Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Macedonian names and makeDonski pseudo-linguistics: The case of the name Diplaios - Diplaos

Miltiades Elia Bolaris
July 12, 2009

Balkan Illusion - phantasia archaica:

"Diplai(os) A name of an upper Macedonian (Payonian) ruler. In his name is the noun "dipla" that in dialectal form in the present day Macedonian language means a bouquet of flowers. The noun "dipla" is also used as a designation for a type of old Macedonian instrument." From: "Similarities between ancient Macedonian and today's' Macedonian Culture (Linguistics and Onomastics)" by Aleksandar Donski, celebrity "historian" and propagandist from FYROM.

Diplaios/Διπλαιος - Diplaos/Διπλαος

Poseidon was God of the Sea, the earthquakes, the springs, the rivers and the horses. Poseidon's name is lost in prehistory. The etymology of his name (posis / πόσις = husband, lord [related to potis /πότις, from which despotis / δεσπότης, potnia / πότνια, the lady, etc] + da/δα and de/δη earth, related to ga-ia / γα-ια and ge / γη [see also Da-mater / De-meter / Δη-μητρα= mother earth] is prehistoric, proto Hellenic, and it appears in Linear B Achaean / Mycenaean script of the second milenium BC. Poseidon's name definitely predates the descent of the early Greeks to the Aegean sea. His identification, therefore, as a sea God is post 2000 BC, which is when the first Hellenic tribes first reached the lower Balkan peninsula that took their name - Greece. Before this time, Poseidon / Ποσειδών, or Poseidan / Ποσειδάν as the Macedonians and the Dorians called him, was a land Deity.

Poseidon sired many children, some human some divine and yet others animal in form. The mythical winged horse Pegasos / Πήγασος was one of his animal children, for example, connecting him with horses. Another animal child of Poseidon was Chrysomallos / Χρυσομαλλος (the one of "golden hair"), the winged golden fleeced ram.

Nephele / Nεφέλη was a beautiful cloud nymph that consented to marry Athamas, a mortal Thessalian king. Their children were Phrixos / Φρίξος and Helle / Ελλη. Nephele was fading away during the summer, when there is no rain clad clouds on the sky, so Athamas / Αθάμας, tired of spending the summers alone, took on another wife, Ino / Ινὠ. Ηelle and Phrixos were hated by Ιno, who tried to kill them, killing by mistake her own children instead. She then convinced Athamas and the Thessalian people that Nephele's children must be sacrificed, but Chrysomallos came to their rescue sent by Poseidon and asked them to mount him, and all three flew away. They flew over the Aegean sea, taking a northeastern direction, on their way to the land of the Colchians, where the Caucasus mountain meets the Euxine Pontos, the Black sea. As they flew over the Aegean and they entered the straights leading into the Propontis, Helle felt dizzy and fell into the sea where  some say that she drowned. The straits between the Aegean and the Propontis were named Hellespontos / Ελλήσποντος = The Sea of Helle, after her. It is also called the Dardanelles for the Trojan Darnanians who lived close by. Others yet say that Helle
was rescued by Poseidon, became a Sea nymph and they had children together. One of Helle's and Poseidon's children was Paion/Paeon/Παίων, whom some called Edonos. He grew up to become king of Edonia which was the land where the river Strymon / Στρυμών meets the Aegean sea, and the whole of Paeonia, including the land by the river Axios / Αξιός.

While this myth connects Paeon/Παίων to Thessaly, another myth connects him to Elis, the land of the Olympic Games, in the Peloponnese. Pausanias, the tireless traveler of antiquity, who traveled the Greek world observing listening and writing, heard this myth:

3] τοὺς Ἠλείους ἴσμεν ἐκ Καλυδῶνος διαβεβηκότας καὶ Αἰτωλίας τῆς ἄλλης: τὰ δὲ ἔτι παλαιότερα ἐς αὐτοὺς τοιάδε εὕρισκον. βασιλεῦσαι πρῶτον ἐν τῇ γῇ ταύτῃ λέγουσιν Ἀέθλιον, παῖδα δὲ αὐτὸν Διός τε εἶναι καὶ Πρωτογενείας τῆς Δευκαλίωνος, Ἀεθλίου δὲ Ἐνδυμίωνα γενέσθαι:
Παυσανία Ηλιακά Α΄the Eleans we know that crossed over from Calydon and Aetolia generally. Their earlier history I found to be as follows. The first to rule in this land, they say, was Aethlius, who was the son of Zeus and of Protogeneia, the daughter of Deucalion, and the father of Endymion.
Pausanias, Elis I

Deucalion, we should remember here, is the progenitor grandfather of all the Greek tribes.

4] τούτου τοῦ Ἐνδυμίωνος Σελήνην φασὶν ἐρασθῆναι, καὶ ὡς θυγατέρες αὐτῷ γένοιντο ἐκ τῆς θεοῦ πεντήκοντα. οἱ δὲ δὴ μᾶλλόν τι εἰκότα λέγοντες Ἐνδυμίωνι λαβόντι Ἀστεροδίαν γυναῖκα--οἱ δὲ τὴν Ἰτώνου τοῦ Ἀμφικτύονος Χρομίαν, ἄλλοι δὲ Ὑπερίππην τὴν Ἀρκάδος--, γενέσθαι δ' οὖν φασιν αὐτῷ Παίονα καὶ Ἐπειόν τε καὶ Αἰτωλὸν καὶ θυγατέρα ἐπ' αὐτοῖς Εὐρυκύδαν. ἔθηκε δὲ καὶ ἐν Ὀλυμπίᾳ δρόμου τοῖς παισὶν ἀγῶνα Ἐνδυμίων ὑπὲρ τῆς ἀρχῆς, καὶ ἐνίκησε καὶ ἔσχε τὴν βασιλείαν Ἐπειός: καὶ Ἐπειοὶ πρῶτον τότε ὧν ἦρχεν ὠνομάσθησαν.

5.1.4] Selene, the Moon, they say, fell in love with this Endymion and bore him fifty daughters. Others with greater probability say that Endymion took a wife Asterodia – others say she was Cromia, the daughter of Itonus, the son of Amphictyon; others again, Hyperippe, the daughter of Arcas – but all agree that Endymion begat Paeon, Epeius, Aetolus, and also a daughter Eurycyda. Endymion set his sons to run a race at Olympia for the throne; Epeius won, and obtained the kingdom, and his subjects were then named Epeans for the first time.

Παίων/Paion, Ἐπειός/Epaeios and  Αἰτωλὸς/Aetolos are whatthe Greeks called Eponymous Heroes, Heros after whose name a tribe was taking its name. This was Mythology's way to explain close or distant relationships between different Greek tribes.
Epeios, as we see, remaining in Elis, in the Peloponnese. Aetolos remained in his ancestral land, in central Greece across the Patraic gulf and renamed the land of his forefathers Aetoleia. The third of Endymion's sons, Paeon, being truly upset at the results of the chariot race, left and went far away to the north:

5] τῶν δὲ ἀδελφῶν οἱ τὸν μὲν καταμεῖναί φασιν αὐτοῦ, Παίονα δὲ ἀχθόμενον τῇ ἥσσῃ φυγεῖν ὡς πορρωτάτω, καὶ τὴν ὑπὲρ Ἀξιοῦ ποταμοῦ χώραν ἀπ' αὐτοῦ Παιονίαν ὀνομασθῆναι.

5.1.5] Of his brothers they say that one [Aetolus] remained at home, while Paeon, vexed at his defeat, went into the farthest exile possible, and that the region beyond the river Axius was named after him Paeonia.

Παυσανἰου, Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις, Ἠλιακῶν / Pausanias, Description of Greece, Elis

(English Translation: W.H.S Jones)

So, here we have two myths, both of which relate Paeon/Paion/Παίων to Greece, one with Thessaly and one with the Peloponnese.

There are several toponyms, place names that remind of Paeonia in Greece, betraying an ancestral ethnic and linguistic connection between Greeks in the south and the Paeonians further north. The ancient demos of Paeania/Παιανία in Attica, whose most famous child was Demosthenes the orator, is now a modern and vibrant town with the same name, next to the new international airport of Athens being one. There was also a Paianion/Παιάνιον a city in Acarnania and a Paios, a city in Arcadia, in the Peloponnese
(Ioannes Stamatakos, Lexicon tes Archaias Hellenikes Glosses, Athens, 1971, page 1197).

The historic land of Paionia was not in Greece, it was further north, north of the land of the Macedonians. The Paionians' original home until the end of the second millennium BC was in what much later became known as Macedonia. More specifically, it was by the basins of the two great rivers, Strumon and Axios, starting from their deltas, and going up north as far as the two rivers go, including the land left and right of them.

Around 1300 BC, the Illyrians appeared in the south Balkans, and probably under their pressure, the Phrygians who in all probability are related to the Paeonians ["Some represent the Paeonians as colonists from the Phrygians, while others represent them as independent founders. And it is said that Paeonia has extended as far as Pelagonia and Pieria;" Strabo, Book VII, Fragments, 38] had to move into Asia where they settled in the land of the vanquished Hittites.

The Hittite capital of Hattusa was burned and destroyed in 1180 BC, only a few years after the fall of Troy VI, of Homer's Iliad, about 1210 BC. The Bryges / Phrygians probably contributed to the destruction of Hattusa, or at least they took advantage of the vacuum left by the collapse of the Hittite empire.

This is also the approximate time the Dorians started moving south towards the Peloponnese, from their original home in Epirus and Upper Macedonia.

By the eighth century BC the Greek speaking Macedonians started slowly moving into Pieria, pushing the Thracians out of there. The Pierians relocated by the area of the Pangaion mountain, by the Aegean sea, right after the Strymon. Then came the turn of the Paeonians who lived by the Amphaxitis (both sides of the Axios river, as the name implies [amphi / αμφί = both sides + Axios / Αξιος, the name of the river]). The Macedonians drove them out of their ancestral lands, further east and north. By the time of Dareios' Persian invasion, the Macedonians already were in control of Mygdonia, the area now comprising most of the province of Thessaloniki. The Strymon basin was still part of Paeonia before 490 BC. The modern Macedonian city of Serres in Greece, is mentioned by Herodorus as Sirris the Paeonitis / Σίρρις η Παιονίτις.

Herodotus is very specific as to where Paeonia stopped and where Macedonia started: Once the Persians passed the narrow land between the lake Doirani and the Dysoron / Δύσωρον mountain to the south they would have crossed into Macedonia:

παιόνων μὲν δὴ οἱ χειρωθέντες ἤγοντο ἐς τὴν Ἀσίην. Μεγάβαζος δὲ ὡς ἐχειρώσατο τοὺς Παίονας, πέμπει ἀγγέλους ἐς Μακεδονίην ἄνδρας ἑπτὰ Πέρσας, οἳ μετ' αὐτὸν ἐκεῖνον ἦσαν δοκιμώτατοι ἐν τῷ στρατοπέδῳ:

So those of the Paeonians who had been captured were taken into Asia. Then Megabazus, having made the Paeonians captive, sent as messengers into Macedonia the seven Persians who (after himself) were the most honorable in his army.

