Macedonians were Greeks

Historical truth on the ancient Macedonians

"There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service — but how different is their cause from ours! They will be fighting for pay — and not much of at that; we, on the contrary, shall fight for Greece, and our hearts will be in it.""
Alexander the Great
King of Macedonia (356 – 323 BC)

An important aspect in anti-Greek propaganda is cherry-picking texts and taking them out of context. In many instances ancient authors have used expressions such as “Macedonia and Greece” or “Macedonians and Greeks”. Why did they do this? According to those propagandists this is a clear ethnic distinction between the Macedonians and the Greeks. However, they do not look at the whole context or propose another reason for this false distinction. The main reason authors wrote this way was to make a literary distinction and not an ethnic one. Otherwise why would they write similar text for other Greek tribes, such as the Athenians, Spartans, etc? Some prime examples of such texts are the following:

When the Athenians attacked the Greeks…” <Thucydides, “History of the Peloponnesian War, 3.62”>

Does this mean the Athenians were not Greek? Under the irrational logic of the anti-Greek propaganda, indeed they weren’t.

Agesilaos was accused… that he exposed the city [Sparta] as an accomplice in the crimes against the Hellenes. <Plutarch, Agesilaos 26>

The Spartans weren’t Hellenes (Greeks) either…

Thus, the Hellenes were wondering what the state of the Lacedaemonian army would be had it been commanded by Agesilaos or… the old Leonidas.” <Plutarch, Agis 14>

Above is another such distinction between the Greeks and the Spartans! So the Spartans were not Greek!

Since the Lacedaemonians made peace with all the Hellenes, they were in war only with the Thebans…”, <Plutarch, Pelopidas 20>

Another text showing a distinction between the Spartans and the Greeks.

“He soothed the Athenians’ pride by promising them… that the Hellenes would accept their leadership…”, <Plutarch, Themistokles 7>

Yet another distinction between the Athenians and the Greeks.

Additional such ‘distinctions’ are presented below without comment.

‘Distinction’ between Athenians and the Greeks

“When the estrangement which had arisen between the Athenians and the Hellenes became noised abroad, there came to Athens ambassadors from the Persians and from the Hellenes. [Diodoros of Sicily 11.28.1]
“…the Hellenes gathered in congress decreed to make common cause with the Athenians and advanced to Plataia in a body…” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.29.1]

“He soothed the Athenians’ pride by promising them… that the Hellenes would accept their leadership…” [Plutarch, Themistokles 7]

“…the Athenians, because of their policy of occupying with colonists the lands of those whom they subdued, had a bad reputation with the Hellenes;…” [Diodoros of Sicily 15.23.4]

“And we decided upon a twofold revolt, from the Hellenes and the Athenians, not to aid the latter in harming the former… ” [Thucydides, 3.13; Oration of the Mytilenaians]

“When the Athenians attacked the Hellenes, they, the Plataians… Atticized. [Thucydides, 3.62; Theban Accusations]

The Athenians… by this generous act they recovered the goodwill of the Hellenes and made their own leadership more secure.” [Diodoros of Sicily 15.29.8]

“And this was the first naval victory that the city [Athens] had against the Hellenes, after the destruction.” [Plutarch, Phokion 6]

‘Distinction’ between Spartans (Lacedaemonians) and the Greeks

“…the Lacedaemonians, fearful lest Themistokles should devise some great evil against them and the Hellenes, honoured him with double the numbers of gifts…” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.27.3]

“In this year [475 BCE] the Lacedaimonians… were resentful; consequently they were incensed at the Hellenes who had fallen away from them and continued to threaten them with the appropriate punishment.” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.50.1]

“In a single battle the Peloponnesians and their allies may be able to defy all the Hellenes, but they can not carry a whole war…” [Thukydides 1.141; Oration of Pericles]

“When the Eleians not only paid no heed to them [the Lacedaemonians] but even accused them besides of enslaving the Hellenes, they dispatched Pausanias, the other of the two kings, against them with 4, 000 soldiers.” [Diodoros of Sicily 14.17.6]

