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FYROMania!

G

Gadjodilo

Does anyone know what is Greece's problem? So they have a province called Macedonia. There is also a country people generally refer to as Macedonia or F.Y.R.O.M. (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The Greeks claim that allowing the Macedonians to call their country 'Macedonia' (!) implies a claim on their province - even though the Macedonians deny this.

Does Greece have a justifiable concern or are they just using this issue to deflect domestic attention from economic problems such as government plans to reform pensions and the strikes that have been paralysing the country in recent days?
 


G

Gadjodilo

rockofcashel said:
Jaysus I don't know.

That'll keep me from my sleep now, so it will
Sorry. :lol:

Think of it like a (mooted) Independent Republic of Ulster implying a claim on Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan.

:shock2:

Hey, maybe those Greeks have point!
 

JCSkinner

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Gadjodilo said:
Does anyone know what is Greece's problem? So they have a province called Macedonia. There is also a country people generally refer to as Macedonia or F.Y.R.O.M. (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The Greeks claim that allowing the Macedonians to call their country 'Macedonia' (!) implies a claim on their province - even though the Macedonians deny this.

Does Greece have a justifiable concern or are they just using this issue to deflect domestic attention from economic problems such as government plans to reform pensions and the strikes that have been paralysing the country in recent days?
The 'problem' is that of the Slavs seeking to co-opt the name of a Greek province for their nation.
 

LTGuy

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JCSkinner said:
Gadjodilo said:
Does anyone know what is Greece's problem? So they have a province called Macedonia. There is also a country people generally refer to as Macedonia or F.Y.R.O.M. (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The Greeks claim that allowing the Macedonians to call their country 'Macedonia' (!) implies a claim on their province - even though the Macedonians deny this.

Does Greece have a justifiable concern or are they just using this issue to deflect domestic attention from economic problems such as government plans to reform pensions and the strikes that have been paralysing the country in recent days?
The 'problem' is that of the Slavs seeking to co-opt the name of a Greek province for their nation.
We all know that your [sub]standard of education is atrocious - no need to remind! ;) But still you do, unfortunately.

Just for your enlightenment. "Macedonia" is not a name of "Greek province", it is first of all a geographical term that referred to the territory occupied once by a proud nation of Macedonians. At some point Macedonians have conquered the whole of Greece and big chunks of Asia too (Alexander the Great, anyone?). Still, there are some undeniable facts:

1. Ancient Macedonians were not Greeks (ancient authors refer to their language as "barbarous"), although they have succumed to Greek cultural pull pretty fast after conquering her. Obviously, Macedonians were not Slavs either

2. Neither Greek province of Macedonia, nor the territory of FYROM equates with the territory of Ancient Macedonia as it was those two both together + huge swathes of other territories as far as modern Greek-Alban border

3. Whatever Greeks say they are not direct heirs of Macedonians neither are Slavs.

So what we have here in reality - a preposterious name calling by two sides both of which are actually wrong. It is ridiculous to try to prove the link between modern Macedonians and ancient Macedonians (as some now try in FYROM), although it is obvious that some genetic stock of FYROM citizens comes from ancient Macedonians
On the other hand Greece's alleged anxieties are really childish - no one is basing territorial claims based on name. Macedonians (as understood in 20-21st centuries) is someone speaking Slavic language and there are none of those in the Greek Macedonia, so if there were any claims they would be dismissed rightaway.

However, what is at stake - the national myth propelled by Greeks how they had an Empire. It is funny, but the Greeks sincerely believe in this, although any scholar of history would acknowledge that ancient Greek were no natural empire-builders, on the countrary - they were very individualistic and at constant wars among themselves (like perennial Athens vs Sparta thing).[/sub]
 

Edo

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Gadjodilo said:
Does anyone know what is Greece's problem? So they have a province called Macedonia. There is also a country people generally refer to as Macedonia or F.Y.R.O.M. (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The Greeks claim that allowing the Macedonians to call their country 'Macedonia' (!) implies a claim on their province - even though the Macedonians deny this.

