Towards the Macedonian renaissance

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Macedonian Textbooks of the Nineteenth Century




In this work the Macedonian Renaissance is viewed from one particular aspect – that of the appearance of Macedonian text-books in the course of the last century. This is in the foreground. The work is concerned with textbooks which were:

1) Compiled by Macedonians and published between1 857 and 1880.
2) Written in Macedonian or with many elements of the language of our people.
3) Used in Macedonian schools or generally among the people (e.g. for self-education).

Blazhe Koneski (December 19, 1921 – December 7, 1993)

Blazhe Koneski (December 19, 1921 – December 7, 1993)

We mention a total of sixteen such books by the following writers: Parteni Zografski, Kuzman Šapkarev, Dimitar V. Makedonski and Gjorgji Pulevski. The period of their publication is an especially important and interesting one for our new national history. It was the time when, though still in embryo, some of the basic historical factors which were later to influence our further national development were emerging. The publication of Macedonian text-books together with their use in schools, reflecting, as it does, the independent development of the Macedonian people, represents for us an important cultural and historical phenomenon. Interest in them is, therefore, not restricted solely to surveying them from the linguistic and pedagogical viewpoint. It is directed first of all to the question: what does the publication of these text-books reveal of our national development about the middle of the last century and later. To present the subject in this way means entering deeper into the history of the Macedonian people in the nineteenth century. But, here, we come across a series of difficulties. Our national history has not, so far, been worked out in sufficient detail. Our nation’s past has been left for us to illuminate in an objective, scientific and comprehensive fashion. When to do this is, at this present time, only a burning desire, what is there left for a man who is chiefly interested in our cultural history in the nineteenth century to do, but to start by constructing himself a very general picture of the economic and political history of our people at that period? Yet it is well known that such a general summary of anything, even when correctly based, hides a series of dangers in imprecision, obscurity and inaccuracy in dealing with individual questions.

So realizing the inevitability of blank spaces and unexplained elements in the present state of our historical science we shall proceed first of all to a short description though incomplete and restricted only to certain aspects of our people’s life towards the middle of the nineteenth century. It is necessary, however, to give such a description, incomplete though it may be, in order to throw more light on the phenomenon which mainly interests us here.

One process of fundamental importance for the life of the people at the end of the eighteenth and in the first half of the nineteenth century was the establishment of our “Čaršija”. This was caused by the penetration of capitalism into the Turkish Empire which, with breaks, was moving slowly but inevitably along the road of capitalist development.

The establishment of our “Čaršija” and of our young bourgeoisie meant the creation of that social medium which was to have the principle influence on the economic, cul-tural and political life of the Macedonian people during the nineteenth century. We must mention that the Macedonian element in the towns was particularly strengthened by the great influx of rural population looking for protection from the heavy robber attacks of the second halt of the eighteenth century. “The rural population of Macedonia«, writes a French consul, “like that of France, is leaving the field and running away to the town. Only our French peasant go to the towns to find an easy way of earning money and pleasure; while the Christian peasants in Turkey flee from the villages to save themselves from the ferocity and exploitation of the beys.”

This rural multitude under the new conditions of life slowly undertook the crafts and trade which were enlivened in Turkey towards the beginning of the last century. All the same, as it had been before, so it remained for a considerable time afterwards up to the middle of the century, the time which concerns us most directly, the principal burden of “Čaršija” life and social matters fell upon the Greek or even more frequently on the Tsintsar turned Greek element, which was actually the first leaven of our “Čaršija”. As an example it is sufficient to mention that in a town like Prilep with its compact Macedonian population the community’s responsibilities were in the hands of a small group of Tsintsars up to the sixties, when they were taken over by our “Čaršija” people. We don’t need to mention Ohrid and Bitola towns influenced by Greeks in a variety of ways at that time. It was an ordinary phenomenon for our better situated “Čaršija” people to turn Greek. First the Greeks enjoyed special privileges and second our people were impressed by the higher Greek culture and refinement so that in the first half of the nineteenth century we cannot separate the formation of our intelligentsia from strong Greek influences.

But with the increased economic and cultural strength of the Macedonian citizens towards the middle of the last century there developed especially sharpened competition in the “Carsija” between our and Greek, or Graeco-Tsintsar, merchants and craftsmen. This fight began to take on a national color and after a number of crises ended in Macedonians taking over the Greek controlled positions in all but some of our most southerly towns. We shall say something more definite about this at another time.

The development of our trade and craftsmanship followed an upward path during the first half of the nineteenth century. The fifties represent the highest point. We have data from that time showing that eight hundred workers were earning their livelihood in the leather works at Ohrid while there were the same number employed in the same work at home. During the first fifty years of the nineteenth century our merchant competition with other European countries became more and more frequent. Our leather products appear in mid-European markets while tobacco, opium and cotton were exported. Each year in May a caravan of merchants from Prilep used to leave for Austria. They would bring back goods for the entire year which they used to sell particularly during the much frequented Prilep Fair in August. This mingling with Europe could not occur without having an influence on the outlook and even the way of life of our people.

Clearly the development of trade and crafts introduced new needs in the field of culture and enlightenment. Our citizens were outgrowing the narrowness of religious enlightenment which was at that time fading in the cell schools. They started to encourage secular education. In the cultural field they appear to speak more often. Merchants helped the printing of our first books by Joakim Krcovski. They also undertook the construction of the new secular schools where they could gain certain knowledge indispensable to the practical occupation of a merchant. They took care of their maintenance providing teachers and textbooks. Towards the middle of the last century there were quite a few such schools in Macedonia.

To end this extremely general survey of our citizens’ development it is necessary to mention an event of decisive importance which reflects on the internal economy of Turkey and of Macedonia as a Turkish province.. This was the publication of the Hatti-Humayoun of 1856 an act which provided for the undisturbed penetration of European capital. One paragraph says “Everything that may prove contrary to Trade and Agriculture is to be removed. In order to achieve that end means are to be sought by which to profit from the science, arts and capital of Europe and so gradually to put them in action”. The period we are going to consider more closely in connection with the publication of Macedonian textbooks i.e. the sixties is characterized by a slowing down and decline of our economic development before the preponderant competition of European capital. Also we ought continually to bear in mind one fact: our economic, cultural and political development in Macedonia was considerably behind that of the adjacent countries Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria.

The development of capitalist economy and the break-up of the narrow, feudal, natural economy resulted in the formation of the nations in Balkan countries under Turkish rule towards the second half of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries. From its very beginning onward the nineteenth century was a period of fighting by the Balkan peoples for national freedom. Macedonians took an active part in the uprising of the neighboring peoples. Some acquired celebrated names. Here we need only mention the hero of the Greek War of  Independence of 1821 Marko Bochvar from Voden. In the later Macedonian struggles a prominent part was taken by people from the neighboring countries.

But in the nineteenth century the Macedonian people were backward in national development. The weakness of our citizens who were to develop our national consciousness shows itself by the adaptation of part of them to their circumstances. In such conditions the independent national development of the Macedonian people could only progress with difficult involutions. Even from its very inception hegemonic circles in the adjacent countries employed all kind of methods to smother it. And if’ despite all the internal movement overcame the forces of interven-tion and ii all the same, the Macedonian independent national development was victorious, this witnesses to its deep socio-historical roots.

Free from the prejudice of national spirit bestowed from eternity which slumbers only from time to time we had better ask ourselves about the conditions and the times when national feeling started to grow among our people. Under the Turkish Empire on, up to the nine-teenth century, there was among the people a religious feeling in its full power which we meet as the essence of such a book as Kiril Pejchinovich “Mirror” (1816). Turks and Christians, suppressing and suppressed religions, there was the powerful centuries-old conflict.

The material we shall refer to later in connection with the appearance of Macedonian textbooks allows us to conclude that signs of Macedonian national consciousness appear in the course of the nineteenth century. This was most definitely, expressed in the sixties when among other things it was realized that there was a need to build up an independent Macedonian literary language. There is no doubt that the further disclosure of the necessary material will make it possible for us to follow in greater detail the development of our national consciousness at the time of the initial penetration of capitalism in Macedonia.

But even the material we have at our disposal today is sufficient to show the irresponsibility of some contemporary statements as for example the following taken from A short Bulgarian History by Hr. Gandev, (edited by the Bureau of Popular Culture, Sofia 1947). “…during the period of the Bulgarian Renaissance the population of this area (i. e. Macedonia) lived the usual Bulgarian life and considered itself as a part of the Bulgarian people…” (p 113). It is interesting to compare this categorical assertion with the statements about the pro-Bulgarian attitude of Macedonians made by an earlier Bulgarian writer who was almost a contemporary of the Bulgarian Renaissance and who could least of all be accused of being without pro-Bulgarian bias. This is the well-known A. Sopov (Ofejkov). In his article “Materials for the Bulgarian Renaissance in Macedonia”  (Periodicesko Spisanie, XVIII 1885) he says that “…up to the last Russo-Turkish war (he has the war of 1877-8 for the liberation in mind) the Macedonian Bulgars were almost exempt from national consciousness while the main part in their life was played by their religion which, at the same time, was also nationality for them.” (p.440).

It is understood that we are far from denying the strength of our people’s religious feeling at the time mentioned but there is no reason to dwell on it any longer here. The important thing is that Sopov, contrary to the modern historian Gandev, acknowledges that it is impossible to speak of some kind of Bulgarian consciousness such as Gandev has in mind in Macedonia at the time of the Bulgarian Renaissance. We shall later have the opportunity of seeing what the attitude of our people was in this respect.

We ought to stress the disparity between these two authors fully, the first a contemporary of the renaissance, the second a contemporary of ours. The disparity is neither accidental nor surprising: it is the result of a tendency to distort or to pass over in silence the real facts of the Macedonian past which grows stronger as we approach our time.

In considering the questions related to the developmerit of our people in the middle of the last century we n;ow approach the most important event – the struggle againat the Phanariot Patriarchate of Constantinople. This developed later with us than in Bulgaria and took on a popular character in the sixties when the Patriarchate rule was expelled from several towns. We have already mentioned that this struggle started primarily with the sharper competition between our merchants and the Graeco-Tsintsar element in the contemporary “Čaršija” e. g. in Prilep relations had become so tense that preparations had been started for an economic boycott so that no one would exchange goods with the Prilep Tsinzars (Citaliste III 1872, p. 176). This is the first struggle in which our townspeople took an organized part. In enlightenment and ecclesiastical affairs the struggle took the form of a movement against the Patriarchate which controlled the churches and schools, against the use of the Greek language in them and for independent management of the churches and generally for substituting the Greek domination with “resounding Slavism”.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople was the active inspiration of the bourgeoisie of Magna Graeca in strengthening its position in Bulgaria and Macedonia. Moreover this utterly corrupt establishment with its numerous and insatiable army of metropolitans, bishops, archimandrites, protosingels and others had for its main aim not the Pastoral Care, but the initial accumulation of capital.

Our townspeople’s struggle against the Phanariot Patriarchate of Constantinople was of a deeply progressive character. It was a fight for the people’s liberation from a heavy spiritual and economic servitude. We cannot separate it from the events which were taking place in Bulgaria at the time. The Macedonian and Bulgarian peoples suffered under the same foreign yoke. Their destinies were similar and the period we are examining presented them both with a number of common interests and duties. Actually, the ecclesiastical struggle was organized even earlier in Bulgaria because the Bulgarian bourgeoisie had developed further. It took place in Constantinople where the representatives for church matters circulated and where a Bulgarian cultural milieu was forming and where papers and magazines appeared which gave a line to the ecclesiastical struggle. Our citizens found a natural ally in the Bulgarians and therefore joined with them in the common struggle against the enemy. The alliance was fortified by the closeness of the languages and the common Slav traditions which were then being revived. In addition, our bourgeoisie, as we shall explain in further detail, were introducing specific aims of their own into the struggle but, because they were not so fully developed either economically or culturally, the leadership was retained in the hands of the bigger merchants in Constantinople and in those of the intelligentsia associated with them. These things together made possible the spread of Bulgarian influence in Macedonia, so that in the sixties a part of our intelligentsia on the basis of these real interests began to orientate towards Bulgaria. That was the time when the Bulgarian language and textbooks began to penetrate into our schools. At that time and earlier Serbian textbooks had been in use, as we shall see. From 1871 onward the Bulgarian influence was directed by the powerful Bulgarian Exarchate. Subsequently and particularly after the liberation of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian positions in Macedonia were being strengthened at the expense of the Greek ones which were continually giving ground, but which, especially in the south Macedonian towns, still constituted a power.

It would be interesting to examine the part played by Russian diplomacy in extending Bulgarian influence through Macedonia, but that is still a work of the future. Everything shows that that part in Macedonia itself was of some Consequence and that contact with thS Russian consuls was for some of our peonle the probable first cause of an orientation towards Bulgarianism. “Years ago at the very beginning of the Bulgarian Renaissance” Šopov declares in the aforementioned article “the Russian consul at Thessalonika at that time had incited Lazarovci and Robevci in Bitola not to hide their nationality, but to pass as Bulgarians since, as rich and influential people, they were looked up to and followed by the common people” (p.441.). Of special import was the drawing of young Macedonians to Russia for study. Šopov mentions a case when the Russian consul at Varna, Racinski, travelling in Macedonia, tried at Thessalonika “to send two Macedonians to Moscow to study” (the chosen man was Georgi Dingov who had earlier studied in Athens). The connection between D. Miladinov and Racinski is well known. With the latter’s help Miladinov managed to send both his brother and Raiko Zinzifov to Russia where they matured within the Bulgarian student circle (L. Karavelov, N. Boncev, M. Drinov inter alia).

But the process of creating pro-Bulgarian sympathy in Macedonia, at the time which interests us, was still in its initial stages being, as far as we can judge from the evidence cited, especially from opov’s words, both limited in scope and depth. It remains on the surface affecting a part of our “Čaršija” people who had dealings with Bulgaria. Macedonia is far from being involved in the Bulgarian Renaissance. Such an involvement presupposes a much closer interrelation, a more clearly expressed feeling of association and unity than was really present. The fact of Macedonia’s exclusion from the net of secret revolutionary committees organized by Vasil Levski speaks convincingly enough in this respect for the beginning of the seventies. It shows that the Macedonian people remained untouched by the highest undertaking of the Bulgarian Renaissance, in which the Bulgarian people’s solidarity was truly forged. Macedonians lived through their national revolution later under different conditions.

As for mutual connections in the field of culture and enlightenment a measure of their strength in the sixties and after is to be found in the number of Macedonians who subscribed to the Bulgarian papers and magazines of the time. There is no mention in the course of three years of any subscription from Macedonia to the magazine “Bhlgarski knizici” a bi-monthly published in Constantinople from 1858 onward. In its fourth year of life, subscriptions were collected by Konstantin Dingo in Thessalonika and Manco Baskov at Veles. The poor circulation of Bulgarian publications is underlined in an article to the newspaper “Makedonija” (13th July, 1871). Twenty copies only of the papers “Pravo” and “Macedonija” were being received and no magazines at all. Out of the 720 subscribers to the magazine “Citaliste” for its fourth year(1874) only twelve are from Macedonia: seven from Prilep and five from Veles. The so-called Macedonian-Bulgarian association with its headquarters in Constantinople developed, at the beginning of the seventies, a campaign for the distribution of Bulgarian books and newspapers in Macedonia as well as for the dispatching of teachers and material aid for Macedonian schools. They list voluntary subscriptions for individual places in Macedonia, but the response was poor so that in almost every second number of “Citaliste” we come across complaints about the meanness and lack of enthusiasm among Bulgarians while at the same time the Greek societies for the spread of Greek culture in Macedonia collect great sums on a voluntary basis.

Be it as it may, this evidence helps us to assess the extent of Bulgarian influence on Macedonia at the time of the ecclesiastical struggles.
We mentioned above the use of Serbian textbooks in our schools. Up to 1856, when the Crimean War ended, the exact time when the movement against the Patriarchate began, the influence of Serbian enlightenment in Macedonia was preponderant over the Bulgarian, though not the Greek. Kuzman Šapkarev tells us how at Ohrid in 1855 he was given for the first time by his colleague Konstantin Hr. Uzunov “a Serbian Reader, for at that time there was no Bulgarian in our parts, nor anyone who thought of Bulgarian but now (1864) thank God…” (“Autobiography”, Makedonski pregled III, 2. p.45). Afterwards as a teacher at Struga he received fifteen Serbian readers from Prilep, written in church script. They were sent by D. Mladinov who also taught Serbian in the school at Prilep (ref. p.58).

Any description of the development of the Macedonian bourgeoisie during the early and middle parts of the nineteenth century would be very onesided, inaccurate and even incomplete if we did not give full importance to the relations of our people with Serbia. It is a pity that up to the present time there is no exhaustive work which examines those connections fully. Of itself, the importance of Serbian influence is clear: Serbia was a free Slav state which was bound to inspire some hopes in our people. In addition the commercial ties with Serbia were being tightened and this drew Macedonia into the range of Serbian influence.

Together with the use of Serbian textbooks we need to stress the coming of the Serbs themselves e. g. at Veles from 1843 to 1860 four Serbian teachers followed each other: Spiridon Jovanovic, Aksentije Budimirovic, Jovan Veskovic and Djordje Miletic. In the school at Veles Serbian and Serbian history were taught. These teachers had been engaged through the personal connections of our merchants A planned campaign in this direction, made by the Serbian rulers and directed at penetrating into Macedonia, will start later.

The struggle against the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the confirmation of the frontiers of the free Bulgarian Church through that struggle, meant for the young Bulgarian bourgeoisie delimitation of the sphere of her interests. On the other hand Serbia could not allow the strengthening of Bulgaria’s position in Macedonia without protest, for long. As for Macedonian townsfolk, their attitude towards this opposition is though it had already begun in the sixties, not sufficiently clear. Life in one country under the same conditions, the common struggle against Greek influences, made its path parallel with that of the Bulgarian citizens. The pro-Bulgarian orientation in Macedonia promised successful development within the framework of the Ottoman Empire, while Serbianism, to the contrary, was becoming increasingly incriminating with the Turks, as time went on. Yet at the same time the connection with Serbia was, as we have seen, strong, so that during this period there was a clear opposition to Greek influence while Serbian and Bulgarian influences both passed as Slavism. The use of Serbian textbooks and the arrival of Serbian teachers continues therefore in the sixties. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian newspapers in Constantinople made attempts to separate the Bulgarian from the Serbian influences and to eliminate Serbian culture and education from Macedonia. We cannot, here, go deeper into these quarrels. All the same we found it necessary to adduce some facts in illustration of what we have said, the more because the disputes between Serbs and Bulgars in the cultural field have a direct bearing on our main theme – the question of textbooks and the medium of teaching in our country round about the sixties and seventies of the last century.

We have an echo of this dispute in a contribution by someone called T. Nenov Manastirski and dated the thirteenth of September 1862 which was published in the “Carigradski vestnik” for the first of December 1862. Entitled “Patriotic  Advice”, it addresses Macedonians as follows: “I implore you Macedonian brothers. It seems that you look upon your Bulgarian and Thracian brothers with contempt since you do not approve of their text-books, but run rapidly after Serbism”. You could say he goes on that our language is similar to the Serbian dialects: “that is true but there is no greater similarity with them than with the Bulgarian and for that reason if you reprobate my impertinent advice I shall be silent, as the accused, but if you reason carefully, I think that you’ll approve of my sincere advice as I implore you to have your children taught in the clear Bulgarian vernacular of today and not in Serbian…” Because he says “the Bulgarian language is an older acquaintance of yours than the Serbian”. Another argument brought in at the end of the letter is that no teacher as good as those they have in Bulgaria has come to Macedonia for a long time and therefore it is unnecessary to look to Serbia for teachers.”… therefore we ought to follow the Tsar’s desire and take teachers from among our kinsmen.”

