Macedonia as a Persian vassal kingdom during the early stages of the Greco-Persian Wars
|Languages|| Ancient Macedonian,|
Aramaic, Attic Greek, Koine Greek, Old Persian
|Government|| Vassal monarchy (512/511-492 BC)|
Fully subordinate monarchy (492-479 BC)
|President||Amyntas I (first)|
|Alexander I (last)|
|Historical era||Classical Antiquity|
|•||Macedon becomes a vassal kingdom under Darius I.||512/511–492 BC|
|•||Macedon becomes a fully subordinate part of Persia.||492–479 BC|
|•||Conclusion of the Second Persian invasion of Greece.||479 BC|
|•||Macedon gains independence from Persia.||479 BC|
|Currency||Daric, Siglos, Tetradrachm|
Achaemenid Macedonia refers to the period the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedonia was under the Achaemenid Persian sway. In 512/511 BC, Megabyzus forced the Macedonian king Amyntas I to make his kingdom a vassal of the Achaemenids. In 492, following the Ionian Revolt, Mardonius firmly re-tightened the Persian grip in the Balkans, and made Macedon a fully subordinate kingdom within the Achaemenid domains, part of its administrative system, until the definite withdrawal of the Persians from their European territories following the eventual failure at the Second Persian invasion of Greece.
512/511 BC: Macedon becomes an Achaemenid vassal
Around 513 BC, as part of the military incursions ordered by Darius I, a huge Achaemenid army invaded the Balkans and tried to defeat the Western Scythians roaming to the north of the Danube river. Several Thracian peoples, and nearly all of the other European regions bordering the Black Sea (including parts of the modern-day Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia), were conquered by the Achaemenid army before it returned to Asia Minor. Darius's highly regarded commander Megabazus was responsible to fulfill the conquers in the Balkans. The Achaemenid troops conquered Thrace, the coastal Greek cities, and the Paeonians. Eventually, in about 512-511 BC, the Macedonian king Amyntas I accepted the Achaemenid domination and surrendered his country as a vassal state to the Achaemenid Persia. The multi-ethnic Achaemenid army possessed many soldiers from the Balkans. Moreover, many of the Macedonian and Persian elite intermarried. For instance, Megabazus' own son, Bubares, married Amyntas' daughter, Gygaea; and that supposedly ensured good relations between the Macedonian and Achaemenid rulers.
492-479 BC: fully subordinate status within the empire
Following the Ionian Revolt the Persian authority in the Balkans was restored by Mardonius in 492, which not only included the re-subjugation of Thrace, but also the full subordinate inclusion of Macedon into the Persian Empire. According to Herodotus, Mardonius' main task was to subject Athens and Eretria, and as many other Greek cities as possible. After having crossed to Europe, he and his army had reached the Persian garrison of Doriscus, and from there, the army separated after which the navy subjected Thasos, while the infantry continued its way towards Mount Pangaeum, and after crossing the Angites, entered the lands of the Paeonians and re-asserted Persian suzerainty there. Heading towards the Thermaic Gulf, the infantry and the navy encountered difficulties; the former was attacked at night by the Byrgi, while a strong storm devastated the latter. The Byrgi were completely subdued however, and the rest of the navy continued the campaign. Having arrived at the eastern border of Macedon, Alexander I of Macedon was forced to reacknowledge Persian suzerainty over the kingdom. As a result of Mardonius' campaign, Macedonia was incorporated into the administrative system of Persia. As Herodotus mentions in his Histories; "(...) and with their army they added the Macedonians to the already existing slaves [of the Persians]; for all the peoples on their side of Macedonia had already been subjected to them.
The Persian invasion led indirectly to Macedonia's rise in power and Persia had some common interests in the Balkans; with Persian aid, the Macedonians stood to gain much at the expense of some Balkan tribes such as the Paeonians and Greeks. All in all, the Macedonians were "willing and useful Persian allies." Macedonian soldiers fought against Athens and Sparta in Xerxes' army. In Macedon, abundant food supplies of the Persians were stored during their rule. Due to the scarce source base, it however remains debatable whether Macedon also held any Persian garrisons.
Although Persian rule in the Balkans was overthrown following the failure of Xerxes' invasion, the Macedonians (and Thracians) borrowed heavily from the Achaemenid Persians their tradition in culture and economy in the fifth to mid fourth centuries. Some artificats, excavated at Sindos and Vergina maybe be considered as influenced by Asian practices, or even imported from Persia in the late sixth and early fifth centuries.
- Roisman & Worthington 2010, Chapter 5: Johannes Engels, "Macedonians and Greeks", p. 92.
- Roisman & Worthington 2011, pp. 135-138, 342-345.
- Roisman & Worthington 2011, p. 343.
- Howe & Reames 2008, p. 239.
- "Persian influence on Greece (2)". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- Fox 2011, p. 85.
- Roisman & Worthington 2011, p. 344.
- Herodotus VI, 44
- Vasilev 2015, p. 142.
- Vasilev 2015, p. 154.
- Vasilev 2015, p. 156.
- Herodotus 2010, p. 425.
- Roisman & Worthington 2011, p. 345.
- Vasilev 2015, p. 157.
- Fox, Robin J. L. (2011). Brill's Companion to Ancient Macedon: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Macedon, 650 BC - 300 AD. BRILL. ISBN 978-9-00-420650-2.
- Herodotus (2010). Grene, David, ed. The History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-22-632775-4.
- Howe, Timothy; Reames, Jeanne (2008). Macedonian Legacies: Studies in Ancient Macedonian History and Culture in Honor of Eugene N. Borza. Regina Books. ISBN 978-1-930-05356-4.
- Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (2011). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-1-44-435163-7.
- Vasilev, Miroslav Ivanov (2015). The Policy of Darius and Xerxes towards Thrace and Macedonia. BRILL. ISBN 978-9-00-428215-5.