Does Greece have a justifiable concern or are they just using this issue to deflect domestic attention from economic problems such as government plans to reform pensions and the strikes that have been paralysing the country in recent days?
This has been going on since the disbandment of Yugoslavia. I lived and worked in Greece from 1994 to 1997 and spent my first year there as an English teacher in a small village high up in the Grammos mountains literally on the Albanian/Macedonian/Greek border and on the internal border between the Greek provinces of Epirus and Macedonia - and once I got my head around the language (it was total immersion - apart from one retired sailor -the nearest other English speaker was 5 hours and hundred miles away down on the Macedonian plains) I got a crash course in Greek and Balkan history - now I must admit now that I did the classics in Uni so I had a pretty good grounding the ancient Greek history and culture.

Where to start? - well first off the French "Macedoine" salad is well named (bit of everything and all mixed up) . The balkans is irridentalism run riot and FYROM is the central fault line. this has been going for thousands of years but its really the crumbling of the Ottoman empire in the latter half of the 19th century is most relevant to our discussion here.

As the Ottoman empire crumbled - Greece, Romania, then Serbia followed by Bulgaria had become independent by 1878 and the remaining Ottoman lands in Europe and considerable part of Asia Minor were being coveted by these newly independent and reconstituted nations. It also resurrected all the territorial claims of these nations going back to time immemorial.If you took the border lines of each claim and drew them on a transparency and placed them on top of each other you would see how insanely crazy it all was.

The Greeks wanted to return to the borders of the Byzantine Empire circa 1200 AD - all of now current Greece, European Turkey including Instanbul(Constantinople) and the Black sea and Aegean Coasts of current day Turkey and of course Cyprus. This ambition underwrote all the foreign policy and military adventures of the Greek state until 1923 and the Smryna Castastrophe when the newly resurgent Turks under Attaturk drove the Greek army and populations of Asia Minor quite literally into the sea at Smryna (Izmir) and the resulting peace treaty, ethnic cleansing and massive population exchanges finished the Megalo idee (the Great Idea of a greater Greece) forever.

The Serbs wanted to return to their great empire that they had before 1389 and the disaster on Kosovo fields - which included FYROM and the current Greek provinces of Macedonia ,Thrace and Epirus - even tho they only held them for about 20 years!

The Bulgarians and the Greeks fought over 3 wars over the area of Greek Macedonia,FYROM and Thrace in the space of 20 years at the turn of the century as all the Balkan nations coveted Salonika (Thessaloniki) as the port on the Med and it became part of the Great Game with the Brits backing the Greeks and propping up the Ottomans and the Russians were behind the Buglarians.

So - are you still with me here - So where the F do the Macedonians or FYROMers come into all of this and what is responsible for the current tete a tete with the Greeks>

Well - its like this. Its all Titos fault! - kind of! -

For the Greeks - the nub of the problem is over the name - not the territory - and they might have a point here. As far as the Greeks are concerned the ancient Macedonians were Greeks, like the Thebians, Athenians, Corinthians, Spartans... you get the drift - they were part of the Greek world and spoke greek- well their elites did - the rest of the pop is not known - the heart of Macedon was the southern Vardar valley and its capital was Aegae which is in the current Greek province of Macedonia. It is arguable that as the kingdom of Philip and Alexander waxed and waned through antiquity Im sure the borders advanced and contracted up and down the Vardar valley - the northern part of which is the heart of FYROM as it passes thru the capital Skopje- so it could be argued that this area could be called Macedon - buts its extremely debatable.

Now fast forward to 1945/48 - Tito, in the process of organising his federated republic of Yugoslavia -had a problem with the rump end of his dominions - all the others were pretty clearcut - but that area down the south mostly populated by largely ethnic Albanians and Slavs who spoke what could arguably be called a dialect of Bulgarian, and a smattering of cast adrift Turks, Greek communists refugees from that countries bloody civil war , Bulgars and Vlacs. He decided to call it the Yugoslav republic of Macedonia - probably for want of a better word and to quell the irridentalist ambitions of the Albanians and the Bulgarians.