ἐπέμποντο δὲ οὗτοι παρὰ Ἀμύντην αἰτήσοντες γῆν τε καὶ ὕδωρ Δαρείῳ βασιλέι. ἔστι δὲ ἐκ τῆς Πρασιάδος λίμνης σύντομος κάρτα ἐς τὴν Μακεδονίην: πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ ἔχεται τῆς λίμνης τὸ μέταλλον ἐξ οὗ ὕστερον τούτων τάλαντον ἀργυρίου Ἀλεξάνδρῳ ἡμέρης ἑκάστης ἐφοίτα, μετὰ δὲ τὸ μέταλλον Δύσωρον καλεόμενον ὄρος ὑπερβάντα εἶναι ἐν Μακεδονίν.

These were sent to Amyntas to demand earth and water for Darius the king. Now there is a very straight way from the Prasiad lake to Macedonia. First there is near the lake that mine from which Alexander later drew a daily revenue of a talent of silver, and when a person has passed the mine, he need only cross the mountain called Dysorum to be in Macedonia.

Ηροδότου, Ιστορίαι, 5.17.1 / Herodotus, Histories, 5.17.1

Lake Prassias was where the modern (enlarged) lake Kerkini is, though it was substantially smaller in antiquity.

Paeonian tribes that lived by the Strymon basin and further north, were the Odomantoi / Οδομαντοί, Edonoi / Ηδονοί, Peoploi / Πεόπλοι, Doberes / Δόβηρες, Agrianes / Αγριάνες Bisaltes / Βισάλτες, Sintoi / Σιντοί, Pierioi / Πιέριοι, Sirropaeones / Σιρροπαίονες, and others. Most of them were subdued and their land was solidly incorporated into the Macedonian state in the fourth century BC, by Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.

Strabo, the Geographer, writing in the Augustan age, tells us how Paeonia was defined geographically at the end of the Hellenistic age and the beginning of the Roman times. He starts his description from the west from the land of the Illyrians:

7a.1.4 Ἡ δὲ Παιονία τούτοις μὲν ἔστι πρὸς ἕω τοῖς ἔ θνεσι͵ πρὸς δύσιν δὲ τοῖς Θρᾳκίοις ὄρεσι͵ πρὸς ἄρκτον δ΄ ὑπέρκειται τοῖς Μακεδόσι͵ διὰ Γορτυνίου πόλεως καὶ Στόβων ἔχουσα τὰς εἰσβολὰς ἐπὶ τὰ πρὸς στενὰ δι΄ ὧν ὁ Ἀξιὸς ῥέων δυσείσβολον ποιεῖ τὴν Μακεδο νίαν ἐκ τῆς Παιονίας͵ ὡς ὁ Πηνειὸς διὰ τῶν Τεμπῶν φερόμενος ἀπὸ τῆς Ἑλλάδος αὐτὴν ἐρυμνοῖ· πρὸς νό τον δὲ τοῖς Αὐταριάταις καὶ Δαρδανίοις καὶ Ἀρδιαίοις ὁμορεῖ· ἐκτέταται δὲ καὶ μέχρι Στρυμόνος ἡ Παιονία. E.

4 Paeonia is on the east of these tribes and on the west of the Thracian mountains, but it is situated on the north of the Macedonians; and, by the road that runs through the city Gortynium and Stobi, it affords a passage to . . .481 (through which the Axius flows, and thus makes difficult the passage from Paeonia to Macedonia — just as the Peneius flows through Tempe and thus fortifies Macedonia on the side of Greece). And on the south Paeonia borders on the countries of the Autariatae, the Dardanii, and the Ardiaei; and it extends as far as the Strymon.

So, here Strabo makes a clear distinction of the area of the Paeonia and Macedonia. Someone would say also that Strabo at the same time makes a solid disconnection between Macedonia and Greece. This is very true indeed. If you read this statement by itself, then you should conclude that Paeonia is not part of Macedonia, and Macedonia in turn is not part of Greece. That would be a logical conclusion, if Strabo himself had not qualified his Geographic classification:

7a.1.9 Λοιπὴ δ΄ ἐστὶ τῆς Εὐρώπης ἥ τε Μακεδονία καὶ τῆς Θρᾴκης τὰ συνεχῆ ταύτῃ μέχρι Βυζαντίου καὶ ἡ Ἑλλὰς καὶ αἱ προσεχεῖς νῆσοι. ἔστι μὲν οὖν Ἑλλὰς καὶ ἡ Μακεδονία· νυνὶ μέντοι τῇ φύσει τῶν τόπων ἀκολουθοῦντες καὶ τῷ σχήματι χωρὶς ἔγνωμεν αὐτὴν ἀπὸ τῆς ἄλλης Ἑλλάδος τάξαι καὶ συνάψαι πρὸς τὴν ὅμορον αὐτῇ Θρᾴκην μέχρι τοῦ στόματος τοῦ Εὐξείνου καὶ τῆς Προποντίδος. εἶτα μετ΄ ὀλίγα μέμνηται Κυψέλων καὶ τοῦ Ἕβρου ποταμοῦ. καταγράφει δὲ καί τι σχῆμα παραλληλόγραμμον͵ ἐν ᾧ ἡ σύμπασα Μακεδονία ἐστίν. E.

9 There remain of Europe, first, Macedonia and the parts of Thrace that are contiguous to it and extend as far as Byzantium; secondly, Greece; and thirdly, the islands that are close by. Macedonia, of course, is Greece too, yet now, since I am following the nature and shape of the places geographically, I have decided to classify it apart from the rest of Greece and to join it with that part of Thrace which borders on it and extends as far as the mouth of the Euxine and the Propontis. Then, a little further on, Strabo mentions Cypsela and the Hebrus River, and also describes a sort of parallelogram in which the whole of Macedonia lies.

Let us now carefully repeat what Strabo says: ἔστι μὲν οὖν Ἑλλὰς καὶ ἡ Μακεδονία· / Macedonia, of course, is Greece too, and he is somehow asking us his permission for taking the liberty to consider Macedonia for his own descriptive convenience separate ἀπὸ τῆς ἄλλης Ἑλλάδος / from the rest of Greece for purely geographic reasons i.e. the shape of the land, etc, precisely because as we all know Northern Greece – Macedonia, is cut geographically off by the mass of Olympus from the rest of Greece, the southern part of it, while with Thrace it forms a geographic continuum.

There is two ways to read the ancient writers today. One is with respect to what they wrote, trying to understand what they were saying and to gain knowledge from them. The other way is to chop up and utterly twist and falsify what they tried to convey, for reasons unrelated to the original intend of the writer. This is the reason why I am including as much of the original text as possible in this paper, to the detriment of making it boring to read: I am trying to avoid running the risk of offering a crippled understanding of the original author's message. The text always needs to be in context!

The Greeks of Strabon's or Herodotus' time knew very well who was who in their world. They knew who spoke the Greek language who did not. The Greeks sensed some affinity to the Paeonians, they even considered them distant cousins, grandchildren of Deucalion, as we saw earlier. But neither one had any doubt as to who the Macedonians were. Let us follow Herodotus describing what happened to Dareius' seven Persian nobles who crossed from Strymon Paeonia into Macedonia. Herodotus already told us above that they:

ἐπέμποντο δὲ οὗτοι παρὰ Ἀμύντην αἰτήσοντες γῆν τε καὶ ὕδωρ Δαρείῳ βασιλέι.

these were sent to Amyntas to demand earth and water for Darius the king

Amyntas, king of the Macedonians gave a banquet to their honor. The Persian ambassadors started getting rude and quite a bit more demanding of their hosts, than tradition called for, and a host could swallow, asking that the Macedonians bring in the princesses into the banquet. Things started getting way out of control and too embarrassing for the Macedonian nobles, until Alexandros, son, viceroy and heir apparent of Amyntas took matters into his own hands:

XX. ὡς δὲ ὁ Ἀμύντης χρηίσας τούτων οἰχώκεε, λέγει ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος πρὸς τοὺς Πέρσας "γυναικῶν τουτέων, ὦ ξεῖνοι, ἔστι ὑμῖν πολλὴ εὐπετείη, καὶ εἰ πάσῃσι βούλεσθε μίσγεσθαι καὶ ὁκόσῃσι ὦν αὐτέων. [2] τούτου μὲν πέρι αὐτοὶ ἀποσημανέετε: νῦν δέ, σχεδὸν γὰρ ἤδη τῆς κοίτης ὥρη προσέρχεται ὑμῖν καὶ καλῶς ἔχοντας ὑμέας ὁρῶ μέθης+, γυναῖκας ταύτας, εἰ ὑμῖν φίλον ἐστί, ἄπετε λούσασθαι, λουσαμένας δὲ ὀπίσω προσδέκεσθε." [3] εἴπας ταῦτα, συνέπαινοι γὰρ ἦσαν οἱ Πέρσαι, γυναῖκας μὲν ἐξελθούσας ἀπέπεμπε ἐς τὴν γυναικηίην, αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος ἴσους τῇσι γυναιξὶ ἀριθμὸν ἄνδρας λειογενείους τῇ τῶν γυναικῶν ἐσθῆτι σκευάσας καὶ ἐγχειρίδια δοὺς ἦγε ἔσω, παράγων δὲ τούτους ἔλεγε τοῖσι Πέρσῃσι τάδε. [4] "ὦ Πέρσαι, οἴκατε πανδαισίῃ τελέῃ ἱστιῆσθαι: τά τε γὰρ ἄλλα ὅσα εἴχομεν, καὶ πρὸς τὰ οἷά τε ἦν ἐξευρόντας παρέχειν, πάντα ὑμῖν πάρεστι, καὶ δὴ καὶ τόδε τὸ πάντων μέγιστον, τάς τε ἑωυτῶν μητέρας καὶ τὰς ἀδελφεὰς ἐπιδαψιλευόμεθα ὑμῖν, ὡς παντελέως μάθητε τιμώμενοι πρὸς ἡμέων τῶν περ ἐστὲ ἄξιοι, πρὸς δὲ καὶ βασιλέι τῷ πέμψαντι ἀπαγγείλητε ὡς ἀνὴρ Ἕλλην Μακεδόνων ὕπαρχος εὖ ὑμέας ἐδέξατο καὶ τραπέζῃ καὶ κοίτῃ." [5] ταῦτα εἴπας ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος παρίζει Πέρσῃ ἀνδρὶ ἄνδρα Μακεδόνα ὡς γυναῖκα τῷ λόγῳ: οἳ δέ, ἐπείτε σφέων οἱ Πέρσαι ψαύειν ἐπειρῶντο, διεργάζοντο αὐτούς.

