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Macedonia (ancient kingdom)

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Macedonia
Μακεδονία
808 BC–168 BC
150–148 BC


Vergina Sun

The Kingdom of Macedonia in 336 BC.
Capital Aigai
(808–399 BC)
Pella[1]
(399–167 BC)
Languages Ancient Macedonian,
Attic Greek, Koine Greek
Religion Greek Polytheism
Government Monarchy
King
 •  808–778 BC Caranus (first)
 •  179–168 BC Perseus (last)
Legislature Synedrion
Historical era Classical Antiquity
 •  Founded by Caranus 808 BC
 •  Vassal of Persia[2] 512/511–493 BC
 •  Part of Persia[2] 492–479 BC
 •  Rise of Macedon 359–336 BC
 •  Conquest of Persia 335–323 BC
 •  Partition of Babylon 323 BC
 •  Battle of Pydna 168 BC
Currency Tetradrachm
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Greek Dark Ages
Kingdom of Pergamon
Seleucid Empire
Ptolemaic Kingdom
Macedonia (Roman province)

Macedonia or Macedon (/ˈmæsɪˌdɒn/; Greek: Μακεδονία, Makedonía; Ancient: [ma͜akedoní.a͜a]) was an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece,[3] and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece.[4] It was ruled during most of its existence initially by the founding dynasty of the Argeads, the intermittent Antipatrids and finally the Antigonids. Home to the Ancient Macedonians, the earliest kingdom was centered on the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula,[5] bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south.

Prior to the 4th century BC, Macedonia was a small kingdom outside the area dominated by the great city-states of Athens, Sparta and Thebes, and at one time was briefly subordinate to Achaemenid Persia.[2] The reign of Philip II (359–336 BC) saw the rise of Macedonia, when the kingdom rose to control the entire Greek world. With the innovative Macedonian army, Philip defeated the old powers of Athens and Thebes in the decisive Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC and subdued them, while keeping Sparta in check. His son Alexander the Great pursued his father's effort to command the whole of Greece through the federation of Greek states, a feat he finally accomplished after destroying a revolting Thebes. Alexander then led this force in a large campaign against the Achaemenid Empire, in retaliation for the invasion of Greece in the 5th century BC.

In the ensuing wars of Alexander the Great, Alexander overthrew the Achaemenid Empire, conquering a territory that came to stretch as far as the Indus River. For a brief period his Macedonian empire was the most powerful in the world, the definitive Hellenistic state, inaugurating the transition to this new period of Ancient Greek civilization. Greek arts and literature flourished in the new conquered lands and advancements in philosophy and science were spread to the ancient world. Of particular importance were the contributions of Aristotle, a teacher to Alexander, whose teachings carried on many centuries past his death.

Following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, the ensuing wars of the Diadochi and the partitioning of his short-lived empire, Macedonia proper carried on as a Greek cultural and political center in the Mediterranean region along with Ptolemaic Egypt, the Seleucid Empire and the Kingdom of Pergamon. Important cities like Pella, Pydna, and Amphipolis were involved in power struggles for control of the territory, and new cities were founded, like Thessalonica by the usurper Cassander, which is now the second largest city of modern-day Greece. Macedonia's decline began with the rise of Rome until its ultimate subjection in 168 BC following the Macedonian Wars.

Etymology

The name Macedonia (Greek: Μακεδονία, Makedonía) comes from the Greek Μακεδόνες (Makedónes), deriving ultimately from the ancient Greek adjective μακεδνός (makednós), meaning "tall, taper", possibly descriptive of the people.[6] It also shares the same root as the noun μάκρος (mákros), meaning "length" in both ancient and modern Greek.[7] The name is originally believed to have meant either "highlanders" or "the tall ones",[8][9][10] However, according to modern research by Robert S. P. Beekes, both terms are of Pre-Greek substrate origin and cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European morphology.[11] The shorter English name variant Macedon developed in Middle English, based on a borrowing from the French form of the name, Macédoine.[12]

History

Early history and legend

The entrance to one of the royal tombs at Vergina, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A mosaic of the Kasta Tomb in Amphipolis depicting the abduction of Persephone by Pluto, 4th century BC

The lands around Aegae (Greek Αἴγαι, Aígai), the first Macedonian capital and today's Vergina, were home to various peoples. Macedonia was at first called Emathia (from king Emathion) and the city of Aegae was called Edessa, the capital of fabled king Midas in his youth. In approximately 650 BC, the Argeads, an ancient Greek royal house led by Perdiccas I, established their palace-capital at Aegae.[13]

It seems that the first Macedonian state emerged in the 8th or early 7th century BC under the Argead Dynasty, who, according to legend, migrated to the region from the Greek city of Argos in Peloponnesus (thus the name Argead). Herodotus mentions this founding myth when Alexander I was asked to prove his Greek descent in order to participate in the Olympic Games, an athletic event in which only men of Greek origin were entitled to participate. Alexander proved his (Argead) descent and was allowed to compete by the Hellanodikai:

"And that these descendants of Perdiccas are Greeks, as they themselves say, I happen to know myself, and not only so, but I will prove in the succeeding history that they are Greeks. Moreover the Hellanodicai, who manage the games at Olympia, decided that they were so: for when Alexander wished to contend in the games and had descended for this purpose into the arena, the Greeks who were to run against him tried to exclude him, saying that the contest was not for Barbarians to contend in but for Greeks: since however Alexander proved that he was of Argos, he was judged to be a Greek, and when he entered the contest of the foot-race his lot came out with that of the first."[14]

Other founding myths served other agendas: according to Justin's Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Caranus, accompanied by a multitude of Greeks, came to the area in search of a new homeland,[15] took Edessa and renamed it Aegae. Subsequently, he expelled Midas and other kings and formed his new kingdom. Conversely, according to Herodotus, it was Dorus, the son of Hellen who led his people to Histaeotis, whence they were driven off by the Cadmeians into Pindus, where they settled as Macedonians. Later, a branch would migrate further south to be called Dorians.[16]

