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Archelaus I of Macedon

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Title: Archelaus I of Macedon  
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Subject: Perdiccas II of Macedon, 399 BC, Alexander I of Macedon, Aeropus II of Macedon, Amyntas III of Macedon
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Archelaus I of Macedon

Archelaus I
King of Macedon
Archelaus I Didrachm
Reign 413–399 BC
Predecessor Perdiccas II
Spouse unknown
Issue Orestes
Archelaus II
several daughters
House (Ancient) Macedon
Dynasty Argead
Father Perdiccas II
Mother unknown slave
Religion Ancient Greek religion

Archelaus I (; Greek: Ἀρχέλαος Α΄) was a king of Macedon from 413 to 399 BC. He was a capable and beneficent ruler, known for the sweeping changes he made in state administration, the military, and commerce. By the time that he died, Archelaus had succeeded in converting Macedon into a significantly stronger power. Thucydides credited Archelaus with doing more for his kingdom's military infrastructure than all of his predecessors together.[1]


  • Biography 1
    • Family 1.1
    • Reign 1.2
    • Culture 1.3
    • Death 1.4
  • Children 2
  • References 3
  • Sources 4
  • External links 5



Archelaus was a son of Perdiccas II by a slave woman. He obtained the throne by murdering his own uncle Alcetas II and cousin Alexander, such that his father became king, and his half-brother, a child of seven years, the legitimate heir.[2]


Almost immediately after he took power, Archelaus was faced with a situation which allowed him to completely reverse Macedon's relationship with Athens, which had been a major threat for the past half century. The Athenians experienced a crushing defeat at Syracuse in late 413 during which most of their ships were destroyed. This left the Athenians in desperate need of a huge amount of timber to build new ships and Archelaus in a position to set the price. Archelaus generously supplied the Athenians with the timber they needed. In recognition of this, the Athenians honored Archelaus and his children with the titles of proxenos and euergetes.[3]

Archelaus went on to institute many internal reforms. He issued an abundance of good quality coinage. He built strongholds, cut straight roads (important for movement of the military), and improved the organization of the military, particularly the cavalry and hoplite infantry.


The bust of Euripides, who was hosted by Archelaus

Archelaus was also known as a man of culture and extended cultural and artistic contacts with southern Greece. In his new palace at Zeus and the Muses at Dion, the Olympia of Macedon. The greatest athletes and artists of Greece came to Macedon to participate in this event. In addition, Archelaus competed and won in Tethrippon in both Olympic and Pythian Games.[5]


According to

Preceded by
Perdiccas II
King of Macedon
413–399 BC
Succeeded by
  • Coinage of Archelaus
  • Ancestry of Archelaus

External links



  1. ^ Thucydides, Peleponnesian War II, 100.
  2. ^ 471a-d.GorgiasPlato,
  3. ^ In the shadow of Olympus by Eugene N. Borza, page 163 .ISBN 0691008809
  4. ^ Chisholm 1911.
  5. ^ Solinus, 9.16. Pythias et Olympiacas palmas quadrigis adeptus (Hammond and Griffith. A History of Macedonia, 150n5).
  6. ^ Aelian. Varia Historia, 8.9.
  7. ^ Paparrigopoulos, Constantine. History of the Hellenic nation, 6 volumes, 1860-1877. Athens: N. G. Passari. 


Archelaus had several daughters and sons, including Orestes of Macedon and Archelaus II of Macedon.

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