Republic of Macedonia

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Peter Green (born 1924) is a British classical scholar noted for his Alexander to Actium (1990) and Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.; A Historical Biography (1974)

Peter Green on the Ancient Macedonians

Here you will find a number of quotes lifted from Green's books "Alexander of Macedon" and "Alexander to Actium"

[1]
The Colonels, as it happened, promoted Alexander as a great Greek hero, especially to army recruits: the Greeks of the fourth century BC, to whom Alexander was a half-Macedonian, half-Epirote barbarian conqueror, would have found this metamorphosis as ironic as I did.

[2]
"Macedonia was the first large territorial state with an effective centralized political, military and administrative structure to come into being on the continent of Europe." [p.1]

[3]
"No one had forgotten that Alexander I, known ironically as the philhellene, had been debarred from the Olympic Games until he manufactured a pedigree connecting the Argeads with the ancient Argive kings." [p.7]
(On p.9 Green refers to this Argive link as "fictitious".)

[4]
"Isocrates' letter to Philip II where he, Isocrates refers to Philip as one who has been blessed with untrammeled freedom to consider Hellas your fatherland Green calls this a rhetorical hyperbole. Indeed, taken as a whole the Address to Philip must have caused its recipient considerable sardonic amusement." [p. 49]

Its ethnic conceit was only equalled by its naivety. [p.49]

[5]
"And though Philip did not give a fig for Panhellenism as an idea, he at once saw how it could be turned into highly effective camouflage (a notion which his son subsequently took over ready-made). Isocrates had, unwittingly, supplied him with the propaganda-line he needed. From now on he merely had to clothe his Macedonian ambitions in a suitable Panhellenic dress." [p.50]

[6]
"The Greeks had done a deal with Artaxerxes, (Persian commander), and if Philip did not move fast it would be they who invaded his territory, not he theirs. In the event, he moved faster than anyone could have predicted". [p.69]

[This happened before the so-called unification of the Greek states under Philip and the planned invasion of Persia.]


[7]
"The Greek states retained no more than a pale shadow of their former freedom". [p.80]

[This is how Philip "united" the Greek states.]


[8]
"The dedication of the Philipeum was a salutary reminder that from now on, whatever democratic forms might be employed as a salve to the Greeks' self-respect, it was Philip who led and they who followed." [p.86]


[9]
"The Greek states were to make a common peace and alliance with one another, and constitute themselves into a federal Hellenic League. Simultaneously, the league was to form a separate alliance with Macedonia, though Macedonia itself would not be a league member." [p.86]

[Macedonians were not Hellenes, nor were they uniting the Greek states.]


[10]
"Philip's Panhellenism was no more than a convenient placebo to keep
his allies quiet, a cloak for further Macedonian aggrandizement." [p.87]


[11]
"Most Greek statesmen recognized this only too well. To them, their self-styled hegemon was still a semi-barbarian autocrat, whose wishes had been imposed on them by right of conquest; and when Alexander succeeded Philip, he inherited the same bitter legacy of hatred and resentment - which his own policies did little to dispel." [p.87]


[how ironic for modern Greeks to contradict "their" elders]


[12]
"The military contingent they supplied were, in reality, so many hostages for their good behavior. As we shall see, whenever they saw the slightest chance of throwing off the Macedonian yoke, they took it." [p. 87]


[13]
"Some 15,000 Greek mercenaries, not to mention numerous doctors, technicians and professional diplomats, were already on the Persian payroll; twice as many men, in fact, as the league ultimately contributed for the supposedly Panhellenic crusade against Darius." [p.95]

[Modern Greeks claim that Alexander's conquest of Persia was a "Greek conquest." They would be well advised to consider the magnitude of Greeks in service with the Persian king Darius against Macedon.]


[14]
"In the early spring of 336, an advance force of 10,000 men, including a thousand cavalry, crossed over to Asia Minor. Its task was to secure the Hellespont, to stockpile supplies, and in Philip's pleasantly cynical phrase, to 'liberate the Greek cities'." [p.98]


['cynical phrase' to "liberate the Greek cities".]