The kingdom was situated in the fertile alluvial plain, watered by the rivers Haliacmon and Axius, called Lower Macedonia, north of the mountain Olympus. Around the time of Alexander I of Macedon, the Argead Macedonians started to expand into Upper Macedonia, lands inhabited by independent Greek tribes like the Lyncestae and the Elimiotae and to the West, beyond the Axius river, into the Emathia, Eordaia, Bottiaea, Mygdonia, Crestonia and Almopia regions settled by, among others, many Thracian tribes.[17] To the north of Macedonia lay various non-Greek peoples such as the Paeonians due north, the Thracians to the northeast, and the Illyrians, with whom the Macedonians were frequently in conflict, to the northwest. To the south lay Thessaly, with whose inhabitants the Macedonians had much in common both culturally and politically, while to the west lay Epirus, with whom the Macedonians had a peaceful relationship and in the 4th century BC formed an alliance against Illyrian raids.[18]

Near the modern city of Veria, Perdiccas I (or, more likely, his son, Argaeus I) built his capital, Aigai (modern Vergina). In 512/511 BC, Macedon became a vassal state of Achaemenid Persia during the rule of Darius Hystaspes.[19] Following the Ionian Revolt, Persian rule over the Balkans loosened, including over Macedon.[19] After having successfully suppressed the revolt, Mardonius re-subjugated Thrace and conquered Macedon, making it a fully subordinate part of Persia in 492 BC during the reign of king Alexander I (495–450 BC).[19] The state eventually regained its independence during the same long reign of King Alexander I as well, following the Greco-Persian Wars.[19] In the Peloponnesian War Macedon was a secondary power that alternated in support between Sparta and Athens.[20]

Macedon during the Peloponnesian War around 431 BC.

Involvement in the classical Greek world

Prior to the 4th century BC, the kingdom covered a region approximately corresponding to the Western and Central parts of the province of Macedonia in modern Greece. A unified Macedonian state was eventually established by King Amyntas III (c. 393–370 BC), though it still retained strong contrasts between the cattle-rich coastal plain and the fierce isolated tribal hinterland, allied to the king by marriage ties. They controlled the passes through which barbarian invasions came from Illyria to the north and northwest. It became increasingly Atticised during this period, though prominent Athenians appear to have regarded the Macedonians as uncouth.[21] Before the establishment of the League of Corinth, even though the Macedonians apparently spoke a dialect of the Greek language and claimed proudly that they were Greeks, they were not considered to fully share the classical Greek culture by many of the inhabitants of the southern city states, because they did not share the polis-based style of government.[20][22] As noted above, Herodotus recounted a founding-myth intended to establish the Greek credentials of Macedon.

Over the 4th century Macedon became more politically involved with the south-central city-states of Ancient Greece, but it also retained more archaic features like the palace-culture, first at Aegae (modern Vergina) then at Pella, resembling Mycenaean culture more than classic Hellenic city-states, and other archaic customs, like Philip's multiple wives in addition to his Epirote queen Olympias, mother of Alexander.

Another archaic remnant was the very persistence of a hereditary monarchy which wielded formidable and sometimes absolute power, although this was at times checked by the landed aristocracy, and often disturbed by power struggles within the royal family itself. This contrasted sharply with the Greek cultures further south, where the ubiquitous city-states mostly possessed aristocratic or democratic institutions; the de facto monarchy of tyrants, in which heredity was usually more of an ambition rather than the accepted rule; and the limited, predominantly military and sacerdotal, power of the twin hereditary Spartan kings. The same might have held true of feudal institutions like serfdom, which may have persisted in Macedon well into historical times. Such institutions were abolished by city-states well before Macedon's rise (most notably by the Athenian legislator Solon's famous σεισάχθεια seisachtheia laws).

Rise of Macedon

Main article: Rise of Macedon
Philip II, king of Macedon
The coronation of Alexander the Great

Amyntas had three sons; the first two, Alexander II and Perdiccas III reigned only briefly. Perdiccas III's infant heir was deposed by Amyntas' third son, Philip II of Macedon, who made himself king and ushered in a period of Macedonian dominance in Greece. Under Philip II (359–336 BC), Macedon expanded into the territory of the Paeonians, Thracians, and Illyrians. Among other conquests, he annexed the regions of Pelagonia and Southern Paeonia (Macedonian Paeonia).[23]

The expansion of ancient Macedon up to the death of Philip II (r. 359–336 BC).

Philip redesigned the army of Macedon adding a number of variations to the traditional hoplite force to make it far more effective. He added the hetairoi, a well-armoured heavy cavalry, and more light infantry, both of which added greater flexibility and responsiveness to the force. He also lengthened the spear and shrank the shield of the main infantry force, increasing its offensive capabilities.

Philip began to rapidly expand the borders of his kingdom. He first campaigned in the north against non-Greek peoples such as the Illyrians, securing his northern border and gaining much prestige as a warrior. He next turned east, to the territory along the northern shore of the Aegean. The most important city in this area was Amphipolis, which controlled the way into Thrace and also was near valuable silver mines. This region had been part of the Athenian Empire, and Athens still considered it as in their sphere. The Athenians attempted to curb the growing power of Macedonia, but were limited by the outbreak of the Social War. They could also do little to halt Philip when he turned his armies south and took over most of Thessaly.

Control of Thessaly meant Philip was now closely involved in the politics of central Greece. 356 BC saw the outbreak of the Third Sacred War that pitted Phocis against Thebes and its allies. Thebes recruited the Macedonians to join them and at the Battle of Crocus Field Phillip decisively defeated Phocis and its Athenian allies. As a result, Macedonia became the leading state in the Amphictyonic League and Phillip became head of the Pythian Games, firmly putting the Macedonian leader at the centre of the Greek political world.

