Justin sources – Marsyas of Macedon


Caranus also came to Emathia with a large band of Greeks, being instructed by an oracle to seek a home in Macedonia. Hero, following a herd of goats running from a downpour, he seized the city of Edessa, the inhabitants being taken unawares because of heavy rain and dense fog. Remembering the oracle’s command to follow the lead of goats in his quest for ar empire, Caranus established the city as his capital, and thereafter he made it a solemn observance, wheresoever he took his army, to keep those same goats before his standards in order in have as leaders in his exploits the animals which he had had with him to found the kingdom. He gave the city of Edessa the name Aegaeae and its people the name Aegeads in memory of this service

M.Justinus’ epitome of Pompeius Trogus’ Universal History 7.1

The above source of Justin(Trogus) for the early history of Macedonia was a Macedonian source, the most famous Macedonian writer during classical ages, Marsyas of Macedon, whom his work hasnt survived in its entirety but we have only infos through later writers. As its a Macedonian source, its the most reliable about the origins of Macedonians. It leaves no doubt about the Greek origins of Macedonian kings and verifies the population coming with Temenids was Greek.

We know that in Alexander’s time Caranus was held to be the first Temenid king, descended from Heracles (Plut. Alex. 2.1). We learn from Justin that it was due to Caranus that peoples of varied races were incorporated into the one body ‘Macedonia’, and it was from this basis that Macedonia was to become great (Jus. 7.1.12). Caranus was the founder of the Greek settlement of Emathia (7.1.7). This concept was natural in all Macedonians about their origins and of course also known to Marsyas, who grew up during the reign of Philip. As prof. Hammond states its obvious Trogus source had a simple faith in oracles, prophecies and auspices, and a belief in particular in the valour and excellence of the Macedonians. Both the faith and the belief were salient characteristics of Alexander and his Companions.

Some brief information about Marsyas’ life. Marsyas of Macedon wrote “Makedonika”, starting from “the first king of the Macedonians” (Souda s.v. = FGrHist 135/6 T I). He was born in 356 BC, same year with Alexander the Great. He was a native of Pella, thats why he is refered also sometimes as Marsyas of Pella and he was brought up together with Alexander (Marsyas was also a Royal page) while his half-brother was Antigonus Monophthalmus.
We find Marsyas as commander of Antigonus’ fleet in 307 and he died a few years later. His Makedonika broke off suddenly in 331, when Alexander returned to Syria from Egypt. No doubt he took part in the expedition of Alexander in Asia.