Hermann Bengtson

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Hermann Bengtson (1909 - 1989) was a German historian.


  • It was he (Philip II) who accustomed this people of shepherds and peasants to urban life, who subdued the belligerent barbarian neighbours, opened up access to the sea and the country itself to Hellenic culture. For the Greeks, however, the Macedonians alway remained ‘barbaroi’, never recognised by the Hellenes as cultural equals, not even when on the crest of world dominion[...] In the cultural gulf between Greeks and Macedonians the question of Macedonian national origin was never more than of secondary importance in antiquity. For modern scholars the evidence from names - there is not a single sentence extant from the language of the Old Macedonians - tilts the scales in favour of the view that includes the Macedonians among the Greeks. The theory, therefore, advocated by the student of Indo-European linguistics, P.Kretschner , that the Macedonians were of Graeco-Illyrian hybrid stock, is not to be regarded as very probable. So the majority of modern historians, admittedly with the noteworthy exception of Julius Kaerst , have argued correctly for the Hellenic origin of the Macedonians. They should be included in the group of the North-West Greek tribes. This does not, however, discount the statement of Thucydides (II 99) that the Macedonians were related to the Epirotes from possibly having an element of truth. From the point of view of history it is more important that a century of isolation in the country which bears their name moulded the Macedonians into a distinctive social, political and anthropological unit, developing their essential features from within, and without domination by Hellenic influence. Thus the character of the Macedonian people had long since been moulded when, in the great power struggle between Athens and Philip, the hate-filled orations of Demosthenes repeatedly emphasised the divisive features between Greeks and Macedonians.
    • "History of Greece", University of Ottawa Press, 1988. Chapter 10 Philip of Macedonia, pgs 185-186