In the continuing conflict with Athens Philip marched east through Thrace in an attempt to capture Byzantium and the Bosphorus, thus cutting off the Black Sea grain supply that provided Athens with much of its food. The siege of Byzantium failed, but Athens realized the grave danger the rise of Macedon presented and under Demosthenes built a coalition of many of the major states to oppose the Macedonians. Most importantly Thebes, which had the strongest ground force of any of the city states, joined the effort. The allies met the Macedonians at the Battle of Chaeronea and were decisively defeated, leaving Philip and the Macedonians the unquestioned masters of Greece.

Though Persian rule in the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper had ended for over a century, their influences, especially on the Macedonians and their Balkan neighbours (especially Thracians), remained strongly visible.[24] As historians Roisman and Worthington state, to Macedonian rulers, the Achaemenids stood as an example of statehood and mores.[24] This is especially true of Philip II as he built his power and created many institutions to imitate those known from the Achaemenid Empire.[24] Thus, inspired by Persian achievements, Philip established a Royal Secretary and Archive, and aimed at the elevation of the political as well as religious level, and he used a special throne (Gr. thronos) borrowed from the Achaemenid court to demonstrate his elevated rank.[24] The institution of the Royal Pages (Gr. Paides Basilikoi) was probably inspired by Achaemenid prototype - among their duties, Arrian mentions mounting the king on his horse "in the Persian style".[24] The status of Thrace in 342-334 under the Macedonian sway as a kind of regular satrapy resembled Achaemenid administrative practices, and the organization of the royal court, generally, followed in a fashion of the Achaemenid tradition.[25] Some scholars deny Philip's international borrowings from Persian tradition, but it must be said that states do not develop in a vacuum.[25] For an increasingly powerful Macedonia, the most immediate model of a great monarchy was Persia.[25]

Empire

Hades abducting Persephone, fresco in the small Macedonian royal tomb at Vergina, Macedonia, Greece, c. 340 BC
Alexander's empire at the time of its maximum expansion.

Philip's son, Alexander the Great (356–323 BC), managed to briefly extend Macedonian power not only over the central Greek city-states by becoming Hegemon of the League of Corinth (also known as the "Hellenic League"), but also to the Persian empire, including Egypt and lands as far east as present-day Pakistan and the fringes of India. Alexander helped spread the Greek culture and learning through his vast empire. Although the empire fractured into multiple Hellenic regimes shortly after his death, his conquests left a lasting legacy, not least in the new Greek-speaking cities founded across Persia's western territories, heralding the Hellenistic period. In the partition of Alexander's empire among the Diadochi, Macedonia fell to the Antipatrid dynasty, which was overthrown by the Antigonid dynasty after only a few years, in 294 BC.

Hellenistic era

Further information: Antipatrid dynasty and Antigonid dynasty
The Stag Hunt Mosaic, c. 300 BC, from Pella; the figure on the right is possibly Alexander the Great due to the date of the mosaic along with the depicted upsweep of his centrally-parted hair (anastole); the figure on the left wielding a double-edged axe (associated with Hephaistos) is perhaps Hephaestion, one of Alexander's loyal companions.[26]

Antipater and his son Cassander gained control of Macedonia but it slid into a long period of civil strife following Cassander's death in 297 BC. It was ruled for a while by Demetrius I (294–288 BC) but fell into civil war.

Demetrius' son, Antigonus II (277–239 BC), defeated a Galatian invasion as a condottiere, and regained his family's position in Macedonia; he successfully restored order and prosperity there, though he lost control of many of the Greek city-states. He established a stable monarchy under the Antigonid dynasty. Antigonus III (239–221 BC) built on these gains by re-establishing Macedonian power across the region.

What is notable about the Macedonian regime during Hellenistic times is that it was the only successor state to the Empire that maintained the old archaic perception of kingship, and never adopted the ways of the Hellenistic monarchy. Thus the king was never deified in the same way that the Ptolemies and Seleucids were in Egypt and Asia respectively, and never adopted the custom of Proskynesis. The ancient Macedonians during Hellenistic times were still addressing their kings in a far more casual way than the subjects of the rest of the Diadochi, and the kings were still consulting with their aristocracy (Philoi) in the process of making their decisions.

Conflict with Rome

Main article: Macedonian Wars
Kingdom of Macedon under Philip V.

Under Philip V of Macedon (221–179 BC) and his son Perseus of Macedon (179–168 BC), the kingdom clashed with the rising power of the Roman Republic. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Macedon fought a series of wars with Rome. Two major losses that led to the end of the kingdom were in 197 BC when Rome defeated Philip V, and 168 BC when Rome defeated Perseus. The overall losses resulted in the defeat of Macedon, the deposition of the Antigonid dynasty and the dismantling of the Macedonian kingdom. Andriscus' brief success at reestablishing the monarchy in 149 BC was quickly followed by his defeat the following year and the establishment of direct Roman rule and the organization of Macedon as the Roman province of Macedonia.

Institutions

The political organization of the Macedonian kingdom was a three-level pyramid: on the top, the King and the nation, at the foot, the civic organizations (cities and éthnē), and between the two, the districts. The study of these different institutions has been considerably renewed thanks to epigraphy, which has given us the possibility to reread the indications given us by ancient literary sources such as Livy and Polybius. They show that the Macedonian institutions were near to those of the Greek federal states, like the Aetolian and Achaean leagues, whose unity was reinforced by the presence of the king.

The Vergina Sun, the 16-ray star covering the royal burial larnax of Philip II of Macedon, discovered at site of the ancient Aigai.

