Macedon proper constituted the coast plain NW, N, and NE of the Chalcidice (now Khalkidhikí) peninsula; Upper Macedon was the highland to the west and the north of the plain. The plain was fertile and productive, and there were important silver mines in the eastern part. The population of the region was complex when first known and included Anatolian peoples as well as several Hellenic groups. The capital of Macedon from c.400 to 167 B.C. was Pella.
The first influence of Greek culture in Macedon came from the colonies along the shore founded in the 8th cent. B.C. and after; they had ties to their mother cities that tended to isolate them politically from Macedon. By the 7th cent. B.C. there was developing in W Macedon a political unit led by a Greek-speaking family, which assumed the title of king and aggrandized itself. Macedon was a Persian tributary in 500 B.C. but took no real part in the Persian Wars.
Alexander I (d. 450 B.C.) was the first Macedonian king to enter into Greek politics; he began a policy of imitating features of Greek civilization. For the next century the Hellenic influences grew and the state became stronger. With Philip II (reigned 359-336 B.C.) these processes reached their culmination, for by annexing Upper Macedon, Chalcidice, and Thrace he made himself the strongest power in Greece; then he became its ruler. He created an excellent army with which his son, Alexander the Great, forged his empire. That empire, although it was a Macedonian conquest, was a personal creation.
The Macedonian generals carved the empire up after Alexander's death (323 B.C.); these were the successors (the Diadochi), founders of states and dynasties—notably Antipater, Perdiccas, Ptolemy I, Seleucus I, Antigonus I, and Lysimachus. They had armies largely Macedonian and Greek in personnel, and most of them founded cities with colonies of their soldiers. Thus began the remarkable spread of the Hellenistic (Greek, rather than Macedonian) civilization. All these armies constituted a fatal drain on the population of Macedon. Macedon, with Greece as a dependency, was one of the states carved out of the Alexandrian empire. Almost immediately, however, there was struggle for the hold over Greece and even over Macedon itself. Cassander took (319-316 B.C.) Macedon and held it until his death (297); he refounded Salonica (now Thessaloníki). After a period of short-lived attempts by Demetrius I, Pyrrhus of Epirus, Lysimachus, and others to hold Macedon, Antigonus II established himself as king. He fought off the Galatian invaders and used his long reign (277-239 B.C.) to restore Macedon economically. There was constant trouble with the Greek city-states; many of them regained independence, but Antigonus III (reigned 229-221 B.C.), another strong king, reestablished Macedonian hegemony.
Under Antigonus III's successor, Philip V (reigned 221-179 B.C.), Macedon engaged in war against Rome. Although the First Macedonian War (215-205 B.C.) ended favorably for Philip, he was decisively defeated in the Second Macedonian War (200-197 B.C.), was forced to give up most of his fleet and pay a large indemnity, and was confined to Macedonia proper. By collaborating with the Romans, however, he was able to reduce the indemnity. His successor, Perseus (reigned 179-168 B.C.), foolishly aroused Roman fears and lost his kingdom in the Third Macedonian War (171-168 B.C.). Now Rome divided Macedon into four republics. Later (150-148 B.C.) a pretender, Andriscus, tried to revive a Macedonian kingdom. This time Macedonia was annexed to Roman territory and became (146 B.C.) the first Roman province. It never again had political importance in ancient times.
See S. Casson, Macedonia, Thrace, and Illyria (1926); W. W. Tarn, Hellenistic Civilization (3d ed. 1952); F. E. Adcock, The Greek and Macedonian Art of War (1957); N. G. C. Hammond, A History of Macedonia (2 vol., 1972-78); S. Pribichevich, Macedonia: Its People and History (1982).
Macedon or Macedonia (Greek Μακεδονία Makedonía) was the name of a kingdom centered in the northern-most part of ancient Greece, the homeland of the ancient Macedonians, bordered by the kingdom of Epirus to the west and the region of Thrace to the east. For a brief period it became the most powerful state in the ancient Near East after Alexander the Great conquered most of the world known to Greeks, inaugurating the Hellenistic period of world history.
Its first king is recorded as Perdiccas I. 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, that is Eordaia, Bottiaea, Mygdonia, and Almopia- which were mountainous regions settled by independent Macedonian tribes. Near the modern city of Veria, Perdiccas I (or, more likely, his son, Argaeus I) built his capital, Aigai (modern Vergina). After a brief period under Persian rule under Darius Hystaspes, the state regained its independence under King Alexander I (495–450 BC).
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. 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 of Greece.
Under Philip II, (359–336 BC), Macedon expanded into the territory of the Paionians, Thracians, and Illyrians. Among other conquests, he annexed the regions of Pelagonia and Southern Paionia. 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 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).
Philip's son Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) managed to briefly extend Macedonian power not only over the central Greek city-states, but also to the Persian empire, including Egypt and lands as far east as the fringes of India. Alexander's adoption of the styles of government of the conquered territories was accompanied by the spread of 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.
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 the 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 Ptolemies and Seleucids were in Egypt and Asia respectively, and never adopted the custom of Proskynesis. The ancient Macedonians during the 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.
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 their inevitable defeat 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.
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.
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 Argaead dynasty and to ascend to the throne.
It is known from Livy and Polybius that the basiliká included the following sources of income:
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 Argaead 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: 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 considerable 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.
This assembly (koinê ekklesia or koinon makedonôn), of the army in times of war, of the people in times of peace, is called by the king and plays a significant role through the acclamation of the kings and in capital trials; it can be consulted (without obligation) for the foreign politics (declarations of war, treaties) and for the appointment of high state officials. In the majority of these occasions, the Assembly does nothing but ratify the proposals of a smaller body, the Council. It is also the Assembly which votes the honors, sends 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, that a demagogue could make use of it as a mean to revolt against their authority.
The members of the Council (synedroi) belong to three categories:
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 subjected before it for deliberation.
Inside the Council ruled the democratic principles of iségoria (equality of word) and of parrhésia (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.
Treasures of Macedon: the first major archaeological show in the Ashmolean's new temporary galleries opens in April, with a stunning array of recently discovered artefacts from Aegae, the royal capital of ancient Macedon. These exquisite objects tell the story of the kings and queens of this ancient kingdom, which lay buried for nearly 2,000 years.(FEATURE: MACEDON'S ROYAL CAPITAL)
Feb 01, 2011; Clinging to the foothills of Mount Pieria in northern Greece was the royal city of Aegae, the first capital of the Kingdom of...