Recent progress in archaeology, particularly in numismatics and epigraphy, enables us to draw a clear picture of the Macedonian state. The dominant element of the regime was the king, also high priest, supreme judge and military commander- in-chief. His freedom of action was limited by custom, which determined his relations with the 'ethnos' (the communities which constituted the Macedonians), and particularly with the other members of the royal house and with his Companions, that is to say dignitaries of his court with whose help he governed.
Statuette of a young Macedonian horseman
Pella, mid-4th century BC
The king's power derived from the glory of his and his forebears' heroic provenance, as well as the wealth of his returns from the "royal lands", which he administered. Modernization of the economy and subsequent development of urban centres, as well as army reforms in the 4th century BC, contributed to making the kingdom's cities and the Assembly of the 'ethnos' important elements of Macedonian political life.