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RC Presents Lecture on Ancient Macedonia

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Nikolaos W. Kantanas – Copy Editor 

The Hellenic Society Paideia of America, an organization fostering learning about Greek culture and history, was hosted by Dr. Glen Bugh of Virginia Tech at the Antrim Chapel Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010.

Bugh is a Professor of Classical and Byzantine History at Virginia Tech as well as a scholar possessing numerous credentials in the field of classical history and archaeology, oriented toward the Ancient Greek world. Bugh held a lecture entitled “Macedonia: Ancient and Modern,” in which he discussed scholarly accepted facts about the region of Macedonia and its history. This included a review of the foundation of the Kingdom of Macedon, its rise to power under Phillip II and Alexander the Great, its transition through the Middle-Ages and Renaissance, and finally on its status in the modern world. When the discussion arrived at modern “Macedonia” the level of crowd interaction heightened, as it was filled with many who are affected by its current state.

 “It was interesting to see the way the people in the audience who were mostly Greek respond to the lecture,” said Jillian Debenedetto ’12.

 This is due to the touchy subject of modern Macedonia and what it is to be “Macedonian.” The tenderness of this topic in a broad view comes from the naming dispute between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the Hellenic Republic (Greece). The issue arose when FYROM, a country formerly a region in Yugoslavia, bordering northern Greece and on the fringes of the ancient region of the Kingdom of Macedon (the remnants of which are mostly in modern Greece), separated from Yugoslavia and named itself Macedonia.

 Modern Greeks, however, backed by historical and cultural evidence, assert that Macedonia is solely Greek, and therefore, another country which is not ethnically Greek referencing itself as Macedonia. This contradicts the Greek claim to the inheritance of Macedonian lineage.

 For the past 20 years this issue has left a sore spot in the Balkans. Bugh examined this naming dispute by confirming the Greek characteristics of the Ancient Macedonians such as Philip and Alexander as well as understanding Greek distaste for FYROM’s naming choice. However, he also acknowledged that those living in FYROM, which technically maintains a small piece of the ancient Kingdom of Macedon as part of its territory, have some claim to its heritage as well.

Bugh ended his discussion by saying that Greece, in the wake of this dispute has reminded Europe that it has the power to veto FYROM’s entry in the European Union, and that it is essential for growth to come forward in the Balkans, a region that both countries occupy, that this dispute be resolved.

“I like how Dr. Bugh emphasized the need to come to some resolution, and I think he did a good job at telling the facts,” said Michael Haslam ’13.

Bugh’s lecture highlighted the belief that it does not matter whether or not one favors one country’s opinion or another’s, but  acknowledging issues which divide foreign countries and exploring them from both sides is a good exercise for Americans to practice. As we still arguably possess the greatest deal of power and influence in the shifting world.

Photo Credit: Google Images