Modern Historians about Macedonia – M. C. Howatson


1. Early history to Alexander the Great. In the centuries after the *Dorian Invasion (c. 1100 BC) many new peoples entered Macedonia. In historical times the royal house traced its descent from the mythical Temenus, king of Argos, who was one of the *Heracleidae, and more immediately from Perdiccas I, who left Argos for Illyria, probably in the mid-seventh century BC, and from there captured the Macedonian plain and occupied the fortress of Aegae (Vergina), setting himself up as king of the Macedonians. Thus the kings were of largely Dorian Greek stock (see PHILIP (1)); they presumably spoke a form of Dorian Greek and their cultural tradition had Greek features. Whether or not the Macedonian people spoke a Greek dialect or a foreign tongue is still a matter of debate, but such evidence as exists suggests that they spoke a distinctive dialect of Greek, perhaps related to Aeolic. However, other Greeks persisted in saying that the Macedonians were not full *Hellenes (see below and also INDO-EUROPEAN). The kings were chosen by the assembly from those of the royal line who showed ability to command; they ruled directly over the Macedonian people of the coast; to some extent they controlled the Illyrian hilltribes of the west and north, but never brought them completely under direct rule.


The importance of Macedonia in Greek history begins with the accession to power of Philip II and culminates in the reign of his son Alexander the Great; for this period of Macedonian history (359-323 BC)

The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature
Book by M. C. Howatson; Oxford University Press, 1989, page 339