Makedon, also Macedon (Ancient Greek: Μακεδών) or Makednos (Μακεδνός), was the eponymous mythological ancestor of the ancient Macedonians according to various ancient Greek fragmentary narratives. In most versions, he appears as a native or immigrant leader who gave his name to Macedon, previously called Emathia or Thrace.


Son of Zeus

The seventh fragment of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, quoted by Constantine Porphyrogenitus,[1] states: "Macedonia the country was named after Makedon, the son of Zeus and Thyia, daughter of Deucalion, as the poet Hesiod relates; and she became pregnant and bore to thunder-loving Zeus, two sons, Magnes and Macedon, the horse lover, those who dwelt in mansions around Pieria and Olympus".[2] The poetic epithet " hippiocharmes " can alternatively be translated as " fighting on horseback " or " chariot-fighter "[3] and has also been attributed to Aeolus son of Hellen, Troilus and Amythaon. A fragment of the Macedonian historian Marsyas of Pella (4th century BCE), through a scholiast of Iliad xiv 226[4] confirms the genealogy as found in the Catalogue of Women: " Makedon son of Zeus and Thyia, conquered the land then belonging to Thrace and he called it Macedonia after his name. He married a local woman and got two sons, Pierus and Amathus; two cities, Pieria and Amathia in Macedonia were founded or named after them ". The rare name of his mother Thyia, has been corrupted in transmission to Aithria or Aithyia through the phrase " kai Thyias, and Thyia ". Thyia in the Delphic tradition was an eponym naiad of the Thyiades, alternative name of the Maenads in the cult of Dionysus, certainly practiced also in Macedonia.[5]

The mythological chronologization of the Hesiodean passage indicates a time before the Trojan War and Iliad, since then the Magnetes dwell in Magnesia, Thessaly.[6] The Catalogue of Women, which is variously dated mostly between the 8th and 6th century BCE, provides the earliest and only reference to a Macedonian element before the 5th century BCE historiography.

Son of Aeolus

In a fragment of a chronological work of Hellanicus called " Priestesses of Hera at Argos ", and preserved by Stephanus, Makedon is son of Aeolus, as Hellanicus relates in the first (book or archive list) of his "Hiereiai tes Heras en Argei" , and of Makedon, the son of Aeolus, the present Macedonians were named so, then living alone with the Mysians.[7] The fragment does not clarify who of the three Aeoli is Makedon's father but Eustathius reported him as one of the ten sons of Aeolus,[8] thus the son of Hellen. In later traditions, Magnes is also reported as one of the ten sons of Aeolus and father of Pierus.

N. G. L. Hammond, based on the passage of Hellanicus, as well on the Thessalian Magnes being brother of Macedon, suggested that the Macedonian language is an Aeolic Greek dialect.[9] Jonathan M. Hall compares Magnes and Macedon to other excluded tribes from direct lineage to Hellen and later Olympic participants, such as Aetolians, Acarnanians and Arcadians.[10] On the contrary, Eugene N. Borza gives no significance on this mythological figure for any historical conclusions.[11]

Son of Osiris

In "The antiquities of Egypt", first chapter of Bibliotheca Historica by Diodorus Siculus, which is based mainly on Aegyptiaca of Hecataeus of Abdera, Greek and Egyptian mythology have been syncretized. Osiris has taken the place of Dionysus in his various myths and expeditions. According to Herodotus Osiris was the Egyptian Dionysus and the house of Ptolemies claimed descent from Dionysus. Diodorus relates[12]: " Now Osiris was accompanied on his campaign, as the Egyptian account goes, by his two sons Anubis and Macedon, who were distinguished for their valour. Both of them carried the most notable accoutrements of war, taken from certain animals whose character was not unlike the boldness of the men, Anubis wearing a dog's skin and Macedon the fore-parts of a wolf; and it is for this reason that these animals are held in honour among the Egyptians..Macedon his son, moreover, he left as king of Macedonia, which was named after him..". Makedon has taken the place of the Egyptian wolf-god of Lycopolis, Wepwawet[13] and in later traditions Makedon is mentioned as a son of the werewolf Lycaon.

