Episode 8 (Claudianus)

CLAUDIANUS (IV and Vc.) 

Claudianusoriginated from Alexandria. Sometime before the year 395 he moved to Rome, where after a while he became a court poet of the emperor Honorius. He wrote his works in Latin andhis poems are highly rated today. It is assumed that he passed away around the year 404.

In his work“The War Against Guildo”,Claudianusmentions the king Philip II and the Macedonians. Here we read:

          “…Philip held the cities of Greece. Liberty fell in front of the attack of the Macedonian gold.”

          In this extract Claudianus clearly distinguishes the Macedonians from the Greeks, whose cities lost their liberty from the “Macedonian gold” which was a synonym for Macedonian power.

AEMILIUS SURA (II c. BC)

          AemiliusSurawas a little-known Roman historian. It is assumed that he lived in the II c. BC. An authentic quote from his historical work is transferred fromthe later Roman historian Marcus Velleius Paterculus. In the first book of the “History of Rome”,Marcus Velleius Paterculuswrites:

          “Aemilius Sura says in his book on the chronology of Ro­me: “The Assy­rians were the first of all races to hold world po­wer, then the Medes, and after them the Persians, and then the Macedonians. Then through the defeat of Kings Philip and An­tiochus, of Macedonian origin, following clo­sely upon the over­throw of Carthage, the world power passed to the Ro­man peo­p­le.”(SOURCE: Marcus Velleius Paterculus,“Roman History”, I, 6).

          From this authentic quote we can clearly see that the Roman historian AemilusSura also treated the Macedonians as a separate nation (mentioning them side by side with other nations such as: the Romans, the Assyrians, the Medes and the Persians) that once ruled the world.

CICERO (IIand I c. BC)

Marcus Tullius Cicero was born in the year 106 BC, and passed away in the year 43 BC. He was a famous Roman philosopher, orator, lawyer and lawgiver. He had a conflict with Gaius Julius Caesar and was perished in Macedonia, where he spent a full year. He was called later on to come back to Rome.

In his work “In Pisonem”, Cicero clearly mentions the borders of the Greek lands in his time. Addressing Epicurus, Cicero writes that according to the law of Caesar:“…all Achaia, and Thessaly, and Athens, in short the whole of Greece, was made over to you.”(SOURCE: Cicero, “In Pisonem”, 37).

We can see that for Cicero it was very clear that the Greek lands consisted of Achaia (a region around Athens) and Thessaly. Macedonia isnot mentioned as a “Greek land” at all.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA (II and IIIc.)

Clement of Alexandria was born around 150, and died around 216. He was one of the most influential early-Christian activists. With his work he gave a major contribution to the development of Christianity.

We are going to use Clement’s works strictly on the subject we are covering, and that is the ethno-cultural differences between the Macedonians and the Greeks.

In his book “Exhortation to the Greeks”, Clement of Alexandria criticizes the pagan beliefs of some of the nations from back then. He first mentions the people who worshiped the fire, and then separately mentions the Macedonians from the Greeks:

          “…Many of the inhabitants of Asia, worshipped fire; and besides them, the Macedonians, as Diogenes relates in the first book of his Persica… They have not supposed stocks and stones to be images of the gods like the Greeks; nor ibises and ichneumons, like the Egyptians; but fire and water, as philosophers.” (SOURCE: Clement of Alexandria: “Exhortation to the Greeks”, Chapter 5: The Opinions of the Philosophers Respecting God).

With this statement Clement of Alexandria is included among other dozens of ancient authors who testified about the differences between the Macedonians and the Greeks.