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Politics and Nationalism

Alexander and Iraq | Greek Macedonian | Macedonian (Republic of Macedonia) | Albanian | Indian | Other

Alexander and Iraq

"Revisiting Alexander the Great" by Georgette Gouveia, The Journal News (April 20, 2003), on Alexander the Great and his lessons for the Iraq War. Beyond what you might expect from a regional newspaper, Gouveia drumms up quotes from Green, Wood and and Bose, and gets the story right.

"There are lessons in Alexander's campaigns that the current coalition seems to have absorbed, particularly the need for a fast, flexible fighting force that balances speed with enduring patience. But to a person, experts think the greatest lesson that the Greeks may offer us is in the cautionary tale of those who win the war but can't keep the peace."

AP: "The links between 'Alexander' and Bush" on MSNBC. Includes extensive quotes from Stone, who see a "coincidence that's far beyond my understanding, but I would certainly not limit this to the current situation."

"Destruction of World's Eastern Heritage in Iraq" by K Gajendra Singh, on (not the TV station). Wandering text wanders eventually to Alexander, where he comes in for grudging praise for disregarding Aristotle and learning from barbarians. His identification as a "small town homosexual boy" demonstrates all is not sweetness and light.

Greek Macedonian

Nikolaos Martis "former minister" and his thoughts on Alexander. On the plus side, he digs up some nice supporting documents, including a charming page of Pakistani heroes (Alexander is included). Unfortunately, the Greek/Arabic Koran doesn't enlarge to legibility. All excerpted from his book Macedonia.

"New Greek Nationalism" by Triandafyllidou, Calloni and Mikrakis for Sociological Research Online, vol. 2, no. 1 (1997). Sociological analysis of the Greek nationalism stirred by the "Macedonian Question" (problems arising from the secession of Yugoslav Macedonia and its use of "Greek" historical symoblism). The sociological noodling can be tiresome, but the jist is rational, analytical and essentially unbiased.

"Who Were (and Are) the Macedonians?" by Eugene Borza (APA 1996). The original APA page died, but Macedonian nationalists copied it and put it up on their own. Borza's opinions are, however, somewhat double-edged.

"I shall conclude with a summary showing how the present conflict between Greeks and Macedonians in the Balkans is characterized by both sides reaching back to antiquity to provide an often false historical basis to justify their respective modem positions." Top 5%

The Guardian (Nov. 19, 2004) covers the "Macedonia" issue—who has the right to "claim" Alexander and Macedonia—that has so riled Greek nationalists. Of particular interest are the author's comments on how this has spilled onto the web:

"Internet chatrooms have never been the most decorous of forums but even in the free-for-all that is cyberspace, those dedicated to discussing Oliver Stone's new film, Alexander, are a case apart."
The Guardian correctly notes that Alexander is something of a "rediscovered" hero for all involved:
"In fact he barely figured in the old Yugoslav textbooks, and even in Greece he was something of a forgotten figure - relegated to the second and third division of Hellenic heroes behind Pericles, the great philosophers, and warriors such as Leonidas."

More babble: Macedonians are pure Greek, Alexander "paved the way for Christianity," "some slavs with origins arround the city of Scopje (South Yugoslavia, now FYROM)." How tiresome.

Frequently Asked Questions on Macedonia A long, rant from an angry Greek; try not to ask him those questions in person.

Short excerpts from scholars (all the usual suspects) allegedy prove Macedonians were Greek.

Pro-Greek page on Alexander. I hate having to read through these things to see if the "Macedonians" they trumpet are "Greeks" or "FYROMs."

Web Archive: Alexander a "A 'National' precursor of Christ" ! The ultimate mixture: Christian nationalism. What does Paul say? "In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek."

Web Archive: Aaaah! As he puts it: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge/ [sic] Hosea 4:6." (And what's he got against the French anyway?)

Some reasoned comments on Lefkowitz's opinion of Bernal's (Black Athena) and its review by Bowersock, which then lurches off into a tirade against Turks and FYROMs (by Phillip Spyropoulos, Esq.)

Horrible yellow type. The link now seems cut, but you can never be too careful.