Hροδότου Ιστορίαι, 5.20.1

XX. When Amyntas made this request and had gone his way, Alexander said to the Persians, "guests, you have full freedom to deal with these women, and may have intercourse with all or any of them. [2] As to that, you may make your own decision, but now, since the hour of your rest is drawing near and I see that you are all completely drunk, allow these women to depart and wash, if this is your desire. When they have washed, wait for them to come to you again." [3] When he had said this and the Persians had given their consent, he sent the women out and away to their apartments. Alexander then took as many beardless men as there were women, dressed them in women's clothes, and gave them daggers. These he brought in, and said to the Persians, [4] "I believe, men of Persia, that you have feasted to your hearts' content. All that we had and all besides that we could find to give you has been set before you, and now we make you a free gift of our best and most valued possession, our own mothers and sisters. Be aware that in so doing we are giving you all the honor that you deserve, and tell your king who sent you how his Greek viceroy of Macedonia has received you hospitably, providing food and bedfellows." [5] With that, Alexander seated each of his Macedonians next to a Persian, as though they were women, and when the Persians began to lay hands on them, they were killed by the Macedonians.

Herodotus, Histories, 5.20

Are the Germans Hun Mongols?
In other words, irrespective of what some modern revisionist historical falsifiers in the south Balkans try to claim, the ancient Macedonians knew very well what and who they were, even while the occasional snobby Athenian orator threw insults at them by calling them "barbarians". Reading the British and American WWI propaganda, centuries later someone not well read would happily conclude that the Entente forces were fighting against the Mongols inhabiting Germany, since the Kaiser was habitually called the Hun and the German soldiers the barbaric Huns!

It is always better to stick with reliable sources and when it comes to the ethnicity of the Macedonians I prefer to listen to the father of History, Herodotus:

ΠΕΡ(ΔΙΚΑ) - PER(ΔΙΚΑ) - Perdicas'
KB. Ἕλληνας δὲ εἶναι τούτους τοὺς ἀπὸ Περδίκκεω γεγονότας, κατά περ αὐτοὶ λέγουσι, αὐτός τε οὕτω τυγχάνω ἐπιστάμενος καὶ δὴ καὶ ἐν τοῖσι ὄπισθε λόγοισι ἀποδέξω ὡς εἰσὶ Ἕλληνες, πρὸς δὲ καὶ οἱ τὸν ἐν Ὀλυμπίῃ διέποντες ἀγῶνα Ἑλληνοδίκαι οὕτω ἔγνωσαν εἶναι.

XXII. Now that these descendants of Perdiccas are Greeks, as they themselves say, I myself happen to know and will prove that they are Greeks in the later part of my history. Furthermore, the Hellenodicae who manage the contest at Olympia determined that it is so.
Hροδότου Ιστορίαι, 5.22 / Ηerodotus, Histories, 5.22

Ἑλληνοδίκαι / Hellenodicae, the men who "τὸν ἐν Ὀλυμπίῃ διέποντες ἀγῶν = manage the contest at Olympia" as Herodotus reminds us, were, as the word implies, the judges who would judge who is a Greek and who is not, since the Olympic games (but also the Isthmian in Corinth, the Delphic in Delphi, the Nemean in Nemea, the Olympian at Dion in Macedonia) were Panhellenic religious festivals that were forbiden to non Greeks. It is obvious that they were not carelessly casual but very serious about this issue.

For this reason, we are told by Herodotus:

Ἀλεξάνδρου γὰρ ἀεθλεύειν ἑλομένου καὶ καταβάντος ἐπ' αὐτὸ τοῦτο, οἱ ἀντιθευσόμενοι Ἑλλήνων ἐξεῖργόν μιν, φάμενοι οὐ βαρβάρων ἀγωνιστέων εἶναι τὸν ἀγῶνα ἀλλὰ Ἑλλήνων: Ἀλέξανδρος δὲ ἐπειδὴ ἀπέδεξε ὡς εἴη Ἀργεῖος, ἐκρίθη τε εἶναι Ἕλλην καὶ ἀγωνιζόμενος στάδιον συνεξέπιπτε τῷ πρώτῳ.

When Alexander chose to contend and entered the lists for that purpose, the other Greeks who were to run against him wanted to bar Alexandros from the race, saying that the contest should be for Greeks and not for foreigners. Alexander, however, proving himself to be an Argive, was judged to be a Greek. He accordingly competed in the furlong race and tied step for first place. This, then, is approximately what happened.

Hροδότου Ιστορίαι, 5.22 / Ηerodotus, Histories, 5.22

Anyone who has ever taken part in an athletic contest has experience of what Alexandros had to endure by the side of the "ἀντιθευσόμενοι Ἑλλήνες / the Greeks who were to run against him: Opponents will try every imaginable trick in the book to persuade the judges to disqualify the best atletes on the contesting side, even before the games begin.

And Herodotus did not have any doubt of the nationality of the Macedonians, whom he had personally met:

Ἕλληνας δὲ εἶναι τούτους...κατά περ αὐτοὶ λέγουσι, αὐτός τε οὕτω τυγχάνω ἐπιστάμενος"

"... these are Greeks, as they themselves say, I myself happen to know".

We know about the Macedonians; what about the Paeonians? Some modern scholars claimed them to be of Illyrian or Thracian stock, and while it is undoubted that some Illyrians and especially Thracians lived among them, as some of the names in the epigraphic record indicate, the ancients did not think so. If anything, they thought them to be closer related to the Bryges or Phrygians, who had left the Amphaxitis and the Strymon valley to transplant themselves to central Asia Minor, as mentioned earlier.

There are very few words left for the Paeonian language to be classified properly,

Most are easily understood using Greek. Monapos, the name of the Macedonian wild bull, bison/βἰσων in Greek, was called a monapos/μοναπος by the Paeonians. Monos means "alone" in Greek. Apis means the "far off one", the "one staying at a distance". Apia ge / Ἀπία γῆ, the land away, the Greeks said. There are two words of fish, tilon and paprax which have no obvious connection in Greek, but they might also be words earlier than even the Paeonians, as many fish even today in Greece still have pre-Hellenic, Pelasgian names, even after 4000 years of Greek presence in Greece. But the name of the lake Prasias/Πρασιάς can be explained through Greek, since it means the overgrown by green plants lake, prasia/πρασιά means the green bed of vegetables grown in the garden, and prassaios/πρασσαίος meant a green water frog and prasinon / πρασινον means the color of leeks, green, in Greek.

Dryalos / Δρυαλος as Dionysos was called in the Paeonian language can easily be explained as the one of the forests, of the trees", Drys/Δρυς being the oak tree and Alsos/Αλσος the forest: Dryalsos/Δρυ-αλ[σ]ος – Dryalos/Δρυ-αλος - the s/σ drops.

Stoboi/Στοβοί the Paeonian city now named Gradsko by its Slavic inhabitants in FYROM can be explained as the town that has been piled up and compressed in a narrow place. Stoibazo/στοιβάζω means to pile up, stoibe/στοιβε means stuffing, filling up.

Deuriopus/Δευρίοπος, also called Alcomenae was a city in Pelagonia. Broken in two, it corresponds easily with Deuro/Δεύρο meaning here, this place, hereto, and to toponyms like Opus/Ὄπυς and Opountia Locris/Ὀπούντια Λοκρίς in Central Greece.

Alcomenai sounds in itself too Greek to be even translated, Alke/Αλκή is strength and gives us names like Alcaeos/Ἀλκαίος, the one full of strength, as well as Alcinoos, Alcibiades, Alcestis, etc. The ending "-menai" (in plural) appears in the names of several Greek cities, like Klazomenai, but also in singular as: "-menos", in Orchomenos, or "-mene" as Idomene, Cleomene, etc. Ιt could be derived from meno / μένω which means to "stand my ground", "to sty", but it is most certainly derived from menos / μἐνος which means spirit, inner strength, ardor, etc. This toponym exists in several places in central and southern Greece, besides Paionia.
There is a city of Alalcomenai / Αλαλκομεναί in the island of Ithaca:

ὁ δὲ Ἀπολλόδωρος μένειν καὶ νῦν, καὶ πολίχνιον λέγει ἐν αὐτῇ Ἀλαλκομενὰς τὸ ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ τῷ ἰσθμῷ κείμενον.

Apollodorus, however, says that it still remains so to this day, and mentions a town Alalcomenae upon it, situated on the isthmus itself.
Strabo 10.2.16)

There is also Alalcomenai in Boeotia:
"The Boeotian city of Alalcomenai was named after the martial aspect of the Goddess, after her epithet Alalcomene"
Karl Kerenyi, "Athena, Virgin and Mother in Greek Religion",1952)
Pausanias in his Periegesis of Greece tells us that the Boeotian Alalkomenai got their name instead from the local hero Alalkomeneus/Αλαλκομενεύς:

Ἀλαλκομεναὶ δὲ κώμη μέν ἐστιν οὐ μεγάλη, κεῖται δὲ ὄρους οὐκ ἄγαν ὑψηλοῦ πρὸς τοῖς ποσὶν ἐσχάτοις. γενέσθαι δὲ αὐτῇ τὸ ὄνομα <οἱ> μὲν ἀπὸ Ἀλαλκομενέως ἀνδρὸς αὐτόχθονος, ὑπὸ τούτου δὲ Ἀθηνᾶν τραφῆναι λέγουσιν: οἱ δὲ εἶναι καὶ τὴν Ἀλαλκομενίαν τῶν Ὠγύγου θυγατέρων φασίν. ἀπωτέρω δὲ τῆς κώμης ἐπεποίητο ἐν τῷ χθαμαλῷ τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς ναὸς καὶ ἄγαλμα ἀρχαῖον ἐλέφαντος.
Παυσανίου 9.33.5 "Ελλάδος περιήγησις-Βοιωτικά"

Alalcomenae is a small village, and it lies at the very foot of a mountain of no great height. Its name, some say, is derived from Alalcomeneus, an aboriginal, by whom Athena was brought up; others declare that Alalcomenia was one of the daughters of Ogygus. At some distance from the village on the level ground has been made a temple of Athena with an ancient image of ivory.
Pausanias 9.33.5, "Description of Greece-Boeotia"

This name actually has deep roots in Greek prehistory and religion, that ties Paionians and Greeks together in their pre-historic past:

"Alalkomenia: one of the daughters of Ogyges, who as well as her two sisters, Thelxionoea and Aulis, were regarded as supernatural beings, who watched over oaths and saw that they were not taken rashly or thoughtlessly. Their name was Πραξιδίκαι (note: those who exact punishments M.B.), and they had a temple in common at the foot of the Telphusian mount in Boeotia."
Ref: (Paus. 9.33.2, 4; Panyasis, apud Steph. Byz. s. v. Τρεμίλη; Suid. s. v. Πραξιδίκη; Müller, Orchom. p. 128, &c.)
"A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology", William Smith, London, John Murray pub.

