Naturally, Macedonian admitted settlements from Latin-speaking immigrants and other peoples; however its demography remained effectively unchanged until the 7th century A.D., when various Slavonic tribes (Drogovites, Strumonites, Sagoudates and others) began to settle in the rural areas of Macedonia. With the permission of the Easter Roman Empire (Byzantine) authorities, these settlers formed small tribal Slavic enclaves known to the Byzantines as “Sclavineae”. Throughout the 7th century the Slavs attempted to dominate in the region attacking even Thessaloniki; however in 688 Emperor Justinian II defeated the Slavs and forcibly removed many of them closer to Constantinople, in Bithynia in Asia Minor.[1] Since then, for a long time the Slavs lived peacefully in the European provinces of the Byzantine Empire and many of them were Hellenised. The Empire preserved its Romano-Hellenistic tradition but due to the increasing predominance of the Greek language, it is usually known by most western historians as the Empire of the Greeks or the Greek Empire.[2]

In the interim, a number of Finno-Tartar tribes, the Proto-Bulgars invaded the Balkan Peninsula, gaining sway over the Slavs and other people who lived in the area today called Bulgaria. However, these Proto-Bulgarian tribes were linguistically assimilated by the Slavs, who far outnumbered them. The demographic outcome of these people, who jointly used the name Bulgars, created the medieval Bulgaria.

[1] See in particular P. Halsall (2003), Byzantium at War 600-1453, Routledge, also H. Ahrweiler and E.A. Laiou (eds.), (1998), Studies on the Internal Diaspora of the Byzantine Empire, Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard.

[2] Reference is made here to M. Angold (1997) The Byzantine Empire, Longman; also to R. Browning (1992), The Byzantine Empire, The Catholic University of America Press; also C. Mango (1980), Byzantium: The Empire of the New Rome, Phoenix Press



Greek civilisation, however, deeply influenced the Romans and later the separation of the eastern from the western state led to the creation of the Byzantine Empire, that had an ecumenical character and slowly transformed itself into an eastern Greek state.

In this period the largest city of Macedonia, which was established in 315 B.C. by the king Kassander who named it after his wife, and sister of Alexander the Great, Thessaloniki, constitutes the second most important spiritual, cultural and economical centre of the Byzantine Empire after its capital city Constantinople. Then, during the reign of Justinian (6th cent. B.C.), according the historian Procopius, the Slavs appeared for first time in the northern border of the empire; the Danube river. These people were  progressively moved southwards into Macedonia, where they were established in small separate self governed territories, the so called Sclaviniae. It is worth-while to mention here what an anonymous chronicler of that time, the so called ‘writer of The Miracles of Saint Demetrius’, writes, concerning the attempt of the Avar hagan Bajan to conquer Salonika in 586 A.D.:

“He called to him the whole devoted beastly tribe of the Sclavinii, since he had the whole population under his control, and adding to them some other barbarians, he ordered them to campaign against the divinely protected city of Salonika…” 

Here is another short reference from the same text, to illustrate the tribal names of those Slavs: “And so, it happened, as has been said, that during the office on the blessed passed away, Bishop Jovan, the Slav nation which consisted of a countless majority of Dragoviti, Sagoudati, Velegeziti, Vajunity, Berziti and other tribes rose”.

 Other tribes mentioned in the same text are Stroumiani, Smoleani and Rinhini. There is no mention of the name ‘Macedonians’ among Slav people whatsoever.

It is interesting to see though how the same anonymous author describes the besiege of the city of Salonika by Avars and Slavs:

“They all believed that the salvation of the city was something impossible, since every hope was lost among the people. Firstly, because the terrible plague had gripped the city and by God’s humanity (it had received) some kind of rest. Suddenly, as was said, on September 22nd, the wrath of God overtook those barbarians who had found the inhabitants of the city in a state of mourning for the recently buried. Secondly, those that besieged (the city) were equal to the sand in numbers. For if one was to imagine them in a heap, not only the Macedonians gathered in Salonika, but also the Thessalians and the Achaeans, then we would not even have a small part of those that besieged the city from outside”.

It is obvious here that all the people inside the city (Macedonians, Thessalians and Achaians) are the old Greek inhabitants of Macedonia, Thessaly and Achaia, juxtaposed to the barbarians from outside. The certain reference has been selected, among numerous others, by the authors of a voluminous work of two volumes, the ‘Documents’ of the University of Cyril and Methodius, of Scopje, by which they struggle to prove their national existence. They give an indicator (number 55) on the word ‘Macedonians’ of this passage and in a footnote of few lines they literally evaporate the old Greek Macedonians:

“(the author) Refers to the inhabitants of Macedonia, who as a separate people were formed in the 4th century B.C. After the abolition of the ancient Macedonian state in the middle of the 2nd century B.C. by the Romans and the transformation of Macedonia into a Roman province, they continued to exist as a separate nation, although during the Roman and the Byzantine rule they were reduced in number due to the frequent barbarian attacks on Macedonia. During the Slav colonisation at the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th century, some of the Macedonians submitted to the Slavs and gradually became assimilated; others withdrew to the mountains and preserved their customs, and a large number sheltered in Salonika or left Macedonia and settled mainly in Thrace, around the city of Adrianople, and from those settlers later on Byzantium formed a special theme named ‘Macedonian’ after them”.

