1. The Macedonian Imprint on the Hellenistic World

N. G. L. Hammond

Monarchy is a red rag to a republican, and I suppose there are republicans among you today. Greeks too thought poorly of monarchy. Even Isocrates, who curried favor with Philip, made this clear: if a Greek wanted to become a king, he had to go to the backwoods as Philip’s progenitor had done and impose himself on people of a different race (see  figure 1). Aristotle, who outlived Philip and Alexander and saw the Macedonian monarchy at work, condemned monarchy as a political institution and judged it fit only for barbarians, who were incapable of organizing their own affairs and so became subservient to a king—whereas the Greeks, being both spirited and intelligent, conducted their own affairs in a sensible manner and rejected any form of subjection. Yet the hallmark of the Hellenistic world was monarchy. Almost every successful general, whether Macedonian, Greek, Bithynian, Cappadocian, or of mixed race, set himself up as a king. One exception was Sosthenes, who made his Macedonians in Macedonia take an oath of loyalty to himself not as king (as they were prepared to do) but as general.[1] Was he a republican, a forerunner of Oliver Cromwell? The answer is probably no; and his reason was surely that he was not a member of the royal house and saw no hope in 279–277 of establishing himself as king permanently. The fact is that monarchies ruled over as many parts of the Hellenistic world as remained unconquered for some three centuries (excluding Greece and most of Sicily).

Fig. 1.Macedonia in the fourth century B.C. After Eugene N. Borza, In the Shadow of Olympus: The Emergence of Macedon (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), p. 302.

What sort of monarchy was it? Most scholars have believed that Alexander became the successor of Darius and therefore a king of a despotic type, and that his own successors ruled as absolute monarchs except in Macedonia itself. That is a mistaken view. Plutarch long ago observed[2] that Alexander never called himself βασιλέων βασιλέα, this being the Greek equivalent of a Persian royal title.[3] He had no desire to set himself up as the heir of Darius, for he had come to liberate not only the Greek city-states but also Lydians, Carians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and other Asian peoples from Persian rule. His propaganda—and indeed his purpose—was different. He was to be King of Asia from the moment he crossed the Hellespont, and as he cast his spear into Asian soil he cried out: “I accept Asia, spear-won, from the gods.” [4] He prayed then that “those lands would welcome him not unwillingly.” [5] It was to be his kingdom, and the Asians were to be his people. Accordingly he ordered his army not to pillage; he gave a military funeral to Persian commanders who fell in battle against him; he sent peasants back to cultivate their own fields; he told the Lydians to live by their own customs and to be free, put Ada in control of Caria and gained the cooperation of Carian cities, and confirmed many Phoenician and Cyprian kings in their positions. Whenever a claim was made for or by Alexander, it was as King of Asia—in the prophecy at Gordium, in his belief that the claim was confirmed by thunder and lightning, in the letter to Darius (“Come to me as Lord of all Asia” and “send to me as King of Asia”), and in his own words on the spoils dedicated to Athena at Lindos “having become Lord of Asia.” Others acclaimed him as King of Asia, from the army in 331 after the battle of Gaugamela down to the envoys from Libya in 323.[6] Moreover, Alexander was demonstrably not the king of the Medes and the Persians; for their lands were subject to his satraps, and the pretender to their throne was sent for judgment and execution “to the gathering of Medes and Persians,” [7] just as other offenders, such as Musicanus,[8] were sent to their home country for similar judgment.

As King of Asia Alexander set his own standards. They were those not of Persia but of Macedonia: in short, tolerance of religions, respect for local customs, continuance of local government, and coexistence, as in the Macedonian kingdom. He believed that these standards—so alien to European imperialism—worked; for he said that he would have little difficulty in winning Arabia, because he would allow the Arabs to administer their state in accordance with their customs, as he had done in India.[9] At the same time he was King of the Macedonians. Even during his illness he acted in the traditional manner—banqueting with his friends, bathing in a pool such as has been found at Pella, sacrificing as custom demanded each day, issuing movement and operation orders to his officers, and discussing with them what promotions should be made to fill vacancies in command posts.

One Hellenistic ruler aimed to win Alexander’s titles and Alexander’s kingdoms: Antigonus set his one eye on both. In 316 he was treated as “Lord of Asia,” [10] and he was said by Seleucus to be aiming at “the entire kingship of the Macedonians,” [11] that is, to be king of Macedones wherever they were. There is a significant contrast in terminology: king of a territory and king of persons.

I turn now to the nature of the Macedonian monarchy, on which some new light has recently been shed. The monarch is described first by Herodotus and then by Thucydides as “king of Macedones.” [12] “King” and “Macedones” make up the official state. The king may address the Macedones in assembly; the Macedones may honor the king.[13]They both appear in the fragmentary inscription of the treaty between Perdiccas II and Athens;[14] for he and other royals and then leading commoners are the official representatives of “Makedonon.” One or other stands for both in some official documents, such as the treaty between Amyntas III and the Chalcidians,[15] and in relations with the Delphic Amphictyony, where in 346 votes were given to Philip or to “Macedones,” [16] contributions were recorded “from Macedones,” and delegates were sent “from Alexander.” The terms were used together until the end of the free Macedonian State. Rome proclaimed at the Isthmian Games in 190 her victory over “King Philip and Macedones”; and then at Rome and at Delphi her victory over “Macedones and King Perseus.” [17] The two parts operated the State. What did the Macedones do? They elected, and, when they wished, they deposed a king (e.g., Amyntas III).[18] The Macedones decided cases of treason, the king prosecuting. The Macedones in assembly were addressed by the king or by his guardian—for instance by Philip to take the offensive against Bardylis, and by Alexander to win the Kingdom of all Asia—and in each case they decided what to do, whether meeting in Pella or on the bank of the Hydaspes.[19]

In all meetings of Macedones of which we know the Macedones met under arms: certainly for the election of a king, for trying a case of treason, for deciding to attack Bardylis, and for deciding to win all Asia. The conclusion seems to be clear, that the Macedones were serving soldiers; and we may add ex-soldiers, because Olympias asked to be tried by all Macedones and because Antigonus held an assembly of Macedones at Tyre which consisted of the soldiers with him and men resident in the area, that is, soldiers settled there.[20] It is equally clear that not all men capable of bearing arms in Macedonia in the geographical sense were “Macedones”; for that title was given only to the elite infantrymen (being the Hypaspists and the Phalangites) and to the Companion Cavalry, the two groups making up the “Companions.” They alone were “the citizen troops.” Diodorus, following a Hellenistic historian, probably Diyllus, described the Macedonians whom Alexander chose to send home in 324 as “the oldest of the citizens” (τῶν πολιτῶν);[21] and then, following Hieronymus, a contemporary writer, in 323 described Antipater as being short of “citizen soldiers” (στρατιῶται πολιτικοί).[22]