Because of what we have already said about Serbian influence in Macedonia this letter needs no special comment. We only stress that the disapproval of Bulgarian text-books which is mentioned incorporates not only the use of Serbian books but also the tendency to introduce our own textbooks into Macedonian schools.

At the end of the sixties the struggle of the two propaganda movements in Macedonia grows sharper. It is not, for instance, accidental that in H. G. Danov’s branch bookshop at Veles we do not, according to the records for 1869-72, find a single Serbian book, though the book-shop stocked books in Turkish, French, Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, English, German and other languages.

However we still come across Serbian teachers and teaching in Macedonia. An interesting corroboration is revealed for this in an article from Veles printed in the newspaper “Makedonija” of 15th. June, 1868. The writer reports on the annual examinations and, among other things, without giving special distinction to it, but writing as of a normal thing, mentions that there was an examination in Serbian History at the Girls High-School. From the editorial staff comes a resentful note on this as follows: “We would like to know above all to have it explained to us by the gentlemen of Veles themselves, whether they are Serbs or Bulgars, and if they are Bulgars why they teach their children to study the Serbian language and history. If they have been misled to believe that Serbian and Bulgarian are the same or that Serbian history is more glorious than Bulgarian we would tell them that that is a misconception… There is nothing more hateful or lower than the denial of one’s kinsmen…”

It is clear what sort of attitude was taken by the Bulgarians towards the penetration of Serbian education in to Macedonia.

An article in “Makedonija” on the 22nd June, 1871, gives information about a Serbian teacher at the village of Bogomila near Veles who had brought text-books along with him which he distributed free of charge.

We end the material we adduce concerning this question with the following quotation from an article which appeared in the newspaper “Pravo” on the 7th February, 1872, which is concerned with happenings at Kratovo. The writer says that the citizens of Kratovo introduced a Serbian teacher and were accustomed to saying that they were Serbs (they had found it so written in old books). After reprobating them he finally addresses them in this way: “You are now obliged to declare your ancient nationality through the papers and to produce those documents so that both the people and the government may understand that you are Serbs; otherwise, since you have brought in a Serbian teacher you fall under the suspicion of our honored Imperial Government, which we ask to turn its attention to the aims of such Serbian propaganda… “

The accusatory tone of this article is characteristic. Here we have revealed one motif in the struggle which was then beginning and which was to become more unscrupulous about its means later. It is understood that everything is to fall on the shoulders of the Macedonian people. At that time Serbian propaganda stood worse with the “honoured governments” because of its attitude to Serbia; that was used by Bulgarian propaganda.

In concluding this chapter we ought to mention that it is at exactly the moment, which we are considering in connection with the publication of Macedonian textbooks, when all the hegemonic  powers clash in Macedonia for the first time: Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian bourgeoisie. How fatal were the results of these struggles to the Macedonian people can be seen in the subsequent pages of its history compounded of suffering, division, bloodshed and fratricidal conflict. But in the same period the aspiration towards an independent Macedonian national development appeared which was finally victorious, as we shall see.

What was the position and the role of our few intellectuals at this time so full of incipient social movement? We ask this question in connection with our teachers who at this time were the sole representatives of the intelligentsia here.

The process of the reorientation of some of our deeply hellenised people towards what they called Slavism is shown here in an interesting light. Earlier, Athens had been for them the source of really high culture. “My fate was being decided then,” Prlicev says in the “Autobiography” of his first visit to Athens. “There was no one to advise me to go to Russia; then only the name of Athens and Janino was heard here… I went to Athens not only to learn but also to be cured for I thought that there were no better doctors in the world than the Athenian ones as there is no better poet in the world than Homer.”

To begin with we must make clear the qualifications and the way of life of these teachers who were the protagonists in the battle on behalf of secular education in Macedonia. Few of them could boast of a good education or wide culture. The majority except for their bare literacy and very elementary knowledge of the sciences had nothing to pass on to their pupils. Šapkarev writes in his biography of a teacher colleague of his that he could not sign even his own name correctly. Among our few promi-nent teachers at this time we have D. Miladinov. It is a notable fact that almost all of the people from the middle of the last century who have left a name in our people’s cultural history were either pupils of Miladinov himself or of his circle. They are: R. Zinzifov, Parteni Zografski, K. Miladinov, G. Prlicev and K. Šapkarev. From outside that circle we have only J. H. Konstantinov – Dzinot. The brothers Miladinov were from Struga, Šapkarev and Prlicev from Ohrid that is from the part most firmly influenced by Greek culture, since Ohrid was a town with well-organized Greek schools and a more active educational life. This is the reason why at about the middle of the century the best teachers originated from the area. Among these the first was D. Miladinov: “He had something attractive in his every movement. His words dropped from his tongue like honey. Sacred fire burnt in his eyes” (Prlicev “Autobiography” p. 23). But these were people nourished on the Hellenic spirit, who had, in the expression of one of them, to turn from Saul to Paul. Already in the sixties of the last century there comes a new generation of teachers, taught in Russia and the other neighboring countries of the Slavic region.

“Good wine a copper up, good teacher a pound down.“ This is a joke on teachers of Miladinov’s time which shows their situation well enough. The recurring theme of Šapkarev’s autobiography is his continual trouble to find and keep a teaching post. In the land at this time it was neither good for the rich to be known for rich nor for the learned to be seen for very learned. The rich were frequently robbed, the learned were denounced as Russian spies. All the same it was better to be rich. The poor teacher was unprotected against the pretensions of Greek bishops and protosingels as well as other prominent men (without mentioning the Turkish government). If he was not patronized by a rich man he was left without work,  “I got apprenticed in Struga” says Šapkarev, for at that time the teachers even got apprenticed after the fashion of herdsmen. Once when he was left without a post and stayed in Bitola hoping to get apprenticed somewhere “people from Ohrid and especially Gorshe Grdan, seeing me without work, used to say to me: Wander now without work like a herdsman” (Makedonski pregled III 2, p.49). Placed in such circumstances and with their own and their families existence continually threatened at a time when the struggle against Hellenism had begun and when varied propaganda was coming into operation here, it is not surprising that our teachers hesitated in the adoption of an attitude and that they compromised without showing stability. The adaptability of our citizens, in the attempt to find bread and peace, is a feature of our middle-class intelligentsia of the time. But none the less, even under such inhumane conditions, people were born, workers for culture, who made for their advancement. They bore faithfully all the limitations of their time and their environment, but a certain credit is due to those humble teachers who resurrected Slav culture in Macedonia, the land which had once been the first to produce that culture.

The struggle against the Patriarchate of Constantinople proved the turning-point in the lives of the small intelligentsia of the period. Distinctively characteristic is the reorientation of D. Miladinov our intelligentsia’s most prominent representative. This is what Kuzman Šapkarev notes about him “ … let us say that until recently he taught at Magarevo and perhaps somewhat earlier he was a fanatical pro-Hellenist. He probably greatly offended the Bulgarian nation. But this nationalist feeling has arisen from that though I don’t know why. So that when he was in Bitola he was moderately pro-Slav and sometimes even fanatically so. After being in Bitola he made a tour of Herzegovina, Bosnia and Serbia with the aid of the Dean of Mostar and when he returned circa 1856-57 he made a contract to teach Greek in Prilep.. From that time when he changed from Saul to Paul he was absorbed by an unquenchable patriotism so enormous that it was touched by fanaticism. But although this was so, his diligence was extremely helpful in arousing the national spirit in those people who knew little of it and cared less… “ (Makedonski pregled III, 2, p.60).

Sapkarev tells us that he doesn’t know what made D. Miladinov “change from Saul to Paul”. It is easily understood that in this particular case there may be further external causes. We have mentioned the connection between Miladinov and Racinski. However the foundation and general cause of the change is evident: the changes that were apparent in the economic and social development of our country at the turn of the last century. Our intelligentsia had to orientate itself in the clash with Hellenism. Those who had not lost contact with the people and who felt their suffering, couldn’t do otherwise than stand by the progressive forces of our people, which had begun to fight against the economic and spiritual servitude of the Phanariot Patriarchate. Those, on the contrary, who associated their wellbeing with faithful service to the Patriarchate stood firmly for it in the ecclesiastical dispute.

Miladinov was among the first. Himself the son of a -poor family and as a teacher in continuous touch with the -people he could not remain deaf to its cries for long. At the time when the people starts to move he takes on him the organization of the movement. The following words taken from one of his articles (printed in “Carigradski vestnik” on the 7th May, 1860) show how alive he was to the people’s troubles. Here he speaks of the crimes of the Bishop of Ohrid The Phanariot Melletios: “let him promise to one or another a thousand coins and say that he will support all the schools in the Eparchate while he is in it, -but he will do nothing himself, for the people of Ohrid -know where he will get the money from; can he sell an estate inherited from his father or start to trade with Europe? Where then? It comes from the poor and the peasants. He will instantly shut the mouths pf the old-aged and will rob them as pitilessly as he can and if a poor man comes to complain of him he will answer ”You know that I have no other way to get money to maintain the schools except by taking it from the peasants. “How pitiable will be those schools which are to be maintained only by the sweat and tears of the poor. We had better not have them.”

It is interesting to note with what sharpness Miladinov himself, in 1859, recently converted, expresses his -views of Prlicev and some other pro-Hellenes. He calls them apostates who have withdrawn from their parents, country and nationality “who have… obstinately decided -morally to overwhelm their Slav blood and to create themselves Greek butterflies with typhoid ridden souls…” (A -letter to Janaki Strezov, published in “Ilyustracija Svetlina” Bk. 7 p. 2,1898). Thus Miladinov expresses his opinion of the same Prlicev who, two or three years later was -to experience the same metamorphosis from Saul to Paul in even more distinctive personal circumstances. Prlicev -was an acknowledged Greek poet, whose life shone with fame and success, when he decided to cast all of it away and return from Athens in order to be a teacher, for in such a milieu he could be nothing else. For him the return to his native country and the abandonment of Greek literature marked the end of his poetic growth. All the same he took the step as he says himself in the autobiography under the direct influence of the brothers Miladinov’s death.

“One day the priest of the Russian Church in Athens told me that the brothers Miladinov had lost their lives in prison in Constantinople… and that they had probably been poisoned. He said that he had read it that very day in “Dunavski lebed”. I stood like a statue immovable without answering but my heart cursed the Greek Spiritual Authorities. I collected my things and leaving my poem “Skenderbeg” for M. T. Sapundziev asking him to deliver it to the commission not later than February 13th I left him with a firm decision either to die or to revenge the brothers Miladinov.”

Prlicev’s complete change couldn’t have come about at once without mental conflict and hesitation. Reading in his autobiography of his povertystricken childhood is sufficient to assure us that the young Hellenist, fascinated by the ancient language of Homer, could not avoid hearing the suppressed people. The child of a serving woman and an orphan he says of himself “As if I was appointed general avenger of the poor, I always hated, persecuted and beat the rich children and those of my teachers when they behaved haughtily towards my schoolmates.” He watched with anguish “the daily rows of landworkers driven into prison for the nonpayment of their taxes; honorable peasants who bowed their heads to the hypocritical, pitiless silver-hungry monks who scoffed inhumanly above the very heads of their pilgrims”. So when his conscience raised in all its acuteness the question as to whether he should follow only his own success, by making his career among those who had killed the brothers Miladinov, or help his enslaved and backward people, he chose the latter. His example even more vividly than that of D. Miladinov confirms what we have said about the reorientation of the Macedonian intelligentsia of that generation from pro-Hellenism to Slavism. Naturally the process was not so fundamental with everybody. In some cases oscillation from one nationality to the other accompanied by speculation is observable. Here we cannot enter into greater detail concerning this question. We considered it necessary to say something generally about the life of the people who will be mentioned in connection with the tex-tbooks and the medium of instruction in our schools around the sixties of the century. We turn now to our central theme.


In the sixties of the last century two answers were proposed to the question what was to be the medium of instruction in Macedonian schools and what, accordingly, were to be the text-books used.

1) The introduction of a language common to the Macedonians and Bulgars, a common language but such as would represent a compromise, a mean of Macedonian and Bulgarian dialects.

2) The introduction of a purely Macedonian language because the Macedonians are not Bulgars, but separate people.

Common to the two propositions was an opposition to the Bulgarian literary language of that day which had developed from the basis of an East Bulgarian dialect. The infiltration of that language met an opposition which we have already seen expressed in the article to the “Carigradski Vestnik” where it was remarked that Macedo nians did not approve of Bulgarian text-books.

The social foundation of these two tendencies is clear. The first is in those citizens who considered it both possible and profitable to go side bv side with the Bulgarian citizens, since they had a number of common problems and interests, so that it was possible to reach an understanding without mutual injury, in relation to the social positions both in the ecclesiastical and educational administration, and in the future common free state. To these people it was clear that such matters were to be brought out into the open in good time so that everyone might know what to expect in the event of a free state.

The second is in those so-called “Macedonists” who even at that time fully realized the appetites of the young Bulgarian bourgeoisie where Macedonia was concerned.

“We have hardly managed to get away from one foot and is another going to tread on us?” was their query. They comprehended the dangers in using the church disputes of the Macedonian people in the interests of the more highly developed Bulgarian bourgeoisie (which was what happened). Therefore they recognized independence as the only true way for the Macedonian people. For this reason they were also in favor of the creation of a separate Macedonian literary language.

We have especially emphasized these two responses because they will become an element in all our future exposition. It is clear that a full picture of the relationship in the field of education and culture can only be had if we do not forget that the Serbian language was also used in our schools having even a tendency to spread, while the Greek language was still active.

Let us move straight to the work on text-books of the time in Macedonia and to the questions of language and general national development connected with them.


The first Macedonian text-books were edited by Parteni Zografski (1818-1875) a pupil of D. Miladinov, who was born at Galicnik. The most important factor in his life was departure for Russia, where he studied, in 1842. Parteni Zografski was among the first young Macedonians sent to Russia under the patronage of that well-known figure of the Bulgarian renaissance Vasili Aprilov the merchant from Odessa. “According to a letter from Aprilov to Hadzi Victor of the Monastery of Zograf dated August 30th, 1842, it is confirmed that the Russian government had given its permission for two youth’s coming from Athens (Filip Tomov, The Life and Activities of Hadzi ParteniMakedonski pregled X, 1 & 2, p.35). In this way Parteni, who had previously been studying in Athens, left. It is obvious that in the Bulgarian milieu, under the direct influence of Aprilov, he developed a pro-Bulgarian spirit.

In Russia, Parteni graduated from a seminary and was for a certain time religious instructor to the Czar’s children. A man of considerable culture, he distinguished himself by his knowledge of languages, among which he knew ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew and ancient Chaldean (op. cit. p.36).

The important period for his literary activity was from 1857-59 when he established himself in Constantinople. That is the time when he edited his Macedonian text-books:

1) A Short Religious History of the Old and New Testament Church, translated by the Archimandrite Parteni Zografski, Constantinople – Galata, published by D. Cankov and B. Markov, 1857.

2) A Beginner for Children, published by the Archimandrite Parteni Zografski (same publisher, 1858).

By the end of 1857 Parteni had been appointed as Bishop of Poljan and he left for Kukus. It is of especial interest for our purposes to point out his connections during the period when he was Bishop of Poljan, with some of the Macedonian merchants in Thessalonika, among whom Kirijak Drzilovic, and the Pauncev brothers are mentioned. He persuaded Kirijak to open a Slavic section in his printing business where he could reprint his Beginner in 4,000 copies (op. cit. p.51). But the plan for opening the printing concern did not succeed, because of Greek interference. We find this spoken of in the following article from Thessalonika dated April 4th, 1860, and printed in the “Carigradski vestnik” no.479,16 to 28 April 1860: “For more than ten years Mr. Kirijak Drzilovic has had a printing press here doing considerable good to the citizens, since it printed all the beginners for the Greek schools which were sold at a moderate price. Now, however, when Mr. Kirijak Drzilovic meant to introduce Bulgarian type also in order to print books for the inhabitants of Macedonia, which would have been very profitable, the envious Greeks come forward with tales and slander Mr. Kirijak and so succeed in closing his press.”

These facts are important as they show the endeavors of Parteni to create a center from which Macedonian text-books and books might be published and from which they could be disseminated. Later we shall examine his work with the aforementioned people from Thessalonika and see to what extent it left discernable traces.


The language of the text-books by Parteni Zografski, especially of the “Sacred History,” is based on his native speech of Galicnik.

Here is a short characteristic of the language of the first text-books:

The change of ж > o is reflected: n i k o j  p o tb e z p o t n om o ž k i t es k o p i j a  vъ  ž i t o t o.

The secondary ъ > o: 1 o ž n i, o g o n.

The Macedonian change is common } (from *tj), | (from *dj). Parteni writes the first as tъ, and the second as . This way of working shows the importance of the fricative element for these sounds in the pronunciation of Galicnik: t ъ a  b i d e t, p r a t ъ a š e, n o t ъ a, n e s r e t ъ a , b r a t ъ a,  v e t ъ e (and v e k ъ e);  t u d ъ a, m e d ъ u . Less frequently we come across examples like: n o t a, obešta, po meždu im – influenced by the Church Slavonic i.e. Bulgarian language.

There is a tendency to write h in its old place: hvati, hranit hodeshe, nihna and so on, but also bea, se rodia, fatie.

The speech of Galichnik is also indicated by the forms: m i e, z a t e j a, t a k e, c ъ r k o v-t a.

For the change of nouns the case forms of the perso-nal names are characteristic, e. g. : Se veti Noeve.

The verbs regularly end in t in the third person singular present tense. In the plural the forms like os t a n a e are also purely West-Macedonian (and from Galichnik). It is important to notice the following: while with the verbs from a-group the forms like c e k a e t, v e r uv a e t, se vikaet se klanjaet etc. are regular in the third person singular of the present tense, with the verbs from e-, i-group we find: prinosat, možat, se strasat, se n a d e a t. We shall come across forms ending in – et and – it, which are characteristic of the speech of Galicnik, only as exceptions: r a z b e r e t,  i z 1 e z e et,  d a se klanjaet i molit This feature is interesting because it demonstrates the conscious combination in his written language of elements from various dialects of ours for the choice of what seemed to him the more constructive. We pay attention to this characteristic because we shall find it reflected in the works of the other textbook writers, which speaks for itself about the exchange of practice among them. Besides ostanae, živuvae, bee, n e m o ž e e, s e  s t o r i e etc. we have almost as exam-ples the following: m o ž e a, g o v or i a, bea, se rodia, ostavaha.

There are also retreats from the speech of Galicnik with the gerund: bideešti, sklonuvaešti, očistuvašti.

Zografski’s orthography is based on the old Russian orthography.

The language of the second book “A Beginner for Children” is characterized by greater deviation from some features limited only to a narrow circle of West-Macedonian dialects. This is reflected in the spelling of kжd e, rжka,  pжt (not kode,  roka,  pot), and especially in the entire substitution of the suffix – et in the third person plural present tense: pravat, velat učat, znajat pejat, pogrešuvat ka žuvat, sakaat. He also writes toa (not t e a). This shows Zografski’s attempt to choose more general features, which being such will be more easily accepted in different Macedonian areas.

This vacillation and searching by a man who was the first consciously here to approach the cultivation of the literary language is quite clear. It is true that before this people wrote in Macedonian and even printed some books, but in them, based on a given popular speech, we do not see a planned endeavor to build a more general literary norm, in the sphere of grammar as well as in relation to spelling. With Parteni the thing is different because he is a man who had at his disposal some philological knowledge.

Here is an example that certifies Parteni’s hesitation between one or another form. In an article of his on lan-guage, printed in issues of Caregradskj Vestnik in 1857 he says that the article should be written “for melodious purposes” rather with o, like čeloveko, than čelovek – ot  (Caregradski Vestnik, number 316). So he writes. But already in the Sacred History printed in the same year, he does not spell accordingly but takes the article – ot: p r i m e r – o t, d o m – o t, p o t o p – o t, etc.