So, since the legitimate inheritors of the name Macedonia have disappeared, the Slavs of Macedonia grab the unwanted name. It is worth-while, however to follow here the way that the inspired Scopjan authors of the mentioned superhuman effort (the ‘Documents’), in order to secure the ‘Macedonian forgery’, progressively evolve from Slavs to Macedonians. In fact the massive book begins the history of the people of Scopje, very reasonably with the title: “On the Slavs and Antians” and subtitle: ‘The first half of the 6th century A. D.’ (p.19). In footnotes we are informed that “Scholars are still engaged in lively polemics as to the original home of Slavs… The Antians were the Slavs’ closest neighbours”. Source of this first extract (the whole book is a gluing of extracts) is the Byzantine historian Procopius Caesariensis, who wrote his history in Greek, of course. Actually, all their sources concerning the Slavs up to the 12th century A.D. are Greek and all of them call these people Slavs or Bulgars. And thus goes the book up to the 7th extract from ‘The Miracles of Saint Dimitrios’, where we read for first time in a title: “The Macedonian Slav tribes led by Prince Hacon attack Salonika”, although the writer refers to them in the extract as Slav nation (‘Documents’ p.29). From now on and up to page 90 (of the ‘Documents’) we meet them in the comments of the Skopjan authors (titles and footnotes) few times as ‘Slavs’ and more times as ‘Macedonian Slavs’.

Suddenly in page 91 we read the title: “ The creation of the Macedonian State (963-969 A.D.)” and in a matter of 6 pages we are informed that the ‘Macedonian’ Samuil (actually a Slav) becomes the monarch of ‘Prespa’ (the capital city of his state), although the writer of the extract, John Skylitzes, in page 96 writes explicitly: “Samuel became the sole ruler of all of Bulgaria”(μόναρχος απάσης Βουλγαρίας)! In the next page we read: “The campaign of the Emperor Basil II against the Macedonian State” although it is well known that Basil II belonged to the ‘Macedonian dynasty’ of Byzantine Empire and the historians of the world named him ‘Bulgar slayer’ (Vulgaroktonos), exactly because he eliminated Samuel and his Bulgarian State (1018 A. D.). The  Scopian ‘historians’ claim that Samuel was a “Macedonian” but they fail to bring any single written proof stating that, not even a Slavic source, older than 1944. The contemporary Scopjan archaeologist Pasco Kuzman, revealing the identity crisis of his compatriot Slavs, wonders as such concerning Samuel:

“ What we have from Samuel? In my archaeological research I did not find a remnant of his epoch, not a single piece. I do not know what he was doing for 40 years. He existed; but he never referred to Macedonia. Who is Samuel? Is he a Macedonian if he never mentions Macedonia?” (‘Utrinski Vesnic’, Scopje, 16-6-2009).

However, from now on the diligent writers of the “Documents”, when the texts which they use do not serve their purpose properly,correct them accordingly. Here are some examples:

a. In page 104 of the “Documents” we read in an extract of “Chronographia” of Michael Psellos (1440 A.D.):  “From among all of them, however, I shall speak namely of the battle against the barbarians, and I shall mark it out very briefly in one generalised extract”. In the footnote no 435 we read the comment: “Here the barbarians (των βαρβάρων) refers to the Macedonians” !

b. Page 105. In an extract of the same “Chronographia” we read: “The Bulgarians had a custom of appointing those of a royal family background for the leaders of the people”. Footnote no 441: “Here he refers to the Macedonians”!

c. Page 106. From the “Chronographia” again, we read: “When he arrived in the regions of the Bulgarians, he made camp on a handsome site…”. Footnote no 450: “Refers to the Macedonian people”!

d. Page 112. In an extract from the “History of Nicephorus Vryenius” (1072 A.D.) we read: “ The Emperor Michael then fought with great anxiety for the Scythians were carrying out sudden attacks in Thrace and Macedonia, while the Slavs had rejected Romeian slavery and were devastating and plundering the land of the Bulgarians. Both Skopje and Nis were taken…”. Then in the footnote no 483: “Here the ‘Slav people’ refers to the Macedonian people, whose lasting process of  formation ended in the second half of the  10th century, when Samuil’s Macedonian state was founded”!!!

e. Page 134. In an extract of a letter of Nicephorus Gregoras to Andronicus Zarida (1326 A.D.), we read: “Barbarian languages were usually spoken there, and the way of life was unusually suited to people that use a hoe”. Footnote no 600: “i. e. the Macedonian dialects”! 

There are numerous similar examples of the objectivity with which the authors of this forgery approach their subject and faithfully serve their purpose.

Anyhow, about a century after the descent of the Slavs, another warlike people of Tataro-Asian origin, the Bulgarians, invade the Byzantine state from the North and quite early they subjugate the more numerous but more peaceful Slavs. Thereafter and up to the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans we have seen the creation and the demise of two Bulgarian and one Serbian states but not a Macedonian state despite the Scopian myths, about a (Slav) Macedonian empire.

