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Macedonian Monarchy

Unlike the city-states of Greece, Macedonia1 was ruled by a monarchy2. The power of the king of the Macedonian state was constrained by the tradition that he was supposed to listen to his people, who were accustomed to addressing their monarch with considerable freedom of speech. Above all, the king could govern effectively only as long as he maintained the support of the most powerful aristocrats, who counted as the king's social equals and controlled large bands of followers. Fighting3, hunting, and heavy drinking4 were the favorite pastimes of these men. The king was expected to demonstrate his prowess in these activities to show he was a Macedonian man's man capable of heading the state. Macedonian queens and royal mothers5 received respect in this male-dominated society because they came from powerful families in the Macedonian nobility or the ruling houses of lands bordering Macedonia and bore their husbands the heirs that they needed to carry on their royal dynasties. In the king's absence these royal women could vie with the king's designated representative for power at court.

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