These Greeks included the
Macednoi. Another Greek branch, the Dorians, later moved south,
whilst the Macedonians remained in the north, to emerge centuries
later, prosperous and indestructible, as key players in Greek and world
In the south-eastern corner of
this birth-place of the Proto-Hellenes, on the lofty peaks of Mt.
Olympus, the Greeks enthroned their gods, whilst below, in Pieria, sang
the Ancient Greek Muses. One of the Greek Macedonian's mythical heroes
The history of the Macedonians
had its illustrious beginnings in Orestis, i.e. the Kastoria area, in
about 700 BC. From here came the Macedonian kings, the
Argeads.Herodotus (484-420? BC) speaks of the Greek ness of the
Macedonians: "They are Greeks" he writes, "and I myself happen
to know it is so. "He was well acquainted with the fact and needed
no-one to prove it to him.
Herodotus preserved what the
Macedonian King Alexander I (498-454 BC) said to the Athenian
ambassadors during the Persian wars: 'Athenians...I, too, am of
ancient Greek stock and I would not like to see Greece enslaved.
"This was the Macedonian who, after the Battle of Plataea (479 BC) was
honored by the Athenians "as one of the Greekest of Greeks" and,
as a Greek, was crowned victor at Olympia.
The land of the Greek
Macedonians was Macedonia, which began with Orestis and during
Philip's time was extended from the Pindus and Mt. Olympus about as far
as Velesa (to the north) and the Nestos river (to the east).
Appian (2nd century AD)
mentions 'Argos in Orestis, whence the Argeadae Macedones"and
asserts that the founder of the Macedonian dynasty came from Argos, which
was built near the source of the Aliakmon, Orestikon Argos. This is also
mentioned by Strabo (66 BC - 24 AD) and Pausanias (2nd century AD).
The Macedonians from
Orestis united with their Greek Macedonian neighbours in Elimea,
Eordaea, Lyncestis, Pelagonia and northern Tymphaea and,
having gained considerably in strength, advanced eastwards, conquered
Aegeae and spread into Central Macedonia. Later they expanded across the
wider region of ancient Macedonia, which was defined earlier. It was
here that the Greek Mace donians who had existed since 2000 BC set down
their roots, and it is here, in 2000 AD, that genuine Greeks continue to
live and call home, despite the dramatic fortunes of forty centuries.
The Macedonians, who were
constantly "fighting the Barbarians to maintain the stability of the
Greeks'; as Polybius of Arcadia writes, maintained their forces in
prime condition, organized themselves and, whilst their southern
brothers were being worn down by civil wars, they entered the limelight
of history, vitalizing the Greek spirit and carrying it unvanquished as
far as the Indus.
Philip 11(359-336 BC)
was the ingenious general and politician who
made Macedonia a very mighty power. Later he attempted to unite the
Greeks in one state and to crush their age-old enemies, the Persians. In
337 BC he established the "Council of the Greeks " at Corinth. A
new historical era had begun. Then suddenly Philip was assassinated.
It was then that Alexander came
onto the scene, a phenomenon the likes of which would never be seen
again in the history of the world.
from Stageira in Halkidiki, the great Greek
philosopher whose intellect con quered the nations, served as teacher to
the young man, who "shed light all
over the world"
In the summer of 336 BC
Alexander became King of Macedonia, "a great general, a
great politician and a great law-giver", as Napoleon the Great wrote.
Of all the people ever to have lived, he was the first in history to be
In the spring of 334 BC at the
age of twenty-two "Alexander [son] of Philip " rose up like a
demigod in the eyes of the world of his time and through his great
campaign, which was "victorious, brilliant, glorious, more highly
praised than any other and unrivalled", he changed the course of
In Alexander's great state and
those of his successors the torch of Greek civilization was carried far
and wide, the Greek tongue became the universal lingua franca, and the
world was rapidly Hellenized. "The prince of Greece shall come...
"wrote the prophet Daniel. And the Jews themselves, as is mentioned in the
Old Testament, could see that "the rule of the Greeks (Macedonians)"
was leading them "directly to (assuming) the Greek character". The
Greek Macedonians were creating a "new,
great Greek world...".
