Macedonia. A fightin’ word…
This post from Macedonia includes observations about two cities: Skopje, the capital city of FYROM [Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia], and Thessalonica, Greece’s second largest city and the capital of Greece’s northern province, Macedonia. Provocatively, I include them both in “Macedonia,” not only for the historical reason they both occupy territory once called Macedonia before Balkan Wars (1912-13) broke it up among Yugoslavia, Greece and Bulgaria, but also for the much more interesting reason that both cities make a very big fuss about the ancient Macedons, Philip II and his boy Alexander, as ancestors.
Actually, they have been doing this for some time, and the Thessalonians with some justification: the royal seat of the House of Macedon was located in Pella, near Thessalonica; the magnificent Macedonian golden hoard from important gravesites (such as that of the above-mentioned Phillip) was excavated at Vergina, 80 km from Thessalonica; and the city of Thessalonica itself may not improbably be said to have been founded and named for Alexander’s half-sister. However, it is much more contentious to claim that today’s Greeks in Macedonia are in a direct line of descent from the Macedons of yore, given the mish-mash of peoples crisscrossing these terrains for generations or even to claim that the Macedons of yore were Hellenes. (Aristotle, himself born in Macedonia and who tutored the young Alexander, didn’t think they were.)