Now during the deep freeze of the Cold War it was not a issue of discussion or interest outside late night drunken scheming over bottles of plum brandy and the ramblings of dreamers and the nostalgic. One thing that did happen in this time that would have major consequences was that Greek archeologists made a major find in Macedonia when they found, what is pretty much agreed universally, the burial site of the kings of Macedon and their finds can be seen the National Museum in Athens and also in Thessaloniki. One major piece they found became known is the star of Vergina *- named after the current Greek Village which stands over the site and the Vergina Sun -as it is called - became the symbol of Greek Macedonia.

Now - When Yugoslavia broke up in 1991 - FYROM became independent and amid all the excitement , all those old nationalist feelings and territorial ambitions started to bubble up to the surface again - the new leaders of this, lets be honest about it, makey uppy state - decided they would have to undertake a bit of nation building and myth invention and a national story is vital to this- otherwise there was a fair chance the state would fall apart . So they decided to call the state Macedonia, take the Vergina Sun as their national symbol and put it on their new flag and come up with this story that they were descended from the line of Philip and Alexander of Macedon - which of course is complete bull - would be like George Bush claiming Pochahontas as his ancestor. In their excitement some of the more extremist politicians in the state started to wonder about reclaiming Greek Macedonia to make the state "unitary and whole" and make it economically viable with a port on the Med.

Understandably the Greeks went completely mental over this - its was a insult to the Greek nation etc etc and they forced the UN to refuse recognition until the name Macedonia was changed to FYROM and they finally forced the FYROMers to drop the Vergina Sun from the Flag in 95 and thats basically the story.

There has been an uneasy peace between the two since then - but the suspicion has remained - if any of you out there have spend any significant time in the Balkans or the middle east - you will understand the expression "the Plot" that outside forces are always messing around with the nations in the area and are always backing that nations bitterest rival in some irridentalists or ethnic squabble or historical grievance real or imagined.

As regards the FYROM situation - it would be like(Im exaggerating here!) Northern Ireland declaring independence tomorrow , calling itself Ulster and taking the Ulster flag or the Flag of St Patrick as their national symbol - Its economic and political effect on everyday realities might be insignificant - but I'd hate to be the editor of the the letters page in the dailies or a mod on a site like this!

Hell - it may seem as insignificant as a hill of beans - The Greeks have their economic foot on the Macedonians throat at anytime they wish - 90% of FYROMs trade goes out through Thessaloniki and Greeks are the biggest investors in FYROM - but when did a bit of emotional nationalism and symbolism ever get in the way of the facts and realityof now - Look at the number of threads and the length of threads on this site arguing over and over again dead history and symbolism like flowers etc etc.?

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vergina

Further reading - anything by the Great Misha Glenny on the Balkans and also Kaplans "Balkan Ghosts" is to be recommended too.
 

LTGuy

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Edo said:
. As far as the Greeks are concerned the ancient Macedonians were Greeks, like the Thebians, Athenians, Corinthians, Spartans...
It all started so well, and ended with a puff :( Macedonians WERE NOT Greeks, if they were - there weren't any acrimonious disputes now. And 100% they were not like "Thebaians, Athenians etc" Greekness of whom is well established and not disputed.
So they decided to call the state Macedonia
You are full of Greek propaganda. What do you mean "they decided"? What was their name before? Were there any OTHER options? :evil:
 

Edo

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LTGuy said:
Edo said:
. As far as the Greeks are concerned the ancient Macedonians were Greeks, like the Thebians, Athenians, Corinthians, Spartans...
It all started so well, and ended with a puff :( Macedonians WERE NOT Greeks, if they were - there weren't any acrimonious disputes now. And 100% they were not like "Thebaians, Athenians etc" Greekness of whom is well established and not disputed.
So they decided to call the state Macedonia
You are full of Greek propaganda. What do you mean "they decided"? What was their name before? Were there any OTHER options? :evil:
Oh chill out there will ya - I said " as far as the Greeks are concerned....." - I think the whole fecking lots of yis are mental in that part of the world - digging and digging and using this "historical" "Fact" and that "Historical Fact" to justify this claim and that - And I include the Greeks most wholehearthedly in that too - revisonism gone mad

Yes thats a good question - what was the area known as Macedonia called down through history-

