Neither Agamemnon nor Thersites, Achilles nor Margites

The Heraclid Kings of Ancient Macedon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In modern scholarship a distinctly ‘Homeric’ presentation of the ancient Macedonian kings and their court still endures, in spite of recent notes on the use of ‘artifice’ in key ancient accounts. Although the adventures and achievements of Alexander the Great are certainly imbued with epic colour, to extend those literary tropes and topoi to the rule of earlier kings (and to wider Macedonian society) is often to misunderstand and misrepresent the ancient evidence. This paper offers a fresh review of the presentation of the early-Macedonian monarchy in the ancient sources, and considers the depiction of the Argead dynasty in both hostile and more-sympathetic accounts. It highlights the importance of another mythological model for these ancient kings: one that was supremely heroic, but not Homeric. The Argead appropriation of Heracles, Pindar’s ‘hero god’ (Nem. 3.22), was a key part of the self-representation of successive kings. Undoubtedly the crucial paradigm for Macedonian rulers, Heracles provided them with an identity and authority that appealed to diverse audiences, and it is time to consider the subtlety of the Argead presentation of their dynasty as Heraclid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-72
JournalAntichthon
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Macedonian monarchy
  • Heracles

Cite this

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Neither Agamemnon nor Thersites, Achilles nor Margites : The Heraclid Kings of Ancient Macedon. / Moloney, Eoghan.

In: Antichthon, Vol. 49, No. 1, 01.11.2015, p. 50-72.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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