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.