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CivilizationCivilization in AntiquityLetters in Antiquity

Letters in Antiquity

The other Greeks in Macedonia
The lost histories
The epigram

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Tetradrachm of Ptolemy I
Silver tetradrachm of Ptolemy I, showing the head of the monarch, circa 305-285 BC, Athens, Numismatic Museum.

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Tetradrachm of Ptolemy I
Circa 305-285 BC

The Macedonians, above all men of action, did not concern themselves with the cultivation of letters until relatively late (4th century BC). Even then their interest was principally focused on practical subjects, and in particular on relating the achievements of their kings and their people.

General Antipater was the first Macedonian to write a history ("The Acts of Perdikkas in Illyria"). Many followed his example: one of the Companions of Alexander, Ptolemy I; the half-brother of Antigonos Monophthalmos, Marsyas of Pella; Nearchos of Amphipolis; and a number of others, among whom the Olynthian Aristobulos stands out.

Unfortunately the works of these Macedonian authors have not come down to us, except for a few fragments or adaptations which give us only a smattering of knowledge of them. Possibly the only survining work of a Macedonian author is that of Polyainos of the 2nd century AD, with whom what we know of ancient Macedonian letters comes to an end.

See Also
Civilization - Language in Antiquity

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.