Ancient Historians on Ancient Macedonia


Ancient historians


“In the past you rivaled the Achaians and the kinsmen Macedonians and their

ruler, Philip, about the hegemony and glory, but now that the freedom of the

Hellenes is at stake at a war against an alien people (Romans), …but now

if you invite them do not you see that you invite them against your ownself

and the whole of Hellas. …And does it worth to ally with the barbarians

against the Epeirotans, the Achaians, the Akarnanians, the Boiotians, the

Thessalians, almost all the Hellenes with the exception of the Aitolians who

are a wicked nation… So Lakedaimonians it is good to remember your

ancestors, … be afraid of the Romans… and do ally yourselves with the

Achaians and Macedonians. And if the most influential amongst yourselves

oppose that then stay neutral and do not side with the unjust.

(Polybios 9.37.7-39.7; Speech of Lykiskos, the representative of Akarnania)

“How highly should we honour the Macedonians, who for the greater part of

their lives never cease from fighting with the barbarians for the sake of

the security of Hellas? For who is not aware that Hellas would have

constantly stood in the greater danger, had we not been fenced by the

Macedonians and the honorable ambition of their kings?”

(The Histories of Polybios, IX, 35, 2)



“Now that the men of this family are Hellenes, sprung from Perdiccas, as

they themselves affirm, is a thing which I can declare on my own knowledge,

and which I will hereafter make plainly evident. That they are so has been

already adjudged by those who manage the Pan-Hellenic contest at Olympia”

(Herodotus, The Histories 8.43)

“Tell your king who sent you how his Hellenic viceroy of Macedonia has

received you hospitably… ”

(Herodotus V, 20, 4)

“Now that these descendants of Perdiccas are Hellenes, as they themselves

say, I myself chance to know”

(Herodotus V, 22, 1)



“The country by the sea which is now called Macedonia… Alexander, the

father of Perdiccas, and his forefathers, who were originally Temenidae from


(Thucididis 99,3)

“In all there were about three thousand Hellenic heavy infantry, accompanied

by all the Macedonian cavalry with the Chalcidians, near one thousand

strong, besides an immense crowd of barbarians.”

(Thukididis 4.124)



“He sent to Athens three hundred Persian panoplies to be set up to Athena in

the acropolis; he ordered this inscription to be attached: Alexander son of

Philip and the Hellenes, except the Lacedaemonians, set up these spoils from

the barbarians dwelling in Asia”,

(Arrian I, 16, 7)

“Your ancestors invaded Macedonia and the rest of Hellas and did us great

harm, though we had done them no prior injury;… I have been appointed

hegemon of the Greeks… ”

(Arrian, Anabasis of Alexander II, 14, 4)



….at the congress of the Lakedaimonian allies and the rest of the

Hellenes, in which Amyntas, the father of Philip, being entitled to a seat,

was represented by a delegate whose vote was absolutely under his control,

he joined the rest of the Hellenes in voting…”

(Aeschines, On the Embassy 32)



“But he said, `If I were not Alexandros, I should be Diogenes’; that is to

say: `If it were not my purpose to combine barbarian things with things

Hellenic, to traverse and civilize every every continent, to search out the

uttermost parts of land and sea, to push the boiunds of Macedonia to the

farthest Ocean, and to diseminate and shower the blessings of the Hellenic

justice and peace over every nation, I should not be content to sit quietly

in the luxury of idle power, but I should emulate the frugality of Diogenes.

But as things are, forgive me Diogenes, that I imitate Herakles, and emulate

Perseus, and follow in the footsteps of Dionysos, the divine author and

progenitor of my family, and desire that victorius Hellenes should dance

again in India and revive the memory of the Bacchic revels among the savage

mountain tribes beyond the Kaukasos…’ ”

(Plutarchos, On the Fortune of Alexander, 332 a-b)

“Yet through Alexander, Bactria and the Caucasus learned to revere the gods

of the Hellenes … Alexander established more than seventy cities among

savage tribes, and sowed all Asia with Hellenic magistracies … Egypt would

not have its Alexandria, nor Mesopotamia its Seleucia, nor Sogdiana its

Prophthasia, nor India its Bucephalia, nor the Caucasus a Hellenic city, for

by the founding of cities in these places savagery was extinguished and the

worse element, gaining familiarity with the better, changed under its


(Plutarchos Moralia. On the Fortune of Alexander, I, 328D, 329A)

“When he (Alexander the Great) arrived at Ilion he sacrificed to Athena and

offered libations to the Heroes.”

(Plutarchos, Alexander 15)



“It is your privilege, as one who has been blessed with untrammeled freedom,

to consider all Hellas your fatherland, as did the founder of your race.”

(Isokratis, To Philip 127)



“They say that these were the tribes collected by Amphiktyon himself in the

Hellenic Assembly: … the Macedonians joined and the entire Phocian race

… In my day there were thirty members: six each from Nikopolis, Macedonia

and Thessaly … ”

(Pausanias Phokis VIII, 2 & 4)


Diodorus of Sicily

“Such was the end of Philip … He had ruled 24 years. He is known to fame

as one who with but the slenderest resources to support his claim to a

throne won for himself the greatest empire among the Hellenes, while the

growth of his position was not due so much to his prowess in arms as to his

adroitness and cordiality in diplomacy.”

(Diodoros of Sicily 16.95.1-2)

“Along with lavish display of every sort, Philip included in the procession

statues of the twelve Gods wrought with great artistry and adorned with a

dazzling show of wealth to strike awe to the beholder, and along with these

was conducted a thirteenth statue, suitable for a god, that of Philip

himself, so that the king exhibited himself enthroned among the twelve Gods.

Every seat in the theater was taken when Philip appeared wearing a white

cloak and by his express orders his bodyguard held away from him and

followed only at a distance, since he wanted to show publicly that he was

protected by the goodwill of all the Hellenes, and had no need of a guard of


(Diodoros of Sicily 16.92.5-93.2)

“After this Alexandros left Dareios’s mother, his daughters,and his son in

Susa, providing them with persons to teach them the hellenic dialect,…”

(Diodoros of Sicily 17.67.1)

“Alexandros observed that his soldiers were exhausted with their constant

campaigns. …The hooves of the horses had been worn thin by steady

marching. The arms and armour were wearing out, and the Hellenic clothing

was quite gone. They had to clothe themselves in materials of the


(Diodoros of Sicily 17.94.1-2)


Titus Livius

“Aetolians, Acarnanians, Macedonians, men of the same language”

(T. Livius XXXI,29, 15)