Incidentally, Alcomenai of Paionia was also called Alalcomenai, and in one paragraph, Strabo mentions two Alalcomenai, one of Paionia, in the Pelagonian plain and then just below it, he mentions yet another town named Alalkomenai, this one in Thessaly:

πρότερον μὲν οὖν καὶ πόλεις ἦσαν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσι τούτοις: τρίπολις γοῦν ἡ Πελαγονία ἐλέγετο, ἧς καὶ Ἄζωρος ἦν, καὶ ἐπὶ τῷ Ἐρίγωνι πᾶσαι αἱ τῶν Δευριόπων πόλεις ᾤκηντο, ὧν τὸ Βρυάνιον καὶ Ἀλαλκομεναὶ καὶ Στύβαρα: Κύδραι δὲ Βρύγων, Αἰγίνιον δὲ Τυμφαίων, ὅμορον Αἰθικίᾳ καὶ Τρίκκῃ: πλησίον δ᾽ ἤδη τῆς τε Μακεδονίας καὶ τῆς Θετταλίας περὶ τὸ Ποῖον ὄρος καὶ τὴν Πίνδον Αἴθικές τε καὶ τοῦ Πηνειοῦ πηγαί, ὧν ἀμφισβητοῦσι Τυμφαῖοί τε καὶ [οἱ] ὑπὸ τῇ Πίνδῳ Θετταλοί: καὶ πόλις Ὀξύνεια παρὰ τὸν Ἴωνα ποταμὸν ἀπέχουσα Ἀζώρου τῆς τριπολίτιδος σταδίους ἑκατὸν εἴκοσι: πλησίον δὲ καὶ Ἀλαλκομεναὶ καὶ Αἰγίνιον καὶ Εὔρωπος καὶ αἱ τοῦ Ἴωνος εἰς τὸν Πηνειὸν συμβολαί....

In earlier times there were also cities among these tribes; at any rate, Pelagonia used to be called Tripolitis, one of which was Azorus; and all the cities of the Deuriopes on the Erigon River were populous, among which were Bryanium, Alalcomenae, and Stubara. And Cydrae belonged to the Brygi, while Aeginium, on the border of Aethicia and Tricca, belonged to the Tymphaei. When one is already near to Macedonia and to Thessaly, and in the neighborhood of the Poeus and the Pindus Mountains, one comes to the country of the Aethices and to the sources of the Peneius River, the possession of which is disputed by the Tymphaei and those Thessalians who live at the foot of the Pindus, and to the city Oxineia, situated on the Ion River one hundred and twenty stadia from Azorus in Tripolitis. Near by are Alalcomenae, Aeginium, Europus, and the confluence of the Ion River with the Peneius.
Strabo 7.7.9

The ancient towns Alalcomenai of Thessaly and Boeotia still exist and they are both named by their ancient names, slightly changed to modern Greek: Αλαλκομενές/Alalkomenes.
The Paionian Alcomenai is now a village in FYROM called Bučin/Бучин and is close to Krushevo. There areseveral other villages with this same name: Bučin/Бучин. Besides the one in FYROM, there is also one in Ukraine, sela/селa Бучин/Bučin, by Lvov, another one in Belorussia, yet another in Albania, near Presil, another on close to Sofia in Bulgaria selo/селo Бучин/Bučin, and best of all, one in Tatarstan, in the Vladimito-Volinskij area: селo Бучин/selo Buchin. The word is derived from the Slavonic word for "flexible branches". Somehow, I cannot find much connection between the ancient Paionian Alalcomenai and the modern toponym Bučin/Бучин, for sure not the ones in Ukraine, Belorussia or Tatarstan, anyway...

Vylazora/Βυλαζόρα, another Paionian city, could be explained as a combination of the words Bolos/Βωλος, a lump of earth, and lumpy field (there is a city in Magnesia in Greece, the major port of Thessaly called Volos/Βόλος as well as a village close to Drama in Greek Macedonia called Volax/Βώλαξ or Volakas/Βώλακας) and the second part being from Οros/Ὅρος which means a mountain but can also take the meaning of defining border, a frontier. Vylazora is now called Veles/Велес (Tito Veles, under Marshal Tito's Yugoslavia!), taking the name of the second most important God of the Slavonic pantheon, Veles/Велесъ, of the pre-Christian Slavonic religion. The Slavs, arriving in the area in the seventh century AD, found it easy to rename Bylazora by a shorter but similar sounding name, a name that reminded them of their own God of agriculture and the underworld; a male equivalent combination of Demetra/Ceres and Pluto. Once again, toponyms speak louder than modern Skopjan propaganda. No connection can be made between the Hellenic-related Paionians, and the much later arriving Slavs. There is a historic break. The Slavs brought along their own Nordic deities from Pripjet, before being converted into Orthodox Christianity by the local Byzantine Greeks.

Astraion/Αστραίον now Stromnitsa/Στρωμνίτσα/Струмица was the city of the Paeonian tribe of the Astrai. It is (as usually) more probable that the tribe of the Astrai was named so from the name of city they inhabited. If the city gave its name to the inhabitants, then Astraion/Αστραίον can probably be explained by the noun Astrabes/Αστραβής meaning the level place, the verb Astrabeu/Αστραβεύω, meaning to level an area and make it straight and the word Astrabister / Αστραβιστήρ which means the leveling instrument, the level. If the people gave their name to the city, then we have to look for adifferent explanatiuon, and the closet one phonetically that also makes sense would be Astron/Αστρoν, the Star and Astrion/Αστριον the star shaped.

The name of the city of Astibos/Αστιβος which its current Slavic inhabitants renamed to Shtip / Штип, can be explained using Greek to translate Asty/Αστυ, meaning "city" in Greek. There is a toponym Astypalaia/Αστυπαλαια in the Aegean. Athens is self congradulatorily called the kleinon Asty /κλεινόν Ἀστυ "the famous City" by modern Athenians, using the ancient Athenian expression. City buses in modern Greek are called Astika Leophoreia/Ἀστικά Λεωφορεία, the policeman is called Astynomos/Αστυνόμος the Bourgoisie (the city-dwellers class) is called Astiki taxi /Ἀστική τάξη in modern Greek, and the city person Astos/Αστός. We are obviously not 100% certain as to how the Paionians pronounced their city, Astibos (which I had previously misspelled as "Astybos", but this is not necessarily a determining factor in deciphering, since astykos/αστυκός was also spelled as αstikos/ἄστικός, from *astyikos), before they became Hellenized, but this is true with most Paionian names, so we simply have to live with this fact.

Another very plausible etymology has been pointed out to me via correspondence by the linguist Demetrios E. Evangelidis, who believes, and with very good reason, that Astibos is most probably derived from astibes/αστιβής, which Hesychios mentions in his Lexicon, citing Sophocles:

αστιβή άβατον (Σοφοκλ. Αί. 657)
αστίβους απατήτους
αστίβητοι οίκοι τα άδυτα

astibe Sophocl. Ai. 657) unpassable (mountainous)
astibous; untrodden
astiboetoi oikoi the innermost holy sanctuary

The Liddell & Scott Greek English Lexicon gives us "untrodden" and even "desert", or "pathless", for astibes/αστιβής. It also gives us the word astibetos/αστίβητος (singular) the innermost sanctuary, and finally an isogloss with the Paionian city Astibos: άστιβος/astibos, also meaning "sanctuary", i.e. untrodden holy place, which of course comes from the concept of "not to be stepped upon", therefore "un-passable", which makes perfect sense to me, for a name of a city.
Μuch later it was called Estipeon/Εστίπεον by the Byzantine (Late East Roman) Greeks, which was attacked and destroyed sometime around the 6th cAD, after an joint Slavic-Avar raid. The ancient name of Astibos still survives in the paraphrased current Slavonic name: Щип/Штип/Štip/Shtip.

The name of the Paeonian tribe of the Agrianes can be explained from *agro- "field", in Greek agros / αγρός. But then there is also the word Agrios / Αγριος, that means untamed, wild, and when refering to people: vulgar, barbarian. I am sure this is not a name someone would chose for themselves but it is easily a name others would give to an unruly tribe.

We can also look at two river names. River names hardly change, and this has created a whole science dealing with hydronyms. Homer mentions Tameses / Ταμεσης, and though some disagree, placing it in Italy, instead, it is most probably the well known river Thames of England.

Strymon and Axios are both rivers on areas that Greeks took over from the Paeonians, therefore the names are pre-Hellenic. Axios / Aξιος means someone worthy, of value, in Greek. Strymon / Струма / Στρυμών is the name of the river running through what is now the Bulgarian province of Blagoevgrad / област Благоевград and the Greek province of Serres / Noμός Σερρών. Strymon's delta is by the ancient Athenian / Macedonian city of Amphipolis / Αμφίπολις, in Edonia. Curiously, this was not the only Strymon river. We know of at least two more Strymon-named rivers. One was in ancient Beroia:

Μίεζα· πόλις Μακεδονίας ἣ Στρυμόνιον ἐκαλεῖτο· ἀπὸ Μιέζης θυγατρὸς Βέρητος τοῦ Μακεδόνος, ὡς Θεαγένης ἐν Μακεδονικοῖς. Βέρης γὰρ τρεῖς ἐγέννησεν, Μίεζαν, Βέροιαν, ῎Ολγανον, ἀφ᾿ ὧν ποταμὸς ὁμώνυμος καὶ πόλις Βέροια καὶ τόπος Στρυμόνος.

Στέφανος Βυζάντιος

Mieza; Macedonian city which was also called Strymonion; from Mieza daughter of Beres son of Makedon, as Theagenes writes in Makedonikois. Beres is known fathered three children, Mieza, Berrhoia, Olganos, who gave their names to the homonymous river and the city Berrhoia and the land of Strymon.

Stephanos Byzantios

Τhere was also another Strymon river in central Greece, by Aulis, across from Euboea, which is mentioned by Aeschylus in Agamemnon:

Χαλκίδος πέραν ἔχων παλιρρόχθοις ἐν Αὐλίδος τόποις:

πνοαὶ δ' ἀπὸ Στρυμόνος μολοῦσαι

Αισχύλου Αγαμέμνων 190-192

Facing Chalcis from their places at Aulis with its noisy ebb and flow,

and the winds which came from Strymon

Aeschylus, Agamemnon 190-192

The Greek word linguistically and etymologically connected to the name-word "strymon" is reuma/ρεύμα. The IE root is *sru- meaning "stream". The words strepsis/στρέψις a turning around and strepho/στρέφω meaning to turn to twist, incorporate the meaning taken from the twirling movement of the water stream, and the word strema/στρέμμα for something twisted but later also for the cultivated lot of land where the farmer tills the land running back and forth an twisting as he goes to the end to return and start tilling again, is also related. The word "strain" in English, is most probably related, if you go back to the Indo-European roots of it, since it incorporates the pain from the movement of twisting something.

