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Stag Hunt Mosaic, 4th century BC
then Attic Greek, and later Koine Greek
|ancient Greek religion|
The Macedonians (Greek: Μακεδόνες, Makedónes) were an ancient tribe that lived on the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios in the northeastern part of mainland Greece. Essentially an ancient Greek people, they gradually expanded from their homeland along the Haliacmon valley on the northern edge of the Greek world, absorbing or driving out neighbouring non-Greek tribes, primarily Thracian and Illyrian. They spoke a northwestern dialect of Greek, although the lingua franca of the region was at first Attic and then Koine Greek. Their religious beliefs mirrored those of other Greeks, following the main deities of the Greek pantheon, although the Macedonians continued archaic burial practices that were discontinued in other parts of Greece after the 6th century BC. Aside from the monarchy, the core of Macedonian society was its nobility. Similar to the aristocracy of neighboring Thessaly, their wealth was largely built on herding horses and cattle.
Although composed of various clans, the kingdom of Macedonia, established around the eighth century BC, is mostly associated with the Argead dynasty and the tribe named after it. Traditionally ruled by independent families, the Macedonians seem to have accepted Argead rule by the time of Alexander I (r. 498–454 BC). Under Philip II (r. 359–336 BC), they are credited with numerous military innovations, which enlarged their territory and increased their control over other areas. This led to the exploits of Alexander the Great, the establishment of several realms from the Diadochi, and the inauguration of the Hellenistic period. With Alexander's conquests in Asia, Macedonians colonized territories as far east as Central Asia. The Macedonian peoples were eventually conquered by the Roman Republic during the mid 2nd century BC, with the establishment of the Roman province of Macedonia.
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