Information about the History of Macedonia, in Greece but also information about the history of many locations of the region: Ancient times, Kingdom of Macedonia, Roman and Byzantine Times, Ottoman occupation and liberation
The history of Macedonia has its roots in the ancient times. It begins from antiquity and travels throughout the centuries, full of glorious stories of battles, heroisms, culture, activity, catastrophes and victories. The name Macedonia derives from the Dorian word makos, mikos in modern Greek (meaning length), and stated that the people of Macedonia are tall.
According to the Greek mythology, Macedonia took its name from Makedona, who was considered the patriarch of Macedonian people. Some say that he was the son of Zeus and Thias. Herodotus believed that Macedonians are descendants of Timenidon from Argos who left and settled down in the northern Greece, but historians are also aware that Greeks moved from north Europe to the south around 12th century BC.
A part of the Dorians stayed in Macedonia and kept for a long time their Greek origin, while Greeks who arrived from the north created a new civilization which was quite common in language and traditions with the Greeks of south. This could have been a similarity which contributed to the creation of the myth on Tymenidon.
Kingdom of Macedonia
Macedonia becomes part of the Greek history with the son of Amynta, Alexander I, a clever and hardworking man who established the military and political foundation of the Macedonia state. In the Median wars, he fought with the Athenians. The other kings that followed contributed in the development of their country, but Macedonia met its prime with King Alexander I.
However, Phillip II (357-336 BC) introduced Macedonia as a newly established monarchic state which played a major role in the Greek land. The king managed to unite with the rest of the states and all the Greeks in becoming one. Phillip ordered his son Alexander the Great into forming a restrained army to take over the entire Persian Empire. Macedonia became the heart and mind of the Hellenistic times.
Roman and Byzantine Times
The Macedonian kingdom soon lost control, after the defeat by the Romans in the Macedonian Wars, but it preserved its leadership. During the Roman occupation, Macedonia faces a dark period and the following years shares the same luck with the Byzantine Empire. During that time, around 6th -7th century, Macedonia attracts many conquerors, among them are the Slavic people, Visigoths and Huns. The next two centuries are quite peaceful and the country continues the strong efforts for economic development and rising of political power.
In 1082, Normans occupy Macedonia and after many invasions they take over Thessaloniki but soon they abandon the town. In 13th century, Macedonia is under the Frankish rule and the battle against them ends with their defeat. The next century is the gold era of Thessaloniki. The Byzantine Empire spends its last moments and Thessaloniki becomes a pole of national development.
Ottoman occupation and liberation
During the Turkish domination, the Greek-Macedonian people succeeded in winning against the Turks twice, in 1371 and 1403 but despite the huge efforts, Turks refused to give up the territory. After the fall of Constantinople, Turks settled in the entire Macedonia. From 16th to 19th century, there are many battles and revolutionary outbreaks where Macedonians fight against the Ottomans. They are beaten to death but they withstand their attacks with great heroism. In 1826, with the foundation of the independent Greek state, Macedonia was still an outsider, and remained under the Turkish rule for the next few years.
Finally in 1913 and after many years of battles against the Ottomans and the Bulgarians, the southern part of Macedonia united with the rest of Greece. Today, the economy of Macedonia is based on agriculture, cattle-breeding and tourism. The largest town is Thessaloniki, which serves as an important trading center in the Balkans.
Read also: Macedonia Geography | Macedonia Museums