Let us now look at some Paeonian personal names, most of which are names of Kings. Before the Paeonians' names, though, it would also be revealing to look at a few Thracian names and try to translate them using our Greek, the same way we attempted to guess the meaning of the Paeonian words above. Here is a list of the names of various Thracian kings:











Unfortunately, even with the Greek letters on their coins, not a single one of these names comes even remotely close to reminding one of a Greek name or a Greek word. Looking at these names is like looking at a blank page. Trying to decipher Thracian names using Greek as a guide would be as ludicrous as trying to translate the Egyptian Demotic language and script of the Rosetta stone, using a Slavic language from the Balkans. But before we laugh at such an attempt, we need to remember that this is precisely what the professorial duo of Tendov and Boshevski from Skopje University and the "Macedonian" Academy of Arts and Sciences are claiming to have done! But this is another Balkan joke that needs to be addressed in a different forum.


The Greek and Thracian languages are simply too different from each other. Although both of them share common Indo-European roots, Greek is of the Centum branch, more related to Armenian, Latin, German, Celtic, and so on, and Thracian is a Satem language, more related to Sanskrit, Iranian, Slavic, etc.

Let us now look at some of the known Paeonian names:

Agis, Ariston, Audoleon, Diplaios, Dropion, Eupolemenos, Langarus, Leon, Lycaeios, Nicharchos, Patraios, Simon and Teutaos.

We can easily single out the names of the Paeonian kings which are very obviously Greek sounding and explainable to someone who knows Greek:

Agis, Ariston , Audoleon, Eupolemenos, Leon, Lycaeios, Nicharchos, Patraios, Simon.

Agis/Αγις or Αγης. Agis / Αγις means the Leader. The same name exists as a royal name for Kings of Sparta. Agis the one who reigned between 245 - 241 B.C. tried to restore the old laws of Lycourgos in Sparta and return the Lacedaemonian society to its old roots. Plurarch wrote a book about him. Another Agis/Αγις king of Sparta was the one who fought against Antipatros/Αντίπατρος in the famous battle which Alexander demeaningly called "vatrachomyomachia"...(βατραχομυομαχία = "battle between frogs and rats"), when the news reached him that his viceroy Antipatros/Αντἰπατρος beat Agis / Αγις. Τhis was immediately after Alexander had just won the battle at Gaugamela and Asia was now his.

Ariston/Αρίστων was the Paeonian prince who attacked the Persians squadron during the crossing of the river Tigris, killing the Persian commander Satropates in single battle and and then in the battle of Gaugamela again. Ariston means "the best" in Greek. Ariston / Αρίστων is also a typical Greek name. There was a Spartan king named Ariston (6th century BC). The Plato's father was named Ariston and there were three philosophers known by this name, too: Ariston of Ceos (3rd century BC), Ariston of Chios (3rd century BCE), and Ariston of Alexandria (1st century). Many Greek words are derived from Ariston: Aristocracy / Aριστοκρατία, is the most commonly known of these words in the English language and it meas the "rule of the best men", the aristoi / Αριστοι. The names Aristobis / Αριστόβις, Aristion/Αριστἰων, Aristoteles/Αριστοτέλης, Aristogeiton /Αριστογείτων, Aristomenes /Αριστομένης, Aristophanes /Αριστοφάνης and many others are derived from Ariston.

Audoleon / Aυδολεων translated from the Greek would mean "the Lion-voiced". Audo + leon / Aυδω + λεων : from αὐδάω / audao or αὐδώ/audo = to speak to talk, αὐδή / aude meaning the human voice, or other sounds too (Liddell and Scott's Greek English Lexicon). There is also a month called Audonaios / Αυδυναίος, Audunaios/Αυδυναίος or Audnaios/Αυδναίος, moon of December month, which was common to the Dorians of the island of Crete and to the Macedonians, indicating their common Doric descent.

A Greek inscription from Lydia in Asia Minor mentions this month:

SEG 35:1270

ἔτ(ους) σιfʹ, μη(νὸς) Αὐδοναί-
ου ιεʹ·

of the year 216, of the month Audonai-
os 15

Another Greek inscription this one from Arabia, way before they became Muslim, mentions this Cretan and Macedonian month.

IGLSyr 21,4 106

σπ̣γ̣ʹ, μηνὸς
Αὐδονέου δʹ.
293, 4th of the month

Eupolemenos/Ευπολεμενος is almost completely a Greek name, though with some differences. If it was a Greek name it would be Eupolemaios / Ευπολεμαιος or Eupolemos/Ευπολεμος. Ιt means "the good warrior" from eu/ευ meaning good and polemos/πόλεμος = war. The etymology leads us to assume it means "good warrior".

There are countless instances of names derived from the word polemos in Greece. We will mention first an inscription found in Athens:

IG II² 678

Σωκλῆς Ἀ]ιστοφίλου
Εὔβιος Εὐπολέμου
Σόλων Ἀθηνοδώρου

Socles son of Aristophilos
Aubios son of Eupolemos
Solon son of Athenodoros

On an inscription from the island of Rhodes we read:

Lindos II 333
Rhodes and S. Dodecanese (IG XII,1) : Rhodos

Λίνδιοι ἐτίμασαν
Εὐπόλεμον Εὐπολέμου
τοῦ Εὐπολέμου
ἐπαίνωι, χρυσέωι στεφάνωι καὶ

The Lindians honored
Eupolemos (son) of Eupolemos
(grandson) of Eupolemos
by awarding him with a golden wreath and

The Macedonians also had a name connected with war, Ptolemaios/Ptolemy / Πτολεμαίος. The word "polemic" in modern European language is derived from the word for the art of war: polemike / πολεμική, though now it is used more to describe a literary work attacking a conflicting view.

Leon/Λέων, the name of another Paeonian king is also common in Greek. It means lion, of course, as in the Lion of Nemea which Hercules killed. We need to make a not of the fact that Greece was lion territory throughout antiquity and lion hunting was a royal pastime, as the "Lion Hunt" mosaic from Pella demonstrates. The lion was roaming throughut northern Greece until about 150 AD, when the Romans exterminated or probably captured them for "entertainment" purposes to be used and killed in the Roman arenas. Leon, therefore is a usual name for ancient Greeks by itself or used as a contributing part of several other Green names, most famous being that of the king of Sparta who resisted the Persian at Thermopylae: Leonidas/Λεωνίδας. Timoleon/Τιμολέων is another name, as is Leonides/Λεωνίδης. There is a Leontis/Λεοντίς tribe in Athens, and yet other names such as Pantaleon/Πανταλέων, Thrasyleon/Θρασυλέων and of course Leon/Λἐων:

IG II² 1956



Lykeios/Λύκειος at first hearing, sounds as "wolf-like" in Greek but it is actually the one "full of light", "the bright one", "the illuminating one", "of the Light". Lyk-/Λυκ- indicates bright light. Lyke/Λύκη is the morning light, and Λυκαυγές is the light of the break of dawn. (Liddell and Scott's Greek English Lexicon). We have examples of Zeus Lykeios/Ζεύς Λύκειος and a Pan Lykeios Παν Λυκειος in the Peloponnese and there was a temple of Lykeios Apollon mentioned by Pausanias in Sikyon. There are also famous statues of Lykeios Apollon, everywhere. In Athens we had sacrifices to Apollon Lykeios / Ἀπόλλων Λύκειος every year on the twelfth day of the month Metageitnion/Μεταγειτνίων (Αugust 2nd). Lyceums throughout the world got their name from the original Lyceum/Λύκειον where Aristotle had set up his school, named so for its close proximity to the temple of Apollon Lykeios.

Lykeios, with exactly the same spelling and meaning as the Paeonian ruler's name, was also a proper Greek name throughout the Greek world, as shown in this inscription from Magna Graecia in southern Italy:

Italy, incl. Magna Graecia



In Athens another inscription partially salvaged speaks of a man whose father was named Lykeios:

SEG 37:162


son of Lykeios

The Paionian King Lykeios can bee seen on his coin: Lykkeios. Circa 359-335 BC. Laureate head of Zeus / ΛYKKEIOY, Herakles strangling the Nemean lion with bow and quiver to the right.

Nikarchos/Νίκαρχος in Greek means the conqueror of victory. It is derived from Νικη / Νίκη meaning victory and Archo / Αρχω meaning to rule. It is also a name that appears in hundreds of inscriptions throughout the Hellenic speaking world:

We chose a few here. The first one is from Thessaly:

Thessaly (IG IX,2) : Perrhaibia: Gonnoi


son of Demarchos

The second inscription is from Babylon:

IK Estremo oriente 144

Νικάνωρ Ζωροῦ
Νικόλαος Ἀπολλωνίδου

Nikanor son of Zoros
Nikolaos son of Apollonides

The third inscription is from Italy:

IG XIV 256
Sicily, Sardinia, and neighboring Islands

Σωσίπολις Ἰσιδώρου,
Νίκαρχος Πυρρόμμ[ιος]
Ἀπολλώνιος Σατρου,

Sosipolis son of Isidoros
Mikarchos son of Pyrromios
Apollonios son of Satyros

Nicharchos was also the name of Plutarch's great grandfather and the name of a 1st century AD Greek poet known for his epigrams. Another Nicarchos/Nίκαρχoς whose name passed down to posterity was one a general of the Seleucid king Antiochos III the Great (223–187 BC). Nikarchos/Νίκαρχος, finally, is one of the characters of Aristophanes in the comedy Acharneis/Ἀχαρνεῖς.

Patraos/Πατράος was the brother of Ariston, and king of Paeonia. The name is most probably derived from pater/πατηρ, father, hence "of the Fatherland".

An inscription from Macedonia confirms this name:

SEG 24:572
Macedonia : Krestonia: Ioron? (Palatiano)

Πάτραος Ζοΐλου.
Ἀμμία Μενάνδρου

Patraos son of Zoilos
Ammia daughter of Menandros

Then from the same town, probably from the same family we see the same name:

SEG 24:572
Macedonia : Krestonia: Ioron? (Palatiano)

Μήδης Πατράου.

son of Patraos
Medes son of Patraos

Patraos/Πατράος issued numerous coins with his name, always with Apollon on one side and his brother Ariston (mentioned above) spearing the Persian Satropates (dressed in Persian trousers, on the ground). Patraos translated from the Greeks would mean "of the fatherland", the local one. The name in standard Greek would have been rendered as: Patroos / Πατρώος. We need to remind ourselves here that omega is the "big-O": "O-mega" because it was pronounced as a "macron", a long vowel. Omega is a composite of either "o+o" or "a+o". It is therefore that the Paionian type is the more original pronunciation: PATRAOOS shortened to Patraos, while the other Greeks shortened it to Patraoos to Patroos. Patroos/Πατρώος was a common prosonym of deities for Greeks. A few Inscriptions can attest to this name. One is from Skythia:

Scythia Minor

Διόν]υσος Πα[τρῷος],
Δι]όνυσος Βακ[χεύς],

Dionysios Patroos
Dionysios Baccheus

The other inscription comes from Pamphylia, in what is now Southwestern Turkey:

IK Side I 4

— — — θεὸ]ς πατρῷο[ς κτίστης Ἀπόλλων — — —].

