Wiki Macedonia History Bibliography

Note : (Vardar) Macedonia, as an administrative unit, exists only as from 1944. Files on the earlier history of the region thus describe the history of the territory and population of what was to become the Republic of Macedonia in 1944 (then within the Federative Republic of Yugoslavia) - unless historical sources ae quoted (f.ex. encyclopedias published before 1913). Also external links may apply other definitions of "Macedonia".

Note : many accounts of modern Vardar Macedonian history are biased. User discretion is advised; the webmaster of WHKMLA does not take any responsibility for the contents of the pages listed on this page as posted externally.

E x t e r n a l . F i l e s
P r i n t e d . R e f e r e n c e

Accounts of History General Accounts Article History of the Republic of Macedonia, from Wikipedia
The Republic of Macedonia - From a Member State of the Yugoslav Federation to a Sovereign and Independent State, from Council for Research into South-Eastern Europe of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (1993)
History of Macedonia, from Macedonia for the Macedonians, Maced. perspective
The Bulgarian Macedonia Page, from Bulgaria Online, Bulg. perspective
A very brief history of Macedonia, from Macedonia FAQ, Greek perspective
from History of Macedonia (pro-Maced., negates Slavic identity of Maced.)
Macedonia Info (Bulg. perspective)

Inflation Rates Historical Inflation Rates, from Index Mundi, since 2000
Online Yearbooks - Hungary Entries Annuario pontificio 1721, 1722, 1723, 1724, 1726, 1728, 1729, 1731, 1732, 1733, 1734, 1735, 1736, 1737, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1742, 1744, 1746, 1749, 1750, 1751, 1752, 1753, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1759, 1760, 1762, 1763, 1764, 1766, 1767, 1770, 1771, 1773, 1775, 1776, 1779, 1781, 1783, 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1791, 1795, 1796, 1802, 1806, 1822, 1833, 1834, 1835, 1836, 1837, 1838, 1840, 1842, 1843, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1851, 1853, 1854, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1868, 1869, in Italian, GB; search for Scopia
Systematic Collections
Constitutions, Laws Internet Law Library : Macedonia
collections Macedonia Maps, PCL, UTexas
Historical Maps of the Balkans, PCL, UTexas
Category : Old Maps of Macedonia, Wikimedia Commons
Maps of Historical Ethnic Macedonia, from History of Macedonia
Macedonia on Old Maps, Unet
U.S. Defense Mapping Agency, Former Yugoslavia 1:50,000, PCL, UTexas
Atlas : The Bulgarians in their historical, ethnographical and political frontiers (Rizoff 1917), posted by Pro Macedonia
Macedonia, hindsight Europe in the Year 1400, 1500, 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2000, euratlas
Balkans 1815, 1815-1859, 1860-1878, 1878-1912, 1912-1918, 1918-1938, 1938-1945, 1945-2003, J. de Salas Vara del Rey
Yugoslavia 1941, J. de Salas Vara del Rey
Macedonia, Contemporary Ethnic Map : Balkans 1877 (Synvet), Wikipedia, Balkans 1880 (Ravenstein), Wikipedia
Tour Guides, Travelogues H. Holland, Travels in the Ionian Isles, Albania, Thessaly, Macedonia, &c: during the years 1812 and 1813, 1815, GB
Fr.Ch.H.L. Pouqueville, Travels in Epirus, Albania, Macedonia, and Thessaly , 1820, GB

bibliographic database COBISS (provides access to National Bibliography of Macedonia), IFLA Entry
specialist bibliographies
General Accounts Adrian Webb, The Longman Companion to Central and Eastern Europe since 1919, London etc.: Longman 2002 [G]
Dimitri Obolensky, The Byzantine Commonwealth. Eastern Europe 500-1453, Crestwood NY : St. Vladimir's Seminary Press 1971 [G]
Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999
Hugh Poulton, Macedonians and Albanians as Yugoslavs, pp.115-135 in : Dejan Djokic (ed.), Yugoslavism. Histories of a Failed Idea, University of Wisconsin Press 2003, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.7103 D626y
Stephen Clissold (ed.), A Short History of Yugoslavia, Cambridge : UP 1968 [G]
Specific Topics Justin McCarthy, Death and Exile. The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922, Princeton, NJ : Darwin Press 1995 [G]
Terry M. Mays, Historical Dictionary of Multinational Peacekeeping, Lanham Md. : Scarecrow 1996 [G]
Historical Dictionaries V. Georgieva and S. Konechni, Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Lanham Md. : Scarecrow 1998

The kingdom of Macedonia was an ancient state in what is now the Macedonian region of northern Greece, founded in the mid-7th century BC during the period of Archaic Greece and lasting until the mid-2nd century BC. Led first by the Argead dynasty of kings, Macedonia became a vassal state of the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia during the reigns of Amyntas I of Macedon (r. 547 – 498 BC) and his son Alexander I of Macedon (r. 498 – 454 BC). The period of Achaemenid Macedonia came to an end in roughly 479 BC with the ultimate Greek victory against the second Persian invasion of Greece led by Darius I of Persia and the withdrawal of Persian forces from the European mainland.