Let us turn now to the Macedones serving in the Hellenistic kingdoms. In our literary sources they are always distinguished from the Asian and Egyptian troops, even from those “armed in the Macedonian manner” (e.g., at Paraetacene, Gabiene, and Raphia),[23] and it is they who form the Royal Infantry Guard. They were in a category of their own. It was these troops who outlawed Eumenes and others in 321, and it was they and the ex-servicemen in Syria who outlawed Cassander provisionally, if he was unwilling to make a U-turn. They acted as an assembly and passed decisions in the name of “the Macedones with Antigonus” in 315 (τὰ δεδογμένα τοῖς μετ’ Ἀντιγόνου Μακεδόσι).[24] When it was known that Alexander IV was dead and that the Temenid line was at an end, Antigonus and his son Demetrius were proclaimed kings in 306 by “the army”,[25] and Plutarch[26] described the proclamation as being made at the palace of Antigonus by “the assembly” (τὸ πλῆθος being used here by Hieronymus, as it was of the assembly which abandoned the last plans of Alexander; it was used also of the assembly which elected Roxane’s baby to be king in 323). The proclamation of Ptolemy as king was made, according to Appian, “by his own household troops” (ὁ οἰκεῖος αὐτοῦ στρατός), also in 306.[27] Another interesting proclamation was that of Ptolemy Ceraunus after his murder of Seleucus at Lysimachea, the capital city of the dead Lysimachus, in 281. Ptolemy rode to the palace and was proclaimed king by the Royal Guard, and he then presented himself, wearing the diadem and accompanied by the Royal Guard, to the army of Seleucus, which accepted him.[28] On this occasion he was given the cognomen Ceraunus “by the army,” [29] just as Philip had been called Arrhidaeus by the infantrymen in 323.[30] Similarly Arsinoë received a diadem and was acclaimed queen of Ptolemy Ceraunus by the assembled army.[31]

The cases of proclamation which I have considered were all of leading persons. More difficult was the election of a minor or an incompetent as king and the appointing of guardians (epitropoi) or managers (epimeletai) to serve during his minority. In 323, on Alexander’s death, the leading Macedonians, meeting under arms, set up four guardians for Roxane’s baby-to-be, and obtained an oath of loyalty from those present and later from the Macedonian cavalrymen; they intended next to obtain the agreement of the Macedonian infantrymen. But the infantrymen bucked; they chose Arrhidaeus the half-wit. In the end Arrhidaeus and the baby-to-be were elected by the whole company in the presence of the corpse of Alexander, “so that his majesty should be witness to their decisions.” [32] Very much the same process was enacted in 208 at the palace in Alexandria in Egypt, to which the two leading Macedonians summoned the Hypaspists, the household troops (ἡ θεραπεία), and the officers of the infantry and the cavalry.[33] The two leaders then announced the deaths of the king and queen, crowned their five-year-old son as king, and read out a will of the king in which they themselves were named as guardians. The ceremony was accompanied by the display of two urns which were said to contain the ashes of the deceased king and queen (we may compare the presence of Alexander’s corpse at the election of Arrhidaeus and the baby-to-be in 323). Later the two leaders obtained the oath of loyalty to the king from the Macedonian soldiers (αἱ δυνάμεις), “the oath which they had been accustomed to swear at the proclamations of the kings.” [34] It is clear that Polybius was referring here to the general custom of the Macedonian troops in Macedonia, as well as at the Macedonian court in Egypt.

I hope that I have now cited enough instances to support the conclusion that the pattern of the Macedonian State in Macedonia was duplicated in the so-called Hellenistic kingdoms of Lysimachus in Thrace, of Antigonus and Demetrius in Asia, of Ptolemy in Egypt, and—we may assume—of the Seleucids. Thus the state in each case consisted of the king and the Macedones who had elected him and had taken an oath of loyalty to him. He commanded them in war; they served as elite troops and were in distinction to any others in the King’s Army, αἱ βασιλικαὶ δυνάμεις. We do not know how often and on what issues the king consulted the assembly of his Macedones. But we do know that when he failed to keep in close touch, as Demetrius II did in Macedonia, he was certain to fall from his position. Thus the imprint of the Macedonian State was stamped indelibly on the states which we call “the Hellenistic kingdoms.”

I turn next to some consideration of the Macedones as a whole. Within what became Macedonia they went through three phases. First, when the kingdom consisted only of Macedones by birth, in the period before 358, these racial Macedones were the Μακεδόνες αὐτοί of Thucydides’ analysis, whereas the people of Upper Macedonia were nominally “subject races” (ἔθνη ὑπήκοα) and in a different sense Macedones.[35] By 359 the Macedones numbered about 10,000 (comparable to the Athenian hoplite army of 490), and it was an assembly (ἐκκλησία) of this size which was persuaded by Philip to go forth and attack Bardylis’ Illyrians.[36] The king could well have addressed an electorate of that size. After 358, selected men of Upper Macedonia were taken fully into the Macedonian State as soldiers—both cavalrymen and phalangites—of the King’s Army; and by 336 the number of citizen soldiers—Macedones—had risen to some 30,000, domiciled over a much wider area than in 359. At short notice the king could address only those of them who were relatively close at hand, and in particular the household troops. A preliminary decision by them might be enough in itself for the king to act; alternatively, their decision might be confirmed or rejected by a larger assembly of Macedones (examples of a two-stage process include those of Alexander in Hyrcania and Demetrius in Thessaly).[37]Philip added many Greeks and some persons of other races to the circle of his Friends and Companions; but only some of them were made Macedones by him.

The next stage began gradually under Alexander, and increased rapidly with the troubles after his death, namely the recruitment by the king or by his generals of more men from Lower and Upper Macedonia, who on entering the King’s Army were made Macedones. For example, in 334 the newlywed officers on leave were to recruit cavalrymen and infantrymen “from the territory” (ἐκ τῆς χώρας),[38]—that is, not from Antipater’s troops—and in 331 recruiting officers were to enlist “suitable young men,” [39] again, not from Antipater’s troops. During the Lamian War Sippas, Leonnatus, and Craterus each individually recruited more and more men from within the Macedonian kingdom. There will have been others who went from Macedonia overseas, to serve in armies in Asia and Egypt in the thirty years up to the Battle of Ipsus in 301. Thereafter the sons of Macedones established overseas were sufficient to maintain elite forces in the Hellenistic kingdoms (an early example being the sons of Alexander’s Hypaspists).

I turn next to the other peoples in the Macedonian kingdom. They lived on land which had been won by the spear of the king and which was thenceforth the king’s possession. The earliest known example of such possession is Anthemus, an area which Amyntas offered to Hippias, the banished tyrant of Athens. Some inscriptions, just published or about to be published, provide other examples. Julia Vokotopoulou generously showed me one such inscription before publication. In it the frontiers of several small Bottiaean cities of southeast Chalcidice are laid down by the fiat of Demetrius, c. 290, and there is mention of an earlier royal grant of land to the Ramaioi, probably by Philip II in 348. Another inscription, just published by her, contains these words: “King Alexander gave to Macedones Kalindoia and the places around Kalindoia—being the lands of Thamiscus, Camacae and Tripoea.” [40] These had been four cities of the Bottiaei of northern Chalcidice (three of them being named as city-states in an earlier inscription). They had been won by the spear of Philip II in 348. Now in 335/4 Alexander gave the site of the largest (Kalindoia) and the lands of three other cities (but not the sites) to “Macedones,” which I take to be the other half of the Macedonian State. The intention is clear: Kalindoia is to be a Macedonian city, a polis Makedonon (like Oesyme in Scymnus 656–57). The people of Kalindoia were no doubt planted elsewhere; but the people of the three cities which lost their lands but not their towns presumably stayed on as villagers associated with the new Macedonian city.

A third inscription, published in 1984,[41] shows Alexander in 335/4 both confirming arrangements made by Philip and making new ones on the same principle: he gave land to Philippi to possess (ἔχειν), and on the other hand he granted Philippi the right to cultivate certain land, and the Thracians the right to cultivate other land—each of them, it seems, paying rent to the king. Thus land won by Philip from the Thracians in 356 was Philip’s and was inherited by his successor, Alexander. The king was owner of the land, τῆς χῶρας.

