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C O U R S E 
Alexander the Great
Guy MacLean Rogers, Wellesley College
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Nature of Macedon
Notes taken on July 2, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
there were prominent 4th century Greeks who didn't consider the Macedonians to be Greek or Hellenes at all
or they made this claim for rhetorical reasons
what we know is that the Macedonian kings, including Alexander, could speak, write, and read Greek fluently
although some sources indicate that Greeks couldn't necessarily understand Macedonians
because Macedonian was probably a dialect of Greek
but one can say that Macedon was a very different kind of place than the Greek city states
there were some Greek city-states which had kings during the fourth century
but in the vast majority of the 1000 and more polis, or city-states of the Greek world, there were in fact assemblies of citizens, councils, and elected officials who were bound by often written laws
in Macedon by contrast, the Temenid kings were essentially the state, bound by no constitutional restrictions, written or otherwise
the Temenid kings were understood to have descended from a man named Temenus of Argos, who was said to be a descendent of Heracles
Macedonian army might acclaim a new king and might serve as in treason trials of Macedonian nobles
but the kings serves as the prosecutors
the selected their own successors
they made rulings in cases of petitions
and treaties between Macedon and other places were signed in the names of the kings themselves
there were no bureaucrats or lawyers in Macedon
the Macedonian kings lived among their picked companions and friends, marrying as many women as they wished, sometimes even for diplomatic reasons, and drinking heavily
their parties were famous, even notorious
at those parties, the Macedonian nobles didn't hesitate to speak their minds
the parties often ended in bloodshed
most of the kings who preceded Philip died in battle or were assassinated
Macedon really was an autocracy tempered by assassination
for all of the drama and bloodshed, the Macedonian kings were finally able to
master their rivals in lower and upper Macedon
harness the resources of the kingdom
King Archelaus I of Macedon (469-399 BC)
raised the level of culture
Euripides came to the Macedonean court between 408-406 BC
wrote one of his most troubling and powerful tragedies, the Bacchae, a the Macedonian court
the foundation of the court in Pella is still visible today
richly decorated
Pella was no cultural backwater during the fourth century BCE
it means that Alexander the Great was not brought up among a bunch of barbarian thugs as some Athenian orders applied
yet the threat of stability persisted
because the power in Macedon was personal
between 400-360 BC there were nine kings of Macedon
Perdiccas III (368-359 BC)
killed in a battle against the Illyrians along with 4000 soldiers
Amyntas IV (infant)
was left to be king barely old enough to walk let along defend the kingdom
Philip II
in his place, his uncle, Philip II took power, father of Alexander the Great
took responsibility for the defense of Macedon
gave his daughter to Amyntas
set about a reform of Macedon's army that would lead to the creation of the world's first truly professional army
was Amyntas' cousin and so Alexander had him killed to insure that he would stay in power
used that professional army to conquer the Persian empire