Valeria Foll: Written sources associate Orpheus with Thrace6 November 2007 | 16:14 | FOCUS News Agency
Do Macedonians have any grounds to declare mythical Orpheus has Macedonian origin? What is known about Orpheus that gives the Macedonians grounds to make such statements? FOCUS News Agency got in touch with Thracologist professor Valeria Foll to clear out the issue
FOCUS: Professor Foll, in today’s edition of the Macedonian Utrinski Vesnik newspaper it is said that mythical Orpheus is a Macedonian, that he is associated with the best Macedonian myths and it is even supposed that he has created the alphabet. Do Macedonians have any grounds to make such statement?
Valeria Foll: No, they don’t. The Macedonians have no grounds to claim that. I must say that I wrote a book, which is about to be released soon, called “Orpheus, the Thracian”. I guess it will come out by the end of the month.
FOCUS: What is known about Orpheus that can give the Macedonians grounds to declare he is a Macedonian?
Valeria Foll: The Orphism, which we call Thracian, as it is a set of religious beliefs and practices that covers some vast territory during the second half of the second millennium before Christ. This set of religious beliefs and practices is spread in East Macedonia. Due to the different historic fate of the Hellenic Republic and Macedonia, this religious believe starts fading away. In the late era of the Hellenic Republic, with the establishment of the “polises” (English: cities) and after that, this set of religious beliefs and practices disappears, expect for in some high-mountain regions, where the population continues to profess it. However, in Thrace this faith is professed on two levels – on aristocratic and mass level, and thus it is called Thracian Orphism. The written sources show some definite connection between Orpheus and Thrace, as Orpheus is not a historical person, but a metaphor to the Thracian high priest kings. There is no person that has lived and died called Orpheus. Orpheus identifies the Thracian high priest kings.
FOCUS: In what does this statement find expression then?
Valeria Foll: The Macedonians are seeking their identity back in the remote past. The present Macedonian state has nothing in common with the Macedonia of the past. This is generally known. At present, I’d say that there is some terminological war going on. There are some terminological thefts made. Unfortunately, Bulgaria does not take care of its scientists, who are dedicated to this science. But yet I’ll tell you that the Institute for Thracian Studies makes everything it can. Previously, I told you about my book. In the beginning of next year, we will launch the Ancient Thrace academic encyclopedia on the web. We are fighting for funds for its English edition. The on-line encyclopedia is developed by the Bulgarian Academy of Science, on the part of the Institute for Thracian Studies, hoping that thus we will be able to popularize the cultural-historical heritage. I want to stress the fact that the Thracians lived not only on the territory of Bulgaria. The Thracian ethnos has covered some vast territory, starting from river valley of Dnieper - Dniester, to the South Carpathian Mountains, then down on the river valley of Vardar, the North Aegean Sea coast and the contiguous islands and the Northwestern Anatolia. I.e. the Thracians have occupied the territories of present Bulgaria, Romania, parts of Serbia and Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, and South Ukraine. Thrace’s heat is in Bulgaria. This is the historical chance given to us, as the Odrysian Kingdom was the most powerful kingdom of all the Thracian kingdoms, which have been numerous, and the heart of this kingdom occupied the territory of present Bulgaria. In fact, part of Thrace’s heart is located in Turkey too, in the European Turkey.
FOCUS: What do you think about the attempts to involve history in politics?
Valeria Foll: I consider and have always considered this as something really bad – that is what my husband has taught me. Science must not get involved with politics. The Institute for Thracian Studies, in its 35-year existence has never dared to render some political notion to the ancient history of Bulgaria. I am glad that we have always aimed and made success, especially abroad, exactly because of the high level of science, which lacks any political notion. Unfortunately, recently politics takes advantage of history, I do not speak about the Bulgarians, but about the Macedonians, because of their personal conflicts, and force us bind to their level. In addition, I want to mention that our colleagues, Macedonian scientists, make some serious researches and the scientists have not worked out such insinuations, like the article in question. These insinuations were not created by our colleagues. We are in good terms with our Macedonian colleagues, who do not write such ridiculous things. There is no such nonsense in their studies. On scientific level, we have no problems with our Macedonian colleagues. Unfortunately, it is for the political figures to cause such problems. My appeal to the political figures is to stop interfering in our work.
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