Argead dynasty

House of Argead

Country Ancient Greece

Basileus of Macedonia

King of Persia

King of Asia

Pharaoh of Egypt

Hegemon of the Hellenic League
Founded 808 BC
Final ruler Alexander IV of Macedon
Dissolution 310 BC

The Argead dynasty (Greek: Ἀργεάδαι) was an ancient Greek royal house. They were the founders and the ruling dynasty of Macedon from about 700 to 310 BC. Their tradition, as described in ancient Greek historiography, traced their origins to Argos, in southern Greece, hence the name Argeads or Argives.[1][2][3] Initially the rulers of the homonymous tribe,[4] by the time of Philip II they had expanded their reign further, to include under the rule of Macedonia all Upper Macedonian states. The family's most celebrated members were Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great, under whose leadership the kingdom of Macedonia gradually gained predominance throughout Greece, defeated the Achaemenid Empire and expanded as far as Egypt and India. The mythical founder of the Argead dynasty is King Caranus.[5][6]


The route of the Argeads from Argos, Peloponnese, to Macedonia according to Herodotus.

The words "Argead" and "Argive" derive (via Latin Argīvus[7]) from the Greek Ἀργεῖος (Argeios), "of or from Argos",[8] and is first attested in Homer, where it was also used as a collective designation for the Greeks ("Ἀργείων Δαναῶν", Argive Danaans).[9][10] The Argead dynasty claimed descent from the Temenids of Argos, in the Peloponnese, whose legendary ancestor was Temenus, the great-great-grandson of Heracles. In the excavations of the royal Palace at Aegae Manolis Andronikos discovered in the "tholos" room (according to some scholars "tholos" was the throne room) an inscription relating to that belief.[11] This is testified by Herodotus, in The Histories, where he mentions that three brothers of the lineage of Temenus, Gauanes, Aeropus and Perdiccas, fled from Argos to the Illyrians and then to Upper Macedonia, to a town called Lebaea, where they served the king. The latter asked them to leave his territory, believing in an omen that something great would happen to Perdiccas. The boys went to another part of Macedonia, near the garden of Midas, above which mount Bermio stands. There they made their abode and gradually formed their own kingdom.[12] Herodotus also relates the incident of the participation of Alexander I of Macedon in the Olympic Games in 504 or 500 BC where the participation of the Macedonian king was contested by participants on the grounds that he was not Greek. The Hellanodikai, however, after examining his Argead claim confirmed that the Macedonians were Greeks and allowed him to participate.[13]

According to Thucydides, in the History of the Peloponnesian War, the Argeads were originally Temenids from Argos, who descended from the highlands to Lower Macedonia, expelled the Pierians from Pieria and acquired in Paionia a narrow strip along the river Axios extending to Pella and the sea. They also added Mygdonia in their territory through the expulsion of the Edoni, Eordians, and Almopians.[14]


Argead Rulers
King Reign (BC) Comments
Caranus 808–778 BC Founder of the Argead dynasty and first King of Macedon
Koinos 778–750 BC
Tyrimmas 750–700 BC
Perdiccas I 700–678 BC
Argaeus I 678–640 BC
Philip I 640–602 BC
Aeropus I 602–576 BC
Alcetas I 576–547 BC
Amyntas I 547–498 BC
Alexander I 498–454 BC
Perdiccas II 454–413 BC
Archelaus 413–399 BC
Orestes and Aeropus II 399–396 BC
Archelaus II 396–393 BC
Amyntas II 393 BC
Pausanias 393 BC
Amyntas III 393 BC
Argaeus II 393–392 BC
Amyntas III 392–370 BC Restored to the throne after one year
Alexander II 370–368 BC
Ptolemy I 368–365 BC
Perdiccas III 365–359 BC
Amyntas IV 359 BC
Philip II 359–336 BC Unifier of Greece under the rule of Macedon
Alexander III 336–323 BC Alexander the Great. The most notable ancient Greek King and one of the most celebrated strategists and rulers of all time. Alexander at the top of his reign was simultaneously King of Macedonia, Pharaoh of Egypt, King of Persia and King of Asia
Antipater 334–323 BC Regent of Macedonia during the reign of Alexander III
Philip III Arrhidaeus 323–317 BC Only titular king after the death of Alexander III
Alexander IV 323–310 BC Son of Alexander the Great and Roxana. Served only as a titular king and was murdered at a young age before having the chance to rise to the throne of Macedon
Perdiccas 323–321 BC Regent of Macedonia
Antipater 321–319 BC Regent of Macedonia
Polyperchon 319–317 BC Regent of Macedonia
Cassander 317–306 BC Regent of Macedonia and founder of the Antipatrid dynasty