This relationship between the king and spear-won land (γῆ δορίκτητος) and its peoples was taken overseas by Alexander. As he landed in the Troad he “accepted Asia from the gods, won by the spear” [42]—a proleptic claim, which he made good. He thus became King of Asia, the land which henceforth belonged to him and his successors. He made this clear at Priene in 334. Like Philippi, Priene was a free Greek city to the extent that it owned its land, conducted its own affairs, and did not pay annual tax to the king; but it was subject to the king’s overall rule and policy. In an ordinance of 334 Alexander granted ownership of some land to citizens of Priene, and he made the non-Prienians live in villages and pay tax to the king. In this ordinance at Priene, Alexander said: “I know that the land is mine” (χώραν γινώσκω ἐμὴν εἶναι).[43] Those words later were to apply to most of Asia; for example, in 324 the Epigonoi were brought from the newly founded cities and “from the spear-won land.” [44]

The Successors made the same claim. When the Temenid line came to an end, each of the generals in power “possessed the land allocated to himself as if it was a kingdom won by the spear.” [45] Moreover, as with Philip and Alexander, this land was hereditable. Even if actual possession was not achieved, the claim remained. Thus Antiochus the Great claimed possession of eastern Thrace, because his ancestor Seleucus had defeated Lysimachus in war and taken his whole kingdom “won by the spear.” [46]

Next, what was the relationship between the king and the native peoples on the spear-won land? Within the Macedonian kingdom Philip and Alexander left these peoples—Illyrians, Thracians, Paeonians, and Greeks—to run their internal affairs as before, whether in a tribal system, or under a monarchy, or as a polis. They paid taxes to the king, and they worked the land which he chose to give or to let to them. They were no part of the Macedonian State. They had to accept that State’s foreign policy, and they had to obey the king’s commands. But they enjoyed great advantages: security; prosperity; freedom of language, law, and religion; no large expenditure on armaments and mercenaries; and the right of appeal to the king. A very few served in the King’s Army as light cavalry and light-armed troops. The main function of these native peoples was to promote the economy of the kingdom and thus to enable it to maintain its regular army of Macedones. As need arose, the number of peoples on the land was increased by the transplantation of Illyrians, Gauls, Thracians, and Getae to work the lands of Lower Macedonia especially. We do not know of any risings by the native peoples or by the transplanted peoples.

The relationship between the king and the native peoples of Asia and Egypt was very similar. After the battle of the Granicus River Alexander told the peasants of Mysia “to return to their own property,” that is, to cultivate it as theirs; and he gave the same order to the Indian peasants of the Indus delta.[47] At Sardis he granted the use of their own customs and laws to the Lydians and left them “free,” that is, free to manage their own affairs in their own way, but of course to be subject to the overall kingship of Alexander and to pay taxes to him; and he continued on the same principle, which he intended to apply also in Arabia.[48] As he advanced, the proportion of Macedones to the peoples on spear-won lands decreased. He therefore began early to train elite troops from the native peoples: Lydians, Lycians, Carians, Egyptians (6,000 according to the Suda s.v. βασιλικοὶ παῖδες); and from 330 onward, mixed forces of Macedonian and Asian cavalry, parallel units of Asian troops (especially the 30,000 Epigonoi), and finally a phalanx mixed in each section.

The Macedonian policy of coexistence, cooperation, and joint military service succeeded both in the Macedonian kingdom and overseas. “Philip created one kingdom and people out of many tribes and nations.” [49] Alexander created another kingdom, the Kingdom of Asia, by applying the same Macedonian principle but over a vastly greater area. Yet even at his early death there was no rising by the native peoples. The extent to which the Successors imitated Alexander cannot be exaggerated. “The kings imitated Alexander with their purple robes, their bodyguards, the inclination of their necks, and their louder voices in conversation,” wrote Plutarch.[50] They imitated him in policy also. Let us take as an example Eumenes, a Greek of Cardia, who might have organized his satrapy on some Greek model. But he was more Macedonian than the Macedonians: he relied on his Friends, exacted an oath of loyalty from the Macedones in his army, gave them purple hats and cloaks, formed for himself a Cavalry Guard of 300, and an Infantry Guard of 1,000 men chosen by a dogma of his Macedones.[51] He had his own system of Pages, of whom two squadrons of fifty each served close to him in battle (Alexander too, according to Diodorus, had had Pages to guard him in Asia).[52] But Eumenes owed his successes equally to the native troops whom he recruited, especially in Cappadocia.

Next, the king and the city. In the seventh and sixth centuries the Macedones destroyed or expelled the previous inhabitants of the rich coastal plain west of the Axius, and most Macedones then abandoned the pastoral way of life and settled in tight communities, based on the “companies” (παρέαι) of their pastoral life. These communities called themselves poleis, cities, self-managing centers of local loyalty. Aegeae, Alorus, Pella, Ichnae, and Heracleum were certainly poleis at the turn of the sixth century, and each had its own distinctive citizenship and territory. The Macedonian State created new cities of Macedones within the expanding kingdom, as we have seen at Kalindoia. Such a city was created not by attracting individuals (as a new town would do today) but by transplanting a community of Macedones; for example, the Macedones of Balla were transplanted to Pythium, a town of Perrhaebia. Philip V carried out just such a policy: “He uprooted the citizen men with their women and children from the most distinguished coastal cities and planted them in the area now called Emathia.” [53] It was a two-way process, the displaced population of Emathia being transferred elsewhere. Such transplants of populations were used by Philip II in order to mix old and new populations together in both Macedonia proper and Upper Macedonia.

The Macedonian cities within the kingdom, old and new, managed their own affairs—financial, religious, diplomatic, and military—and in the last war against Rome the cities sent envoys to the king, offering their own money and their own reserves of grain for the campaign.[54] In physical terms the kingdom consisted of two parts: αἱ πόλεις καὶ ἡ χώρα, “the cities and the countryside” (so divided by Pyrrhus and Lysimachus, according to Plutarch).[55] But it was, rather, the cities which formed the basis of Macedonia’s military and economic strength.

Similar developments were promoted in the Kingdom of Asia by Alexander and then by his successors. The already established cities, both Greek and non-Greek, received favored treatment in terms of land and taxation. Populations were transferred (e.g., for refounding Tyre and Gaza, and for many Seleucid foundations); and expanding trade brought prosperity to these cities. They managed their own affairs, like the cities in the Macedonian kingdom, but within the overall authority of the king. New cities were founded with a modicum of Macedonians and Greeks, who were directed initially by Alexander and then were welcomed by the Successors. These cities included within their territory a large element of local indigenous people, like the villagers attached to Macedonian KalindoNia. It is important to stress that these were not Greek cities in any political sense; for the Greek city was a city-state, fiercely independent, riven bystasis, racially exclusive, and intolerant of royal rule. Their function, as in the Macedonian kingdom, was to produce the military and economic resources which the Hellenistic kingdoms required for survival. The history of what A. H. M. Jones called the “Greek City” of the Hellenistic and Roman periods in Asia[56] was rather the history of the Macedonian city—perhaps the greatest contribution which the Macedonian State made to human civilization.

Response: E. N. Borza

Professor Hammond has given us a rich paper, full of intriguing suggestions about connections between the traditional Macedonian monarchy and the kingships of the Hellenistic period. He sees in the Macedonian state the antecedents for what followed in the Hellenistic era. The implications of what he has suggested are far-reaching and should be important to all of us interested in political and cultural continuity in the ancient world.

In order to acknowledge the validity of Professor Hammond’s thesis, we must be prepared to accept two things: first, that his reconstruction of the institutions of the Macedonian state is valid; and second, that his interpretation of the Hellenistic legacy of these institutions is correct. I leave the Hellenistic aspect to others better qualified to comment, and shall limit myself to the first question: are Professor Hammond’s views a fair representation of Macedonian institutions?

