Aigai (Aegae) was the original capital where Argead-Temenid kings were traditionally buried. Around 400 BCE, Arkhelaos (Archelaus) moved the capital to Pella. Philip enlarged it, as did Kassandros later, yet the vast site today reflects Hellenistic and Roman eras. It's much bigger than anything Alexander knew. Even after Pella became the capital, Aigai remained an important cultic center, as well as a summer retreat from the muggy, mosquito-ridden marshes about Pella. Set on the Bermion piedmont south of the great Haliakmon River, it's much pleasanter.

Long before it become the new capital, however, Pella was an important town in the canton of Bottiaia, as evinced by spectacular iron-age and classical finds, including elite burials at Arkhontiko (Archontico) just NW of Nea Pella. The earliest date to 650
BCE and continue down to 450 (end of Alexander I's reign). Likewise, recent archaeological discoveries at Methone on the Thermaikos Gulf include late 8th Century writing that rivals the earliest found elsewhere in the Greater Greek world. All these discoveries tell us that Macedonia, both around Pella, and around Aigai, Dion, Aiani, Pydna, and the Greek colony of Methone, was a thriving, wealthy region active in Archaic-Era trade long before Philip II, or even Alexandros I (c. 498-454, Persian War era).

So forget all that Athenocentric propaganda in our written histories that Macedonians before Philip were goat-skin wearing barbarians chasing sheep through the mountains. Clearly they were much more. Walk with me around the regions of Aigai and Pella. (Incidentally, the palace was closed when I was there in 2018, for reconstruction work, so I was unable to get into it, nor into the theatre past the chain-link fence. But in 1997, I saw both, and even stood in the very spot where Philip was stabbed to death.)

PELLA, Greek Macedonia

AIGAI, Greek Macedonia

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