By the way we mentioned some features of the Bulgarian language in the text-books of Zografski. In some examples they are not of accidental character, but are re-sults of planned adoption, which, as we shall see, is based on Parteni’s view of the literary language. Such is the case with the use of the relative pronoun in forms like: koj – to, koja – to etc.: oblak koj – to slegaše ot neboto (29); silni moži koj -to etc. (38). The assembly of the different influences in the language of Zografski’s text-books is supplemented by some lexical borrowings in which are included a number of Church-Slavonic and Russian examples: p o č t e n i e, upovanie, junoša, mstitelen, poneže obače, takože, soderžanie,  mъrzost-ta, konec, ugrjum, nrav, da polučit, se ušibna, mir-ot (the world); tolko (only) and a number of others. But besides all that the West-Macedonian basis of the language is predominant.
Parteni Zografaki not only used his mother tongue in practice, but also tried to raise the theoretical question of what the written language which would be used in Macedonia ought to be. He did this in his two articles on the language; the first appeared in the Caregradski Vestnik in 1857 in a few issues starting with number 315 (9th February); the second in the magazine Bъlgarski Knižici I,1, 1858, under the title Thoughts on the Bulgarian Language (Misli za Bolgarskijot  jazik). With these articles Zografski was the first in introducing, here, a language in common with the Bulgarians, but such as represented a compromise between the Macedonian and Bulgarian dialects. At the time when Parteni formulated this standpoint the Bulgarian literary language was considerably advanced in its development. It was developing on the basis of East-Bulgarian dialects, those most removed from the Macedonian language, which reflected a necessity, because East Bulgaria was the center of the Bulgarian economic and cultural revival. Towards the end of the 50’s of the last century there is neither a final establishment of Bulga-rian orthography, nor decision upon the separate features of the literary language, but the basic question: on which dialect was it going to be built, was, in practice solved by former Bulgarian literary development. The thesis proposed by Zografski was fundamentally opposed to that natural development.

We shall examine his view in that second article since the latter sums up what was said in the first regarding the structure of the literary language.

“We have said it before and now repeat” – Zografski begins – “that in order to compose a common written language it is first of all necessary to reveal all the local dialects and idiotisms if our language is to be built: before that is done nobody can or has the right to judge and give orders concerning the common written language basing his work on one dialect whatever it may be and every such similar judgement or order though not full, is fruitless and vain.”

These words express the viewpoint that if there is to be a common language which is to lie adopted by the Macedonians, then it is impossible to exclude from it the Macedonian dialects. Zografski goes even further to assert that the latter contain all the properties for it to be raised to the level of a literary language:

“The Macedonian dialect not only ought not to and cannot be excluded from the common literary language, but it would be good if it were taken for its main basis; for these reasons: it is more sonorous, more elevated and better built, and in many respects fuller and richer. Representative of that dialect are the southwest regions of Macedonia.”

Zografski with his text-books gave an example of such a literary language where the West-Macedonian dialect is the “main basis.” He had been making prepara-tions as he says in the article, to issue a grammar on it also. Unfortunately he did not manage to realize his intention. A Macedonian grammar, edited then, would have had an influence on our cultural and educational development. His notes concerning separate linguistic questions show that Zografski was entitled to do that job successfully. So in the article we are concerned with after the cited passages, he gives a parallel between the Macedonian and Bulgarian languages, pointing to the most important differences. Zografski formulated them under the following headings:

.    1) The difference in accent. This consists in the inclination existing in the Macedonian “dialect” – “which stresses the beginning of the words, while the other one does it to the end”… “Here the Macedonian dialect comes closer to the Serbian.”

2) In Macedonian the “following fricatives ž and š in front of d and t  “are not tolerated. The question concerns the groups žd and št from the Proto-Slav *dj, *tj, in which place in most Macedonian dialects the substitute ѓ and ќ usually appear: meѓu: mežd u, s v e ќ a: s v e š t a.

3) There is also no reduction to the unaccented a, e, o. (As is clear Zografski generally takes into consideration the features of the West-Macedonian dialect: because the reduction in our south eastern dialect is strongly expressed: uvčar, ženta,etc.)

4) In relation to ъ and ь only in one sub-dialect, they say as in Bulgarian: korst corkov, korv, poln, kort, torga etc. From the examples it is clear that Zografski does not have in mind old reduced vowels but the groups trt, tlt.

5) ъ>e, but not ja.

6) The consonant h is either lost: oda, ubavo, oro, arno, pištea or odea, stoea etc. or passes into f: pišef,  čitaf, praf, fala, fъrlja; or finally into v: uvo, bъlva.

7) In Macedonian there are two more articles – ov and – on.

8) Names retain more traces of the old declension.

9) Yet nouns of neuter gender like pole form the plural with the suffix – i n j a:  p o 1 i n j a.

10) In 3rd. person singular of the present tense the verbs end in – t. As far as the plural is concerned the suffixes differ according to dialects.

11) In Macedonian there is a verbal adverb.

12) At the end Zografski dwells on the fate of the nasal ж in Macedonian dialects. “The ж letter” – he says – “is pronounced like a clear a, in some places like o, for instance, raka, maka, laža, kade, maž etc… or roka, moka, pot, loža etc. It is preserved only in one dialect and especially when it is a stem letter”. In connection with this Zografski dwells at the end of the article on the orthography of ж , speaking against its spelling in the accusative with nouns of feminine gender. He says that now it is unnecessary for people as a whole “when they come across ж to make ready their mouth in order to pronounce it correctly«. He is also opposed to the usage of the letter ьi, because there is no basis for it in living speech.

The survey of the differences between the Macedonian and the Bulgarian language, beside its imprecision, especially in relation to linguistic terminology reveals Zografski to us as a man who makes note of linguistic phenomena and what he thought about them while systematizing them. We see that he is not only acquainted with native speech but also with some of the fundamental characteristics of other West Macedonian dialects. As far as differences between the Macedonian and Bulgarian languages are concerned he has ascertained them quite correctly, though in some cases, with present day knowledge, further elaboration can be made. We have all that represented by Zografski as the first person with some scientific conception of the language with a system of views on different dialects and their relation to the literary language, a man who could really at that time contribute towards the working out in detail of Macedonian grammar.

We can also gather interesting data on Zografski as a philologist from his article printed in issues of Caregradski Vestnik in 1857. Without any intention of exhausting the question because that is work for a special study which would examine from all sides the practical and theoretical activity of Zografski on the language, we emphasize from that article only a few places which are necessary for our subject. Actually we have an attempt there to sketch certain parts of the grammar. So in number 315, February 9th, 1857, the question of articles is treated, and in number 322, March 30th 1857, that of declensions of nouns.

In the articles Zografski saw compensation for the “decline” of our language (he considered the development from the old period of the language to the new as degeneration “falling”). However the articles give the language “special expressiveness, strength and agreeability.”

Of a special interest is his revelation that the article has come (in the Macedonian and Bulgarian languages) from mixing with Greek. The latter was also influenced so that in the immediate contiguity a “new construction, face and expression” has been worked out. That that was so, Parteni asserts, a person can easily be persuaded by comparison. This supposition of Parteni Zografski, as early as l857, when the study of Macedonian and Bulgarian national speech had hardly begun has been justified by contemporary scientific research. The historical comparative method, which was mainly known to Parteni, helped him to comprehend correctly the question of common ties between the languages in our Peninsula, – material which brought about a special branch in contemporary linguistics so called Balkanistics.

We shall stop longer here, so that his attitude will be made clearer, on what Zografski published concerning the Macedonian articles – ov and – on, because here he came back to the question of the “common” literary language. That place is also interesting for its style which comes out of the framework of calm grammatical debating: “Well! what are those other articles like? many will say who have not heard about them from relatives. Have some patience and you’ll learn, and how great ought your wonder and curiosity to be, if you are a sincere patriot and philologist”. We shall see further that these “discoveries” of Parteni, who felt himself the guardian of the peoples’ linguistic treasure were not much welcomed. He knew that he was going to be opposed and immediately starts discussion with his imagined opponents: “Well, what? those who hear these things for the first time can say – Well what? Do you want to hang on us all these?” At your will, my Masters. Nothing can be given to anybody by force. But we must remember the condition that one dialect should complement the other, wherever it is necessary, so in that way we can make a common written language which will be rich, varied and pleasant to all, our own. Otherwise, we shall be greatly offended and nothing will come out of it… Altogether the work should be brotherly and Christian. Don’t be afraid, there are cases and places, as we shall see further down, where the Macedonian dialect should also follow the other.”

This extract makes it possible for us to understand the feelings of Parteni towards the language question. He did not allow that Macedonians should accept a written language removed from their national language. Every blind support from the Macedonian side of the language of “upper Bulgars” he calls, further on, “absurd and unjust.” This means, he understands it as a subordination, inadmissible when the “Macedonian dialect” contains in itself such beauties and riches. The creation of a common language cannot be achieved by imposition from the Bulgarian side, but by a “brotherly and Christian” compromise. Otherwise Parteni does not see any possibility of accepting such a language, it is only the Macedonians who will be “greatly offended, and nothing will come of that”. It means that the Macedonians would not agree to anything else. Already this standpoint shows clearly what opposition was appearing in Macedonia to the penetration of the Bulgarian literary language. It is surprising that Parteni took such a standpoint, the man who was accepted as a Russian scholarship holder with Aprilov’s help and, as a clergyman, moved in Bulgarian company in Odessa and later in Constantinople. He at least had the time and the chance to get used to the East Bulgarian dialect. But as we see, he felt the beauty of his mother tongue and had a reason for not rejecting it.

From what we have said so far, we can get an idea of Parteni as a representative of a tendency in our cultural life about the 60’s, the social basis of which is known to us and also for his system of views on the literary language. We know that his standpoint was in direct opposition to the natural development of the Bulgarian literary language. Therefore his articles and two text-books met with such sharp criticism from the Bulgarian side. That marked the beginning of the struggle against the tendency represented by Parteni not to speak of the tendency represented by the Macedonists, who were not accepting the Bulgarian language at all. To the echo that was roused among the Bulgarian literary and cultural workers by the standpoint of Parteni – we shall pass in the following section.


Already in number 336 of the Caregradski Vestnik (6th July, 1857) we find a negative reply to Parteni’s article:

“We know – says the writer (B. Petkov) – that he, who advises us in the Caregradski Vestnik to introduce the article o, if he sees the old article t, as objectionable, he’ll also find objectionable the personal pronoun az, and the auxiliary verb šta, šteš, šte. He will find it more correct to use jainstead of azkьem (as he writes it), instead of š t e m etc. which are expressions characteristic of the Serbian language.”

Two points should be distinguished here: 1) that no surrender should be made to the Macedonians in relation to the language, because one will be followed by another: 2) that the Macedonian characteristics are actually characteristics of the Serbian language so it is out of the question to take them into consideration.

We shall see that this argument is repeated later. Contrary to it B. Petkov asserts that “the nearby places of the central Balkans and on both sides of Thrace have preserved the clearest Bulgarian language, which has made the smallest retreats from the old written language”. With the authority which the old Slavonic church language had at that time, it was an exceptionally important argument to stress the greater proximity of the given dialect to that language. Therefore we see that here this thesis lied. But correctly from the Macedonian side, especially from that of the Macedonists something quite opposite is expressed: that the Macedonian dialects are those which originate directly from the old written language and those which have kept greater contact with it.

Afterwards, as we know, at the beginning of the following year (1858) Parteni’s article was printed in the magazine Bьlgarski knizici, where he does not at all retreat from his former position. To show that he has found response, he sends a private letter to the editors of Bьlgarski knizici” which was received by Konstantin Rajnov from Plovdiv, a lawyer. The letter was written on 10.1.1858 in Constantinople, and printed in the number for January the 31st of the same year. In it the language of the “Sacred history” is praised: “I am so sorry that I cannot uphold it, and I shall regret more, if I see you, Sir, depart from your mother Macedono – Bulgarian dialect, which, I think, surpasses all Bulgarian dialects as far as melodiousness and sweetness are concerned and which, for that reason, is particularly suitable for poetry” (p.46).

Everything shows that that is the only support Parteni received in Constantinople.

The attacks against him carry an understandable spleen. So, it seems that P. R. Slavejkov’s mocking in Nova moda kalendar za 1857 is addressed to him (and probably some other Macedonians round him): “A few Albanian writers have come together and thought of composing a grammar for Bulgarians.” We shall discuss mockery of this sort later when we talk about the activities of Kuzman Sapkarev.

Ultimately in Bьblgarski knizici, 15th September, 1858, a short but severe echo against Parteni’s text-books appeared. The reviewer calls their language “a mixture of Bulgarian and Serbian”, a “Bulgar-Serbian dialect”. He says that borderline speech is always funny and therefore ought not to be taken into consideration at all when building a literary language. Aiming, of course, at Parteni, he condemns those who “want to impose as more regular their dialect which will prove a burden to the Bulgarians: such things, as, until they receive their shape in Bulgarian literature, will do great damage to its final achievement”. Parteni, as a consequence receives the following advice: “Father Parteni, whose right hand we kiss with great respect, let it be allowed us to notice, has no place to write a book for the whole nation in a local dialect, he actually ought first to see how the majority speak and then allow his language to be used in the same way”.

This is the only overt reply that could be given by the Bulgarian side relating to what Parteni was searching for. The establishment of the “common” literary language was not understood there with the meaning which he gave to it, but simply as the acceptance in Macedonia of the Bulgarian literary language founded on the East-Bulgarian dialects. Any compromise was out of the question – the only possibility was what Parteni had seen an imposition. And what did that mean? It meant that Parteni’s efforts to come at a common language, in which the Macedonian dialects would play their part were, from the outset, destined to failure. The arguments primarily developed by Parteni will be raised later by others of our people. But only one choice was left in the end, either accepting the Bulgarian language (or Serbian) or building up an independent Macedonian literary language. As we know, history has made this second choice victorious.

Parteni’s biographer Lazar Dimitrov makes the following comment on the reaction against Parteni’s text-books: “It is easy to explain why the reviews of Parteni’s books are sharp. The book publishers of that day who were exclusively from Thrace and Mysia did not like the participation of the Macedonian dialect in the literary language, which was then in the making, because they did not know it and considered it something of a mixture between the Serbian and Bulgarian dialects and also they feared that the appearance of Macedonian men of letters might further the imposition of the West-Bulgarian dialects (!) as a literary language more so because there was already some movement in that direction! The first men of letters, Kiril Pejcinovic and Joakim Krcovski had by then begun such endeavors. Of the same school are K. Dzinot from Veles, G Prlcev from Ohrid and R. Zinzifov. The most ardent and enduring pupil of that school is Hadzi Parteni (Izvestija na seminara za slavjanska filologija, Sofia 1904/5, p. 378-9).

We stress particularly the last assertion. And truly we would be quite mistaken to think Parteni’s appearance on the language question platform was lonely and accidental. It has its definite place and its causal connection with what was with us earlier on the literary plane and also with what was happening then and what was to come later. Kiril Pejcinovic and Joakim Krcovski showed that books could be written in our language. Also we must not ignore those collections of the first half of the nineteenth century which were written and rewritten here, frequently with the Greek alphabet, and which contributed to the establishment of Macedonian as a literary language. The compiler of such a short collection from 1841 was Dimitar Miladinov (Sbornik na BAK, IX, 1918, Documents and Notes, p. 17). All that created a written tradition which Parteni wanted to extend.

We cannot consider Parteni as isolated in his views on language even at the time when he expressed them. On the contrary everything convinces us that Parteni was a man who took a standpoint shared by the other distinguished men of D. Miladinov’s circle. In B?lgarski knizici III, August 1860 a word is said about tension on the Macedonian side “because their dialect is not taken into consideration.” All the literary practice of our men of letters of that time – the brothers Miladinov, Rajko Zinzifov, Grigor Prlicev – reveals a refusal on their part to accept the East-Bulgarian norm. We cannot explain that fact only by the reason that they simply had not managed as yet to master the Bulgarian literary language which was then in the period of formation. A viewpoint is in question – given public presentation by Parteni. In this sense the fate of our poets is interesting. Let us not speak of Konstantin Miladinov who uses in his poetry the language of our folk songs, achieving a vigorous expressiveness. But there is Rajko Zinzifov – he went further in his compromise with the Bulgarian language and all the same stayed consistent to the very end in conveying a number of Macedonian features in his language. So he made a language (after Parteni’s precepts) which is today the main obstacle to accepting his poetry.

G. Prlicev’s search was turned in a completely different direction, though he went to Constantinople in 1868 for the sole reason of learning Bulgarian from Ivan Najde-nov. He was enraptured by the idea of creating a common Slavonic language. “I know that it is a fantasy” he says, “but the need is also great”. And so the highly gifted poet buried his talent unable to find the right way in what is body and soul to Poetry – the language. And all this searching and wandering with these people proves that they were not fired by the Bulgarian literary language. In Bulgaria however, his contemporaries were such poets as P. R. Slavejkov, Hr. Botev and Iv. Vazov who raised Bulgarian poetry high. But the time was coming in Macedonia also for the birth of artistic poetry in the same language in which the people sang such beautiful songs.

Now let us return to Parteni. He was D. Miladinov’s pupil at Ohrid in 1835. When he came back from Russia he met Miladinov again. Then according to L. Dimitrov he “Passed through Ohrid and met his temporary teacher D. Miladinov. On Parteni’s invitation the latter left for Debar and from there went to Galičnik. It is not known how long D. Miladinov spent there but surely he was invited by Parteni not only as a guest but also for purposes of agitation” (op. cit. p.361). During their contact they could not have avoided the important question of the literary language. In any case we know that D. Miladinov, while staying in Prilep in 1856-57 introduced the Macedonian language as a medium of instruction and a little later sent to K. Šapkarev from Kukus to Struga quite a number of “Sacred Histories” by Parteni Zografski (AutobiographyMakedonski pregled III, 2 p.58). D. Miladinov taught from Parteni’s books and also distributed them. We can, therefore, suppose that he shared Parteni’s viewpoint concerning the language.

How were Parteni’s text-books accepted by our people? An answer to this question can be found in what Rajko Zinzifov has written. He was at that time an assis-tant of D. Miladinov in Kukus: “The parents, says Zinzifov, were endlessly glad to hear their children read from the “Sacred History” by Father Parteni, who later became a dean at the demand of the people of Kukus, and they did not have to ask questions about what was written in the book, because they were able to understand what was being read alone” (From the article on the Brothers Miladinov following the translation from Russian printed in Bъlgarska ilustracija 1880, Bk. 8, p.21).

This means the people’s response was quite different from that of the Bulgarian milieu in Constantinople. That made Parteni maintain his attitudes. That he did not retreat in 1860 in face of these criticisms, is shown by the fact that he worked on the establishment of a printing office in Thessalonika in order to have books printed in Macedonian for the inhabitants of these parts.”


It is clear that the appearance of Macedonian text-books and the viewpoint in relation to the ‘”common” literary language, formulated by Parteni Zografski were only a symptom of something based deeper in our life at the time. What are we to look for behind all that? We ought to see the aspirations of our bourgeoisie – of those who accepted the Bulgarian cause – to be treated as an equal partner, to have their views and feelings concerning questions of culture and enlightenment respected. To say this more clearly: those men wanted to collaborate with the Bulgarians, they agreed to have the struggle against Hellenization led under the name of a common Bulgarian cause, but in the same way as some disagreed with the importation of the Bulgarian language into Macedonia, but demanded the making of a “common« language” fifty-fifty, so that nobody would find himself wronged, so -we say – they did not agree to the conquest of Macedonian markets by the Bulgarian bourgeoisie. After pushing Greek merchants out, our merchants did not want to have their place taken by Bulgarians. They wanted to spread themselves more widely in Macedonia. What came out in the cultural field, in relation to books and schools, was actually only a projection of what happened everyday, but not so visibly, in the market place and in the economic field.