I cannot deal in detail with all of the matters raised by Professor Hammond, and offer the following in the way of commentary. First, I should like—though with a brevity that neither scholar nor subject deserves—to raise a few critical points that may, I hope, suffice to reveal the nature of what I perceive as a major problem in treating these matters. Second, I wish to address the larger context of describing the Argead dynasty of Macedon,[1] and to suggest why it is so difficult to develop analogues or parallels between what Hellenistic kings did and the activities of their Macedonian predecessors.

The heart of Professor Hammond’s argument lies in his reconstruction of the relationship between the Macedonian king and his people, the Macedones, in the Argead period. His attempt here and elsewhere to define the Macedones as the Macedonians-at-arms has met with general approval. Professor Hammond correctly demonstrates that the epigraphical evidence—on this point, the best kind of evidence—from the late fifth and early fourth centuries shows that the king is βασιλεὺς Μακεδόνων. The same evidence also reveals that all treaties are made with the king personally; the only other persons mentioned are the king’s descendants or living members of his immediate family, the Argeadae. This would remain true through the reign of Alexander the Great, where “King Alexander” alone marks all of the surviving treaties.

The numbers of the Macedones are still largely guesswork. Professor Hammond gives 10,000 Macedones in 358 and 30,000 in 336. This is in fact the number of infantry in the Macedonian army during Philip’s campaign against the Illyrian Bardylis (DS 16.4.3) and the number at the commencement of Alexander’s reign.[2] But there is nothing in the evidence cited to connect these numbers with the total citizen population beyond the unproved assumption that the whole citizen levy was enrolled in these campaigns. Perhaps the citizen rolls were actually larger, as Alexander was able to draw on extensive human resources in exchanging veterans for fresh troops during his Asian venture.[3] This could have been accomplished had large numbers of new men been made Macedones under Alexander, but Professor Hammond argues that this process began only “gradually under Alexander and increased rapidly…after his death.” We are thus left somewhat confused not only by the problem of numbers, but also by the definition of what a Macedonian was at any given moment.

Professor Hammond cites some new inscriptions from Chalcidice showing the disposition of king’s land to Macedones and perhaps others. I wonder if such an act of settlement conferred with it citizenship (one thinks of similar circumstances during the Roman Republic), or whether these land grants may not have been a reward to veterans who already were Macedones? Griffith has maintained that the latter situation may have prevailed in Chalcidice in Philip II’s time, but that so few Macedones were settled as to leave the basic Greek character of the population not much altered.[4] In the end, the award of royal land grants might account for an increase in the numbers of Macedones.

It appears that Professor Hammond is on the right track in his attempt to frame the problem as one that necessitates understanding the relationship between the troops (Professor Hammond’s “citizen troops,” the elite infantry and Companion Cavalry) and the king, and the Macedonians and the king, and whether these two—troops and Macedonians—are synonymous. But I am not entirely persuaded that our sources, many of which are late and imprecise, use these terms with the precision that both Professor Hammond and I would wish. In short, I am less certain about the definition and numbers than is Professor Hammond.

Moreover, I am unable to share Professor Hammond’s fine distinction between Alexander as King of the Macedones and as King of Asia. The late Stewart Oost pointed out that the sources do not discriminate between kingship or lordship over Asia.[5] The title is not official in any sense, but general, at least as far as we can tell from the ancient writers, who are mainly centuries removed from these events. As Oost pointed out, it would be as if Napoleon’s troops had proclaimed him “Emperor of Europe.” I thus cannot accept that our sources’ comments about Alexander’s titles in Asia have any significance for describing his formal relationship with his own peoples.

To continue, Professor Hammond suggests that these citizen-soldiers both elected and deposed their kings. Now we have surviving the names of sixteen historical Argead kings, beginning with Amyntas I in the late sixth and early fifth century and ending with Alexander IV, son of the conqueror, who was murdered in 311/10. (Those who accept that Argaeus and Amyntas IV were kings would have eighteen names on their list.) Yet we have only a single dubious reference, in a late writer, for the Macedonians deposing a king in accordance with due process.[6] Of my list of sixteen, exactly half were murdered. Of the remainder, half appear to have died of natural causes or were killed in battle, and we have no information about the others.[7] The only possible instance of a king being deposed would be that of young Amyntas IV, for whom Philip might have served as regent for a year or two; but I am among those who believe that Philip was king from the start.[8]

As for the selection process—and this is central to Professor Hammond’s theme of continuity between the Argead and Hellenistic periods—we have, in fact, information about only three successions, those of Philip II, Alexander the Great, and Arrhidaeus. Insofar as limited evidence permits us to say, the procedures used in all three successions differ from one another. Some sort of assembly may have participated in the choice of Philip; at least Philip was addressing an assembly as part of the process (DS 16.3.1), but we lack evidence that Philip was elected by the army as the sole method of succession.[9] Further, Philip’s rule was quickly challenged by Argaeus, who marched immediately to secure the support of the local population, a move forestalled by Philip (DS 16.2.6–3.3). No assembly is mentioned in the case of Alexander’s succession,[10] even though he is portrayed as courting and winning support through tactful statements (DS 17.1.2; Just. 11.1.8). As for Arrhidaeus, it was an extraordinary scene in Babylon in the early summer of 323, and, while not all of the details have been accepted as historically accurate, the general sense of what went on is undeniable.[11] It all boils down to this: for the whole history of the Argeadae there is preserved a detailed account of only this one scene of succession, characterized by chaos, ambition, fear, and political maneuvering. If there were constitutional procedures for selecting a king, they were not in evidence. If the “army assembly” was constituted to elect a king, why did it not function in June 323? And why (if one accepts the story of the king’s last words) did a small group of generals ask the dying Alexander about his choice of successor? Who would enforce such a decision? In the course of the confusion, Perdiccas held the ring (whatever that signified), Ptolemy proposed rule by a junta, and a throng of soldiers pushed for Arrhidaeus.

The evidence for later fourth-century successions—the only Argead successions for which we have information—permits the following conclusion: groups of persons participated in the selection of the king, as the king ruled, in some sense, with the consent of the governed (here I concur completely with Professor Hammond’s underlying assumption). This is a component of kingship resting on generalship, an ancient tradition in several societies in which commanders led with the consent of their troops. Those who shared in the king’s selection probably (but not always) included members of the royal family, important barons and military chiefs, parts of the army, and, perhaps, of the civilian population—although I should not like to press the last point. The extant evidence suggests that the selection was not fixed according to established, constitutional procedures, but depended upon the political and military circumstances at hand. Even an autocratic king needed the support of the army, some troops of which might be consulted or exhorted if the situation required that, as in the cases of Philip II and Arrhidaeus. But acclamation by the army, which may have been a normal, ritual part of the process, is not the same as election, a procedure marked by political agreements and compromises made on another level. There is in fact no evidence proving that the sovereign power to elect a king rested with any particular group of persons. Succession appears rather to be the result of a series of political and military decisions made by those in a position to do so, and the manner in which they conducted themselves was a response to the circumstances of the moment.[12]

Thus, while I can accept much of what Professor Hammond says about the nature of the Macedonian citizenship through the age of Alexander, I am somewhat skeptical about the power of that citizen body to effect momentous decisions, such as the election and deposition of their kings.

