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In the Shadow of Olympus: The Emergence of Macedon (Princeton Paperbacks) Hardcover – May 7, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0691055497 ISBN-10: 0691055491 Edition: 0th

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Editorial Reviews


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1991

"This book is an extremely useful account of the history of Macedonia from its shadowy beginnings down through the reign of Philip II. Well written and coherent."--Classical World

"Borza has employed two of the historians most valuable tools, autopsy and common sense, to produce a well-balanced introduction to the state that altered the course of Greek and Near Eastern history."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Paperbacks
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (May 7, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691055491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691055497
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,079,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Darkuser on December 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought this book expecting a major critique on the so-called "Greek position" and found nothing of the sort. Grossly misrepresented on both the internet and in other publications, Borza has often been presented as a staunch advocate for a position in the "Macedonian Question". The truth is virtually the opposite! Borza, as with all objective historians, takes no position on this topic other than providing an overview of recent historiography of the region, a topic to which some mention of the practice of nationalist history is usually indispensable.

The Focus of this book, not unlike the works of Hammond and Errington, is strictly on Macedonian history as historians, both modern and ancient, know it. This book however focuses on a much less-known period of Macedonian history, so those looking for an account on Alexander should look elsewhere. It is perhaps unusual how the book focuses on this history with much greater detail than other books, and the author has been overly commended for this effort. I will not dwell on the author here, but anyone who is vaguely aware of this subject should not need further convincing of his reputation and the respect he receives from other scholars within his field.

Since I choose to respect Amazon's reviewing system, I do not see the need to espouse my own opinions on the question of Macedonian ethnicity or further the agendas of those who do. It is clear that among most historians there is little disagreement on the subject other than on trivial matters of interpretation, and in any case the places where there seems to be conflicting opinions are of little relevance to the question of ethnicity.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "rhristovski" on April 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Dr.Eugene Borza, professor emeritus at the Penn State University - USA, have done a wonderfull job by publishing this fascinating book. As a revisionist, he does not concur on many important points with the few living traditionalists such as Hammond, but his views can be compared to those of Green, Badian, Danforth and the majority of modern scholars who find it rather difficult if not impossible to settle Macedonians among the Hellenic ethnos. He expresses serious doubts that the ancient Macedonians were Hellenes and corroborates his conclusions with a wealth of archaeological and linguistical arguments.
However his aim in the book is not to confirm or deny the alleged Hellenism of Macedonians which view dates from the middle 19-th century. His job is to trace the emergence of the Macedonian state,power and culture through detailed analysis of the events and processes spaning several centuries. There lies the real value of the book. His deep knowledge of the subject is undeniable and that fact just increases the verisimilitudiness of the book. I strongly recomend this nice scholarly text.
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32 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Yannis Stefanopoulos on December 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Eugene Borza is one of the leading revisionists of the history of ancient Macedonia. That is why Greek ultra - nationalists and Greek nazi - fashists are attacking this wonderfull, unbiassed and consequently objective piece of scholar work. Actually, there are very few important historians left that backing up the thesis of the putative Hellenic origins of the ancient Macedonians.
This out of date thesis has its roots in the 19-th century german historical school. This school of thought was politically motivated to create an artificial justification for the ambitions of Otto I of Bavaria, (the German king of Greece:1830 -1860) and his German-Danish successors to enlarge Greece to the north. Of course, Greece (with a little help of its friends) managed to realize that during the Balkan wars (1912 -1913) and did a classical ethnical cleansing to the majority of Macedonian inhabitants, afterwards. The empty houses of Macedonians were inhabited by the newcomers from Asia Minor. Today, those people represent themselfs as real Macedonians, although their ancestors settled there only 80 years ago.
Mostly during the second half of the 20-th century the thesis of the Hellenic roots of the ancient Macedonians has been completelly discarted many times by a number of important scholars. So, from that point of view, Borza's work is not new.
However, Borza has a unique ability to take the evidence as a whole, cut it to the tiniest details and synthetise them again in a convincing and thrilling argumentation. That is why I strongly recommend this book to everyone interested in the ancient Balkan history.
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Eugene Borza indeed deserves the title "Macedonian Specialist". This book, reconstructing the history of Macedonia before Alexander the Great, and the conditions contributing to the rise of the Macedonian power, is incredibly well written. Borza pays special attention to the ethnicity of the ancient Macedonians whom he argumentatively proves, are distinct nation, which have left a mark in the world history under their ethnic name. He takes detailed look at the writings of ancient Greek writers Herodotus and Thucydides, who did not consider the Macedonians as Greeks, in order to examine the historical events and the personalities of all Macedonian Kings from Amyntas I to Philip II, and their strong sense of separate ethnic identity.
Borza puts a strong dose of criticism for the modern literature regarding the ancient Macedonians, particularly of the works by N.G.L. Hammond and the Modern Greek writers, whom Borza corrects on many matters, especially on the issue of the ethnicity of the ancient Macedonians. Borza cuts through the ancient myths, analyzes the religion and language of the Macedonians, brings the archeological discoveries into light, applying professionalism,, ancient facts, and common sense to arrive at his conclusions. The book is a must for every person interested in Macedonian studies, history, geography, anthropology, and ethnicity.
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