Weve said that we have identified hundreds of such examples of artificially Hellenized non-Greek names (but also other non-Greek words) by old Greek writers, which for lack of space here, will not be mentioned. According to such practices of that time it happened that peoples from quite disparate cultures, ethnic origins (and even races) such as the Persians, Egyptians, Illyrians, Arabians, Libyans, Thracians, Ethiopians, Scythians, Indians, Macedonians, and others, all had identical (Greek) endings on their names. This is so unlikely as to be unbelievable. Therefore, in the following discussion particular attention will be paid to the roots of personal names, given the extensive artificial use of the Greek suffixes os and s (as well as us).
In his biography of Marc Anthony, Plutarch mentioned that Macedonian was the mother tongue of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII and of her ancestors from the Macedonian dynasty Ptolemais12).
However, it stands for a fact that the elites in power in ancient Macedonia at a certain stage of the development of Macedonia took up the Greek literary language and some elements of the Greek culture (religion, onomastics etc). It needs to be emphasized that this does not mean at all that the Macedonians were Hellenes. First thing to be said in relation to this is that the Greek literary language at the time was also used by many other nations that were not Hellenes: Thracians, Jews, Ilyrians, even the Romans, all these people at some stage in the ancient period wrote in old Greek language. Such examples can be witnessed even today: the Irish speak and write in English and are not English; Brazilians speak and write in Portugese and are not Portugese etc.
Excerpt from the book Ancient Macedonian Heritage in Todays Macedonian Nation
The question why Demosthenes named Philip as a barbarian becomes imminent. Majority of the scientists believe that the term barbarians in the ancient period was used to refer mainly to people that spoke language that Greeks could not understand, usually accompanied by a dose of disregard towards the culture of the people speaking that language. It is well known that all the people that did not speak Greek were named barbarians, whereas the Greeks from the city-states used the word xenoi when referring to one-another.16)
Pyrh(os).This is probably a variant of the previous name.
Despite the views in some parts of the scientific community today that the ancient Macedonians were part of the Hellenes, the idea that ancient Macedonians were a separate nation is becoming increasingly accepted among the scientific circles around the world7). The ancient Greek historians clearly stated that the Macedonians were a separate people from the Hellenes. The Greek historian Arrian (I AD) wrote that there was a racial rivalry between the ancient Macedonians and the Greeks8).
An abundance of water is described with the word vodi in contemporary Macedonian language. The corresponding ancient Macedonian word for this is the word vedy. The Greek archaeologist Aliki Stuyanaki in the periodical Edesaika Hronika (Edessa, may-august, 1972) advised that the Macedonian city of Voden, to which the Greeks gave the name Edessa, was originally a Brygian city and its old name was Vedy which means abundance of water24). Furthermore, St. Clement of Alexandria wrote that ancient Macedonians had a great respect towards the water (springs, wells, rivers) and they worshiped the Macedonian divinity they called Vedy25). In this instance as well, the similarity between pronunciation of a contemporary Macedonian and an ancient Macedonian word is undeniable, and again their etymology is identical.
Sopol(is).This ancient Macedonian name is mentioned by the Greek historian Arrian as the name of a Macedonian officer in the army of Alexander the Great. It obviously contains the root sopol (a strong spring) from the so called Old Slavic language. The name Sopol is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Nana.The noun nana in the Macedonian language today is used to signify an older female relative. In dialectal form nana takes the form of the verb, to sleep. The name Nana is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
The remark that the middle age Macedonians simply borrowed this word from the language of ancient Macedonians and used it in 11th century is not valid. Assuming that it is so, becomes impossible to explain the fact that this word is present in the contemporary Croatian literary language. Have they inherited this word from the ancient Macedonians as well? It is the same with the contemporary Serbian and Bulgarian literary languages where this word is also present with the same pronunciation and etymology.
It is highly likely that through analysis of the word tshelniku some other characteristics of the ancient Macedonian language could be identified, considering the fact that in the contemporary Macedonian language this word is deducted from the noun tshelo – forehead.
