There was already an Athenian presence on the northern Aegean coast from the days of the Peisistratids (6th century BC). In the aftermath of the Persian Wars, from which Athens emerged as the leading power in Greece, the coastal cities of the Macedonian kingdom, the greater part of the Chalkidike Peninsula, and the Strymon Estuary became members of the Athenian Confederacy.
When Athens was defeated in the Peloponnesian War her political influence was temporarily checked; her cultural influence on Macedonia, however, never diminished, since Athenian artists, philosophers and men of letters converged on the Macedonian court.
The result of the cultural domination of Athens was the adoption of Attic speech as the official language of the state in place of the native Macedonian dialect. Attic speech had already absorbed many Ionic elements, to which elements of the Macedonian dialect were now also added.