Argead dynasty

House of Argos
Country Macedonia, (Ancient Greece)
Ethnicity Greek
Founded 808 BC
Final ruler Alexander IV of Macedon

Basileus of Macedonia

King of Persia

King of Asia

Pharaoh of Egypt

Hegemon of the Hellenic League, Strategus Autokrator of Greece
Religion Ancient Greek Religion
Estate(s) Macedonia
Dissolution 310 BC

The Argead dynasty (Greek: Ἀργεάδαι, Argeádai) was an ancient Macedonian royal house of Doric provenance.[1] They were the founders and the ruling dynasty of the Archaic Greek kingdom of Macedon from about 700 to 310 BC.[2] Their tradition, as described in ancient Greek historiography, traced their origins to Argos, in Peloponnese, hence the name Argeads or Argives.[3][4][5] Initially the rulers of the homonymous tribe,[6] by the time of Philip II they had expanded their reign further, to include under the rule of Macedonia all Upper Macedonian states. The family's most celebrated members were Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great, under whose leadership the kingdom of Macedonia gradually gained predominance throughout Greece, defeated the Achaemenid Empire and expanded as far as Egypt and India. The mythical founder of the Argead dynasty is King Caranus.[7][8]


The words "Argead" and "Argive" derive (via Latin Argīvus[9]) from the Greek Ἀργεῖος (Argeios), "of or from Argos",[10] which is first attested in Homer, where it was also used as a collective designation for the Greeks ("Ἀργείων Δαναῶν", Argive Danaans).[11][12] The Argead dynasty claimed descent from the Temenids of Argos, in the Peloponnese, whose legendary ancestor was Temenus, the great-great-grandson of Heracles. In the excavations of the royal Palace at Aegae Manolis Andronikos discovered in the "tholos" room (according to some scholars "tholos" was the throne room) an inscription relating to that belief.[13] This is testified by Herodotus, in The Histories, where he mentions that three brothers of the lineage of Temenus, Gauanes, Aeropus and Perdiccas, fled from Argos to the Illyrians and then to Upper Macedonia, to a town called Lebaea, where they served the king. The latter asked them to leave his territory, believing in an omen that something great would happen to Perdiccas. The boys went to another part of Macedonia, near the garden of Midas, above which mount Bermio stands. There they made their abode and slowly formed their own kingdom.[14] Herodotus also relates the incident of the participation of Alexander I of Macedon in the Olympic Games in 504 or 500 BC where the participation of the Macedonian king was contested by participants on the grounds that he was not Greek. The Hellanodikai, however, after examining his Argead claim confirmed that the Macedonians were Greeks and allowed him to participate.[15]

Another theory, supported by modern scholars, such as Appian in antiquity, is that the Argead dynasty actually descended from Argos Orestikon, Macedonia, and that the theory of coming from Argos in Peloponnesus, was invented by the Macedonian Kings to enforce their Greekness.[16]

According to Thucydides, in the History of the Peloponnesian War, the Argeads were originally Temenids from Argos, who descended from the highlands to Lower Macedonia, expelled the Pierians from Pieria and acquired in Paionia a narrow strip along the river Axios extending to Pella and the sea. They also added Mygdonia in their territory through the expulsion of the Edoni, Eordians, and Almopians.[17]


Argead Rulers
KingReign (BC)Comments
Caranus808–778 BCFounder of the Argead dynasty and first King of Macedon
Koinos778–750 BC
Tyrimmas750–700 BC
Perdiccas I700–678 BC
Argaeus I678–640 BC
Philip I640–602 BC
Aeropus I602–576 BC
Alcetas I576–547 BC
Amyntas I547–498 BC
Alexander I498–454 BC
Perdiccas II454–413 BC
Archelaus413–399 BC
Orestes and Aeropus II399–396 BC
Archelaus II396–393 BC
Amyntas II393 BC
Pausanias393 BC
Amyntas III393 BC
Argaeus II393–392 BC
Amyntas III392–370 BCRestored to the throne after one year
Alexander II370–368 BC
Ptolemy I368–365 BC
Perdiccas III365–359 BC
Amyntas IV359 BC
Philip II359–336 BCUnifier of Greece under the rule of Macedon
Alexander III336–323 BCAlexander the Great. The most notable ancient Greek King and one of the most celebrated strategists and rulers of all time. Alexander at the top of his reign was simultaneously King of Macedonia, Pharaoh of Egypt, King of Persia and King of Asia
Antipater334–323 BCRegent of Macedonia during the reign of Alexander III
Philip III Arrhidaeus323–317 BCOnly titular king after the death of Alexander III
Alexander IV323–310 BCSon of Alexander the Great and Roxana. Served only as a titular king and was murdered at a young age before having the chance to rise to the throne of Macedon



