Ancient Macedonia

ANCIENT MACEDONIA

( from the Neolithic Age to the Middle Ages )

The territory of Ancient Macedonia, in the pre-historic period had been settled by many tribes. It extended in the south-western part of the actual ethnic and geographical border of Macedonia, in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula. The name "Macedon" for the first time was mentioned in the 8th century B.C. and it defined the eponym of the Macedonians. The region north-east of the mountain Pindus to the Prespa Lake, was determined primarily by the name "Macedonia". From this space the Macedonian tribes moved south-eastwards and created a nucleus of the future Macedonian state (the region between the rivers Ludias, Moglenitsa nowadays, and Axius, Vardar nowadays).

Autochthonous ancient Macedonian tribes had lived in tribal communities being led by their leaders till the middle of the 6th century B.C. Herodotus considered king Perdiccas I (650 - 630 B.C.) a founder of the Macedonian kingdom. During the following centuries the Macedonian tribes gradually united themselves into a unique centralized state which ascent was noted in the reign of the Alexander I Philhellene (498/495 - 452 B.C.). In the 5th century B.C. a gold coin-stather was introduced and the capital of the kingdom was transferred from the city of Aegeae into the city of Pella.

Under the leadership of Philip II (357/355 - 336 B.C.), the kingdom of Macedonia had a great political and economic boom. A regular army (the Macedonian phalanx), a unique coin and a centralized machinery of government were established on the whole territory of Macedonia. Thus were created conditions for a complete formation of the antique Macedonian people. Under the leadership of Philip II Macedonia developed into a mighty kingdom establishing its hegemony over the Balkans. After the victory at Chaeronea (338 B.C.), Philip II imposed the Macedonian hegemony over the Greek polises (Athens, Thebes, Corint etc.). His son Alexander III the Great, in the history known as Alexander of Macedon (336 - 323 B.C.) destroyed the Persian Empire after the famous victories at Granikos, Issus and Gaugamela, expanding the hegemony of Macedonia till Egypt and India, proclaiming himself a czar (331 B.C.). After the death of Alexander the Great his multiethnic empire disintegrated into a few independent states (Macedonia, Thrace, Egypt, Asia and Pergamon).

After the long lasting wars Macedonia was conquered and became a Roman province (148 B.C.). The antique Macedonian people were subjected to Romanization, but they preserved their ethnic features (customs, religion and language).

During the Roman rule the Macedonian trade considerably developed. The important main road "Via Egnatia" connected the cities Dirahon (Drach nowadays), Lychnidus (Ohrid nowadays), Heraclea (Bitola nowadays) and Thessalonica (Salonica nowadays) with the capital Bysantion (Constantinople, Istanbul nowadays). During that period the Macedonian cities Stobi, Scupi, Salonica etc. had been completely developed.

After the Roman Empire division into Eastern and Western one in 395, Macedonia was included into the Eastern Roman Empire (Bysantium) till the first half of the 7th century when it was settled by the Slaves.

A dancing maenad, necropolis, Tetovo District, the Iron Age (The Museum of Macedonia - Skopje)

A historical map concerning the Christianity dissemination in Europe and the second journey of St. Paul to Macedonia, where he had formed fountain for spreading the Christianity in Macedonia and the surrounding regions

A historical map of ancient Macedonia including the greatest seizures on the Balkan Peninsula in the reign of the king Philip II

A historical map of the Balkan Peninsula presenting the diocese of Macedonia and the neighbouring provinces after the Roman Empire division, the end of the 4th - 6th century(Petar S. Koledarov: The Name of Macedonia in the Historical Geography, Sofia, 1985)

A historical map of the Empire borders of Alexander III of Macedon during his greatest territorial conquests (Larousse, The Historical Atlas, Paris, 1995)

A historical map of the part of the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor representing the kingdom of Macedonia before the Roman conquest (2nd century B.C.)

A historical map including the changes of the borders of the Macedonian province during the period of the Roman rule, 2nd -6th century (F. Papazogly: The Macedonian Cities…)

A map of the Macedonian medieval cities according to professor Tomo Tomovski (E. Maneva: Macedonian Medieval Jewelry, Map II)

A map of the Paeonian kingdom in the 4th century B.C. during the territorial extension of the ancient Macedonian state (E. Petrova: The Paeonian tribes…)

A map of the Paeonian tribes during the Troian War, the 13th - 12th century B.C. (Eleonora Petrova: The Paeonian Tribes and the Paeonian Kingdom during the First and the Second Millennium B.C., Macedonia Acta Archeologicae 12, Skopje, 1991)


A medallion from the Hellenic period where Alexander III of Macedon and his mother Olympia are presented (The Museum of the History of Technics - Vienna)

Alexander III of Macedon fought against the Persian army of Darius in the battle at Issus, 333 B.C. - a fragment of mosaic (The National Museum - Naples)

The historical and ethnic map of ancient Macedonia representing Macedonian territory, settlements and ethnic communities bordering Macedonia  (The History of the Greek Ethnos, volume III, 1, Athens, 1972)

