Thursday, June 10, 2010

Carry Me Back To Old Vergina

Vergina? It's where the ancient Macedonians buried kings and their kin. And -- oh, here's a shocker! -- it's where a symbol was dug up that became quite the hot potato betwixt F. Y. R. Macedona and Greece. (Turns out if you're a king, it matters a lot what you put on your larnax; but I'm sure you knew that already).


Blackwing1 said...

Well, being of Macedonian descent, the Hellenization of Macedonia by the Greeks is pretty well known. My grandmother's home town of Vodin (called "Edessa" by the Greeks) was the birthplace of Philip. I had a great-uncle who (so I've been told) was dragged out of the tavern and shot in the street by Greek soldiers for the crime of speaking p'Nashi (Macedonian).

The Greeks attempted to systematically destroy the Nashi culture in the area, burning the churches, destroying land records, re-naming areas, forbidding the use of Macedonian language, etc.

When a Greek historian was researching a book in which she was going to prove that northern Greece had always been Hellenic, she discovered she was wrong, and (amazing in this day of bogus "scholarship") documented it, and wrote her book showing the opposite. She's been driven from the university, and essentially hounded out of her own country.

So it's not terribly surprising that the Greeks are once again attempting to co-opt a Macedonian symbol as their own.

You may want to read "Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood" ( to get a feel for this.

The area formerly known as "Macedonia" is actually simply an ethnic region, and has been Balkanized (literally) so that it covers FYRofMac, Bulgaria, and northern Greece.

Roberta X said...

I wasn't out to take sides; there's no fight like a family fight.

The Greeks quite successfully co-opted that symbol; in response, Macedonia (the country, that is) came up with a symbol to which they could lay a very strong claim, an eight-spoked star with flaring rays, and went with it.

That's a small section of the planet with a huge amount of history and feelings run, deservedly, very high -- fine for scholars, rather less so if you live there.

Rabbit said...

Didn't Dr. Seuss write a book about the Larnax?