Before presenting some of these arguments, it is required to affirm that the Veneti were among the oldest nations in Europe. Narratively the Veneti were initially mentioned as people from Asia Minor, and later on as Balkan people as well. Furthermore, there are number of testimonials and evidences that the ancient people Veneti were the ancestors of the so called Slavs10). This practically means that the ancient Macedonians and the so called Slavs should have (at least partial) common ethno-cultural background. Following are only some of the arguments in support of this as a wider elaboration is required to fully cover this topic and the space on this occasion is limited.
Myrcin(us).Name of a king of an ancient Macedonian tribe Edoni, mentioned by Herodotus. If we remove the Greek us, we get the name Myrcin (Mirkin). To the present day in the Macedonian language there is the female name Mirka (derived from the noun mir, which means peace), while Mirkin is an adjective which means The one who belongs to Mirka. Among the Macedonians, right up to the 20th century, men frequently received names derived from their mothers name (Kanin son of Kana; Mirkin son of Mirka and etc.). Could that be the case with this name? The names Mirkan, Mirin and so on are present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Silen(us).Name of a forest demon in Brygian mythology. The root of this name contains the present day Macedonian adjective silen (that which has spiritual or physical strength). In middle age Macedonia one finds the names: Silan, Silano and Silane.
Mama.This is identical to the present day Macedonian noun mama, which in any case, exists in other languages. In 15th century Macedonia one finds the female name Mamica (deminutive for Mama).
Manta. The noun mantija, that exists in the present day Macedonian language represents a type of long garment. In 19th century Macedonia one finds the same female name Manta.
Kopria.This name has possible connections to the noun kopra (a dill). It is a well-known practice to derive personal names from those of the plant world. In 16th century Macedonia one finds the female name Kopra.
As mentioned previously, the non-Greek words were recorded by the ancient Greeks on as-heard basis without analysing the form of the word. Due to the fact the word tshelniku had been recorded inclusive of the vowel u at the end, it is anticipated that tshelniku was recorded by the ancient Greeks in its vocative form. The vocative form of the noun tshelnik in the contemporary Macedonian language is precisely tshelniku. Is it maybe that the Greeks used to hear the word tshelniku every time a Macedonian addressed the leader, therefore recorded this word without realising that they were recording its vocative form?
The ancient Macedonian word recorded through its Greek interpretation as skoidos bears the meaning of judges. In contemporary Macedonian this meaning is conveyed using the word sudii28).
The Greek Trasymachus, in his speech before the Larisians in V BC named the Macedonian king Archelaos barbarian in relation to the Greeks Larisians.18)
Glaukia(s)35). Could this name be derived from the noun glava (a head)? In 19th century Macedonia one finds the male name Glavko.36)
Demosthenes was not alone in naming the Macedonians barbarians. Ancient Greek historian Isocrates also called the Macedonians barbarians.17)
What was like the ancient Macedonian language?
There are a certain number of arguments and strong indications in support of the existence of (at least partial) ethno-cultural links between the ancient Macedonians and Veneti.
Pittak(os).Could this be a variant of the previous name? The noun pitach exists in the present day Macedonian language, with the meaning, one who begs. The names Pito and Pitako are present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Mamina.This name fully corresponds to the present day Macedonian adjective mamina (the one who belongs to her mother). In 18th and 19th century Macedonia one finds the female name Maminka.
Dita.The noun exists in Slavic languages as dite or dete, which means a child. In 19th century Macedonian onomasticon was recordered the same name Dita.
That man Philip, not only he is not a Greek, but also he does not have anything in common with the Greeks. If only he would have been a barbarian from a decent country – but he is not even that. He is a scabby creature from Macedonia – a land that one can not even bring a slave that is worth something from.15)
Pyri(as).The root of this name could be connected to the noun pir (merriment). The name Piri is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Sita.A name that is identical to the present day Macedonian adjective sita (eating to satisfaction). The male name Sitko is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Diplai(os)34). A name of an upper Macedonian (Payonian) ruler. In his name is the noun dipla that in dialectal form in the present day Macedonian language means a bouquet of flowers. The noun dipla is also used as a designation for a type of old Macedonian instrument.