A common struggle was started against the Patriarchate of Constantinople with the aim of getting an independent church. But it was impossible not to ask what sort of independence that was going to be. Who was to profit and in what from that independence, who was going to participate in the course of the struggle and what was his participation going to be.

That people here thought in this way and that they could not calculate otherwise we shall show later from our material. But sufficient clarity is thrown on the question in the article we now cite. It appeared in the paper “Makedonija” 23rd June, 1870. Its title is striking – “A Voice for the whole of Macedonia”. At the moment when the Sultan had granted the founding of the Exarchate, this article comes to remind people what Macedonians think of the establishment of the new church and what they expect from it. While the importance of the Sultan’s act is underlined it is said that “that high mercy is not exclusively for Bulgarians, but also is promised to Macedonians through article 10, according to which if all or 2/3 show their wishes they will be joined with the Bulgarian church. But before we join we think and consider it our duty to ask them and hear answer as to how they are going to act whether according to the gospel or as the Greek bishops have acted until now – t y r a n i c a l l y  a n d  o p p r e s s i v e 1 y. For we have a feeling that even now they show inclinations towards despotism. But it is no shame to hear that it will be so, that will spare us many troubles in finding it out, and also great headaches with Macedonian questions.”

Here are expressed the contradictions of the moment of the creation of the Exarchate. On the Macedonian side one basic condition is laid down for the union: that it should not be centralized. For it was known that in that case all power would be concentrated in the hands of the big Bulgarian merchants of Constantinople, who were closely connected with the Turkish government, those who later in liberated Bulgaria, formed the conservative party. To take power in hand meant for them to order things as they wanted in Macedonia as well. Therefore we find that warning in the article, and the intimation of “Macedonian questions”, which means breaking the collaboration. Our merchants and guilds demanded a democratic constitution for the Exarchate, that they might have full control over Macedonian affairs through their councils. But our bourgeoisie had one misfortune – it was weak as a class. It was deceived in its expectations and at the end centralization was the rule of the Exarchate. The subsequent tensions between our councils and the Exarchate stemmed from that; independent movement of the Macedonian people also resulted from that and was led by the Internal Organization (IMRO), appearing about the 90’s of the last century initially as a struggle against the Exarchate.

Since the evidence from the time shows the calculations people made in reality, acting in this or that way, Simeon Radev’s declaration that “the unquenchable patriotism of the Bulgarians, the mysterious and deep instinct which connects one with the other all parts of this people…” was drawing Macedonians to join the Exarchate, is revealed in all its pompous pose (S. Radev, Makedonija i Bъlgarskoto vъzraždane v XIX vek, part III, p. 454). There he talks about the meeting in January 1871, when the constitution of the Exarchate was to be accepted and when it was discussed whether to accept Macedonian delegates to the assembly or not, because with the Sultan’s order the question of the greater number of Macedonian eparchies was left to be decided subsequently by a plebiscite.

“We come to the most important psychological moment of the Bulgarian movement” – says Radev, of it. “Its future will depend for a long time on the turn it is going to take. Will Macedonia be sacrificed from fear of schism or submissiveness to Russia? Or shall we see to it, that in order to preserve Macedonia for the mother-land that it withstands the blows of the church and the anger of the enormous empire? The moment is difficult when a nation must ask where its duty lies…” (op. cit. p.453).

The “unquenchable patriotism” and the “mysterious instinct” and the call of the “native land” is presented to us in a different light in an article in the newspaper Makedonija 1871, where a Macedonian complains that “some of the representatives do not want to let Macedonian representatives be present at the assembly which will discuss the constitution of the independent Bulgarian Exarchate, and find such causes as this for instance: that it is not nice for Macedonian representatives to be present at that assembly because they will insist on having the seat of the Bulgarian Exarchate placed at Ohrid! Or because they will try to separate from the other Bulgarians and have an Exarchate of their own! Or even more logical: Macedonians are not Bulgarians but Tsintsars”.

It becomes clear that at “the most important psychological moment of the whole Bulgarian movement” some people wanted to have their work carried on behind the backs of the Macedonians (Why should they appear with their demands to cause more headaches?) At that extremely important moment one group of the Bulgarian representatives showed what was later to become a characteristic method of the Exarchate in its dealings with Macedonia – to rule without listening to any representatives of the people. Very soon complaints were to be heard from Macedonia against it, already from Veles in Makedonija 18 July, 1872, there comes bad news concerning the actions of the Exarchate. The Eparchate of Veles having had 6500 marriages was due to pay the Archierate a sum of 45,000 groschen: “I do not know where that sum of money will come from and it is individualized 2 groschen for a wedding for the Exarchate chest and another two for the chest of the Eparchate”. At the very same time the Eparchate in Samokov and Kjustendil, with 30,000 marriages each paid only as much as that of Veles -45,000 gr. “What a comparison” cries the correspondent “Strange Justice!” The Exarchate, quite evidently, became the means for the penetration of the Bulgarian bourgeoisie into Macedonia; after the Bulgarian liberation it strengthened its role in this connection. The hopes which the Macedonians had had in the Exarchate were not realized.

But let us return to Parteni Zografski to see what was happening to him at this time. Filip Tomov in the article cited earlier notes that on the 8th. November 1874 Dr. Stojan Comakov wrote to the Bishop of Veles this among other things: “Maybe you have heard about the good-hearted and honorable Parteni, he is banished from Constantinople and is today persecuted both by the Government and by the Exarchate” (Makedonski pregled X, 1 and 2, p.96). L. Dimitrov tells us that Parteni was very embittered and did not mention the name of the Exarch in his services but only that of the Synod. And it is easy to establish a reason. He was the only one from Macedonia among so many from Thrace and Mysia” (op. cit. p. 371). In these last words we find some indication concerning our remarks in connection with the real social positions of the Bulgarian and our citizens. “The main cause, however, for these relations between Parteni and the present Exarch was the latter’s attempt to centralize the control of the spiritual authority in his hands, as is now the case” (op. cit. p.371).

As far as his struggle in the literary field was concerned “Parteni’s efforts couldn’t have a successful result. He anticipated that and closed his eyes with a sorrowful mind tired of worries and distress” (op. cit. p.379).


The work begun by Parteni Zografski did not cease as his successors soon appeared in the sixties. The most prominent place among these is occupied by the well-known collector of Macedonian folklore Kuzman Sapkarev (1834-1908). From 1868 to 1874 Sapkarev edited eight such text-books. Meanwhile he was expressing his attitude to our literary language in print. There was discussion of his work in the Bulgarian newspapers of the time. This all emphasizes Sapkarev as being the central figure in Macedonian book editing activities, because of this, this section of our work will be mainly concerned with him. When one is acquainted with what Sapkarev was doing, with what he was saying and with what was said about him one cannot avoid noticing some fundamental contradictions in his attitude. It appears that he held no less than three separate opinions which we can summarize briefly as follows:

a. Sapkarev was altogether of Parteni’s opinion on the “common language” as a compromise between Bulgarian and Macedonian.

b. Sapkarev only saw his text-books as the medium for an easier approximation of Macedonian to Bulgarian which the people felt to be remote.

c. Sapkarev was a fervent Macedonist. This means that he considered the Macedonians as a separate people who needs must have a special literary language.

How is it possible to reconcile three such different attitudes in the one man? The answer to this question is made more difficult to obtain by the lack of any more detailed examination of Sapkarev’s life especially of the period of it which interests us. All the same we think that we shall not be far from the truth if we say that he wavered between two distinct marks – the pro-Macedonian and the pro-Bulgarian ideas expressed in the sixties – trying to keep on good terms with each group according to the time and place. Formerly a Greek teacher and a Hellenist, Sapkarev swung from one to the other of the means observable in Macedonian life of his time. The material we shall adduce later does, we feel, give sufficient support to this assertion.

From his activity as a text-book editor we rightly think of Sapkarev as a successor of Parteni. Zografski’s example was before his eyes. We have already mentioned that he had become acquainted with Zografski’s text-books through D. Miladinov and used them in his teaching. Even in the composition of his own text-books he adopted some things from them. In the 1868 beginner he presents the following maxim “Their native tongue ought to be precious to everybody and everybody should be taught to use books in it at first and then if he has time he might go on to learn to use books in other languages also” (p.45)-This thought is borrowed from Parteni’s Beginner where he says “Learn at first from books in your own language then, if you have time, learn from those in other languages”(p.33).

Rightly seeing in Sapkarev a successor of Parteni Zografski we ought naturally to consider his work as a reflection of the same conditions which qualified Parteni’s attitude. But those conditions were sharper in outline by the time that Sapkarev appeared, because those were the years immediately preceding the formation of the Exar-chate.

First of all we shall try to represent the period accurately from the point of view of the movement for separate text-books for Macedonian schools, through the memoirs of two Bulgarians who before the end of the sixties were living in Macedonia – Nikola Emcerev and Stefan Salgandziev

Emcerev, born in Panadjuriste, a teacher at Prilep from 1866 to 1878, charges Sapkarev with creating a gulf between the Macedonians and the Bulgarians by means of his text-books: “K. P. Sapkarev would have been in a position to do a lot to facilitate the learning of the neo-Greek language if he had to that end made a short grammar, a reader, a conversation book and other auxiliary material but he did not do it, first because great material funds were necessary and he hadn’t such at his disposal, and then because he was entirely taken up with speculations which would bring him greater material profit, by turning into Macedonian the text-books edited by Danov, adding endings like ajki and ištem and other Macedonian dialect words and phrases. The text-books so remade he addressed to the Macedonian councils influencing them to introduce such text-books into their schools. It. was this that started the dislike of the upper Bulgarian dialect. Soon Sapkarev gained a supporter in the person of D. V. Makedonski and someone called Macukovski started to boast in the newspapers that he was making preparations to print a grammar of the Macedonian dialect. With that a discussion started in the papers (Pravo V, nos 40, 45) Then Petar Ivanov of St. Zagora discountenanced them fully with a number of articles in Pravo, 1872, and forced them to retire” (Spomeni ot moeto učitelstvo v Prilep – Memories of my Teaching Days in Prilep, Sbornik za narodni umotvorenija XX. 1904, p. 21-22).

These lines are a good introduction to Sapkarev’s work and the reply it evoked. But some corrections to them are needed. Dimitar V. Makedonski, who has been mentioned above, had started editing his text-books shortly before Sapkarev and consequently can not be regarded as his follower, but only as a man who came forward at the same time to satisfy a recognized need of his society. Makedonski (? – 1896) was born at the village of Embore in the Kajlar district. Educated in Constantinople, he afterwards taught in Vlaho Klisura, Struga and Bitola. He edited three text-books. They are: A Short Sacred History for use in the Schools throughout Macedonia (Constantinople, Makedonija, 1867), “A. Beginner for use in Macedonian Schools” (1867) and “A Shortened Catechism for the Orthodox” Translated from the Greek, Constantinople, Macedonia, 1868.

Of D. V. Makedonski’s three text-books we have only come by his Short Sacred History. The others we cite from V. Pogorelov’s description. The book is written in the form of questions and answers. As originating from a man from southern Macedonia it is primarily interesting for its linguistic connections with the other text-books of the time, all edited by people from Western Macedonia (P. Zografski, K. Sapkarev, G. Pulevski). It shows that those Macedonianisms which accorded with the characteristics of Church Slavonic were most easily made common. The authority of the church language helped in their acceptance. So D. Makedonski uses almost regularly the form of the third person singular present with the suffix-t (možet, storit, milvat).

There are such elements in the language employed by Makedonski as undoubtedly point to a connection with the language of our other text-book writers. He uses sedoni, potem, and often forms ending in-aet, as sohranja-vaet which were then characteristics of Zografski’s language. From another side, as Sapkarev does later (i.e. after 1869), he writes: dobruvajatse milvajat etc., also he uses such forms as se kazvit, se pametvit from Ohrid. These features of western speech are also noteworthy: et, se (si-de by side with sa), ova. Of course, Makedonski could have got used to some such forms in direct contact with west Macedonians especially those who themselves wrote or were at all interested in the form of the written language.

Some characteristics of his native dialect are also found in Makedonski’s book. Without going into details we shall note the peculiar pronunciation češa (čaša), then some cases of the reduction of the vowels: duhuve, nivoti, istulkuvarm, and from his vocabulary words like: gredeha, se urva, dibot, umreška etc.

In some cases Makedonski explains some words by synonyms used in different dialects. So side by side with ubil he gives the word opral, with klal – turil with arma-sana – svršena. From this we can see his anxiety to make his text easily comprehensible to pupils from different areas.

Going back to Enicerev’s remarks about Sapkarev we must reject as inaccurate the assertion that, after P. Ivanov’s criticism, our text-book writers were silent, because two years later Sapkarev himself edited his Beginner but now not at Constantinople where his other books had appeared but at Thessalonika.

It is also untrue that Sapkarev personally with his text-books was the first cause of the dislike of the introduction of Bulgarian into the Macedonian schools. The situation, as we know was quite to the contrary. Such an inclination existed among the people themselves and Sapkarev appeared as a person who more or less provided for such an inclination. Sapkarev could easily find out from his teaching experience how Parteni’s text-books were received by the people and how unwilling was their acceptance of Bulgarian text-books, how well understood were the first and how difficult were the latter on account of their language. Enicerev describes him as a person interested mainly in profit, even if this is so it is not fundamental. We rightly conclude that though inconsistent, though undecided in his opinions and pliable in character, as we know Sapkarev to have been from his later biography, he expressed at a definite moment, though but partially, for both subjective and objective reasons the inclination that existed among the Macedonians to have their language used as the medium of instruction in their schools as the best because the best understood.

The acceptance given to Sapkarev’s books proves what kind of important cultural and historical phenomenon we meet in him. In one place it is announced that they “were distributed almost over the whole of south and central Macedonia and were soon sold out so that the need for a second edition appeared very soon. They made a real revolution in those parts of the districts where till then the Greek language had reigned in the schools” (Ilustracija Svetlina, June 1898. Bk. VII, p.2). The very fact that in the course of a few years (1867-1875) Sapkarev, D. Makedonski and G. Pulevski (who we shall speak of later) edited thirteen Macedonian books, shows the importance of the phenomenon. For Sapkarev’s book The Holy Epistles (1870) according to the list given in it there were 1270 helpers from the following places. Kukus 465, the surrounding villages 75, the borough of Karadag 153, the borough of Gevgelija 82, Ohrid 124, the town of Struga 30, the surrounding villages 47, Resen 18, Bitola 51, Prilep 6, Kavadarci 25, Vatasa 19, Negotino 12, the village of Prždevo 6, Štip 21, the village of Miravci 2, Dojran 12, the village of Poroj Gorni 18, Ser 20, Thessalonika and the surrounding villages 16, the district of Voden 74.

This is a truly enviable number for a time when the book came out. Let us mention that at the same time the Bulgarian papers in Constantinople had this circulation Makedonija 1.100, Pravo 700, Turcija 500 (vid. Zornica, Periodical Evangelical Magazine, 1869, No.5, p.40).

The movement for the introduction of Macedonian text-books into the schools  could not have a separate course from that of the development of the Macedonian consciousness among the people. About that and the range of. the movement we have some information from a book by the aforementioned Stefan K. Salgandziev (Lični dela i spomeni Personal Deeds and Memories, Plovdiv 1906) where we find mention of what was going on in Thessalonika towards the end of the sixties. Salgandziev was sent to Thessalonika by the managing body of the Constantinople Reading Library as an editor of the Bulgarian part of an official newspaper Seljanik. “During the. whole of my stay in Thessalonika whether on duty or not, my activity consisted mainly in study of the situa-tion of the Bulgarian cause in the whole district and in sending to the Constantinople Reading Library reports on its fluctuations” (p.26). This is what Salgandziev says about the thing which concerns us. He explains how certain members of the Thessalonika district headed by the man from Ohrid D. Paunčev, a merchant-commissioner, Georgi Dinkata and the well-known bookseller and printer Kirijak Držilovič started a struggle against somebody called Božkov a Bulgarian teacher sent to Thessalonika and maintained by the Constantinople Reading Library.. This is joined to the fact that, following Salgandžiev, “At that time the wind blew in the direction of a long-contemplated plan by some teachers from western Macedonia,  according. to which Macedonian children ought to be taught and trained solely in Macedonian and for that end they had started to edit and edited several text-books in that dialect which were stored at the warehouse of Božkov’s persecutors. That made many believe (and I was among them) that the persecution of Božkov was carried on with intention of replacing him by one of those teachers who were protagonists of the above mentioned idea” (p.34).

A relative of D. Paun?ev of Ohrid was appointed as the new teacher. This is how Salgandžiev describes him: “He was Bulgarian from his mother and his father was Kucovlah- Cinzar, and he himself spoke Bulgarian absolutely incorrectly. When he was asked to which of the two mentioned nationalities he belonged he used to answer” I am neither Bulgarian non Greek nor am I Cinzar. I am a pure Macedonian as were Philip and Alexander of Macedon and the philosopher Aristotle. To this mixture of nationalities was entrusted the teaching of the Bulgarian children in Thessalonika in their mother tongue only without his knowing Bulgarian” Salgandžiev cries.

Let us remind ourselves that in the persons of the citizens of Thessalonika whom Salgandžiev mentions as blown by the wind we meet those people with whom Parteni Zografski worked in 1860, when he wanted to establish a printing press. We see that his influence on them had not died but that they still appear as a group towards the end of the sixties. Georgi Dinkata, a great friend of D. Miladinov wrote text-books himself which he used in his teaching (Šopov op. cit. 447). In the teachers words we have exactly the appearance of Macedonian consciousness, something that was not confined only to that “mixture of nationalities” but was also expressed as we shall see by many other people of the time who were, so to speak, pure in nationality.

From 1869-71 Venijamin Mačukovski also taught in Thessalonika, he had been born in the village of Mačkovo in the neighborhood of Gevgelija and he had been educated in Russia. He is the Mačukovski of whom Eničerev said that he started to boast in the newspapers that he was making preparations “to print a grammar of the Macedonian dialect.” Who wished, that is, to realize the ideal presented by Parteni Zografski ten years earlier.

Commenting on his coming to Thessalonika as a teacher Stefan Salgandžiev says “I ought to note that with the taking of the teaching appointment by Mr. Mačukovski everybody said that, being born a Macedonian the new teacher was going to satisfy the pretensions of a certain circle – who wished to have the pupils taught in the Macedonian dialect, pretensions not shared by others among the citizens of Thessalonika outside the circle who it could only be right to mention did not agree with that circle only for the fact that the children received the books from the Managing body of the Reading Library free while the text-books in the Macedonian dialect had to be paid for” (p.43).

The people from the “circle”  were actually those with whose names the appearance of Slavonic education in Thessalonika is connected. From what Salgandžiev says we become acquainted with a kind of book-sellers’ competition since the Library in Constantinople distributes its text-books free. The fact that in the lists of the bookseller H. G. Danov for 1868-72 we do not find (in addition to books in Serbian) any of the Macedonian text-books that came out exactly at the time speaks for the competition  between Macedonian  and Bulgarian text-books (see Letostruj  Calender pub. by H. G. Danov for these years). The Danov bookshop with a branch in Veles, is at this time the widest distributor of Bulgarian books in Macedonia. Danov himself was writing text-books which he, naturally was trying to popularize with the Macedonian schools as much as possible. The Macedonian text-books were an obstacle to his efforts. What happened then? On one side we have H. G. Danov with Bulgarian text-books and on the other Kirijak Držilovic in Thessalonika with Macedonian text-books in stock. The market is one and the same – the Macedonian schools. The logical result is competition which in this particular case has much deeper social roots, because it appears also as an expression of the struggle about which language is the teaching to be conducted in at the Macedonian schools. From such an example we can get an impression of the tangle of interests also in other spheres of trade, which made Macedonian traders worry about their positions at that time. (Brotherhood is Brotherhood, but you get your cheese for money). What means Šapkarev used to win over the citizens of Resen to return to H. G. Danov the textbooks which had come from Veles in the autumn of 1871 we shall see later. Here it is sufficient to emphasize the booksellers’ competition.


