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Forum LockedFor Sharrukin (On The Argead Royal House)

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The Cable Guy View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02-Mar-2005 at 02:12

Hi Sharrukin,

I read with interest some of your posts regarding the origin of ancient Macedonia, especially that of the Royal Argead house. As you would already know, the passage of Herodotus below (and other qoutes like it) are frequently cited by modern Greek nationalists and others who use it to infer not only that the Argead dynasty were 'Greek' but also the whole of ancient Macedonia and its population were 'Greek' as well.

Quote "Now, that these descendants of Perdiccas are Greeks, as they themselves say, I myself chance to know."
(Herod. V, 22, 1)

Accordingly, from the above quote, we can clearly see that Herodotus was writing about the Argead house ONLY (what I like to call the Argive myth). Any attempt to infer that this relates to the territory of ancient Macedonia and the Macedonians themselves as being 'Greek' is at best bad scholarship, and at worst...fraud. It is even more ironic when Herodotus' claims are seen in comparison to Isocrates who gives us the full version of the Argive myth where NEITHER Macedonia NOR the ancient Macedonians were considered to be 'Greek'.

Quote "And the founder of your Empire, although he aspired higher than his fellow citizens and set his heart upon a kings power, was not minded to take the same road as other who set out to attain a like ambition. For they endeavored to win this honor by engendering factions, disorder and bloodshed in their own cities; he, on the otherhand, held ENTIRELY ALOOF FROM HELLENIC TERRITORY, AND SET HIS HEART UPON OCCUPYING THE THRONE OF MACEDON. For he knew full well that the Hellenes were not accustomed to submit to the rule of one man, while OTHER RACES were incapable of ordering their lives without the control of some such power. And so it came about, owing to his unique insight in this regard, that his kingship has proved to be quite set apart from the generality of kings: for, because he alone amoung the Hellenes did not claim the right to rule over a people of KINDRED RACE, he alone was able to escape the perils incident to one-man power."  - (Isocrates., To Philip, 5.106-108.)

In Herodotus' Histories, we can see the the Argive myth is not exactly unique. Whether for purposes of propaganda or prestige, claiming to be 'Greek' was a common occurance. For example as even the Persian king Xerxes claimed to be descended from Argive Greeks in order to secure a truce with the Greeks.

Quote "King Xerxes has a message for you. We Persians believe that we are descended from Perses, whose father was Danae's son Perseus, and whose mother was Andromeda the daughter of Cepheus. Thus we are of the same blood as yourselves, and it would not be right for us to make war upon people from who we have sprung."  -  (Herodotus., The Histories, 7.150.)

Another point of interest is that Herodotus also states that Spartan ruling house were not Greeks but "Genuine Egyptians".

Quote "If on the otherhand, we trace the ancestry of Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, we find that the Dorian cheiftains are genuine Egyptians. Ths is the accepted Greek version of the genealogy of the Spartan royal house"                 (Herodotus., The Histories, 6.53-54.)

Edited by The Cable Guy
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