The Balkans eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 396 pages of information about The Balkans.
of Macedonia, the most numerous of the dozen nationalities of which is Bulgarian in sentiment if not in origin, and would thus undoubtedly attain the hegemony of the peninsula, while the centre of gravity of the Serbian nation would, as is ethnically just, move north-westwards.  Political considerations, however, have until now always been against this solution of the difficulty, and, even if it solved in this sense, there would still remain the problem of the Greek nationality, whose distribution along all the coasts of the Aegean, both European and Asiatic, makes a delimitation of the Greek state on purely ethnical lines virtually impossible.  It is curious that the Slavs, though masters of the interior of the peninsula and of parts of its eastern and western coasts, have never made the shores of the Aegean (the White Sea, as they call it) or the cities on them their own.  The Adriatic is the only sea on the shore of which any Slavonic race has ever made its home.  In view of this difficulty, namely, the interior of the peninsula being Slavonic while the coastal fringe is Greek, and of the approximately equal numerical strength of all three nations, it is almost inevitable that the ultimate solution of the problem and delimitation of political boundaries will have to be effected by means of territorial compromise.  It can only be hoped that this ultimate compromise will be agreed upon by the three countries concerned, and will be more equitable than that which was forced on them by Rumania in 1913 and laid down in the Treaty of Bucarest of that year.

If no arrangement on a principle of give and take is made between them, the road to the East, which from the point of view of the Germanic powers lies through Serbia, will sooner or later inevitably be forced open, and the independence, first of Serbia, Montenegro, and Albania, and later of Bulgaria and Greece, will disappear, de facto if not in appearance, and both materially and morally they will become the slaves of the central empires.  If the Balkan League could be reconstituted, Germany and Austria would never reach Salonika or Constantinople.


The Balkan Peninsula in Classical Times

400 B.C. — A.D. 500.

In the earlier historical times the whole of the eastern part of the Balkan peninsula between the Danube and the Aegean was known as Thracia, while the western part (north of the forty-first degree of latitude) was termed Illyricum; the lower basin of the river Vardar (the classical Axius) was called Macedonia.  A number of the tribal and personal names of the early Illyrians and Thracians have been preserved.  Philip of Macedonia subdued Thrace in the fourth century B.C. and in 342 founded the city of Philippopolis.  Alexander’s first campaign was devoted to securing control of the peninsula, but during the Third century B.C.  Thrace was invaded from the north and laid waste by the Celts, who had already visited Illyria. 

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The Balkans from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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