During the age of Classical Greece, Perdiccas II of Macedon (r. 454 – 413 BC) became directly involved in the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) between Classical Athens and Sparta, shifting his alliance from one city-state to another while attempting to retain Macedonian control over the Chalcidice peninsula. His reign was also marked by conflict and temporary alliances with the Thracian ruler Sitalces of the Odrysian Kingdom. He eventually made peace with Athens, which formed an alliance with Macedonia that carried over into the reign of Archelaus I of Macedon (r. 413 – 399 BC). His reign brought peace, stability, and financial security to the Macedonian realm, yet his little-understood assassination (perhaps by a royal page) left the kingdom in peril and conflict. The turbulent reign of Amyntas III of Macedon (r. 393 – 370 BC) witnessed devastating invasions by both the Illyrian ruler Bardylis of the Dardani and the Chalcidian city-state of Olynthos, both of which were defeated with the aid of foreign powers, the city-states of Thessaly and Sparta, respectively. Alexander II (r. 370 – 368 BC) invaded Thessaly but failed to hold Larissa, which was captured by Pelopidas of Thebes, who made peace with Macedonia on condition that they surrender noble hostages, including the future king Philip II of Macedon (r. 359 – 336 BC).

Philip II came to power when his older brother Perdiccas III of Macedon (r. 368 – 359 BC) was defeated and killed in battle by the forces of Bardylis. With the use of skillful diplomacy, Philip II was able to make peace with the Illyrians, Thracians, Paeonians, and Athenians who threatened his borders. This allowed him time to dramatically reform the Ancient Macedonian army, establishing the Macedonian phalanx that would prove crucial to his kingdom's success in subduing Greece. He gradually enhanced his political power by forming marriage alliances with foreign powers, destroying the Chalcidian League in the Olynthian War (349–348 BC), and becoming an elected member of the Thessalian and Amphictyonic Leagues for his role in defeating Phocis in the Third Sacred War (356–346 BC). After the Macedonian victory over a coalition led by Athens and Thebes at the 338 BC Battle of Chaeronea, Philip established the League of Corinth and was elected as its hegemon in anticipation of commanding a united Greek invasion of the Achaemenid Empire under Macedonian hegemony.[1][2][3] However, when Philip II was assassinated by one of his bodyguards, he was succeeded by his son Alexander III, better known as Alexander the Great (r. 336 – 323 BC), who invaded Achaemenid Egypt and Asia and toppled the rule of Darius III, who was forced to flee into Bactria (in what is now Afghanistan) where he was killed by one of his kinsmen, Bessus. This pretender to the throne was eventually executed by Alexander, yet the latter eventually succumbed to an unknown illness at the age of 32, whose death led to the Partition of Babylon by his former generals, the diadochi, chief among them being Antipater, regent of Alexander IV of Macedon (r. 323 – 309 BC). This event ushered in the Hellenistic period in West Asia and the Mediterranean world, leading to the formation of the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, and Attalid successor kingdoms in the former territories of Alexander's empire.

