Episode 7 (Alexander the Great)

Another person from the ancient times who very clearly separated the Macedonians from the Greeks as two different nations was the most famous Macedonian emperor Alexander the Great of Macedon (356-323 BC).

In today’s time,some extractions are preserved from his letters and speeches that were published by the ancient historian Arrian.Arrian took these materials from the historical work dedicated to Alexander, written by Alexander’s general Ptolemy that today is preserved only in fragments.

Arrian transmits the speech that Alexander the Great of Macedon made in front of his officers when they decided not to follow him through the final conquering of India butwanted to go back home instead. However, none of them dared to tell him that. Alexander realized what was happening, called his officers to a meeting and told them the following:

          O Macedonians and Grecian allies, seeing that you no longer follow me into dangerous enterprises with a resolution equal to that which formerly animated you, I have collected you together into the same spot, so that I may either persuade you to march forward with me, or may be persuaded by you to re­turn

          After saying this, the great Macedonian Emperor started to list the territories that were conquered and added to the Macedonian Empire asking them why they would not want to add more territories to the Macedonian state.

…The river Indus flows through our territory, as do also the Hydaspes and the Hydra­­otes, why do ye shrink from adding the Hyphasis also, and the nations beyond this river, to your empire of Mace­donia?”

          Here we see that Alexander the Great didnot conquer territories in benefit of the “united Greeks” (as some present scholars and Greek propagandists say so), but he conquered these territories to add them to the Macedonian empire, to his fatherland Macedonia.

Furthermore Alexander the Great said:

          “I will also demonstrate both to the Macedonians and to the Grecian allies, that the Indian Gulf is confluent with the Persian, and the Hyrcanian Sea… so the whole of Asia will belong to us, and the limits of our empire will be those which God has made also the limits of the earth.”

          And further on:

          “But, O Macedonians and Grecian allies, stand firm! … But what great or glorious deed could we have performed, if, sitting at ease in Macedonia, we had thought it sufficient to preserve our own country without any labour, simply repelling the attacks of the nations on our frontiers, the Thracians, Illyrians, and Triballians, or even those Greeks who were unfriendly to our interests?” (SOURCE: Arrian, “Anabasis”, Chap. XXV-XXVI).

In this speech (preserved from the ancient historian Arrian who took it from the lost historical work of Ptolemy), we can see that Alexander the Great himself made a clear difference between the Macedonians and the Greeks, as two different nations. In here not only does he refer to them as “Macedonians and Grecian allies“, but he decisively explains that the Macedonians who remained in Macedonia could be in danger of their neighbours: Illyrians, Thracians, Triballians and – Greeks!

Alexander the Great of Macedon also clearly distinguished the Macedonians from the Greeks in his letter which he sent to the Persian king Darius as a response to his peace offering. Arrian transmits some parts of this letter. Alexander wrote to Darius:

          „…You sent unfriendly letters about me to the Greeks, urging them to wage war with me. You have also despatched money to the Lacedaemonians, and certain other Greeks; but none of the States received it, except the Lacedaemonians. As your agents corrupted my friends, and were striving to dissolve the league which I had formed among the Greeks, I took the field against you, because you were the party who commenced the hostility..“(SOURCE: Arrian, “Anabasis”, Chap. XIV).

It is rather obvious that Alexander treated the Greeks as a foreign nation, a nation to whose representatives the Persians sent “unfriendly letters” against Alexander. It is well-known that the Lacedaemonians (Spartans) were the only Greeks who successfully opposed the Macedonian hegemony. Here we can see that Alexander himself claims that it was because they were paid with Persian money.

Because of all this, it is really unclear how can today’s Greek historiography and propaganda, as well as pro-Greek authors from other countries, treat Alexander as a “Greek” when he himself clearly separated the Macedonians from the Greeks.