The King

The king (Βασιλεύς, Basileús) headed the central administration: he led the kingdom from its capital, Pella, and in his royal palace was conserved the state's archive. He was helped in carrying out his work by the Royal Secretary (βασιλικὸς γραμματεύς, basilikós grammateús), whose work was of primary importance, and by the Council. The title "king" (basileús) may have not officially been used by the Macedonian regents until Alexander the Great, whose "usage of it may have been influenced by his ambivalent position in Persia."[27]

The king was commander of the army, head of the Macedonian religion, and director of diplomacy. Also, only he could conclude treaties, and, until Philip V, mint coins.

The number of civil servants was limited: the king directed his kingdom mostly in an indirect way, supporting himself principally through the local magistrates, the epistates, with whom he constantly kept in touch.

Succession

Royal succession in Macedon was hereditary, male, patrilineal and generally respected the principle of primogeniture. There was also an elective element: when the king died, his designated heir, generally but not always the eldest son, had first to be accepted by the council and then presented to the general Assembly to be acclaimed king and obtain the oath of fidelity.

As can be seen, the succession was far from being automatic, more so considering that many Macedonian kings died violently, without having made dispositions for the succession, or having assured themselves that these would be respected. This can be seen with Perdiccas III, slain by the Illyrians, Philip II assassinated by Pausanias of Orestis, Alexander the Great, suddenly died of malady, etc. Succession crises were frequent, especially up to the 4th century BC, when the magnate families of Upper Macedonia still cultivated the ambition of overthrowing the Argead dynasty and ascending to the throne.

An atrium with a pebble-mosaic paving, in Pella, Greece

Finances

Banquet scene from the tomb of Agios Athanasios, Thessaloniki, 4th century BC

The king was the simple guardian and administrator of the treasure of Macedon and of the king's incomes (βασιλικά, basiliká), which belonged to the Macedonians: and the tributes that came to the kingdom thanks to the treaties with the defeated people also went to the Macedonian people, and not to the king. Even if the king was not accountable for his management of the kingdom's entries, he may have felt responsible to defend his administration on certain occasions: Arrian tells us that during the mutiny of Alexander's soldiers at Opis in 324 BC, Alexander detailed the possessions of his father at his death to prove he had not abused his charge.

It is known from Livy and Polybius that the basiliká included the following sources of income:

  • The mines of gold and silver (for example those of the Pangaeus), which were the exclusive possession of the king, and which permitted him to strike currency; as already said, this remained his sole privilege until Philip V, who conceded to cities and districts the right of coinage for the lesser denominations, like bronze.
  • The forests, whose timber was highly valued by the Greek cities to build their ships: in particular, it is known that Athens made commercial treaties with Macedon in the 5th century BC to import the timber necessary for the construction and the maintenance of its fleet of war.
  • The royal landed properties, lands that were annexed to the royal domain through conquest, and that the king exploited either directly, in particular through servile workforce made up of prisoners of war, or indirectly through a leasing system.
  • The port duties on commerce (importation and exportation taxes).

The most common way to exploit these different sources of income was by leasing: the Pseudo-Aristotle reports in the Oeconomica that Amyntas III (or maybe Philip II) doubled the kingdom's port revenues with the help of Callistratus, who had taken refuge in Macedon, bringing them from 20 to 40 talents per year. To do this, the exploitation of the harbour taxes was given every year at the private offering the highest bidding. It is also known from Livy that the mines and the forests were leased for a fixed sum under Philip V, and it appears that the same happened under the Argead dynasty: from here possibly comes the leasing system that was used in Ptolemaic Egypt.

Except for the king's properties, land in Macedon was free: Macedonians were free men and did not pay land taxes on private grounds. Even extraordinary taxes like those paid by the Athenians in times of war did not exist. Even in conditions of economic peril, like what happened to Alexander in 334 BC and Perseus in 168 BC, the monarchy did not tax its subjects but raised funds through loans, first of all by his Companions, or raised the cost of the leases.

The king could grant the atelíē (ἀτελίη), a privilege of tax exemption, as Alexander did with those Macedonian families which had losses in the battle of the Granicus in May 334 BC: they were exempted from paying tribute for leasing royal grounds and commercial taxes.

Extraordinary incomes came from the spoils of war, which were divided between the king and his men. At the time of Philip II and Alexander, this was a substantial source of income. A considerable part of the gold and silver objects taken at the time of the European and Asian campaigns were melted in ingots and then sent to the monetary foundries of Pella and Amphipolis, most active of the kingdom at that time: an estimate judges that during the reign of Alexander only the mint of Amphipolis struck about 13 million silver tetradrachms.

The Assembly

Fresco of an ancient Makedonian soldier (thorakitai) wearing chainmail armor and bearing a thureos shield

All the kingdom's citizen-soldiers gathered in a popular assembly, which was held at least twice a year, in spring and in autumn, with the opening and the closing of the campaigning season.

This assembly (koinê ekklesia or koinon makedonôn), of the army in times of war, of the people in times of peace, was called by the king and played a significant role through the acclamation of the kings and in capital trials; it could be consulted (without obligation) in matters of foreign policy (declarations of war, treaties) and for the appointment of high state officials. In the majority of these occasions, the Assembly did nothing but ratify the proposals of a smaller body, the Council. It was also the Assembly which voted the honors, and sent embassies, during its two annual meetings. It was abolished by the Romans at the time of their reorganization of Macedonia in 167 BC, to prevent, according to Livy, a demagogue making use of it as a means to revolt against their authority.

Council (Synedrion)

An ancient fresco of Macedonian soldiers from the tomb of Agios Athanasios, Thessaloniki, Greece, 4th century BC

The Council was a small group formed among some of the most eminent Macedonians, chosen by the king to assist him in the government of the kingdom. As such it was not a representative assembly, but notwithstanding that on certain occasions it could be expanded with the admission of representatives of the cities and of the civic corps of the kingdom.

