Alexander I
Silver obol of Alexander I, struck c. 460–450 BC. Obv.: young male head wearing petasos; rev.: incuse square with four sections.
King of Macedon
Reignc. 498/497–454 BC
PredecessorAmyntas I
SuccessorPerdiccas II
Died454 BC
FatherAmyntas I

Alexander I (Ancient Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος, romanizedAlexandros; died 454 BC), also known as Alexander the Philhellene (Ancient Greek: φιλέλλην; lit.'loving of Greece' or 'Hellenic patriot'),[1][2] was king[a] of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia from 498/497 BC until his death in 454 BC. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Perdiccas II.


Coin of Alexander I in the decade following the Second Persian invasion of Greece (struck in 480–470 BC).
Silver tetradrachm of Alexander I, struck at the end of his reign, circa 465–460 BC.

Alexander was the only son of Amyntas I and an unknown spouse,[5] whose name was perhaps Eurydice.[6] He had a sister named Gygaea (Greek: Γυγαίη).[7]

According to Herodotus, Alexander married his sister to the Persian general Bubares while a vassal of the Achaemenid Empire as a bribe to cover up his murder of a Persian embassy.[8] However, this story is widely regarded as a fiction invented by Herodotus or, at least, hearsay from his time spent in Macedonia.[9] It is more likely that Amyntas arranged the marriage himself around 510, or that Alexander handled it after his father died.[10]

Alexander came to the throne during the era of the kingdom's vassalage to Achaemenid Persia, dating back to the time of his father, Amyntas I, although Macedon retained a broad scope of autonomy.[11] In 492 BC it was made a fully subordinate part of the Persian Empire by Mardonius' campaign.[9] Alexander acted as a representative of the Persian governor Mardonius during peace negotiations after the Persian defeat at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC. In later events, Herodotus several times mentions Alexander as a man who was on Xerxes' side and followed his orders.[9]

From the time of Mardonius' conquest of Macedon, Herodotus refers to Alexander as hyparchos, meaning viceroy.[9] Despite his cooperation with Persia, Alexander frequently gave supplies and advice to the Greek city states, and warned them of Mardonius' plans before the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC. For example, Alexander warned the Greeks in Tempe to leave before the arrival of Xerxes' troops, and notified them of an alternate route into Thessaly through upper Macedonia.[12] After their defeat in Plataea, the Persian army under the command of Artabazus tried to retreat all the way back to Asia Minor. Most of the 43,000 survivors were attacked and killed by the forces of Alexander at the estuary of the Strymon river.[citation needed] Alexander eventually regained Macedonian independence after the end of the Persian Wars.

Aristides, commander of the Athenians, informed by Alexander I that delaying the encounter with the Persians would help further diminish their already low supplies. Battle of Plataea, 479 BC.

Alexander claimed descent from Argive Greeks and Heracles.[13] After a court of Elean hellanodikai determined his claim to be true, he was permitted to participate in the Olympic Games[14][15][16] possibly in 504 BC, a right reserved only for Greeks. He modelled his court after Athens and was a patron of the poets Pindar and Bacchylides, both of whom dedicated poems to Alexander.[17] The earliest reference to an Athenian proxenos, who lived during the time of the Persian wars (c. 490 BC), is that of Alexander I.[18] It was around this point that Alexander was given the epithet "philhellene".[19][b]


Alexander and his unnamed spouse[5] had at least six children:[23]

Family tree

Modern historians disagree on a number of details concerning the genealogy of the Argead dynasty. Robin Lane Fox, for example, refutes Nicholas Hammond's claim that Ptolemy of Aloros was Amyntas II's son, arguing that Ptolemy was neither his son nor an Argead.[25] Consequently, the chart below does not account for every chronological, genealogical, and dynastic complexity. Instead, it represents one common reconstruction of the early Argeads advanced by historians such as Hammond, Elizabeth D. Carney, and Joseph Roisman.[26][27][28][5]

Family and descendants of Alexander I
Individuals with disputed parentage or Argead ancestry are italicized.

