The Macedonian Royal House according to Modern Historians

* E Borza (1990) “In The Shadow of Olympus: The Emergence of Macedon” 
pg. 80.
         “There was a PERSISTENT, WELL ATTESTED tradition in antiquity that told of a group of Greeks from Argos-descendants of Temenus, kinsman of Heracleswho came to Macedonia and established their rule over the Makedones, unifying them and providing a royal house.”
     pg. 84.
         “There is NO reason to deny the Macedonians’ own traditions about their early kings and the migration of the Macedones. [..]The basic story as provided by Herodotus and Thucydides, minus the interpoloation of the Temenid connections, UNDOUBTEDLY reflects the Macedonians’ own traditions about their early history” 
     pg. 80.
        “There is *NO DOUBT* that this tradition of a superimposed Greek house was **WIDELY BELIEVED** by the Macedonians

Constance & Crossland (1982) “Macedonian Greece” pg 16.
         “Herodotus stated quite clearly that Perdiccas, the first  recorded king of Macedonia, and his descendants were Greeks and there is no reason why we should not take the Father of History’s word on this fundamental point.” 

 * N.G.L Hammond “The Macedonian State”
       pg. 19
         “The matter is of only academic interest to a few scholars today. NO ONE IN ANTIQUITY DOUBTED THE TRUTH OF THE CLAIM.
pg. 18
        “Herodotus made a special point of emphasizing that the royal house of Macedonia was Greek by descent, and Thucydides, who questioned much of what Herodotus said concurred with him in calling the Macedonian kings “Temenidae from Argos’.  Almost a century later Isocrates wrote to Philip II, saying “Argos is your fatherland’, and asked Philip to emulate his father (Amyntas) the
founder of the monarchy (Perdiccas), and the originator of  the family (Heracles).”
        [For further references consult Hdt.5.22;Thuc.2.99.3;Thuc.5.80.2; Isoc.5.32 and 105-12] 

 * N.G.L Hammond “A History of Greece to 322 B.C.”
        pg. 576
        “The Macedonian kings had much in common with the Mycenaean kings protrayed in the Iliad.  They, too, were ‘sprung from Zeus’. For Philip claimed to be a descendant of Heracles, the son of Zeus.  He put the head of Hearcles on his earliest coins, named the first city-foundation Heraclea, and dedicated a statue of Heracles at the mouth of the Danube.  He worshipped Zeus at Dium, dedicated a treasury to Zeus at Olympia, defended  Apollo’s shrine at Delphi, and placd the heads of Zeus and Apollo on his coins.  It is significant that Isocrates asked Philip as a descendant of Heracles to consider all Greece his fatherland.” 

* H. Bengston “A History of Greece: from the beginnings to the Byzantine era.
        pg. 199
        “The highly esteemed Isocrates had urged Philip, in his Panathenaikos (published in 339 B.C.), to assume the hegemony of Hellas, alluding it to the position of Agamemnon as panhellenic leader.”
  pg. 204
        “Thessaly conferred upon him [Alexander III] the honor of general of the federal army and the Delphic Amphictyony recognized him as hegemon of Hellas.” 

    *  N.G.L Hammond (1989) “The Macedonian State”
pg. 16.
         “The tribes which made up the Macedonian ethnos seem to have coalesced at some time before the eighth century under a royal house or tribe.  
Its members called themselves “Argeadae”, descendants of Argeas, who was believed to be the son of  Macedon, the son of Zeus.”
pg. 18.
         “As we have mentioned in Chapter I, Perdiccas and his brothers came from Argos and Peloponnese.  They were members of the royal house of Argos, the “Teminidae”, descendants of Temenus, whose ancestor was Heracles, son of Zeus; it was this Temenus who led the Dorian tribes into the Argolid and founded Dorian  Argos late in the twelfth century.  Thus Perdiccas came to Macedonia with the aura of divine favor, and he could claim that the Temenidae and the Argeadae were both descended from Zeus and so were diogeneis.  To Greeks of the classical period the Temenid name was well known.  Thus the oracle which was concerned post eventum with he following of the new capital, Aegeae, by Perdiccas began with the line “The noble Temenidae have royal rule over a wealth producing land.  

   pg. 235
        “It seems now that Alexander wanted from the Greek states a public and universal recognition of his benefactions, and that he wanted it as being himself a Greek of the Temenid family.” 

