Transhumant pastoralism was one of the principal resources of the Macedonians from early to late antiquity, as confirmed by literary texts, inscriptions and coins. In the alluvial lands of Pieria and Bottiaia farming also developed very early, helped by exsiccation of the marshes and irrigation works undertaken by Philip II. His relocation of farming populations also contributed to the best use of arable land.
The exploitation of the royal forests and of the mines of copper, iron, gold and silver --which were exclusively in royal possession -- constituted the twin base of the monarchy's material power. Developments in the processing and commercialization of these raw materials led to the expansion of urban settlements and to flourishing trade.
Until approximately 352 BC Philip issued only silver coins, and permitted cities he conquered but did not incorporate into Macedonia, such as Philippi, to issue their own. After 352 BC he began to mint gold staters (coins of the weight of two silver drachmas) which were called 'philippi' and followed the Attic standards of weight. As they had a high gold content, they were soon in great demand in commercial dealings between states.