Macedonians were Greeks
Historical truth on the ancient Macedonians
In the following quotes, we leave the reader to decide for him- or herself whether Herodotus thought that the ancient Macedonians were Greeks or not. We think it’s quite obvious that Herodotus thought so, since he admits that he knows it.
“Be aware that in so doing we are giving you all the honor that you deserve, and tell your king who sent you how his Greek viceroy of Macedonia has received you hospitably, providing food and bedfellows. “
“Now that these descendants of Perdiccas are Greeks, as they themselves say, I myself chance to know and will prove it in the later part of my history. Furthermore, the Hellenodicae who manage the contest at Olympia determined that it is so, for when Alexander chose to contend and entered the lists for that purpose, the Greeks who were to run against him wanted to bar him from the race, saying that the contest should be for Greeks and not for foreigners. Alexander, however, proving himself to be an Argive, was judged to be a Greek.”
“After him spoke Mardonius, and said: — “…Their manner of fighting we know, and their wealth we know, that it is but little; and we have conquered and hold their sons, even those who dwell in our land and are called Ionians and Aeolians and Dorians. I myself have tried conclusions with these men, when by your father’s command I marched against them; and I marched as far as Macedonia and wellnigh to Athens itself, yet none came out to meet me in battle. Yet wars the Greeks do wage, and, as I learn, most senselessly they do it, in their wrongheadedness and folly. …. The Greek custom, then, is no good one; and when I marched as far as the land of Macedonia, it came not into their thoughts to fight. But against you, O king! who shall make war? For you will have at your back the multitudes of Asia, and all your ships; for myself, I think there is not so much boldness in Hellas as that; but if time should show me wrong in my judgment, and those men were foolhardy enough to do battle with us, they would be taught that we are the greatest warriors on earth.”
(Herodotus Book 7.9)
“…but the Dorians on the contrary have been constantly on the move; their home in Deucalion’s reign was Phthiotis and in the reign of Dorus son of Hellen the country known as Histiaeotis in the neighbourhood of Ossa and Olympus; driven from there by the Cadmeians they settled in Pindus and were known as Macedons; thence they migrated to Dryopis, and finally to the Peloponnese, where they got their present name of Dorians.”
(Herodotus, Book I, 56)
“…Three brothers of the lineage of Temenos came as banished men from Argos to Illyria, Gavganis and Aeropos and Perdikkas, and worked for the king that was there… When the king learned that when the queen baked the bread of Perdikkas, it doubled its size, than of the the other breads, he considered that as a miracle and ordered the 3 brothers to leave his kingdom. The brothers required their payment. Then the king told them to take the sun as a payment. Gavganis and Aeropos where taken by surprise and the youngest brother, Perdikkas, accepted the offer. He took out his sword, circled it 3 times and took the sun, which he placed in his underarm and left with his brothers…”
“Now these were the nations who composed the Grecian fleet. From the Peloponnese, the following- the Lacedaemonians with sixteen ships; the Corinthians with the same number as at Artemisium; the Sicyonians with fifteen; the Epidaurians with ten; the Troezenians with five; and the Hermionians with three. These were Dorians and Macedonians all of them (except those from Hermione), and had emigrated last from Erineus, Pindus, and Dryopis. The Hermionians were Dryopians, of the race which Hercules and the Malians drove out of the land now called Doris. Such were the Peloponnesian nations.”.”
(Herodotus, Book VIII ,43)
“The whole nation of the Phocians had not joined the Medes; on the contrary, there were some who had gathered themselves into bands about Parnassus, and made expeditions from thence, whereby they distressed Mardonius and the Greeks who sided with him, and so did good service to the Grecian cause. Besides those mentioned above, Mardonius likewise arrayed against the Athenians the Macedonians and the tribes dwelling about Thessaly.
(Herodotus, Book IX)
“Men of Athens…Had I not greatly at heart the common welfare of Hellas I should not have come to tell you; but I am myself Hellene by descent, and I would not willingly see Hellas exchange freedom for slavery….If you prosper in this war, forget not to do something for my freedom; consider the risk I have run, out of zeal for the Hellenic cause, to acquaint you with what Mardonius intends, and to save you from being surprised by the barbarians. I am Alexander of Macedon.”
(Herodotus, The Histories, 9.45)
This was the stated end of their expedition, but they intended to subdue as many of the Greek cities as they could. Their fleet subdued the Thasians, who did not so much as lift up their hands against it; their land army added the Macedonians to the slaves that they had already, for all the nations nearer to them than Macedonia had been made subject to the Persians before this. Crossing over from Thasos they travelled near the land as far as Acanthus, and putting out from there they tried to round Athos.
(Herodotus, The Histories, 6.44)