In 168 BC Macedonia was
subjugated by the Romans...
In 49 AD Saint Paul,
"passing through Macedonia", preached the Word of God at Philippi,
Thessaloniki and Veria in Greek as his audiences were Greeks. His
epistles to the Thessalonians and the Philippians, as well as that to
the Corinthians, were written in Greek as they were addressed to Greeks.
built in 315 BC and Macedonia's third capital
Aegeae and Pella, was at that time the greatest administrative,
commercial and cultural center in the Balkans.
Splendid monuments from the
ancient, Hellenistic and Roman eras, which are constantly being brought
to light by the farmer's plough or the archaeologist's pick, at
Aegeae, Pella, Dion, Thessaloniki, Sindos, Derveni, Edessa, Veria,
Levkadhia, Aeane, Olynthus, Potidaea, Amphipolis, Philippi, Argos
Orestikon, Florina and as far north as Stobi, testify to the
fact that Greeks were living in these places as early as the 3rd
millennium BC and that it was the Greeks who created them.
During the Byzantine era
Thessaloniki became "Symvasilevousa" (joint capital), a center and
beacon of Hellenism which, with its Christian civilization, shed its
radiance all over the Balkans and even further afield. At this time two
of its sons, Cyril and Methodius, spread the light of Christ and
Greece amongst the Slavs.
Throughout that thousand-year
period Macedonia, along with other centers - Philippi, Serres,
Melenikon and Stromnitsa to the east, Veria, Kastoria,
Servia, Heraclea and Ochrid to the west, and
Prilep and Velesa etc. to the north - was the powerful lungs of the
Greek Empire of Byzantium.
During the first decades of
the 6th century AD the Balkans began to suffer the assaults of
the Slavs, who lived in south- east Poland and White Russia and were
slaves of the Avars. This is why they were called Sklavenoi, Sklavoi,
Slavs. The Avars used the Slavs in their assaults on Byzantium. In so
doing they opened up the way for them and whetted their appetite for
predatory raids on Greek territories. In 681 AD the Danube was also
crossed by the
Bulgars, who established their own state between the Danube and the
Balkan Peninsula, in Moesia.
Since then Macedonia, with its
fertile plains, warm beaches and, above all, its wealthy capital, has
been the target of all these groups. Their conversion to the Christian
faith, which took place in the 9th century, has not proved able to
The last Slav invader Stephen
Dusan divided his short-lived state into a northern section with the
Serbian lands, about as far as Velesa, and a southern section with the
Greek (as they were called) lands.
During the 14th and 15th
centuries virtually all of the Balkans were subjugated by the Turks.
Legends, traditions and heroic songs tell of the resistance of the
Macedonians against the Turks and the capture of the Macedonian castles.
In this large and fertile area the conquerors established many powerful
military centers, permanently settled many Turks and endeavored to wipe
out the Greek element.
In Macedonia the revolutionary
movements started up at the same time as the country was subjugated. The
Macedonian mountains became filled with klephts and also saw the
appearance of the first Greek amartoli.
During the period of Turkish
rule many communities in Macedonia organized themselves in an
exemplary fashion. In the 17th century these witnessed the beginning of
an astonishing flourishing of economic and cultural life. During this
period many Macedonians elevated themselves from persecuted serfs to
become wealthy merchants, businessmen, bankers, scholars and nobles.
They became national benefactors. They founded schools, libraries and
public welfare institutions. They made a decisive contribution to the
spiritual awakening and national resurrection of Modern Greece.
In 1791 the Markides Pouliou
brothers from Siatista published the first Greek newspaper. They printed
the Great Map and the songs of Rhigas, together with whom other
Macedonians were martyred in the cause of freedom.
In Macedonia there had been
revolutionary movements in 1495,1571,1611, 1770 and 1809... Many Greek
Macedonians were initiated into the Philike Etaireia and became leading
activists. Yet in the Macedonian region every revolutionary movement was
doomed. The uprising in Halkidiki, Mt. Olympus and Naoussa in 1821 and
1822 was bloodily suppressed. Many Macedonians fought in Moldovlachia and
in Southern Greece.
