Livy Roman Historian

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Livy Roman Historian


“Such were the activities of the Romans and of Philip on land during that summer. At the beginning of the same summer, the fleet, commanded by the legate Lucius Apustius, left Corcyra, rounded Cape Malea, and joined King Attalus of Scyllaeum, in the region of Hermoine. Hitherto the resentment of the Athenian community against Philip had been kept in check by fear; but now, with the hope of assistance ready at hand, they gave free rein to their anger. There is never any lack at Athenian tongues ready and willing to stir up the passion of the common people; this kind of oratory is nurtured by the applause of the mob in all free communities; but this is especially true of Athens, where eloquence has the greatest influence. The popular assembly immediately carried a proposal that all statues of Philip and all portraits of him, with their inscriptions, and also those of his ancestors of eithersex, should be removed and destroyed; that all feast-days, rites, and priesthoods instituted in honour of Philip or his ancestors should be deprived of sanctity; that even the sites of any memorials or inscriptions in his honour should be held accursed, and that it should not be lawfulthereafter to decide to set up or dedicate on those sites any of those things which might lawfully be set up or dedicated on an undefiled site; that whenever the priests of the people offered prayer on behalf of the Athenian people and their allies, their armies and navies, they should on every occasion HEAP CURSES and execrations on Philip, his family and his realm, his forces on land and sea, AND THE WHOLE RACE AND NAME OF THE MACEDONIANS.”

There was appended to this decree a provision that if anyone afterwards should bring forward a proposal tending to bring on Philip disgrace or dishonour then the Athenian people would pass it in its entirety; whereas if anyone should by word or deed seek to counter his disgrace, or to enhance his honour, the killing of such a person would be lawful homicide. A final clause provided that all the decrees formerly passed against the Pisistratidae should be observed in regard to Philip. This was the Athenians’ war against Philip, a war of words, written or spoken, for that is where their only strength lies.” [Livy’s book XXXI.44]

The most pressing point, the one that screams for recognition, is the call for the Athenian people to (a) “heap curses and execrations on Philip, his family and his realm, his forces on land and sea, and the whole race and name of the Macedonians, and (b) whereas if anyone should by word or deed seek to counter his disgrace, or to enhance his honour, the killing of such a person would be lawful homicide.

In conclusion one must remember the following:

(a) The ancient Greeks regarded the ancient Macedonians as foreigners.

(b) They regarded the ancient Macedonians as people of different race.

(c) They regarded the ancient Macedonians as barbarians, as people who enslaved the Greeks.

(d) This episode describes the situation in Athens around 200 B.C.

(e) It should constantly be born in mind the intensity of the hate expressed towards the conqueror from the north – the Macedonians. If anyone in as much as utter a one positive word for Philip, then this person should be killed, and the killing of that person would be taken as lawful homicide. These feelings were mutual by the way.

(f) The suggestion by some authors (marginal lot, anyway) that these two dissimilar people “blended together” in some aspects of their culture becomes much harder to accept, and therefore, is rejected based such credible evidence.

It is apparent that ancient Greeks did not consider the ancient Macedonians as Greeks. Modern Greeks’ assertion that ancient Macedonians were Greeks is constantly undermined by the view of the ancients. The fact remains that ancient Macedonians were just that – Macedonians.


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