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This page is part of the "tools" section of a site, Plato and his dialogues, dedicated to developing a new interpretation of Plato's dialogues. The "tools" section provides historical and geographical context (chronology, maps, entries on characters and locations) for Socrates, Plato and their time. By clicking on the minimap at the beginning of the entry, you can go to a full size map in which the city or location appears. For more information on the structure of entries and links available from them, read the notice at the beginning of the index of persons and locations.
Region of northern Greece (also called Macedonia) between Thessalia
south, Thracia north and east, Epirus
and Illyria west (area 9).
The kingdom of Macedon that existed in historical times traced its origins to the city of Argos, the native city of its first king, Perdiccas I, who reigned there in the VIIth century B. C. and founded a dynasty that reached its peak with Alexander the Great in the later part of the IVth century B. C. Perdiccas was supposed to descend from Heracles through Temenus, the legendary conqueror of Peloponnese and king of Argos (Herodotus, VIII, 137-139 ; Thucydides, II, 99). Macedon was made up of the gathering of several tribes under the leadership of a single king who kept his authority with the help of his army, and its borders didn't change much during the two centuries we are dealing with until the times of Philip and Alexander the Great.
One of Perdiccas' successors, Amyntas I established good relations with the Athens of Pisistratus, but, under his reign, Macedon was subjected to Persia (Herodotus, Histories, V, 17-21, gives an embellished version of the relations between Amyntas and Darius favoring the Macedonian).
Amyntas' son, Alexander I, fought in the army of Xerxes with a Macedonian contingent during the Persian wars. Yet, he managed to secretly help the Greeks against the Persians, earning the surname "Philhellen", that is, "friend of the Greeks" (Herodotus, VII, 173-175 ; IX, 44-46). As a result, he obtained for Macedon the freedom from Persian dominion after the victory of the Greeks.
Around 450, Alexander was succeeded by his son Perdiccas II. During his reign, Macedon switched sides several times between Athens and Sparta, especially owing to the position taken by Athens in favor of a rival of Perdiccas in power struggles (Thucydides' Histories, I, 57) and to its policy of settlements in Thrace (the founding of Amphipolis in 436) that was seen as a menace for Macedon by the king. Around 433, Perdiccas was instrumental in stirring rebellion against Athens in Potidæa and war between Athens and Sparta. The Athenians sent their troops first against Macedon, but soon accepted a truce with Perdiccas to concentrate on rebellious Potidæa. According to Thucydides (Histories, I, 56-66) these events played a key role in leading to the Peloponnesian War a couple of years later. In 424, Perdiccas, hoping for help against his own Thracian ennemies, sided with the Spartans when they sent in Thracia, under the orders of Brasidas, the expedition which led to the take over of Amphipolis. This put him in open war with Athens (Thucydides, IV, 79-82). Yet, soon disappointed by the insufficient help he received from Brasidas in his own enterprises, the following year, he again switched alliances and renewed with Athens (Thucydides, IV, 124-132). But, when, after the battle of Mantinea in 418, Argos signed a peace treaty with Sparta, Perdiccas, who traced his origins to Argos, was on their side (Thucydides, V, 80), though, by 414, he seemed to be again fighting on the side of the Athenians (Thucydides, VII, 9). When he died the following year, he was succeeded by his son Archelaus.
With Archelaus (see entry under his name), who remained more faithful to the alliance with Athens, the court of Pella became a brilliant place which attracted many talented artists. Yet, his death around 400 was followed by forty years of troubles and power struggles until Philip reached the throne in 359, leading to the eventual dominion of Macedon over the rest of Greece and a huge empire conquered by his son Alexander the Great, and the beginning of what is known as the "Hellenistic" period.