HomeAncient HistoryAncient MacedoniansTheories of the Ancient Macedonian origin and Hellenism

Theories of the Ancient Macedonian origin and Hellenism



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According to one theory Macedonian kingdom  was a Greek kingdom. Located north-east of the Greek mainland and northwest of Asia Minor, Macedon was firmly entrenched on the European continent. The Macedonians were the Greeks who had to contend, then, with all the European tribes, many of which were war-like. So the Macedonians served as a kind of buffer for the Greeks, as the faithful Greeks who stood between the tribal Europeans and the Greek city-states. For all that, the Macedonians were deeply unappreciated by their fellow Greeks…

The Macedonians were ruled by a king, much like the Mycenaean kings. The king came to power through inheritance, but first had to be approved by the army. Beneath the king was an aristocracy of nobles who had a limited amount of power; like all monarchies that shared power with an aristocracy, the balance of power frequently shifted from the king to the nobles and back again. Into this situation, at the peak of the political chaos roiling the Greek world to the south, stepped a powerful king who unified the country of Macedon and set his sights on conquering the whole of the Greek world: Philip of Macedon.

The word, Hellenistic, is derived from the word, Hellene, which was the Greek word for the Greeks. The term Hellenistic originated from the German term hellenistisch. According to one theory the Hellenistic age was the “age of the Greeks; during this time, Greek culture and power extended itself across the known world. Historians used the term “Hellenistic” from the 19th-century according to concept firstly introduced by German historian Johann Gustav Droysen in his book Geschichte des Hellenismus.

While the classical age of Greece produced great literature, poetry, philosophy, drama, and art, the Hellenistic age “hellenized” the world. At the root of Hellenism were the conquests of Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander. Some historians pointed Hellenistic period, as a period between the death of Alexander the Great and the annexation of the classical Greek heartlands by Rome. However, the Macedonians did more than control territory; they actively exported Greek culture: politics, law, literature, philosophy, religion, and art. This was a new idea, exporting culture, and more than anything else this exporting of culture would deeply influence all the civilizations and cultures that would later erupt from this soil: the Romans, the Christians, the Jewish diaspora, and Islam.

Another theory about Macedonian origins is that Macedonians themselves were not Hellenes; they belonged to the barbaric races, not greatly differing from the Greeks in ethnic type, but far behind them in civilization, which bordered Hellas upon the north. They were a distinct race, not Paeonian, not Illyrian, not Thracian; but, of the three, their connection was closest with the Illyrians.

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