The Ethnic Origins of the Friends of the Antigonid Kings of Macedon

This is a excerpt of a SCIENTIFIC STUDY focusing on the history of ancient MACEDONIA. Author is James L. O'Neil, and it was published in the distinguished scientific journal "The Classical Quarterly" by the Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association.

Vol. 53, No. 2 (Nov., 2003), pp. 510-522

Page 510:

Polybius (8.9.6-10.11) reports that Theopompus said that Philip of Macedon encouraged men of dubious character from all over Greece and the barbarian world to come to Macedon and become his hetairoi. As part of his refutation of Theo¬pompus* claims, Polybius says that after the death of Alexander these men showed their worth by dividing up most of the known world among themselves. However, Alexander's hetairoi and successors were not drawn from most of the world, but were largely Macedonian in origin.

Berve lists a possible thirteen out of sixty-one hetairoi of Alexander as being of Greek origin. Only one of the remainder was a Persian, so there are forty-seven Macedonians; in other words, 77 per cent were Macedonians and 21 per cent Greek. However, Greeks were prominent in peripheral roles, such as the chancellery and as engineers, but had limited command roles The limitation on the careers of Nearchus the Cretan and Eumenes of Cardia are signs of the predominance of Macedonians at Alexander's court. Lysimachus has been seen as an example of a Greek succeeding in Macedonian service, as his father Agathocles is said to have been a Thessalian penestes, but it seems unlikely that the man who drove Pyrrhus of Epirus out of Macedon by a whispering campaign on his non-Macedonian origin (Plut. Pyrrk 12.10), was not Macedonian himself.

In fact, we find Macedonians commanding Greek troops, Thracians, and even the navy, which would have been largely manned by Greeks. Within Macedon itself, the contingents from Upper Macedon seem to have been commanded largely by Upper Macedonians In the time of Alexander, the Macedonian origin of their commanders was important for Macedonian troops, and Macedonians were jealous of other groups winning command positions of any sort!

The Classical Quarterly © 2003
James L. O'Neal
Cambridge University, Vol. 53, No. 2 (Nov., 2003), 
Page 510-522 


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