Greeks and Macedonians by E. Badian 02

As a matter of fact, there is reason to think that at least some even among Alexander I's friends and supporters had regarded the Olympic decision as political rather than factual--as a reward for services to the Hellenic cause rather than as prompted by genuine belief in the evidence he had adduced. We find him described in the lexicographers, who go back to fourth-century sources, as "Philhellen"--surely not an appellation that could be given to an actual Greek. No king recognized as Greek, to my knowledge, was ever referred to by that epithet. On the other hand, the epithet cannot come from his enemies; they(surely) would have had other tales to tell: of what he had done when the Mede came and before, perhaps. It may be, therefore, that we can trace a tradition that interpreted the decision on his Temenid descent as political gesture back to at least some of Alexander's own Greek friends. Once we notice this, it becomes even less surprising that, as far as we know, his successor Perdiccas did not tempt fate and the judges again, and that the next king, Archelaus, may have run into trouble when he did. Of course, as is well known, the claim to Hellenic descent is, as such, neither isolated nor even uncommon. It is perhaps the earliest we know of. And no other monarch had the imaginative boldness of Alexander I in having it authenticated, at the right political moment, by the most competent authority in Hellas. (Perhaps no other monarch ever found such an opportunity.) But by the fourth century, certainly, the rulers of Macedonian Lyncestis prided themselves on descent from the Corinthian Bacchiads--a royal dynasty fully comparable with the Temenid claims of their rivals at Aegae. The kings of the Molossi (another people not regarded as fully Hellenic) were descended from Achilles himself via Pyrrhus son of Neoptolemus: their very names proved it. And if not fully Hellenic, then at least equally ancient and connected with Greek myth. The distant Enchelei in Illyria were ruled by descendants of Cadmus and Harmonia, not unknown in the heart of Greece itself.

Whether aristocratic families in Italy and Sicily were at this time also claiming descent from Greek heroes or if not Greek, at least Trojan does not at present seem possible to discover. We have no literature or "family" art going back to such an early period. On the other hand, it is known and uncontested that, long before the fifth century, Sicilian and Italian tribes and peoples were linked by Greek speculation, and had learned to link themselves, to Greeks or Trojans. The two were by no means clearly distinguished at the time, but conferred common legitimacy and antiquity as properly Homeric. Odysseus as Ktistes seems in fact to have preceded Aeneas, at least in central Italy. This makes it very likely (one would think) that the ruling families of the peoples concerned took their own descent back to the mythical ancestor, thus legitimizing their rule. If so, they would precede Alexander I by several generations. This, as I have had to admit, remains speculation, since relevant evidence is simply unknown. But what we do thus attain is a certain and extensive cultural background to the claim of the Greek origin of the Macedonian people (as distinct form the kings). That claim,.too first appears in Herodotus. It makes the original Macedonians identical with the original Dorians. When it first arose, we cannot tell. It is almost certainly later than the royal lineage, in support of his own contention. Yet in Herodotus it appears as a separate issue, and it is clear that (by his day, at any rate) it had never been submitted to the judgment of the Hellanodikai, presumably because supporting material could not be found and (as we have seen) Macedonian influence at Olympia was never again such as to make acceptance of this much wider claim probable. Certainly, no Macedonian appears on the lists of Olympic victors that have survived (a fair proportion of the whole)until well into the reign of Alexander the Great. Yet one would have thought that Macedonian barons, who thought highly of physical prowess and who certainly had the resources needed, would have been able to win one of the personal contests, or at least a chariot race--a feat that, by some time early in the fourth century, even a Spartan lady could perform. As we have seen, by the end of the fifth century counter-Olympics had been established in Macedon, and Macedonians were free to indulge their competitive ambitions without undergoing the scrutiny of the Hellanodikai. We may confidently assert that the claim to Hellenic descent, as far as the Macedonians as a whole were concerned, was not officially adjudicated for generations after Herodotus and Thucydides.