It is inevitable that the Macedonian Phalanx is mentioned in this discussion. The strongest weapon of the phalanx was the long spear called sarissa. It is very interesting to analyse the etymology of the word sarissa. The first and obvious question is whether the first letter of this word, the letter s, is authentic or perhaps there should be the letter z instead? It is well known that the name of the Brygian (ancient Macedonian) goddess was recorded as both Semela and Zemela. If this is applied to the word sarissa i.e. the letter s is replaced with the letter z it will transform into the word zarissa. An exciting assumption emerges regarding the etymology of this word. The reflexive verb in its dialectical form zari se in the contemporary Macedonian is identical in pronunciation with the word zarisa (thrust itself in, pierce itself into). This is of course an assumption, which nevertheless has a solid base in the information presented in relation to the pronunciation and etymology of the words discussed previously.
Gauan(us).This is an old originally ancient Macedonian name, first mentioned by Herodotus. It has obvious similarities to the noun gaval, that represents an archaism for the kaval (a short Macedonian wind instrument). In 15th century Macedonia one finds the male names: Gavale and Gavala.
Dimno(s).The adjective dimno exists in the present day Macedonian language and still means steamy The names Dimna, Dimon, Dimnak and others are present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
There are number of ancient Macedonian words with undetermined etymology which in their pronunciation undeniably resemble contemporary Macedonian words, as well as words from other so called Slavic languages.
There are only a certain number of preserved words, and from the current knowledge the structure of the ancient Macedonian can not be fully synthesised. Most of the ancient Macedonian words are different to the ancient Greek language words, however there are a few that are similar. For the words from the ancient Macedonian language that are similar to the ancient Greek language words are believed to be taken on from Greek.19) In fact, this occurrence was and still is characteristic for all languages in the world. In the Macedonian language today terms are adopted from foreign languages mainly where there is no authentic terminology or analogy. For instance: antena (antenna); satelit (satellite); mobilen telefon (mobile/cellular phone); kompjuter (computer) etc. These foreign words are being adapted in accordance with the modern Macedonian phonetic system. This needs to be taken into account when analysing the ancient Macedonian language. The authenticity and the nature of a language can not be possibly determined only by the words that language adopted from another language.
Another word that is also very interesting in this regard is the word phoinikos, which is related to the warfare22). Indubitable this word is very much alike the contemporary Macedonian word voinik meaning soldier. There could be a little doubt that these words have a common origin. Why is this so? In the ancient Greek language the consonant v did not exist23). The conclusion is imminent that the true pronunciation of the word phoinikos would be voinikos (ph replaced with v). In addition to this, as established earlier in this text, ancient Greeks added the suffix os to a lot of non-Greek words they recorded. If the word phoinikos had been subjected to the Interpretato Graeca phenomenon i.e. if the suffix os had been added to this non-Greek word, by taking out the Greek suffix we arrive at the contemporary Macedonian word voinik (soldier). Not only the pronunciation, but also the etymology of the word voinik is very similar to that of the word phoinikos and is located in the domain of warfare.
Caran(us)33). This name might be connected to the present day Macedonian noun kruna (a crown). The name Karanche is present In todays Macedonian onomasticon.
In the ancient Macedonian onomasticon we will include several Brygian names (most of them found in Macedonia) as well. This is for the simple reason that Brygians played a major role in the ethnogenesis of the ancient Macedonians30). But to pass on to concrete instances. We will mention a portion of the ancient Macedonian names which are the same or very similar to later Macedonian names or words, as well as names and words of the other so called Slavic languages. Most of these names are present in todays Macedonian onomasticon 31) .