The members of the Council (synedroi) belonged to three categories:

  • The somatophylakes (in Greek literally "bodyguards") were noble Macedonians chosen by the king to serve to him as honorary bodyguards, but especially as close advisers. It was a particularly prestigious honorary title. In the time of Alexander there were seven of them.
  • The Friends (philoi) or the king's Companions (basilikoi hetairoi) were named for life by the king among the Macedonian aristocracy.
  • The most important generals of the army (hégémones tôn taxéôn), also named by the king.

The king had in reality less power in the choice of the members of the Council than appearances would warrant; this was because many of the kingdom's most important noblemen were members of the Council by birth-right.

The Council primarily exerted a probouleutic function with respect to the Assembly: it prepared and proposed the decisions which the Assembly would have discussed and voted, working in many fields such as the designation of kings and regents, as of that of the high administrators, and the declarations of war. It was also the first and final authority for all the cases which did not involve capital punishment.

The Council gathered frequently and represented the principal body of government of the kingdom. Any important decision taken by the king was referred to it for deliberation.

Inside the Council ruled the democratic principles of isegoria (equality of word) and of parrhesia (freedom of speech), to which even the king subjected himself.

After the removal of the Antigonid dynasty by the Romans in 167 BC, it is possible that the synedrion remained, unlike the Assembly, representing the sole federal authority in Macedonia after the country's division in four merides.

Regional districts (Merides)

The creation of an intermediate territorial administrative level between the central government and the cities should probably be attributed to Philip II: this reform corresponded with the need to adapt the kingdom's institutions to the great expansion of Macedon under his rule. It was no longer practical to convene all the Macedonians in a single general assembly, and the answer to this problem was the creation of four regional districts, each with a regional assembly. These territorial divisions clearly did not follow any historical or traditional internal divisions; they were simply artificial administrative lines.

This said, it should be noted that the existence of these districts is not attested with certainty (by numismatics) before the beginning of the 2nd century BC.

Culture and society

Language and dialects

Following its adoption as the court language of Philip II of Macedon's regime, authors of ancient Macedonia wrote their works in Koine Greek, the lingua franca of late Classical and Hellenistic Greece.[28] However, rare epigraphic evidence indicates that the native Macedonian language was either a dialect of Greek similar to Thessalian Greek and Northwestern Greek,[29] or a language closely related to Greek.[30][31][32] Surviving inscriptions from ancient Macedonia were written with variants of the Greek alphabet.[33]

Religious beliefs

Marble cult statue of Aphrodite Hypolympidia, dated 2nd century BC, from the sanctuary of Isis at Dion, Pieria, Central Macedonia, Greece, now in the Archaeological Museum of Dion

Anson maintains that by the 5th century BC the Macedonians and the rest of the Greeks worshiped more or less the same deities of the Greek pantheon.[34]

Economics and social class

Young Macedonian men were typically expected to engage in hunting and martial combat as a byproduct of their transhumance lifestyles of herding livestock such as goats and sheep, while horse breeding and raising cattle were other common pursuits.[35] Some Macedonians engaged in farming, often with irrigation, land reclamation, and horticulture activities supported by the Macedonian state.[35] However, the bedrock of the Macedonian economy and state finances was the twofold exploitation of the forests with logging and valuable minerals such as copper, iron, gold, and silver with mining.[36] The conversion of these raw materials into finished products and their sale encouraged the growth of urban centers and a gradual shift away from the traditional rustic Macedonian lifestyle during the course of the 5th century BC.[36]

Visual arts and music

Main article: Art in ancient Greece

By the reign of Archelaus I of Macedon, the Macedonian elite started importing significantly greater customs, artwork, and art traditions from other regions of Greece. However, they still retained more archaic, perhaps Homeric funerary rites connected with the symposium and drinking rites that were typified with items such as decorative metal kraters that held the ashes of deceased Macedonian nobility in their tombs.[37] Among these is the large bronze Derveni Krater from a 4th-century BC tomb of Thessaloniki, decorated with scenes of the Greek god Dionysius and his entourage and belonging to an aristocrat who had a military career.[38] Macedonian metalwork usually followed Athenian styles of vase shapes from the 6th century BC onward, with drinking vessels, jewellery, containers, crowns, diadems, and coins among the many metal objects found in Macedonian tombs.[39]

Alexander (left), wearing a kausia and fighting an Asiatic lion with his friend Craterus (detail); late 4th century BC mosaic,[40] Pella Museum.

Aside from metalwork and painting, mosaics serve as another significant form of surviving Macedonian artwork, especially those discovered at Pella dating to the 4th century BC.[39] The Stag Hunt Mosaic of Pella, with its three dimensional qualities and illusionist style, show clear influence from painted artwork and wider Hellenistic art trends, although the rustic theme of hunting was tailored for Macedonian tastes.[41] The similar Lion Hunt Mosaic of Pella illustrates either a scene of Alexander the Great with his companion Craterus, or simply a conventional illustration of the generic royal diversion of hunting.[41] Mosaics with mythological themes include scenes of Dionysius riding a panther and Helen of Troy being abducted by Theseus, the latter of which employs illusionist qualities and realistic shading similar to Macedonian paintings.[41]

Literature, education and philosophy

A Macedonian didrachm minted during the reign of Archelaus I of Macedon (r. 413-399 BC)