Macedonia continued its role as the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece, yet its authority became diminished due to civil wars between the Antipatrid and nascent Antigonid dynasty. After surviving crippling invasions by Pyrrhus of Epirus, Lysimachus, Seleucus I Nicator, and the Celtic Galatians, Macedonia under the leadership of Antigonus II of Macedon (r. 277 – 274 BC; 272–239 BC) was able to subdue Athens and defend against the naval onslaught of Ptolemaic Egypt in the Chremonidean War (267–261 BC). However, the rebellion of Aratus of Sicyon in 351 BC led to the formation of the Achaean League, which proved to be a perennial problem for the ambitions of the Macedonian kings in mainland Greece. Macedonian power saw a resurgence under Antigonus III Doson (r. 229 – 221 BC), who defeated the Spartans under Cleomenes III in the Cleomenean War (229–222 BC). Although Philip V of Macedon (r. 221 – 179 BC) managed to defeat the Aetolian League in the Social War (220–217 BC), his attempts to project Macedonian power into the Adriatic Sea and formation of a Macedonian–Carthaginian Treaty with Hannibal alarmed the Roman Republic, which convinced a coalition of Greek city-states to attack Macedonia while Rome focused on defeating Hannibal in Italy. Rome was ultimately victorious in the First (214–205 BC) and Second Macedonian War (200–197 BC) against Philip V, who was also defeated in the Cretan War (205–200 BC) by a coalition led by Rhodes. Macedonia was forced to relinquish its holdings in Greece outside of Macedonia proper, while the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC) succeeded in toppling the monarchy altogether, after which Rome placed Perseus of Macedon (r. 179 – 168 BC) under house arrest and established four client state republics in Macedonia. In an attempt to dissuade rebellion in Macedonia, Rome imposed stringent constitutions in these states that limited their economic growth and interactivity. However, Andriscus, a pretender to the throne claiming descent from the Antigonids, briefly revived the Macedonian monarchy during the Fourth Macedonian War (150–148 BC). His forces were crushed at the second Battle of Pydna by the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus, leading to the establishment of the Roman province of Macedonia and the initial period of Roman Greece.

Early history and legend[edit]

Main articles: Achaemenid Macedonia and Argead dynasty

Further information: List of ancient Macedonians § Kings

The Greek historiansHerodotus and Thucydides reported the legend that the Macedonian kings of the Argead dynasty were descendants of Temenus of Argos, Peloponnese, who was believed to have had the mythical Heracles as one of his ancestors.[4] The legend states that three brothers and descendants of Temenus wandered from Illyria to Upper Macedonia, where a local king nearly had them killed and forced into exile due to an omen that the youngest, Perdiccas, would become king. The latter eventually obtained the title after settling near the alleged gardens of Midas next to Mount Bermius in Lower Macedonia.[4] Other legends, mentioned by the Roman historians Livy, Velleius and Justin and by the Greek biographer Plutarch and the Greek geographer Pausanias stated that Caranus of Macedon was the first Macedonian king and that he was succeeded by Perdiccas I.[5][6][7][8][9][10] Greeks of the Classical period generally accepted the origin story provided by Herodotus, or another involving lineage from Zeus, chief god of the Greek pantheon, lending credence to the idea that the Macedonian ruling house possessed the divine right of kings.[11] Herodotus wrote that Alexander I of Macedon (r. 498 – 454 BC) convinced the Hellanodikai authorities of the Ancient Olympic Games that his Argive lineage could be traced back to Temenus, and thus his perceived Greek identity permitted him to enter the Olympic competitions.[12]

Very little is known about the first five kings of Macedonia (or the first eight kings depending on which royal chronology is accepted).[13] There is much greater evidence for the reigns of Amyntas I of Macedon (r. 547 – 498 BC) and his successor Alexander I, especially due to the aid given by the latter to the Persian commander Mardonius at the Battle of Platea in 479 BC, during the Greco-Persian Wars.[14] Although stating that the first several kings listed by Herodotus were most likely legendary figures, historian Robert Malcolm Errington uses the rough estimate of twenty-five years for the reign of each of these kings to assume that the capital Aigai (modern Vergina) could have been under their rule since roughly the mid-7th century BC, during the Archaic period.[15]

The kingdom was situated in the fertile alluvial plain, watered by the rivers Haliacmon and Axius, called Lower Macedonia, north of Mount Olympus. Around the time of Alexander I, 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.[16] 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.[17] 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] Prior to the 4th century BC, the kingdom covered a region approximately corresponding to the western and central parts of the region of Macedonia in modern Greece.[19]

After Darius I of Persia (r. 522 – 486 BC) launched a military campaign against the Scythians in Europe in 513 BC, he left behind his general Megabazus to quell the Paeonians, Thracians, and coastal Greek city-states of the southern Balkans.[20] In 512/511 BC Megabazus sent envoys demanding Macedonian submission as a vassal state to the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia, to which Amyntas I responded by formally accepting the hegemony of the Persian king of kings.[21] This began the period of Achaemenid Macedonia, which lasted for roughly three decades. The Macedonian kingdom was largely autonomous and outside of Persian control, but was expected to provide troops and provisions for the Achaemenid army.[22]Amyntas II, son of Amyntas I's daughter Gygaea of Macedon and her husband Bubares, son of Megabazus, was given the Phrygian city of Alabanda as an appanage by Xerxes I (r. 486 – 465 BC), to secure the Persian-Macedonian marriage alliance.[23] Persian authority over Macedonia was interrupted by the Ionian Revolt (499–493 BC), yet the Persian general Mardonius was able to subjugate Macedonia, bringing it under Persian rule.[24] It is doubtful, though, that Macedonia was ever officially included within a Persian satrapy (i.e. province).[25] The Macedonian king Alexander I must have viewed his subordination as an opportunity to aggrandize his own position, since he used Persian military support to extend his own borders.[26] The Macedonians provided military aid to Xerxes I during the Second Persian invasion of Greece in 480–479 BC, which saw Macedonians and Persians fighting against a Greek coalition led by Athens and Sparta.[27] Following the Greek victory at Salamis, the Persians sent Alexander I as an envoy to Athens, hoping to strike an alliance with their erstwhile foe, yet his diplomatic mission was rebuffed.[28] Achaemenid control over Macedonia ceased when the Persians were ultimately defeated by the Greeks and fled the Greek mainland in Europe.[29]