Well the area of FYROM would be divided between the Roman provinces of Macedonia (which included all of Greece down to Corinth), Moesia and Thracia from 146BC to up to 395AD - after that all bets are off as the area became part of the Byzantine, Serbian, Bulgarian states and were swopped around as often - under the ottomans the area was again divided up between the eaylets of Macedonia (which roughly corresponds to Greek Macedonia),bulgaria and Serbia

All I was arguing is that to try and conjecture that to call FYROM Macedonia - when its really only half the Roman province of Macedonia and to try and come up with a connection with Ancient Macedon is really pushing it given all population movements and divisions and waxing and waning of all the kingdoms and empires - its kind of like saying the Greeks are pure descendents of the Ancient Greeks which is total bollox aswell - not to mention the Irish

All the nations there are trying to come up with exclusive version of history and ethnicity that flies completely in the face of the reality of Europe as a big miss mash of different tribes and migrations intermingling.

the only nation I know that have any right to do this are the Japanese -even tho repugnant - they do have a point. To this in congested Europe is utter nonsense.


"propoganda" - the cheapest insult in the that part of the world when somebody might have a slightly different view that your own - normally when the actual facts are a heck of alot more complicated and complex than the standard histories taught in all the various nation states
 

JCSkinner

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Two posts on the thread. One ad hominem attack and one bald statement of 'you're wrong' to a lengthy, pensive, balanced and well-analysed post.
Of all the barrel-scrapers on this site, you're consistently among the worst, LT.
If you have an argument, present it. Of course, you don't have an argument. You just want one. Well, I'm not going to oblige. My lenten promise is to give up debating with those incapable of doing so.
 

LTGuy

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An exclusive feature of some challenged (fka as handicapped) persons on this board is that they don't even realize when the argument is presented in front of their nose. Please, JCSkinner, GO AWAY if you don't have a hint about the topic discussed.
 

LTGuy

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Edo - relax, I am neither Greek, nor Macedonian therefore I couldn't care less what will be the name of FYROM. It might be even Holy Klingon Empire. However, I am disappointed that you knowing the whole history of this dispute are careless enough to disseminate false information like "Macedonians were just like any Ancient Greeks". Exactly this type of half-truths/half-lies is poisoning the relationship between FYROM and Greece. If just some people stopped lying at one point - then they would realize there is no dispute beyond irredentism of some extremists.
I was arguing is that to try and conjecture that to call FYROM Macedonia - when its really only half the Roman province of Macedonia
This is really laughable. So US State "New Mexico" has no right to be called as such because it is even not 1/10 of Mexico? Or the historic "Netherlands" half of which are called "Belgium" now. Should the Dutch state also change their name as they are not "real" Netherlands, or to say precisely - not all of it? Borders have been shifting in Europe all the time, there is none state that is exactly where it was 1500 years ago. There is no other coutry with name "Macedonia", neither there is any emerging any time soon. The territory of FYROM was part of Macedonia - so let them call itself Macedonia, what is the problem? Why do they have to invent some fictitious name for their country just to please some megalomaniac Greek irredentists?
"propoganda" - the cheapest insult
Well, I am sorry - "propaganda" is too good a word to describe what you have written :lol: Propaganda involves some strategic thinking and planning ahead, and saying "They decided to call their country Macedonia in 1991" is not even propaganda - it is sheer stupidity. Can you present any evidence of this "'decision"? Was a decree issued to change the name, or a plebescite conducted, and PLEASE do remind us what was the name of this entity prior to 1991? Surely not "Macedonia" if they decided to name it Macedonia in 1991? :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

JCSkinner

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LTGuy said:
I'm quoting this post of yours as evidence of your general offensiveness, and so that the moderators can see your debating style in full flow.
I asked for your argument because you have thus far failed to present one, even one of your usual half-baked, hysterical, illogical standards.
All you have done is make two ad hominem attacks, including a disgraceful reference to the disabled.
Make your pro-Slav argument if you can formulate one. But simply stating nonsense like the Macedonians of early history were not Greeks is neither correct nor an argumenrt,
 

LTGuy

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Mr Catskinner - may I remind you this topic discusses the issue of FYROM naming. Can you please GET OFF my humble personality and stick to the topic?
 