But there is also a logical inconsistency in Professor Hammond’s position. Even if we accept that some kind of assembly of troops selected and deposed kings (and I do not accept this), they did so because they were Macedones, citizens of a Macedonian monarchical state. To claim the perpetuation of the process into Hellenistic times would require defining the citizen body of the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms in the same way for the same reason. Professor Hammond has not done this, and I am not certain that the analogy is possible. But I leave that matter to those well versed in matters of Hellenistic ruling and ruled classes.[13] As for Antigonid Macedonia, I suspect that things were much as they had been before the age of Philip and Alexander, although this is an impressionistic view.

There are several other points in Professor Hammond’s paper that require a similar response, that is, that I do not see in one or two isolated instances, cited by late sources, a sample of evidence statistically sufficient to lay down a general rule, especially when much of that evidence concerns the reign of Alexander, whose career may be unique because of its geographical setting and multiethnic complexity. The most that can be said is that there appear to be some features of the reigns of Philip and Alexander that may have established precedents for the Hellenistic kingships that followed. But, if Kienast and Fredricksmeyer are correct,[14] Philip’s kingship was tending toward an Asian absolutist model, and most of Alexander’s kingship was exercised for eleven years amid almost constant campaigning thousands of miles from home. It is difficult to believe that either of these royal administrations was “normal,” although I confess that the dearth of information about political and social institutions before Philip makes it as dangerous for me to claim that Philip and Alexander were unusual as it does for Professor Hammond to claim that they were part of a continuing tradition.

As for the king and the city, Professor Hammond raises the possibility that the Macedonian city in the Hellenistic and Roman world was “perhaps the greatest contribution which the Macedonian State made to human civilization.” Now we cannot deny that the Macedonians were city founders and refounders from the time of Archelaus to the age of Philip and Alexander. But I cannot attach much significance to this Macedonian custom, or regard it as very different from what Greeks had traditionally been doing for centuries. There were, roughly speaking, only two kinds of inhabited communities in the Balkans for people who had settled into an agricultural or commercial pattern: towns and poleis. The custom of European settlement, until quite recently, has been to live in defensible towns that lay near trade routes and had access to fresh water and farmland. The Macedonians lived this way both as the result of their natural evolution and because their kings forcibly moved people into such settlements from time to time, as Professor Hammond points out. That the towns managed many of their own affairs should not surprise us, especially as the Argead monarchy seems not to have been highly bureaucratized. But it would appear that a major difference between Macedonian towns and Greek towns is that the Greeks selected their own magistrates and legislated on their own behalf in poleis that were politically autonomous.

As this is a major difference, I am not clear about Professor Hammond’s phrase polis Makedonon, and what the distinction is between it and a Greek polis. I think a better analogy would have been between Macedonian towns and the larger towns that were part of the Athenian polis, excluding the town of Athens. All central Macedonian towns whose sites are known were located on prime farmland, and, as Professor Hammond has shown by his use of the new Chalcidic inscriptions recently recovered by our Greek colleagues, good farmland in Chalcidice was used to settle persons in towns. And when Philip II took Amphipolis, he may have settled some Macedonians therein, but the infrastructure that had managed this city for nearly a century continued as before.[15] That is, Amphipolis continued to maintain all of the characteristics of its former status as a polis, save one essential one: it was no longer politically independent. Can any of these settlements, new or old, properly be called a polis, when political authority resided in the monarchy?

Now Professor Hammond apparently understands this. This is the Argead model he sees establishing the pattern for the eastern cities of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and certainly no one would wish to deny Professor Hammond’s claim concerning the historical importance of those centers. But I fail to see that this is a peculiar Macedonian institution. The characteristic Macedonian institution was the monarchy itself, replanted throughout the Asian and African rim of the eastern Mediterranean as an attempt to legitimize the conquests of Alexander’s successor generals, but even so hardly a unique form of government in that part of the world. Furthermore, as the general pattern of settlement in the Greek as well as Macedonian world was through towns, the development of cities in the eastern Mediterranean seems to me to be a perfectly natural, indeed, the only possible, means of social organization.

Perhaps my quarrel with Professor Hammond on this point is only one of emphasis. We agree that the cities of the East were important. He sees this as an outgrowth of a Macedonian custom; I see it as a more common and natural means of establishing settlements or of perpetuating existing urban centers. The relationship of these cities to their ruling monarchs was, as Professor Hammond points out, similar to what may have existed in old Macedon, but I do not view this as something especially characteristic of the Macedonian heritage so much as the only situation possible if one is to have cities within a far-flung monarchy.

Professor Hammond is correct when he points out that these self-governing Hellenistic cities were not city-states, since, like Macedonian cities, they were ruled by the king. Yet he calls the Macedonian cities poleis. I agree that the Macedonian and Hellenistic cities were alike; but I see neither as a proper city-state in the Greek sense, if by that we mean they were autonomous. Still, it may in the end be a moot point: who would be willing to argue that Mytilene or Naxos or Carystos were not poleis just because they were ruled by Athens in the fifth century B.C.? I think that Professor Hammond is on the right track in attempting to define the relationship between kings and cities in Macedonia, but I am unpersuaded that this is significant for an understanding of the cities of the early Hellenistic world. Self-managing cities existing within larger monarchies in the East had rarely been independent, and one wonders whether their Hellenistic status is not as much due to traditional city-monarchy relationships in the East as to the fact that Macedonian kings now ruled there.

Nevertheless, it is not certain that Professor Hammond is wrong in the end. One of the more remarkable aspects of his career is the unusual prescience or intuition he has shown about some things, most notably his identification of the modern village of Vergina as the site of ancient Aegeae. As ancient historians, we are most of us, on occasion, intuitive and impressionistic when confronted with scanty evidence. Professor Hammond’s argument about the cities remains, in my view, just that—impressionistic—but I am intrigued by the implications of it, and await the recovery of more epigraphical and archaeological evidence from Macedon itself to test the hypothesis more accurately.[16]

Now, let us examine a methodological context for what Professor Hammond and others of us attempt to do when tracing the long course of Macedonian institutions.[17] At the core of his argument lies a conviction that the Macedonian monarchy operated according to a set of procedures that had been established through custom over a long time. There are two basic schools of thought about the Macedonian “constitution,” if by that term we mean the customs and institutions by which a society was regulated. One school holds that the Macedonian kingdom was run according to a generally accepted set of traditions within which various groups held and exercised customary rights which the king oversaw and guaranteed. This is what I shall call the “constitutionalist” position. The other school believes that the kingdom was centered on the autocracy of the monarch himself, who did precisely what he wanted, or—more exactly—what he could get away with.

But what is the evidence for these institutions? Unfortunately for those of us who are historians attempting to seek order (and even reason) out of the chaos of events, the Macedonians are a people who are mainly silent about themselves, and there is no Polybius for the Argead period. Nearly all our information about political and social institutions in early Macedon comes from the age of Philip and Alexander; and any attempt to retroject such evidence into earlier Macedonian history requires large assumptions about the continuity of institutions from the classical period into the later fourth century and the Hellenistic era. If the advocates of constitutionalism use this continuity as an operating methodological assumption, they should also be able to trace the continuation of these institutions into the Hellenistic period, or, if not, to posit when and why there was a break.

The constitutionalist position was laid out forcefully more than half a century ago by Friedrich Granier,[18] and much of the discussion since then has evolved in support, modification, or rejection of his views. Using evidence mainly from the Hellenistic period, Granier concluded that the Macedonian kingship evolved from a primitive chieftainship, in which the king was a first among equals, chosen by his fellow warriors. As Macedonian institutions became more formal, an organization of Macedonian men-at-arms came into existence, marking a transition to something akin to a sovereign military assembly. As the population became more settled and the Macedonians were transformed from a warrior society into a landed aristocracy, the nobility usurped popular sovereignty. In the fourth century, however, the assembly was revived to provide the monarchy with support against the nobility. The army assembly acquired some judicial functions and even selected the king or regent. All parties were aware of their rights, although in practice the king ruled as an autocrat. Nonetheless, the relationship between king and people was regulated by two constituent functions of the army assembly: the right to elect the king, and the right to sit as judge and jury.