We said that Sapkarev published eight text-books. Their names are:

1. A Short Sacred History from the Old and New Testaments with a short Holy Catechism” 62  8.

2. A Short Geography 64 8.

3. A Bulgarian Beginner 64 8.

4. A Big Bulgarian Reader 138 8.

5. Primary Knowledge for Small Children 62 8.

6. The Holy Annuncia-tion 146 8.

7. Handy Sacred Orders 144 8.

8. The Mother Tongue – A Beginner 40 8.

The first five books appeared in Constantinople in 1868 at the printing press of the newspaper Makedonija. Instead of the name of the compiler they have only “A Macedonian” and the editor was Andreja Anastasov Resenec a well-known old book-seller of the period who sold books at fairs. We come across him as the editor of P. Radov’s Eternal Calendar (5th edition supplemented and printed by Andreja A. Resenec Kiev 1865 305 p. 8. (See Danov’s Letostruj« 1869)

The book under number five is not mentioned in the well-known Description by V. Pogorelov, where, otherwise, all the rest are described. That it was edited in 1868 is clear from p.57 where it is mentioned that the Bishopric of Ohrid had been abolished a hundred years earlier. The language unambiguously points to Sapkarev as a compiler. But Sapkarev himself informing his readers on the back of the flyleaf of the Beginner of 1868 about the books he is publishing mentions as number five Primary Knowledge and he mentions it again in the foreword to the reader, under no. 7.

The book under number six was issued in 1869 at the printing house of Tadea Divit?ian (not at that of the newspaper Makedonija). We can call the last two books text books in so far as they served in teaching, otherwise they represent a selection of readings from the Gospel and Acts which were designed for wider usage among the people.

Finally The Mother Tongue was edited in 1874 in Thessalonika as a publication of the booksellers the brothers A. & P. Šapkarev. It is said that this is a third completely revised edition. Because this has no connection with the beginner of 1868, we cannot say whether Šapkarev did not consider that as a first edition, and in general when and where the first and second editions appeared we do not know.

The books under numbers 1,2 and 5 are written in the form of question and answer.

Except for the printed text-books, Šapkarev had only compiled, as he tells us in the foreword to the Reader of 1868 and a few other books Collected Lists for Reading, Collected Lists for Calculation and The Same Collected in a Short Book for Sums.

We shall make short notes concerning the language of Sapkarev’s text-books. Generally speaking, compared to Parteni’s language, we find in Šapkarev a greater admixture of Bulgarian elements. He himself defines his language as being “a western Macedonian dialect mired mith the Bulgar in unitten dialect of the day.” (Foreword to the Reader). This is its general character. There is evolution from one book to the next with him as with Parteni. It is noticeable, for instance, that his last text-book The Mother Tongue (1874 is marked by the clarity of its Macedonian in comparison with his others. That was due to the fact that folk songs are used as reading texts.

The base of Sapkarev’s language is Ohrid speech which is characterized by the change of  ж > ъ: rъka, pъt etc. Sapkarev chose exactly that change, which in this point brought his language nearer to Bulgarian.

Among these forms from Ohrid we point to the verbal forms: ostanvit, svetvit etc. Besides, in connection with the present tense we ought to point out that for Sapkarev the following forms are common: kažit, rečit etc. (The Ohrid dialect does not have an “e” group) In the first person singular of the present tense the ending -is only used with “a” group verbs: begam, not with the others: kaža; third person singular present tense is used generally with the ending – t: kažit, rečit, ostavit, vikat etc.

In the third person plural of the present tense we have a certain evolution in Sapkarev. In the textbooks of 1868 he follows the rule laid down by Parteni that the verbs from “a” group end in -aet, the rest in -at so: irnaet, razvivaet, obrabotuvaet, but dadжt, činat, govorjat, etc. In this example there is a further interesting point to show Parteni’s influence on Sapkarev, for the above rule does not correspond to the facts of Ohrid speech whe-re the third person plural of the present tense ends in -et, – eet. Consequently we can see that the unity of our text-book writers is developing. It is more interesting to see the same characteristic reflected again later in the writings of G. Pulevski. What is actually happening? The-re is a demand for a certain compromise between the suffix -et which was present in the three mentioned, but which would, otherwise only have been accepted with some difficulty on the part of other Macedonians and the more widely spread ending -at. Yet we know that in his second text-book Parteni uses only this latter ending. The same thing is done by Sapkarev who in 1869 drops the ending -et. We learn that Sapkarev did that on the advice of people from other parts of Macedonia where that ending was not used. In fact in the newspaper “Pravo”,30th November, 1870, one of Sapkarev’s attackers says of his language “That dialect is purely from Ohrid and is not used in other Macedonian towns”. And as an example, he cites exactly the forms hodaet, praet, vikaet etc. A defense of Sapkarev, signed by ten people, comes from Prilep where concerning this point they say “if a mouse fell into the sea the sea would not smell. We know that friendly notices are given to Sapkarev and that he has made in Sunday and Holiday Readings a beautiful Macedonian dialect by throwing away some endings like “vikaet”, which are not used in Macedonian (Pravo, 5th April, 1871). This reveals to us the reverse influence of Macedonian readers on Sapkarev who could not disregard the echo roused by his language as to what was accepted and what was not accepted as being too regional.

Of Ohrid forms we ought to notice the verbal adverbs in -item: krevaeitem.

Contrary to Parteni, Sapkarev uses the relative pro noun in the form of koj or kojitokoi ito etc. even written as one word i. e. koeitokojaito etc.

Sapkarev’s orthography comes nearer to the Bulgarian of that time which was not as yet regularized. He uses the letter ж: rжce,  parж.  The use of t outside its etimological context is noteworthy. He also writes regularly h.

In connection with the language of our text-books and of Sapkarev’s in particular it is important to devote attention to the vocabulary. We mentioned the Church Slavonic and Russian borrowings of Zografski. The same thing concerns Sapkarev to a certain extent. It is interesting, through his text-books, to follow how much further the Slavonic elements whether either terminology or general abstract words were felt as new at the time. They were then actually beginning to gain wider currency. Because of this Sapkarev was forced, in order to explain their meaning, to supply under his text the corresponding Turkish or other words known to the people, to describe and even in some cases to introduce words of his own in order to give a closer explanation of the new word. Here are some examples taken from his booklet “Primary Knowledge” (Sapkarev’s explanations are given here second): mъdrost – umiština, sъštestvo – nešto, polza – fajda, dlъžnost – bore, nužda – iktiza, dobrodetel – harnina, sъstojanie – mertebe, vъzduh – hava, tъrgovija – tudžarlъk, hudožnici – marifetcii, narodi – mileti, plemena – sojovi, žilište – mesto za zivenie, prostranstvo – širina i dlъžina v edno, cetvъrtita – cetiri kъošinja etc.

In this section we shall again turn to the fundamental question what aim Sapkarev wanted to achieve by publishing his text-books and what his attitude to the literary language in our country was. We said earlier that in this respect we noticed contradictions in him. We shall acquaint ourselves with him more thoroughly in the following order of topics. First we shall expose Sapkarev’s thoughts as contained in the forewords to the text-books themselves, then his declarations in the newspapers and the discussion in general which went on in the Bulgarian papers at the time concerning the questions which are of interest to us.

In the foreword to the reader (dated: Macedonia, 15th January, 1868) Sapkarev tells us that the need which made him compile his text-books was to provide books for Macedonian children which might be most easily understood. Sapkarev expresses himself picturesquely “the youngsters are still very tender and can neither accept nor digest any other harder food brought from afar, but only the nearby milk from the natural homely breast”. The harder and more distant food is in this case the Bulgarian language. The practical experience of our teachers in their work with the children daily confirmed them in the opinion that teaching in the mother tongue was much easier and that, understandably, encouraged them to defend it. Opposition developed in their heads: Why accept another’s language? They themselves are not using it and to do so they must desert their own when it serves the purposes of instruction better. As far as our teachers are concerned we must not forget certain fears that they may have had: if the Bulgarian language is introduced and they do not know it well then the value of the Bulgarian teachers would rise. A movement against the influx of Bulgarian intellectuals clearly developed here during the nineties; vid. Petar popArsov “Stambolovstinata v Makedonija”  (“Stambolovism in Macedonia”).

Further on in the foreword Sapkarev enumerates the text-books which he has compiled and says that he hopes “others will follow among which will be a grammar with sufficient notes about the Macedonian dialect and comparisons of it with the Upper-Bulgarian dialect”. It is regrettable that this proposed grammar, like Parteni’s did not appear. Did Sapkarev ever manage to compile it? But as a teacher he taught grammar and it was natural for him to model. his teaching in accordance with the language of his text-books. The composition of such a grammar would have presented no difficulty, but perhaps its publication did. A Macedonian grammar would have meant that the strongest foundation for views on the literary language which were held in Macedonia was brought into existence an its use in schools would have organized the people with convinced views more firmly. This would have become a big obstacle to the penetration of the Bulgarian literary language with its East-Bulgarian basis and could easily have led towards the development of an independent Macedonian literary language. In Constantinople which was the only place where Sapkarev could have had his works printed, it would not have been difficult to advise people not to print such a grammar. We are brought to this conclusion by the sham reaction against V. Mačukovski’s announcement that he was going to publish a grammar (we shall refer to this again later.) Here, however, Sapkarev announces that he has no intention of creating a particular Macedonian language in his text-books, “as some of our eastern brethren fear, vainly” “For this same reason I did not call it “Macedonian” he says of the “dialect” in his books “and also because it is not so but only parts, or more accurately, West -Macedonian mingled with contemporary written Bulgarian, neither could it be such for reasons we hope to discuss more fully on a later occasion”.

Sapkarev here denies even the possibility of creating a written Macedonian language. Then what was his real attitude? It is completely consolidated with what was expressed by Parteni Zografski ten years earlier about the nature of a common language as a compromise between the Bulgarian and Macedonian dialects. Sapkarev expre-sses this view in a neighborly colloquial fashion in the hope of getting something done. He implores “the higher educated brothers” to “yield something and for the sake of their Macedonian brothers to drop bits of Macedonian salt into their dialect so that the descendants of Cyril and Clement might come across less difficulties in the study of their mother tongue… On our part we are heartily ready to give up anything that is necessary.”
In order to help this forward Sapkarev worked at a “Short Dictionary« divided into three parts. “The first containing Macedonian translated into Upper Bulgarian, the second Upper-Bulgarian translated into Macedonian and the third foreign words found in the Bulgarian literary language.”

The second foreword which is important for Sapka-rev’s views and those of other people in Macedonia, appeared a year later in the book The Holy Annunciation (dated: Kukus, 29th May, 1869). We can draw particularly important evidence from the following words: “In our area, from which the Bulgarian language has been expelled, it is understood that nobody from the youngest to the oldest does not know how to read Bulgarian, so how can it be easily introduced? Moreover there are some, among our people, who, besides not knowing and not wanting to learn and being from the one side convinced of what they have found and from the other exercising influence upon people are a considerable obstacle to the others by giving them all sorts of excuses. One of their numerous handy obstacles is this – the Bulgarian church language was Serbian (?) and they could not understand it (!) and even that it was forbidden (?) by the Government (?) Concerning the contemporary East-Bulgarian dialect they say that it is “Sopian” and here Sop means the most vulgar potbelly, and demand “Are we all going to make Sops of ourselves?”

It here becomes clearer that the penetration of the Bulgarian language met with opposition from among the people. The appearance of the Macedonian text-books and all the questions of language connected with them rested finally upon that fact. Sapkarev with all his marks of exclamation attempts to separate himself from those people who cried “Are we going to make Sops of ourselves” from the so-called Macedonists. Their influence upon the people, as we can see, was not small. “But” says Sapkarev, “it must not be thought that some of tho-se people do this from malice to Bulgarianism or affection for Hellenization. On the contrary, they readily agree to listen to the Bulgarian in churches and schools. But so that they all understand, in such cases they are pleased.” The people this means. as was quite natural, were glad to hear an understandable word of their own mother tongue in church and at school. They did not feel that the Bulgarian language was such. It is important to understand what Sapkarev says here about the Macedonists – that they had no love for Hellenization such as some wished to attribute to them.

Seen in this light, what is the meaning of Sapkarev’s work? He separates himself off from those who were speaking against the “Sopian dialect”, and in practice – though not fully – he follows the line of their demands in relation to the language. He declares that he has no intention of dividing the common language but in practice his text-books do just that, independently of how much be himself was aware of the fact. The editing of those works was not an armchair affair but came from life experience and in turn influenced it. As to the creation of a “Bulgarian” generally which Sapkarev also declared himself for, what could have had a more destructive effect than the demand that the cultural development of the Bulgarian language be changed from its normal course up to that time to create an artificial Bulgaro-Macedonian language? We now repeat that it was impossible. The only choice was either to adopt the Bulgarian or the Serbian language or to build a Macedonian literary language. The second was the choice realized.

Further on in the foreword we are considering Sapkarev expresses himself with a different significance concerning the aim of his text-books. According to him there would be a gradual process of approximation to the Bulgarian language. “Accordingly from our attitude expressed elsewhere it is necessary for us to climb up little by little, as small children learn to walk, not all at once”. It is quite clear that this opinion is contrary to what Sapkarev had previously announced as his point of view on the creation of a common language. We pointed to the inconsistency in Sapkarev at the very beginning of this chapter. Here he says that the language of his new book The Holy Annunciation differs from the language of the books which appeared a year earlier, 1868, namely in the step it makes nearer to the “common” language. “Also the orthography is almost the common one. I did this following the thought expressed earlier about bring-ing the Macedonian dialect to a more common one based on a common orthography.” Understood in this way the task of the Macedonian text-books must have been acceptable and even a commendable method for the operation in Macedonia of some people, those, – as it appears, round the newspaper Makedonija edited by P. R. Slavejkov. The policy of teaspoon by teaspoon could have attracted either side. Greek influence was sure to be eliminated sooner or later and the more effectively if the Macedonian people were given books in a language nearer to their own, at the same time this would repel the advances of the Bulgarian language. On the other hand by this method the dissemination of the Bulgarian language would be achieved with less difficulty.

For what was in fact thought at the time by the Bulgarians of text-books especially adapted for Macedonians as a counter attraction to Serbian we have some evidence. In an article “Some Features of Nikola Pervanov’s Life” (Citaliste 1875, Bk. 6) we read that he “Much earlier wrote a Bulgarian beginner for the Macedonians. His main object in publishing that book was to preserve our Macedonian brothers from the way in which Serbians pronounce Bulgarian words, i. e. not to stress the first syllable in each word.”

The Macedonian text-books could also have filled a similar temporary role if only the people who compiled them would stay wholeheartedly in the same beliefs. In any case we have a few suggestions in the newspaper “Makedonija” which tell us about the reception of those text-books and about the reliance placed on their certain usefulness. In the number for the 24th February 1868 thanks are sent from Thessalonika for the text-books received to “Mr. D. Dobrovic for sixty “Sacred Histories,” in the Macedonian dialect, to P. R. Slavejkov for fifty, and to Iv. St. Jovcev for 10 copies”. These “Sacred Histories” could only have been by D. Makedonski who is also mentioned as one of the dispatchers.

On the appearance of Sapkarev’s  text-books the newspaper “Makedonija” issued a short but commendatory notice in the number of July 13th 1868. “The choice and arrangement« are praised (except that of the Beginner) as perhaps the “most successful of such books which we have published so far.” They could be recommended for use not only in Macedonian but in other schools, if the orthography were not an obstacle (rather than the language). In conclusion it is said that they will be treated of in subsequent numbers “when we are going to explain the justifiable reasons of the compiler for his choice of method”. Though we do not find another review in later numbers these last words can act as evidence of the attitude which the group round that newspaper took to Macedonian text-books and their aim in the sense we spoke of above. It is clear that others took a different attitude. The notice is characterized by an exaggerated elevation of Sapkarev, when we consider that his text-books are all modeled on those of Danov and also there is the assertion that they are not recommended for the orthography or the language so much, but it must have been for the latter. Since Bulgarian orthography had not, till then, been regularized.

Since we are talking about the intention to make use of Macedonian text-books in order to spread the Bul-garian language on the spot with greater ease, it is worth mentioning that later Serbian propaganda made a similar attempt only now directed to the undermining of the position of Bulgarian in Macedonia. So, on the initiative of Stojan Novakovic a “Macedonian Reader” was published in 1889 in Constantinople  at the Bejkel printing press in 7,000 copies.  Novakovic himself explained the intention of the reader: “It is necessary to join with the Macedonian and to unite with it a Serbian beginner so as to have two thirds Macedonian and one third Serbian, the latter in the second half… Serbian orthography, which the Serbian language has  successfully developed from the old Russo-slavonic mixture, could demonstrate their native dialect to Macedonians and endear it to them, separating them from the difficult, muddled, antiquated orthography used by the Bulgarians and, as a simpler, more harmonious thing would shake the most basic elements of Bulgarian propaganda  among that people -the Bulgarian orthography which they have considerably spread of late. Such a beginner, having laid the basis for a more constructive Serbian literacy in Macedonia would endear Serbians and Serbian books to the people there as nearer to them and more capable of supplying their needs” (Prilozi XIX, 1-2, p. 157).

But only a few years later Novakovic takes a completely opposite position. He could not fail to see that the weapon he had recommended was double-edged. Giving text-books in Macedonian was likely to arouse the people to demand the use of Macedonian only in teaching. Towards the end of the nineteenth century when the autonomous movement was being strongly developed in Macedonia this was something which frightened the jingoist propagandists. But even thirty years earlier when our text-books were spreading it became clear that they might have a completely different effect and that a completely different result might come from their appearance than the group centered round “Makedonija” wished to contemplate. Only two or three years after its commentary on Sapkarev appeared, “Makedonija” was obliged to note certain tendencies dangerous for the Bulgarian cause which were connected with Macedonian text-books.

According to some articles and reports which were published in “Makedonija” pages we can get a wider view of the opinions relative to the Macedonians’ and the Bulgarians’ views on the literary language. As Sapkarev himself comes into the paper on this very question we shall return to him at the end of this section.

In the issue for 24th Feb.. 1868 we meet with a report signed “From a Macedonian.” The writer reacts against what had been published earlier in “Makedonija” on the establishment of an official newspaper in Thessalonika advising the editors not to write in it in Macedonian which would “make a possibility of division in our literature, which would be fatal for our people, especially when there are, in that dialect, only wornout rags of pronunciation, spoiled by Greek influences”.

The reviewer answers to this: 1. that Macedonian “is by no means so spoilt as is the Upper Bulgarian -Thraco-Mysian dialect,” that on the contrary enough of the “treasures of Cyrilo-Methodian dialect have been preserved in it” and 2. that without writing in it there can be no arriving at a common language: “we are convinced that that dialect will never approximate itself to the initial one, consequently neither will the initial one be met half way, by the Macedonian, so there will no making of a common Bulgarian Grammar,” or as the writer expresses himself with the aid of a proverb “our work won’t show itself in calf or beast”.

Here again Parteni’s attitude is expressed. This is summed up by the reviewer in the words “The Macedonians should go through the spoilt and superfluous replacing it by the original and more melodious and the more formal by the primary, but they should also do this to the original and then we might make a common written Bulgarian. This is our position.”

