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The origins of the Macedonians
The founding of the kingdom
Explanatory myths

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Silver stater of Aigai
Silver stater from Aigai, depicting a goat, late 6th century BC, Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale.

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Silver stater of Aigai
Aigai, late 6th century BC

All ancient authors, with the single exception of Appianos, agree that the first Macedonian dynasty originated from Argos in the Peloponnese, and that its progenitor was the first Heraklid king of Argos, Temenos, a descendant of Herakles himself. For this reason the Macedonian kings worshipped Herakles as Patroos or Propator (forefather).

Various legends explain how Perdikkas (sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by his two brothers) or -- in other versions -- his brother Karanos with an army from the Peloponnese came to Macedonia as instructed by the oracle at Delphi. Led by a flock of goats he captured the Brygian city of Edessa, which was renamed Aigai (goats in Greek is 'aiges') and became the seat of the new kingdom.

The members of the royal house seized every opportunity to proclaim their descent from Herakles and origins from Argos. Their aim was mainly to emphasize their superiority over the other Macedonians and, to a lesser extent, to be recognized by the rest of the Greeks as being of the same nationality as them.

See Also
Civilization - Religion in Antiquity

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.