See also



  1. ^ While Greeks such as Demosthenes and Aristotle referred to them as such, there is no evidence that any Macedonian ruler prior to Alexander III used an official royal title (basileus).[3][4]
  2. ^ The term "Philhellene" was occasionally used in Antiquity to describe Greeks who patriotically defended their culture.[20][21][22]


  1. ^ Ferrary, Jean-Louis (2006). "Philhellenism". In Cancik, Hubert; et al. (eds.). Brill's New Pauly. Translated by Salazar, Christine F.; Gentry, Francis G. Brill Reference Online.
  2. ^ Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1940) [1843]. "φιλέλλην". In Jones, Henry Stuart; McKenzie, Roderick (eds.). A Greek–English Lexicon (9th ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  3. ^ Errington, R.M. (1974). "Macedonian 'Royal Style' and Its Historical Significance". The Journal of Hellenic Studies. 94: 20–37. doi:10.2307/630417. JSTOR 630417. S2CID 162629292.
  4. ^ King, Carol (2010). "Macedonian Kingship and Other Political Institutions". In Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (eds.). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 375. ISBN 9781405179362.
  5. ^ a b c Carney 2000, p. 250.
  6. ^ Leo van de Pas: Genealogics. 2003
  7. ^ Herodotus, Book 5: Terpsichore, 21
  8. ^ "Herodotus, The Histories, Book 5, chapter 21, section 2". Retrieved 2023-03-01.
  9. ^ a b c d Sprawski, Sławomir (2010). "The Early Temenid Kings to Alexander I". In Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (eds.). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. Blackwell. pp. 134–138. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  10. ^ Carney 2000, p. 16.
  11. ^ Olbrycht, Marek Jan (2010). "Macedonia and Persia". In Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (eds.). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. Blackwell. p. 343. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  12. ^ Herodotus (1954). The Histories. Aubrey De Selincourt (trans.). Penguin Group. p. 477. ISBN 9780140449082.
  13. ^ A History of Macedonia. Τom. 2 Review: John Cole
  14. ^ Malcolm Errington, "A History of Macedonia", University of California Press, 1993, p.4: "Ancient allegations that the Macedonians were non-Greeks all had their origin in Athens at the time of the struggle with Philip II. Then as now, political struggle created the prejudice. The orator Aeschines once even found it necessary, in order to counteract the prejudice vigorously fomented by his opponents, to defend Philip on this issue and describe him at a meeting of the Athenian Popular Assembly as being 'Entirely Greek'. Demosthenes' allegations were lent an appearance of credibility by the fact, apparent to every observer, that the life-style of the Macedonians, being determined by specific geographical and historical conditions, was different from that of a Greek city-state. This alien way of life was, however, common to western Greeks of Epiros, Akarnania and Aitolia, as well as to the Macedonians, and their fundamental Greek nationality was never doubted. Only as a consequence of the political disagreement with Macedonia was the issue raised at all."
  15. ^ Herodotus 5.22
  16. ^ Justin-7.2.14
  17. ^ Thucydides and Pindar: Historical Narrative and the World of Epinikian Poetry Page 180 By Simon Hornblower ISBN 0-19-924919-9
  18. ^ Conrad Lashley; Paul Lynch; Alison J. Morrison, eds. (2006). Hospitality : a social lens (1st ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier. p. 25. ISBN 0-08-045093-8.
  19. ^ Plato, Republic, 5.470e, Xenophon Agesilaus, 7.4 (in Greek)
  20. ^ Xenophon, Agesilaus, 7.4
  21. ^ Isocrates, To Philip, 5.22
  22. ^ Plato, Republic, 470e
  23. ^ Roisman, Joseph (2010). "Classical Macedonia to Perdiccas III". In Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (eds.). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. Blackwell. pp. 134–138. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  24. ^ Carney 2000, p. 20.
  25. ^ Fox, Robin Lane (2011). "399–369 BC". In Fox, Robin Lane (ed.). Brill's Companion to Ancient Macedon: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Macedon, 650 BC – 300 AD. Boston: Brill. pp. 231–232.
  26. ^ Hammond, N. G. L.; Griffith, G. T. (1979). A History of Macedonia Volume II: 550–336 B.C. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 176.
  27. ^ Roisman, Joseph (2010). "Classical Macedonia to Perdiccas III". In Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (eds.). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. Blackwell. pp. 134–138. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  28. ^ Psoma, Selene (2012). "Arepyros or A(u)re(lius) Pyros?". Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. 180: 202–204.


Alexander IArgead dynastyBorn:  ? Died: 454 BC Royal titles Preceded byAmyntas I King of Macedon c. 498/497–454 BC Succeeded byPerdiccas II