To this the editors give a brief reply, “both have either buried or lost a great deal of the old dialect, those minute childish quarrels are not at stake; we are concerned with what is more useful and wiser for today.” It is -quite clear what was wiser and more useful from the Bulgarian  viewpoint – that the Bulgarian language should be accepted by the Macedonians. In their endeavor towards this end the argument that the Macedonian dialect was “spoilt,” even “ridiculous” was not neglected, though the editors put it differently here. The pressure exerted by the Macedonians  themselves was the fact which made tactful action necessary in order to avoid sharpening the question before it was absolutely necessary. Therefore the editor of “Makedonija” declares that he is not against writing in Macedonian in order to reveal the wealth of its words, none of which should be dropped for the time being (other than the foreign words) “and only the forms which are not related to the old dialect should be avoided. Such is our opinion.”

The editorial attitude  can be boiled down to the following: The demands of the Macedonians should be canalized for the time being in order to content them with the use of separate words and phrases of their own language; the basis, however, the  grammatical forms should be taken from the Bulgarian language and the rest will follow in the natural course of things. The old dialect which is here being mentioned is in practice the same as the East-Bulgarian dialect.

The editors adopt the same attitude a little later in the issue of 13th July, 1868, in a review of the article “Evidence on the Macedonian Areas” by G. Dinkov. There all who are concerned with popular education in the country (i. e. Macedonia) are requested “not to leave the Macedonian dialect, but the new-tangled orthographies; the orthography  of our old manuscripts and the grammatical forms of that language should be adopted, and as for words, they ought to be local, a question of little present importance. Our coming together to form the literary Bulgarian language is more interesting and more important for us today than the study of Sanskrit or other languages. As in the case of every other langua-ge so in ours, that which is most useful will be right and correct.”

When the subject is presented in this light, the demand of the Macedonians for a literary language, made in way of compromise, was reduced to nothing. Even Macedonian words, the editorial underlined, were to do no harm at that moment (what would happen later was not difficult to guess: “what is most useful will be right and correct.”

But if the editors of “Makedonija” were being tactful and aiming at minimal retreats, some of their collaborators expressed themselves much more sharply and openly. In the number of 1st February 1868 there is an article entitled “An Opinion of Bulgarian Orthography” by Zahari Knjazeski. He attacks all who write “everybody according to the local dialect either Klicovski or Soppish, half Serbian or Macedonian, when in Mysia and Thrace they are perfectly not understandable.”

Knjazeski calls upon the editor to clarify those “loan letters invented by the Klinks (mock-name for Macedonians):”  “It is true that the Klinks and other supporters of the devised orthography can revolt against us but be sure that you are capable of answering them and convincing them of their misconceptions by showing them the truth.”

Since, here, we are, so to say, facing the sensitive attitude of Bulgarian men of letters to the Macedonian language let us put in P. Ivanov’s remarks on the sub-ject which appeared in his article “Thoughts about Language” published in “Makedonija” two years later (20 September 1871) “The Macedonian and Soppish dialects are such that they cause laughter among two groups of Bulgarians the one from Macedonia and the other from the range of Balkan Mountains.”

In an article which we are now going to consider, Sapkarev speaks of the contemptuous attitude to Macedonian. This article was published in “Makedonija” on the 15th of June and the 3rd of July 1870. Coming after the text-book forewords of 1868, it once again sums up Sapkarev’s views on the literary language. In general it follows the line taken by the first foreword i.e. it represents the compromise approach to a solution. Thus it means that we cannot consider sincere Sapkarev’s assertion in the second foreword  that he was  following the “already drawn thought” that his text-book should serve as a bridge to advance Bulgarian into Macedonia. This was probably only a maneuver to make his book more acceptable to those in Constantinople who could be influenced to write a new review of it. In practice Sapkarev drew a line, to which he makes concessions to the Bulgarian language (as we are convinced by his last book of 1874). He did not desert the positions claimed by Parteni Zografski before him.

Speaking about what the common language ought to be in this article, according to his habit he again expresses himself by means  of an allegory. The ancient language of Cyril and Methodius he compares to a once beautiful building which has been subsequently destroyed and scattered. The pieces of the building should now be collected from everywhere in order to build the new structure i. e. the new written language. That means that the “common” literary language should not be limited to  only one dialect whichever it may be whether from Thrace (Mysia) or Macedonia but should take into consideration all dialects and sub-dialects …” Not as is now done giving the preference to only one dialect to support the choice of which the development of other contemporary European languages is cited. Sapkarev does not accept that what was of importance to Europe was necessary of importance also in our country, therefore as against the “Macedonian dialect” he mentions ironically “the other quasi common dialects”.

Sapkarev means that it is already time to solve the Macedo-Bulgarian linguistic problem (but, of course in terms of his views on the “common language”). He therefore asks whether anything has been done in that direction by the Literary Society of Braila, as the body which has collected the most prominent Bulgarian scientists and literary men of the time, or is it inactive? In the deprecation of his own person which at the same time dares to address such a competent body Sapkarev makes apparent his hidden discontent that the  society contained only Mysians and Thracians and “there is hardly anyone born in our parts to represent the character of our dialects and sub-dialects”. Because  of  this Sapkarev, obviously, could not help feeling offence at this bad sign of inequality. Things being as they were, it remained solely his proposition to send some people throughout Macedonia, or to find someone from it, if such there were, to work on the language.

Without the vacillating language of the forewords but with much greater decision, Sapkarev here stresses that sometime ago Cyril and Methodius “translated the Holy Scriptures neither into the Mysian or the Thracian Bulgarian dialects but into our contemptible Macedonian-Bulgarian dialect which was also their own, in which they had been born and to which they grew up…”

Later we shall see that it was this very fact which was emphasized by the Macedonists.

In answer to Sapkarev’s article comes a letter by M. Drinov (15th July, 1870, from  Ischia near Naples), published in “Makedonija” on 31 July, 1870. Concerning Sapkarev’s views on the language Drinov declares the following on behalf of the members of the Braila Literary Society: “They, the actual members, cannot accept his opinion about the creation of an artificial new language and orthography as he proposes it to them… Such an artificial fusion of a written language is something impossible, unattainable and it is not known ever to have happened.” Finally, he says that it is untrue that the “Macedonian dialect’ had ever been despised.

By these words from Drinov who was shortly to lay the foundations of Bulgarian orthography, the so-called Drinov’s orthography, a negative was given to the endeavors among the Macedonians to build a “common” language. It received from him the stigma of artificial. There was no maneuvering towards the Macedonians here as there was in the notes of the “Makedonija” editorial. On the contrary the natural route to a Bulgarian literary language is opened up. This meant that Sapkarev had either to accept that language or to choose a new direction; the via media was an illusion.

In “Makedonija”, 8th September, 1870, there finally appears a reserved answer by Sapkarev to Drinov (It is dated from Ohrid, 26th August, 1870). “If my opinion about the establishment of our language is not acceptable, the Society will, undoubtedly, expound its own and, if approved by our learned men, that will be accepted. And concerning what I said about the Macedonian dialect being despised, let the honorable Mr. Drinov not be angry, for I do not and did not say that without convincing evidence: I have had the evil hap to hear and to read such falsehoods from people otherwise greatly respected and considered in our literary world.”

The feeling of inferiority resulting from all that must have tormented our teacher placed here face to face with an actual member of the Braila Literary Society. How persistently he maintained his belief is clearly seen from the tact that four years later he published his beginner in Thessalonika. This was “The Mother Tongue” 1874.


From all that we have been able to find out about Sapkarev so far we see in him, despite some deviations, a true disciple of Parteni Zografski, a representative of the attitude towards the literary language in our country the social roots of which we made an attempt to uncover earlier.

But then, towards the end of 1870 there appeared in certain Bulgarian publications in Constantinople facts about Sapkarev which present his work in a completely different light. Now we actually come to the most inte-resting material in connection with the appearance and distribution of Macedonian text-books.

Namely the newspaper “Pravo” on 30 November 1870 published an article entitled “One Truth” and signed “A True Macedonian.” This article is a very sharp attack on Sapkarev as the destroyer of Bulgarianism in Macedonia.

The attacker turns to Sapkarev’s text-books and their language. First of all “That dialect is purely of Ohrid and is not used in other Macedonian towns.” And concerning the speech of Ohrid he expresses himself most derogatory saying that it smells of Albanianism and Hellenism. Later he passes on to Sapkarev himself. “He as a poor teacher in Kukus, leaves his service when he feels like it, leaves the poor children to wander about the streets at their own free will, and goes from town to town to preach a crusade against books written in Slavonic Bulgarian and introduced as text-books for schools and which are in the hand of every developed Bulgarian, describing them in dark and detestable words”. The writer tells how “during last September (i.e. the very month in which Sapkarev’s answer to Drinov appeared), while he was yet a teacher in Resen, he had quarreled on the very topic with Sapkarev who had come there to sell his Acts and Gospels. Afterwards Sapkarev returned to Resen and managed to disseminate his text-books at the school there: “It is pitiable the prominent Bulgarians in Resen” says the writer, “believed K.A.S’s words, who has since returned to the town and ordered the teacher to return the books belonging to Mr. Danov the bookseller to Veles and to use Sapkarev’s.” Addressing the people of Resen he asks them not to follow suit. “Did I not, at your request, use Sapkarev’s Beginner and his Geography in your school; but it was without success.”

The correspondent asserts the most interesting things about Sapkarev in passing to his conduct in Ohrid. At the same time he reveals something more of the Macedonian peoples disposition at the time than the evidence so far has revealed. We quote this part of his piece: “I am unaware how far Mr. K.A.S. has succeeded in converting the Bulgarians from their brothers in Ohrid, his native town, but I have been informed that he has been more active there, having also his brother as a collaborator. His first words of hate for everything Bulgarian have been “We have hardly liberated ourselves from the Greeks and are we now to become Sops?” From all we have said above it is clear over what sort of precipice the said gentleman wants to push our people, for some have even had the impudence to say “we are Macedonians – not Bulgarians.

We are not going to comment on all this until we have acquainted ourselves with the other material connected with the charges against Sapkarev – and his own defense and the defense of him made by others.

The above report is followed by a note from the editor: “We have heard earlier from travelers that some of the teachers in Macedonia, and especially Mr. Sapkarev, have undertaken to convince our Macedonian brothers that Bulgarian and the Bulgarian language are one thing and that Macedonian and the Macedonian language are another, but we did not believe it, for one thing because we thought that it might be a crafty Greek method of breaking the unity of our people into pieces at this deli-cate time when we are creating our national hierarchy and for another because we know Mr. Sapkarev personally and his opinions on literary questions, but this report accompanied by a letter from a friend of the correspondent reaffirms all we have become accustomed to hearing and we cannot help devoting room to it in this paper and asking Mr. S-v to explain the behavior attributed to him.”

In the same number of the newspaper “Pravo” is added a “Friendly Letter.” This is the letter mentioned above which was written by a teacher from Resen who had been made by the citizens to introduce Sapkarev’s text-books into their school. Addressed to H. G. Danov’s bookshop in Veles, the letter runs as follows: “My kind friend, You in Veles will be surprised to see our letter. A person called Mr. Sapkarev, whom you may know personally, came to the school to visit me on the same day that the books you sent me arrived via Mr. Lazar P.H. Stojanov. When he saw them he said that they should not be sold in Macedonian schools because they were in the Bulgarian dialect, but he added we ought to take his own books because they were in Macedonian. But his books are such that a small child would laugh at them. After we had shown our disapproval for some time he left. He then went to our superiors in the town and told them to “stop those books from being taught at the school.” They, being uneducated, told me to return those books and in their place brought me his books. This is for your information.”

From all the evidence which we have gathered from various parts we have been able to draw a completely different picture of Sapkarev from that which we got used to from judging by his announcements in the text-books and the newspapers. It has the appearance of a man who works to find a solution in compromise no longer but that of a Macedonist who devotes his efforts to the independent Macedonian national cause. Of course, all this makes his real attitude problematic for us. What is now the truth about him: the first, the second or some third thing?

But let us first leave Sapkarev to answer these attacks by himself. His answer is written in Kukus on 13th December 1869. It is very short and it appeared in the newspaper “Pravo” on 28th December 1870. Sapkarev says that he would not even have bothered to answer if the editors were not demanding his explanation of “the extraordinary report from Veles and the travelers’ tales”. He refutes the charge as completely untrue, calling on people who know them, to turn to the forewords of his text-books – “then they will easily see how strong is my inclination towards our dear Bulgarian people in evil or in good days…” About the letter he says” there is no doubt that it also is fabricated.”

Two further defenses are added to Sapkarev’s, the first from Ohrid (G. S. Prlicev) and the second from Prilep. Prlicev’s letter starts with these words “A person from Veles, a good teacher but unfortunately somebody’s slave vomits spleen against K. A. Sapkarev of Ohrid in the for-tieth number of “Pravo,” that is against a man who has written several books comprehensible to the uneducated Macedonians.” (“Pravo,” 8th February, 1871). Whose slave the person from Veles was can clearly be seen from the answer which Prlicev gives to the assertion that “S-v had persuaded the people of Veles to return Danov’s text-books and to use Sapkarev’s. “Well! you find that painful. But you should have said only that, the rest is black-hearted slander.”

What made Prlicev defend Sapkarev is interesting for he did not seem to think well of him otherwise. We learn the reason from a sharp attack on Sapkarev by some people from Ohrid who call him a her in connection with some intrigues about taking the teaching appointments. They, among other things, accuse him directly of this “When B-v attacked you and your writings, Prlicev defended you and when we asked him why do you do so, defending a man who has embittered you a hundred times? He answered “No one can embitter me and I am not protecting S. but our language which is said by B-v to smell of Hellenism and Albanianism”
(“Pravo” n. 18,1871).

The report from Prilep with ten signatures to it is dated 30th December1 1870, and was printed in “Pravo” on 5th April, 1871. We have cited it earlier. In it Sapkarev’s attacker is condemned in sharp terms. They mention that P R. Slavejkov has expressed himself very complimentarily in “Makedonija” on the appearance of Sapkarev’s text-books. The same text-books had also been welcomed in Prilep “We in Prilep understand those text-books as if they were written in our own dialect and were frightened by that understanding of this non-Macedonian dialect, fearing that we might have become albanianised.”

The report ends in the style of a declaration where the Macedonists are attacked and the devotion of the Macedonians towards the “Bulgarian idea” is expressed together with the claim that Sapkarev is such a Macedonian.

This is all the material which we can produce at the moment in connection with the attack on Sapkarev as a fanatical Macedonist. What are we to conclude from all these conflicting assertions? If we are to believe Sapkarev himself and his defenders then we are obliged to say, agreeing with them, that the charges in “Pravo” are pure invention. We have to accept the fact that Sapkarev is not such as the report represents him, but the man we know from the published announcements. But why should his attackers invent? For the answer to this question we can, with Prlicev, look to the competitive malice roused by Sapkarev’s success in Resen with his text-books (while the other man had been an exponent of H.G. Danov) The whole affair could be interpreted as the work of H.G. Danov as part of his struggle against a dangerous competitor. But haven’t we here a tendentious equalization of Sapkarev’s views with the much more radical opinions of the Macedonists, in order to deprive him of the support of adherents of the Bulgarian cause, who in fact took the position advocated by Sapkarev in print?

In any case we can accept that there is a personal element in the attack on Sapkarev, but certain things don’t permit us to consider the whole as invention. Above all there is the fact that Danov’s text-books were returned from Resen under the direct insistence of Sapkarev. It is easy to see that he had done this on the basis of asking what language was to be used for teaching in Macedonian schools. The language was the sole advantage his own books had. What he actually said to the Resen school authorities neither defenders nor attackers could actually know.

Excluding this, it is important that Sapkarev is pointed out as a Macedonist from more than one side. Putting aside the report from Veles and the Resen teacher’s letter to Danov, we recall that the editors of “Pravo” had heard similar allegations earlier from some travelers; also in an article in “Makedonija,” which we shall consider later, and which appeared after Sapkarev’s answer that everything which had been said about him was invention, Ohrid is mentioned as the native place of some of the fanatical Macedonists.  Very  important  information is  this that not only Sapkarev but some others of the teachers in Macedonia have been saying that Bulgarian and the Bulgarian language are one thing and Macedonian and the Macedonian language are another.
Therefore we are inclined to think that the attacks on Sapkarev are based on the truth at bottom. We believe that Sapkarev spoke differently to the people in Constantinople where he published his text-books from the way in which he spoke to those in Macedonia, as time and place suited when he sold them.

He himself spoke in his foreword of 1869 about what was said among the people “Are we going to turn Sops?” We may presuppose a certain evolution in Sapkarev from the time when he published his first text-books in 1868 to 1871 when the discussion about his activities began. In that period he had sufficient time to realize that his chance of fostering his views of a “common” language were slight. We can feel his bitterness in the article where he mentions that there is no one from Macedonia in the Literary Society and that the Macedonian dialect is despised. With all this and the competitive struggle with the Bulgarian booksellers in Macedonia, which drew in acerbity each day, it is no wonder that he came nearer to those who demanded a Macedonia for the Macedonians. Let us remind ourselves that at the same time the fear of the despotically constituted church, on behalf of which a joint struggle with the Bulgarians had been waged, was growing in Macedonia.

But, judging from everything, it seems Sapkarev did not have the courage to defend publicly the views of which he was accused. On the contrary, he gives a complete short answer, where he calls upon the evidence from the forewords to his text-books. He played a double role feeling that the forces of the internal movement were not yet strong enough for him to determine for them without reserve. Sapkarev’s commercial calculations prevented him from becoming the ideologist of a movement which had its future far off. He therefore ran with the Macedonian hares and hunted with the Bulgarian hounds. It is because of this that he comes before our eyes with all the inconsistencies and contradictions in his work. But was he alone in that? At the time of the initial phases of our internal liberation movement and later until the movement had become much stronger the most meritorious cultural workers had a wavering lifeline.

It is particularly interesting  as well as important that it was this same Sapkarev who in 1876 was one of the most active agitators for the separation of the Macedonian eparchies from the Exarchate, urging the creation of an independent united Archiepiscopate at Ohrid. Again the intention behind his stay in Belgrade in 1878 at a time when Bulgaria was already liberated remains unexplained. Afterwards, living in Bulgaria without any appointment he canvasses the offices and ministries for ten years, trying in vain to get his great collection of Macedonian folklore printed. Really a curious fact when the Bulgarian government had every interest in publishing those poems as Bulgarian. Perhaps Sapkarev’s old crimes were responsible for that.

The discussion that started about Sapkarev’s activities came at an unpleasant time just before the opening of the peoples assembly which was to pass the constitu-tion of the Exarchate. It is evident that any conflict between the Bulgarians and the Macedonians could only have played into the hands of the Patriarch of Constantinople who was trying at that moment to prevent the Exarchate from controlling the Macedonian eparchies. It was because of this that P. R. Slavejkov censured “Pravo” for publishing the report on Sapkarev as “pure thoughtlessness.” As soon as the affair became public an attempt was made to include it on the agenda as soon as possible. From two or three reports written at the time by Macedonians we see that the tendency was to weaken the impression of the Macedonists as widely active and to show them as few “private persons” whom “I do not know, what private and capricious willfulness have made think and dream such things” or to represent them as pro-Greek: “It is true,” says a report in “Pravo” (1st  March, 1871) “that there are such people in Macedonia who think that and say that, but they are either Greeks, Greek-Vlahs or Bulgars who have leanings towards the Greeks and speak so with very definite aims.”

All the same the greatest “thoughtlessness” in the whole discussion was shown by Slavejkov himself who, induced by the attack on Sapkarev, wrote a fairly long article entitled “The Macedonian Question.” This was published in “Makedonija” on 18th January, 1871. It was subsequently necessary to haze the impression of this very article. The Editorial of “Pravo” criticized him for writing it and said that otherwise all discussion of Sapkarev’s answer would have ended (“Pravo” No.12,1871). However Slavejkov published his own answer after Sapkarev’s which shows that he did not consider him as able to finish off the discussion properly.

Slavejkov’s article is of particular importance to us because it shows something of the ideas of the Macedonists’ movement, but it also throws a modicum of light on the appearance of Macedonian text-books. We shall for these reasons cite the greater part of it.


