Macedonian Empire
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352 B.C. - 320 B.C. Division of the Macedonian Empire, 320 BC (Guardians).png
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The Vergina Sun, a common motif amongst Macedonian society and nobility.

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Macedonian Empire at the death of Alexander the Great.
Capital Pella, Babylon, Bucephala
Languages Greek, Persian
Religion Greek Polytheism, Zoroastrianism
Government Monarchy
 •  359 - 336 B.C. Phillp II
 • 336 - 322 B.C. Alexander the Great
 • 322 - 320 B.C. Perdiccas (Regent)
Historical Era Classical Era
 •  Conquest of Thrace by Philip II. 352 B.C. 352 B.C.
 •  Death of Perdiccas 320 B.C. 320 B.C.
Currency Drachma

The Macedonian Empire, sometimes referred to as the Alexandrian Empire, the Argead Empire, or the Macedonian Hegemony, was a major empire in the Classical era of world history. The Empire was created as a result of Philip II's desire to subjugate the various states of Greece and cease their incessant warmongering and lead them on a campaign of revenge against Lydia further east. However, Philip was assassinated before he could realize this goal, and his son Alexander III followed in his footsteps, unifying not only all the states in Greece but every independent Greek state in the world.

Upon doing so Alexander invaded Lydia, accomplishing quick success and sacking the capital of Sardis in return for Lydian invasions of Greece and Ionia. However, Alexander was not content with just this, as his parents and particularly his mother had always urged him to go further and conquer the world. With only Persia in his way, Alexander intended to do just that. With his powerful army and insightful tactics Alexander brushed aside most Persian resistance. His success emboldened him and he refused any attempts of negotiation or compromise. He conquered the Persian heartland and began to press into Bactria and Sogdiana.

Although he was successful in asserting his control in those areas, Alexander was soon forced to turn back. His troops, at first eager to march to the ends of the earth with him, were now tired and homesick and as such refused to march further unless it meant marching west. Additionally, the state of Egypt was still unconquered and had begun to press on Alexander's Levantine provinces. As a result Alexander mournfully turned his back on the vast unconquered wilderness of India. Upon returning he fell sick and while he rested his faithful horse Buchephalus died. Alexander built the city of Bucephala on the Orontes River in his honor.

Upon his recovery Alexander put an end to Egyptian independence and began to campaign against the Nabataeans who he swiftly conquered. His plans for further campaigns in Arabia and Nubia were ended as he fell sick again and he returned to Bucephala to recover. It was there that he died in 322 BC. He was only thirty-three years old. Some speculated he drank himself to death, others disease, and others still by poison. Regardless, his body was lavishly prepared and he was buried in the town of Aegea where all the Macedonian royalty were buried.

Alexander had two children with his Sogdianan wife Roxana, Alexander IV and Helen, both of which were under age upon his death. As a result, a regency was set up with Perdiccas, the commander of the Companion cavalry, acting as regent until Alexander IV came of age. Alexander set up a will for his generals to follow after his death, namely the conquest of India, Arabia, and the rest of Europe and population transfers designed to facilitate common ties amongst his Empire's subjects. Of all the generals only Seleucus followed his will with two invasions of India in 322 and 305 respectively.

Perdiccas was assassinated in 320, forcing Roxana and her children to flee from Buchephala as the various generals squabbled amongst themselves. Within a few months the Empire had effectively fragmented into five competing Diadochi who claimed to be the rightful successor to Alexander's throne. Other nations re-asserted their independence. Alexander's Empire would never be reunited by a Greek again, although many would try. Alexander's empire is significant as it was the largest empire to date, surpassing the larger Achaemenid Persian Empire before it. It mixed cultures considerably and it and its successors were major forces for the rest of the Classical era until the rise of Rome.


Society within Macedon during its time as a Greek kingdom was similarly structured to the rest of the Greek world. Noteably, Macedonian society was more diverse than the city-states to the south, something that those same states considered shameful and regarded Macedon as backwards. When Macedon expanded into an empire under the leadership of Alexander the Great, all the Greek states were united and many more ethnic groups and cultures were incorporated within the polity. While Alexander held to the good values of Greek science and art, he also insisted on a cultural mixing to better unite his Empire. This policy was not often continued by his succesors, who remained faithful to the Greek culture of the Macedonian upper classes. 


The head of Macedonian government was the king, who held total power over affairs of the state. When Alexander conquered his empire, he employed a system similar to the previous Satraps of the Achaemenid Empire, installing governors in provinces that answered directly to him. During the regency of Perdiccas, many of Alexander's generals began to gain political power and subvert the governors with the power of their armies, forming their own realms within the Empire. Upon Perdiccas' assassination these realms became independent and known as the Diadochi states. 

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