Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Western Question - 1922

The Western Question in Greece and Turkey,

A Study in the Contact of Civilisations by Arnold J. Toynbee

London - Bombay - Syndey 1922

"In the northeastern provinces of Turkey, the massacre of Armenians by Moslems has been endemic since 1895; in Macedonia the mutual massacre of Greeks, Bulgars, Serbs, and Albanians since about 1899; and after the Balkan Wars the plague of racial warfare spread—with the streams of Moslem refugees—from Macedonia to Thrace and Western Anatolia." (pg. 17)

"The Khilafat movement is also part of that wave of sentiment which moves Modern Greeks to think of themselves as the special heirs of Pericles or Alexander, or to overload their language with reminiscences of Thucydides and Homer." (pg. 29)

"Lysimachus was one of Alexander’s generals and heirs, and he laid out Ephesus at a moment when all Asia, from the Aegean to the Pamirs, had been opened to Greek enterprise by Alexander’s conquests." (pg. 149)

"Then there are the conquests of Alexander—jubilantly trumpeted by the Greek Press of all parties in 1921, whenever their troops advanced. The ‘Gordian Knot’ was to be cut once again by General Papulas! They forgot that Alexander had not after all out witted the oracle. Whoever untied the knot was to rule Asia. Alexander cut it, and destroyed the Persian Empire (which had tied the Middle East together for two centuries) without founding another. His enduring achievements were negative. By overthrowing the Oriental world-state he threw open the Middle East to Hellenic civilisation, but he did not permanently annex to his ancestral kingdom of Macedonia either Western Anatolia or any other of the vast territories which he overran. After his death, Western Anatolia was fought over for more than a century by rival Powers—a Greek kingdom at Antioch, pushing up north-westward along the modern route of the Baghdad Railway; a Greek kingdom in the Balkans, first in Thrace and then in Macedonia, which never secured any hold; a Greek kingdom in Egypt, operating coastwise from overseas; local Powers like Pergamon (a revived Lydia) and the city-states of Cyzicus and Rhodes; and the immigrant Galatian tribesmen. In the midst of this political anarchy, Hellenic civilisation only made progress in Anatolia because there was no counter-influence like Islam in the field against it (the civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt being remote and by that time enfeebled). Moreover, even this cultural progress was comparatively slight until it was assisted by the Roman conquest and political unification of the country." (pg. 222)

"For ten days I walked about in the Morea, sleeping in the villagers’ houses, talking with them over the evening meal, and continuing the conversation on the mountain-tracks next morning; and afterwards I made a more rapid excursion into Western Macedonia. The Morea was the heart of ‘Old Greece’ and had been solidly Royalist. The Greeks of Macedonia had only been united to the Kingdom after the Balkan War, and, like most of their newly liberated kinsmen, had been supporters of Mr. Venizelos. The Moreots are provincials, the Macedonians— linked up with the West by railway more than a generation ago—are comparatively in touch with the world." (pg. 243)

Discovered by Marsyas Periandrou


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