— — — God patrooo[ς builder Apollon — — —].

In Troy an inscription speaks of Apollo of the fatherland, the local Apollon:

IMT SuedlTroas 538

Ἀπόλλωνος Πατρῴου.

of Apollon the Patroos

Simon/Σιμων is both a Paeonian and a Greek name and in Greek it means the snub-nosed man . It was a common name both in itself or as Simondes / Σιμώνδης or the more popular Simonides / Σιμωνίδης. Examples can be seen in inscriptions and in the literary record:

Lindos II 1
Rhodes and S. Dodecanese (IG XII,1) : Rhodos

Ἁγήσαρ[χος Ἀρέτωνος?]
Σίμων Π[άγωνος]
Ἀλέξιπ[πος — — — — —]

Agesarchos son of Areton
Simon son of Pagon
Alexipos— — — — —]

Simonides/Σιμωνίδης (which means "son of" or "descendant of" Simon) was a famous poet of epigrams. He is the one who wrote the most famous epigramic poem, the most famous encomium of the ancient world, on the tomb of the fallen heroes at Thermopylae:

Ω ξεῖν´, ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε
κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.

Ō xein', angellein Lakedaimoniois hoti tēide
keimetha tois keinōn rhēmasi peithomenoi.

Oh traveler, give a message to the Lacedaemonians that here
we lie, having obeyed their commands

We should now look at the Paeonian names that can probably be deciphered using Greek but which are not as easily recognizable as Hellenic in meaning:

Bastareus, Dropion, Langarus and Teutaos.

Bastareus/Β̣ασταρ̣ε̣ὺ̣ς seems to have been the son of Patraos, as the following inscription from FYROM attests:

SEG 45:807,D
Macedonia : Paionia: Stenai? (Demir Kapija)

Βασταρεὺς Πατράου.

Bastareus son of Patraos

The name Bastareus, can be from any of the following: Basta/βαστά are the shoes. Bastagma/βάσταγμα is the burden to be carried: "bary bastagma e basileia / βαρύ βάσταγμα η βασιλεία / heavy burden the kingship" was the saying in antiquity. Bastakes/βάστακες were the πλούσιοι και ευγενείς/rich and nobles, tells us the Greek English lexicon of Liddell and Scott (Vol. 1 A-K, 1843, reprinted Oxford -1951). A very similar name was in use in Greece as this inscription from the island of Samos attests:

Samos 214
Samos (IG XII,6 1)

Βαστακάρας Σάμιος
Ἥρῃ θήραν ἀνέθηκε

Bastakaras the Samian
to Hera this trophy dedicated

The same root gave us the Greek name Bastakos/Βάστακος which we find in two different partial inscriptions whose location we do not know:

CIRB 753
unspecified subregion

νου καὶ Δημόστρατε υἱὲ
Βαστάκου μητράδελφε,

nou and Demostrate son of
Bastakos brother of my mother,

CIRB 1262
unspecified subregion

Ἀ̣νδρομένην ∙ Τρύφωνος,
Μ̣ακάριον ∙ Βαστάκου,
Ἀ̣ντίμαχον ∙ Ἀντιμάχου,

to Andromenes son of Tryphon
to Makarios son of Bastakos
to Antomachos son of Antomachos

The name can also be a Thracian isogloss, since we know that a similar name was used by Thracians. An inscription from Egypt mentions a Hellenized Thracian in the land of the Ptolemies, taking part in Hellenic athletic games held in the honor of Ptolemaeos, where he fought on the pangration (a type of free style mix of wrestling and boxing):

SEG 27:1114
Egypt and Nubia

Βαστακίλας Ἀμαδόκου Θρᾶιξ
πτολεμαϊκοὺς παγκράτιον

Bastakilas son of Amadokos a Thracian
ptolemaic (games) pangration

Dropion/Δροπίων is another Paeonian king, whose name can be derived from the verb drepo / δρεπω to cut down, which gives us δραπανις / sicle and dropis / δρόπις the cut off vine grapes and Dropiscos / Δροπίσκος meant the flower basket (the cut off flowers). The Indo-European root is *drep meaning originally to scratch to tear , to split off. When I visited the Museum of Makedonija, in the city of Skopje, I saw a golden leaf, which I photographed through I could not read what it said at the moment. The Museum explains it as such: Showcase #56. 1.Golden foil dedicated to the Paeonion (they meant to write Paionian or Paeonian) king Dropion, origin unknown, 3rd century B.C. The photograph of the foil can be seen at the beginning of this article. Gold is of course soft and the foil has been partially crashed. The features of the (crudely done) face in the middle of the inscription are not well preserved, and the letters have had some deformation, making it difficult to read at points, but most of it is clear. I have actually taken a photograph of it myself, in the Museum in Skopje.

It has been published academically as follows:

Regions : Northern Greece (IG X) : Macedonia
SEG 40:560 Previous Inscription SEG 40:559 SEG 40:562,1 Next Inscription

Makedonia (Paionia: Tikveš) — Prov. unkn. — Hellenistic period? — forgery? — MacActaArch 11 (1987-1989) 103-110


π(ατέρα?) καὶ
α Παιό-

This translation does not make much sense, since ΠΑΠΕΤΗ make absolutely no sense and ΜΩΑΝΤΑ is dubious.

This is how I would have attempted to read and translate it as follows:

Π(ατερα) ΚΑΙ

Dropiona Leontos P(atera) kai Megan Basilea Paionon ton Ιapetou.

Iapetos is a Titan in the shared mythology of both Greeks and Paionians, and one of his children was Paion. Paion is the mythical progenitor of the Paionians and being the son of Iapetos, it make perfect sense that the golden foil inscription mentions Dropion, the Father/Pater and King/Basileus and his children the Paionians as descending from him. Unlike them, as we know, the Macedonians further south claimed Heracles, the son of Zeus as their divine progenitor.

If Moanta/ΜΟΑΝΤΑ is indeed what is inscribed (and not: megan/ΜΕΓΑΝ), then another reading is necessary:

Π(ατερα) ΚΑΙ

Dropiona Leontos P(atera) kai Moanta, Basilean Paionon, ton Iapetou.

To Dropion son of Leon, F(ather) and Divine Musician, King of the Paionians, the (ones descending) from Iapetos.
Moa/Μωά is the name for Muse, in the Doric Laconian dialect of Sparta.

Ταΰγετον αὖτ᾽ ἐραννὸν ἐκλιπῶα
Μῶα μόλε Λάκαινα πρεπτὸν ἁμὶν
κλέωα τὸν Ἀμύκλαις σιὸν
καὶ χαλκίοικον Ἀσάναν, 1300
Αριστοφάνους Λυσιστράτη

Leave once more, oh! leave once more the noble height of Taygetus,
oh! Muse of Lacedaemon, and join us in singing the praises of Apollo of Amyclae 1300
Aristophanes, Lysistrata

A curious connection is made here. Paian is a war song in ancient Greek. Τhe names Paiania and Paionia are most certainly connected with παϊω/paio, originally meaning "to strike", but later also taking the meaning to heal, hence Paian or Paion was the doctor to the Olympian Gods, and it was also another name of Apollo himself. Paian/παιαν, also came to mean a martial song, therefore it is a name that has three meanings connected to it: Striking, healing, musing. Paionia of Macedonia and Paiania of Attica seem to both have a very ancient, war-related tribal-ethnic connection. Moas (Gen. Moantos, accus. Moanta), can possibly, but not conclusively, fall into this place.

Laggarus/Λαγγαρος was an king of the Agrianes and an ally of Alexander the Great to whom Alexander offered the hand in marriage of his sister Cynana. He died before he had the chance to become Alexander's brother in law. His name can be one of two things: there is Lagaros / Λαγαρος which means clean and pure, which is appropriate for a king, or Lagaros / Λαγαρος the one who escapes, and unless there is a hidden meaning to it, I would think it improbable for a royal name of a king. Another interesting meaning can be derived from Lagaros / Λαγαρος the sides of an pack or riding animal, a camel, a mule or a horse, and it can be connected to the proverb lagaros / λαγαρώς meaning horse riding. This could actually be a very proper name for an equestrian Paeonian king, though I think the first meaning, of the pure is more plausible.

Finally the name Teutaos/Τευτάος.

An almost identical name exists in Epeiros, Teutios and Teutaia in the female form:

I.Epidamnos 412
Epeiros, Illyria, and Dalmatia : Illyria


daughter of Teutios

Interestingly, from Asiatic Phrygia, comes this inscription with a name that is most probably related:

Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics 609,502

Μενέστρατος καὶ Τεύταμος τῷ πατρὶ καὶ τῇ μητρὶ μνήμης χάριν.

Menestratos and Teutamos to their father and mother in memory's grace.

The verb teutazo/τευτάζω in Greek means to be busy with something the noun teuxis / τευξις means the creation or acquisition of something. It could also be related to the Illyrian Teut- meaning people, but this seems improbable for a name of an aristocrat, and a king indeed. A king would be proud to be the master creator or the one who will grab/acquire what belongs to other kings than be associated with "oi polloi".

What I wanted to prove, going through the known Peonian onomastics, is that, unlike Thracian, Latin or Egyptian names, there is not a single Paeonian name that sounds truly foreign, strange, or completely unintelligible to a Greek. For sure they are not the same language, but if anything, Paeonian and Greek seem to be linguistically very closely related. Modern Linguists speak of relations of Greek to other languages and some interesting developments are coming to fruition.

Eric Hamp of the University of Chicago brings Greek and Armenian in the same branch, with Macedonian (the original, not the modern Serbo-bulgarian dialect of FROM) being a Hellenic dialect. A recent (1995) linguistic family tree compiled by D. Ringe, T. Warnow and A. Taylor shows the Greek language being related to Armenian.

Herodotus tells us that the Armenians and the Phrygians were related people:

φρύγες δὲ ἀγχοτάτω τῆς Παφλαγονικῆς σκευὴν εἶχον, ὀλίγον παραλλάσσοντες. οἱ δὲ Φρύγες, ὡς Μακεδόνες λέγουσι, ἐκαλέοντο Βρίγες χρόνον ὅσον Εὐρωπήιοι ἐόντες σύνοικοι ἦσαν Μακεδόσι, μεταβάντες δὲ ἐς τὴν Ἀσίην ἅμα τῇ χώρῃ καὶ τὸ οὔνομα μετέβαλον ἐς Φρύγας. Ἀρμένιοι δὲ κατά περ Φρύγες ἐσεσάχατο, ἐόντες Φρυγῶν ἄποικοι

Ηροδότου Ιστορίαι Z' 73.1

LXXIII. The Phrygian equipment was very similar to the Paphlagonian, with only a small difference. these Phrygians, as the Macedonians say, were called Briges as long as they dwelt in Europe, where they were neighbors of the Macedonians; but when they changed their home to Asia, they changed their name also and were called Phrygians. The Armenians, who are settlers from Phrygia, were armed like the Phrygians.