"Archangel Michael" - terra-cotta icon, the locality of "Vinichko Kale" (The Fortress of Vinitsa), the 5th - 6th century(The Museum of Macedonia - Skopje)

Bargala, in the vicinity of Shtip, an Early Christian city, 5th - 6th century

Coin - ochtodrachma of the Macedonian ruler Alexander I Philhellene (498/495 - 452) (The National Library - Paris)

Demosthenes (384/385-322), the well-known orator of Athens, in his political speeches - "Philippics" defined the Macedonians as a separate nation and called them "Barbarians who spoke language incomprehensible for the Hellenes" (Roman copy of the statuette from Polyectos,280 B.C.)

"Joshua and Caleb" - terra-cotta icon, the locality of "Vinichko Kale" (The Fortress of Vinitsa), 5th - 6th century (The Museum of Macedonia - Skopje)

The archeological remains of the king’s palace of the ancient Macedonian rulers in the village of Kutlesh (Vergina)

Graphic presentation of the Macedonian Army whose formation was "a revolution in the military skill" (N.G.L. Hammond: The Macedonian State, Oxford 1989)

Macedonian medieval jewelry, 7th - 14th century (Elica Maneva: Macedonian medieval jewelry, Skopje 1992)

The sacrificial altar of Magna Mater, the goddess of fertility, cult plastic art from the Medium Neolithic Age, Madjari village locality - Skopje (The Museum of Macedonia - Skopje)

Mosaic with the Eden motives from the Archbishopric See in Heraclea Lynchestis near Bitola (Monastir), (the end of the 4th - the beginning of the 5th century A.D.)

The portrait of the famous poet Homer, the 8th century B.C., a sculpture from the Roman period according to Hellenic prototype from the 5th century B.C. (Monaco - Gliptotheque)

Portrait of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, a fragment of mosaic in "San Vitale" church (Ravenna - Italy)

Pottery from the locality of Anzabegovo - Ovche Pole, the Early Neolithic Age (The Museum of Macedonia - Skopje)

Presentation of the battle of Pydna during the Third Roman - Macedonian War(Hammond: The Macedonian State)

Presentation of the localities Taor and Bader connected with Skopsko kale (The Citadel in Skopje), the presumed native place of Justinian I, identified as Justiniana Prima, the important ecclesiastical and administrative seat on the Balkans in the 6th century.

Relief presentation of the battle by the river of Granikos (334 B.C.) against the Persians, led by Alexander III of Macedon (The Archeological Museum - Istanbul)

The archeological remains of the city of Pella, the second capital of the Ancient Macedonian State (the end of the 5th century B.C.)

The borders of Macedonia after the Roman conquest in 167 B.C. and the borders of the Roman province Macedonia, during the time of the Early Roman Empire (1st - 3rd century A.D.), (Fanula Papazogly: Macedonian Cities during the Roman Period, Skopje, 1957)

The gold mask from the princely necropolis, the locality of Trebenishte village - Ohrid District, the Iron Age, the 6th century B.C. (The National Museum - Belgrade)

The historical map of the Macedonian kingdom in the reign of Philip II  (Hammond: The Macedonian State)

The map of the battle at Chaeronea (338 B.C.) in which the Macedonian Army, led by Philip II and his son Alexander, gained a triumphal victory over the united Greek polises (Hammond, The Macedonian State)

The marble bust of Alexander III of Macedon - the great military leader of the ancient Macedonians and the conqueror of the world - found in Pergam(The Archeological Museum - Istanbul)

The portrait of Alexander III of Macedon, a marble sculpture (Louvre - Paris). Alexander III of Macedon (336 - 323 B.C.) was a leader of the ancient kingdom, later called the Macedonian Empire, which he made a world-wide empire. He had finished the subjugating of the Greek polises, conquered Persia and reached India. His military brilliance was based on his immense accomplishments. Through centuries, the Macedonian nation identified itself with the idea of Alexander of Macedon trying to preserve its originality and the constitutional law traditions.

The portrait of Philip II, the king of ancient Macedonia (357/355 - 336) made in a gold tablet from the Roman period (The National Library - Paris). Philip II was the father of Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon), a leader of extraordinary diplomatic abilities and a founder of the Macedonian strategy and military skill. In his reign, the Macedonian Army became a leading and conquering force on the Balkan Peninsula

The theatre in the Ancient and the Early-Christian city of Stobi during the reign of the emperor Hadrian (2nd century A.D.)

Three coins - stathers in the reign of the Macedonian rulers Archelaos, Amyntas III and Perdiccas III, the 4th century B.C.(The British Museum - London)

"The Macedonian Phalanx", a presentation of the famous military formation of the Macedonian State, introduced by Philip II and improved by Alexander the Great

A big gold coffin from the marble sarcophagus found in the crypt of Philip II in the ancient city of Aegeae, later called the village of Kutlesh (nowadays Vergina)

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