Perustae.The noun perustija in the present day Macedonian language means an iron spit for cooking meat over a fire, an item that had great significance in the preparation of food in the past. The name Peruska is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
The ancient Macedonians used their own vernacular, Macedonian language. There are number of testimonials from the ancient historians in support of this fact. For instance, the Greek historian Plutarch (I AD), describing a quarrel between Alexander The Great and one of his friends wrote that Alexander jumped on his feet and in Macedonian called on his shield-bearers11).
Dada.The noun dada in the present day Macedonian language means older sister. The name Dada is present In todays Macedonian onomasticon.
The Latin historian Quintus Curtius Rufus (I AD) also testified that the ancient Macedonians spoke a separate, Macedonian language. He described the trial of the Macedonian Philotas for contriving a plot to murder Alexander The Great. The plot was discovered and Philotas was publicly interrogated by Alexander. Describing this event, Quintus Curtius Rufus clearly stated that the Macedonians spoke separate, Macedonian language13).
The contemporary Macedonian verb pesh (walk) in ancient Macedonian would have been pronounced pez26).
Mama(s).It is obvious that this is a Hellenized variant on the previous name.
Sipa.In the Macedonian language there exists the noun sipa (a type of fish), which lives in Macedonian lake waters. It is a well known practice to derive personal names from the names of a
That the Macedonian was a distinct vernacular characteristic to the Macedonians confirm the anti-Macedonian speeches given by the great orator from Athens, Demosthenes. In his work Philippic Demosthenes gave the following insulting remark about the Macedonian King Philip II of Macedon:
Apell(es). The root of this name contains the noun apel (a call) which we have in the present day Macedonian language.
Milo.This name was mentioned by Plutarch as a name of a Macedonian military leader in the Macedonian-Roman conflicts. This name exists to the present day in the Macedonian onomasticon. It has an obvious identification with the present day Macedonian adjective milo (dear), from which a number of names are (Milosh, Milko, Milka).
A very good example is the word arotos which ancient Macedonians used as an epithet to the god Heracles29). Its etymology is undetermined to-date, however if the suffix s is deleted this word is practically identical with the adjective aroto – the old one (archaism to a degree) from the present Macedonian language. According to a legend Heracles was considered to be the oldest ascendant of the Macedonians. Can the answer for the etymology of the word arotos be located in this legend, by referring to Heracles as the old one or aroto(s)?
Atarhi(as). The root of this name contains the noun atar. This is a Macedonian archaism for the word love. Names that contain the word love exist in a majority of lexicons.
Lasten.This name may be connected to the noun lastovica (in Serbian: lasta), which means a swallow. The name Laste is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Stasanor.This name contains the present day Macedonian adjective stasan (ripe). Weve said that the suffix or can be found in other male names, which means that it is outside of the root stasan. The names Stasin, Stase and Staso are present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
An evidence about the distinction of the Macedonian language was found on fragment of a papyrus which was thought to be a part of the lost work History of the successors by the ancient Greek historian Arrian. In this papyrus (PSI XII.1284) an episode from the history of ancient Macedonia has been described where the distinction of Macedonian language has been clearly emphasized. It has been described in this text how the secretary of Philip and Alexander of Macedon, Eumenes was: sending forth a man called Xennias who was Macedonian in speech to negotiate with the Macedonian army of Neoptolemeus. This event took place around 321 BC.14)
Daron.This is a name for the ancient Macedonian god of healing. Its etymology is known, and it means he that gives health. This means that the name of this god contains the Macedonian noun dar (a gift). The names Darun, Dare, Dara and others are present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
What was the ethnic origin of the ancient Macedonians?
by Historian Alexander Donski in Macedonia
Pita.The noun pita (a type of food), can be found in a number of Slavic languages. In todays Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Pito. There are other Macedonian names derived from the food: Piroshka, Pituluca and others.
