Episode 34 (Pausanias, Part III)


We are continuing to presen parts of the work from the well-known ancient Hellenic geographer and historian Pausanias, regarding the differences between the ancient Macedonians and the ancient Greeks.

In the Seventh book, Pausanias clearly separates the Macedonians from the Greeks. Here we read:

When Philip, the son of Demetrius, reached man’s estate, and Antigonus without reluctance handed over the sovereignty of the Macedonians, he struck fear into the hearts of all the Greeks.”(SOURCE: Pausanias, “Description of Greece”, 7,7,5).

Pausanias writes about the Roman occupation of Macedonia in which the Romans led by their general Flamininus, helped the Greeks of the Achaean League. In the Seventh book, Pausanias writes:

          “On his arrival Flamininus sacked Eritrea, defeating the Macedonians who were defending it. He then marched against Corinth, which was held by Philip with a garrison, and sat down to besiege it, while at the same time he sent to the Achaeans and bade them come to Corinth with an army, if they desired to be called allies of Rome and at the same time to show their goodwill to Greece. But the Achaeans greatly blamed Flamininus himself, and Otilius before him, for their savage treatment of ancient Greek cities which had done the Romans no harm, and were subject to the Macedonians against their will. They foresaw too that the Romans were coming to impose their domination both on Achaeans and on the rest of Greece, merely in fact to take the place of Philip and the Macedonians. At the meeting of the League many opposite views were put forward, but at last the Roman party prevailed, and the Achaeans joined Flamininus in besieging Corinth. (SOURCE: Pausanias, “Description of Greece”,7,8,1-2).

So, even though it was clear to the Achaeans that the Macedonian slavery would be replaced by the Roman slavery, they still engaged in the war against the Macedonians which was led by the Romans. This speaks enough for the hatred the Greeks had towards Macedonia. They praised Rome for their badly treating of the Greek cities that had Macedonian garrisons in them.

Further on, Pausanias writes about the defeat of the Macedonian king Philip V by the Romans, and the consequences after that:

          “In actual fact Philip himself and the Macedonian ascendancy had been put down by the Romans; Philip fighting against the Romans under Flamininus was worsted at the place called Dog’s Heads, where in spite of his desperate efforts Philip was so severely defeated in the encounter that he lost the greater part of his army and agreed with the Romans to evacuate all the cities in Greece that he had captured and forced to submit.”(SOURCE: Pausanias, “Description of Greece”, 7,8,7).

Then Pausanias writes:

The history of Macedonia, the power she won under Philip the son of Amyntas, and her fall under the later Philip, were foretold by the inspired Sibyl. This was her oracle:

Ye Macedonians, boasting of your Argive kings,

          To you the reign of a Philip will be both good and evil.
The first will make you kings over cities and peoples;
The younger will lose all the honor,

          Defeated by men from west and east.”

Pausanias doesn’t give information on where he got the text for this quote and when was it first written.

We will mention the grave of the mythical singer Orpheus for which Pausanias wrote that it can be found in Macedonia. In the Ninth book we read:

          “The Macedonians who dwell in the district below Mount Pieria and the city of Dium say that it was here that Orpheus met his end at the hands of the women. Going from Dium along the road to the mountain, and advancing twenty stades, you come to a pillar on the right surmounted by a stone urn, which according to the natives contains the bones of Orpheus.” (SOURCE: Pausanias, “Description of Greece”, 9, 30, 7).

Moving on, Pausanias writes about unusual and mysterious events that the people told him about the grave of Orpheus.

In the Tenth book Pausanias again points out the Macedonian ethnic origin of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

          “For the kings of Egypt liked to be called Macedonians, as in fact they were.” (SOURCE: Pausanias, “Description of Greece”, 10, 7,8).    

Pausanias mentions the names of the Greek tribes that belonged to the Amphictyonic Council, which we already mentioned was an all-Greek organization. They were: Ionians, Dolopians Thessalians, Eneians, Magnetians, Maleans, Dorians, Phocians and Locrians.

Not only are the Macedonians not mentioned here, but not even the people of Epirus are mentioned as a “Greek nation”.

Let’s conclude that the writings of the ancient author Pausanias represent another strong weapon against the present day Greek propaganda.