Episode 14 (Dio Cassius)

DIO CASSIUS (II and IIIc.)

Dio Cassiusor Lucius Cassius Dio, was born in Nicaea in the middle of the II century, and passed away in the year 229. He was a notable Roman historian. His most popular work is “Roman History”, published in 80 books. Some of these are almost completely preserved, but some only partially.

In the preserved fragments, Dio Cassius in many occasions writes about Macedonia and the Macedonians. In the 17th book, he describes the military actions between Macedonia and Rome during the time of the Macedonian king Philip V (who lived in III and II c. BC). Here he clearly distinguishes the Macedonians from the Greeks, specifically noting that the Greeks were actually under Macedonian occupation before the Romans came along.

“Cento with the aid of the fleet rescued Athens, which was being besieged by the Macedonians, and sacked Chalcis, which was occupied by the same enemy. Meanwhile Philip marched against Athens, but Cento, returning, drove him back for the time being, and also repulsed him again on the occasion of a subsequent assault. Apustius, while Philip was busy with Greece, had invaded Macedonia, and was plundering the country as well as subduing garrisons and cities.” (SOURCE: Dio Cassius, “Roman History”, Book 17, 9).

Writing about the success of the Roman general Flamininus in the battles against Philip V of Macedon, Dio Cassius explains that Flamininus didnot want to completely defeat Philip V. That is because he didnot want the Greeks to feel liberated, but to be grateful to the Romans, so they would not to want to oppose them. In the same book, we read:

          “Philip after his defeat made overtures to Flamininus. And the latter, however eagerly he coveted Macedonia also and desired to follow up his present good fortune to the utmost, nevertheless made a truce. This was due to his fear that if Philip were out of the way, the Greeks might recover their ancient spirit and no longer pay court to the Romans.” (SOURCE: Dio Cassius, “Roman History”, Book 17, 60).

So, Dio Cassius is another author who was completely aware of the ethno-cultural differences between the Macedonians and the Greeks.

EPHORUS (IV c. BC)

Ephorus was an ancient historian who lived around the IV c. BC. He originated from Asia Minor andlittle is known about his life. He studied under Isocrates, and under his influence he dedicated himself to writing history. His most famous work contained 29 books that are not fully preserved in their original form, but we are aware of them from their remaining pieces given by other authors. One of them was Strabo. Quoting Ephorus, who described the borders of the Greek world at the time, writes:

          “Ephorus says that, if one begins with the western parts, Acarnania is the beginning of Greece; for, he adds, Acarnania is the first to border on the tribes of the Epeirotes. But just as Ephorus, using the seacoast as his measuring-line, begins with Acarnania (for he decides in favor of the sea as a kind of guide in his description of places, because otherwise he might have represented parts that border on the land of the Macedonians and the Thessalians as the beginning), so it is proper that I too, following the natural character of the regions, should make the sea my counsellor.”(SOURCE: Strabo 8, 1-3)

          Furthermore:

“Thus Greece consists of two very large bodies of land, the part inside the Isthmus, and the part outside, which extends through Pylae as far as the outlet of the Peneius (this latter is the Thessalian part of Greece).” (SOURCE: Strabo 8, 1-3).

          Here too we can see how clearly the borders of the Greek territories are described, therefore no further commenting is needed. We can see that neither Ephorus treated the Macedonians as Greeks.

EUTROPIUS (IVc.)

Eutropius was a Roman historian, who lived in the IV century AD. His name is mentioned in the era of the emperor Valens, to whom Eutropis dedicated his work “Breviarium historiae Romanae”. This work contained the history of Rome in 10 books. This ancient author clearly treated the Macedonians and the Greeks as separate nations. In the Third book, he writes about the war between Carthagina (Hannibal) and Rome. He mentions the Macedonian king Philip V, who offered an alliance to Hannibal against the Romans, and in return he asked for help against the rebelling Greeks. Here we read:

          “About this time also Philip, king of Macedonia, sent ambassadors to him (Hanibal), offering him assistance against the Romans, on condition that, when he had subdued them, he, in turn, should receive assistance from Hannibal against the Greeks.” (SOURCE: Eutropius, „Breviarium historiae Romanae“, 12).

It is clear that Philip V considered the Greeks a different nation from his own, the Macedonians. Actually, a great deal of the Greek territories were conquered by the Macedonians at the time. With this testimony, Eutropius too is included in the list of ancient authors who considered the ancient Macedonians and the ancient Greeks as two separate nations.