Involvement in the Classical Greek world[edit]

Further information: Delian League, Spartan hegemony, and Theban hegemony

Alexander I, who Herodotus claimed was entitled proxenos and euergetes ('benefactor') by the Athenians, cultivated a close relationship with the Greeks following the Persian defeat and withdrawal, sponsoring the erection of statues at both major panhellenic sanctuaries at Delphi and Olympia.[30] After his death in 454 BC, he was granted the posthumous title Alexander I 'the Philhellene' ('friend of the Greeks'), perhaps designated by later Hellenistic Alexandrian scholars, most certainly preserved by the Greco-Roman historian Dio Chrysostom, and most likely influenced by Macedonian propaganda of the 4th century BC that emphasized the positive role the ancestors of Philip II (r. 359 – 336 BC) had in Greek affairs.[31] Alexander I's successor Perdicas II (r. 454 – 413 BC) was not only saddled with internal revolt by the petty kings of Upper Macedonia, but also faced serious challenges to Macedonian territorial integrity by Sitalces, a ruler in Thrace, and the Athenians, who fought four separate wars against Macedonia under Perdiccas II.[32] During his reign, Athenian settlers began to encroach upon his coastal territories in Lower Macedonia to gather resources such as timber and pitch in support of their navy, a practice that was actively encouraged by the Athenian leader Pericles when he had colonists settle among the Bisaltae along the Strymon River.[33] From 476 BC onward, the Athenians coerced some of the coastal towns of Macedonia along the Aegean Sea to join the Athenian-led Delian League as tributary states and in 437/436 BC founded the city of Amphipolis at the mouth of the Strymon River for access to timber as well as gold and silver from the Pangaion Hills.[34]

War broke out in 433 BC when Athens, perhaps seeking additional cavalry and resources in anticipation of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), allied with a brother and cousin of Perdiccas II who were in open rebellion against him.[35] This led Perdiccas to seek alliances with Athens' rivals Sparta and Corinth, yet when his efforts were rejected he instead promoted the rebellion of nearby nominal Athenian allies in Chalcidice, winning over the important city of Potidaea.[36] Athens responded by sending a naval invasion force that captured Therma and laid siege to Pydna.[37] However, they were unsuccessful in retaking Chalcidice and Potidaea due to stretching their forces thin by fighting the Macedonians and their allies on multiple fronts, and therefore sued for peace with Macedonia.[37] War resumed shortly after with the Athenian capture of Beroea and Macedonian aid given to the Potidaeans during an Athenian siege, yet by 431 BC, the Athenians and Macedonians concluded a peace treaty and alliance orchestrated by the Thracian ruler Sitalces of the Odrysian kingdom.[38] The Athenians had hoped to use Sitalces against the Macedonians, but due to Sitalces' desire to focus on acquiring more Thracian allies, he convinced Athens to make peace with Macedonia on the condition that he provide cavalry and peltasts for the Athenian army in Chalcidice.[39] Under this arrangement, Perdiccas II was given back Therma and no longer had to contend with his rebellious brother, Athens, and Sitacles all at once; in exchange he aided the Athenians in their subjugation of settlements in Chalcidice.[40]

In 429 BC, Perdiccas II sent aid to the Spartan commander Cnemus in Acarnania, but the Macedonian forces arrived too late to enter the Battle of Naupactus, which ended in an Athenian victory.[41] In that same year, Sitalces, according to Thucydides, invaded Macedonia at the behest of Athens to aid them in subduing Chalcidice and to punish Perdiccas II for violating the terms of their peace treaty.[42] However, given Sitalces' huge Thracian invading force (allegedly 150,000 soldiers) and a nephew of Perdiccas II that he intended to place on the Macedonian throne after toppling the latter's regime, Athens must have become wary of acting on their supposed alliance since they failed to provide him with promised naval support.[43] Sitalces eventually retreated from Macedonia, perhaps due to logistical concerns: a shortage of provisions and harsh winter conditions.[44]