The Macedonians, continuing
their struggle for freedom, rose up again in 1854, with Tsamis Karatasos
in Halkidiki and Theodoros Ziakas in Western Macedonia. But these
movements also failed. Yet the hope of liberation remained unextinguished.
In 1867 the Serbs fought alongside
the Greeks with the aim of liberating all the Christians in the Balkans.
It was agreed that, if the Serbs gained Old Serbia,
the whole of Macedonia would devolve to Greece.
In the middle of the last century
Russia raised the standard of Panslavism. In order to carry out its plans
it awakened the Bulgarians. The consequences of this Slavic policy were
paid by the Greeks of Macedonia.
In 1870 the sultan, pressed
by Russia, recognized the Bulgarian Exarchate. The Bulgarians, who
had never thought of fighting for their freedom, broke away from the
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
These events mark the
commencement of the Macedonian Struggle and form the beginning of
new trials and tough struggles in Macedonia, which was still held in
bondage by the Turks.
During this period designs were also
held on Macedonia, and mainly Thessaloniki, by Austro-Hungary. However, in
1876 the Austrian consul in the Macedonian capital wrote of the
Macedonians to his government: "On national
issues all of them to a man have the same feelings and regard only
Greece as their true homeland..."
In February 1878 the
Russians, victors in the Russo-Turkish war being waged at that time,
reached the outskirts of Constantinople. There, in the suburb of San
Stefano on 19 February 1878, the treaty bearing that name was signed.
This provided for the creation of a "Greater Bulgaria", which
stretched from the Danube and the Black Sea as far as the Aegean, Mt.
Olympus and Grammos!
At this the Greek Macedonians rose up like Doric
columns over their ancestral land in order to rescue it from the clutches
of the Slavs and liberate it from their Turkish oppressors. In northwest
Macedonia a New Philike Etaireia was founded, with Anastasios
Picheon from Ochrid as its moving spirit, whilst the Macedonians in
Athens, led by Stephanos Dragoumis from Vogatsikon, formed
the Mac edonian Committee. In Siatista a notable boldly and
indignantly declared to an English colonel that Macedonia would only
become Bulgarian "when the Bulgarians trod
over the dead bodies of the Greeks'~
On 18 and 19 February 1878
two revolutionary governments in Kozani (Bourinos) and Litochoro
"proclaimed the union of Macedonia with mother Greece'~ The
movement was spontaneous. All alone, practically unarmed and lacking
co-ordination and aid, from Mt. Olympus up to the Prespa lakes the
Macedonians fought until the end of that year. And they succeeded in
putting an end to the Bulgaria of San Stefano.
The Treaty of Berlin
created a smaller Bulgaria, between the Danube and the Balkan Peninsula.
Macedonia remained part of Turkey.
The Bulgarians, however, did not forget
about the Bulgaria of San Stefano. At first they began to take action
under the deceitful slogan "Macedonia for the Macedonians'~ Soon,
however, they abandoned their pretence and set about annexing Macedonia to
Bulgaria by fire and sword. They began to seize churches and schools from
the Greeks, to murder priests, teachers and notables, to carry out
arbitrary raids on Greek Macedonia. The Macedonian Greeks began to suffer
severe hardships and the decade 1894 - 1904 was a dramatic one for them.
At that time the first
native Macedonian freedom fighters appeared: Kotas, Vangelis, Dalipis
and other Macedonian combatants, who rose up in spontaneous response to
the Bulgarians with their own rebel bands. Macedonia began to acquire her
own defensive force.
The Metropolitan of Drama
Chrysostomos, who was later to become a national martyr in Smyrna,
wrote: "For Macedonia to become Bulgarian, history and ethnography must
be stifled... At the same time Metropolitan Germanos began
to take the offensive in Kastoria.
