Although Macedonia was on the periphery of the Greek world, from the end of the Archaic period Macedonians had ample contact with the intellectual centers of the rest of Greece; initially with those of Ionia and later with those of southern continental Greece, particularly Athens.
Thanks to the initiative of enlightened kings such as Alexander I, Archelaos, Philip II, Cassander and Antigonos Gonatas, some of the greatest Greek men of letters visited Aigai and Pella, or even lived there for a time.
Nonetheless an indigenous literate output did not begin until the 4th century BC. The Macedonian authors excelled mainly in two genres: historical works relating the deeds of their great kings, and lyric poetry, chiefly epigrams. The ongoing discovery of inscriptions constantly enriches our knowledge of Macedonian poetry.