“At last the Macedonian question has been raised publicly and has appeared in print. We say “at last” because it is no new thing. We have been hearing about it for ten years through various people in Macedonia. First of all we accepted the words of those young patriots. .. on our not so serious controversies. And so we thought until a year or two ago when fresh conversation with some Macedonians has shown us, that this is not mere empty air but a thought which many think of realizing. We were sad and found it difficult to listen to such statements but we decided to abstain from talking about it all in the newspapers because the matter appeared to be a delicate one because of our situation at the time. Today that question has shown itself in the marketplace, thanks to the “thoughtlessness” of one of our brothers and now we are forced to give it an answer, whether we will or no.

We would never have spoken about the subject had it solely concerned the text-books because we see no harm in some people’s wish to have their children taught in their father’s dialect, on the contrary we see it as a sign of improvement. Primary teaching can only  be productive when it is done in a language which the children understand. Here the guilt lies in choosing a way which will accentuate not the differences but the unity of dialects. To teach the Macedonian children in the dialect of the Upper Bulgarians is as bad as to split the language at the schools into all sorts of dialects leaving everyone to follow his own without the smallest attention to the others. In that case each dialect ought to have its own literature which will not be made in the literature of the whole people. There is a difference between the various dialects of all the European nations which is much greater than ours but not one of those nations has thought of tearing their learned language into pieces with a number of dialects and literatures. They have chosen a middle way and have accepted only one literary language which is now more advanced. We ought to have done the same. From all our dialects we should have chosen a mean which would be understood in all parts and we should have taught our children in that. That would have been right, reasonable and effective because it would have preserved the unity of our people.

This last consideration alone should he sufficient to safeguard us from crumbling our poor literature and to rouse us against those who wish for such divisions. But when other motives are aiming at such a disintegration aims to split our still embryonic nation then all are obliged to opose such an evil. It is obvious that some of our Macedonian brothers have such aims which they hide under the cover of discussion of the language and its dia-lects; that is why we take the freedom of saying something about the Macedonian question.

We have heard many a time from the Macedonists that they are not Bulgarians but Macedonians – heirs of the ancient Macedonians and we have always sought some evidence of it but never found any. The Macedonists never showed us the basis for such an opinion, but still they persist in claiming Macedonian origin though they cannot trace it as far back as they need to.

(He says that there is no historically reliable evidence and continues).

But anyway the descent of the Macedonists from the old Macedonians is very dubious. Their beliefs today cannot be supported by anything other than the area in which they live and that is the most unreliable of all proofs. When the Macedonians of old lived in these parts why should not the Macedonians of today be of the same blood? They are real Macedon i ans, the Macedonists conclude and calm themselves with their great discovery….

We have also heard some other reasons. Some Macedonists separate themselves from the Bulgarians for other reasons namely: they are pure Slavs while the Bulgarians are Tatars and I do not know what else.

(Yet the Tatar Bulgars when they came to the Balkans conquered Macedonia as well and mixed their blood with those there as well as here).

In order to strengthen their fanciful invention the Macedonists point to the difference between the Macedonian and the Upper Bulgarian dialects considering that the first is nearer to the Slavonic language and the second mixed with Tatarisms etc. We did not want to believe in the seriousness of such demonstrations in that they sound unbelievable to the reader. But we were forced to give them credence when we saw with what persistence they were patronized by the Macedonists. Our suggestion that the difference in the dialects did not prove anything that it was a result of historical circumstances and not of a different origin was useless. The Macedonists insisted on their own opinion.

Those opinions are neither mature nor informed. One says one thing and another such as he thinks best. It is advisable to see their teachings ordered in a general form in order to judge accurately their foundations and outcome. Until we do that we shall allow ourselves here to state a few of the results which separation would bring on our people and the Macedonists.

(In Macedonia it will result in internal struggles, parties, weakening and therefore the interventions outside will be strengthened. All nations are uniting now, “but we want to separate”).

We are convinced that the Macedonists wishes must also have other causes and it is here that the small inequality in numbers and progress between the Upper and the Macedonian Bulgarians comes in. The Macedonists probably think that the Upper Bulgarians will always lead in matters of national importance and that they will be left in second place. This is what is meant by the Macedonists’ words “Have we freed ourselves from the Greeks only to fall under others?” One simple fact – that the Upper Bulgarians have up till now written in their own dialect, without any attention to the Macedonian on – is taken by them as a sign of conceit on the part of the Upper Bulgarians and as a part of their inclination to command. But this has a far other meaning. We write in out dialect because we know it and not from disregard of Macedonian. When the study of the language is improved, we shall write in the Macedonian dialect gratefully if that is seen as good and advantageous or at least we shall take from it whatever is indispensable as a supplement.
As far as the fear of the numbers of the Upper Bulgarians and their earlier enlightenment that is not a nice subject to mention just as it is not nice to compare a similar situation between the children of the one father. Because some brothers have become conscious an hour earlier it does not mean that they ought to stand higher than the others.

Our conclusion is that there is no reason for partition and we ought not to separate if we love our nation and its good”.

The inferences which could be made from this article, which is so important and interesting, we shall expound under the following headings, using for our purpose some things from an article which appeared in “Pravo” on 1st March, 1871, as an answer to Slavejkov.

1) As far as Sapkarev is concerned we can infer that Slavejkov, though he does not mention him personally, considers the attacks on him as a Macedonist true. Among other things he says that Ohrid was “ the county of some of the fanatical Macedonists.” But his attitude to Sapkarev is shown most clearly in what he says about Macedonian text-books. As Slavejkov’s article appeared fully twenty days after the publication of Sapkarev’s answer it means that for him Sapkarev’s declarations were unconvincing. It is true that Sapkarev is not the only one to whom the above article could refer, because of its being addressed to the Macedonists as a whole, but it is more than obvious that what he says in it about Macedonian text-books primarily concerns Sapkarev. Slavejkov was a well nformed man on Macedonian affairs and as editor of a newspaper and a prominent social worker he had regular direct and indirect contacts with Macedonians. So by disregarding Sapkarev’s answer and referring to the hidden purposes which some “hide under the cover of the language and its dialects” he demonstrates his own ideas on Sapkarev’s sincerity. Of course, he could not have thought this of him without reason.

We are already acquainted with Slavejkov’s views on the attitude adopted by Sapkarev to the “common” language question. From two or three editorial notes in “Makedonija”, which we have cited in their place, we can see that Slavejkov was all in favor of giving the Macedonians the right to use some of their words (“it does not matter for the present”). prospectively he had in view that that which was most widely spread must prove victorious. Seeing in Macedonian text-books a sign of “becoming conscious” from the beginning, he had in mind the part which they could play in the diversion of Greek influence from Macedonia. But now affairs had taken a completely new turn. People in Macedonia were beginning to ask themselves “Why is the Macedonian language not used in schools as a medium of instruction, when it is suitable, even better, for Macedonian children?” This situation made Slavejkov act cautiously in relation to the language question, while promising to the Macedonians what he did not and could not agree with. He actually falls into contradiction, justifying on the one hand the use of Macedonian textbooks and on the other pointing out the damage which results from their use. “To teach the Macedonian children in the dialect of the Upper Bulgarians is as bad as to split the language at the schools into all sorts of dialects leaving everyone to follow his own without the smallest attention to the others.” In conclusion he muddles up the Macedonians by telling them (we can judge for ourselves how sincerely) that “When the study of the language is improved, we shall write in the Macedonian dialect gratefully if that is seen as good or advantageous or at least we shall take from it whatever is indispensable as a supplement”.

Slavejkov wrote like this when he spoke of the Language, knowing that here he touched not only the Macedonists but also those people in Macedonia who were pro-Bulgarian and who in the bargaining about the language saw the shadow of the more significant bargaining about the relative positions of Bulgarian and Macedonian merchants.

It is exactly here that Slavejkov is hit by one of the articles which we mentioned above. Dwelling on what he had said about Macedonian text-books, the unknown author of the article says: “About those books which we have seen many a time and have been in the position to pass judgement on, we would tell you that, if you are true patriots and heartily wish for the good of our Bulgarian nation, you ought not to be frightened of them but to be glad that an awakening and an aspiration towards progress have begun in the western part of our country. Don’t doubt the editor’s good intentions but be sure that they will result in good fruit not only in the as yet undeveloped Bulgarian tongue, but in the easier introduction of our mother tongue in schools, being, as you yourself have said, a great benefit to primary education. Do not make the writer disheartened and remorseful, but make him joyful and satisfied, so that he will not desert an undertaking so useful and so praiseworthy an action for the people, which he has executed according to his strength. We have noticed as many good aims in those books as you have noticed bad ones. We are grateful for the labors of such compatriots of ours, irrespective of their number, and pity our envious brothers!

We are amazed to see that your worshipful self contradicts himself not only in words but also in deeds, you say, for instance that you do not use some of the Maced-Bulgarian because you don’t know the dialect and, when you learn it, you will write it as well, or take from it what is necessary; you say that our written language should not be crumbled into many dialects but that a common language understandable in all parts should be constructed. Both ideas are very good and the plan very desirable and we entirely agree with you, but we ask you to answer us as to how you can learn a dialect in order to write it later and how is a common Bulgarian language to be constructed so that it is comprehensible in all parts, when you do not care to see one of its small beginners published in the Macedonian dialect? Consequently where are you going to take its words from, and how is the language to be made comprehensible and regular, when you do not wish to draw on either the words or the characteristics of one of its important dialects? We have no wish to sadden you with similar touches as those with which you saddened us; if we thought to do that, we also probably could have found several cases from behind which to chide you in hiding, but we have never done it. We noticed examples of division and self-interest among our Upper brothers long ago but we have never taken the liberty to say or even to think anything of it, let alone write about it in the newspapers.

The ideas about the differences between the European dialects, which you attribute to us, we shall say nothing of here. We only repeat that in order to create a “common Bulgarian language, understandable to all” you must, we maintain, take into consideration all the Bulgarian dialects and that is to be done by publishing all sorts of books in every dialect and by collecting songs from ah parts. Let grammars be made in as many Bulgarian dialects as possible, so as to take all into consideration later, when choosing as a basis one dialect which will be more central and the most convenient, then take supplementary material from the other dialects using what has not been found in the basic one hut only in them. In this way you will eventually make a common grammar. Did not the aforementioned European nations do just this when they were forming their grammars? Did they write only one dialect? Ask how many different grammars there are in Very country!”

We brought this article forward chiefly to demonstrate the contradictions in Slavejkov’s declarations about language and to show what the Macedonians of the time felt about them and secondly because it is a well-formed synthesis of the views of those who were in favor of the formation of a common Macedo-Bulgarian language. The indication it gives of the opinions of some of the “Upper Bulgarians” is also interesting, because it shows that their interests and those of the Macedonian merchants did not agree. Though this last is only mentioned here, we may suppose that there were many intrigues particularly for that reason.

2) From Slavejkov’s article we learn how much effort was made to avoid getting the “delicate” Macedonian question into the papers. Its happening all the same as a sure sign that considerable momentum had begun to gather. The article’s chief importance is that it reveals the views of the Macedonists. Views which, judging from Slavejkov’s words, had been formed at least as early as the beginning of the sixties i.e. during the period when our citizens had started into activity on the political and social scene in the struggle against the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This must mean that the movement for Macedonian Independence had its roots deep in the soil of the Macedonian renaissance throughout the century.

3) The Macedonists were trying to construct their own interpretation of the history of the Macedonian people. Slavejkov brings out two of their assertions a) the Macedonian people is descended from the Macedonians of Alexander the Great’s time b) the Macedonians, contrary to the Bulgarians, are pure Slavs, into whose language the religious works of Cyril and Methodius had been translated.

These two assertions do not exclude but supplement each other, for they considered Alexander the Great and his Macedonians as pure Slavs (as do some of our uneducated people now). That was not an opinion which originated with them, since it was more widely spread and have been handed down by certain old histories. We come across Alexander in the guise of a Slav in the work of the Dubrovnik poet Ivan Gundulic. It appealed to Slavonic self-esteem. The same consideration made the Macedonists take him as their forerunner in whom they might take pride. “This country is Macedonia” it is said in an article from Ohrid published in “Caregradski vestnik,” 3rd March, 1860, ”and if we look at the nature, temperament customs, and character of its inhabitants, their houses, physiognomy too, we shall recognize that from these self-same men Alexander the Macedonian’s phalanx was formed of old.” The fact that the correspondent could hardly have known anything about the bodily appearance and physiognomy of the ancient Macedonians did not hinder him from making this comparison. Let us here also remind ourselves of the teacher from Thessalonika who declared that he was Macedonian, just as Philip, Alexander and Aristotle had been.

To all this is added the fact that Cyril and Methodius, so celebrated among the Slavonic peoples, had been born in Macedonia. The general characteristics of national bourgeois movements – the reviving of the “old glory” and national romanticism couldn’t have been far away from the Macedonists.

The assertion about the origin of Macedonian people appeared to Slavejkov “most suspect matters” and he says that there is no reliable proof of it. It is noteworthy that he does not adopt a categorical position, but raises the doubt as a question for discussion which History had already given him a right to do, but they knew much less of history then. As a curiosity we shall quote an imaginary reconstruction of Dusan the Powerful’s epoch by a Bulgarian story-teller. In his talk on the subject of  “The Slavs in general and the Bulgars in particular,” given at the Bulgarian Reading Library in Constantinople on 12 th September, 1871, N. V. Odzakov asserts that Dusan was “Macedonian not Serbian.” And this is how he came to the throne. “But because those Macedonians and Serbs later as well as earlier in the fourteenth century were moving hither and thither and passing over to Byzantium or Hungary, especially when the Bulgarians were at war with the forrner… the Bulgarians decided to subjugate the Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian dukedoms under one strong tsar – Dusan, whose mother was a Bulgarian. That Dusan had the title of “True Tsar of Macedonians, Serbs and Greeks etc.” (Citaliste II, 1871 p. 52-53.)

Things being as they were, one thing was left for the Macedonists as fundamental – they were trying to support, by arguments from the past historic glories of their country, the right of the Macedonian people to independence, to their own national development under contemporary conditions.

Macedonian and the Bulgarian languages. The Macedonian text-books are closely integrated with this move. We have already had the opportunity to see how K. Sapkarev, one of the most prominent text-book writers, had come close to the Macedonists position, though he had not decided to make the decisive transfer. The question of writing a Macedonian grammar did not mean for the Macedonists uncovering such characteristics of the “Macedonian dialects” as could be used for the construction of a “common language” but the laying a foundation for the new Macedonian literary language. It is clear how important effecting this purpose was for our further national development.

5) From Slavejkov’s declarations we can draw some conclusions as to the extent of the Macedonist’s move-ment. He tells us that their activity was not “mere empty air but a thought which many think of realizing.” Sapkarev also gives us to understand in the second foreword 1869 that their influence found an echo among the people, who were happier to hear their own language in church and school. It is from him that we also learn that people were not serving the cause of Hellenization. By this the assertion made by some that the Macedonists were a handful of people, either Greeks or Greek Vlahs or Hellenised Bulgars, is shown as bare propaganda. On the contrary we are becoming convinced that their movement, though still at its inception and still with its ideological premises undefined, was considerable even in the sixties.

From what milieu could those young patriots, with whom Slavejkov discussed the Macedonian question, have come? He must have met them in Constantinople, because up to the time of his writing the article, he had not been to Macedonia. The people who could have contacted him would be mostly from our commercial class, or, perhaps, a few intellectuals. We are not in a position to say anything more definite on the matter from the material we have at our disposal.

6) Slavejkov also mentions something about the deeper controversies between our and the Bulgarian citizens. We mentioned the clashes of interest between our and the Bulgarian merchants in a general form earlier, also we spoke of the calculations both were obliged to make with reference to their future positions in a free state. This is exactly what Slavejkov mentions when he says that the misunderstanding is brought about by “the small inequality in numbers and progress between the Upper and the Macedonian Bulgarians”: The Macedonists probably think that the Upper Bulgarians will always lead in matters of national importance and that they will be left in second place. This is what is meant by the Macedonists’ words “Have we freed ourselves from the Greeks only to fall under others?”

The Macedonists foresaw the dangers from the attitude of the Bulgarian bourgeoisie as owners of Macedonia after the struggle was over. Slavejkov, known for his democratic disposition as a representative of the lower middle-class, could declare sincerely that the matter here was just like that between the sons of one father, but it was differently conducted by those representatives of the Bulgarian bourgeoisie who first occupied the Exarchate and made of it a reactionary institution and then afterwards placed themselves well in the young Bulgarian state. For them Macedonia with its tobacco, cotton, rice and poppies was an alluring source of profit. Anyway there was something to make the Macedonians think that “small inequality” dangerous. In an article which appeared in “Pravo” 1st March 1871 in answer to Slavejkov some “individual examples of interest” in the “upper brothers” were mentioned.

It is clear that a movement put on an independent basis in Macedonia need not have meant tearing and we-akening in every respect the powers arrayed in the struggle against the Patriarchate of Constantinople or even that against Turkish servitude. On the contrary it could only nave strengthened the unity of the peoples in the sister countries under Turkish rule – Macedonia and Bulgaria. The history of the Macedonian movement has shown that that is what best corresponded to the real interests of the Macedonian people and that in developing great revolutionary energies it always sought support and linked itself with progressive movements in neighboring countries. It is regrettable that at this time the movement’s weakness prevented unity from being realized.

What happens further in the development of the two countries? Bulgaria was liberated in 1878 by Russian intervention. Macedonia was left under Turkish half-feudal serfdom till 1912. Not only did our citizens not advance in the second half of the last century but they even retrogressed, while in Bulgaria, with its new liberty, were being created conditions for the rapid development of the bourgeoisie with its well-defined domineering aspirations towards Macedonia. The amiable tone, the pleasant thoughts etc. – were replaced by cold calculation which had no concern for the amount of Macedonian blood. The time was approaching for such “liberators” of Macedonia as Aleko Konstantinov characterized so well in one of his leaflets, where he makes one of them daydream as follows: “Now is the time, but there, there is no courage there! If only there was someone to liberate Macedonia now, while our party is in power, then I could teach you what it means to get money without labor. Only let me get hold of the Thessalonika Customs House and I wouldn’t need long, only a year or two. Two years left as secretary or price adjudicator at the Customs House and then come to speak to me… Thessalonika is overrun with Jews, there are from fifty to sixty thousand, who does not know them, they are all merchants; there is a chance to milk and to have something left over. They are not stripped as are ours in Sofia… Thessalonika Customs House! As for California let its muddy waters carry it off! How can one not be a patriot, how not sympathize with the Macedonians….

What business had Beaconsfield to split us in pieces? Sanstefan Bulgaria was quite alright, what business had he to split it? Go now and flicker over empty cribs, go and wait for somebody to liberate Macedonia…”

To end this chapter we shall dwell on Venijamin Mačukovski and his grammar. He is seen to come nearest to the aim of doing the work that others also had in mind before him. His grammar was composed and ready for publication but it was not published.

In “Pravo”, 18th September, 1872, Mačukovski gives an “Announcement of a Bulgarian grammar in the Macedonian Dialect.” We quote it entire.

“The learning of Bulgarian grammar is one of the most difficult subjects for the children in Macedonian schools and it is at the same time one of the most inexplicable. It takes considerable time and that doesn’t prevent the children from failing to understand the grammar. This results from the lack of correlation between the grammatical forms instanced so far and the Macedonian dialects. This long ago induced me to pay attention to our dialect and regulate its grammatical forms and rules. I have already prepared the first part of a grammar and the success the pupils have shown in the study of this subject from my notes makes me fully convinced that I have achieved my purpose.

In order to give easy guidance to other pupils throughout Macedonia, and to save mine from copying, I have decided to have this work published, but the only hindrance is the means which prevents me from doing so.