Herodotus, Τhe Histories VII 73.1

Another writer, Eudoxios, who lived around 370 B.C., a century after Herodotus, also states that the "Armenians proceed from the Phrygians and have considerable language similarities with the Phrygian language."

In the 11.31. 2008 issue of Bryn Mawr Classical Review, where Zsolt Simon of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences reviewed Roger D. Woodard's "The Ancient Languages of Europe" (Cambridge University Press, 2008), we read:

"What is certain, however, is that there was no 'Thraco-Phrygian' (p. 9), since Phrygian is clearly very closely related to Greek (and both belong to Balkan Indo-European / Balkanindogermanisch). More than a decade after the discovery (and publication) of the defixio of Pella the treatment of Macedonian (pp. 9-11) as a distinct language, and not a Greek dialect is questionable...It will be noted that Woodard refers to the Phrygian chapter where Brixhe dismisses Thraco-Phrygian in favour of a close relationship with Greek. On the relationship of Phrygian see esp. Günter Neumann: Phrygisch und Griechisch. SbO+AW 499. Wien, 1988; Gert Klingenschmitt: Die Verwandschaftsverhältnisse der indogermanischen Sprachen. In: Jens E. Rasmussen (ed.): In honorem Holger Pedersen. Kolloquium der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft vom 25. bis 28. März 1993 in Kopenhagen. Wiesbaden, 1994, 244-245; Joachim Matzinger: Phrygisch und Armenisch. In: Olav Hackstein - Gerhard Meiser (eds.): Sprachkontakt und Sprachwandel. Akten der XI. Fachtagung der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft, Halle an der Saale, 17.-23. September 2000. Wiesbaden, 2005, 381-386.

Armenian and Greek as modern spoken languages are found to be related, more so betwen each other than between each and any other living language (the fact that Armenian has wholesale imported thousands of Iranian words, does not change the fact that the original Armenian words and grammar in the modern language are what makes the connection to Greek possible. The Persian imports into Armenian had for years confused linguists into classifying it as an Iranian satem language, until fairly recently). Phrygian and Greek according to Claude Brixhe the formost scholar of the Phrygians today were sister languages, closely related. Phrygian and Armenian were related in language and customs, according to ancient authors, including Herodotus and Eudoxios. The Phrygians were documented to have been in Macedonia before they had left to go into central Anatolia and the ancients spoke of similarities between Paeonian and Phrygian. The names of the Paeonians as we saw above, all of them seem like typical Greek names, with differentiations that seem almost dialectical, not of a foreign language.

This is of course partially misleading, because Greek was not mutually or easily intelligible with Paeonian and the Greeks only later started accepting the Paeonians as a kin nation. During the 1877 excavations in Olympia, the German and German and Greek archeologists were stunned to find an inscription on a base of a statue declaring that the statue of the man had been placed there by the leage of the Paeonians / Koinon / Κοινόν Παιόνων to honor their king Dropion / Δροπίωνος:

IvO 303

Δρω]πίωνα Λέοντος
βα]σιλέα Παιόνων
κ]αὶ κτίστην τὸ κοινὸν
τ̣ῶν Παιόνων ἀνέθηκε
ἀρ̣ετῆς ἕνεκεν

To Dropion son of Leon
king of the Paeones
and builder, the koinon
of the Paeones dedicated
in virtue's grace

This was only allowed to the people that had a proven Hellenic descent, since the Hellanodikai would not have permitted such a dedication or even the presence of someone who was not deemed as being Greek in Olympia during the games at least. This probably means that by then the Hellenization of the Paeones through their contact with the Macedonians must have brought their language to a syngreticism which later led to its assimilation into Greek, and their Kings at least were by then completely hellenized for them to be accepted in Olympia. The numerous inscriptions in all Paeonian cities indicate the degree to which this Hellenizing process had reached by then, long before the arrival of the Romans in the Balkan peninsula. The Museums in FYROM are full of Greek inscriptions of Paeonia, proving that the Hellenization of the Paeonians moved very fast, first through bilingualism and then into full adaptation of the Greek language by the Paeonians. This process was helped by the apparent similarity of the two languages. The common languistic roots the Paeonians shared with the Greek speaking Macedonians, helped then in this transition. This is something that never happened with the Illyrians who lost their langauge much later through the Roman occupation and their language lost ground to latin only to lose that again to Slavic. The process of Hellenization in Thrace moved slower than in Paeonia, and the northern Thracians were never Hellenized. Northern Thrace and Dacia became latinized in language, and their descendants (of the Dacians) are today's Romanians and the (partially latinized) Albanians.

Let us now proceed with the Paeonian Diplaos/Διπλαος or Diplaios/Διπλαιος. In Greek the word means "the double person". Starting with the Indo-European *dwi- which in Latin becomes bi- as in bilateral, in Modern English it becomes twi- as in twin brother, and in Greek it becomes di-/δι- as in diplous/διπλούς, diploos/διπλόoς or diplos/διπλός or diplasios/διπλάσιος, all of which mean: double. The word diplasios was taken by the Latins as "diplasius" to mean twofold, duplicate (Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford, 1993, page 583), hence the word "diploma/δίπλωμα" (a folded paper), and the ambassador who is the carrier of such a paper to a foreign state, a "diplomat/διπλωμάτης", but also a "duplicitous" person, someone of a "double" personality, and a "duplicate" document, or the name of the letter "w" the "double-U". Should I forget to mention the "dipla/δίπλα", in plural "diples/δίπλες" the traditional Greek sweets made of a "double-folded" dough?

A name like "Double" sounds quite unusual to justify, but this would be imposing our own logic and presuppositions on an ancient society run by a different set of standards. Trying to justify the logic behind naming someone Diplaos/Διπλαος or Diplaios/Διπλαιος in Paeonian would be like considering it impossible to have a name like Diplasios/Διπλάσιος in Greek. But this is where the epigraphic record steps in to make us reconsider our modern assumptions. We have two instances below, one from Eretria, a city on the southwestern shore of the island of Euboea:

IG XII,9 245
Euboia (IG XII,9) : Eretria

Φρουραρχίδης Ἀριστομένου Στυρ(όθεν)
Χαρίδημος Διπλασίου Ῥαφ(ιεῦθεν)
Ἀντιφάνης Νικοφάντου Ζαρ(ηκόθεν)

Phrourarchides son of Aristomenes from Styra
Charidemos son of Diplasios from Rafieus
Antiphanes son of Nikophantes from Zarekos
The second inscription is from the province of Attica, the city of Athens:

MDAI(A) 67:123,261


daughter of Diplasios
a Miletian lady.

We should take a liberty of making an assumption here, and simply treat it as an assumption, as a theory: It is very possible that the Paeonian Diplaios and the Greek Diplasios meant one and the same thing, when used as a name. It is concievable that it meant a twin person, as someone who had a "double". This word in proper Greek is Didimos/Δίδυμος, and we do find instances of it being used as a name too. We shall read this name below used in the case of a merchant from Egypt, a person of obviously mixed Macedonian and Egyptian parentage, as his double names indicate (Didymos, a Greek name, and Louros, an Egyptian name). This is a commercial letter involving a contract to buy wheat and use the Banking services of a bank etc. Incidentally, the owner of the Bank is also named Didymos. We will only read the first few lines from this long document:

P.Tebt. 2.394
Date: AD149
Location: Tebtynis

Δίδυμος ὁ καὶ Λούρις Λυσιμά-
χου Λυσιμάχῳ Πασίωνο(ς)
χαίρειν. ἔσχον παρὰ σοῦ τι-
μὴν συναγοραστικοῦ πυροῦ
οὗ ἀντανῄρησαι ἐκ δημο-
σίας τραπέζης ὀνόματος
μὲν Πτολέμας Διδύμου

Didymos, also called Louris, son of Lysima-
chos to Lysimachos son of Pasion
greeting! Having recived from you
a price proforma of wheat
for which a loan will be taken
from the pub-
lic Bank named
for Polemas son of Didymos
from Kerkesephes...

The same name appears in many instances as a female name too, as Didime/Διδύμη, as in the case of a woman from Macedonia, for whom her husband dedicated this tenderly written inscription:

EKM 1. Beroia 247
Macedonia : Bottiaia: Beroia

τάτῃ συμ-
βίῳ Διδύ-
μῃ μνεί-
ας χάριν.

ate life long
partner Didi-

Far away from Beroia, and Macedonia, in Ravena in Italy we read an inscription:

I.Ravenna 12

Italy, incl. Magna Graecia

καὶ Ἐλπιδὼ

and Elpido

There are also other, derivative names like Didymias / Διδυμίας, Didymion / Διδυμίων, Didymarchos / Διδύμαρχος, Didymon / Διδύμμων,Didymon / Διδύμμων, Didymacles / Διδυμακλῆς, Sarapodidymos / Σαραποδίδυμος (the God Serapis + Didymos) and Didymeus / Διδυμεύς, and the female names Didymis / Διδυμὶς, Didyma / Διδύμα, Didymia / Διδυμία, as well as the name of the people of Didymoteichon (the "double-walled" or more precisely the "twin-walled" city, in Thrace, now part of Greece), the Didymoteicheitai / Διδυμοτειχῖται.

In conclusion, we must look at the reality of the Paeonians as an ancient nation that was linguistically, ethnically and culturaly very closely related to the Greeks, with whom they shared as shown above a common mythology and religion (all their coin have Greek deities on them, Apollo, Hercules, Zeus, Athena, etc). Greeks and Paeonians were in turn linguisticaly related to the fraternal nations of the Armenians and the Phrygians. Greeks and Paeonians shared the same religion and believed in the same Gods, the same Myths. The archaeological record from Doberos, Bylazora, Stoboi, Astybos and Astraion, to mention some of the major Paeonian cities, not to mention all the smaller villages and towns throughout northern Greece, Southwestern Bulgaria and FYROM confirm this fact.

The only statues that we find are statues of Greek Gods underwritten with with Greek inscriptions. The Museums in FYROM, where the bulk of the Paeonians nation lived are full of Statues of Apollon, Aphrodite, Zeus, Hygeia, Heracles, Asclepios, Dionyssos, etc.

Their coins are not only written in the Greek letters, but the names of their kings are almost purely Greek, and I use the word almost because some are issoglissically identical to Greek names and others are so similar to Greek that their meaning is obvious to anyone that can read and understand Greek. The other striking fact is that the Gods of the Paeonians do not appear only on the statues of their towns and temples, but on their coins too. Reeligion is something that is never taken lightly by a nation. The Egyptians never accepted the Greek religion, for example, and neither did the Zoroastrian Persians nor the Jews or the Hinduists in India. But The Paeonians had no problem putting Heracles or Apollo, Athena or Zeus on their coins, since these were also their Gods.