  1. Howatson, M.C. and Harvey, Sir Paul. 1989. The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 339.
  2. Cosmopoulos, Michael B. 1992. Macedonia: An Introduction to its Political History. Winnipeg: Manitoba Studies in Classical Civilization, p. 30 (TABLE 2: The Argeiad Kings).
  3. Argive, Oxford Dictionaries.
  4. Hammond 1986, p. 516: "In the early 5th century the royal house of Macedonia, the Temenidae was recognised as Macedonian by the Presidents of the Olympic Games. Their verdict considered themselves to be of Macedonian descent ."
  5. Howatson & Harvey 1989, p. 339: "In historical times the royal house traced its descent from the mythical Temenus, king of Argos, who was one of the Heracleidae, and more immediately from Perdiccas I, who left Argos for Illyria, probably in the mid-seventh century BC, and from there captured the Macedonian plain and occupied the fortress of Aegae (Vergina), setting himself up as king of the Macedonians. Thus the kings were of largely Dorian Greek stock (see PHILIP (1)); they presumably spoke a form of Dorian Greek and their cultural tradition had Greek features."
  6. Rogers 2004, p. 316: "According to Strabo, 7.11 ff., the Argeadae were the tribe who were able to make themselves supreme in early Emathia, later Macedonia."
  7. Green 2013, p. 103.
  8. According to Pausanias (Description of Greece 9.40.8-9), Caranus set up a trophy after the Argive fashion for a victory against Cisseus: "The Macedonians say that Caranus, king of Macedonia, overcame in battle Cisseus, a chieftain in a bordering country. For his victory Caranus set up a trophy after the Argive fashion, but it is said to have been upset by a lion from Olympus, which then vanished. Caranus, they assert, realized that it was a mistaken policy to incur the undying hatred of the non-Greeks dwelling around, and so, they say, the rule was adopted that no king of Macedonia, neither Caranus himself nor any of his successors, should set up trophies, if they were ever to gain the good-will of their neighbors. This story is confirmed by the fact that Alexander set up no trophies, neither for his victory over Dareius nor for those he won in India."
  9. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary, Argīvus.
  10. Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon, Ἀργεῖος.
  11. Cartledge 2011, Chapter 4: Argos, p. 23: "The Late Bronze Age in Greece is also called conventionally 'Mycenaean', as we saw in the last chapter. But it might in principle have been called 'Argive', 'Achaean', or 'Danaan', since the three names that Homer does in fact apply to Greeks collectively were 'Argives', 'Achaeans', and 'Danaans'."
  12. Homer. Iliad, 2.155-175, 4.8; Odyssey, 8.578, 4.6.
  13. Andronikos 1994, p. 38: Inscription found in the tholos room of the Agai Palace: "Η επιγραφή αυτή είναι: «ΗΡΑΚΛΗΙ ΠΑΤΡΩΙΩΙ», που σημαίνει στον «Πατρώο Ηρακλή», στον Ηρακλή δηλαδή που ήταν γενάρχης της βασιλικής οικογένειας των Μακεδόνων." [Translation: "The inscription is: «ΗΡΑΚΛΗΙ ΠΑΤΡΩΙΩΙ», which means "Father (Ancestor) Hercules", dedicated to Hercules who was the ancestor of the royal family of the Macedonians."]
  14. Herodotus. Histories, 8.137.
  15. Herodotus. Histories, 5.22.
  16. Appian. Syrian Wars, 11.10.63.
  17. Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War, 2.99.


Further reading

  • Anson, Edward M. 2014. "The End of a Dynasty." In Alexander's Heirs: The Age of the Successors. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Carney, Elizabeth Donnelly. 2009. "The role of the BASILIKOI PAIDES at the Argead court." In Macedonian legacies: Studies in ancient Macedonian history and culture in honor of Eugene N. Borza. Edited by Timothy Howe and Jeanne Reames, 145–164. Claremont, CA: Regina.
  • --. 2010. "Putting women in their place: Women in public under Philip II and Alexander III and the last Argeads." In Philip II and Alexander the Great: Father and son, lives and afterlives. Edited by Elizabeth D. Carney and Daniel Ogden, 43–53. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
  • Errington, Robert Malcolm. 1978. "The nature of the Macedonian state under the monarchy." Chiron 7:77–133.
  • Griffith, Guy Thompson. 1979. "The reign of Philip the Second: The government of the kingdom." In A history of Macedonia. Vol. 2. Edited by Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, and Guy Thompson Griffith, 383–404. Oxford: Clarendon.
  • Hatzopoulos, Miltiades B. 1996. Macedonian institutions under the kings. 2 vols. Paris: De Boccard.
  • King, Carol J. 2010. "Macedonian kingship and other political institutions." In A companion to ancient Macedonia. Edited by Joseph Roisman and Ian Worthington, 373–391. Malden, MA: Blackwell-Wiley.
  • Ogden, Daniel. 2011. "The Royal Families of Argead Macedon and the Hellenistic World." In A Companion to Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Edited by Beryl Rawson, 92–107. Malden, MA: Blackwell-Wiley.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.