Thursday, July 7, 2011

Clarifying Plutarch's "Parallel Lives" on Alexander and the Macedonians - Part 2

PHILIP II's stater commemorating his Olympic Games Chariot victory
The first part of this paper, ended with professor Ian Worthington, so I think it is wise to start with him again. In the first chapter of his book, Philip II of Macedonia, published in 2008 by Yale University, we read the first paragraph:

In the summer of 338BC. Arguably the most decisive battle in ancient Greek history took place at Chaeronea in Boeotia, as a result of which thousands of Greeks were killed or captured. It was fought between a coalition of Greek states and Philip II of Macedonia, and its outcome would decide the fate of Greece. If the Greeks won, they would retain their autonomy and might even check what was by now Philip's naked imperialism. If the king won, Greek liberty would be lost, and he would add the Greek mainland to his rapidly growing empire. Victory went to Philip, and the course of Greek history, north and south of Mount Olympus (the geographical frontier between Macedonia and Greece in antiquity), was for ever altered.1”

Someone of a pseudo-Makedonist inclination, trained in the Yugoslav school of history falsification in Skopje would triumphantly exclaim: 
-Here is the proof! Professor Ian Worthington is clearly speaking of Macedonians fighting against Greeks, Hellas being south of Mount Olympus, Macedonia situated north of Mount Olympus, case closed: the Macedonians were therefore not Greeks! Then, in the same breath he would add: Therefore, reductio ad absurdum being the normal way of Balkan ultra-nationalist reasoningthe Macedonians were...proto-Slavic!
Aaha! Now it all makes sense. The Skopje Yugoslavs of today, therefore, are historically justified in building their pharaonic statues to Philip and Alexander the great, and claiming that they are the true descendants of the ancient Macedonians who have ancient rights to the name Macedonia and, consequently, to the Northern Greek province of Macedonia. Is it not Professor Ian Worthington, who makes such a distinction between the Greeks who fought  Philip II of Macedfonia? Sopje is right: the Greeks are impostors, unrelated to the fabled Macedonians of Philip II, Aristotle and Alexander the Great!
-Not so fast!,  someone could caution the overzealous propagandist: professor Ian Worthington put an (1) at the end of this, his very first paragraph in the book – let's read what he wrote. We turn to page 242 of the same book, and in the very first note of the book we read:
  1. "The ethnicity of the Macedonians remains a controversial topic, which I deal with in Appendix 2. I believe that they were Greek and spoke Greek. However, for the sake of convenience, in this book when I refer to “Greeks” I mean the people who lived south of Mount Olympus, and when I refer to “Macedonians” I mean those living to its north. I do not mean to suggest any differences from this designation other than the geographic one."
Josif Griz...ovski, the prolific writer of books and articles in the service of Skopjan historic revisionism, better known by the (intentionally more Italian than Jugoslavic sounding) pseudonym “Gandeto”, happens to be of a different opinion.

The fourth of his alleged “Plutarch´s seven points of interest on Macedonians and Greeks” starts with an English translation of a quote from Alexander, in Plutarch's “Parallel Lives”:

      Plutarch, Alexander 11 "The kingdom that Alexander inherited at the age of twenty was surrounded on all sides by bitter resentment, deep hatred, and danger. Not only were the native tribes on his borders shafing at their lack of freedom and missing their traditional monarchies, but also, although Philip had gained control of Greece by force of arms, he had not had the time to tame the people and accustom them, so to speak, to the Macedonian yoke; all he had done was make things different and unsettled, and then leave them, due to his inexperience, in a state of a considerable commotion and instability. The Macedonians were concerned about the critical situation and thought that Alexander should ignore Greece altogether, without using any extra force there, while attempting to win back the revolting native tribes by conciliatory moves and to appease their rebellious feelings before they really got started."   Let´s dissect this passage: (a) Plutarch says that Philip had not had the time to tame his subjects; (I say subjects because he had gained control of Greece by force of arms) and accustom them to the Macedonian yoke. Two things come into focus here: force of arms and Macedonian yoke. This should put to rest the notion that Philip united the city states of Greece. Again, it should be born in mind that it is Plutarch, the famous Greek administrator and biographer that uses this terminology. (b) Alexander´s generals advised him to ignore Greece and leave her to its vices. What inference can we make from this statement? Surely, you will agree that Macedonia was not part of Greece. Never was. Today´s Greek vocal assertion that Macedonia was Greek, rests on a "foundation of lies" (Hans Lothar Schteppan).”
Now, before we get into the particulars of Gandeto's arguments, we need to make it clear that we are not here to attack windmills. If we are to use Plurach as a source, for such a delicate issue, we first need to be clear about the nuances of the text, and unfortunately the translation Gandeto chose is critically flawed on several points and I will explain:

Not only were the native tribes on his borders shafing at their lack of freedom and missing their traditional monarchies,..”
is not a good translation of:

οὔτε γὰρ τὰ βάρβαρα καὶ πρόσοικα γένη τὴν δούλωσιν ἔφερε,
ποθοῦντα τὰς πατρίους βασιλείας,...”

Bernadotte Perrin's 1919 translation, found next to the text at Tafts University's Perseus webssite ( ) is much closer to the original:
“For the neighbouring tribes of Barbarians would not tolerate their servitude,
and longed for their hereditary kingdoms;”
both in translation of the “πατρίους βασιλείας” / patrious Basileias, which, if I were to translate in an exact manner I would have translated it as “patrimonial” (which encompasses “traditional”, “hereditary” and “local” all in one) kingdom (not “monarchy”, in this case), but also and especially for the translation of “τὴν δούλωσιν” / ten douloosin, which I would have never translated as “their lack of freedom”, but “the enslavement”, not even servitude. Δούλωσις / doulosis is derived from δούλος / doulos, meaning “slave” and δουλόω / douloo, meaning “to enslave”.
There is plenty of semantic difference between mere “lack of freedom”, which is merely a political condition and “enslavement”, which is a state of being. Plutarch is speaking of the Thracians and Paionians who lived in lands that Philip conquered as being “enslaved” by the Macedonians, i.e. being under the direct control of the Macedonians, having no right to self government.
The neighboring barbarian tribes, Plutarch tells us, were fighting to restore their “πατρίους βασιλείας” / patrious Basileias, their own patrimonial kingdoms, and to shake off their “δούλωσιν” / douloosin, enslavement at the hands of the Macedonians.

Further down,
although Philip had gained control of Greece by force of arms,
he had not had the time to tame the people and accustom them,
so to speak, to the Macedonian yoke;”,
does a rather poor job in conveying the true meaning of:
οὔτε τὴν Ἑλλάδα κρατήσας τοῖς ὅπλοις ὁ Φίλιππος 
οἷον καταζεῦξαι καὶ τιθασεῦσαι χρόνον ἔσχεν, 

The problem, is starting with a reference to “the people” which is nowhere to be found in the original text, neither is any reference to “accustom them” nor “so to speak, to the Macedonian”. These are all inventive inserts brought along into the translation. It is unfortunate that the relaxed liquidity of the particular translation, while easy to the ear, makes an unwelcome disservice to Plutarch's original text to the point of altering its meaning.
Once again, Bernadotte Perrin's 1919 translation is much more scholarly and to the point:

“and as for Greece, although Philip had conquered her in the field,
he had not had time enough to make her tame under his yoke,”

The “καταζεῦξαι καὶ τιθασεῦσαι” / katazeuxai kai tithaseusai (yoking and taming) are qualifiers of τὴν Ἑλλάδα / ten Hellada, Greece, not “ the people” which does not even exist in the original text!
If I were to make an effort, in my limited Ancient Greek, I would try the following literal translation:

neither Greece, overtaken through arms, did Philippos
have any sort of time to (καταζεῦξαι καὶ τιθασεῦσαι:) place under the yoke and tame (her).

The “τιθασεῦσαι” / tithaseusai poses no problem in translation, since “taming” is a good fit, without any other hidden meanings.
The “καταζεῦξαι” / katazeuxai is not as clear cut, since κατάζευξις (κατά+ζεύξις / kata+zeuxis literally means yoking, i.e. to place (oxen or horses) under the yoke. But metaphorically it also means “marriage” ἀνδρὸς καὶ γυναικός / andros kai gynaikos = of man and wife, as Plutarch himself also uses it in Plutarch's Amatorius 750c:

‘γάμον καὶ σύνοδον
ἀνδρὸς καὶ γυναικός, ἧς οὐ γέγονεν οὐδ᾽ ἔστιν ἱερωτέρα
The meaning, in other words, is not necessarily negative, as in “accustoming” someone “to the Macedonian yoke” would infer. After all the derived verb καταζευγνύω / katazeygnyo besides “yoking together”, as in oxen to a cart or horses to a chariot, it is also used when referring to δύο πλοία καταζευγμένα “two ships joined together”, or “to be united” as in ταίς πρώτον ούτω καταζευγμέναις πόλεσιν, which Plato uses:
[753ε]  ἆρα ἐννοοῦμεν ὡς ταῖς πρῶτον οὕτωκαταζευγνυμέναις πόλεσιν ἀνάγκη μὲν εἶναί τινας, οἵτινεςδὲ εἶεν ἂν πρὸς πασῶν τῶν ἀρχῶν γεγονότες, οὐκ ἔστιν;
We perceive (do we not?) that for States that are thus getting into harness for the first time some such persons there must necessarily be;
Plato Laws 753e

Finally, the translation “Alexander should ignore Greece altogether, without using any extra force there,” is also a very poor rendering of:
καὶ τὰ μὲν Ἑλληνικὰ
πάντως ἀφεῖναι καὶ μὴ προσβιάζεσθαι τὸν Ἀλέξανδρον
Once again, Bernadotte Perrin's 1919 translation shines through:
he should give up the Greek states altogether and use no more compulsion there,
simply because the text is not referring to Greece / Ελλάς = Hellas but to Ἑλληνικὰ / Hellenica, in neutral plural, not feminine singular. It is therefore speaking of the Greek “somethings” in plural, Bernadotte Perrin is using Greek states, which is not bad, but I would have used Greek “affairs”, instead, since in English Ἑλληνικὰ / Hellenica cannot stand by itself in the translated sentence unqualified, though in Greek it is doing just fine. Alexander, was told by his advisers, in other words, keep out of Greek politics, and leave them πάντως ἀφεῖναι / pantos afeinai, completely alone! This is simply and exactly what Plutarch's text is telling us.
Why did I go to the pains of explaining all this, is that what is apparent from Plutarch's original text is that with Philip's sudden death, the barbarians started demanding their independence, while at the same time, Macedonian control over Greek events had not been solidified. Alexander was told to bid his time with the barbarians and try to manage them as well as he could with mild force and bribery while at the same time to leave the Greeks in the south alone in their fratricidal squabbles and not intervene or try to control them.
Starting from a bad starting point (a bad translation, in this case) while being ignorant of the language of the writer whom whose writings you are trying to analyze is bad enough, but when you add preconceived notions of an assumed Slavonic nature for the ancient Macedonians to the mix, and you come to the table with Balkan axes to grind and with history dissecting knifes, the end result is going to be painfully unbearable. Here is Gandeto again, eagerly putting Plutarch and history to the butcher's block:
“Let´s dissect this passage:
(a) Plutarch says that Philip had not had the time to tame his subjects; (I say subjects because he had gained control of Greece by force of arms) and accustom them to the Macedonian yoke. Two things come into focus here: force of arms and Macedonian yoke.”
As we saw above, the translation Mr. Josif Griz...ovski is using is under-translating, if the term can be permitted, the “τὴν δούλωσιν” / ten douloosin, i.e. “the enslavement” of the neighboring barbarian tribes, while it is over-translating the “καταζεῦξαι καὶ τιθασεῦσαι” / katazeuxai kai tithaseusai, i.e. “the yoking and taming” passage referring to Greece.
You give them an inch, they want a foot, an American expression goes. Gandeto takes what he was given and stretches it to breaking point: “(I say subjects because he had gained control of Greece by force of arms)”. He of course disregards what Alexander's advisers told him that:
καὶ τὰ μὲν Ἑλληνικὰ πάντως ἀφεῖναι καὶ μὴ προσβιάζεσθαι, i.e.
“and the Greek affairs completely abandon and not use compulsion”, 
which makes it plain that the Macedonians at that moment had absolutely no control in the affairs of the Greek cities to begin with, other than oaths given to Philip first, later renewed to Alexander, in the council of Corinth. That was for a limited goal, namely to be the Hegemon of the Panhellenic expedition against the Persian empire. The only place in southern Greece where the Macedonians had some (strong but still fairly limited, as events proved) control over, was Thebes where a Macedonian garrison was stationed on the Cadmeia, the Theban acropolis. Other than that, the Thessalians had elected Philip as their Ταγός / Tagos, a Thessalian term for the leader of the united cities of Thessaly, an office that was passed hereditary to Alexander and the other Macedonian kings henceforth.
Gandeto, nevertheless, concludes that: Greeks in Greek city states were Philip's and Alexander's “subjects because he had gained control of Greece by force of arms) and accustom them to the Macedonian yoke.” To him, “Two things come into focus here: force of arms and Macedonian yoke.” As we saw of course the work “Macedonian is no where in the text and the work “yoke” is only used to indicate a joint relation, a working together, a marriage and cooperation, which, considering the historical events, makes perfect sense, because Philip never intended to “conquer” the southern Greek cities, all he wanted was their cooperation through taming of their continuous fratricidal intra-fighting that kept Persia involved in Greek affairs. Philip wanted the Greeks quiet and peaceful, so that he could go for what was important to this Homeric Wanaks: Gold and fame.
An American bank robber of the 1930's was once asked by a reporter why he was robbing banks, and rather surprised by the apparent naivete' (or so he thought) of the question, he answered: “That's where the money is!”. Both Philip and Alexander knew where the ancient world's “bank” was: at Persepolis, the capital of the Achaemenid empire. While building a standing army was a survival necessity for Philip's Macedonia, expending what we would call today their tax base was necessary in order to afford paying for the expenses of keeping it. This is why Alexander did not waste much time trying in subduing the Balkan tribes or the southern Greeks.
“It could be argued that Philip was looking to the long term and that an invation of Persia was what he wanted. Most Greek cities were small, poor and barely able to feed themselves. Macedonia would derive litle wealth and perhaps significant expense from their conquest. Control of Greece South of Thessaly was of no strategic use except to prevent the larger states from combining against Philip during his absence in Persia . If Philip was seeking glory and wealth, then an invasion of Persia made the most sense.”
“Philip II of Macedonia – Greater than Alexander”, 2010, , page 176, Richard A. Gabriel, professor of history, War Studies and Politics - Royal Military College of Canada & US War College
 In other words:
Οὐκ ἂν λάβοις παρὰ τοῦ μὴ ἔχοντος
Ouk an labeis para tou me echontos
You won't get (anything) from the penniless”
as Menippos told Charon, in Loukianos' Nekrikoi Dialogoi.
Greek city states being so dirt poor they could be bought in the cheap by Persian Gold, if necessary, to attack the Macedonians' rear at any point, had they attempted an expedition without covering their back first. This was exactly what had happened to the only other Greek expedition previously undertaken, sixty years before Alexander, by Agesilaos, king of Sparta:

Persian coins were stamped with the figure of an archer, and Agesilaüs said, as he was breaking camp, that μυρίοις τοξόταις ὑπὸ βασιλέως ἐξελαύνεσθαι τῆς Ἀσίας, i.e. the King was driving him out of Asia with ten thousand ‘archers’; for so much money had been sent to Athens and Thebes and distributed among the popular leaders there, and as a consequence those peoples made war upon the Spartans.”
Plutarch, Agesilaos 15.6

Had Gandeto had any say on the matter he would have written a treatise on why this quote “proves” that the Spartans or the Athenians and Thebans for that matter, were nor Greeks.
Philip and Alexander both knew their Greek history well and they were not going to make Agesilaos; mistake the second time around. They would not let themselves be stabbed on the back by Persian gold creating sedition in Greece against them. Taming the Greek cities Greece by enforcing, if need be, their cooperation while enslaving at the same time the immediately surrounding barbarian tribes, these were not strategic ends in and of themselves but simply means towards reaching the ultimate goal. That goal was to muster the forces and to force the right alliances and to neutralize all possible threats so that they could go after the big game, the Great King of Persia.
Macedonia had been at the 11th hour before complete destruction at the hands of Ilyrian barbarians at the time Philip took its reigns. He had to form an army from the scratch, equip it in the cheapest way possible and create an infantry corps out of poor goat herders who had no money to buy an expensive hoplite's panoply. Hence the invention of the long sarissa pike with the small Macedonian shield hanging through a neck strap and a helmet, if even that. It was a cheap solution that worked like a charm. Not only was the Macedonian Phalanx able to neutralize the traditional Greek hoplites phalanx, but it proved time and again fully capable of puncturing through it and defeating it too.
In order to survive, Philip had to find money to keep a standing army, to feed it and to train it, year round. He immediately went after the gold and silver mines of near Thrace, controlling Amphipolis and establishing Philippoi. While Philip was very aggressive towards the neighboring Greeks, like Olynthos and Greek city states of the Thermaic gulf and Chalcidice, in reality the Macedonians were always practicing offensive defense where Athens was concerned. It was unfortunate for the Athenians that they were dependent on the north Aegean sea routs, where Macedonia had to have its way. The fact that Amphipolis and the Macedonian and Thracian coastlines were of vital strategic and economic importance to the Athenians brought them into conflict with Philip. The Athenians were paranoid about Macedonia's rise and they misread Philip's intentions as they miscalculated Philip in every single turn of events. Philip and Alexander did everything to accommodate Athens and all the Athenians could do ask and they could have had anything they wanted from either Philip or Alexander. Both of them were as Athenophile as anyone in history (P.S. : how can Skopje erect statues to Greek kings like Philip and Alexander and still be so deleteriously and vitriolically anti-Hellenic is another story). Philip's and to a lesser extend treatment of Athens was like a boy adoring a cat and playing with it, but at some point, when she put out her claws and scratched him, he instinctively slapped her, to teach her a lesson. 
“It is interesting that Athens remained consistently opposed to Philip's apparent genuine desire to reach an accomodation with it. If Philip's strategy to reduce Theban power was to succeed, then Athenian power in central Greece had to increase in order to serve as an affective check on Thebes. To this end we might surmise that Philip was genuinely interested in making Athens the dominant power in central Greece with his cooperation and military support"
“Philip II of Macedonia – Greater than Alexander”, 2010, page 175, Richard A. Gabriel, professor of history, War Studies and Politics - Royal Military College of Canada & US War College
Back to Gandeto again, who is thinking in terms of :  

“Two things come into focus here: force of arms and Macedonian yoke.” he believes that: “This should put to rest the notion that Philip united the city states of Greece. Again, it should be born in mind that it is Plutarch, the famous Greek administrator and biographer that uses this terminology.

I happen to have an issue with this concept that since there was violence therefore there could no be unity. The contrary is true: unity in nature, and this includes human society, is rarely achieved peacefully. People are usually content in their own ways and to create an association, something has to give in, and that is usually the relative independence of the parts and the strengthening of the whole.
Far from putting “to rest the notion that Philip united the city states of Greece” just because he used “force of arms”, namely the battle of Chaeronea, mentioned in the beginning, history proves that real national unity has rarely been achieved without the use of blood and iron.
It was blood and iron, and force of arms that first united the Macedonians of Upper and Lower Macedonia, making the independent kingdoms of the Lyncestians the Orestae and the Elimiotes vassals to the house of the Argaeadae in Aegai, and later Pella.

...ὅπως κατὰ κορυφὴν ἐσβαλοῦσιν ἐς τὴν κάτω Μακεδονίαν, ἧς ὁ Περδίκκας ἦρχεν. [2] τῶν γὰρ Μακεδόνων εἰσὶ καὶ Λυγκησταὶ καὶ Ἐλιμιῶται καὶ ἄλλα ἔθνη ἐπάνωθεν, ἃ ξύμμαχα μέν ἐστι τούτοις καὶ ὑπήκοα, βασιλείας δ᾽ ἔχει καθ᾽ αὑτά. [3] τὴν δὲ παρὰ θάλασσαν νῦν Μακεδονίαν Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Περδίκκου πατὴρ καὶ οἱ πρόγονοι αὐτοῦ, Τημενίδαι τὸ ἀρχαῖον ὄντες ἐξ Ἄργους, πρῶτοι ἐκτήσαντο καὶ ἐβασίλευσαν ...
“...they prepared for descending from the heights upon Lower Macedonia, where the dominions of Perdiccas lay; [2] for the Lyncestae, Elimiots, and other tribes more inland, though Macedonians by blood and allies and, dependents of their kindred, still have their own separate governments. [3] The country on the sea coast, now called Macedonia, was first acquired by Alexander, the father of Perdiccas, and his ancestors, originally Temenids from Argos...”
Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, 2.99

Thus at the beginning of the fifth century B.C. The Macedonian state was a loose construction of regions that more or less voluntarily, according to their geographic position and the political inclinations of their lords, gave their allegiance to the Argaead king, who resided at Aigai.”,
tells us R. Malcolm Errington in “Geschichte Makedonia”, translated into English as “A History Of Macedonia” and published by the University of California in 1990.

