An exhibit about my favorite ancestor Alexander II of Macedon or, Alexander the Great (356-321 BC) as he is generally known, ended recently in Oxford England. This exhibition was about the ancient Macedonian royal lineage of Alexander the Great (pictured left) and presented evidence that his family and kingdom were firmly rooted in the culture and civilization of Ancient Greece. The tittle of this exhibition was: “From Hercules to Alexander: the legend of Macedonia” and it featured exhibits from the Aigai Museum in Northern Greece. According to Greek archaeologists who worked on the recent digs at the Palace in Aigai, a series of finds prove that “Alexander the Great did not just spring out of nowhere to take over the entire world. He was a scion of the Argead dynasty that ruled the Macedonian Kingdom for three and a half centuries and who were descendants of Hercules and Zeus.” According to the narrative of the exhibition in Oxford, the genealogical tree of the ancient Macedonian kings claimed to be stemming from Zeus and Hercules and reaching to Alexander’s son, Alexander IV.
The Argead dynasty is an Ancient Greek royal house. They were the ruling dynasty of Macedon Greece from about 810 to 310 BC. Their tradition, as described in ancient Greek historiography, traced their origins to Argos (hence the name Argeads and the Argead dynasty), in southern Greece.
Map of Argean migration route from Argos, Peloponnese, to Macedonia northern Greece.
Initially the Argeads (and because I am Macedonian, at this point, I will start referring them my great ancestors), they were just the rulers of their homonymous tribe, but, by the time of King Philip II (382-336 BC), which I wrote at a previous post, the Argeads had expanded their reign further to include under the rule of Macedon all Upper Macedonian states.
The family’s most celebrated members were Philip the II (pictured left) of Macedon and Alexander the Great, under whose leadership, the kingdom of Macedon gradually gained predominance throughout Greece, defeated the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire, and expanded as far as Egypt and India. The Argeads claimed descent from Temenids of Argos, in Peloponnese, whose legendary ancestor was Temenus, the great-great-grandson of Heracles. In the excavations of the royal Palace at Aegae the “tholos” room (believed to be the throne room) was discovered with an inscription relating to this belief. This is testified by historian Herodotus, in The Histories, where he mentions that three brothers of the
lineage of Temenus (named Gauanes, Aeropus and Perdiccas) fled from Argos to Macedonia, where after several moves, they ended in a part near mount Bermio (close to my birthplace which I find this fascinating) and gradually they formed the Macedonian kingdom. According to historian Thucydides, in the History of the Peloponnesian War, he is also stating that the Argeads were originally Temenids from Argos, who descended from the highlands to Lower Macedonia, expelled the Pieriens from Pieria, and acquired in Paionia a narrow strip along the river Axios extending to Pella and the sea.
So who were the Argeads before they occupied Argos and the Peloponnese? They were the Dorians — around 1,200 BC they migrated from the North, North-Eastern mountainous region of Greece, Ancient Macedonia and Epirus and returned to the earlier Mycenaea in the Peloponnese “as the return of the sons of Hercules.” This group of Dorians, with Temenus as their leader (who was the descendant of Hercules, a demi-god whose father was zeus), invaded and destroyed the Myceneans. According to various myths and legends, the founder of the Dorians was Dorus, son of Hellen — patriarch of the Hellenes. The Dorian invaders were known for the use of iron weapons where the tribes (Mycenaeans) that lived in the Peloponnese fought with stones — they had no chance winning against the superior weapons of the Dorians. And why did the “sons of Hercules” returned or invaded the Mycenaeans in the Peloponnese? According to legend, Hercules performed a heroic act by restoring King Tyndareus, King of Sparta, to his throne and king Tyndareus gave him a part of his kingdom as a gratitude gift. Hercules asked for the gift to be safeguarded until it was claimed by his descendants, which of course were Temenus and the Dorians, and this explains the “Dorian Invasion” of the Peloponnese and the Mycenaeans. Eventually, the Argeads that settled in Argos, moved up North again to Macedonia and created the Macedonian kingdom.
More about Philip II, Alexander the Great, and much more about Macedonia coming up–as these are my GREAT ancestors and my GREAT birthplace, and I am fascinated by the discoveries, as I condider myself to be extreemely priviledged and lucky to be associated with such history..