Perdiccas II of Macedon (r. 448-413 BC) was able to host well-known Classical Greek intellectual visitors at his royal court, such as the lyric poet Melanippides and the renowned medical doctor Hippocrates, while Pindar's enkomion written for Alexander I of Macedon (r. 498-454 BC) may have been composed at his court.[42] Yet Archelaus I of Macedon (r. 413-399 BC) received a far greater number of Greek scholars, artists, and celebrities at his court than his predecessors, leading M. B. Hatzopoulos to describe Macedonia under his reign as an "active centre of Hellenic culture."[43] His honored guests included the painter Zeuxis, the architect Callimachus, the poets Choerilus of Samos, Timotheus of Miletus, and Agathon, as well as the famous Athenian playwright Euripides.[44] Although Archelaus was criticized by the philosopher Plato, supposedly hated by Socrates, and the first known Macedonian king to be insulted with the label of a barbarian, the historian Thucydides held the Macedonian king in glowing admiration for his accomplishments, including his engagement in panhellenic sports and fostering of literary culture.[44] The philosopher Aristotle, who studied at the Platonic Academy of Athens and established the Aristotelian school of thought, moved to Macedonia and is said to have tutored the young Alexander the Great, in addition to serving as an esteemed diplomat for Alexander's father Philip II.[45]

In terms of early Greek historiography and later Roman historiography, Felix Jacoby identified thirteen possible ancient historians who wrote histories about Macedonia in his Fragmente der griechischen Historiker.[46] Aside from accounts in the works of Herodotus and Thucydides, the works compiled by Jacoby are only fragmentary, whereas other works are completely lost, such as the history of an Illyrian war fought by Perdiccas III of Macedon (r. 386-359 BC) written by the Macedonian general and statesman Antipater.[47] The Macedonian historians Marsyas of Pella and Marsyas of Philippi wrote histories of Macedonia, while the Ptolemaic king Ptolemy I Soter authored a history about Alexander and Hieronymus of Cardia wrote a history about Alexander's royal successors.[48] Following the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great, the Macedonian military officer Nearchus wrote a work of travel literature describing his return to Greece from India.[49]

Sports and leisure

A fresco showing Hades and Persephone riding in a chariot, from the tomb of Queen Eurydice I of Macedon at Vergina, Greece

When Alexander I of Macedon petitioned to compete in the foot race of the ancient Olympic Games, the event organizers at first denied his request, explaining that only Greeks were allowed to compete. However, Alexander I produced proof of an Argead royal genealogy showing ancient Argive Temenid lineage, a move that ultimately convinced the Olympic Hellanodikai authorities of his Greek descent and ability to compete, although this did not necessarily apply to common Macedonians outside of his royal dynasty.[50] By the end of the 5th century BC the Macedonian king Archelaus I was crowned with the olive wreath at both Olympia and Delphi (in the Pythian Games) for winning chariot racing contests.[44] Philip II allegedly heard of the Olympic victory of his horse (in either an individual horse race or chariot race) on the same day his son Alexander the Great was born, on either 19 or 20 July 356 BC.[51]

Dining and cuisine

Ethnic identity

Macedonian terracotta statue, 3rd century BC; the Persians referred to the Macedonians as "Yaunã Takabara" ("Greeks with hats that look like shields").[52]

There is both some disagreement among ancient authors and modern scholars about the ethnic identity of the ancient Macedonians. Ernst Badian notes that nearly all surviving references to antagonisms and differences between Greeks and Macedonians exist in the written speeches of Arrian, who lived during a period (i.e. the Roman Empire) in which any notion of an ethnic disparity between Macedonians and other Greeks was incomprehensible.[53] Hatzopoulos points out that passages in Arrian's text also reveal that the terms "Greeks" and "Macedonians" were at times synonymous. For instance, when Alexander the Great held a feast accompanied by Macedonians and Persians, with religious rituals performed by Persian magi and "Greek seers", the latter of whom were Macedonians.[54] The 5th-century BC historians Herodotus and Thucydides considered the Macedonians and various Greeks as belonging to the same ethnic group.[55] Hatzopoulos argues that there was no real ethnic difference between Macedonians and Greeks, only a political distinction contrived after the creation of the League of Corinth in 337 BC (which was led by Macedonia through the league's elected hegemon Philip II, despite him not being a member of the league itself).[56] Hatzopoulos stresses the fact that Macedonians and other peoples such as the Epirotes and Cypriots, despite speaking a Greek dialect, worshiping in Greek cults, engaging in panhellenic games, and upholding traditional Greek institutions, nevertheless occasionally had their territories excluded from contemporary geographic definitions of "Hellas" and were even considered non-Greek barbarians by some.[57] Other academics who concur that the difference between the Macedonians and Greeks was a political rather than a true ethnic discrepancy include Michael B. Sakellariou,[58] Malcolm Errington,[59] and Craige B. Champion.[60]

Anson argues that some Hellenic authors expressed complex if not ever-changing and ambiguous ideas about the exact ethnic identity of the Macedonians, who were considered by some such as Aristotle in his Politics as barbarians and others as semi-Greek or fully Greek.[61] This was manifested in the different mythological genealogies concocted for the Macedonian people, with Hesiod's Catalogue of Women claiming that the Macedonians descended from Macedon, son of Zeus and Thyia and was therefore a nephew of Hellen, progenitor of the Greeks.[62] Yet by the end of the 5th century BC Hellanicus of Lesbos asserted Macedon was the son of Aeolus, the latter a son of Hellen and ancestor of the Aeolians, one of the major tribes of the Greeks.[62] In addition to belonging to tribal groups such as the Aeolians, Dorians, Achaeans, and Ionians, Anson also stresses the fact that some Greeks even distinguished their ethnic identities based on the polis (i.e. city-state) they originally came from.[63]

Those who considered Macedonia as a political enemy, such as Hypereides and Chremonides, likened the Lamian War and Chremonidean War, respectively, to the earlier Greco-Persian Wars and efforts to liberate Greeks from tyranny.[64] Yet even those who considered Macedonia an ally, such as Isocrates, were keen to stress the differences between their kingdom and the Greek city states, to assuage fears about the extension of Macedonian-style monarchism into the governance of their poleis.[65] Any preconceived ethnic differences between Greeks and Macedonians faded soon after the Roman conquest of Macedonia by 148 BC and then the rest of Greece with the defeat of the Achaean League by the Roman Republic at the Battle of Corinth (146 BC).[66]

