Episode 4 (Agrippa)

We are continuing to present the works of the ancient authors that contain clear claims that the ancient Macedonians were not Greeks. Today we shall present testimonies from ancient authors who did not live on the territory of the present day Balkan. One of them was Jewish and another one was Roman.

AGRIPPA II (I c. AD)

          Agrippa II was a Jewish king and was the last representative of the Herod the Greats’ dynasty. He was born near the end of the third decade of the first century and was a son of Agrippa I. In that time the Jews were under the Roman rule, although had some kind of autonomy. Agrippa II was raised pro-Roman and pledged for the Jews not to rebel against the Romans. In the year 58 he met the holy apostle Paul in Caesarea in person.

In connection with our topic of interest, we will mention a part of one of his speeches in which the Ancient Macedonians are separately mentioned from the Greeks. This speech by Agrippa II was noted by the most famous ancient Jewish historian Josephus Flavius.

In the speech Agrippa II convinces the Jews that the Roman empire is very powerful and they should abandon the idea fighting against them. To change their mind from their intentions against the Romans, he mentioned that other nations were under Roman occupation, and still, none of them dared to fight this strong empire. Among the listed nations, he mentioned the Macedonians as well:

What confidence is it that raises you up to oppose the Romans? Perhaps it will be said, it is hard to endure slavery. Yes; but how much harder is this for the Greeks… It is the same with the Macedonians, who have more just reason to claim their liberty than you have..(SOURCE: Josephus Flavius, “War of the Jews”, II, 16,4).

So, in the case of the Jewish king Agrippa II we have a very strong testimony in which the Macedonians are clearly displayed as a separate nation from the Greeks.

AMPELIUS (III c.)

Little is known about the Roman historian Lucius Ampelius. Even the time that he lived in is unknown as well. Some think it was in the II c, but most researchers think he lived in the III c. Ampelius was remembered for his work “Liber Memoralis”. It’s actually a short general history, starting from the earliest times, and ending around the ruling of the Roman Emperor Trayan who lived in I and II century.

In this work Ampelius have mentioned the Macedonians and Macedonia several times. But, he distinctively treats the Macedonians as a separate nation than the Greeks and other nations. In the sixth chapter of the book we read:

In Asia the most famous nations are: Hindis, Serians, Persians, Medes, Partians, Arabs, Bitinians, Phrygians, Cappadocians, Syrians, Lycians.. In Europe the most famous nations are: Scythians, Sarmatians, Germans, Dacians, Mysians, Thracians, MACEDONIANS, Dalmatians, Panonians, Illyrians, GREEKS, Italians, Galians and Spanians.” (SOURCE: Liber Memoralis, De orbeterrarum, VI, 3).

So, we have clear distinction of the Macedonians from the Greeks in here as well. In the same chapter, this ancient author indisputably writes that Olympus was completely a Macedonian mountain.

Most  famous mountains in the whole world are: Caucasus in Scythia, Emodus in India, Libanus in Syria, Olympus in Macedonia, Hymettus in Attica, Taygetus in Lacadaemionia” (SOURCE: Liber Memoralis, De orbeterrarum, VI, 6).

In the tenth chapter, dedicated to the empires, Ampelius mentiones all the nations who had their own famous empires, among which, besides Assyrians, Medi, Persians, Lacadaemonians (Spartans) and others, he mentions the Macedonians as well.

In the sixteenth chapter Ampelius writes about  the occupation of Macedonia from the Romans that happened in the time when Macedonian king Perseus ruled. Before that, almost whole Greek territories were under Macedonian rule.

Ampelius considered the Roman general Paullus Aemilius (who defeated the last Macedonian emperor Perseus and destroyed the ancient Macedonian state) as a victor over the Macedonians and a liberator of the Greeks – a man who liberated the Greeks from the previous Macedonian slavery they were under. Here we read:.

Paullus was a hero to Greece who managed to defeat the Macedonians, which brought him great fame. Every day he thanked the Fates because he successfully managed to defeat the enemies and their attacks on his home and land.” (SOURCE: Liber Memoralis, De orbeterrarum, VI, 16).