and later completely eliminating their even nominal independence, forging a more unified Macedonian state from its previously existing parts.
The Upper Macedonian royal houses which had been overrun by Bardylis' Ilyrians earlier, unable to save themselves only to be saved by Philip, had no other choice but to simply accept being demoted to simple hetaeroi / companions to the king in Pella, keeping land and titles but stripped of real power:
“the monarchies of the tribal states of Elimioae, Orestae, Lyncestae and Pelagones were now abolished, and the people became Macedonians, subject to the centralized monarchy in Pella...Upper and Lower Macedonia were united as never before, and the king was now king of all Macedonia”
Ian Worthington, Phillip II of Macedonia, page 35.
Some of these princes, later became kings in their own right, like Prolemy, son of Lagos, who became the pharaoh of Egypt. Some, like Derdas, ended up as advisers in Darius' Persian court.

In southern Greece, due to far different socio-political conditions, and the entrenched system of city states, Philip had to use different means in order to unify and pacify and win the cooperation of the rest of Greece. The Thessalians accepted him as their leader once he helped defeat the troublesome Pherrae. Most of Central Greece accepted his overlordship after he defeated the sacrilegious Phocians at the end of the Sacred War. After the battle of Chaeronea, Thebes and Athens went along, having been severely beaten by the force of Macedonian and Thessalian arms, and only Sparta was left out. It was only after Chaeronea when Philip was finally accepted by the rest of the Greeks as the unquestioned Hegemon / Supreme leader of all the Greeks. 

After Philip's assassination, his son, Alexander III invited delegates from all the other Greek states to the Isthmus of Corinth, the sacred place where the Isthmia festivals (sacred religious and athletic festivals, similar to the Olympic and the Delphic games) were being held and he spoke to the delegates  about the necessity to proceed with his father's plans on the Persian empire. Alexander asked that they all agree to vote for a resolution creating the Panhellenic against Persia, and he was awarded the title previously reserved for Philip:

εἰς δὲ τὸν Ἰσθμὸν τῶν Ἑλλήνων συλλεγέντων καὶ ψηφισαμένων ἐπὶ Πέρσας μετ᾽ Ἀλεξάνδρου στρατεύειν ἡγεμὼν ἀνηγορεύθη.
And now a general assembly of the Greeks was held at the Isthmus, where a vote was passed to make an expedition against Persia with Alexander, and he was proclaimed their leader.
Plutarch, Parallel Lives, Alexander 14.1
On the other side of the world, China went through a bloody “Warring States Period”, when, like in Greece, most of the major powers were fighting to gain preeminence and dominance: the states of Chu, Han, Qi, Qin, Wei, Yan and Zhao were only the seven largest of these kingdoms, among several others of lesser importance. It was through the Qin state's Qin Shi Huang ruthless campaign of blood and iron that finally unified the Chinese nation for the first time, in 221 B.C., a little less than a hundred and forty years after Greek mainland unification had been achieved by Philip II, Φίλιππος Β' / Philippos the Second, as the Greeks call him.
Following Gandeto's argument though:

“Two things come into focus here: force of arms and Qin yoke. This should put to rest the notion that Qin Shi Huang  united the warring states of China”.

In fact, Gandeto could as well be using the Chinese version of Demosthenes' attack on Philip, quoting a nobleman from the state of Wei who told his king that "Qin has the same customs as the (barbarian tribes) Jung and the Ti. It has the heart of a tiger or a wolf. It is avaricious, perverse, eager for profit, and without sincerity. It knows nothing about etiquette, proper relationships, and virtuous conduct, and if there be an opportunity for material gain, it will disregard its relatives as if they were animals." trying to “prove” that the Qin were of course barbarians! How could they be Chinese when other Chinese accuse them of being barbarian and they used force to unify China!
In the later part of the 19th century it was the turn of another great statesman, Bismarck of Prussia, to follow on Philip II's path and force about the unification of his (scattered into a multitude of principalities and smaller and larger kingdoms) German nation: 
Prussia must concentrate and maintain its power for the favorable moment which has already slipped by several times. Prussia's boundaries according to the Vienna treaties are not favorable to a healthy state life. The great questions of the time will not be resolved by speeches and majority decisions, that was the great mistake of 1848 and 1849, but by iron and blood."
Otto von Bismarck, Hollyday, 1970, pp. 16–18 
The country and the area which we now know as Germany was comprised, at the end of the 18th century, by the splintered remnants of "The Holy Roman Empire", a loose confederation that was neither Roman nor an Empire, and obviously not very Holly either. In the “List of Reichstag participants of 1792” we find a dizzying array of hundreds of smaller states, independent municipalities and principalities, the remaining lot of which, by 1866 had to choose sides in the "Deutcher Krieg von 1866", also known as the German – Austrian war, or German – Austrian – Italian war, or German-German war of 1866. Someone could say the German version of the battle of Chaeronea.