Meanwhile, two Greek Thessalonian monks, Cyril and Methodius (9th cent. A.D.) taught the Greek-based Cyrillic script to the Slavs and enlightened them regarding religion and culture. So, the cultural history of the Slavs, founded on Byzantine Christiano-Hellenic culture, begins from this period. Professor Levchenko, of the University of Leningrad, writes:

“…the religion and culture of Russia are of Byzantine derivation”, (Levchenko, M., ‘History of the Byzantine Empire’, Athens). Today all the Slavs honour the two brothers as their saints and enlighteners.

Nevertheless, certain Slav historians from FYROM maintain that Cyril and Methodius were Macedonian Slavs and consequently they (the Scopians) are entitled to enjoy the privilege of having enlightened all the Slavs of Europe. This theory, however, received a powerful slap from the Slav Pope John Paul II, who on the 31st of December 1980, and through an official apostolic circular (Egregiae Virtutis) addressed to the entire Catholic Church proclaims that “Cyril and Methodius, brother Greeks born in Thessaloniki are consecrated divine protectors of Europe”. The Pope apart, from other Slav historians and researchers accept the Greekness of Cyril and Methodius. For example, the Czeck Byzantinist Fr Dvornik, the Serb historians of old Serbian literature, P. Popovich, Dj. Ch. Radovich and Dj. Tijunovich. Also the Slovenian historian and professor of the University of Ljubljana, B. Grajenouer and the Serb Professor V. Bogdanοvich, who in his opus ‘The History of Ancient Serbian Literature’ writes: “Cyril and Methodious were born in Thessaloniki and in their lineage they are not Slavs but Greeks.”

Before we conclude though this ethnogenetic confusion of the (Pseudo)Macedonian nation, it is worthy to mention here a neutral opinion about it, as it has been seen in the larger frame of the ethnogenesis of the South Slavic Nations:

“It is highly significant that among the South Slavs, the national identity of the Bulgars, Croats, and Serbs was acquired, though not firmly fixed, long before the development of modern nationalism. These three nations maintained a collective memory of their medieval statehood, and this memory survived in various forms – in the consciousness of national elites but also in part in popular imagination – despite interruptions or reductions in full state independence. As a result, the measure of state-historical tradition separates old South Slavic nations from the Slovenes, who acquired a national consciousness only in the nineteenth century, and especially from the Montenegrins, Macedonians and Bosnian-Hercegovinian Muslims, who are the products of twentieth century mutations in South Slavic national affinities and are, indeed, still in the process of formation. Since the ideological underpinnings of these new South Slavic nations were seemingly incomplete without a state tradition, modern Slovenes therefore looked upon the early seventh-century Carantanian principality as their prototypal state and the proof of their continuous nationhood, and theorists of Montenegrin and Macedonian national uniqueness augmented their claims with references to eleventh-century Dolcea (Duklja) and the Western Bulgarian empire of Samuil”( Banac, Ivo “The National Question in Yugoslavia- Origins,History, Politics”, Cornwell University Press, Ithaca, 1992).

 Concerning the latter (“Macedonians”), this is not quite true. They, actually, augmented their claims up to the 5th century B.C. Macedonia, simply by using their counterfeited name of the ancient Greek Macedonians ( bold words ours).





The extent of the Bulgarization of the Slavs who had settled in the northern parts of the region called Macedonia still remains a controversial issue amongst scholars. Macedoslav historians maintain the view that there were no Bulgars in Macedonia during the middle Ages and the Samuel was a Macedoslav King who fought against Byzantines and Bulgars alike. Yet, the Byzantine sources reveal that Samuel’ kingdom was a multi-racial one and that for a short period during the 10th century it extended further than Bulgaria, into Macedonia and beyond. Nevertheless, the fact remains that despite the dynamism of the Samuel kingdom foe a few decades, it was unable to dislodge Byzantine rule over the whole of Macedonia or bring about any racial change in its ethnological composition. The major centres of population in southern Macedonia did not fall into Samuel’s domination and continue to be Greek without interruption. In the rural areas of northern Macedonia, on the other hand –the areas which today are mostly within the frontiers of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia [FYROM] and Bulgaria- there was a solid Slav element. Following the overthrow of Samuel’s kingdom by the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, known as ‘the Bulgar slayer’ (11th century), the Greek population in the rural areas of Macedonia revived and there was a Greek renaissance throughout the region.

In the meantime, the Serbian empire of Stefan Dusan spread into Macedonia during the 14th century. This short-lived great though transient empire, which preceded the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, had no decisive impact on the ethnological map of Macedonia, other than leaving a few more Slav enclaves which reinforced the strata of Slav population already there.[1] The recollection of this empire, however, played a decisive role in inciting the national awakening of the Serbs in the 19th century to put forward claims on Macedonia. A similar process occurred with the national awakening of the Bulgarians, who, during the 19th century, laid also claim on Macedonia by virtu of its short-lived occupation by King Samuel.

[1] See Apostolos Vakalopoulos (), The History of Macedonia, Thessaloniki.