Episode 2 (Arrian, Part 2)

We are continuing to present the works of the ancient authors that contain clear claims that the ancient Macedonians were not “Greeks” and that the ancient Greeks were under Macedonian slavery for centuries.


In the first part about the ancient historian Arrian, we presented his testimony about the battle at Issus between the Macedonian and the Persian army. He wrote that over 30.000 Greeks fought in the Persian army against the Macedonians. He also wrote that the biggest clash between the Greeks and the Macedonians happened in this battle because there was (quote) “old racial rivalry of Greek and Mace­donian“.

It is true that in the Macedonian army there were also members of other nations, such as Thracians, Illyrians, Greeks, and even Jews. However, when writing about the Macedonian army, Arrian distinguishes the Macedonians from the Greeks. In his book “Indica”, Arrian wrote:

          “The southern part near Pattala and the mouths of the Indus were surveyed by Alexander and Macedonians, and many Greeks.” (SOURCE: Arrian, “Indica”, VIII, 2).

This claim does not require any further comments. Here too we see the clear distinction between the Macedonians and the Greeks.

Another distinction between the Macedonians and the Greeks can be seen when Arrian mentions the list of commanders of thewar ships (triremes) that Alexander’s army used to travel through the rivers. Here we read:

As commanders of triremes were appointed, from the Mace­donians: Hephaestion son of Amyntor, and Leonnatus son of Eunous, Lysimachus son of Agathocles…” (followed by 22 more names of commanders, their fathers and parts of Macedonia where they originated from).Arrian states (quote); all these being Macedonians.

After that, Arrian writes:

Of Greeks: Medius son of Oxynthemis, of Larisa; Eumenes son of Hieronymus, from Cardia…”(followed by a list of 6 more people). (SOURCE: Arrian, “Indica”, XVIII).

From this extraction, we can see that not only are the Macedonians clearly distinguished from the Greeks, but they had a dominant role in commanding the military of Alexander the Great of Macedon. On the war ships (triremes), 25 commanders were Macedonian while only 8 of them were Greeks.

After entering Asia, Alexander oriented himself into conquering the coastal cities of the Aegean Sea (present Turkey). The population there was Hellenic and was under Persian reign. Still, instead of being happy for being freed, these cities put up a huge resistance against the Macedonians.

One of these cities was Miletus, but there were also cities that chose to surrender. In his writings about these events, Arrian again distinguishes the Macedonians from the Greeks:

“Men now came to him (to Alexander) both from Magnesia and Tralles, offering to surrender those Cities; and to them he sent Parmenio, giving him 2,500 infantry from the Gre­cian auxiliaries, an equal number of Macedonians, and about 200 of the Cavalry Companions.”(SOURCE: Arrian,“Ana­basis”, 1, 18).

In the same book “Anabasis of Alexander” we read about a conversation between Alexander the Great and his general Parmenio who was also a Macedonian. Before the raid on the coastal city of Miletus (when the Persian fleet was still mighty and overpowering), Parmenio advised Alexander to let the Greek mercenaries and allies in the Macedonian army with their ships, so they could campaign against the mighty Persian fleet, and if they win, it would be good for the Macedonians, but if they lose, nothing would be lost! The Greeks would have died, and the Macedonians would have been spared. So, this is how this Macedonian general belittled his Greek mercenaries and allies. He was willing to sacrifice them in the battle against the mighty Persian fleet. But, Alexander rejected this proposition. Arrian writes:

                   “However, Alexander replied that Parmenio was mistaken in his judgment… Besides, he did not wish to deliver over to the foreigners, on so unstable element the advantage which the Macedonians derived from their skill and courage; and if they were beaten in a sea-battle, their defeat would be no small damage to their first prestige in the war, both for other reasons, and especially because the Greeks, being animated with courage at the news of his naval defeat, would attempt to effect a revolution.” (SOURCE: Arrian,“Ana­basis, 1, 18).

We can clearly see from Alexander’s response (even though he rejected Paremnio’s proposition) that he treated the Greeks as “foreigners” and as an “unstable element” in his army. He considered that such a serious task (Miletus’s raid) should not be put in their hands, and, in case of their defeat, it would have made the rest of the Greeks in the Macedonian army rebel and disobey in the name of the sacrificed Greek marina.