Granier’s book proved influential, and, although some details in it were found unacceptable, its basic thesis—that the Macedonians lived according to traditional customs—long remained unchallenged. Over the years it has been extended and modified by others, including André Aymard, Pierre Briant, and Professor Hammond himself; and while some small differences exist, these are all variations on the constitutionalist theme.[19]

This constitutionalist view remains an attractive hypothesis, despite the fact that there is no evidence from antiquity to support the kind of political evolution that Granier described. Moreover, the fragments that have been used to prove the existence of an assembly at any period have been drawn from late authors far removed from the scene, or have referred to events in the Hellenistic era. The major challenge to the constitutionalist position has been led by Malcolm Errington, who has received some support from Robert Lock and Edward Anson.[20] The critics’ position may be summarized thus: (a) Granier and others have constructed a theoretical model based upon an unacceptable assumption, namely that peoples’ rights were recognized by Macedonian kings but not realized in practice; (b) the evidence used to support the model comes mainly from the Hellenistic period, and the assumption that there was an institutional continuity from early Macedon to the Hellenistic period is unproven; (c) the evidence from the reign of Alexander the Great that shows occasional meetings of the army for some judicial or forensic purpose describes a special situation—an exception to the rule, not the rule itself; and (d) there is no supporting evidence from reliable contemporary writers, such as Aristotle. The sources centuries removed are for the most part ignorant about early Macedonian institutions and anachronistic in describing institutional terms and procedures.

In my view the modern critics have struck a telling, though perhaps not fatal, blow at the constitutionalist position, which must remain what it has always been: a theoretical construction largely unsupported by evidence from antiquity. Now it could be argued that it is not methodologically incorrect to develop a theoretical model by extending a body of information from a relatively well-documented period into an era lacking sources. That is, if one could show that there was a constitutional structure in the Hellenistic period like that in the age of Philip and Alexander, it would not be unreasonable to suspect that its origin lay back in the earlier period of Macedonian history for which there is no evidence. But the critics have shown that these institutions did not exist under the autocratic rule of the Antigonid dynasty of Hellenistic Macedon. Assuming that they had been in place earlier, what made them vanish? The only possible answer lies in the reigns of Philip and Alexander: the autocracy of the latter in particular was legendary, and he may well be said to have killed prior constitutional arrangements. But this is the very monarch whose reign appears to have provided us with much of our information about the rights of the Macedonians. We are thus driven to the improbable conclusion that the constitutional arrangements of the Macedonian monarchy collapsed under the absolutism of that very king whose reign provides evidence of their existence. This simply will not do. The more probable alternative is that the interaction between Alexander, his commanders, and his troops in assembly was a unique situation, resulting from the extraordinary circumstances of a Macedonian army operating far from home and lacking the normal forms of support and references.

To present such a minimalist picture of Macedonian institutions without offering an alternative may not be satisfactory. Perhaps one can offer—lacking evidence—a theoretical model. But what model? The “Homeric” model is attractive, but it, too, is fraught with problems of evidence and method that are part of the ongoing struggle to understand Dark Age Greece. Moreover, we lack information about the social and economic support enjoyed by Macedonian kings to match what we know about the relationship of Homeric chieftains with other members of their community. Besides, the Macedonian king was clearly more autocratic. There is no contemporary Greek model, certainly not the constitutionally constrained monarchy of the Spartans. Illyrian and Thracian models come to mind, but these appear to be too tribal and are, in any case, imperfectly understood. Fifth- and fourth-century Macedon may have been influenced by the Persians, but no serious analysis can be offered until there is a clearer notion of Persian-Macedonian relations in the fourth century before the age of Philip and Alexander.[21]

In sum, I hold that we do not know enough about early Macedonian institutions to describe the extent to which they were preserved in the Hellenistic period. Certainly, some aspects of the reigns of Philip and Alexander do appear to have continued at least into the early Hellenistic era. But I regard as unproven this attempt to show that such features were a part of traditional Macedonian monarchy—what Professor Hammond calls the “pattern” of the Macedonian state. I agree that the Macedonians had a vital impact on the history of western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean world; but that had little to do with the migration of Macedonian institutions to distant places. In fact, the true “Macedonian imprint” was due to the conquest carried out by Alexander’s armies, thus removing from western Asia the political power that had for centuries blocked the penetration of Greek culture. Their conquest replaced Asian rule with Macedonian rule. To the extent that a cultural transformation followed, it was, in my view, due rather to a continuation of local traditions and the influence of pockets of Hellenism than to the establishment of anything distinctly Macedonian.


E. S. Gruen:

Plutarch is surely right that Alexander shunned the title “King of Kings.” I have no quarrel with the facts presented by Professor Hammond. But the interpretation I find a little more difficult. Professor Hammond’s paradoxical version is that Alexander avoided the designation because it was too restrictive: “King of Asia” was meant to be a more sweeping title. Then he goes on to say that Alexander did not want to succeed Darius but wanted Darius to remain as the King of the Medes and Persians, as would his successors. I have three problems with this. First, if Alexander was willing to have Darius retain his throne, what was the symbolic significance of Alexander sitting on that throne? Secondly, if he expected Darius’ heir to be king to the Medes and Persians, why did he send him to Macedonia to learn Greek? And third, if Darius was to be King of the Medes and Persians, would he also retain the title “King of Kings”? Which kings would he then be king of? Perhaps Alexander avoided the title “King of Kings” for a simpler reason—that is, the negative connotations that this phrase had in the Greek world, at least since the time of Xerxes and Aeschylus’ Persae.

N. G. L. Hammond:

If you look at the letter, which, I think, gives the actual sense of what Alexander wrote to Darius, he says that Darius can be king over other kings, and this must mean that Darius could retain the hereditary title “King of Medes and Persians,” basileus basileon. It is kings within the Medic and Persian state that he is king of, not all the kings of the world. I think the point of confusion is that Persian kings could claim the title “King of Asia.” But so could the kings of, say, Phrygia and Macedonia. To be King of Asia does not mean to be king of the Medes and Persians. Alexander claimed to be king of all of Asia. He thought of India as being the end of Asia. Asia to him was a geographical concept. He didn’t know the limits of it, but it was a clear concept.

P. Green:

Alexander is in fact equating Asia with the entire Persian domain. So in fact whether he was called King of Kings or not was a moot point.

N. G. L. Hammond:

No, Asia was more than the area controlled by Darius at his death. Alexander went beyond that. Darius, for example, didn’t control the Indus valley.

A. E. Samuel:

I am dubious as to whether we can use the evidence for Alexander to describe Macedonian kingship as an institution. That is, although I would be inclined to say that we can describe Alexander as a king, and can talk about his kingship, in terms of patterns of behavior, overall we get the impression from the sources that Alexander became increasingly suspicious of his generals and was worried about their reaction to what he was doing. I am concerned about whether or not we can really use the evidence about Alexander on items. As an Alexander historian I know some of those stories are true, but I’m not sure which ones. And I’m not sure which stories come out of the tradition to amplify it, or which ones establish the tradition. To depend on any single piece of evidence to describe the situation which pertained at the time of Alexander seems to me to be depending on evidence that is really shifty. So I incline to a minimalist position simply because I don’t have any evidence.

