Macedonia has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic period. The earliest traces of a Greek presence appear in the late Bronze Age, while recent excavations have shown that the Mycenaean world extended as far as Pieria and the middle reaches of the Haliakmon.
A decisive turning point in Macedonian history was the occupation of the central Macedonian plain by the Argeadai Makedones, and the founding of their kingdom in the 7th century BC with Aigai as its capital. Under the rule of such illustrious monarchs as Alexander I, Archelaos I and Philip II, Macedonians came to dominate the whole of northern Greece, assimilating indigenous peoples and annexing southern Greek colonies.
As a result of her policy, Macedonia emerged as a bulwark against the barbarians and a major cultural fountainhead in the Greek world. Thence, following the conquests of Alexander III, a "new, great Greek world" was born.
As a Roman province Macedonia became the intermediary between the East and the West and transmitted the Hellenic tradition to Byzantium.