In 424 BC, Perdiccas began to play a prominent role in the Peloponnesian War by aiding the Spartan general Brasidas in convincing Athenian allies in Thrace to defect and ally with Sparta.[45] After failing to convince Perdiccas II to make peace with Arrhabaeus of Lynkestis (a small region of Upper Macedonia), Brasidas agreed to aid the Macedonian fight against Arrhabaeus, although he expressed his concerns about leaving his Chalcidian allies to their own devices against Athens, as well as the fearsome Illyrian reinforcements arriving on the side of Arrhabaeus.[46] The massive combined force commanded by Arrhabaeus apparently caused the army of Perdiccas II to flee in haste before the battle began, which enraged the Spartans under Brasidas, who proceeded to snatch pieces of the Macedonian baggage train left unprotected.[47] Subsequently, Perdiccas II not only made peace with Athens but switched sides, blocking Peloponnesian reinforcements from reaching Brasidas via Thessaly.[48] The treaty offered Athens economic concessions, but it also guaranteed internal stability in Macedonia since Arrhabaeus and other domestic detractors were convinced to lay down their arms and accept Perdiccas II as their suzerain lord.[49]

Perdiccas II was obliged to send aid to the Athenian general Cleon, but he and Brasidas died in 422 BC, and the Peace of Nicias struck in the following year between Athens and Sparta nullified the Macedonian king's responsibilities as an erstwhile Athenian ally.[50] After the Battle of Mantinea in 418 BC, Sparta and Argos formed a new alliance, which, alongside the threat of neighboring poleis in Chalcidice who were aligned with Sparta, induced Perdiccas II to abandon his Athenian alliance in favor of Sparta once again.[51] This proved to be a strategic error, since Argos quickly switched sides as a pro-Athenian democracy, allowing Athens to punish Macedonia with a naval blockade in 417 BC along with the resumption of military activity in Chalcidice.[52] Perdiccas II agreed to a peace settlement and alliance with Athens once more in 414 BC and, on his death a year later, was succeeded by his son Archelaus I (r. 413 – 399 BC).[53]

Archelaus I maintained good relations with Athens throughout his reign, relying on Athens to provide naval support in his 410 BC siege of Pydna, and in exchange providing Athens with timber and naval equipment.[54] With improvements to military organization and building of new infrastructure such as fortresses, Archelaus was able to strengthen Macedonia and project his power into Thessaly, where he aided his allies; yet he faced some internal revolt as well as problems fending off Illyrian incursions led by Sirras.[55] Although he retained Aigai as a ceremonial and religious center, Archelaus I moved the capital of the kingdom north to Pella, which was then positioned by a lake with a river connecting it to the Aegean Sea.[56] He improved Macedonia's currency by minting coins with a higher silver content as well as issuing separate copper coinage.[57] His royal court attracted the presence of well-known intellectuals such as the Athenian playwrightEuripides.[58]

Historical sources offer wildly different and confused accounts as to who assassinated Archelaus I, although it likely involved a homosexual love affair with royal pages at his court.[59] What ensued was a power struggle lasting from 399 to 393 BC of four different monarchs claiming the throne: Orestes, son of Archelaus I; Aeropus II, uncle, regent, and murderer of Orestes; Pausanias, son of Aeropus II; and Amyntas II, who was married to the youngest daughter of Archelaus I.[60] Very little is known about this period, although each of these monarchs aside from Orestes managed to mint debased currency imitating that of Archelaus I.[61] Finally, Amyntas III (r. 393 – 370 BC), son of Arrhidaeus and grandson of Amyntas I, succeeded to the throne by killing Pausanias.[60]

The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus provided a seemingly conflicting account about Illyrian invasions occurring in 393 BC and 383 BC, which may have been representative of a single invasion led by Bardylis of the Dardani.[62] In this event, Amyntas III is said to have fled his own kingdom and returned with the support of Thessalian allies, while a possible pretender to the throne named Argaeus had ruled temporarily in Amyntas III's absence.[63] When the powerful Chalcidian city of Olynthos was allegedly poised to overthrow Amyntas III and conquer the Macedonian kingdom, Teleutias, brother of the Spartan king Agesilaus II, sailed to Macedonia with a large Spartan force to provide critical aid to Amyntas III.[64] The result of this campaign in 379 BC was the surrender of Olynthos and the abolition of the Chalcidian League.[65]