Because of that I turn with a humble request to gentlemen teachers throughout Macedonia that they take the trouble to collect aid on which the editing and publi-shing of my book entirely depends.

Kukus, 16th August, 1872. V. Mačukovski

Considering Bulgarian grammar as the “most difficult” subject in Macedonian schools, because it presented to the pupils forms of the language not their own, Macukovski had in his practical work tried his Macedonian grammar at first and now he wanted to see it introduced into all Macedonian schools. This could have resulted in nothing but the “splitting,” to use P. R. Slavejkov’s expression. Macukovski’s announcement is, maybe, the most forceful evidence for how the people resisted the spread of the Bulgarian language.

But a criticism of the “Announcement” by P. Ivanov followed. This is unusual for its sharp even mordant note such as we have not met so far from Bulgarians on the Macedonian text-books question.

“The man writes a Bulgarian grammar in the Macedonian dialect”, says P. Ivanov (“Pravo,” 30th October, 1872). “What do you want to show us by that Mr. Macukovski? Are four or five grammars insufficient variety but perhaps you wish to become as famous as Naiden the grammarian! Or do you intend something else by it? You give us some cause to suspect. Do you not agree that all Bulgarians should speak one correct clear literary language? With what purpose do you offer us your Bulgarian grammar in the Macedonian dialect which as it is in a Macedonian dialect you should call it Bugarska and not Bъlgarska.”[3]

In addition to this, he asserts that they speak Bulgarian in Macedonia too: “Only the so-called Macedonian dialect has been altogether spoiled by influences from Albanian, Serbian, Cinzar and Greek dialects”.

And at the end: “I again ask Mr. Mačukovski to postpone the publication of his grammar in the Macedonian dialect until Macedonians have not denied that they are Bugars or Bъlgars.[3] If we are one people, we should have one literary language and one grammar.”
This means that Petar Ivanov reckoned that there was no longer any need to be tactful with the Macedonians as there had been at the beginning of 1871, when the Exarchate was being put in order and when Slavejkov had written, but that it was now necessary to say straight away what had to be said. What compromise with the “Macedonian dialect!” Now it was clearly expressed that that dialect was truly spoiled as far as expression went, though Sapkarev earlier had been assured that it was not “despised.” What remained after such as this for the Macedonians who upheld a “common” language? There is at least evidence that they did not retreat rapidly in the publication of Sapkarev’s last text-book in 1874. (It is worth noting that in this beginner the Macedonian language is clearer than in any of Sapkarev’s earlier text books). But all the same the via media was washed away. It was possible to go further only along the road indicated by the Macedonists – towards the construction of an in-dependent Macedonian literary language, towards the writing of a grammar which would have the title “A Macedonian Grammar.”


In the person of G’org’i (G’orgo) Pulevski (1838-1894) we have one more compiler of Macedonian text-books and, what is more important for us, at the same time the only man, as far as we know, who managed to give ex-pression to the Macedonists ideas in print. We rightly recognize in him a member of that movement.

Like Parteni, he also came from the picturesque Mijak region of the country, from Galicnik. A migrant worker, a bricklayer by trade, he moved about Rumania, and in the early seventies, he published in Belgrade his two text-books: 1) Dictionary of Four Languages. 1. Serbian-Albanian. 2. Albanian. 3. Turkish. 4. Greek. Compiled and written by G’org’i M. Pulevski, Mason, of Galic-nik, Debar District, 1872,1st Part, Belgrade 1873, 2) A Dictionary of Three languages. Macedonian, Albani-an and Turkish. Part II. Written by G’org’i M. Pulevski, Mijak of Galicnik, Belgrade 1875.

Afterwards Pulevski took part in the famous battle of Sipka leading a squad of Macedonian volunteers gathered together by him in the course of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78. He distinguished himself there by his bravery and was honored by the Russians. In 1879 in Sofia, which had just been liberated, Pulevski issued his “Macedonian Song Book” in two parts, where, side by side with a few folk songs, there are also songs compiled by him on the living themes of the time. His Macedonian grammar appeared in the following year. [4] In an announcement on the cover Pulevski writes that there are two more parts of the book to be printed, besides which he has ready several other text-books. It has been noted that he left a big ma-nuscript concerning Macedonian-Slavonic history, but its whereabouts are unknown.

Nothing with much detail has been written about him and especially nothing about his books either in Serbia or Bulgaria. It is clearly due to the fact that he expresses most decidedly the Macedonian conscience, because he talks of the history of his people and about the need for a Macedonian literary language.  Pulevski’s example and that of the Macedonists in general is perhaps the most eloquent example of the silence that fell on those facts which would have witnessed for the independent development of the Macedonian people. Everything has been done to prevent the new Macedonian generation from getting acquainted with their real history. We can certify with absolute confidence to Pulevski’s connection with the people who worked on Macedonian text-books before him. We do not form this opinion only from the fact of his writing in Macedonian, based mainly on his native speech at Galičnik (he could also have learned from Parteni’s text-books). We ascertain that in a more direct way by comparing the text of his “Dictionary of Three Languages” with the text of Sapkarev’s text-book “Primary Knowledge for Small Children.” 1868. That text is almost entirely used by Pulevski in the first ninety pages of his dictionary, which means that he was acquainted with the Macedonian text-books and that in this work he took as an example his forerunners work.

In Pulevski’s first dictionary there are given in parallel only words and expressions from the languages in question. The part called “Serbian-Albanian” contains beside Macedonian words (in the Galičnik dialect) also Serbian, often written down wrongly. The dictionary of 1875 is a conversational one and as such, we shall see, inspires a special interest. We shall draw from it here a quite short characteristic of Pulevski’s language. That is the dialect of Galicnik expressed in a quite clear form. Since Pulevski moved in Belgrade, now and then some Serbian words and phrases appear in his speech.

In Pulevski we also note an aspiration to get out of the narrow dialectal frontiers. But as he was not a learned man, least of all a man with grammatical knowledge, we chose not look, in him, for complete consistency.

That aspiration is proved by the same feature which we found presented in Parteni for the first time, i. e. the distribution of the suffixes -aet and -at in the third person plural present tense. The suffix -aet is regular in Pulevski also in cases like: imajet, klavajet, zapirajet, skrivajet etc. and the suffix –at in cases like: možat deljat, se ranat, jadat, nosat, biat etc. This feature also points to Pulevski’s connection with the former text-book writers. Besides examples of this sort we shall find in him retreats in some places, according to what is specific for the speech of Galičnik (or also for some other dialects): čekajat, imenuvajat, se beret, se telet, se delit, se ranit, napišit (all third person plural).

Except for the replacement ж >o (as it is in Galičnik), in a certain number of examples, we come across the more widely spread Macedonian replacement ж>a. So on the one hand we have: rocive, dob, kode, strokovi, sodovi, globoko, močno, toton, sožni, nagozer, joglen, mota – motiš, vnotre, svozima – and even (from the secondary ъ): snogata, ložnik, ogon, vetor, and on the other hand: kade, nekade, sekade, od tade, jazik, raka, praće, prački, mašteja, snaga, magla, ogan, dobar vetar. Pulevski, as we see, took into consideration the fact that his book might be read all over Macedonia, in places where they spoke differently from those in Galicnik.

He, as we are going to see, emphasized the need for the creation of a common Macedonian literary language. It is particularly interesting to see how he, as a consequence of that thought, took the trouble in the matter of his dictionary either to create new words (terms) of popular form or to give to certain words, which he took from the other Slav languages, endings living in the speech of our people. In any case the tendency to turn things into Macedonian is obvious in him irrespective of the fact that he, as an uneducated man, came across some curiosities. All this reveals to us Pulevski’s endeavor to develop the language further, relying on the means afforded by our popular dialects.

We shall mention only a few more features here of Pulevski’s language. He makes the future tense with ća: ća zivuvame, ća oziveme.

For the past definite tense we find such forms as: napisaje, se umnozije, se upravije, ostanaje (as in Galičnik) but also there is narekoha, vlegoa.

For the verbal adverb: zboruvajćiizostanuvajeći etc. as against: turkaješti, digaješti se, prodavaješči etc. We need to remind ourselves that Parteni also used forms like these last. They are not peculiar to the dialect of Galičnik.

Pulevski’s writing is also often interesting. He writes, for example, at the end of a word d instead of t: gined, ranid, velid, drugarod etc.; lj in front of both i and e: se deljit, videljina, ilji, gljedam, koljenik etc.; i instead of j in such cases as toi, krai, kupuvai, maistori, voivoda, naimnogu etc. All this provides material for drawing conclusions concerning the pronunciation and position of our sounds, but we shall not dwell on it as this is a subject for a purely linguistic study.

In his grammar book Pulevski makes an attempt without the necessary preparation, to write down Macedonian grammar. As early as 1873 in the foreword to his first dictionary he promised such a work. “For, now, then, use this and if it is somewhat incorrect and defective in range, because it is compiled in a simple fashion, I shall change the words in the first book when I come to the second and I shall supplement them in the third when I shall explain everything grammatically.”

He refers to our language in this book as Slavonic -Macedonian and calls it “nasinski,”[5] In the notes beneath the text he points to certain differences between it and Serbian and also between it and Bulgarian.

The larger part of his grammar is devoted to the alphabet and the uses of the letters (p.6-28) and only in a few pages (29-35) does he speak in his own way about certain features of our tongue. Pulevski’s grammar retains its significance today primarily as a further expression of the need for a grammatical study of our language at that time.
We shall describe Pulevski’s coming out as a Macedonist only briefly.

In his “Dictionary of Three Languages” he devoted one section to Macedonia where he spoke of her frontiers, towns and fairs, of the ethnical and dialectal differences among the Macedonian people. His dictionary is written in the form of questions and answers in a long practiced style. To the question “What do we call a nation”? (p.48) Pulevski answers “People who are of the same origin and who speak the same words and who live and make friends of each other, who have the same customs and songs and entertainment are what we call a nation, and the place where that people lives is called the people’s country. Thus the Macedonians also are a nation and the place which is theirs is called Macedonia” (p.49).

In another place he asks: “What is our country called?” The answer follows: “Our country is called Macedonia and we are called Macedonians” (p.26).

Pulevski also wanted to throw light on the past of his people. We can detect in what he uncovered the unquestionable ideas of the Macedonists, just as they were described by Slavejkov in his polemic against them. Pulevski also lays claim to Alexander the Macedonian: “Macedonia was praised” he says “in the time of the great tsar Alexander” (p.67). Next Pulevski mentions with pride, that the first books of the brothers Cyril and Methodius were in our language: “… The Macedonian language is the one which is the closest to Church Slavonic books and it is Old Slavonic” (p. 40) “We are called Slavs because when Cyril and Methodius translated the church books from Greek into Slavonic, they found it would he good to write in Old Slavonic and the Old Slavs lived in Macedonia” (p.42).

It is from remarks such as this that we can affirm how Pulevski’s national ideology fits together. But we shall leave out of consideration one of his most impor-tant aspects, if we do not mention the tasks of our cultural and national development, which were evident to him and which he fully comprehended. In his “Dictionary of Three Languages” the question of forming a grammar of the Macedonian language is touched upon, a question which had appeared on the agenda much earlier. Pulevski considers that that job cannot he well done by one man alone. “lf a man does a grammar alone it is not good. Therefore it is necessary to collect from all the above-mentioned nationalities (he has the Macedonian ethnical groups in mind) four or five learned men who know the pure mother tongue. And they should compile a sentence which suits the North-Slavonic people (He calls the Macedonians North Slavs, following the old clan name Severjani – Northerners, n. b.) and they should have their book serve as a sacred book for all schools and also as a source book for writing other books” (p.124).

As we can see from this extract, Pulevski dwells on a proposition for preliminary discussion – how to build up the Macedonian literary language. Parteni had taken the same position before, only he did so in relation to the grammar of a “common” language: “It is necessary that many people should take part because at the moment it is almost impossible to find among them a person who might chance to know all the local dialects.” Maybe there is no direct connection between these two declarations, but all the same we have compared them, because they are views which circulated among our people and were held by them. Pulevski asked for an exchange of opinions on the question of grammar and the intention of some people, such as Macukovski, to publish a Macedonian grammar alone were not, he thought, the best way to solve the problem. But he himself also acted differently, though, from lack of education, he was unprepared for such a task. He clearly realized the need for a literary language, for a language common to all schools and ready to be used for “writing books,” with an established grammar which should be treated as a “sacred book.”

Pulevski’s profile as a Macedonist and a Macedonian patriot is made more definite by what we find in his songs published in the booklet “Macedonian Song Book” 1879.

We said earlier that Pulevski took part in the battle of Sipka and that he distinguished himself there. Fighting in Bulgaria for its liberation, Pulevski knew that he was also shedding his blood for the liberation of Macedonia from servitude under the beys. But his hopes were not realized. At the Berlin Congress in 1878 the big powers decided to leave Macedonia under Turkish rule and only promised some illusory reforms to better the life of our people. Pulevski gives some expression to the feelings, which were aroused at the time, in his “Macedonian Song Book.” What we find there once more uncovers the Macedonists views. In his songs Pulevski turns to the other Slav nations for help for Macedonia. He asks, with curses, why should “we alone be left under the yoke.” What is the path of the Macedonian people in servitude? He calls for an armed fight against the enemy: “Come on brothers, come on united, as companions. Let us go against the enemy and fight against him. It is shameful and regrettable to be silent and forbear …”  That struggle has to be met for the salvation of our fathers land, formerly so glorious and now so forsaken. “This country is dear to Macedonians” Pulevski says “she was a kingdom under King Philip and an old tsardom under the Tsar Alexander… we should love our country and do everything we can to regain it”. Our kingdom of Macedo-nia is old. Let us all gather together and agree to do everything to liberate ourselves.” Let us be brave and fight in the same way “as our people under Alexander fought,” so that our name can shine again with a renewed glory: “Let us bring to life our old history … And let us unfurl our old flag.” Under that flag, under that fighting “flag of the Sacred Cross”, which is “a sign of the real freedom of the Macedonian brotherhood” – all Mace-onians should gather, even those who have been drawn to other lands by Fate, and start a struggle against “the Asiatic evil doer.”

We are adding at the end this extract from a poem by Pulevski:

Ye, Macedonian inhabitans, listen. Nothing awaits us
Except the Asiatic’s tyranny and disgrace abroad.
A foreign country is unpleasant; there, you are looked at suspiciously
And all are called unbearable drones.
In foreign lands, Macedonians, are said all sorts of things,
They are looked at sternly and called rudely.
Have, you, Macedonians, heard what old people say:
“There have not been bolder people than the Macedonians.”
“The Tsar Alexander the Macedonian, three hundred
years before Christ”
“Conquered the whole planet with the Macedonians.”
Our king Philip is a Slav, the Tsar Alexander is a Slav,
They have been given birth to by our Slavonic
Macedonians! remember Macedonian heroism
And follow the path of your ancestors!
It is better to lose our lives in our dear country
Than bear all kinds of maltreatment.”

(Cited according to P Draganov Makedonsko-slavjanskij sbornik, p.233-4)

We should like to point out two things in these verses, which are unpoetic but all the same come from the heart. Primarily, it is the pain resulting from disregard in foreign lands, the feeling that the Macedonian is considered as something less than a human being. “Unbearable drones,” people without country, forced to move here and there, humiliated and insulted – should Alexander’s grandchildren be that, was that dog’s life meant for theme. It is better to die, was Pulevski’s answer.

Secondly, it is his revelation that the tales about Alexander lived with the people. “Have you, Macedonians, heard what old people say”: Pulevski’s knowledge comes from them. That certifies that the Macedonists’ ideas had their roots deep among the people. Pulevski only gave them a direct expression, as far as he could.

From Parteni Zografski to G’org’i Pulevski, between those two sons of Galicnik, there was drawn a considerable line of development. Pulevski was not educated like Parteni; he was only an awakened self-taught man of the people, who did not understand much about grammatical rules and punctuation, though he talked about those things. But was it not that exactly which made Pulevski a more direct speaker of the thoughts and aspirations of the people, rather than some of our intellectuals of the time, who to a smaller or greater measure fell all under some  foreign influence?  Pulevski, such as he was, expressed with his bricklayer’s  mind something higher. He was able to do that because the struggling conscience had grown in our people. And he not only raised his voice for an independent Macedonian literary language, for Macedonian independence, but he also gathered a squad which fought for the ideal he was preaching – for Macedonian liberty.


We said at the beginning of this book that the appearance of Macedonian text-books is connected with the independent national  development of the Macedonian people. We hope that the material, which we have submitted in the course of our treatise, has at least partly thrown light on the birth  of our internal movement, which, in the course of our subsequent historical development, grew into a revolutionary movement of great strength and which led to the full formation of the Macedonian nation.

In the light of the historical facts, which we brought out, it is possible to pass a judgement on the insubstan-tiality of some “theories” – as for instance the one that “during the epoch of the Bulgarian renaissance“ the Macedonian inhabitants “lived the general Bulgarian life and considered itself only as a part of the Bulgarian people” or as the one, to which we want to refer with a few words, that – the Macedonian question can be considered, only as a political question, after the Berlin Congress of 1878.

“If San-Stefano Bulgaria was realized, there would not have been a Macedonian question” – that is its classical formulation.

But let us see what is the “San-Stefano theory” based on, on what else, except on the lack of good wilt towards the free development or the Macedonian people? Before all, that theory is based on a senseless assertion. “If San-Stefano Bulgaria was realized, there would not have been a Macedonian question”. So, with if, not only the Macedonian question could have been liquidated, but also history could have been changed by the fantasy of anyone. There is no “if it was” in history but “as it was.” And that is its supreme wisdom.

The matter is represented so, by those who devised the “San-Stefan theory”, as if some obstacle was laid at that time for the Bulgarian influence in Macedonia. But did the creation of the free Bulgarian state not mean the appearance of a new powerful factor which would further Bulgarian penetration into Macedonia more organizedly, more actively and more generally? And so it happened. How Bulgarianism stood before, we had enough cases to see. The real strengthening of the Bulgarian influence in Macedonia came actually after the Bulgarian liberation, finding its best agent in the Exarchate. If our people were not assimilated, if they also began a struggle against the policy of the Exarchate in Macedonia towards the end of the 19th century, which was actually the policy of the Bulgarian government, it means that the roots of our  national movement were deep and that the interests of the Macedonian people were fundamentally different from the interests of the Bulgarian bourgeoisie.

But let us leave that aside. Is it possible to pass over so easily the indisputable historical facts for the specific circumstances of our national development long be-fore the Berlin Congress? The facts which we brought out in connection with the Macedonian text-books assert that sufficiently. The hegemonists may have kept silent about them so far, but they stand there. Those facts speak again that the Macedonian question did not result from the Berlin Congress, and as a political question at that, but was raised at least twenty years before that Congress and as a national question.


(Macedonian Text-books of the Nineteenth Century)
Translated by Ivanka Koviloska
Corrected by James M. Leech
Technical Editor Atanas Stefanov
The book was published at the “Nova Makedonija” Press, Skopje, (2805) in June 1961 The edition is limited to 1.000 copies.


1. There is no contemporary town organisation which corresponds to the Macedonian “Čaršija.” The exclusion of women from it at this time both as dealers and purchasers makes an added difficulty of comparison. It corresponds in some measure to the Rows at Chester since it was a central depot for manufacture, warehousing and selling, but it is in appearance closer to the “Shambles” in that the shop was usually of only one storey with the goods displayed in front of it.

2) This is followed by a sentence in mock Macedonian: Zoti more zoti, Bugarsko Gramoti – uste ke sledue (p.11) Translator’s note..

3) He points to the difference in pronunciation between the Macedonian and Bulgarian in relation to the words which mean b u l g a r i a n (adjective und noun).

4) Its title is “Slavjansko-naselenički – makedonska slognica”

5) A derivative of “naš” (our).

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