Was the Greek language spoken by ancient Macedonians? Is the Slavic language spoken in modern Greece? Two maps showing the spread of languages in Macedonia and Greece, one from the old “ancient times” and one of the modern times may give us an answer.
The maps are published in the work “The Indo-European Languages” by Anna Giacalone Ramat (Editor), Paolo Ramat (Editor) and Sanford Steever.
Spread of the Greek language in ancient times
The debate as to whether ancient Macedonian was a Greek dialect, or was one of the Greek-related languages or a language of its own, is still a big question to this day.
On the other hand, there is no question that Macedonia is viewed and designated as a non-Greek-speaking area in most of the history books.
In the introduction to the book “The Indo-European Languages”, the authors also explained this fact just mentioned, but very briefly and concisely:
…The relationship of Greek to the bits of evidence which we possess for ancient Macedonian, as well as to the language of the neo-Phrygian texts of imperial times, is difficult to judge.
As is well known, pictures say more than a thousand words, so let’s take a look at the maps from the book:
The first map we picked from the book is shown on page 230, as the title suggests, the spread of the Greek dialects in antiquity. Five Greek dialects from ancient times are marked on the map.
As can be clearly seen, in the region of Macedonia only the Chalkidike is marked as a Greek-speaking area in ancient times. Accordingly, none of the Greek dialects of antiquity was native to Macedonia.
However, it should be mentioned at this point that the Chalkidike originally did not belong to the Macedonian kingdom.
It was not until Philip II of Macedon conquered the colonies of the Greek city-states on the peninsula in the Second Olynthian War and made it part of the Macedonian kingdom.
Related to the topic, we suggest You to read our article: The ‘Pella Curse Tablet’ and the ‘Nationalistic Greek Archaeology’
Slavic is spoken also in Northern Greece
The second map, on the other hand, is from a more recent date, as you can see on the screenshot from 1987. That is, before the independence of the Republic of Macedonia (1991).
Different Slavic languages are marked on the map. Related to Macedonia, based on the Macedonian language, which is clearly marked, it can be seen that Macedonian is spoken across modern national borders.
Accordingly, the Macedonian language is also present and spoken in Albania, Bulgaria and Greece.
Source: “The Indo-European Languages” by Sanford Steever, editors: Anna Giacalone Ramat and Paul Ramat, 1998