“But Pausanias, the king of the Lacedaemonians, being jealous of Lysandros and observing that Sparta was in ill repute among the Hellenes, marched forth with a strong army and on his arrival in Athens brought about a reconciliation between the men of the city and the exiles. [Diodoros of Sicily 14.33.6]

“He says… the Lacedaimoniansgave to the Hellenes to taste the sweet drink of freedom…” [Plutarch, Lysandros 13]

“Agesilaos was accused… that he exposed the city [Sparta] as an accomplice in the crimes against the Hellenes.” [Plutarch, Agesilaos 26]

“…the Lacedaemonians, who were hard put to it by the double war, that against the Hellenes and that against the Persians, dispatched their admiral Antalkidas to Artaxerxes to treat for peace.” [Diodoros of Sicily 14.110.2]

The Lacedaemonians… used their allies roughly and harshly, stirring up, besides, unjust and insolent wars against the Hellenes, …” [Diodoros of Sicily 15.1.3]

“At this time the kings of the Lacedaemonians were at variance with each other on matters of policy. Agesipolis, who was a peaceful and just man and, furthermore, excelled in wisdom, declared that they should abide by their oaths and not enslave the Hellenes contrary to the common agreements.” [Diodoros of Sicily 15.16.4]

“Thus, the Hellenes were wondering what the state of the Lacedaemonian army would be had it been commanded by Agesilaos or… the old Leonidas.” [Plutarch, Agis 14]

“Even though the Lacedaemonians had combated the Hellenes many times only one of their kings had ever died in action…” [Plutarch, Agis 21]

When it came to a general engagement, Agis was struck down fighting, but the Lacedaemonians fought furiously and maintained their position for a long time; when their Greek allies were forced out of position they themselves fell back on Sparta. [Diodorus Sic. 17.63.2]
“Ay, and you know this also, that the wrongs which the Greeks suffered from the Lacedaemonians or from us..” [Demosthenes, 3rd Philipic]
“Since the Lacedaemonians made peace with all the Hellenes, …” [Plutarch, Pelopidas 20]

‘Distinction’ between Greeks of Asia Minor & the Aegean islands and the Greeks

“…and as for the Hellenes, they were emboldened by the promise of the Ionians, and… came down eagerly in a body from Salamis to the shore in preparation for the sea- battle.” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.17.4]

“Now the Samians and Milesians had decided unanimously beforehand to support the Hellenes…” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.36.2]

“…although the Ionians thought that the Hellenes would be encouraged, the result was the very opposite.” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.36.2]

“When the Samians and Milesians put in their appearance, the Hellenes plucked up courage, … and Aiolians participated in the battle, …” [Diodoruds of Sicily 11.36.4-5]

“When the Aiolians and Ionians had heard these promises, they resolved to take the advice of the Hellenes…” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.37.2]

“The Athenians… reasoned that, if the Ionians were given new homes by the Hellenes acting in common they would no longer look upon Athens as their mother-city.” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.37.3]

Distinction between the Cretans & Cypriots and the other Greeks

“The Cretans, when the Hellenes sent to ask aid from them… acted as follows…” [Herodotus 7.169]

“The King [of Persia], now that his difference with the Hellenes was settled, made ready his armament for the war against Cyprus. For Evagoras had got possession of almost the whole of Cyprus and gathered strong armaments, because [king] Artaxerxes was distracted by the war against the Hellenes.” [Diodoros of Sicily 14.110.5]

‘Distinction of the peoples of Central Greece with the rest of the Greeks

“The Lokrians… when they learned that Leonidas had arrived at Thermopylai, changed their minds and went over to the Hellenes.” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.4.6]

“Now the Phokians had chosen the cause of the Hellenes, but seeing that they were unable to offer resistance… fled for safety to the rugged regions about Mount Parnassos.” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.14.1]

