Argead dynasty

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
House of Argos
Parent houseTemenids (Heracleidae)
CountryMacedonia (Ancient Greece)
Founded808 BC
Final rulerAlexander IV of Macedon
TitlesBasileus of Macedonia

King of Persia

King of Asia

Pharaoh of Egypt (Thirty-second Dynasty of Egypt)

Hegemon of the Hellenic League

Strategos Autokrator of Greece
Dissolution310 BC
Cadet branchesPtolemaic dynasty (?)

The Argead dynasty (Greek: Ἀργεάδαι, Argeádai), also known as the Temenid dynasty, was an ancient Macedonian royal house of Dorian Greek provenance.[1][2][3] They were the founders and the ruling dynasty of the kingdom of Macedon from about 700 to 310 BC.[4]

Their tradition, as described in ancient Greek historiography, traced their origins to Argos, of Peloponnese in Southern Greece, hence the name Argeads or Argives.[5][6][1] Initially the rulers of the tribe of the same name,[7] 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 his son 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.[8][9] The Argeads claimed descent from Herakles through his great-great-grandson Temenus, also king of Argos.


Triobol of Argos (top), and a bronze coin of King Amyntas II of Macedon (bottom). The early Argead kings often copied the wolf of Argos' coins on their own coinage to highlight their supposed ancestry from this city.[10]

The words Argead and Argive derive (via Latin Argīvus[11]) from the Greek Ἀργεῖος (Argeios meaning "of or from Argos"[12]), which is first attested in Homer where it was also used as a collective designation for the Greeks ("Ἀργείων Δαναῶν", Argive Danaans).[13][14] The Argead dynasty claimed descent from the Temenids of Argos, in the Peloponnese, whose legendary ancestor was Temenus, the great-great-grandson of Heracles.[1]

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) a Greek inscription relating to that belief.[15] 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 slowly formed their own kingdom.[16]

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 Macedonian kings were Greeks and allowed him to participate.[17]

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

Another theory supported by the Greek historian Miltiades Hatzopoulos, following the opinion of the ancient author Appian, is that the Argead dynasty actually came from Argos Orestikon.[18][19]