Through this war, the German nation's Philip II, Otto von Bismarck, forced the creation of the "North German Confederation" under his militaristic Prussian leadership. Austria remained outside it. It is still remains outside it as the “other” Germanic state. A few years later, in1871, following its victory against France in the Franco-Prussian War, the "North German Confederation" renamed itself the "German Empire". 

Today's "Federal Republic of Germany" is the product of that Prussian "steel and blood" process, which culminated in Bismarck's "German state against another German state" fratricidal war. 

Reflecting on this, I have absolutely no doubt that Gandeto could locate some brain-fried  bureaucrat of the "Hans Lothar Schteppan" type who (upon "dissecting" truth and logic on the Procrustian table of Yugoslav history falsification) will proclaim: 

"What inference can we make from this statement? Surely, you will agree that Prussia was not part of Germany. Never was. Today´s German vocal assertion that Prussia was German, rests on a "foundation of lies"!"

This, of course is not exactly what Gandeto said, what he actually said was:

"(b) Alexander´s generals advised him to ignore Greece and leave her to its vices. What inference can we make from this statement? Surely, you will agree that Macedonia was not part of Greece. Never was.Today´s Greek vocal assertion that Macedonia was Greek, rests on a "foundation of lies"

I suppose he is right. We should not be listening to modern Greek assertions about Alexander and his Macedonians. After all, Modern Greeks, and especially the Greek Macedonians are biased: They do believe that Alexander was Macedonian therefore Greek king and most certainly not a Yugoslav Czar. We need to look at Plutarch, one of our ancient sources, for a clue:

[17.2] καὶ πολλάκις μὲν ἔσπευδε Δαρείῳ συμπεσὼνἀποκινδυνεῦσαι περὶ τῶν ὅλων, πολλάκις δὲ τοῖς ἐπὶθαλάσσῃ πράγμασι καὶ χρήμασι διενοεῖτο πρῶτον οἷονἐνασκήσας καὶ ῥώσας αὑτόν οὕτως ἀναβαίνειν ἐπ᾽ ἐκεῖνον. ἔστι δὲ τῆς Λυκίας κρήνη περὶ τὴν Ξανθίων πόλιν,ἧς τότε λέγουσιν αὐτομάτως περιτραπείσης καὶὑπερβαλούσης ἐκ βυθοῦ δέλτον ἐκπεσεῖν χαλκῆν τύπουςἔχουσαν ἀρχαίων γραμμάτων, ἐν οἷς ἐδηλοῦτο παύσεσθαιτὴν Περσῶν ἀρχὴν ὑπὸ Ἑλλήνων καταλυθεῖσαν.
[17.3] τούτοις ἐπαρθείς ἠπείγετο τὴν παραλίαν ἀνακαθήρασθαιμέχρι τῆς Φοινίκης καὶ Κιλικίας...
Here is the translation:
[2] Many times he was eager to encounter Dareius and put the whole issue to hazard, and many times he would make up his mind to practice himself first, as it were, and strengthen himself by acquiring the regions along the sea with their resources, and then to go up against that monarch. Now, there is in Lycia, near the city of Xanthus, a spring, which at this time, as we are told, was of its own motion upheaved from its depths, and overflowed, and cast forth a bronze tablet bearing the prints of ancient letters, in which it was made known that the empire of the Persians would one day be destroyed by the Greeks and come to an end.
[17.3] Encouraged by this prophecy, Alexander hastened to clear up the seacoast as far as Cilicia and Phoenicia...
(Plutarch, Alexander, 17.2,3)

We will let others ponder at the mind bungling puzzle Plutarch threw at Gandeto's lap. I, for one, would think it incomprehensible if I had read, for example, that the Roman general Scipio Africanus (the one who defeated Hannibal at the battle of Zema) would have rejoiced being "encouraged by this prophesy" if, while attacking Carthage, he had found a tablet prophesizing that the hegemony of the Carthaginians "would one day be destroyed by the Greeks"...and not by the Romans! The Romans, after all, were not Greek.

So, then, what was Alexander thinking? 

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