LTGuy

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JCSkinner said:
Still no argument, then? No surprise there. Keep digging the hole.
:lol: :lol: It seems some people not only are dumb, but are also in a dire need to see an optician :lol: :lol: :lol: Just keep on walking, Mr. Congeniality :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

Edo

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LTGuy said:
Edo - relax, I am neither Greek, nor Macedonian therefore I couldn't care less what will be the name of FYROM. It might be even Holy Klingon Empire. However, I am disappointed that you knowing the whole history of this dispute are careless enough to desseminate false information like "Macedonians were just like any Ancient Greeks". Exactly this type of half-truths/half-lies is poisoning the relationship between FYROM and Greece. If just some people stopped lying at one point - then they would realize there is no dispute beyond irredentism of some extremists.
I was arguing is that to try and conjecture that to call FYROM Macedonia - when its really only half the Roman province of Macedonia
This is really laughable. So US State "New Mexico" has no right to be called as such because it is even not 1/10 of Mexico? Borders have been shifting in Europe all the time, there is none state that is exactly where it was 1500 years ago. There is no other coutry with name "Macedonia", neither there is any emerging any time soon. The territory of FYROM was part of Macedonia - so let them call itself Macedonia, what is the problem? Why do they have to invent some fictitious name for their country just to please some megalomaniac Greek irredentists?
OK - but don't forget the Macedonians went out of their way to be part of the "greek world" too - thats the point I was making - and I dont know if there was a any concept of "Greekness" back in those days outside a loose alliance that spoke roughly the same language and banded together whenever the Persians turned up on the horizon or when those Mad Celts came out of the woods to the north on a pillaging trip. But you have to remember that Philip and Alexander were the first to unify the Greek world and went out of their way to show that they were Greeks and descended from the Gods - (kind of like all the Balkan nations are doing now - funny how history repeats itself) - if the macedons spoke another language , had a distinct culture, or even conceptualised themselves as distinct from the Greeks -we dont know!

Of course the current thing is silly - I remember having blazing rows with my prospective father-in-law at the time making some of the points you are making currently and being dismissed as a ignorant barbarian from the north whose ancestors were swinging from the trees and whose idea of a good time was chasing wild pigs ,while the Greeks were building the the Parthenon and reading Homer and being cultured - you dont need to tell me about Greek stubborness and pride! - all I was saying is that "Macedonia" or FYROM is an interesting one and what they tried to do by connecting themselves with ancient macedon was really pushing it in that the only connection was the name of the Roman province - other than that the peoples who live there have no real connection with Alexander etc etc

The US analogy is different and you cant really compare the two - its all very silly - but down in the Balkans you find that people are very very touchy about stuff like this and also that history is thought more of cyclically as opposed to chronologically like we do in the west - ie we were a great before and we will be great again - not like here in the west where we look at history and the past in the main - as done and dusted and we move on.

There are no easy answers - only a matter of perception - what to you and me in the west might seem to be very silly and straight forward can be very very important and a touchy subject over there.
 

Edo

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Well, I am sorry - "propaganda" is too good a word to describe what you have written Laughing Propaganda involves some strategic thinking and planning ahead, and saying "They decided to call their country Macedonia in 1991" is not even propaganda - it is sheer stupidity. Can you present any evidence of this "'decision"? Was a decree issued to change the name, or a plebescite conducted, and PLEASE do remind us what was the name of this entity prior to 1991? Surely not "Macedonia" if they decided to name it Macedonia in 1991? Laughing Laughing Laughing
Have a look at Wikipedia - its not bad and you might be enlightened

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Macedonia
 

LTGuy

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Edo said:
OK - but don't forget the Macedonians went out of their way to be part of the "greek world" too
I do not argue about that - they became thoroughly Hellenized under Alexander and for all practical purposes became Greeks at some point. This does not apply to the period of Alexander himself though.