Macedonian (Republic of Macedonia)

Fake Letter of Alexander to Aristotle. Posted on the Republic of Macedonia website, it derives from a short story. The letter and its deconstruction by the Internet History Sourcebook is one of the funniest things on the web. Top 5%

Quotes from Peter Green's work subjected to pro-Macedonian (Skopje) reasoning. These guys have an absolutely enormous collection of such pages, taking apart ancient and modern authors to prove their case. This mostly means pointing out that ancient and modern authors will contrast "Greek" and "Macedonian" troops. But, of course, nobody disputes that. It's a shame that so much scholarly zeal should be wasted in poor methodology and for ugly ends. If we could only put these people to work typing up Arrian for the internet...

Interview with Prof. Tupurkovski (Macedonian classical scholar) The Macedonian Times interviewer (article titled "ARGUMENTS FOR THE UNDYING SAGA OF ANCIENT MACEDONIA") tries to make political hay. By contrast, Tupurkovski puts in a good word for openness and is avoids being pushed "into the shallow debate that always has the colors of political euphoria or conjecture." Amen.

"Into Battle with Robin Lane Fox" by Jason Miko. Macedonian nationalist attack on Fox's article "Into battle with Alexander," by Robin Lane Fox,London Times (May 08, 2004). Reading Fox's Alexander the Great he perceives (falsely) support for his position. Therefore, Fox has "gone Greek," and was probably paid off.

Lengthy pro-Macedonian biography from "Macedonia for the Macedonians" by Bill Nicholov. Lots of images.


Web Archive: Albania claims him too.

Famous Albanians: Alexander the Great. Initial modest claim that Albanian heritage is "somewhat feasible," becomes

"It is important to note that the history books have not labeled Alexander Greek, and therefore he can only be Albanian."
This is, of course, bunk. Alexander is regularly called "Greek," and, in antiquity, "Macedonian" was not always in apposition to Greek. But the Albanian claim is quite good. Alexander's mother Olympias was from Epirus, and most scholars think the Epirotes are—as much as anyone can be at such a remove—the ancestors of the modern Albanians. I don't know what the state of the evidence is, but elite Epirotes, like Olympias, were clearly much hellenized. So, Albanians get a piece of him, but, um, so what?

Alexander the Great is ALBANIAN . Albanian folk legend and discussion between Albanians and Greeks, in the spirit of:

"uuuuuuuuuuaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr i just threw up again"

Letter to the editor: "Alexander the Great and Albania" by James Wm. Pandeli, South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Slipshod argumentation.


"The Myth, Romance and Historicity of Alexander and His Influence on India" by K. V. Ramakrishna. Revisionist "scholarship" on Alexander and India is, in fact, a thin broth of exaggeration and strange argumentation, for example playing up the problems of the source tradition and citing Madam Blavatsky as if she were some sort of scholarly source. Alexander's "invasion" of India is full of interesting problems and was, as Ramakrishna notes, used for modern imperialist purposes. That's not enough to throw the whole thing out.

Post: "Alexander, The Ordinary" by Dinesh Agrawal.

"The facts of Alexander`s miserable defeat and his shattered dream at Indian soil have been avoided consistently by Greek historians and the same was perpetuated during British regime."
Will someone please tell me why we're supposed to reject themany and varied Greek and Latin sources out of hand, but we accept an Indian defeat recorded in the Ethiopic Alexander Romance without batting an eye? Sheesh!

Web Archive: Sword of Truth's "Weekly Revelation" on "Alexander, The Ordinary." Of interest to every student of the "use and abuse" of Alexander:

"The facts of Alexander's miserable defeat and his shattered dream at Indian soil have been avoided consistently by Greek historians and the same was perpetuated during British regime. But the truth which is documented in many narratives of the Europeans themselves presents a totally different picture. The depictions by Curtius, Justin, Diodorus, Arrian and Plutarch are quite consistent and reliable in concluding that Alexander was defeated by Porus and had to make a treaty with him to save his and his soldiers' lives. He was a broken man at his return from his mis-adventures in India."

"Alexander's Waterloo in Sindh"


Web Archive: "Tajikistan President Glorifies Alexander The Great" Very interesting article on the use of Alexander by Tajik President Rahmonov (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty). Top 5%

Images of Courage and Triumph by Sarah Booth Conroy for the Washington Post (Feb. 2000). Review of "Africana Women at the Dawn of the New Millennium" by Autmna Cannaday begins with a double-error:

"She was there when Alexander the Great raided and destroyed the libraries in Ancient Egypt..."

Nice picture of Kazakh falconeer, with suggestion that his eyes are blue because of Alexander.

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.
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Wiki Classical Dictionary, currently focused on Alexander

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