The origin of this claim (as an unofficial myth) can be dated to some time between the admission of Alexander I and the middle of the century (when Herodotus must have picked it up: i.e., it presumably does still go back to Alexander I himself) and , as I have already implied, may be looked for in the search for further support for the authenticity of the king's own Hellenism, which was (as scrutiny of the scant evidence has suggested) not entirely un-debated. Like the principal issue itself, it soon developed further. By the time of the Caranus myth (noted above) it had been supplemented by an actual migration of Peloponnesians. This was clearly a more specific event than a claim (to identity with the Dorians) that might arouse both disbelief and even opposition; and it fits in well with the way in which "ancient history" was conceived of in the case of most peoples in the Graeco-Roman world--all but the few who, like the Athenians, laid claim to being(within limits that had to recognized)"autochthonous." The claim to Greek origin of the Macedonians as a people, therefore, can be seen arising and developing within the fifth and possibly early fourth centuries, at a time when similar claims were familiar and indeed commonplace in the West. In fact, the historian Hellanicus, at some time later in the fifth century, seems to be the earliest literary source that makes Aeneas the founder of Rome. The first half(approximately) of the fourth century was a sorry time for Macedonia. Between the assassination of Archelaus about 400 B.C. and the accession of Philip II, the gains of the able and long lived kings of the fifth century seem to have been largely lost, and Macedon was weakened by civil war and foreign invasion to the point where, by 359, the kingdom seemed close to disintegration. Philip's mother and her intrigues (whatever the truth about that obscure and much-expanded topic) had not improved matters. When Philip's brother and predecessor Perdiccass III was killed in a military disaster in Illyria, Philip (who took over, whether or not as protector of Perdiccas' young son) was faced by several pretenders, each supported by a foreign power. That had been the pattern in several changes of monarch in the Argead kingdom. In this as in other respects, Philip's achievement deserves to receive full justice.

During the long-drawn-out anarchy and regression, the Macedonian claim to "Hellenism" cannot be expected to have made much progress. As we have seen, no Macedonian (king,baron,or commoner) appears in the Olympic victor lists. Nor do we find the Macedonian people ever regarded as a political entity, transacting business with Greek states. It is the kings that make alliances and (at least on one attested occasion) take part in panhellenic congresses. The Macedonians as such do not appear, any more than, for example, the Persians or the Thracians do. We have to wait until the time of Antigonus Doson, it seems, before the Macedonians are attested as a people in the political sense. This in itself, of course, may not be relevant to the issue of their presumed "Hellenism," any more than the king's presence at a congress was to his. For obvious reasons, congresses were political meetings, and attendance at them would be ruled by political needs and convenience. The king of Macedon would be asked to send representatives, just as the king of Persia did, when the Greek states though this desirable or even when he himself did. There is no record of tests by Hellanodikai at such meetings. It does, however, show that for political purposes no difference was seen between Macedonians and (say) Thracians and Persians, i.e., other nations under monarchical rule. This may have been a contributing factor in unwillingness to recognize Macedonians as Greek. Whatever the truth(and I repeat that I am not concerned with the issue of fact), they would easily be assimilated to barbarians, and it seems that indeed they were. It is well known that, when Philip II, after winning the Sacred War, was rewarded by Apollo with the places of the defeated Phocians on the Amphictyonic Council, the seats went to him personally. His representatives are Philip's men; they have nothing to do with the Macedonians. There is no question here, as there might be in the case on international relations, of his acting as the empowered ruler of his people. He is acting in his own behalf, just as 130 years earlier Alexander I had acted at Olympia. A claim for admission of "the Macedonians" to the Amphictyony would have been much harder to enforce. Philip was far too good a diplomat to advance it.