[15]
"Only the Spartans held aloof. The traditions of their country, they informed the king, did not allow them to serve under a foreign leader. (So much for Macedonia's pretensions to Hellenism.) Alexander did not press the point....." [p.121]

[Modern Greeks claim that ancient Macedonians were "Hellenes.". Apparently they know more than the ancient Greeks themselves.]


[16]
(Regarding the news of Alexander's death.)
"If anyone had doubts about the report, he quickly supressed them: this, after all, was just what every patriotic Greek had hoped and prayed might happen." [p.136]

[A bit strange, given today's revisionism. Ancient Greeks celebrating the death of their alleged unifier?]


[17]
"Darius reversed his earlier policy of non-intervention, and began to channel gold into Greece wherever he thought it would do most good. He did not, as yet, commit himself to anything more definite: clearly he hoped that the Greek revolt would solve his problem for him. But the mere thought of a Greeko-Persian coalition must have turned Alexander's blood cold." [p.138]


[18]
"This was the Panhellenic crusade preached by Isocrates, and as such the king's propaganda section continued - for the time being - to present it. No one, so far as we know, was tactless enough to ask the obvious question: if this was a Panhellenic crusade, where were the Greek troops?" [p. 157]



[19]
"Indeed, despite the league's official veto, far more Greeks fought for the Great King - and remained loyal to the bitter end - than were ever conscripted by Alexander." [p.157]

[Can Alexander's Macedonian conquest seriously be called a "Greek" conquest? Perhaps the Persian defeat should be referred to as the Greek defeat instead.]


[20]
"What is more, the league's troops were never used in crucial battles (another significant pointer) but kept on garrison and line-of-communication duties. The sole reason for their presence, apart from propaganda purposes, was to serve as hostages for the good behavior of their friends and relatives in Greece. Alexander found them more of an embarrassment than an asset, and the moment he was in a position to do so, he got rid of them." [p.158]

[21]
"Alexander lost no time in getting rid of the league's forces which accompanied him - another ironic gloss on his role as a leader of a Panhellenic crusade." [p.183]


[22]
On the subject of liberating the Greek cities in Asia: "But the euphemism of a "contribution" did not carry the same unpleasant associations; and the whole scheme, with its implication of a united Greek front, must have made splendid propaganda for home consumption." [p. 188]


[23]
On the league's crews: "Their own crews, he pointed out, were still half-trained (the cities
of the league must have been scraping the bottom of the barrel when they chose them); and - a revealing admission - a defeat at this point might well trigger off a general revolt of the Greek states. So much for the Panhellenic crusade. Alexander's main fear, we need scarcely doubt, was that the league's fleet might actually desert him if the chance presented itself." [p.190]


[24]
"The truth of the matter seems to have been that Alexander distrusted his Greek allies so profoundly - and with good reason - that he preferred to risk the collapse of his campaign in a spate of rebellion rather than entrust its safety to a Greek fleet." [p.192]



[25]
"The case of Aspendus exposes, with harsh clarity, Alexander's fundamental objectives in Asia Minor. So long as he received willing cooperation, the pretense of a Panhellenic crusade could be kept up. But any resistance, the least opposition to his will, met with instant and savage reprisals." [p.208]


[26]
"The burning of Persopolis had written finis to the Hellenic crusade as such, and he used this excuse to pay off all his league's troops, Parmenio's Thessalians included. The crisis in Greece was over: he no longer needed these potential trouble makers as hostages." [p. 322]


[27]
"But Greek public opinion was something of which Alexander took notice only when it suited him; and the league served him as a blanket excuse for various questionable or underhand actions, the destruction of Thebes being merely the most notorious." [p.506-7]



[28]
"It is significant that two native uprisings occured on the news of Alexander's death, and both of these, as we shall see in a moment, involved Greeks; there were otherwise no inigenous revolts against the colonial government."[p.6. "Alex. to Actiu m"]


[29]
"But then, Eumenes was a Greek, and Macedonian troops, especially the old sweats who had served under Philip II, were never really comfortable being led by non-Macedonians." [p.7. "Alex. to Actium".]



[30]
"Nearcus never came to much among the Successors: but then he, like Eumenes, was a Greek; worse still, he was a Cretan, and thus a proverbial liar." [p.7. "Alex. to Actium"]

 

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Alexander of Macedon-Peter Green

Alexander to Actium- Peter Green

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