Series in which Alastair Sooke explores the riches and unique legacy of Greek art.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Treasures of Ancient Greece - Ancient Macedonians - Netflix
The Macedonians (Greek: Μακεδόνες, Makedónes) were an ancient tribe that lived on the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios in the northeastern part of mainland Greece. Essentially an ancient Greek people, they gradually expanded from their homeland along the Haliacmon valley on the northern edge of the Greek world, absorbing or driving out neighbouring non-Greek tribes, primarily Thracian and Illyrian. They spoke Ancient Macedonian, a language closely related to Ancient Greek, perhaps a dialect, although the prestige language of the region was at first Attic and then Koine Greek. Their religious beliefs mirrored those of other Greeks, following the main deities of the Greek pantheon, although the Macedonians continued Archaic burial practices that had ceased in other parts of Greece after the 6th century BC. Aside from the monarchy, the core of Macedonian society was its nobility. Similar to the aristocracy of neighboring Thessaly, their wealth was largely built on herding horses and cattle. Although composed of various clans, the kingdom of Macedonia, established around the 8th century BC, is mostly associated with the Argead dynasty and the tribe named after it. The dynasty was allegedly founded by Perdiccas I, descendant of the legendary Temenus of Argos, while the region of Macedon perhaps derived its name from Makedon, a figure of Greek mythology. Traditionally ruled by independent families, the Macedonians seem to have accepted Argead rule by the time of Alexander I (r. 498–454 BC– ). Under Philip II (r. 359–336 BC– ), the Macedonians are credited with numerous military innovations, which enlarged their territory and increased their control over other areas extending into Thrace. This consolidation of territory allowed for the exploits of Alexander the Great (r. 336–323 BC– ), the conquest of the Achaemenid Empire, the establishment of the diadochi successor states, and the inauguration of the Hellenistic period in West Asia, Greece, and the broader Mediterranean world. The Macedonians were eventually conquered by the Roman Republic, which dismantled the Macedonian monarchy at the end of the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC) and established the Roman province of Macedonia after the Fourth Macedonian War (150–148 BC). Authors, historians, and statesmen of the ancient world often expressed ambiguous if not conflicting ideas about the ethnic identity of the Macedonians as either Greeks, semi-Greeks, or even barbarians. This has led to debate among modern academics about the precise ethnic identity of the Macedonians, who nevertheless embraced many aspects of contemporaneous Greek culture such as participation in Greek religious cults and athletic games, including the Ancient Olympic Games. Given the scant linguistic evidence, it is not clear how closely related the Macedonian language was to Greek, and how close it was to the Phrygian, Thracian, and Illyrian languages. The ancient Macedonians participated in the production and fostering of Classical and later Hellenistic art. In terms of visual arts, they produced frescoes, mosaics, sculptures, and decorative metalwork. The performing arts of music and Greek theatrical dramas were highly appreciated, while famous playwrights such as Euripides came to live in Macedonia. The kingdom also attracted the presence of renowned philosophers, such as Aristotle, while native Macedonians contributed to the field of ancient Greek literature, especially Greek historiography. Their sport and leisure activities included hunting, foot races, and chariot races, as well as feasting and drinking at aristocratic banquets known as symposia.
Treasures of Ancient Greece - Temenids and Argeads - Netflix
The earliest sources, Herodotus and Thucydides, called the royal family “Temenidae”. In later sources (Strabo, Appian, Pausanias) the term “Argeadae” was introduced. However, Appian said that the term Argeadae referred to a leading Macedonian tribe rather than the name of the ruling dynasty. The connection of the Argead name to the royal family is uncertain. The words “Argead” and “Argive” derive via Latin Argīvus from Ancient Greek: Ἀργεῖος (Argeios), meaning “of or from Argos”, and is first attested in Homer, where it was also used as a collective designation for the Greeks (“Ἀργείων Δαναῶν”, Argive Danaans). The most common connection to the royal family, as written by Herodotus, is with Peloponnesian Argos. Appian connects it with Orestian Argos. According to another tradition mentioned by Justin, the name was adopted after Caranus moved Macedonia's capital from Edessa to Aegae, thus appropriating the name of the city for its citizens. A figure, Argeas, is mentioned in the Iliad (16.417), therefore it is possible that there may have been an even earlier tradition deriving the genealogy of the Macedonian kings from the heroes of the Trojan Cycle, which was popular in neighbouring Epirus. Taking Herodotus's lineage account as the most trustworthy, Appian said that after Perdiccas, six successive heirs ruled: Argeus, Philip, Aeropus, Alcetas, Amyntas and Alexander. Amyntas I (r. 547–498 BC– ) ruled at the time of the Persian invasion of Paeonia and when Macedon became a vassal state of Achaemenid Persia. However, Alexander I (r. 498–454 BC– ) is the first truly historic figure. Based on this line of succession and an estimated average rule of 25 to 30 years, the beginnings of the Macedonian dynasty have thus been traditionally dated to 750 BC. Hammond supports the traditional view that the Temenidae did arrive from the Peloponnese and took charge of Macedonian leadership, possibly usurping rule from a native “Argead” dynasty with Illyrian help. However, other scholars doubt the veracity of their Peloponnesian origins. For example, M. B. Hatzopoulos takes Appian's testimony to mean that the royal lineage imposed itself onto the tribes of the Middle Heliacmon from Argos Orestikon, whilst Eugene N. Borza argues that the Argeads were a family of notables hailing from Vergina.
The Macedonian expansion is said to have been led by the ruling Temenid dynasty, known as “Argeads” or “Argives”. Herodotus said that Perdiccas, the dynasty's founder, was descended from the Heraclid Temenus. He left Argos with his two older brothers Aeropus and Gayanes, and travelled via Illyria to Lebaea, a city in Upper Macedonia which certain scholars have tried to connect with the villages Alebea or Velvedos. Here, the brothers served as shepherds for a local ruler. After a vision, the brothers fled to another region in Macedonia near the Midas Gardens by the foot of the Vermio Mountains, and then set about subjugating the rest of Macedonia. Thucydides's account is similar to that of Herodotus, making it probable that the story was disseminated by the Macedonian court, i.e. it accounts for the belief the Macedonians had about the origin of their kingdom, if not an actual memory of this beginning. Later historians modified the dynastic traditions by introducing variously Caranus or Archelaus, the son of Temenus, as the founding Temenid kings—although there is no doubt that Euripides transformed Caranus to Archelaus meaning “leader of the people” in his play Archelaus, in an attempt to please Archelaus I of Macedon.