The origins of Macedonia

Ancient Macedonian kingdom was situated on the plain in the northeastern corner of the southern part of Balkan peninsula ,at the head of the Gulf of Thérmai. Mt Pind separates Thessalia from Dodona mountains and from Epirus, constitutes the basic demarcation line between Macedonia and Illyria. The mountain chain deviates eastward, till the origins of the river Strimon.

A people of uncertain ethnic origins who called themselves Macedonians are known from about 700 BC, when they pushed eastward from their ancient home-land on the Haliacmon (Aliákmon) river under the leadership of King Perdiccas I. According to the popular tradition, three Heracleides from the nobel tribe of Argos, moved northward, and they settled behind the waterfalls at Edessa, not far from the coast. Macedons were divided into several tribes(clans) and ruled over by a tribal monarchy. There the youngest of the three brothers, Perdiccas has founded the kingdom, which was nominated later Macedon. Macedonia later reunited the other neighboring lands: Emazia, Migdonia, Bottiea, Pieria and Anfassiti.  The main division in Macedon was between the lowland Macedonians, living in the plains of Pieria, Bottiaia, and the Ampaxitis, and the highland Macedonians, who were themselves divided into a number of geographic areas: Tympaia, Elimiotis, Orestis, Eordaia, Lynkos and Pelagonia.

The cultural and commercial links of prehistoric Macedonia were mainly with Greece and Anatolia.

Eschilos and  Herdotus about Macedons:

Macedons made a part of the pelasgic population, and in the ancient times they were diffused in the whole Hellenic territory. From the cultural aspect, the religion and costumes of Macedons demonstrate the same hellenic origins, but from the linguistic point, the ancient Macedonian language is not similar to the oldest hellenic dialects.

By the 5th century BC the Macedonians had adopted in some scale the Greek language and had a unified kingdom.
Macedonia in the 363 BC.


Bibliography: Diodorus Siculls, Strabon, Eschilos

© 1997 by 1st M u s e
Send remarks or suggestions to: John J. Popovic