Son of Lycaon

According to Apollodorus,[14] but not present in the list of Pausanias or Hyginus, Macednus is the tenth of the fifty sons of Lycaon king of Arcadia. The most close brother to him by region is Thesprotus. In the story of "Pindus and the serpent" by Claudius Aelianus, Makedon is the son of Lycaon king of Emathia,after whom the land was called Macedonia no longer preserving its ancient name.

Eustahius summarizing the geneaologies, relates: Emathion son of Zeus and Electra preceding the birth of Makedon son of Aeacus, (instead of Lycaon).[15] Strabo just called him archaios hegemon,[16] old chieftain, and Pseudo-Scymnus,[17] gêgenês basileus,earth-born king. Isidore of Seville, " ..rege Deucalionis materno nepote ", ..king, maternal grandson of Deucalion.[18]


According to Marsyas of Pella, Makedon son of Zeus had by a local woman two sons Pierus and Amathus.[19] In the Ethnika of Stephanus (perhaps through Theagenes), sons and grandsons of Makedon are: Atintan (in the version of Lycaon) eponymous of a region in Epirus or Illyria, Beres, (father of Mieza, Beroea and Olganos, toponyms in Bottiaea), Europus by Oreithyia daughter of Cecrops and Oropus, birthplace of Seleucus I Nikator , which is perhaps confused with Europus. Finally, in the version of Lycaon king of Emathia, Pindus is a son of Makedon, who gave his name to Pindus, where he died, a river of Doris, a region in central Greece.

It is unclear whether these localities represent pre- or post-Macedonian elements, since Emathia and Pieria are older toponyms than Macedonia. Anachronism is not infrequent in later mythic traditions. (Cf. Boeotus, reported as father of autochthon Ogyges)


Classical form

In Greek sources, the noun is mostly attested as Μακεδών (Makedôn) with two exceptions: the poetic form Μακηδών (Makêdôn) in Hesiod with long medial vowel serving the metrical feet of dactylic hexameter and Mάκεδνος (Mákednos) or latinicized Macednus with barytonesis and apophony in Apollodorus. The recessive accent reminds of two Macedonian barytonized personal names, Κοῖνος (Koînos) and Βάλακρος (Bálakros) (Attic/Greek adjectives:koinós, phalakrós), but whether Makedôn or Mákednos is the original spelling it presumably cannot be proven. Moreover, the suffix -dnos, either as the "Dorian Makednón ethnos" of Herodotus or makednós, a rare poetic epithet denoting tall, seems not to be attested in epigraphy, or used by Macedonians themselves.

In Latin sources the noun is Macedo. As adjectives the Latin Macedo and Greek Μακεδών (Makedôn) denote foremost a Macedonian man. They also appear, mostly during the Roman era, as personal male names


The tribal name of the Macedonians is commonly explained as having originally meant 'the tall ones' or 'highlanders' in Greek.[20] It is traditionally derived from the Indo-European root *mak-,*meh2k,[21][22] meaning 'long' or 'slender', cognate with poetic Greek makednos or mêkedanos[23] "long, tall," Doric makos, Attic mêkos length,[24] Makistos mythological eponymous of a town in Elis and epithet of Heracles, Avestan masah 'length', Latin macer 'meagre' Hittite mak-l-ant 'thin'. Vittore Pisani constructed a Macedonian word kedôn, out of the Greek chthon, 'earth' and proposed also a meaning of high land. R.S.P. Beekes claims that the morphological analysis make- (root) + -dnos (suffix) is impossible in an Indo-European word and that it is more likely that the word has a Pre-Greek origin.[25]

