Episode 31 (Theopompus)

THEOPOMPUS

Theopompus was born around the year 378 BC on the Chios island. At that time Persia and Sparta were fighting about the control of this island, and since Persia won, the family of Theopompus escaped to Athens. After Philip II came to rule Macedonia, Theopompus was one of the few Greeks that wanted friendship with Macedonia. Actually, this is quite understandable considering that Philip planned a war on Persia, which meant an opportunity for the liberation of Theopompus’s birth place – Chios. Because of this, this historian wrote a poem dedicated to Philip which (along with other works of his) is not preserved. His preserved works are “Hellenika” (also known as “Greek History”) and “Philippika” (also known as “King Philip”). Only 19 fragments are preserved from “Hellenika”. The piece “Philipikka” consisted of 58 books, but only 370 fragments are preserved.

The British war historian John Ardagh from 19-th century gives an extract by Theopompus. He refers to Theopompus as an ancient author who claimed that the Greeks never lived in Epirus in ancient times. Theopompus specifically mentioned the nations that made up the Greek Amphictyonic Council (which we already mentioned). In the list of these nations (Ionians, Dorians, Achaeans, Phocians and others), not only are the Macedonians not mentioned, but not a single Epirote nation is mentioned as well, which means that, according to Theopompus (but other ancient Greek authors that we saw as well), neither Epirus nor Macedonia  were Greek territories(“Memorandum on the Ancient Boundaries of Greece”;British docu­ments of foreign affairs, Part I, Series F, Europe 1848 – 1914, Vol. 14 “Greece, 1847 – 1914”, University publications of America).

Even though we could not reach the original fragments by Theopompus, it is clear by these extracts that this ancient Greek historian clearly treated the Macedonians as a separate nation, whose history he covered separately from the Greek one.

HESYCHIUS (V c.)

It is believed that Hesychius lived in the V century in Alexandria. He was mainly focused on collecting words from the ancient languages and dialects. In the end, he ended up creating a large lexicon containing around 51.000 words. This lexicon today is presented as a “Greek lexicon” in many world encyclopedias, such as “Britannica” and others. However, this kind of description doesnot really suit the facts and it presents a twist on the facts to make them more Greek appealing. The biggest negation to the Greek origin of this lexicon is contained in the lexicon itself. It is true that there are mostly words from Greek dialects, but besides those, Hesychius presented words from other languages as well. He has a whole chapter called “Words from the Peoples” and in this chapter we can see words from other languages like: Persian, Thracian, Egyptian, Indian and others.

In a special title in this chapter, we can see words from the language of the ancient Macedonians. Related to this, the world famous encyclopedia “Columbia” has this truth is correctly presented, and according to it, the Lexicon offers data for even the smallest reconstructions of some lost languages, among which the language of the ancient Macedonians is specifically pointed out. Here we read:

              “…Hesychius is known as the compiler of an invaluable lexicon, a glossary of unusual words and expre­ssions occurring in Greek writings. The material is drawn from special languages (e.g., medical), from older poets, and from various dialects and languages. It is the source of virtually all the material now available on certain vanished languages, such as ancient Macedonian.”(SOURCE: “The Columbia Encyclopedia”, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001 Columbia University Press, title: Hesyc­hius of Alexandria),

It is interesting to note that the contents of the Lexicon of Hesychius, even today arenot completely presented to the public. The words from the ancient Macedonian language are presented in several chapters and titles (at least according to the material we have available which is not complete).

In the chapter “Words from the peoples” there is a special title that says “Macedonian”. A total of 130 words can be found under this title.

Hesychius too described the Macedonians as “barbairans” (people who donot speak Greek). In the description of the word sarisa (a long spear used by the Macedonian phalanx), he wrote that it was used by “the barbarians Macedonians”.

Practically, the Lexicon of Hesychius represents another ancient-Greek testimony which goes against the present days’ Greek propaganda.