Amyntas III had children with two wives, but it was his eldest son by his marriage with Eurydice I who succeeded him as Alexander II (r. 370 – 368 BC).[66] When Alexander II invaded Thessaly and occupied Larissa and Crannon as a challenge to the suzerainty of the tagus (supreme Thessalian military leader) Alexander of Pherae, the Thessalians appealed to Pelopidas of Thebes for help to expel both of these rival overlords.[67] After Pelopidas captured Larissa, Alexander II made peace and allied with Thebes, handing over noble hostages including his brother and future king, Philip II.[68] Afterwards, Ptolemy of Aloros assassinated his brother-in-law Alexander II and acted as regent for the latter's younger brother Perdiccas III (r. 368 – 359 BC).[69] Ptolemy's intervention in Thessaly in 367 BC provoked another Theban invasion by Pelopidas, who was undermined when Ptolemy bribed his mercenaries not to fight, thus leading to a newly proposed alliance between Macedonia and Thebes, but only on the condition that more hostages, including one of his Ptolemy's sons, were to be handed over to Thebes.[70] By 365 BC, Perdiccas III had reached the age of majority and took the opportunity to kill his regent Ptolemy, initiating a sole reign marked by internal stability, financial recovery, fostering of Greek intellectualism at his court, and the return of his brother Philip from Thebes.[70] However, Perdiccas III also dealt with an Athenian invasion by Timotheus, son of Conon, that led to the loss of Methone and Pydna, while an invasion of Illyrians led by Bardylis succeeded in killing Perdiccas III and 4,000 Macedonian troops in battle.[71]

Rise of Macedon[edit]

Main article: Rise of Macedon

Further information: Argead dynasty, Amyntas IV of Macedon, and League of Corinth

Philip II of Macedon (r. 359 – 336 BC), who spent much of his adolescence as a political hostage in Thebes, was twenty-four years old when he acceded to the throne and immediately faced crises that threatened to topple his leadership.[72] However, with the use of deft diplomacy, he was able to convince the Thracians under Berisades to cease their support of Pausanias, a pretender to the throne, and the Athenians to halt their backing of another pretender named Argaeus (perhaps the same who had caused trouble for Amyntas III).[73] He achieved these by bribing the Thracians and their Paeonian allies and removing a garrison of Macedonian troops from Amphipolis, establishing a treaty with Athens that relinquished his claims to that city.[74] He was also able to make peace with the Illyrians who had threatened his borders.[75]

The exact date in which Philip II initiated reforms to radically transform the Macedonian army's organization, equipment, and training is unknown, including the formation of the Macedonian phalanx armed with long pikes (i.e. the sarissa). The reforms took place over a period of several years and proved immediately successful against his Illyrian and Paeonian enemies.[76] Confusing accounts in ancient sources have led modern scholars to debate how much Philip II's royal predecessors may have contributed to these military reforms. It is perhaps more likely that his years of captivity in Thebes during the Theban hegemony influenced his ideas, especially after meeting with the renowned general Epaminondas.[77]

Although Macedonia and the rest of Greece traditionally practiced monogamy in marriage, Philip II divulged in the 'barbarian' practice of polygamy, marrying seven different wives with perhaps only one that didn't involve the loyalty of his aristocratic subjects or the affirmation of a new alliance.[78] For instance, his first marriages were to Phila of Elimeia of the Upper Macedonian aristocracy as well as the Illyrian princess Audata, granddaughter(?) of Bardylis, to ensure a marriage alliance with their people.[79] To establish an alliance with Larissa in Thessaly, he married the Thessalian noblewoman Philinna in 358 BC, who bore him a son who would later rule as Philip III Arrhidaeus (r. 323 – 317 BC).[80] In 357 BC, he married Olympias in order to secure an alliance with Arybbas, the King of Epirus and the Molossians. This marriage would bear a son who would later rule as Alexander III (better known as Alexander the Great) and claim descent from the legendary Achilles by way of his dynastic heritage from Epirus.[81] It has been argued whether or not the Achaemenid Persian kings influenced Philip's practice of polygamy, although it seems to have been practiced by Amyntas III who had three sons with a possible second wife Gygaea: Archelaus, Arrhidaeus, and Menelaus.[82] Philip II had Archelaus put to death in 359 BC, while Philip's other two half brothers fled to Olynthos, serving as a casus belli for the Olynthian War (349–348 BC) against the Chalcidian League.[83]