“The Thebans, anticipating the arrival of a large army from Hellas to aid the Lacedaemonians [controlling the citadel of Thebes, the Kadmeia], dispatched envoys to Athens to remind them… and to request them to come with all their forces and assist them in reducing the Kadmeia before the arrival of the Lacedaemonians.” [Diodoros of Sicily 15.25.4]

“All the Hellenes gladly received the proposal [of Artaxerxes, the Persian King], and all the cities agreed to a general peace except Thebes; for the Thebans alone, being engaged in bringing Boiotia under a single confederacy, were not admitted by the Hellenes because of the general determination to have the oaths and treaties made city by city.” [Diodoros of Sicily 15.50.4]

“… the recorders of the Amphictyons [the hieromnemones] brought charges against the Phokians and… if they did not obey, they should incur the common hatred of the Hellenes.” [Diodoros of Sicily 16.23.3]

“the Thessalians, thinking that it was not expedient to engage as cavalry in a battle with hoplites, turned round and
 slowly retired. And the Greeks very cautiously followed them.” [Xenophon Hellenica 4.3.3-18]

Various ‘distinctions’ from the Greeks

“‘Acanthians, the Lacedaemonians have sent out me and my army to make good the reason that we gave for the war when we began it, viz. that we were going to war with the Athenians in order to free Hellas” [Thucydides 4.85.1] Brasidas to Acanthus

“And for myself, I have come here not to hurt but to free the Hellenes, witness the solemn oaths by which I have bound my government that the allies that I may bring over shall be independent;and besides my object in coming is not by force or fraud to obtain your alliance, but to offer you mine to help you against your Athenian masters” [Thucydides 4.86.1]

“I shall do so without scruple, being justified by the necessity which constrains me, first, to prevent the Lacedaemonians from being damaged by you, their friends, in the event of your non-adhesion, through the monies that you pay to the Athenians; and secondly, to prevent the Hellenes from being hindered by you in shaking off their servitude.” [Thucydides 4.87.3]

“Endeavour, therefore, to decide wisely, and strive to begin the work of liberation for the Hellenes,” [Thucydides 4.87.6]

“..while Cleomenes’ personal ambition, and far-reaching projects, though for the present he aimed only at supremacy in the Peloponnese, would, on his attaining this, at once develop into a claim to be overlord of all Hellas” [Polybius 2.48.4]

“And Gelon replied with vehemence: `Hellenes, … you exhort me to join in league with you against the barbarian…’ [Herodotos, 7.157]

“Gelon [the ruler of the Greek city of Syrakousai]… was making ready… to join the Hellenes in the war against the Persians.” [Diodoros of Sicily 11.26.4]

“This is how they (the Kerkyraians) eluded the reproaches of the Hellenes. [Herodotos, 7.168]

” Thus spoke the Thessalians; and the Hellenes upon this resolved to send to Thessaly by sea an army of men on foot to guard the pass: and when the army was assembled it set sail through Euripos, and having come to Alos in the Achaian land, it disembarked there and marched into Thessaly leaving the ships behind at Alos, and arrived at Tempe, the pass which leads from lower Macedonia into Thessaly by the river Peneios, going between the mountains of Olympos and Ossa. There the Hellenes encamped, being assembled to the number of about ten thousand hoplites, and to them was added the cavalry of the Thessalians; and the commander of the Lacedemonians was Euainetos the son of Carenos, who had been chosen from the polemarchs, not being of the royal house, and of the Athenians Themistocles the son of Neocles. [Herodotos VII.173]

“..Delay not, therefore, to assist Potidaea, a Dorian city besieged by Ionians, which is quite a reversal of the order of things; nor to assert the freedom of the rest.” [Thucydides 1.124.1]

“..and decided upon a twofold revolt, from the Ηellenes and from the Athenians, not to aid the latter in harming the former, but to join in the liberation, and not to allow the Athenians in the end to destroy us, but to act in time against them” [Thucydides 3.13.1]

So, in fact, one can now understand how the anti-Greek propaganda is trying to steer public opinion against the fact that the ancient Macedonians were Greeks.