  1. Argive, Oxford Dictionaries.
  2. Hammond 1986, p. 516: "In the early 5th century the royal house of Macedonia, the Temenidae was recognised as Greek by the Presidents of the Olympic Games. Their verdict considered themselves to be of Greek descent from Heracles son of Zeus."
  3. Howatson & Harvey 1989, p. 339: "In historical times the royal house traced its descent from the mythical Temenus, king of Argos, who was one of the Heracleidae, and more immediately from Perdiccas I, who left Argos for Illyria, probably in the mid-seventh century BC, and from there captured the Macedonian plain and occupied the fortress of Aegae (Vergina), setting himself up as king of the Macedonians. Thus the kings were of largely Dorian Greek stock (see PHILIP (1)); they presumably spoke a form of Dorian Greek and their cultural tradition had Greek features."
  4. Rogers 2004, p. 316: "According to Strabo, 7.11 ff., the Argeadae were the tribe who were able to make themselves supreme in early Emathia, later Macedonia."
  5. Green 2013, p. 103.
  6. According to Pausanias (Description of Greece 9.40.8-9), Caranus set up a trophy after the Argive fashion for a victory against Cisseus: "The Macedonians say that Caranus, king of Macedonia, overcame in battle Cisseus, a chieftain in a bordering country. For his victory Caranus set up a trophy after the Argive fashion, but it is said to have been upset by a lion from Olympus, which then vanished. Caranus, they assert, realized that it was a mistaken policy to incur the undying hatred of the non-Greeks dwelling around, and so, they say, the rule was adopted that no king of Macedonia, neither Caranus himself nor any of his successors, should set up trophies, if they were ever to gain the good-will of their neighbors. This story is confirmed by the fact that Alexander set up no trophies, neither for his victory over Dareius nor for those he won in India."
  7. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary, Argīvus.
  8. Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon, Ἀργεῖος.
  9. Cartledge 2011, Chapter 4: Argos, p. 23: "The Late Bronze Age in Greece is also called conventionally 'Mycenaean', as we saw in the last chapter. But it might in principle have been called 'Argive', 'Achaean', or 'Danaan', since the three names that Homer does in fact apply to Greeks collectively were 'Argives', 'Achaeans', and 'Danaans'."
  10. Homer. Iliad, 2.155-175, 4.8; Odyssey, 8.578, 4.6.
  11. Andronikos 1994, p. 38: Inscription found in the tholos room of the Agai Palace: "Η επιγραφή αυτή είναι: «ΗΡΑΚΛΗΙ ΠΑΤΡΩΙΩΙ», που σημαίνει στον «Πατρώο Ηρακλή», στον Ηρακλή δηλαδή που ήταν γενάρχης της βασιλικής οικογένειας των Μακεδόνων." [Translation: "The inscription is: «ΗΡΑΚΛΗΙ ΠΑΤΡΩΙΩΙ», which means "Father (Ancestor) Hercules", dedicated to Hercules who was the ancestor of the royal family of the Macedonians."]
  12. Herodotus. Histories, 8.137.
  13. Herodotus. Histories, 5.22.
  14. Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War, 2.99.


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