle’s father was a Macedonian, a view supported by many contemporary historians.
2) There are many historical deeds about the famous Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII that describe her pure Macedonian origin. She was a daughter of Ptolemy XII, and a distant granddaughter of Ptolemy I (Ptolemy I was a friend of Alexander The Great since their childhood and a general in the Macedonian army).
3) After the death of Alexander The Great the great Macedonian empire fell apart, but the pieces consequent to the breakdown of the empire were still ruled by Macedonians. Alexander’s general Ptolemy set out to rule Egypt, whereas the general Seleucus ruled Siria and southern Asia. These Macedonian dynasties retained a lot of their Macedonian heritage in their tradition. Later on their states were taken over by the Romans. A number of members of these Macedonian dynasties were mentioned in the Bible (especially The Old Testament). For more detail on this subject refer to the book “Jesus Christ and the Macedonians” by A. Donski (Centre for Cultural Initiative, Stip, Macedonia, 2000).
4) For information about the possibility that St. Luke was of a Macedonian descent refer to: “The Apostle Paul’s Visit to Philippi, History of Philippi”, by Clint Arnold and his class at Talbot Theological Seminary, The Biblelands Project (copyright 1999 by Musterseed Media Inc., website: www.musterseed.net). The possibility of St. Luke’s Macedonian origin is indicated even in the world renown encyclopaedia Microsoft Encarta 98 (Encyclopaedia Deluxe Edition, USA, 1998; “Luke Saint”). More detail on this topic can be found in the book “Jesus Christ and the Macedonians” by A. Donski (Centre for Cultural Initiative, Stip, Macedonia, 2000).
5) It has been referred to the members of the Macedonian dynasty that ruled Byzantine in the period IX to XI century AD. These tzars exercised a certain number of customs that were practised by the ancient Macedonian tzars, and they even promoted the Macedonian phalanx as a distinct component of the Byzantine army. A lot of historians believe these tzars had the genes of the ancient Macedonians.
6) For extensive detail about the contribution of the ancient Macedonians to the world civilisation refer to “Contribution of the Macedonians to the World Civilisation” by A. Donski, that should be will become available by December 2001.
7) The fact that the ancient Macedonians were a separate nation has already been widely accepted and indications in this regard can be found in a number of encyclopaedias. Just as an illustration, following information has been taken from the encyclopaedia Encarta (title: Europe): “Macedonia, to the north of Greece, had not originally been part of the Greek world”. This veracity has been confirmed by a row of international researchers and experts on ancient Macedonia, and the list of names is very long.
8) Arrian: “The Campaigns of Alexander”, translated by Aubrey De Selincourt, Penguin Books, USA, 1987, page 119.
9) Homer (VIII BC) identified Veneti as an Asia-Minor people, whereas Herodotus (V BC) identified them as a Balkan people under the name of Eneti.
10) In support of the fact that Veneti were the same people as the Slavs there are number of testimonials. The German historian Jordanes (6th century) wrote that Veneti and Slavs are the same people. The most convincing arguments regarding the common identity of the Veneti and Slavs were presented in the brilliant book “Veneti – First Builders of the European Community” by Jožko Šavli, Matej Bor and Ivan Tomažič, english translation by Anton Skerbinc (Editions Veneti; A-1080 Wien, Bennogasse 21, Austria; Co-published by Anton Skerbinc; Boswell, British Columbia, Canada). In this book on over 500 pages are presented indisputable evidences from various fields and it is demonstrated that the Veneti and Slavs had identical cultures, i.e. they were the same people.
11) Plutarch wrote this in chapter 51 in his biography of Alexander The Great (Macedonian Translation, Plutarh: “Aleksandar Makedonski”, Skopje, 1994, p. 70).
12) Anthony by Plutarch, translated by John Dryden
13) Quintus Curtius Rufus: “Istorija na Aleksandar Makednoski”, translation by Ljubinka Basotova (Skopje, 1998, p. 272)
14) Borza Eugen: “In the Shadow of Olimpus, The Emergence of Macedon” (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, ISBN 0-691-05549-1, USA, 1990, p. 92)
15) The statement of Demosteness can be found in any publication of his speeches called Philippics.
16) For detailed explanation regarding the meaning of the term “barbarians” in the ancient world refer to: Synthia Syndor Slowikowski: “ Sport and Culture in the Ancient Macedonian Society” (The Pennsylvania State University, 1998, p. 30)
17) Synthia Syndor Slowikowski: “ Sport and Culture in the Ancient Macedonian Society” (The Pennsylvania State University, 1998, p. 30)
18) Thycidides 2,8,1. Isocrates 5.108 and Clement of Alexandria 6.2.17
19) In relation to the presence of borrowed Greek words in the ancient Macedonian language more information can be found in the article “The Ancient Macedonians And Their Language” (Council for Research into South-Eastern Europe of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Skopje, 1993). Also in Eugen Borza: “The Shadow of Olimpus, The Emergence of Macedon” (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, ISBN 0-691-05549-1, USA, 1990, p. 93)
20) N.G.L Hammond: “The Macedonian State, Origins, Institutions and History” published in the United States by Oxford University Press Inc, New York, 1989, ISBN 0-19-814927-1, p. 6)
21) Makedonia – Sbornik ot dokumenti i materiali (BAN, Sofia, 1978, p. 44)
22) This word is supplied by Nade Proeva in her book: “Studii za Antickite Makednoci” (Skopje, 1997, p. 58). She asserted that the word “phoinikos” was used for the first time in the period of Alexander The Great.