Hence, you should agree it is very misleading to insist that Macedonians were "just like any other Ancient Greek - Thebaians, Athenians, Spartans etc". They were not, not even close to that. Philip of Macedon knew this all too well, and before Macedonians literally made all Greeks kneel they were sneered at by snobbish Greek elites as just ill-washed barbarians.

if there was a any concept of "Greekness" back in those days
Well, speaking Greek would be a precondition, wouldn't it be? Macedonians did not speak Greek to begin with. This is the reason they were deemed "barbars" in the first place. Macedonians were in the same league as Illyrians, Thracians or Dacians, e.g. close neighbours, but NOT Greeks.

But you have to remember that Philip and Alexander were the first to unify the Greek world and went out of their way to show that they were Greeks and descended from the Gods
Well, that is a BAD criterion. Stalin was the first one which ever united Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in one state. Does it prove:
a) Stalin was a Balt?
b) Baltic states are just one state?

You have to understand that Alexander did not stop at Greece, he went as far as India, so it is not fair to say he "united all of Greece". Creation of united Greece was not his ultimate goal - he just grabbed as much land as he could everywhere he could, that is how Syria or Egypt were also included.
all I was saying is that "Macedonia" or FYROM is an interesting one
Look simpler at things, be more practical. Imagine Greece wins the day and forces through the throat the Macedonians to call themselves "United States of Albanian Slavonia". Do you really think it will change the attitude of the zealots there? Do you frankly believe the whole story will not go into history textbook as one more proof how Greece is oppressing the "ancient macedonians" and how the nation of Macedonians has to rise up and the shake off the Greek yoke? Renaming FYROM will not ever change anything. Irredentists will not get swiped away as long as there is no joint Macedonian-Greek conference on history which would put a final cross on all speculations about the nature of Macedonians. Only then you can rest assured that idiotic ideas will not be propelled to the level of state religion.
tell me about Greek stubborness and pride!
Well, people who don't believe Ancient Greek was pronounced not the same way Modern Greek sounds cannot surprise me anymore.
the only connection was the name of the Roman province
And the Roman province got its name from where? Are you suggesting it were the Romans who invented the name "Macedonia"? Didn't it occur to you that before even Roman foot stepped on Balkan soil there were "Macedonians" who bordered on Epirus, .i. they lived exactly there (but not only, of course) where FYROM is now.
 

LTGuy

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Edo said:
Well, I am sorry - "propaganda" is too good a word to describe what you have written Laughing Propaganda involves some strategic thinking and planning ahead, and saying "They decided to call their country Macedonia in 1991" is not even propaganda - it is sheer stupidity. Can you present any evidence of this "'decision"? Was a decree issued to change the name, or a plebescite conducted, and PLEASE do remind us what was the name of this entity prior to 1991? Surely not "Macedonia" if they decided to name it Macedonia in 1991? Laughing Laughing Laughing
Have a look at Wikipedia - its not bad and you might be enlightened

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Macedonia
You are still ignoring my basic question - where is the proof Macedonians DECIDED to name their newly independent country "Macedonia"? Were there any OTHER proposals at the time, any viable alternatives? And what was the name of Yugoslavia's republic which existed on the same territory prior to 1991? You are still insisting they DECIDED to name it so? :lol: :lol: Or they simply DECIDED "not to rename it anyhow"? :D
 

Edo

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Well, people who don't believe Ancient Greek was pronounced not the same way Modern Greek sounds cannot surprise me anymore.
Well actually Greek is a very simple language once you get the hang of the characters - its not a matter of pronunciation that differenciates ancient and modern Greek - its actually structure and make up.

Its interesting that there are 3 versions of greek in use in Greece today

1) Demotico - the everyday language of Greeks and is made up plenty of slavic, romance turkish and levantine expressions,words and idioms and it accurately reflects Greeces Modern History and geographical position.

2) Church Greek - the orthodox church still uses Byzantine Greek - which makes going to mass feckin hard on top of the average 3-3/12 hours running time aswell as the fact if you are male you have stand up for the whole lot.

3) Katheravuossa - is the modern equivalent of Ancient Greek - which the intellectuals tried to resurrect in the 1820's after independence - Its used on official documentation and the quality broadsheets - ironically I found this easier when I first went there as I had done classic Greek in Uni.

Pity the kids tho - imagine having to learn 3 versions of your mother tongue!
 


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