We have seen that earlier Macedonian kings had been "philhellenic" and had attracted and patronized Greek culture. The precise results of this within Macedonia cannot at present be documented. It is to be supposed that such outstanding works as Zeuxis' paintings on the walls of the royal palace had some effect on the tradition (obviously a long one) that we have now seen exemplified in the Macedonian tomb paintings. But the missing links have not yet been found. It is to be hoped that they will be. However, if there ever was any really deep penetration even into the circle of the court and the nobility, that presumably regressed in the first half of the fourth century. It is only with Perdiccas III that we for the first time find a demonstrably genuine attachment to an aspect of Greek culture: in this instance, philosophy. We are told extravagant tales of his expecting his nobles to share those interests, and of his excluding from his company (and that may mean from the very title of hetairoi) any that did not conform. At any rate, he had links with the Academy and appointed what appears to have been a court philosopher from that school, Euphraeus of Oreos. The stories we have about him and his influence are overlaid with later amplification, and the fats in any case do not matter here. but as has been rightly observed, the demonstrably false and tendentious account of his death as due to the nobles revenge may be taken as attesting their hatred for him and his influence. Philip himself learned his lesson if he needed to: he cannot be shown to have had any cultural interest himself,a s his brother(and later his son) did. But he certainly lost no time in reinstating the Macedonian king's claim to Temenid descent as a practical matter. We have no Herodotus to tell the details. (Perhaps Theopompus did, but his account is unfortunately lost.) What is certain and it cannot be accident is that for the first time since Archelaus, and for the fist time ever reliably, we hear of a Macedonian victory at Olympia: needless to say, the king's own. And it comes, significantly, at the very first games (356 B.C.) after his accession to power. The story of his victory in the chariot race, which was announced to him at the same time as the birth of a son and one or two military successes, must in its essentials be believed. And since such victories did not come easily or spontaneously, we can see that he had considered the image of the Macedonian monarchy in Greece as important, and as immediately important, as the restoration of Macedonian military power. This, of course, does not mean that he at once developed his plans for winning hegemony over Greece. We have no good evidence on when and how those plans developed, and it would be unrealistic to put them as early as this. But it clearly shows that he had ambitious plans for his relations with the Greek international community: he knew that those relations would be based on actual military strength (of course), but greatly assisted by recognition of his standing as a Temenid and (now) an Olympic victor. Philip was never one to underestimate propaganda and the importance of his image. In the light of our investigation so far, we can trace this trait back to his accession.

In due course, as we know, he did see the opportunities presented by the apparently incurable mutual wars and hatreds of the Greek states. The response of some Greek intellectuals to this (it cannot be shown to have had much effect on practicing politicians, or any at all on ordinary Greeks) had been a call for a Hellenic crusade against the Barbarian in the East. As the hope of having a city-state (Sparta or Athens) lead it faded, they were willing to accept even a monarch as leader in this crusade. Jason of Pherae had been cut off before he could attempt the task. By the time Philip was ready to consider it, the Persian empire was tearing itself to pieces in strapal rebellions; if one could only overcome the first hurdle, the union of the greek states, the rest seemed almost easy. After his victory in the Sacred War, at the latest, his plans seem to have been ready. By 342, he took the first step toward the military goal by invading Thrace in order to make the invasion of Asia strategically possible.

About the same time he invited Aristotle to become the teacher for his son and designated heir Alexander. Apart from all else, the invitation was a political masterstroke. As was brilliantly recognized by Werner Jaeger, it secured for Philip an alliance (secret for the time being, of course) with the philosopher-tyrant Hermias of Atarneus, Aristotle's patron and relative by marriage, who could provide both a bridgehead and connections with other potentially disloyal subjects of the king. It also resumed, after a necessary interruption, the Macedonian king's connection with the Academy; but this time cautiously. The Greeks who mattered would obviously be impressed, but the Macedonian barons need fear no repetition of the Euphracus episode. For one thing, Aristotle was the son of a man who had been court physician to Philip's father. This not only ensured personal loyalty: it meant that he knew the Macedonian court and (we might say) he would know his place. Moreover, it was at once made clear that he was not coming as a court philosopher. He was installed with the young prince in a rustic retreat at a safe distance from the court and the capital. It is to be presumed that Aristotle was as happy to be a Mieza as the courtiers were to see him settled there. At Philip's court, Greeks and Macedonians seem to have been completely integrated: there is no observable social difference among the Hetairoi. But as contemporary observers noted, the social tone was far from lofty, as it had been under Perdiccas. Indeed, Theopompus has left us his famous satirical description, culmination in the epigram that the hetairoi might more suitable have been called hetairai: not courtiers should not be taken too literally. Philip's court was no Bacchic thiasos, nor a collection of runaway criminals. His own success and (under his direction) that of his commanders and diplomats suffices to prove it. But it is clear that it was better for Aristotle to be at Mieza.


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