It is true that the Macedonians conquered the Paeonians, and they pushed them out of their seaboard into the inlands, on the upper Axios and Strymon. It is also true that the Paeonian kings accepted their subordinate role to the Macedonian kingdom, and contributed to the glorius march of Alexandros III through the plains and deserts, rivers and mountains of Asia. Ariston's bravery, killing the Persian commander after crossing the Euphrates, just before the battle of Gaugamela, had become legendary. The scene is imortalized on his brother's coins (see above, Partaos' coin).

The best indicator of the Hellenization of an ancient area is the Greek theaters on its land. Since Theaters were not built for pantomimes or circus shows, they were built for plays of Greek Drama. You did not built a marble theater in the middle of Afganistan if the

Macedonian colonists of that city did not speak Greek, for example, because Aeschylus and Euripides were not translated in other languages, not even in Latin. Translations were simply not the thing to do, unless it was religious documents, like the bible. The bible took 300 plus years before it was first translated into Latin and the Greek tragedies and other works of the Greek classics had to wait until the Renaissance before some of them were translated, and still most are only readable in their original, for most modern languages anyway. You did not make a marble stepped Greek theater in the middle of a Paeonian city (easilly the most expensive public building of the city), just because Greek was the lingua franca of the day, and simply to lure a few Greek tourists, the way some countries short of cash, to the north of Greece do, by promoting their "sex and gambling all under one roof" casinos.

The fact that we see ancient Greek Theaters in Paeonian cities like Stoboi, for example, tells us only one thing: Their population spoke Greek well enough to understand Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes in the original Attic.

Calling Diplaios an "upper Macedonian", "Payonian"(sic) ruler is wrong on many counts and only betrays the abysmal confusion of the one who wrote it .

Diplaios was not from Upper Macedonia. Upper Macedonia was not geographically "north Macedonia", if there was ever such a term, but the mountainous part of Macedonia, which lies in the west, Lyncestis, Orestis and Elimiotis, by today's towns of Kastoria, Florina, Kozani etc. In a similar way, for the ancients, Upper Egypt indicated not the northern but the southern part of Egypt: the upper lands were everything south of the cataracts of the Nile, until about Syenne, modern Aswan.

Furthermore, Diplaios was not even a Macedonian. Being distantly related to (in the prehistoric past and even sharing a related language) is not the same thing as being one and the same. Most Paeonians, in one way or another were eventually subjected to the rule of the Macedonians. Many lived in the Macedonian state as subjects of the Macedonian king and others, most of them lived under their own kings in the areas now belonging mostly to FYROM. Diplaios was a semi-independent king of the Paeonians yet a vassal to the King of Macedonia in Pella. These are simple philosophical concepts and railroading over such simple concepts indicates only one thing, worse even than ignorance : the will to falsify and twist the historical record for reasons alien to history and the truth. An ignorant person, starting with an open mind and following a vigorous course of study can easily wash off his ignorance and find the truth.

Someone who starts with a nationalist agenda and a political ax to grind will only seek ways to "invent" stories, not to understand or explain history. Claiming a linguistic, ethnic and other continuum between the ancient Paeonians and the Slavic inhabitants of the ancient Paeonian land, and then calling them both Macedonians

("A name of an upper Macedonian (Payonian) ruler...means a bouquet of flowers.") is, simply put, a bucket of un-historic nonsense, good enough for seven to eleven year old children, for whom their country's regime has decided that they need to be raised with a fake nationalist mythology. Although I think that raising children in lies you produce the future generation of controllable idiots and not responsible and empowered citizens, I can understand that part from the Skopje regime's perspective. They have studied their Tito and Stalin well. Many states do exactly the same. But when Diplaios the Paeonian is being presented as a flower-bouquet Macedonian child and granddaddy of modern Slavomakedonija, then it all becomes an outright laughable travesty of History, supported by such shuttering linguistic proof as: "The noun "dipla" is also used as a designation for a type of old [Slavo]Macedonian instrument".

My suggestion is that the next time professor Donski pays a visit to the historic capital of Macedonia, Thessalonica/Θεσσαλονίκη, he tries some dipla/δίπλα(δίπλες) (folded dough sweets) from the excellent Comnenon street/ὀδός Κομνηνών or Aristotelous square/πλατεία Ἀριστοτέλους pastry shops, on his way to the Janus/Ἰανος bookstore to get a good Greek/Bulgarian or Greek/Serbian dictionary. And then he can visit the oldest bookstore in Thessaloniki, run for generations by the Ladino-Jewish family Molcho, where all the foreign language books to be had in Thessalonike can be found, several of them in history and linguistics; and I mean: real History and real Linguistics.


  1. Αγαπητέ Μιλτιάδη,
    Μερικές παρατηρήσεις στο εξαιρετικό και αποστομωτικό θα έλεγα, άρθρο σου:
    Ο χάρτης με την Παιονία της δίνει υπερβολική έκταση που ποτέ δεν είχε. Σου υπενθυμίζω ότι οι Παίονες κατείχαν ουσιαστικά μια έκταση στον μέσο ρου του Αξιού και σε προϊστορικούς χρόνους (Ύστερη Εποχή του Ορειχάλκου, περίπου 1600-1200 π.Χ.) είχαν επεκταθεί στον κάτω ρου του Αξιού (Αμφαξίτις, Βοττιαία, Αλμωπία, Εορδαία, μέρος της Πιερίας και την Πελαγονία). Στα ανατολικά του Αξιού κατείχαν για ένα διάστημα το βόρειο τμήμα της σημερινής ανατολικής Μακεδονίας (νομοί Δράμας και Σερρών και κάποια κομμάτια στα βόρεια του Νομού Καβάλας) και ένα τμήμα της σημερινής ΝΔ Βουλγαρίας, χονδρικά το κομμάτι της λεγόμενης (κατά τους Σκοπιανούς) "Πιρίνσκα Μακεντόνιγια".
    Τώρα το πιο σημαντικό: Η Άστιβος (γράψε μου σε παρακαλώ πού αναφέρεται ως Άστυβος, με ενδιαφέρει) δεν σχετίζεται με το άστυ. Κατ' αρχάς δεν γνωρίζουμε πώς την αποκαλούσαν οι ίδιοι. Επομένως η ονομασία είναι αυτή που της έδωσαν οι Έλληνες. Κατά την άποψή μου προέρχεται από την αρχαιοελληνικό επίθετο αστιβής=έρημος, άβατος, απάτητος (χώρος) που απαντάται στον Αισχύλο (7 επί Θήβας), Σοφοκλή (Αίας) και άλλους συγγραφείς. Έτσι, συνδέεται και σημασιολογικά με την ονομασία, που είναι απαραίτητο, διαφορετικά καταλήγουμε σε μη-συμβατικές γλωσσικές θεωρίες.
    Τέλος, η χρονολογία της εμφάνισης των Ιλλυριών στα νότια Βαλκάνια που αναφέρεις (1300 π.Χ.) είναι κάπως ασάφής διότι η εθνογένεσή τους πέρασε από κάποια στάδια εξέλιξης και στην παραπάνω χρονολογία δεν έχουν ακόμα ολοκληρωθεί εθνολογικά. Σύμφωνα με τις πλέον πρόσφατες απόψεις, η φάση του σχηματισμού των λεγομένων Πρωτο-Ιλλυριών (Proto-Illyrians) καλύπτει ολόκληρη την Εποχή του Ορειχάλκου (Bronze Age, 2100/2000 – 1100 π.Χ.), ενώ στην διάρκεια των πρώτων αιώνων της Εποχής του Σιδήρου (1100 – 700 π.Χ.), έχουμε την διαμόρφωση των Πρώϊμων Ιλλυριών (First Illyrians). Από το 700 π.Χ. και μετά αναφερόμαστε πλέον στα ήδη σχηματισμένα φύλα των Ιλλυριών που αναφέρονται στους αρχαίους Έλληνες και Ρωμαίους συγγραφείς (βλ. λεπτομέρειες στην Αρχαία Ιστορία του Πανεπιστημίου Καίημπριτζ–Cambridge Ancient History, C.A.H. Vol. III, part 1 σελ. 585.
    Είναι πάντως γεγονός ότι τα πρωτογενή στοιχεία είναι ελάχιστα και γενικότερα δεν έχουν ξεκαθαριστεί ακόμα πολλά πράγματα για τους Ιλλυριούς και τις σχέσεις τους με τους γείτονές τους Παίονες. Το βέβαιο είναι ότι, όπως αρχίζει και γίνεται ευρύτερα αποδεκτό στην διεθνή επιστημονική κοινότητα, οι σημερινοί Αλβανοί ΔΕΝ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΑΜΕΣΟΙ ΑΠΟΓΟΝΟΙ ΤΩΝ ΙΛΛΥΡΙΩΝ όπως επί δεκαετίες προπαγανδίζουν.

  2. Δυστυχώς το περίφημο βιβλιοπωλείο "Μόλχο" στην Τσιμισκή έχει κλείσει εδώ και μήνες...

  3. Ευχαριστώ για την παρατήρηση βιβλιόφιλε. Το να κλείνουν βιβλιοπωλεία, και μάλιστα ιστορικά, είναι καταστροφικά λυπηρό γιά τον πολιτιστικό ιστό μιάς πόλης.

  4. Τις παρατηρήσεις σου γιά την Άστιβο, αγαπητέ DEE τις έχω πλέον ενσωματώσει στο κείμενο. Ευχαριστώ πολύ! Δεν είμαι ούτε ακαδημαϊκός ούτε καθηγητής ιστορίας και τα κείμενα αυτά σε καμία περίπτωση δεν αποτελούν πρόταση Ιστορικής ή Γλωσσολογικής αυθεντίας. Αποτελούν απλώς μιά πολεμική αναζήτηση της αλήθειας γιά την Μακεδονία, που τόσο βάναυσα κατακρεουργείται από διάφορους τσαρλατάνους του στρατευμενου ψευδομακεδονισμού των Σκοπίων. Ό,τι λάθη (και είμαι σίγουρος πως είναι πάμπολλα: ήδη εσύ επεσήμανες αρκετά, και είμαι ευγνώμων) έχουν τα κείμενά μου, είτε Ιστορικά, Ανθρωπολογικά, Γλωσσολογικά, είτε άλλα, δεν προέρχονται από εσκεμένη κάλυψη της αλήθειας παρά είναι ενδεικτικά της λειψής μου γνώσης. Η εποικοδομητική κριτική επομένως είναι πάντα ευπρόσδεκτη και καλοδεχούμενη, και απότελεί άλωστε την μόνη ατραπό που οδηγεί στην επίπονη αλλά επιστημονικά κατοχυρωμένη κατανόηση της Ιστορίας αυτού του τόπου. Και πάλι ευχαριστώ!