Technology and engineering

The god Dionysos riding a cheetah, mosaic floor in the "House of Dionysos" at Pella, Greece, c. 330–300 BC

Macedonian architecture, although utilizing a mixture of different forms and styles from the rest of Greece, did not represent a unique or diverging style from other ancient Greek architecture.[41] Among the classical orders, Macedonian architects favored the Ionic order, especially in the peristyle courtyards of private homes.[67] There are several surviving examples, albeit in ruins, of Macedonian palatial architecture, including a palace at the site of the capital Pella, the summer residence of Vergina near the old capital Aigeiai, and the royal residence at Demetrias near modern Volos.[67] At Vergina, the ruins of three large banquet halls with marble-tiled floors (covered in the debris of roof tiles) with floor plan dimensions measuring roughly 16.7 x 17.6 m (54.8 x 57.7 ft) demonstrate perhaps the earliest examples of monumental triangular roof trusses if dated before the reign of Antigonus II Gonatas (r. 276-239 BC) or even the onset of the Hellenistic period.[68] Later Macedonian architecture also featured arches and vaults.[69] The palaces of both Vergina and Demetrias had walls made of sundried bricks, while the latter palace had four corner towers around a central courtyard in the manner of a fortified residence fit for the king or at least a military governor.[67]

Currency

Tetradrachms (above) and drachms (below) issued during the reign of Alexander the Great, now in the Numismatic Museum of Athens

Macedonians were the first who issued different coins for internal and external circulation, a sophisticated approach which shows an elaborate monetary system at an early date.[70]

