The first influence of Greek culture in Macedon came from the colonies along the shore founded in the 8th cent. B.C. and after; they had ties to their mother cities that tended to isolate them politically from Macedon. By the 7th cent. B.C. there was developing in W Macedon a political unit led by a Greek-speaking family, which assumed the title of king and aggrandized itself. Macedon was a Persian tributary in 500 B.C. but took no real part in the Persian Wars.
Alexander I (d. 450 B.C.) was the first Macedonian king to enter into Greek politics; he began a policy of imitating features of Greek civilization. For the next century the Hellenic influences grew and the state became stronger. With Philip II (reigned 359–336 B.C.) these processes reached their culmination, for by annexing Upper Macedon, Chalcidice, and Thrace he made himself the strongest power in Greece; then he became its ruler. He created an excellent army with which his son, Alexander the Great, forged his empire. That empire, although it was a Macedonian conquest, was a personal creation.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.