In 500 BC, flush with his country’s new-found wealth and importance, the young Makedonian prince Alexander I had presented himself at the Olympic Games as a contestant in the men’s foot race. His Greek competitors had tried to have him excluded on the grounds that as a Makedonian he was a non-Greek and therefore ineligible under the rules to enter any panhellenic contest. Alexander, however, proved to the satisfaction of the games’ marshals that he was of Argive descent and he was accordingly accepted by them as a bona fide competitor. In the race itself he came in equal first (Herodotus 5.22), making one suspect that the original protest by his rivals may well have a claim to be regarded as one of the earliest recorded examples of those ‘dirty tricks’ which so beset modern sport.
What Alexander had been able to demonstrate was something which, if not unique in Greek history, must nevertheless be regarded as extremely unusual. He was an Argive Greek ruling over a Kingdom. His descent, he claimed, could be traced back to Temenus, a legendary king of Argos who was himself a descendant of Heracles, the son of Zeus. Herodotus (8.137-8) tells a charming folktale of how three brothers of that line, who had been exiled from Argos, had ended up in Lebaea in Upper Makedonia. Herodotus recited the Macedonian pedigree as it was known to him: Perdiccas -- Argaios -- Philippos -- Aeropos -- Alcetas -Amyntas -- Alexander. The alleged Argive connection began with Perdiccas:who obtained the royal power in Macedon as I shall show. Three brothers of the lineage of Temenos, Gouanes, Aeropos and Perdiccas were banished from Argos to Illyria; they crossed into Macedonia and took service as bondsmen with the king for an agreed wage.The story goes on as a fairy-tale, with the deception of the brothers by the wicked king and their magical deliverance by the youngest, who received with open arms the sunbeam offered to them by the king. A later enlargement of the pedigree is more plausible as a narrative but no more credible as history. Perdiccas is there fourth in descent from Caranos(Κάρανος), a reputed brother of Pheidon (Φείδων) of Argos, of whom Georgius Syncellus reports: He raised a force from his brother ( Pheidon) and the whole of Peloponnese, with which he made an expedition against the regions above Macedonia and took half the country.
Who was the Pheidon of Argos ?
Argive tyrant (or king) Pheidon, was a central figure of early Greek history according to the ancients, has long been one of the most disputed questions in the history of Archaic Greece. The reason is obvious – even in antiquity there was no agreement on this point. According to Herodotos, Pheidon’s son Leokedes was among the suitors of Agariste, the daughter of the Sikyonian tyrant Kleisthenes.Since the wedding must be dated to the 570s BC, this suggests that Pheidon must have livedroughly at the end of the seventh and the beginning of the sixth centuries BC. But allthe authors who wrote after Herodotos dated him much earlier.They do, however,make contradictory statements. According to Ephoros, Pheidon was the 10th descendant of Temenos, the Herakleid founder of Dorian Argos. Argive tyrant (or king) Pheidon, was a central figure of early Greek history according to the ancients, has long been one of the most disputed questions in the history of Archaic Greece. The reason is obvious – even in antiquity there was no agreement on this point. According to Herodotos, Pheidon’s son Leokedes was among the suitors of Agariste, the daughter of the Sikyonian tyrant Kleisthenes. Since the wedding must be dated to the 570s BC, this suggests that Pheidon must have livedroughly at the end of the seventh and the beginning of the sixth centuries BC. But allthe authors who wrote after Herodotos dated him much earlier. They do, however,make contradictory statements. According to Ephoros, Pheidon was the 10th descendant of Temenos, the Herakleid founder of Dorian Argos. Since Ephoros dated the invasion of the Herakleids to 1069 BC, counting inclusively6 and probably equating three generations to a century, the 10th generation from Temenos should have fallen somewhere in the eighth century BC, presumably in the years ca. 769– 736 BC. Ephoros’ younger contemporary,Theopompos, on the other hand, regarded Pheidon as Temenos’ 6th descendant (inclusively), which would lead roughly to the first third of the ninth century BC. Of the later sources, Marmor Parium, considering Pheidon to be the 11th descendant of Herakles (which means that he must have been the 7th descendant of Temenos) and dating him to 895 BC, was fairly close to Theopompos’ point of view, while Pausanias, dating Pheidon’s intervention and agonothesia at Olympia to Ol.8 (748 BC), conforms to Ephoros’ opinion. But we have two other datings which do not at first sight accord with any of the previous statements: the chronicle of Eusebios introduces Pheidon at Abr. 1220, that is, 797 BC, while Isidorus of Sevilla dated him to the time of the first Olympic games in 776 BC. As I said according to Ephoros, Pheidon was the 10th descendant of Temenos, and so presumably active in the years ca. 769–736 BC, while Pausanias dated his agonothesia at Olympia to Ol.8. (748 BC). These statements obviously agree with each other.
Also this chronology synchronisation can be demonstrated in other ways as well.
VelleiusPaterculus explicitly synchronised three epochal events of world history:
(1) the destruction of Assyria by the Medes and the beginning of the Median hegemony in Asia, (2) the foundation of the Argead dynasty in Macedonia by Karanos, and
(3) Lykourgan legislation in SpartaAll these cases demonstrate that the synchronisation of Pheidon (and Karanos) with Lykourgan legislation was a basic assumption of the ancient chronographers. The synchronisation was dated in two basically different ways.
Proceeding from the standard Lykourgan genealogy, it led to the 6th and 7th generations from Temenos. In this way Theopompos and the Parian chronicler achieved their datings.Except of course the ancient writers in recent decades,, archaeologists (Andronikos, Hammond) have revealed the remains of the early Macedonian capital of Aegae and the adjacent royal cemetery, the important sanctuary of Zeus at Dion, and an Archaic Age cemetery rich in spectacular gold jewelry at Sindos. The combination of literary and archaeological sources has made it possible for historians to reconstruct the history of Makedonia in greater detail than ever before.
Georgios Sykellos, Chronograpies
E.J. Forsdyke, Greece Befor Homer
Mait Koiv,The Dating Of Pheidon in Antiquity
Ancient Greece, Oxford University Press
Ancient Greece, Cambringe University Press
Hammond, History of Macedonia