 *  N.G.L Hammond (1986) “A History of Greece to 332 B.C.”
    pg. 534.
         “In the early fifth century the royal house of Macedon, the Temenidae, was recognized as Greek by the presidents of the Olympic games.  Their verdict was and is decisive; for modern critics adduce no evidence.  It is certain that the kings considered themselves to be of Greek descent from Heracles, son of Zeus. The royal house of Lyncus in Upper Macedonia claimed descent from the Bacchiadae, who fled from Corinth about 657.  The great wealth of another royal house has been revealed by the gold masks and furniture discovered in tombs of the late sixth century of Trebenishte near Lake Lynchnitis.  
The Temenidae and Bacchiadae certainly spoke Greek.”
    pg. 641.
         “He [Alexander III] believed himself to be of divine descent on both sides, from Heracles, son of Zeus, and Achilles, son of Thetis.  At the Temple of Zeus Ammon this belief may have been confirmed; for thereafter he showed a special regard for the temple, and his friends believed it was his wish to be buried there and not at Aegae in Macedonia.  He may have felt in 324 that his deeds justified him to emulate Achilles and Heracles, and therefore he sought from the Greeks the recognition which
they alone could give, by according him “godlike honors” as a Greek.” 

*Martin, Thomas R (1996) “Ancient Greece From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times”
 pg. 188.
         “Macedonians had their own language related to Greek, but the members that dominated Macedonian society routinely learned to speak Greek because they thought of themselves and indeed all Macedonians as Greek by blood.”

*Nicholas Hammond “The Genius of Alexander the Great” ,

 page 7

and through his mother he was descended from Achilles, son of the goddess Thetis and a mortal Peleus. In his mother’s veins there was also the blood of a son and a daughter of Priam, king of Troy. To Alexander, Heracles and Achilles were not fantasies of poetic imagination but real people, who expected their descendants to excel as warriors and as benefactors of mankind.

N.G.L Hammond, “Sources for Alexander the Great: An Analysis of Plutarch’s ‘Life’ and Arrian’s ‘Anabasis Alexandrou’”,

 Page 5

‘Alexander’s descent, as a Heraclid on his father’s side from Caranus, and as an Aeacid on his mother’s side from Neoptolemus, is one of the matters which have been completely trusted.‘ While the Heraclid and Aeacid descent went UNQUESTIONED BY ANCIENT WRITERS.

N.G L Hammond [1989] “Alexander The Great”


We must remember too that Philip and Alexander were Greeks, descended from Heracles.The Hellenes, as the Greeks of Classical times called themselves, traced their ancestors back to Thessaly, then ruled by Deucalion’s Descendants Hellen, the war-loving king, and his sons Dorus, Xuthus, and Aeolus’, and to southern Macedonia where Magnes and Macedon, delighting in horses, lived in the area of Olympus and Pieria’

*Robin Lane Fox, Alexander the Great,

Page 32.

 “Philip’s mother had been a Lyncestian noblewoman” – “rebellious kings of Lyncestis who traced their origins to the notorious Bacchiad kings of Greek Corinth

Page 44

Olympia’s royal ancestry traced back to the hero Achilles, and the blood of Helen of Troy was believed to run on her father’s side

page 48

The Macedonian kings, who maintained that their Greek ancestry traced back to Zeus, had long given homes and patronage to Greece’s most distinguished artists

Page 71.

“No man, and only one hero, had been called invincible before him, and then only by a poet, but the hero was Heracles, ancestor of the Macedonian kings

* A. R. Burn (1948) “Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Empire”, 

 page 4

 Otherwise Philip was far from uncivilised. Macedonian kings were PROUD OF THEIR GREEK BLOOD, and it was only JAUNDICED opponents like Demosthenes the Athenian who ventured to call them “barbarians.” They claimed descent from Hêrakles through the Dorian Kings of Argos[…]It is revealing that the young Alexander always thought of himself as another Achilles, the hero of his mother’s family. His father’s ancestor Hêrakles had also voyaged to Asia.

* John Anthony Crame, A Geographical and Historical Description of Ancient Greece: With a Map, and a Plan of Athens,

 Page 166

The origin of the Macedonian dynasty is a subject of some intricacy and dispute. There is one point however, on which ALL the ancient authorities agree; Namely, that the royal family of that country was of the race of the Temenidae of Argos, and descended from Hercules. The difference of opinion principally regards the individual of that family to whome the honour of founding this illustrious monarchy is to be ascribed.

* Francois Chamoux, “Hellenistic Civilization”,

Page 8

Such a glorious ancestry was in the eyes of Greeks the hallmark of the Hellenic persona of the king of Macedon, who could, on the other hand, rely on fidelity of the people from which he had sprung. The greek cities did not feel that they were allying with a barbarian, since for generations the Macedonian dynasty had been allowed, as Greeks, to take part in the Olympic games, where they won prizes.

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