See also


  1. De Thematibus 2 p. 48B
  2. Greek text: Μακεδονία ἡ χώρα ἀπὸ Μακεδόνoς τοῦ Διὸς και Θυίας τῆς Δευκαλίωνος ἥ δ' ὑποκυσαμένη Διῒ γείνατο τερπικεραύνῳ υἷε δύω,</br> Μάγνητα Μακηδόνα θ' ἱππιοχάρμην, οἳ περί Πιερίην καί Ὄλυμπον δώματ' ἒναιον
  3. LSJ: charma, charmê
  4. Frg 13, Greek text: Μακεδών ὁ Διὸς καὶ Αἰθρίας κατασχὼν τὴν χώραν οὖσαν Θρᾴκης ἀφ' ἑαυτοῦ Μακεδονίαν προσηγόρευσεν: γήμας δὲ μίαν τῶν ἐγχωρίων τεκνοῦται δύο παῖδας Πίερον καὶ Ἄμαθον, ἀφ' ὧν δύο πόλεις Πιερία καὶ Ἀμαθία ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ. Ἡ Ἱστορία παρὰ Μαρσύα
  5. Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible DDD By K. van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter Willem van der Horst Page 537 ISBN 0-8028-2491-9
  6. A History of Macedonia: Historical geography and prehistory by N. G. L. Hammond and Guy Thompson Griffith Page 430 ISBN 0-19-814294-3
  7. ἄλλοι δ' ἀπὸ Μακεδόνος τοῦ Αἰόλου, ὡς Ἑλλάνικος ἱερειῶν πρώτῃ τῶν ἐν Ἄργει καὶ Μακεδόνος [τοῦ] Αἰόλου οὕτω νῦν Μακεδόνες καλοῦνται, μόνοι μετὰ Μυσῶν τότε οἰκοῦντες
  8. Eustathius of Thessalonica. A commentary on Dionysius Periegetes 427
  9. Alexander the Great: a reader By Ian Worthington Page 20 ISBN 1-4058-0162-X (2003)
  10. The cultures within ancient Greek culture: contact, conflict, collaboration By Carol Dougherty, Leslie Kurke Page 30 ISBN 0-521-81566-5 (2003)
  11. In the Shadow of Olympus: The Emergence of Macedon By Eugene N. Borza Page 69 ISBN 0-691-05549-1 (1992)
  12. Diodorus 1.18. Translation by Charles Henry Oldfather. Read the whole passage in translation by Edwin Murphy
  13. Burton, Anne. Diodorus Siculus: A Commentary. BRILL, 1972, ISBN 90-04-03514-1, page 83. " Macedon must be identified with Wepwawet, the so-called "wolf" god, who was associated with Anubis as the companion and guardian of Osiris. In one instance Wepwawet also appears as the son of Osiris: "I am Wepwawet, the heir of Senwy, the son of Osiris."
  14. Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, 3.96.
  15. A History of Macedonia: 550-336 B.C By Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Guy Thompson Griffith v. 2 (1979) Page 39
  16. Strabo, VII, fr.11
  17. Periegesis 620
  18. Opera omnia quae extant IX 78
  19. Chatzopoulos, Miltiadēs V. Macedonian Institutions Under the Kings: a historical and epigraphic study. Kentron Hellēnikēs kai Rōmaïkēs Archaiotētos, 1996, ISBN 960-7094-89-1, p. 240. "This substitution of Emathia for what was practically in Classical times Bottia, and its joint use with Pieria in order to describe the original cradle of the Macedonian kingdom and not Polybios' innovations, but can be traced back at least to the second half of the fourth century, when Marsyas of Pella made Amathos and Pieros the eponymous of these two subdivisions..."
  20. Harper, Douglas. "Macedonia". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2008-10-31.  "Macedonia from L. Macedonius 'Macedonian,' from Gk. Makedones, lit. 'highlanders' or 'the tall ones,' related to makednos 'long, tall,' makros 'long, large' (see macro-)."
  21. Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch
  22. Köbler, Gerhard, Indogermanisches Wörterbuch
  23. LSJ -makednos
  24. LSJ-mêkos- synonyms of makros- See also Beekes [1]
  25. Robert S. P. Beekes, Greek etymological dictionary.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Makedon (mythology). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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