While Athens was preoccupied with the Social War (357–355 BC), Philip took this opportunity to retake Amphipolis in 357 BC, for which the Athenians later declared war on him, and by 356 BC, recaptured Pydna and Potidaea, the latter of which he handed over to the Chalcidian League as promised in a treaty of 357/356 BC.[84] In this year, he was also able to take Crenides, later refounded as Philippi and providing much wealth in gold, while his general Parmenion was victorious against the Illyrian king Grabos of the Grabaei.[85] During the siege of Methone from 355 to 354 BC, Philip lost his right eye to an arrow wound, but was able to capture the city and was even cordial to the defeated inhabitants (unlike the Potidaeans, who had been sold into slavery).[86]

It was at this stage when Philip II involved Macedonia in the Third Sacred War (356–346 BC). The conflict began when Phocis captured and plundered the temple of Apollo at Delphi as a response to Thebes' demand that they submit unpaid fines, causing the Amphictyonic League to declare war on Phocis and a civil war among the members of the Thessalian League aligned with either Phocis or Thebes.[87] Philip II's initial campaign against Pherae in Thessaly in 353 BC at the behest of Larissa ended in two disastrous defeats by the Phocian general Onomarchus.[88] However, he returned the following year and defeated Onomarchus at the Battle of Crocus Field, which led to his election as leader (archon) of the Thessalian League, ability to recruit Thessalian cavalry, provided him a seat on the Amphictyonic Council and a marriage alliance with Pherae by wedding Nicesipolis, niece of the tyrant Jason of Pherae.[89]

After campaigning against the Thracian ruler Cersobleptes, Philip II began his war against the Chalcidian League in 349 BC, which had been reestablished in 375 BC following a temporary disbandment.[90] Despite an Athenian intervention by Charidemus,[91] Olynthos was captured by Philip II in 348 BC, whereupon he sold its inhabitants into slavery, bringing back some Athenian citizens to Macedonia as slaves as well.[92] The Athenians, especially in a series of speeches by Demosthenes known as the Olynthiacs, were unsuccessful in persuading their allies to counterattack, so in 346 BC, they concluded a treaty with Macedonia known as the Peace of Philocrates.[93] The treaty stipulated that Athens would relinquish claims to Macedonian coastal territories, the Chalcidice, and Amphipolis in return for the release of the enslaved Athenians as well as guarantees that Philip would not attack Athenian settlements in the Thracian Chersonese.[94] Meanwhile, Phocis and Thermopylae were captured, the Delphic temple robbers executed, and Philip II was awarded the two Phocian seats on the Amphictyonic Council as well as the position of master of ceremonies over the Pythian Games.[95] Athens initially opposed his membership on the council and refused to attend the games in protest, but they were eventually swayed to accept these conditions, partially due to the oration On the Peace by Demosthenes.[96]

For the next few years Philip II was occupied with reorganizing the administrative system of Thessaly, campaigning against the Illyrian ruler Pleuratus I, deposing Arybbas in Epirus in favor of his brother-in-law Alexander I (through Philip II's marriage with Olympias), and defeating Cersebleptes in Thrace. This allowed him to extend Macedonian control over the Hellespont in anticipation of an invasion into Achaemenid Asia.[97] In what is now Bulgaria, Philip II conquered the Thracian city of Panegyreis in 342 BC and reestablished it as Philippopolis (modern Plovdiv, Roman-era Trimontium).[98] War broke out with Athens in 340 BC while Philip II was engaged in two ultimately unsuccessful sieges of Perinthus and Byzantion, followed by a successful campaign against the Scythians along the Danube and Macedonia's involvement in the Fourth Sacred War against Amphissa in 339 BC.[99] Hostilities between Thebes and Macedonia began when Thebes ousted a Macedonian garrison from Nicaea (near Thermopylae), leading Thebes to join Athens, Megara, Corinth, Achaea, and Euboea in a final confrontation against Macedonia at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC.[100] After the Macedonian victory there, Philip II imposed harsh conditions on Thebes, installing an oligarchy there, yet was lenient to Athens due to his desire to utilize their navy in a planned invasion of the Achaemenid Empire.[101] He was then chiefly responsible for the formation of the League of Corinth that included the major Greek city-states minus Sparta, being elected as the leader (hegemon) of its council (synedrion) by the spring of 337 BC despite the Kingdom of Macedonia being excluded as an official member of the league.[102] The Panhellenic fear of another Persian invasion of Greece perhaps contributed to Philip II's decision to invade the Achaemenid Empire.[103] The Persian aid offered to Perinthus and Byzantion in 341-340 BC highlighted Macedonia's strategic need to secure Thrace and the Aegean Sea against increasing Achaemenid encroachment, as Artaxerxes III further consolidated his control over satrapies in western Anatolia.[104] The latter region, yielding far more wealth and valuable resources than the Balkans, was also coveted by the Macedonian king for its sheer economic potential.[105]