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Roisman & Worthington 2010, Chapter 5: Johannes Engels, "Macedonians and Greeks", p. 92.
  2. ^ a b c Roisman & Worthington 2011, pp. 135–138, 342–345.
  3. ^ Simon Hornblower, "Greek Identity in the Archaic and Classical Periods" in Katerina Zacharia, Hellenisms, Ashgate Publishing, 2008, pp. 55–58.
  4. ^ M. M. Austin, "The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest: a selection of ancient sources in translation", Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 3, .
  5. ^ "Macedonia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  6. ^ μακεδνός, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  7. ^ μάκρος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  8. ^ Macedonia, Online Etymology Dictionary
  9. ^ Eugene N. Borza, Makedonika, Regina Books, ISBN 0-941690-65-2, p.114: The "highlanders" or "Makedones" of the mountainous regions of western Macedonia are derived from northwest Greek stock; they were akin both to those who at an earlier time may have migrated south to become the historical "Dorians".
  10. ^ Nigel Guy Wilson, Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece, Routledge, 2009, p.439: The latest archaeological findings have confirmed that Macedonia took its name from a tribe of tall, Greek-speaking people, the Makednoi.
  11. ^ Beekes, Robert (2010), Etymological Dictionary of Greek, II, Leiden, Boston: Brill, p. 894 
  12. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. 'Macedon'
  13. ^ Errington 1990, pp. 2–3.
  14. ^ Herodotus, Histories, Book 5: Terpsichore 22.
  15. ^ Justin. Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, 7.1.
  16. ^ Herodotus. Histories, 1.56.2,3: "The Pelasgian race has never yet left its home; the Greek has wandered often and far. For in the days of king Deucalion it inhabited the land of Phthia, then the country called Histiaean, under Ossa and Olympus, in the time of Dorus son of Hellen; driven from this Histiaean country by the Cadmeans, it settled about Pindus and was called Macedonian; from there again it migrated to Dryopia, and at last came from Dryopia into the Peloponnese, where it was called Dorian.” (Greek original: ταῦτα γὰρ ἦν τὰ προκεκριμένα, ἐόντα τὸ ἀρχαῖον τὸ μὲν Πελασγικὸν τὸ δὲ Ἑλληνικὸν ἔθνος. καὶ τὸ μὲν οὐδαμῇ κω ἐξεχώρησε, τὸ δὲ πολυπλάνητον κάρτα. ἐπὶ μὲν γὰρ Δευκαλίωνος βασιλέος οἴκεε γῆν τὴν Φθιῶτιν, ἐπὶ δὲ Δώρου τοῦ Ἕλληνος τὴν ὑπὸ τὴν Ὄσσαν τε καὶ τὸν Ὄλυμπον χώρην, καλεομένην δὲ Ἱστιαιῶτιν: ἐκ δὲ τῆς Ἱστιαιώτιδος ὡς ἐξανέστη ὑπὸ Καδμείων, οἴκεε ἐν Πίνδῳ Μακεδνὸν καλεόμενον: ἐνθεῦτεν δὲ αὖτις ἐς τὴν Δρυοπίδα μετέβη καὶ ἐκ τῆς Δρυοπίδος οὕτω ἐς Πελοπόννησον ἐλθὸν Δωρικὸν ἐκλήθη.)
  17. ^ Lewis & Boardman 1994, pp. 723–724.
  18. ^ Roisman & Worthington 2010, Chapter 1: Edward M. Anson, "Why Study Ancient Macedonia and What this Companion is About", p. 5.
  19. ^ a b c d Roisman & Worthington 2011, pp. 342–345.
  20. ^ a b Kagan, Donald (2014). "Introduction to Ancient Greek History". Yale University.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  21. ^ Errington 1990, p. 4: "Ancient allegations that the Macedonians were non-Greeks all had their origin in Athens at the time of the struggle with Philip II."
  22. ^ Worthington 2003, p. 21: "To Greek literally writers before the Hellenistic period the Macedonians were 'barbarians'. The term referred to their way of life and their institutions, which were those of the ethne and not of the city-state, and it did not refer to their speech. We can see this in the case of Epirus. There Thucydides called the tribes 'barbarians'. But inscriptions found in Epirus have shown conclusively that the Epirote tribes in Thucydides' lifetime were speaking Greek and used names which were Greek. In the following century 'barbarian' was only one of the abusive terms applied by Demosthenes to Philip of Macedon and his people."
  23. ^ Growth of Macedonia 4th (century) BC
  24. ^ a b c d e Roisman & Worthington 2011, pp. 345.
  25. ^ a b c Roisman & Worthington 2011, pp. 346.
  26. ^ Chugg, Andrew (2006). Alexander's Lovers. Raleigh, N.C.: Lulu. ISBN 978-1-4116-9960-1, pp 78–79.
  27. ^ Errington 1974, p. 20.
  28. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011a, p. 44
    Edward M. Anson contends that the native spoken language of the Macedonians was a dialect of Greek and that in the roughly 6,300 Macedonian-period inscriptions discovered by archaeologists about 99% were written in the Greek language, using the Greek alphabet. Anson 2010, p. 17, n. 57, n. 58
  29. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011a, p. 44
    The native language of the ancient Macedonians as preserved in the rare documents writen in a language other than Koine Greek also betray a slight phonetic influence from the languages of the original inhabitants of the region who were assimilated or expelled by the invading Macedonians; Hatzopoulos states that little is known about these languages aside from Phrygian spoken by the Bryges who migrated to Anatolia. Hatzopoulos 2011a, p. 43-45
  30. ^ Woodard 2004, pp. 12-14
    B. Joseph (2001): "which could more properly be called Hellenic" This terminology may lead to misunderstandings, since the "Hellenic branch of Indo-European" is also used synonymously with the Greek branch (which contains all ancient and modern Greek dialects) in a narrower sense. Online paper
  31. ^ Vladimir Georgiev - The Genesis of the Balkan Peoples, The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 44, No. 103 (Jul., 1966), pp. 285-297
    ancient Macedonian is closely related to Greek, and Macedonian and Greek are descended from a common Greek-Macedonian idiom that was spoken till about the second half of the 3rd millennium BC
  32. ^ Eric Hamp & Douglas Adams (2013) "The Expansion of the Indo-European Languages", Sino-Platonic Papers, vol 239. [1]
  33. ^ Anson 2010, p. 17, n. 57, n. 58
  34. ^ Anson 2010, p. 17-18
  35. ^ a b Hatzopoulos 2011a, p. 47-48
  36. ^ a b Hatzopoulos 2011a, p. 48
  37. ^ Hardiman 2010, p. 515
  38. ^ Hardiman 2010, pp. 515-517
  39. ^ a b Hardiman 2010, p. 517
  40. ^ Olga Palagia (2000). "Hephaestion's Pyre and the Royal Hunt of Alexander," in A.B. Bosworth and E.J. Baynham (eds), Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198152873, p. 185.
  41. ^ a b c d Hardiman 2010, p. 518
  42. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011b, p. 58
  43. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011b, pp. 58-59
  44. ^ a b c Hatzopoulos 2011b, pp. 59
  45. ^ Chroust 2016 [1977], p. 137
  46. ^ Rhodes 2010, p. 23
  47. ^ Rhodes 2010, pp. 23-25; see also Errington 1990, p. 224
  48. ^ Errington 1990, pp. 224-225
  49. ^ Errington 1990, p. 225
  50. ^ Badian 1982, p. 34, Anson 2010, p. 16
  51. ^ Nawotka 2010, p. 2
  52. ^ Engels 2010, p. 87
  53. ^ Badian 1982, p. 51, n. 72
  54. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011b, pp. 70-71
  55. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011b, pp. 57, 73
  56. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011b, pp. 69-71
  57. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011b, pp. 52, 71-72
  58. ^ Sakellariou 1983, pp. 52
  59. ^ Errington, Malcolm (1994). A History of Macedonia. Barnes Noble. p. 4. ISBN 1566195195. Ancient allegations that the Macedonians were non-Greek all had their origin in Athens at the time of the struggle with Philip II. Then as now, political struggle created the prejudice. The orator Aeschines once even found it necessary, in order to counteract the prejudice vigorously fomented by his opponents, to defend Philip on this issue and describe him at a meeting of the Athenian Popular Assembly as being 'entirely Greek'. Demosthenes' allegations were lent an appearance of credibility by the fact, apparent to every observer, that the life-style of the Macedonians, being determined by specific geographical and historical conditions, was different from that of a Greek city-state. This alien way of life was, however, common to western Greeks of Epirus, Akarnania and Aitolia, as well as to the Macedonians, and their fundamental Greek nationality was never doubted. Only as a consequence of the political disagreement with Macedonia was the issue raised at all. 
  60. ^ Champion, Craige B. (2004). Cultural Politics in Polybius’s Histories. University of California Press. p. 41. ISBN 0520237641. Demosthenes could drop the barbarian category altogether in advocating an Athenian alliance with the Great King against a power that ranked below any so-called barbarian people, the Macedonians. In the case of Aeschines, Philip II could be "a barbarian due for the vengeance of God", but after the orator's embassy to Pella in 346, he became a "thorough Greek", devoted to Athens. It all depended upon one's immediate political orientation with Macedonia, which many Greeks instinctively scorned, was always infused with deep-seated ambivalence. 
  61. ^ Anson 2010, pp. 14-17
  62. ^ a b Anson 2010, p. 16; Rhodes 2010, p. 24
  63. ^ Anson 2010, p. 15
  64. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011b, pp. 69-70
  65. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011b, pp. 68-69, 73
  66. ^ Hatzopoulos 2011b, p. 74
  67. ^ a b c Winter 2006, p. 163
  68. ^ Winter 2006, pp. 164-165
  69. ^ Winter 2006, p. 165
  70. ^ Kremydi, S. (2011). "Coinage and Finance". In Lane Fox, Robin James. Brill's Companion to Ancient Macedon. Leiden: Brill. p. 163. 

Sources

Further reading

External links