Dud(es).The noun dud (a type of wood) exists in several Slavic languages. The names Dude and Duda are present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
By analysing ancient Macedonian words that have a determined etymology, it is possible to make some assumptions and even draw some conclusions regarding certain grammatical forms of the ancient Macedonian language. This forms are identical with the forms of the contemporary Macedonian language.
The word tshelnik with completely identical etymology and pronunciation has been registered in the so called old Slavic language in Macedonia as early as 11th century! Proof of this is the entry of Byzantine chronicle writer Kekavmen where he described the events surrounding the anti-Byzantine uprising of Petar Deljan in 11th century. He said that in the language of the rebels the strategist is called tshelnik!21) It is known that Kekavmen was fluent in the language of the Slavs in Macedonia therefore he could translate the Greek word strategist as tshelnik (the strategist was a high military rank in Byzantine). It is even more interesting that the word tshelnik with identical etymology and pronunciation is being used in todays Macedonian language and in other Slav languages, as well! This can not be a coincidence, especially considering the fact that there could be hundreds of thousands etymological meanings that a single word can represent, and in this instance there is an identical etymological meaning for a word that has also an identical pronunciation.
Mantyes.This is probably a variant of the previous name. The spoken form of this word (without the suffix s) is still closer to the noun mantija.
Bere(s).The root of this name contains the verb bere (to pick up) that exists today in the Macedonian language and in other Slavic languages. Also in the present day Macedonian onomasticon there are names derived from verbs. The name Bere is present In todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Despite all this, it is very interesting to note that many of the authentic ancient Macedonian words, according to their etymology and pronunciation, have a striking resemblance to the appropriate words used in the modern Macedonian language (and other so called Slav languages).
Mucati.The verb mucati exists in a number of the Slavic languages. In the Macedonian language the verb mucna means to speak. Maybe this name can be connected to the noun mucka (snout). If we read c as k, then maybe the root of this name can be connected to the noun mukach (which means a cry baby). The names Mucan Muce, Mucko, Mukan, Muko are present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
For instance, the word tshelniku which translated in English means foremost is a very interesting case. The British historian Hammond mentioned its etymology and said that the word tshelniku in the ancient Macedonian language had a meaning of leader of a group. Hammond says that this word was translated into Greek only in the 14th century as phylarchos.20)
A second thing that needs to be kept in mind is the fact that ancient Macedonian personal names up to our own time mainly achieved written form through their Greek (and in a smaller number Latin as well) transcription. We can surmise that a considerable number of these names were given the added Greek suffixes os and s, and more rarely us. There are a lot of proofs for this, but here for lack of space we shall only mention that, in our research we have noted over 350 personal names written by ancient Greek authors, which names belonged to various non-Greek peoples. The overwhelming number of these Persian, Thracian, Illyrian, Egyptian, Scythian, Brygian, Libyan, Indian, and other personal names (but also toponyms and other words) were artificially Hellenized by the old Greek authors, adding the Greek suffix os, and where appropriate s. Sometimes the old Greek authors went to such lengths that the foreign name was totally changed in the process. Thus, for example, the Egyptian Pharaoh Khu-fu in Greek sources became written as CheopS (with the attached Greek suffix s). Later the Indian King Chandragupta was written by Greeks as SandroticOS, and so forth. Sometimes the only change to the name would be the Greek ending os or s. Thus, for example, the name of the Egyptian King Psamtic was written by Greeks as PsametihOS. The Macedonian name Ata, as well, became written as both Ata and AtaS (Hellenized by addition of the suffix s), etc.
Sever(os).The root of this word contains the noun sever (north), which exists in in a number of present day Slavic languages. The name Sever is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Plator.The noun plat exists in the present day Macedonian language as a type of high quality cloth. The suffix or is encountered in other male personal names, which means that it is independent of the root plat. The name Platin is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
As far as adopting the Old Greek language by the Macedonian royalty is concerned, it is a fact that this occurred at a certain stage of development of the Macedonian state. Supporting this fact is the non-existence of not even a single inscription in Greek on the territory of Macedonia to be dated from and before V BC, which matches with the period prior to the partial adoption of the Greek culture in Macedonia. The fact that many of the inscriptions in Greek found (from a later date though) contain many grammatical errors, is by itself a proof in support of the truth, that is the Old Greek language was foreign to the Macedonians.
