Ancient Macedonian kings – Archelaus of Macedon

 

By some authorities, Archelaus is branded with the twofold stigma of base birth and sanguinary crime. These charges, however, rest upon slender authority. It is more satisfactorily ascertained that he was a prince of eminent talents,
and that the kingdom of Macedonia was more indebted to him than to any of its preceding1 monarchs, for the advance
in all that was truly glorious. To extend civilization, and to provide for the defence of his kingdom, were his absorbing
cares. To attain the first of these objects, it was necessary to begin by securing the second ; and he, therefore, increased
and disciplined his military force, formed magazines of arms and stores, and fortified some of his principal towns. The
only war in which Archelaus was engaged, was with the city of Pynda, in the province of Pieria, which had revolted
from him. That place was compelled to surrender, and its inhabitants were exiled from Pynda, and sent to dwell sixty
miles further from the sea-shore, that they might not easily receive succour from Athens, or any other of the Grecian
states.

Undisturbed by foreign and domestic foes, Archelaus ardently cultivated the arts of peace. Agriculture was encouraged,
and an invaluable benefit was conferred on the kingdom, by the formation of roads to connect distant districts.
Learning, literature, and art, found in him an admirer, and a munificent patron. Socrates was invited to his court, and
Euripides became his guest. The celebrated Zeuxis, also, attracted by his liberality and courtesy, adorned the royal
palace with some of the productions of his matchless pencil. Archelaus, moreover, instituted games, in imitation of southern Greece, dedicated to Jupiter and the Muses, and hearing the name of the Olympian.
In the midst of all this splendour, Archelaus perished by the hand of a traitor. Craterus, who is said to have been his
favourite, prompted by ambition, or revenge for personal dishonour, or by both united, conspired against him, and slew
him, after he had”reigned thirteen years. The nameless crime which led to the death of Archelaus, shows how impotent civilization is to save man from the corruptions of a fallen nature. He exhibited, in all his actions, a more enlightened mind than any of his ancestors ; yet he was equally deficient in moral conduct. The ” works of the flesh” were the glory of the heathen world. Too frequently, they were looked upon as godlike actions, and the shameful indulgence of them was hence practised, especially by those who had power on the earth. Their very gods and goddesses were represented as beings with like passions as themselves, and some systems of religion taught that the delights of heaven consisted in these things. A paradise of sensual gratifications was held to be the acme of bliss by some philosophers.
They had no notion of the ” beauty of holiness,” and of the delights that are to be found in the ” way of righteousness.”
The Bible, and the Bible alone, teaches such exalted doctrines, and the experience of the faithful proves them true.
The murder of Archelaus, says Heeren, was followed by a stormy period, wrapped in obscurity: the unsettled state of
the succession raised up many pretenders to the throne, each of whom easily found the means of supporting his claims,
either in some of the neighbouring tribes, or in one of the Grecian republics. Craterus was the first who usurped the
throne of Macedonia; but he held his station for the brief space of four days only, at the expiration of which time he
met with the death he had inflicted on his prince. He fell by the hands of violence.

History of the Macedonians By Edward Farr

Want more of this? See these Posts:

  1. Ancient Macedonian kings – Philip I of Macedon
  2. Ancient Macedonian kings – Aeropus I of Macedon
  3. Ancient Macedonian kings – Argaeus I of Macedon
  4. Ancient Macedonian kings – Perdiccas I of Macedon
  5. Ancient Macedonian kings – Perdiccas II of Macedon
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