23) Explanation regarding pronunciation of the letter “v” instead of “f” in the ancient Macedonian and Brygian language is available in the book: “Brigi” by Eleonora Petrova (Muzej na Makedonija, Skopje, 1996, p. 207)
24) Andonovski Hristo: “Juzna Makedonija od antickite do denesnite Makedonci” (Skopje, 1995)
25) Gjorgji Pop-Atnasov: “Biblijata za Makedonija i Makedoncite” (Menora, Skopje, 1995, p. 57)
26) N.G.L. Hammond: “The Macedonian State, Origins, Institutions and History” published in the United States by Oxford University Press Inc, New York, 1989, ISBN 0-19-814927-1, p. 6)
27) This was the name of the capital of ancient Macedonia
29) These two ancient Macedonian words were supplied by Nade Proeva in her book: “Studii za Antickite Makednoci” (Skopje, 1997).
30) A number of authors have written about the Brygians as the main ingredient in the ethno-genesis of the ancient Macedonians. Results of the research carried out by some of these authors have been conveyed in the study “Brigi” by Eleonora Petrova (Muzej na Makedonija, Skopje, 1996, on various occasions throughout the study). Detailed elaboration regarding the domination of the Brygian component in the ancient Macedonians is available in the book “Studii za Antickite Makedonci” by Nade Proeva (Skopje, 1997)
31) All given names presented herewith have been borrowed from the above mention books by Nade Proeva and Eleonora Petrova, unless specified otherwise. That most of these names are present in todays' Macedonian onomasticon see at Ljubica Stankovska "Rechnik na lichnite iminja na Makedoncite" (Skopje, 1992). In this book more that 30.000 names from Macedonian middle age and modern age onomasticon are presented.
32) The name “Craterus” has been recorded by the ancient biographers of Alexander The Great
33) “Caranus” was the name of a legendary Macedonian sovereign
34) This name has been taken on from the edition “Macedonia acta archeologica”, br. 11, 1987-1989 (Skopje, 1990). This was the name of a local Macedonian tribal leader from IV BC.
35) The name “Glaukas” has been recorded by the biographers of Alexander The Great
36) Miladinovci: “Zbornik” (Skopje, 1983, chapter: “Sopstveni narodni iminja”,p. 506)
37) The name “Rumi” is taken on from Aleksandar Matkovski’s “Makedonija vo delata na stranskite patepisci 1778-1826” (Skopje, p. 54)
38) The name “Stamenos” has been recorded by the biographers of Alexander The Great
39) This name was taken on from the book: “Travels in Northern Greece” by William Martin Leake, London, 1835, vol. III (Nacionalna biblioteka Pariz, signatura J.12345-12348)
40) Quintus Curtius Rufus: “Istorija na Aleksandar Makednoski”, translation from Latin by Ljubinka Basotova (Skopje, 1998, p. 276)
41) The similarity between the apparel of the Phrygians and Paphlagonians was recorded by Herodotus: “The dress of the Phrygians closely resembled the Paphlagonian, only in a very few points differing from it”
42) Nichefore Gregoras: “Corespondance” (Paris, 1927, p. 30)
43) Angelina Markus: “Makednosko Sonce” (11.07.1997, p.18)
44) For more information refer to: “Veda Slovena” by Gane Todorovski (Makedonska Kniga, Skopje, 1979, p. 17)
45) For more information refer to: “Makedonija i makedonskata nacija” by Blaze Ristovski (Skopje, 1995, p. 131)
46) For more information refer to: “Zivotni put Stjepana Vjerkovicha (1821-1894)” by Ljubisha Doklestich (Zagreb, 1982, p. 304)
47) For more information refer to: “Zivotni put Stjepana Vjerkovicha (1821-1894)” by Ljubisha Doklestich (Zagreb, 1982, p. 285)
48) For more information in relation to the Albanian history and the work of Mazovski, Pulevski, Chuparov and others refer to: “Makedonija i makedonskata nacija” by Blaze Ristovski (Skopje, 1995, on various occasions throughout the book)
Makedonci so bili v preteklosti dobro znani. Ne samo zato, ker so bili nekateri zelo slavni ljudje Makedonci, temveč tudi zato, ker so kot narod pomembno prispevali k razvoju civilizacije.
Vprašamo se lahko, kdo so bili. Kakšen je bil njihov etnični izvor? Čeprav nekatere teorije trdijo, da so bili grškega porekla, vemo, da so antični Grki smatrali Makedonce za barbare, to je ne-Grke. Iz del grškega zgodovinarja Arriana vemo tudi, da so bila med Grki in Makedonci "rasna trenja".
Mnogo znamenj kaže, da so bili nekdanji Makedonci venetskega porekla (izraz "slovanski" so uporabljali precej kasneje). Poskušal bom pokazati pomembne podrobnosti v zvezi s tem vprašanjem.
Zaradi preglednosti bom gradivo razvrstil v več skupin:
- Zgodovinski dokazi. V več antičnih virih lahko vidimo, da so bili Makedonci in Heleni dve različni ljudstvi. Nekateri grški in rimski zgodovinarji so to raziskali in zapustili starejša pričevanja, ki jasno kažejo, da so bili Makedonci venetskega porekla.
- Jezikovni dokazi. Čeprav poznamo le malo besedišča nekdanjih Makedoncev, le-to dobro podpira našo predpostavko, da je sedanji makedonski jezik vsaj deloma nadaljevanje jezika iz časov Aleksandra Makedonskega. Podal bom številne tovrstne primere.
- Imenski dokazi. Obstaja precejšna dediščina s področja pogrebnih običajev in arheoloških najdb. V njih je mnogo primerov enakosti ali podobnosti med antičnim in sedanjim makedonskim in drugimi slovanskimi jeziki. Tudi nekatera pripovedna pričevanja kažejo v isto smer.