We should also turn attention to a portion of the ancient Macedonian onomastics. At the same time it is necessary to keep in mind two things. First, there is no doubt that the ancient Macedonians (mainly those from the highest circles) accepted part of the Hellenic onomastics. But in fact a large number of Macedonian names were different than those in the Hellenic onomasticon, while a considerable number of these are reminiscent of the later Macedonian onomasticon, or are derived from words of Macedonian or from so called Slavic (Venetic) origin.
One needs to bear in mind that almost all the preserved ancient Macedonian words reached modern age through their Greek transcript which makes it more difficult to identify their true meaning. It is important that the phenomenon Interpretato Graeca is mentioned here, that is greekifying of all the foreign words: nouns, verbs, and especially names. A specific characteristic of this process is adding the suffix os or s to the foreign words, and this will be discussed later in this paper.
Dita(s).This is an obvious form of the preceding name Dita, but it has been Hellenized with the suffix s.
Ata(s).The root of this name contains the noun at, which in the so called Old Slavic language meant a horse. We note that the ancient Macedonians were great horsemen and horses were very importaint for them. Such names allready exsists in onomasticons of other peoples (for example Bulgarians have their popular name Asparuh, which means speed horse in Old Bulgarian language). The same name Ata is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Stamen(os)38). The root of this name contains the present day Macedonian adjective stamen (reliable, firm). The name Stamen is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Med(es).The root of this name contains the noun med (honey), which exists in todays Macedonian language as well in most other Slavic languages. The name Mede is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Del(us).The verb dela (to work) exists in the so called Old Slavic language, as well as in several present day Slavic languages. The name Dele is present In todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Crater(us)32). The root of this name contains the word krater (crater) which exsists in the present day Macedonian and other Slavic languages. In todays Macedonian onomasticon is present the name Krate.
Lyka.This female Macedonian name, which exists in the present day language, is possibly derived from the noun lika (a face, pretty face). The name Lika is present in todays Macedonian onomasticon.
Mesti(us).The root of this name contains the noun (archaism) mesti (small childrens shoes made from wool). In later Macedonian onomasticon there were also names derived from pieces of clothes.
Rumi37). A female name that could possibly be connected to the adjective rumena (ripe red). In todays Macedonian onomasticon there is name Rumi, which is short form of the name Rumena (ripe red).
Pella27) is another ancient Macedonian word. The etymology of this word is a stone. The corresponding word in contemporary Macedonian language is spila, which is similar in pronunciation with the ancient Macedonian word pella.
The Ancient Macedonians are among the most famous nations in the history. Probably the most famous of all in the row of renown ancient Macedonians is Alexander The Great of Macedon, who was driven by his idea of a World State where all the people will live together in equality. His father, Philip II of Macedon is also very well known. Aristotle1), one of the greatest philosophers of all times was also a Macedonian (by father), and so was the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII (she was a distant grand-daughter of the Macedonian general Ptolemy, friend of Alexander The Great since their childhood)2). The members of the Seleucides and Ptolemais dynasties were also Macedonians, and a few of them are mentioned in the Bible3). There are views within the scientific community that The Holy Evangelist Luke4), as well as a number of Byzantine tzars5) all carried the Macedonian genes. The contribution of ancient Macedonians to the world civilization is large and of great importance6).
It is worth to mention that there were words in the ancient Macedonian language that (at least without performing a deeper analysis) appear to have a little in common with the contemporary Macedonian language. However, the presence of these words does not deny the existence of words from the contemporary Macedonian language in the ancient Macedonian language. In fact, for some of these words it is more than obvious that they had existed in the ancient Macedonian vocabulary.
between ancient Macedonian and todays Macedonian Culture (Linguistics and Onomastics)