From Greek town Monastiri
Ion Dragoumis rallied the Greeks to action:
"We've had enough martyrs, we need heroes... If we save
Macedonia, Macedonia will save us... If we save Macedonia, we will be
In August 1904 Pavios Melas
came to Macedonia with thirty companions. On 13 October he hallowed
Macedonia with his blood and became a symbol of the Macedonian Struggle.
The death of Mel as shook
the Greek nation and gave a new form to the Macedonian Struggle. Many
officers soon succeeded Mel as in the fight, which spread from Kastoria,
Florina, Monastin and Morihovo as far as Stromnitsa, Drama, Melenikon and
In 1905, 1906 and 1907, exceptionally
critical years, the forces of the Macedonian freedom fighters, small but
well organized, with the unanimous support of all the Macedonians,
achieved a real feat. The Bulgarians, defeated, began to return to their
bases. Macedonia had been saved. This phase of the Macedonian Struggle
ended in 1908 with the Revolution of the Young Turks.
In the autumn of 1912,
after a period of servitude that had lasted five centuries, Macedonia was
liberated. Just at that moment the Serbs managed to seize Northern
Macedonia, taking in the thoroughly Greek Monastiri, Ochrid, Krusovo,
Morihovo, Gevgheli, Doir~ni and Stromnitsa... The Bulgarians attempted
to occupy Thessaloniki! In the summer of 1913, however, they retreated
again, defeated at Lachanas and Kilkis and in other battles. Nevertheless,
they retained North-western Macedonia, with Melenikon, Petne and
A small part of Western Macedonia,
including Koritsa and Moschopolis, was annexed by the powers
of that time to the newly- founded state of
History, legends and songs
tell of the exploits and the sacrifices of the Macedonian freedom
fighters. Who were they and how many of them were there? Nobody knows. The
land of Macedonia treasures their bones lovingly in her bosom.
The Macedonian Struggle,
one of the most important struggles of Modern Greece, is, it has turned
out, not over, and will never be over "so long as generations of
barbarians sweep down to choke the Greek seed", as Ion Dragoumis said.
The present threat comes from Skopje, which has never fallen within the
geophysical and historical boundaries of Macedonia. There, insolent
counterfeiters, aided by other enemies of Greece, are falsifying history,
usurping the glorious and eternally Greek names of Macedonia and the
Macedonians, forging non-existent nations and now, having eradicated the
Greek element in the part of Macedonia which they seized, they are
conspiring against free Greek Macedonia.
Macedonia is Greek.
Monuments, names, history, traditions and legends, the vivid traces left
behind by the civilization and sacrifices of the Greek Macedonians in
present-day Greek Macedonia and beyond our present northern borders
testify and proclaim that they are GREEK.
We Greek Macedonians will keep this most
beautiful and historic land of our fathers free and Greek for ever.
In the concise text which follows in Greek
and English the Administrative Council of the Thessaloniki Federation of
Western Macedonian Societies presents a brief picture of the historic
region of Macedonia and the brilliant course of its flourishing Greek
civilization from the 3rd millennium BC down to the present day.
It serves as a peaceful response to the
insolent counterfeiters of history, to those who have stopped at nothing
to usurp our name and the name of our homeland, to those who have designs
on this Macedonia of ours, which will for ever be GREEK.
Macedonia, the cradle and shield of the
Greeks, with its historic capitals of Aegeae, Pella and Thessaloniki, was,
is, and always will be part of GREECE.
In 1714 the Frenchman P.
Tarillon, who had lived for many years in Thessaloniki, called Macedonia
noble part of Greece.
The Macedonians of that time, with their
splendid communities in Austro-Hungary, Moldovlachia, Russia etc. -
centers of Greek education and civilization - were without question
genuine Greeks: as Greeks they were honored with titles and offices by
foreigners and they were referred to as Greeks by history.
C. STERGIADIS AR. COSTOPOULOS
President Gen. Secretary
I. TZIMAS, G.
HASAPIS, B. CHRISTOPOULOS, P. HOLERIS,
G. LAZARIDIS, C. SARAGIOTOU, EL. PANIDOU,
C. SIAMETIS, D. MOURTZILAS