Ancient Macedonian Prehistory, Topography and War Lifestyle
The history of Ancient Macedonia is a fascinating topic that, even today, is still not well understood by many people. This fact remains a mystery because it has something to do with the Macedonian Kingdom being so close to the heart of one of the most extraordinary powers from antiquity: Greece (Mediterranean). As it was once written: “Greece without Macedonia is like a body without a soul.”
Historians, as well as archaeologists, deal with a curious fact about the origin of ancient Macedonia. By the 7th century B.C., the Greek urban civilization began to flourish (and no, it was not surprising), but in all honesty, it was not the only advanced civilization at the time.
Although the traditional story would have you believe that ancient Macedonia was founded by a man named Macedon, a native tribe who settled there and gave their name to the region, historical research has shown that by that time, there must be a little bit more to it than just that…
Ancient Macedonia General Information
1. Ancient Macedonia
The Macedonian Kingdom in ancient Greece was located in the country’s north and central part. It was founded by King Perdiccas I and his four sons, who tried to create their state after Alexander the Great’s death.
2. First King of Macedonians
The first king of Macedonia was Perdiccas I, who ruled from 359 to 324 BCE. He was one of Alexander the Great’s generals, and he became king after Alexander’s death. Perdiccas defeated all his rivals during his reign and united all of Greece under Macedonian rule for the first time since Philip II (Alexander’s father).
3. “Basileus” of Macedonia
The Macedonian kings were known as “Basileus,” which means “king” in Greek. The word comes from Basileon (a title used initially only for gods), but it eventually became synonymous with “king.”
4. Ancient Macedonia Prehistory
Ancient Macedonia has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Archaeological evidence suggests that there were settlements in the space of the contemporary Macedonian Kingdom dating back over 10,000 years ago. Early inhabitants of these settlements were known as Thracians, Indo-European people related to their neighbors, the Greeks, and Romans.
5. Macedonian Kingdom Name
The name “Macedonia” comes from Makednos, a son of Zeus and the king of Dardania. He united many tribes and formed the Kingdom of Macedon, named after him. People from Ancient Macedonia first appeared during the 8th century BCE and would continue to exist until the 3rd century C.E. The Macedonians comprised three groups in the Mediterranean: the Aegean, Dorian, and Paeonian.
6. Ancient Macedonia Army
The Macedonian army was made up of heavy infantry that wore armor made out of bronze or iron shields with helmet designs based on Greek mythology. Their weapons included long spears called sarissas (which could reach up to 9 feet long) and swords called xiphos daggers worn at their side.
7. Macedonian Kingdom’s Topography
The terrain of ancient Macedonia played a role in the defensive and offensive military strategy in ancient times and the country’s political structure. The mountain ranges became a pivotal part of territorial disputes and protecting the territory from larger armies. The mountain ranges that spill over into ancient Macedonia also led to deeper natural resources, further enhancing Macedonian cities’ economy.
The Ancient Macedonians were a tribe who lived in northern Greece and the southern Mediterranean, but they were not Greeks. They spoke Greek but did not worship Greek gods or speak the Greek language. Therefore, the world didn’t consider them Greeks. Other Greeks were barbarians because they had no written language but instead used an alphabet called Linear B borrowed from Crete.
9. Macedonian Farming and Trading
Ancient Macedonians were primarily farmers who lived in small villages and grew wheat and barley on their land. They also raised cattle and sheep. In ancient times, the Macedonian Kingdom was famous for being a trade center between Greece and other Mediterranean countries. Many merchants lived there and traded with people from around the world.
10. Ancient Macedonia Culture and Lifestyle
Ancient Macedonians wore long tunics called chitons and cloaks. In reality, they produced them from wool or linen and named them “himations.” Furthermore, they wore them over their shoulders when they went to public places like markets or festivals for their gods or heroes with sacrifices or competitions. Additionally, they gave the winners prizes like food or money from grateful citizens who appreciated their help during times of trouble like natural disasters like floods or earthquakes.
Many facts about ancient Macedonia and the Macedonians will probably surprise you. However, not everything you read about ancient Macedonia is true. Many urban legends have become truths. We all have our perception of ancient Macedonia and its history.
This article has tried to give a neutral overview of the period. We hope that you found the collection interesting and an exciting way to learn about history. We tried providing you with a list of facts and interesting things about ancient Macedonia. Hopefully, we gave you a more accurate picture of Macedonia’s culture, lifestyle, and history.
Bard, Kathryn A. (1999). Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of the Ancient Macedonian Kingdom. New York: Routledge.
Borza, Eugene N. (1999). Before Alexander: Constructing Ancient Macedonia. Claremont, CA: Regina Books.
Bryant, Joseph M. (1996). Moral Codes and Social Structure in Ancient Greece and Mediterranean region. A Sociology of Macedonian Ethics from Homer to the Epicureans and Stoics. NY: State University of New York Press.
Chamoux, François (2002). Hellenistic Civilization. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.