N. G. L. Hammond:

It’s obviously important to decide which of the original sources of information were used by the later writers. And that I’ve endeavored to do for three Alexander historians and I hope to go on to the sources of Plutarch’s Alexander and of Arrian. That seems to me to be a vital foundation which hasn’t been properly laid. It will always be controversial, but some points one can probably establish. If you accept the word of Arrian that he was following Aristobulus and Ptolemy, then you have a fairly solid basis to go on. Things which he says are legomena are just stories he knows are not trustworthy, and so we know it too.

S. M. Burstein:

Professor Borza’s minimalist position on the question of the constitution of Macedonia I accept as a statement of the evidence. But he also slipped in a redefinition that might actually be very promising. Errington, as I see it, has been fundamentally attacking a straw man. What Granier, Briant, and the others have done is to devise for Macedon something akin to Mommsen’s Staatsrecht, a precise model with rigid rules and formulas. That is easy to knock down. It has been done convincingly. However, Errington has come perilously close to positing something unparalleled: an autocracy in which the murder of Clitus is normal. The king can do anything. A Merovingian warlord might get away with a murder—many murders—but not even the Merovingian system ever assumed that this was normal behavior. Professor Borza appears to be suggesting that there was a set of Macedonian constitutional traditions, but that we just don’t know what they are. Is that correct?

E. N. Borza:

I think so, yes. Leon Mooren has written on these matters recently and has taken a plausible moderate position, somewhere between Hammond and Errington, though a bit closer to the latter. The heart of the question remains: What is the relationship of the king of the Macedonians to the Macedonians? If my position is accepted—and I hope Professor Hammond will agree with what follows—the king of the Macedonians had a working relationship with his army, as did any good general in antiquity. And this relationship is not the law of the jungle. I would never claim that, even though Errington may appear to do so; in fact, I know personally that he believes that even the jungle has laws. Whatever the nature of the Macedonian “constitution,” it arises from a mutual understanding of the nature of that relationship. We have the most evidence for it from the expedition of Alexander, although his reign may be an unusual situation. Even though the “rules” are difficult for us to recover, they seem—some notable exceptions aside—to have worked tolerably well.

I do not believe that the evidence supports the notion that Macedonian kings were elected and deposed through some popular procedure, although I accept, on the basis of three later-fourth-century successions for which we have evidence, that troops played some part in the process. It is a political process, but not necessarily a constitutional process following some rigid theoretical model.

N. G. L. Hammond:

One comment on Greek and Macedonian cities: The Macedonians called their cities poleis and other Greek writers called thempoleis. They were in that sense cities. But the Greek city was not able to coexist with local peoples peacefully. The Greek cities in Asia soon ceased to grow, for they tried to subject the native peoples to serfdom. Aristotle said: When you conquer Asiatics, reduce them to serfdom, make them subject to the Greek city-states. So the Greek polis was racially exclusive, not capable of extension to whole areas in the East. But the Macedonian polis, as we see it being created, was a mixture of Macedonians and other peoples. This is what happens in Asia. It’s a Macedonian polis, not a Greek type.

Notes to Text

1. Just. 24.5.14, in ducis nomen.

2. Plut. Demetr. 25.3.

3. See Meiggs-Lewis, GHI no. 12, pp. 20–22.

4. DS 17.17.2.

5. Just. 11.5.11.

6. Arr. 7.15.4.

7. Arr. 4.7.3.

8. Arr. 6.17.2.

9. Arr. 7.20.1.

10. DS 19.48.1.

11. DS 19.56.3.

12. Hdt. 9.44.1; Thuc. 1.57.2.

13. E.g., Philip V in SIG3 575 (vol. 2, p. 71).

14. IG3 no. 89 (pp. 105–8); cf. ATL 3:313–14 n. 61, N. G. L. Hammond and G. T. Griffith, A History of Macedonia, vol. 2, 550–336 B.C. (Oxford, 1979), 134–35.

15. SIG3 no. 135 (pp. 177–9); cf. Tod, GHI 2 no. 111 (pp. 30–34).

16. Paus. 10.8.2.

17. SIG3 652a (p. 213), CIL I xxvii (p. 48).

18. Porphyr. frag. 1 in FHG 3:691.

19. Curt. 9.1.1–3.

20. DS 19.61.1.

21. DS 17.109.1.

22. DS 18.12.2. 

23. Polyb. 5.82.2.

24. DS 19.61–62.1.

25. App. Syr. 54.

26. Plut. Demetr. 18.1.

27. App. Syr. 54.

28. Memnon, FGrH 434 F8.

29. Trogus, Prologue 17: cognomine Ceraunus creatus ab exercitu.

30. Just. 13.3.1.

31. Just. 24.3.2: ad contionem quoque vocato exercitu.

32. Just. 13.4.4: ut maiestas eius testis decretorum esset. 

33. Polyb. 15.25.1.

34. Polyb. 15.25.11.

35. Thuc. 2.99.

36. DS 16.4.3.

37. Plut. Alex. 47.1–4, Demetr. 37.

38. Arr. 1.23.7.

39. DS 17.49.1.

40. Cf. Hammond, Ancient Macedonia, vol. 4 (Thessaloniki, 1986), 87ff.

41. C. Vatin, Proc. 8th Epigr. Conf. (Athens, 1984), 259–70; cf. L. Missitzis, Ancient World 12 (1985): 3–14, Hammond, CQ 38 (1988): 382–91. 

42. DS 17.17.2; Just. 11.5.10.

43. Tod, GHI 2 no. 185.11 (p. 243), and Hammond, The Macedonian State (Oxford, 1989), 216 n. 25.

44. Arr. 7.6.1.

45. DS 19.105.4.

46. Polyb. 18.51.4: δορίκτητον.

47. Arr. 1.17.1, 6.17.6.

48. Arr. 7.20.1.

49. Just. 8.6.2.

50. Plut. Pyrrh. 8.1.

51. Plut. Eum. 7.2, 8.6.

52. DS 17.65.2.

53. Polyb. 23.10.4.

54. Livy 42.53.3. 

55. Plut. Pyrrh. 12.1.

56. A. H. M. Jones, The Greek City from Alexander to Justinian (Oxford, 1940).

Notes to Response

1. Throughout I prefer “Argead” to Hammond’s “Temenid,” as I hold that the tradition of a Temenid (Argive Greek) origin for the Macedonian royal family is a story probably derived from the propaganda of Alexander I; see my “Athenians, Macedonians and the Origins of the Macedonian Royal House,” Hesperia, suppl. 19 (1982): 7–13.

2. For detailed discussion of the numbers in Alexander’s army see N. G. L. Hammond and F. W. Walbank, A History of Macedonia, vol. 3, 336–167 B.C. (Oxford, 1988), 86–87.

3. On Alexander’s manpower reserves see A. B. Bosworth, “Macedonian Manpower under Alexander the Great,” Ancient Macedonia 4 (1986): 115–22, and “Alexander the Great and the Decline of Macedon,” JHS 106 (1986): 1–12.

4. In N. G. L. Hammond and G. T. Griffith, A History of Macedonia, vol. 2, 550–336 B.C. (Oxford, 1979), 365–79.

5. S. I. Oost, “The Alexander Historians and Asia,” in Harry J. Dell, ed., Macedonian Studies in Honor of Charles F. Edson (Thessaloniki, 1981), 265–82.

6. Porphyr. frag. 1 (= Syncell. 261D) in FHG III, p. 691, part of a garbled and largely untrustworthy account of Macedonian rulers of the early fourth century. 

