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January 25, 2007

Alexander The Great Starts International Naming Dispute

alexander-the-great.jpgThe Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has renamed its international airport after Alexander the Great, much to the consternation of their Greek neighbors who see the famous conqueror as “the epitome of classical Greek heroism”.

The renaming is part of a longer dispute between the Macedonians and the Greeks, who already have a province of Macedonia. The Greeks for years have pushed the EU to recognize their neighbor not as Macedonia but as The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), much to the irritation of Macedonians who want their country to be referred to, simply, as the Republic of Macedonia.

The Greeks are standing firm leading to some awkward interchanges between the two countries. The situation has become so intense that last Saturday a UN Envoy was sent in to help resolve the naming dispute.

greece_map.jpgThis recent move on the part of the FYROM to associate the famous Macedonian (whom the Greeks see as their favorite son) with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, has led to some furious online interchanges, with Greek supporters saying the Macedonians are “seeking false support from the past” and FYROM supporters claiming Alexander was “born and raised” in their Macedonia.

Others posit that the FYROM is a Slavic, not Greek country, that simply has no claim to “true” Macedonian history - or its ancient heroes.

I am reluctant to offer an opinion here other than that of a professional naming consultant, but it does seem that The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is a rather unwieldy name and something should be done.

As far at Alexander the Great’s airport is concerned, well, as some bloggers have noted, there are street names and place names all around the world named after historical figures from other countries and, additionally, Alexander’s empire did stretch all the way to India.

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Posted by William Lozito at January 25, 2007 7:09 AM
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1 Comment

Alexander the Great was, is and will always be Macedonian. There is no doubt about that, everyone knows it. There are many sources from which we can see that as a fact.

Why did Greece never wanted Macedonia before the nineties? When they saw that Macedonia was getting it's indepence soon, they started to claim Macedonia and it's symbols only then, they saw money in our history too. Where as the Macedonians have been Macedonian and aware of their ethnicity , history and symbols for ages.

The Greeks and especially their PM should start reading Demosthenes over and over again.


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