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Secondary sources have informed us that a comedy, “Macedonians,” written by Strattis circa 410 BC contained a piece of conversation between an Attican and a Macedonian, each speaking in his own dialect. From the few saved words and other lexical evidence, Hoffman and Ahrenshad identified the Macedonian speech as Aeolic, similar to Thessalian and Lesbian. Romiopoulou (1980) thought that Doric might have been a second dialect in pre-Hellenistic Macedon in addition to a Macedonian dialect.
The lead scroll known as the Pella katadesmos, dating to first half of the 4th century BC,which was found in Pella (at the time the capital of Macedon) in 1986, and published in the Hellenic Dialectology Journal in 1993, changed this view. Based on this scroll, Olivier Masson expressed his opinion in the Oxford Classical Dictionary that the Macedonian dialect was one of the northwestern dialects, an opinion that is echoed by Emmanuel Voutyras (cf. the Bulletin Epigraphique in Revue des Etudes Grecques 1994, no. 413). Brixhe and Panayotou (1994: 209) agree, although they have not ascertained whether it was the dialect of the whole kingdom. James L. O'Neil (2005) categorized the dialect as 4th century BC Northwestern, whereas Prof. Edmonds of Bryn Mawr College suggests a 3rd century BC date.
On the historical side, Hammond has expressed the view that Upper Macedonians, being Molossian (Epirotan) tribes, spoke a northwestern dialect while Lower Macedonians spoke Aeolic. He based his opinion on archeological and literary evidence of ancient sources referring to Hellenic migrations before and after the Trojan War. Heurtley (BSA 28 (1926), 159-194), also basing his theory on archeological evidence, cites the specific migration of the Macedonians through the Pindus mountain range to Pieria as ending by the mid-11th century BC.
Katadesmos proves to be a challenge due to the deteriorated condition of the scroll, the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of its dialectal form, as well as the location in which it was discovered. Nevertheless, the fourth century BC spell written in a Northwest Hellenic dialect reinforces Livius' statement in the History of Rome that “Aetolians, Acarnanians and Macedonians [were] men of the same speech.” In this paper, I will appraise the scroll, analyze the script from a linguistic standpoint, and compare and contrast it with other Hellenic dialects, while stressing the significance of the Dorian migrations in the Hellenic dialectology.
In his interview on www.Balkanalysis.com (12/14/2008) , Linguistics professor and Balkan Studies scholar Victor Friedman portrays Greeks as a most undemocratic and oppressive nation, from ancient to present time, and places the role of Greece in the Balkans in a most negative light. The core of his arguments seems to lie in what he considers suppression of multilingualism and minorities in Greece, which he associates with the current dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the name of the latter country. As scholars and academics, some of us students of Macedonian history and culture, we wish to offer an alternative perspective and rebut Friedman’s views and assertions in regard to the identity of the modern Greek nation and the true nature of the current dispute between Greece and FYROM. It should be noted that, prior to our decision to write this letter, we invited Dr. Friedman to debate his views in the Hellenic Electronic Center/Professors’ Forum*, but he declined our invitation.
The Speech of the Ancient Macedonians, in the Light of Recent Epigraphic Discoveries (VI International Symposion on Ancient Macedonia, 1999).
Modern discussion of the speech of the ancient Macedonians began in 1808, when F. G. Sturz published a small book entitled De dialecto macedonica liber (Leipzig 1808), intended to be a scientific enquiry into the position of Macedonian within Greek. However, after the publication of O. Müller’s work Über die Wohnsitz, die Abstammung und die ältere Geschichte des makedonischen Volks (Berlin 1825), the discussion evolved into an acrimonious controversy -- initially scientific but soon political -- about the Greek or non-Greek nature of this tongue. Diverse theories were put forward:
I) Macedonian is a mixed language either of partly Illyrian origin -- such was the position of Müller himself, G. Kazaroff, M. Rostovtzeff, M. Budimir, H. Baric; or of partly Thracian origin, as it was maintained by D. Tzanoff.
II) Macedonian is a separate Indo-European language. This was the opinion of V. Pisani, I. Russu, G. Mihailov, P. Chantraine, I. Pudic, C. D. Buck, E. Schwyzer, V. Georgiev, W. W. Tarn and of O. Masson in his youth.
III) But according to most scholars Macedonian was a Greek dialect. This view has been expanded by F. G. Sturz, A. Fick, G. Hatzidakis, O. Hoffmann, F. Solmsen, V. Lesny, Andriotis, F. Geyer, N. G. L. Hammond, N. Kalleris, A. Toynbee, Ch. Edson and O. Masson in his mature years.
IV) Finally, a small number of scholars thought that the evidence available was not sufficient to form an opinion. Such was the view of A. Meillet and A. Momigliano.
Whatever the scientific merits of the above scholars, it was the nature of the evidence itself and, above all, its scarcity, which allowed the propounding of opinions so diverse and incompatible between themselves.
The present study looks at the context in which Alexander’s patrius sermo occurs in Curtius’ [Q. Curtius Rufus’] account of the Philotas affair and what its significance may be, as far as Makedonian mode of speech is concerned. When Curtius’ account of the Philotas affair is read, one cannot but notice, detailed narrative, colored with dramatic overtones. However, before analyzing Curtius’ account of the Philotas affair, it would be of considerable interest to see first what space has been allotted to this affair by Arrian, Plutarch, Diodoros, and Justin.
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