7. Archelaus was killed by a lover, Amyntas II by Derdas, Pausanias (probably) by Amyntas III, Alexander II by Ptolemy, Ptolemy by Perdiccas III, Philip II by Pausanias, Philip III by Olympias, and Alexander IV by Cassander. Moreover, there were additional conspiracies against at least Amyntas III and Alexander III, and a number of potential rivals were dispatched in the struggles for succession of Archelaus, Philip II, and Alexander the Great. Death from natural causes: Alexander I, Perdiccas II, Amyntas III, and Alexander the Great.

8. The matter of Philip’s regency is not settled. The strongest argument favoring a regency is offered by Adrian Tronson, “Satyrus the Peripatetic and the Marriages of Philip II,” JHS 104 (1984): 120–21. I am, however, inclined to accept the view of Griffith, History of Macedonia 2:208–9, 702–4, who is persuasive in arguing that Amyntas never ruled.

9. DS 17.2.2. Justin (11.1.8) mentions a contio, the same word used by Curtius (10.7.13) to describe the crowd assembled at the time of Arrhidaeus’ selection, but this is not to be taken as meaning a formal electoral assembly (pace Griffith, History of Macedonia 2:391) any more than is Hammond’s plethos (see below, note 13).

10. Contra Hammond, History of Macedonia 3:30, who cites Arr. 1.25.2 as evidence for Alexander’s “election” to the throne of Macedon. Arrian says nothing of the kind in this passage, and in the brief mention of Alexander’s accession in the appropriate place (1.1.1), Arrian wrote παραλαμβάνω, the same verb used by Plutarch (Alex. 11.1), which, among its various meanings in this context (e.g., “receive,” “succeed to,” etc.), does not mean “elect.”

11. DS 17.117.3–118.2, 18.1.3–2.4; Arr. 7.26.3; Curt. 10.5.4–10.20; Just. 12.15.8.

12. When Polybius (15.25.11) refers to troops at the Ptolemaic court swearing loyalty as they were accustomed to doing at the proclamation of kings, it is not as clear to me as to Hammond that our source is referring to some old Macedonian custom rather than to a feature of the court of the Ptolemies. The passage is evidence only of the swearing of loyalty; loyalty may be crucial to the success of a would-be monarch, but Polybius does not equate the acclamation of loyalty with the formal procedure of choosing a monarch.

13. Hammond cites several situations from the Hellenistic period suggesting that there was a functioning army assembly that made important decisions, especially regarding the appointment and deposition of rulers. But the evidence does not always support Hammond’s view. For example, Hammond argues that the plethos mentioned by Plutarch (Demetr. 18.1) in his descriptions of the crowning of Antigonus and Demetrius is an assembly. But this misinterprets Plutarch. Τὸ πλῆθος is a throng of soldiers salutingDemetrius and Antigonus; but Antigonus is crowned by his friends (οἱ φίλοι), and Demetrius receives the diadem from his father. Moreover, Plutarch’s account of the crowning of Antigonus and Demetrius is part of a longer passage which goes on to describe the assumption of royal status by all the first-generation Successors, and there is a complete silence on the procedures of accession used by Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Cassander. There is little more here and in other evidence cited by Hammond (e.g., note 9 above) than small contingents of soldiers, normally household troops, proclaiming a new king. These are ad hoc incidents, more akin to the proclamation of Claudius as emperor by the Praetorians rather than manifestations of an institutional procedure.

14. Dietmar Kienast, Philipp II. von Makedonien und das Reich der Achaimeniden, Abhandlungen der Marburger Gelehrten Gesellschaft, 1971, no. 6 (Munich, 1973), and E. A. Fredricksmeyer, “Divine Honors for Philip II,” TAPA 109 (1979): 39–61, “On the Background of the Ruler Cult,” in Macedonian Studies, 145–56, and “On the Final Aims of Philip II,” in W. L. Adams and E. N. Borza, eds., Philip II, Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Heritage (Washington, 1982), 85–98.

15. Griffith, History of Macedonia 2:230–42. 

16. Pella is only now emerging from the ground. It is Hippodamian in plan, and appears similar to the grand cities of Asia Minor and the Levant in the Hellenistic period. But the dating of much of Pella is still imprecise; we have virtually no archaeological chronology for the city from its refounding by Archelaus about the year 400 B.C. down to the later fourth century. As for Aegeae, we have only scattered buildings; but perhaps further excavation based on the new magnetometer readings will reveal something of its fourth-century plan. Dion, which holds so much promise in theory, is still being dug mainly at Roman levels. The very site of Therme is in dispute, and the early history of Thessaloniki lies beneath its Roman, medieval, and modern overlay.

We know, in fact, very little about these towns. To judge by what slight evidence has been recovered through excavation, their physical appearance would seem to differ somewhat from that of their Hellenistic counterparts. To the best of my knowledge no major religious monument (and here I include the small Eucleia monument at Aegeae), such as a temple, has yet been recovered inside a Macedonian town. Pella has an agora, but it may be middle or late Hellenistic. Whether Aegeae had one or not will be known only from further excavation. The agora, so typical for Greek poleis, as the center of the kind of self-management that Hammond attributes to Macedonian towns, thus far is missing. There are other differences, having to do with the distribution of burial sites and small shrines, but I have no time to explore them beyond this brief reference. A trickle of inscriptions describing city procedures and officials continues to appear, but, as yet, of insufficient quantity and quality to judge the extent to which the institutions that governed these towns are indicative of self-government or royal rule.

In brief, there is not enough literary or archaeological evidence to make a strong case for the self-governing polis-type urban center having existed in Macedonia itself. Further, since the Hellenistic urban center in the eastern Mediterranean may, as I believe, have resulted from a natural organic evolution coupled with Greek influences in new city planning, a link between Macedonian cities and those of the Hellenistic East has yet to be established.

17. Some of what follows reflects an argument presented in detail in my recent work, In the Shadow of Olympus: The Emergence of Macedon (Princeton, 1990).

18. Die makedonische Heeresversammlung: Ein Beitrag zum antiken Staatsrecht (Munich, 1931).

19. Aymard, “Sur l’assemblée macédonienne,” REA 52 (1950): 115–37, and “Basileus Makedonon,” RIDA 4 (1950): 61–97, both reprinted in Aymard’s Études d’histoire ancienne (Paris, 1967); Briant, Antigone le Borgne (Paris, 1973); and Hammond, History of Macedonia 2:150–65, 383–404.

20. Errington, “Macedonian ‘Royal Style’ and its Historical Significance,” JHS 94 (1974): 20–37, “The Historiographical Origins of Macedonian “Staatsrecht,’ ” Ancient Macedonia 3 (1983): 89–101, and “The Nature of the Macedonian State under the Monarchy,” Chiron8 (1978): 77–133; Lock, “The Macedonian Army Assembly in the Time of Alexander the Great,” CP 72 (1977): 91–107; Anson, “Macedonia’s Alleged Constitutionalism,” CJ 80 (1985): 303–16, and “The Evolution of the Macedonian Army Assembly,” Historia 40 (1991): 230–47. 

21. Shortly after the conclusion of the present symposium an article appeared by Alan E. Samuel, “Philip and Alexander as Kings: Macedonian Monarchy and Merovingian Parallels,” AHR 93 (1988): 1270–86, in which a “warlord” model was offered. Samuel attempted to show that the tie that bound king and people was the winning of land; and surely there is considerable evidence—as Hammond has pointed out in his paper—of the importance to Macedonians of “spear-won land” (γῆ δορίκτητος). This may be an idea deserving greater emphasis in Hammond’s arguments.


SOURCE  © 1993 The Regents of the University of California


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