Episode 10 (Cornelius Nepos)


Cornelius Nepos was born around the year 100, and died around 24 BC. He was born near today’s Verona andhe was a Gaul. Several of his works are known, but not preserved. However, they are mentioned and quoted in other author’s works. The only preserved work is „ExcellentiumImperatorum Vitae”.

In this work Cornelius Nepos gives a clear statement that the Macedonians were not Greek. In the chapter “Eumenes”, Cornelius Nepos writes about the life and work of a Greek war commander Eumenes, who lived in 4 c. BC and who served in the Macedonian army. Eumenes lived amongst the Macedonians, but even though he gave a great contribution in their campaigns and descended from a wealthy family, he was never fully accepted, just because he was a foreigner (a Greek). Here we read:

          “Eumenes was a native of Cardia… As he happened to live, however, in the days in which the Macedonians flourished, it was a great disadvantage to him residing among them, that he was of a foreign country. Nor was anything wanting to him but a noble descent; for, though he was of a family of distinction in his native city, the Mace­donians were nevertheless dissatisfied that he should ever be preferred to them. They were obliged to submit, however, for he excelled them all in caution, vigilance, endurance, and acuteness and activity of intellect.”(SOURCE: Cornelius Nepos, “Lives of Eminent Commanders”, XVIII, 1).

In chapter 21 (titled “Of Kings”) Nepos was again clear that the Macedonians were in no way Greek. He gives the names of the most famous Greek generals: Timo­leon of Corinth, Phocion of Athens, Eumenes of Cardia, Agesi­laos of Sparta, Pelopidas of Thebes, Epaminodas of Thebes, Timothe­us of Athens,Iphicrates of Athens,Dion of Syracusa,Vimon of Athens and others. About them,he writes:

          “These were almost all the generals of Greece that seemed worthy of record, except kings, for we would not treat of them, because the actions of them all are narrated separately…” (SOURCE: Cornelius Nepos, “Lives of Eminent Commanders”, XXI, 1).

We can see that in the list of names of Greek generals, there is not a single Macedonian mentioned! Further on, Cornelius Nepos separately mentions the most outstanding people in the Macedonian ranks, as he himself wrote (quote) “of the nation of the Mace-donians“. Here Nepos writes:

“Of the nation of the Macedonians, two kings far excelled the rest in renown for their achievements; Philip, the son of Amyntas, and Alexander the Great.”(SOURCE: Cornelius Nepos, “Lives of Eminent Commanders”, XXI, 2).

Again we ask, how does the current Greek historiography react to these solid testimonies? Cornelius Nepos is one more ancient author whose works are completely opposing the present Greek propaganda and historiography’s articulations.


Dionysus Calliphontis was a geographer who lived in the first century BC. We present some fragments of his work from the report of the British government titled as “Memorandum on the Ancient Boundaries of Greece”, prepared by the British war historian Major Ardag. In relation to the Greek territory of that time, Dionysus Caliphontis writes:

Abracia is the first city in Greece… Greece is continuous from Ambracia to the Peneus.”(SOURCE: “Memorandum on the Ancient Boundaries of Greece”British documents of foreign affairs, Part I, Series F, Europe 1848 – 1914, Vol. 14 “Greece, 1847 – 1914”, University publications of America).

          This too presents a valid testimony that not only the Mace-donians, but the Epirotes were also not treated as a Greek nation by Dionysus Caliphontes, and by other authors as well.


We can find data about the historian Dexippus in the work of Photius who was a patriarch in Constantinople and lived in the IX century. In his work “Bibliotheca”,Photius published his own reviews of 279 books which he has read. Most of these books are not preserved today.

One of the authors that he commented on was a famous Athenian general, orator and historian namedDexippus. Only fragments are preserved from the original works of Dexippus. In one of them (named simply as „Historical epitome) he wrote about the history of the Macedonians in the period after the death of Alexander the Great. Regarding this work, Photius wrote:

“Read the History of the events that happened after the death of Alexander the Great, by Dexippus, in four books…

          Further on,Dexippus described the division of the Mace-donian Empire and what happened after that:

          …In Europe, Lysimachus obtained Thrace and the Chersonese; Antipater the whole of Macedonia, Greece, Illyria, the country of the Triballi and the Agrianes…(SOURCE: Photius: “Bibliotheca”, 82).

According to these fragments, it is obvious that Dexippus treated the Macedonians as different from the Greeks. If Macedonia was a “Greek land” in the ancient times, why did he mention them separately?