Episode 25 (Justin, Part II)

JUSTIN (II, III or IV c.)

  • PART TWO –

We are continuing to present the testimonies about the differences between the Macedonians and the Greeks given from the Roman historian Justin who lived between II and IV c.

When writing about Alexander’s stay in Egypt and while visiting a local oracle, Justin says:

          “A response was also given by the oracle to his attendants, that ‘they should reverence Alexander as a god, and not as a king.’ Hence it was that his haughtiness was so much increased, and a strange arrogance arose in his mind, the agreeableness of demeanour, which he had contracted from the philosophy of the Greeks and the habits of the Macedonians, being entirely laid aside.”(SOURCE: Justin, 11,11).

This prophecy is referring to the event when an oracle in Egypt told Alexander he was a “son of God”, and he himself should be treated like a god. This was completely acceptable in the Egyptian tradition of that time, according to which the pharaohs were treated as kings and gods at the same time. But, this was weird and unacceptable for the Macedonians and the Greeks, for whom Alexander was and remained to be treated just as a king and a normal human being. In here, Justin clearly distinguished these two nations.

In his 12th book, Justin describes the Greek rebellion against the Macedonian power. It began right after Alexander the Great of Macedon left to conquer Asia. Here we read:

“After the departure of Alexander from Macedonia, almost all Greece, as if to take advantage of the opportunity for recovering their liberty, had risen in arms, yielding, in that respect, to the influence of the Lacedaemonians, who alone had rejected peace from Philip and Alexander, and had scorned the terms on which it was offered.” (SOURCE: Justin,12,1).

It is absurd now that even knowing these clear articulations, some people can still claim that the ancient Macedonians were “Greeks”.

Writing about all the wars the Greeks waged throughout history, Justin states:

“…Greece had frequently felt great disturbances at one time from the wars of the Persians, at another from those of the Gauls, at another from those of the Macedonians, but that they would think all those to have been but trifling, if the force, which was now collecting in Italy, should once pour itself forth from that country.”(SOURCE: Justin, 29,3).

Here too we can see that the Macedonians are considered not only as a different nation, but as one of Greece’s three major enemies in history.

Justin also writes about the Macedonian-Roman wars led by the Macedonian king Philip V. He stresses that the Greeks used this opportunity and allied with the Romans to rebel against the Macedonian power. Here we read:

„ Not long after, too, the whole of Greece, stimulated by con­fi­dence in the Romans, and the hope of recovering their ancient liberty, to rise against Philip, made war upon him…”(SOURCE: Juastin, 30, 3).

Furthermore, Justin is even more decisive, saying:

          “Philip, on the other hand, allowed that he might be induced to submit to the Romans, but that it was intolerable that the Greeks, who had been subdued by his ancestors Philip and Alexander, and brought under the yoke of the Macedonian empire, should dictate articles of peace to him, as if they were conquerors…”(SOURCE: Justin, 30, 3).

I am interested in how does the present day Greek propaganda react to these statements?

Justin also mentions the Macedonians and the Greeks separately when he says:

“The rising power of the Romans would swallow up the ancient empire of the Greeks and the Macedonians.” (SOURCE: Justin, 30, 4).

Writing about the history of the Jews, he mentions the dynasty Seleucides as “Macedonian dynasty”. We read:

         “The first that conquered the Jews was Xerxes, king of Persia. Subsequently they fell, with the Persians themselves, under the power of Alexander the Great; and they were then long subject to the kings of Syria, under its Macedonian dynasty.” (SOURCE: Justin, 36, 3).

This evidence is very important because it is well-known that after the fall of Alexander the Great’s empire, Macedonians (Macedonian dynasties) still ruled the remaining parts of it. Egypt was ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty, and the Seleucids ruled with parts of Asia. However, we already mentioned that today a great number of historians call these dynasties “Greek”, even though they were founded by Macedonians, and so were their future rulers. These untrue claims are opposing the statements made by the ancient authors who clearly called anddescribedthese dynasties as “Macedonian”.

In the end of this short review of Justin’s work, let us conclude that this author also presents an unpleasant challenge for the present day Greek propaganda.