After his election by the League of Corinth as their commander-in-chief (strategosautokrator) of a forthcoming campaign to invade the Achaemenid Empire, Philip II sought to shore up further Macedonian support by marrying Cleopatra Eurydice, niece of general Attalus.[107] Yet talk of providing new potential heirs infuriated Philip II's son Alexander (already a veteran of the Battle of Chaeronea) and his mother Olympias, who fled together to Epirus before Alexander was recalled to Pella.[107] Further tensions arose when Philip II offered his son Arrhidaeus's hand in marriage to Ada of Caria, daughter of Pixodarus, the Persian satrap of Caria. When Alexander intervened and proposed to marry Ada instead, Philip cancelled the wedding arrangements altogether and exiled Alexander's advisors Ptolemy, Nearchus, and Harpalus.[108] To reconcile with Olympias, Philip II had their daughter Cleopatra marry Olympias' brother (and Cleopatra's uncle) Alexander I of Epirus, yet Philip II was assassinated by his bodyguard Pausanias of Orestis during their wedding feast and succeeded by Alexander.[109]


Further information: Wars of Alexander the Great, Wars of the Diadochi, and Chronology of the expedition of Alexander the Great into Asia

Before Philip II was assassinated in the summer of 336 BC, relations with his son Alexander had degenerated to the point where he excluded him entirely from his planned invasion of Asia, choosing instead for him to act as regent of Greece and deputy hegemon of the League of Corinth.[110] This, alongside his mother Olympias' apparent concern over Philip II bearing another potential heir with his new wife Cleopatra Eurydice, have led scholars to wrangle over the idea of her and Alexander's possible roles in Philip's murder.[111] Nonetheless, Alexander III (r. 336 – 323 BC) was immediately proclaimed king by an assembly of the army and leading aristocrats, chief among them being Antipater and Parmenion.[112] By the end of his reign and military career in 323 BC, Alexander would rule over an empire consisting of mainland Greece, Asia Minor, the Levant, ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, and much of Central and South Asia (i.e. modern Pakistan).[113] His first pressing concerns, however, would be to bury his father at Aigai and to pursue a campaign of suppression closer to home in the Balkans.[114] Following Philip's death, the members of the League of Corinth revolted, yet were soon quelled by military force alongside persuasive diplomacy, Alexander forcing them to rejoin the league and elect him as hegemon to carry out the planned invasion of Achaemenid Persia.[115] Alexander also took the opportunity to settle the score he had with his rival Attalus (who had taunted him during the wedding feast of his daughter Cleopatra Eurydice and Philip II) by having him executed.[116]

In 335 BC, Alexander led a campaign against the Thracian tribe of the Triballi at Haemus Mons, fighting them along the Danube and forcing their surrender on Peuce Island.[117] Shortly thereafter, the Illyrian king Cleitus of the Dardani threatened to attack Macedonia, yet Alexander took the initiative and besieged them at Pelion (in modern Albania).[118] When Alexander was given news that Thebes had once again revolted from the League of Corinth and were besieging the Macedonian garrison in the Cadmea, Alexander left the Illyrian front and marched to Thebes, which he placed under siege.[119] After breaching the walls, Alexander's forces killed 6,000 Thebans, took 30,000 inhabitants as prisoners of war, and burned the city to the ground as a warning to others, which proved effective since no other Greek state aside from Sparta dared to challenge Alexander for the remainder of his reign.[120]

Throughout his military career and kingship, Alexander won every battle that he personally commanded.[121] His first victory against the Persians in Asia Minor at the Battle of the Granicus in 334 BC utilized a small cavalry contingent that successfully distracted the Persians, allowed his infantry to cross the river, and his Companions to drive them from the battle with a cavalry charge.[122] Following the tradition of Macedonian warrior kings, Alexander personally led the cavalry charge at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC, forcing the Persian king Darius III and his army to flee.[122] Darius III, despite having superior numbers, was again forced to flee the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC.[122] The Persian king was later captured and executed by his own satrap of Bactria and kinsman, Bessus, in 330 BC. The Macedonian king subsequently hunted down and executed Bessus in what is now Afghanistan, securing the region of Sogdia in the process.[123] At the 326 BC Battle of the Hydaspes (modern-day Punjab), when the war elephants of King Porus of the Pauravas threatened Alexander's troops, he had them form open ranks to surround the elephants and dislodge their handlers by using their sarissa pikes.[124]

Map of the Kingdom of Macedon at the death of Philip II in 336 BC (light blue), with the original territory that existed in 431 BC (red outline), and dependent states (yellow)


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